Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Let this be a lesson

Watch out - there's an angel about. Another endarkening Hadith from Khalifah:

Ibn Ishaq said: Yazid bin Ruman told me that `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr or one of the other scholars said that Jibril came to the Messenger of Allah ??? ???? ???? ???? when he was performing Tawaf around the House (the Ka`bah). He (Jibril) stood and the Messenger of Allah ??? ???? ???? ???? stood next to him.

Al-Aswad Ibn Al-Mutalib passed by, and he (Jibril)  threw a green leaf in his face, and he became blind.

Al-Aswad bin `Abd Yaghuth passed by, and he (Jibril) pointed to his stomach, which swelled up and he died (of dropsy).

Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah passed by, and he (Jibril) pointed at a wound on lower of his ankle, which he got two years earlier when he once was trailing his garment and he passed by a man who was feathering his arrows. One of the arrows got caught in his garment and scratched his foot. It was an insignificant wound, but now it opened again and he died of it.

Rotten luck. Now that's what I call "remoteness of damage", both tortious and torturous. For a woman it is particularly difficult to proceed. If you don't trail your garments, you're uncovered meat, but if you do, you risk a scratch from a feathered arrow -- and we all know where that leads.

Al-`As bin Wa'il passed by, and he (Jibril) pointed to the instep of his foot. He (Al-`As) set off on his donkey, heading for At-Ta'if. He rested by a thorny tree, a thorn pierced his foot and he died from it.

Al-Harith bin At-Talatilah passed by and he (Jibril) pointed at his head. It filled with pus and killed him.'

Moral anyone? Feather your nest and not your arrows? Don't walk past when Jibril is standing next to the Messenger of Allah ??? ???? ???? ???? when he is performing Tawaf around the House? Mend your ways, whatever those ways might be, and Allah, SWT, knows best?

Posted on 05/31/2011 2:43 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Journalist murdered after writing about links between al Qaeda and Pakistan's navy

From The Telegraph

The death of Syed Saleem Shahzad, who wrote for Asia Times Online and an Italian news agency, has sent shock waves through the country's newsrooms amid suspicions that he fell foul of the country's shadowy intelligence agencies.

He was reported missing in the capital, Islamabad, on Sunday. On Tuesday police said family members identified a body pulled from a canal almost 100 miles away as that of the 40-year-old journalist. They said his body bore signs of torture.

He disappeared two days after writing an investigative report in Asia Times Online describing how al-Qaeda carried out last week's attack on a naval airbase in Karachi. . . Mr Shahzad's explosive report claimed the navy had been in talks with al-Qaeda who wanted the release of officers arrested on suspicion of terrorist ties.

Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Mr Shahzad had complained about being threatened. "The other day he visited our office and informed us that ISI had threatened him. He told us that if anything happened to him, we should inform the media about the situation and threats," said Mr Hasan.

A senior intelligence official dismissed the allegations as "absurd".

Posted on 05/31/2011 2:31 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Father of American Taliban Seeking Official Pardon for Son

Janet Levy writes:

Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, is working to obtain an official pardon or clemency for his son who he likens to Nelson Mandela.  Lindh voluntarily traveled to an Al Qaeda training camp for courses in weaponry, explosives and combat.  He adopted a Muslim name and swore allegiance to jihad.  Lindh had foreknowledge of the 9-11 attacks and bears responsibility for the death of CIA agent, Mike Spann.

Following are rebuttals to false statements made by Frank Lindh in defense of his son, the "American Taliban."

False and misleading statements by Mr. Frank Lindh omits many known facts 
Article of appeal by Johnny Spann 
February 01, 2006 
This rebuttal of statements and claims made by Frank Lindh, father of John Walker Lindh, will address these issues.  Frank Lindh is pushing for an official pardon or clemency of his son for the 
Al Queda activities of which he is known to have been involved.  These activities came to the public's attention in November of 2001, and involved the death of my son, Johnny Micheal 
Spann, a CIA agent sent to interview the prisoners at the Qala I Jangi fortress outside Mazar E Shiref.  My son met his death at the hands of Al Queda terrorists on November 25, 2001…one of 
the Al Queda terrorists present that day was Frank Lindh's son. 
First and foremost I would like to clarify two primary points: 
Frank Lindh claims that his son never fired his weapon.  This is false. 
Frank Lindh claims that his son did not fight against Americans.  This also is false. 
Some other known facts that Frank Lindh chooses to overlook are listed below. 
1. John Walker Lindh, changed his name to Suleyman al-Farisand was also known 
as Abdul Hamid. 
2. John Walker Lindh was a member of, and trained with Al Queda. Al Queda is a 
league of foreign fighters who are trained by Osama Bin Laden. Members of this 
group of fighters are typically not citizens or natives of Afghanistan.  John Walker Lindh 
was not allowed to join the Taliban, because he did not speak any of their languages like 
Dari or Postum, and was not a Afghan. But was allowed to join and train with the Al 
The Taliban harbored Bin Laden and his  Al Queda terrorist. 
3. Al Queda terrorist members flew airplanes into U.S. buildings on September 11, 
2001, killing over 3,000 Americans. 
4. John Walker Lindh trained in the mujahideen terrorist camps first. 
5. After trying to join the Taliban and being refused. John Walker Lindh trained at Al 
Farooq - Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist training camp -and has officially stated that 
he met and talked to Bin Laden more than once while in this training. He also 
stated he spent time at Bin Laden’s guest house. 
6. John Walker Lindh stated that he had knowledge of the plans for the 9-11 attacks 
against the U.S.  He stated that he knew that  Al Queda members had been sent to the 
United States to carry out suicide missions. He stated that he had also been told about 
the 9-11 attacks on America, but chose to stay and continue to  fight with the Al Queda 
terrorists. For all Lindh knew, his own family members could have been victims of 
the suicide missions. 
Frank Lindh claims that his son was not responsible for 9/11 attacks, and that he 
had nothing to do with them. He is not telling that he not only knew about the
plans, but also opted - as an American - not to alert anyone about his knowledge. 
Lindh stated that after training camp he was asked if he like to go to other places 
to carry out terriost activities, This proves he was just like the rest of the trainees 
or he would never have been ask to go. 
7. John Walker Lindh sent an email to his mother stating that the attacks on the USS 
Cole were justified, and that he did not care if he ever set foot in America again. 
8. After leaving the training camps, John Walker Lindh went to Takar. While in the 
trenches on the front lines in Takar, he said that his rifle malfunctioned and was 
issued another one. 
Frank Lindh said his son never fired his weapon.  How can his rifle malfunction, if 
he never fired it? 
9. John Walker Lindh surrendered with the other terrorist Al Queda fighters at 
Kundus, having retreated there from Takar.He did not let anyone know that he was 
American, or that he wanted to leave. (He stated that he was told to say that he was 
Irish if anyone should ask). 
10. John Walker Lindh was transported to Qala I Jangi Fortress on Saturday evening, 
November 24, 2001, and stayed in the basement house, also known as the Pink House, 
that night. 
11. The revolt was planned that night while at the Pink House. Two of the prisoners 
stated that everyone there that night had to choose if and how they were going to be 
12.Sunday morning, November 25, 2001, my son and his partner arrived at the prison. 
During this time Micheal Spann attempted to question John Walker Lindh.  This 
encounter was captured on the, approx. 2 hours of video, being filmed by General 
Dostum’s  soldier. 
The prisoners being interviewed were led one at a time, from the Pink House to an open 
courtyard.  They were lightly restrained with their elbows tied behind their back. This left 
their hands free to the front. This was the afghan way of restraining. 
John Walker Lindh was one of these prisoners. After being asked to identify himself, 
(practically begging him).   He would not talk to his fellow Americans, and yet another 
opportunity went by to tell someone whom he was and that he needed help. John 
Walker Lindh also did not inform Mike Spann, or any other American there, about 
the planned revolt. 
If that information had been shared it would have saved my son's 
13.  At approx. 11 AM Sunday Morning, as planned on Saturday evening by the 
prisoners, a grenade was thrown to signal the attack. This is verified on the two- 
hour video. 
The prisoners inside the Pink House, which were approx. 300, began their attack against 
the guards, and the Americans.  The prisoners in the courtyard, which only had their 
elbows tied, jumped to their feet and attacked my son, Mike,  from behind while he was 
engaging the terrorist that were charging him from the basement house. 
This is verified in  the FBI  documents released in late 2004, of interviews with 
prisioners at Guantánamo Bay. which have the  accounts of that attack how it 
started and what ensued. Additionally, two doctors and other northern Alliance 
soldiers that I personally talked to in Afghanistan, stated that they were within feet 
of Mike when the grenade was thrown by the terrorist to start the revolt.
 John Walker Lindh jumped to his feet to take  part, just like the other terrorists, 
and was shot in the leg. ( His father says he jumped to his feet to run) 
14. John Walker Lindh, and the others in the courtyard, retreated to the basement 
house (Pink House), and continued to fight the Northern Alliance and the 
On the second day, the Northern Alliance sent  Red Cross workers inside to get 
them to surrender, and John Walker Lindh, and his fellow terrorist fighters, killed 
them.  Some 5 days later they finally surrendered. 
15. Robert Young Pelton, a reporter working in Afghanistan, was the first to 
interviewed John Walker Lindh after they finally surrendered. After bringing John 
Walker Lindh food and an American Medic, he tried to help him during their interview 
offering to get in touch with his parents. John Walker Lindh stated to Pelton, when 
asked if this was what he thought it would be like. He stated "This  is exactly what I 
thought that it would be like". Pelton stated thatJohn Walker Lindh showed no 
remorse for his actions.  Pelton’s account is also attached to this article. 
16. Frank Lindh maintains that the terrorists' prisoners were beaten. This is blatantly 
false. I personally have a copy of the original video, whichclearly shows that no 
beatings took place. It is documented on the video that two doctors were brought 
to the site and were treating and tending to the wounds of the terrorist prisoners. 
There was no violence at all until the grenade was thrown to start the revolt. This is 
also shown on the video. 
This is only a portion of information that Frank Lindh is not making public 
during his quest for his son's pardon. 
The facts stated in this letter are documented in the following ways: 
Video from General Dostum, taken the morning of the attack, which is the video the 
French reporter obtained and sold to CAPA TV, which in turn sold asmall portion to 3 
American TV news networks. This small portion was then shown on television showing 
Mike Spann trying to talk with Lindh. 
Reports of the attack given by the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and released by FBI, 
Eyewitness accounts: including the accounts of two Afghan doctors that I personally 
spoke with while visiting Afghanistan. A Northern Alliance intel officer, and several 
northern alliance soldiers. The two doctors and the intel officer are shown on the video. 
Information given to Mark Kukas, by two prisoners in Shurbergon prison. 
Information supplied by Robert Pelton, whose letter is attached. 
John Walker Lindh’s own personal statements. 
     *     Information given to me by General Dostum and his staff 
As an American, and one of many parents who have lost a child to war in order to protect our 
country, I appeal to you to not allow Frank Lindh to achieve a pardon for hisAl Queda, terrorist, 
traitor son,  John Walker Lindh,  Aka: Sulleyman al Farris,  Aka: Abdul Hamid 
Johnny Spann 
Posted on 05/31/2011 11:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Denmark - 12 years for Mohammed cartoon attempted bombing

From The Copenhagen Post

Lors Doukaev will spend 12 years in a Danish prison for last September’s failed plan to send a letter bomb to the newspaper that published the Mohammed drawings, a court in Copenhagen announced today. The sentence, which includes permanent expulsion from Denmark after the sentence is served, was handed down a day after a unanimous court found the Chechen-born Belgian citizen guilty of attempted terrorism and weapons possession. . . attempting to send a letter bomb to the offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper in retaliation for the 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.

Doukaev’s only comment to the court today before receiving his sentence was to maintain his innocence.

As he was prosecuted under terrorism legislation passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Doukaev could have been sentenced to 16 years. Earlier in the day, however, the prosecution said it would ask the court for a 12-year sentence.

After expressing disappointment yesterday at the court’s unanimous decision, Doukaev’s lawyer, Niels Anker Rasmussen, said today he was “surprised” that the court had followed the prosecution’s recommendation. Previous terrorism trials have resulted in similar sentences, but Rasmussen said those cases involved much larger quantities of explosives. He compared the Doukaev case with the case against a Somali immigrant sentenced to nine years in February for attempting to kill Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

Posted on 05/31/2011 9:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Ephraim Inbar: In Israel Netanyahu Soars

Netanyahu Turns Centrist and Triumphs

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 143, May 30, 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington with a centrist message, eliciting great support for the Israeli position both by the US Congress and by the Israeli public. He parried the attempts of President Obama to extract additional concessions and signaled to the world, specifically to the Palestinians, that their expectations about the shape of a future agreement must be calibrated in accordance with the wishes of the Israeli electorate. As a result of this visit, Netanyahu has strengthened his political positioning and garnered popularity at home.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington to meet with President Barack H. Obama, speak at the AIPAC annual gathering and address US Congress. This visit was of great political importance.

Prior to his visit, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset, where he conveyed a centrist position. He insisted on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish national state, on solving the Palestinian refugee problem outside of Israel, on defensible borders, and on keeping Jerusalem united as Israel’s capital; he also demanded the incorporation of the settlement blocs into Israel. This last element, new to Netanyahu’s rhetoric, drew criticism from the Israeli far right as well as from some Likud members, as it indicates a willingness to withdraw from parts of Judea and Samaria.

After positioning himself at the heart of the Israeli consensus and securing the backing of his people, Netanyahu went to Washington, a trip that culminated with his address on the Hill. There, he further clarified his position favoring a territorial compromise with the Palestinians, saying that “some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s border.” Netanyahu received enthusiastic applause for his oratory skills and his emphasis on the common values and bonds between America and Israel. Moreover, the substantive positions espoused by the Prime Minister were well received in Washington. Even Obama felt the need to clarify in his AIPAC address that his advocacy for a settlement based on the 1967 borders must reflect demographic realities on the ground.

What transpired from this visit is that Washington, even if it disagrees with some aspects of Israeli policy, will stand firmly with Jerusalem. The US clearly favors a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement and opposes Palestinian attempts to achieve statehood via the UN General Assembly while not actually ending the conflict. More so, Obama's remarks reflected Israel’s demand to be recognized as a Jewish state and its insistence on a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Netanyahu, on his part, did not refrain from publicly disagreeing with Obama on the territorial contours of a future settlement, signaling to the White House that Israel will resist American pressures and is ready for a political battle.

The courage displayed by Israel’s prime minister has earned him praise abroad and at home. Netanyahu’s coalition government remains strong and stable despite its willingness to make territorial concessions, and his mainstream message makes him much more popular than before with the Israeli public. All public opinion polls have shown a significant increase in his popularity. Furthermore, most Israelis acknowledge that the Palestinians are not a true partner for peace negotiations and believe that Netanyahu is sincerely trying to advance the goal of peace in the region.

Nowadays, Israeli society seems more united than ever on many issues, including the consensus on a market-oriented economy, the elimination of ethnic (Ashkenazi-Sephardi) inequalities, and the approach to the protracted conflict with the Arabs. This growing social cohesion and optimism about the future, concomitant with the realization that peace is not around the corner, strengthens Israel as a society ready to wage war, if necessary, in order to survive in an increasingly tough neighborhood. Netanyahu’s performance in Washington has further reinforced this reality.

Another important outcome of Netanyahu's US visit is that it has sent out a new message to the world, specifically to the Palestinians, that their expectations about the shape of a future agreement must be calibrated in accordance with the wishes of the Israeli electorate. More realism must be infused into their thinking.

Netanyahu made clear that the often used phrase in diplomatic corridors – “we all know what the settlement will look like” – requires redefinition. The overgenerous plans devised by former Israeli premiers, such as Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, which were rejected by the Palestinians, are not relevant anymore. Similarly, the "Clinton Parameters," which were also dismissed by the Palestinians, were never acceptable to the Israeli majority and continue to be seen as suicidal for the Jewish state. Israelis seem ready to back their current government in resisting international pressure.

The US has largely come to terms with and supports Israel's position. It remains to be seen, however, how the rest of the civilized world will digest the clear Israeli message. There are great reservoirs of support in the West for the embattled Western bastion, Israel. While the Palestinians have always had the automatic support of third-world tyrannies in international forums, they have also made important inroads in Western public opinion. Still, it is unclear if Western governments will support a PLO-Hamas alliance – the most recent development in Palestinian politics.

Netanyahu's diplomatic tour de force will hardly affect the chances for a peace agreement because Palestinian society is moving in the wrong direction. The incorporation of Hamas into a new Palestinian government is only one indication of the growing radicalization in that society. Unfortunately, the Palestinian media and education system perpetuate a culture of hate and death and have hardly prepared the people for political pragmatism and coexistence alongside a legitimate Jewish state. This unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish state, as Netanyahu stressed, has been the main obstacle for peace over the past 100 years.




And why is there an "unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish state"? If Netanyahu cannot yet say publicly what he knows, and Inbar can't either (assuming he does kknow), that doesn't mean that you and I can't do so. We don't have to worry about getting in trouble with the electorate, or with foreign governments that would quickly distance themselves from Israel were its leaders to state what is the obvious, or by now should be the obvious.

Muslim Arabs -- who are the most fervently Muslim of Muslim peoples because Islam is a "gift of the Arabs," Islam is what puts the Arabs on the world map, Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, that both justified, and promoted, conquest by the Arabs who, bringing the gift of Islam to non-Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, also managed to make local peoples forget their own ethnic identities, cultures, even languages, as they became not only islamized but also arabized.

It is impossible for Muslim Arabs ever to accept the existence of the Jewish state of Israel, no matter what its size, and impossible for them ever to abandon the desire to see that state destroyed. And they will continue to work toward that end, whether a peace treaty -- not the same thing as peace, and any peace treaty iIsrael is pressured to make will mean tangible  Israeli concessions for nothing in return save that same "peace treaty," which "peace treaty" will be treated by the Arabs as the Muhammad, the Model of Conduct (uswa hasana), the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil), treated his own agreement with the Meccans at Hudaibiyyah in 628 A. D.

Any peace treaty, that is, will only be a hudna, from the Arab Muslim pount of view, and will make more, not less likely, another attempt by the Arabs to use open war-making (the diplomatic and propaganda campaign, the economic warfare, will continnue against Israel no matter what "peace treaty" is signed or not signed) to end the life of the Infidel nation-state whose existence makes that of the Arabs so painful.


Posted on 05/31/2011 8:08 AM by Hugh Ftizgerald
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Libyan jailed for Melbourne sex assaults

From The Sydney Morning Herald

A Libyan student who sexually assaulted seven girls and women in Melbourne has been jailed for more than five years. . . Atagore, who is a Muslim, was upset and sexually aroused at the way women in Australia dressed and behaved, the Victorian County Court heard on Tuesday.

Between August and September last year Atagore, who was in Australia on a Libyan government scholarship, embarked on a string of sexual assaults over four days in Mentone and at Flinders Street railway station. His youngest victim was just 13.

Judge Rizkalla said the assaults required strong condemnation, as they occurred when the victims were simply walking in a public area.

She jailed Atagore, who pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rape, committing an indecent act with a child under 16 and five counts of indecent assault, for five years and three months. Atagore must serve a minimum of three years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The court heard Atagore, who has already served 259 days in custody, will likely be deported when he completes his sentence.

Posted on 05/31/2011 2:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 May 2011
Note To Premature Enthusiasts: Egypt's "Arab Spring" Leads To Even More Anguish For Copts

From The New York Times:

Egypt’s Christians Fear Violence as Changes Embolden Islamists

Ed Ou for The New York Times

Coptic Christians, many of whom have felt less secure since Egypt's dictator stepped down, held a sit-in May 19 in Cairo.

CAIRO — The headline screamed from a venerable liberal newspaper: Coptic Christians had abducted a young Muslim and tattooed her with a cross. “Copts kidnap Raghada!”

Many Coptic Christians are concerned about persecution or the loss of rights under a predominantly Muslim government.

“They tied me up with ropes, beat me with shoes, shaved my hair,” Raghada Salem Abdel Fattah, 19, declared, “and forced me to read Christian psalms!”

Like many similar stories proliferating here since the revolution, Ms. Abdel Fattah’s kidnapping could not be confirmed. But for members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, the sensational headline — from a respected publisher, no less — served to validate their fear that the Egyptian revolution had made their country less tolerant and more dangerous for religious minorities. The Arab Spring initially appeared to open a welcoming door to the dwindling number of Christian Arabs who, after years of feeling marginalized, eagerly joined the call for democracy and rule of law. But now many Christians here say they fear that the fall of the police state has allowed long-simmering tensions to explode, potentially threatening the character of Egypt, and the region.

Will Christians have equal rights and full citizenship or not?” asked Sarkis Naoum, a Christian commentator in Beirut, Lebanon. A surge of sectarian violence in Cairo — 24 dead, more than 200 wounded and three churches in flames since President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall — has turned Christian-Muslim tensions into one of the gravest threats to the revolution’s stability. But it is also a pivotal test of Egypt’s tolerance, pluralism and the rule of law. The revolution has empowered the majority but also opened new questions about the protection of minority rights like freedom of religion or expression as Islamist groups step forward to lay out their agendas and test their political might.

Around the region, Christians are also closely watching events in Syria, where as in Egypt Christians and other minorities received the protection of a secular dictator, Bashar al-Assad, now facing his own popular uprising.

“The Copts are the crucial test case,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch here, adding that facing off against “societal pressures” may in some ways be ever harder than criticizing a dictator. “It is the next big battle.”

But so far, there is little encouragement in the debate over how to address the sectarian strife. Instead of searching for common ground, all sides are pointing fingers of blame while almost no one is addressing the underlying reasons for the strife, including a legal framework that treats Muslims and Christians differently. [Egyptian law takes the Shari'a as its model]

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the 80 million Egyptians, say the revolution has plunged them into uncharted territory. Suppressed or marginalized for six decades here, Islamists entering politics have rushed to defend an article of the Egyptian Constitution that declares Egypt a Muslim country that derives its laws from Islam. Christians and liberals say privately they abhor the provision, which was first added as a populist gesture by President Anwar el-Sadat. But the article is so popular among Muslims — and the meaning so vague — that even many liberals and Christians entering politics are reluctant to speak out against it, asking at most for slight modifications.

“Our position is that it should stay, but a clause should be added so that in personal issues non-Muslims are subject to the rules of their own religion,” said Naguib Sawiris, a secular-minded Christian tycoon who has started his own liberal party.

He would prefer to remove religion from the laws entirely the way Western separation of church and state does, he said, but that idea could not prevail in Egypt. “Islam doesn’t separate them,” he said.

The most common sparks for sectarian violence, however, come from Egyptian laws dating from the end of the colonial era. One imposes stricter regulations on building churches than on mosques. Christians often look to get around the restrictions by constructing “community centers” with altars and steeples — sometimes provoking Muslim accusations of deceit and Christian charges of discrimination.

Posted on 05/30/2011 9:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Ben Ali Is Gone, And Suddenly, Tunisia Needs 125 Billion Dollars


Ben Ali, his wife, even his brother-in-law stole a great deal -- perhaps as much as several hundred million dollars -- while he ruled in Tunisia.  But much of that money has been, or is being, recovered. French television showed their his-and-hers closets, stuffed full of piles of high-denomination bills, and ali-baba drawers and coffrets full of jewels. But though it looked impressive, it probably did not amount to more than a few milliion dollars.

In any case, during the last few years under Ben Ali, and despite his thefts, per capita income in Tunisia tripled.

Now, just a little more than four months since Ben Ali decamped to pastures new in Saudi Arabia, the Tunisian government has gotten whiff of the sums that the Western countries have been ready to pledge to Tunisia, to Egypt, to any Muslim state where the Western leaders can allow themselves to pretend to believe that "democracy is on the march" because "pro-democracy" protesters have "won" and "now is not the time to abandon them" but, rather, "now is the time to give them tangible tokens of our support" which is to say, tens of billions of dollars exacted, without their permission , from Western Infidel taxpayers.

The Tunisians have gotten wind of this alright, and gotten wind, too, of how to blackmail the West by threatening them that if unemployed Tunisians do not receive "salaries" (never mind those jobs), and if poor Tunisians continue to feel "poor" in comparison not only to better-educated secular Tunisians but compared to the Europeans whose lives they can view through the prism of satellite television, then they will all hop on boats  and make their way to Europe, and as the Europeans seem reluctant to halt and turn back those ships -- such a contrast with how those ships full of Jewish refugees were handled before, during,and just after World War II, when the British had no trouble turning those refugees back, or in some cases sinking their ships, or forcingthem, unseaworthy as they were, when they were near the safe haven of land, to head back out into the offing.

Now the Tunisians have let it be known that they, the Tunisians, will "need" some 125 billion dollars over the next five years. They expect it -- at this point, why should they not? =-- to come from the West.

Let's surprise them.Let's disabuse them. Let's say: No. Let's say: we support you fully, but we think your demands are too low. You deserve, at the very least, 250 billion dollars in aid. And it should come from fellow members of the Umma, fellow Arabs and Muslims in Qatar, in Kuwait, in the United Arab Emirates, in Saudi Arabia. What's 250 billion to them?  They have trillions in surpluses built up. They have hundreds of billions coming in, steadily, with each new year. It's nothing to them.

From the West Tunisia should get not 125 billion,but nothing.

And from the Islamic countries, Tunisia should get not 125 billion, but 250 billion, or even 500 billion.The sky should be the limit. It's a great little country,Tunisia, at least when you compare it to other members of the Arab League. Let support for Tunisia -- and Egypt, too - be part of the Mission Statement of the Gulf Arabs, and not that of the West.

Posted on 05/30/2011 2:59 PM by Hugh Ftizgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
If Young Libyans Are Standing Around Bored In Benghazi, Why Are We Fighting For Them?

The article in today's New York Times by Karim Fahim, describing the young and the restive in Benghazi, the "rebel capital" of Libya, should fill Western readers with fury. Apparently, after an "epic battle" in Benghazi that lasted all of a few days and claimed at most a few hundred or perhaps a thousand casualties, young men in Benghazi are not rushing off to heroically join the fight to "free their country."

No, they are waiting. They are waiting for the Infidels -- the Americans, the British, the French, the Italians, the Danish, the Dutch, even the Norwegians -- to finally put paid to Qaddafy and all his family -- Qaqddafy et toute sa smala -- and while they're at it, possibly his entire tribe as well, so that they can then inherit Libya, and most importantly, its oil wealth, so that they can have, not jobs, but "salaries, and wives, and a BMW."

My car gave out a year ago. I haven't been in a position to replace it.But I am being asked to pay,  through taxes, to support young and idle Libyan male Arabs who want "salaries and a wife and a BMW." A great many people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- the corrupt elite who help themselves to so much of that American aid money -- are now driving BMWs, and cars equivalent to that, paid for by American taxpayers who themselves cannot dream of such cars or of any car. And tens of millions of Muslims are battening or fattening on the American and European aid to their countries.As uslims, they cannot wish the taxpayers who keep paying for them anything other than ill. Because  hey are Muslims, used to inshallah-fatalism, unused to hard work (the hardest workers in Libya, as in a dozen Arab oil states, are the foreign wage slaves; in Egypt the hardest workers, at every level, given the worst jobs, are the Copts), but long used to waiting for some kind of manna, and that manna comes in two forms. One is the manna of oil-and-gas revenues, and oil and gas reserves are the result not of hard work but of an accident of geology. Thje other is the aid that comes from the Non-Muslims, an aid which blends the ancient rule of  Jizyah-extraction from non-Muslims and he pagan Arab reliance on the razzia, the raid on others through which one Arab tirbe would  seize properlty of Arabs, or others, that had been accumulated, and in the case of non-Muslim victims, through work (the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis is the most famous razzia in Muslim history, where their goods, and their women, were seized for the benefit of Muhammad and his followers who conducted the surprise raid) --which imbues them with the spirit of inshallah-fatalism, they are not inclined to activity, and especially not so inclined if the West is falling all over itself to come to do the work that they should be doing, including the work of overturning a tyrant, a real tyrant, of the saddam-hussein variety, not the crook of the ben-ali or even hosni-mubarak school of comparatively kiddish gloves.


Posted on 05/30/2011 2:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Islam As A Cargo Cult
I ran across a comment I posted  four years ago at a different site with which I no longer have anything to do, one of several tens of thousands of comments I posted there. Most , for various technical reasons, are now lost forever. But why should I not re-post those that are still up, that when googling I run across, and that remain perfectly apposite today?
I googled "Islam" and "Cargo Cult" along with my name, and this is what I found:

"Islam has already collapsed..."
                                       -- from a posting above

Yes and no. Islam is the reason for the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of Muslim states and societies. But it is, for Muslims, the one thing they dare not blame for those political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures.

What they do dare to blame, and indeed must blame, are the things which have to do with Infidels. Are the Muslim rulers bad? Then don't blame the fact that Muslims lack a democratic tradition, because political legitimacy cannot easily be located in the will of the people, in a Muslim setting. Are individuals treated badly, and as slaves to Allah, who must submit in all cases to the collective, and to the need to defend, and never to weaken, Islam? Then don't blame the fact that Islam is a collectivist faith, and that individuals are not permitted to exercise any rights -- such as freedom of speech or freedom of conscience (i.e., freedom to drop Islam)-- whenever those rights get in the way of Islam.

No, it is the Infidels who, directly or indirectly, who are to blame. It is the Infidels who are responsible for every bad ruler. It is the Americans who "brought in Saddam Hussein" say some -- a charge that is utter nonsense, but one repeated by those non-Muslims in the West who now wish to blame America for the disarray in Iraq, when the only thing to blame America for is not recognizing just how permanent and awful is the effect of Islam, on the unwinnable hearts and minds of those who cannot possibly make good use of all the things the Americans tried to do for them, all the lives and money squandered by those Americans on people who did nothing to show that they merited such sacrifices and who, because of Islam, with its Victor-Vanquished world-view, cannot possibly make the kind of compromises among themselves that the naive generals and even more naive policymakers at home keep thinking somehow will be made. It won't happen. It can't happen.

No, Islam is now a Cargo Cult. It waits for the Goods and Services of the West. Econmically it survives because of two developments. The first is the oil money, which is accidental, and is the only way that Arab states, with their inshallah-fatalism, could possibly become fabulously rich (there is no enterprise, no ethic of work as in the West and in East Asia).

The second is the Jizyah of foreign aid from the Infidels, who have been persuaded that they, and for some unexplained reason not the fabulously rich Arabs and other Muslims, who must support the poor Muslims -- $60 billion to Egypt from America alone, $28 billion to Pakistan in debt-relief and new aid, from America alone since 2001, $880 billion squandered to turn the sow's ear of Iraq into some imaginary silk purse of decency, that was always an ignis fatuus, a very fatuous fire indeed, and billions of course to the shock troops of the Lesser Jihad (that against Israel), those local Arabs who were carefully renamed as "the Palestinians."

So they wait. And the Big Birds fly overhead, and drop the goods either paid for with unearned oil money, or offered by way of tribute by Infidel lands. And sometimes the Big Birds land, and out come doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers -- from the Infidels, to the Muslims, in a civilizing mission that never civilizes, becaue while the outward form may be there, Islam prevents any inward moral and mental development. Islam stunts the moral and mental growth, and that is the one thing that Muslims will never recognize.

But we Infidels can do so, and we can begin, more and more loudly, to express that view. And if we do so, a few Muslims are going to listen, and some will see the rightness of the diagnosis, as some celebrated "defectors" or apostates from Islam already have. And what is more, by seeing Islam steadily and whole, and speaking these home truths, one helps to strengthen Infidels, especially the unwary, the ignorant, the just plain stupid, against the opportunistic infection of Islam.

A Cargo Cult. Big Birds. That's exactly what it now is.

Posted on 05/30/2011 2:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
The Libyan Rebels Now Want Us, Not Fellow Muslim Arabs, To Give Them Lots Of Money

Today's New York Times has an article about "rebels" in Benghazi who apparently have nothing better to do, while British and French and Danish and Italian and other NATO airmen risk their lives in thousands of sorties over Libya, than to race cars in the desert.

The article mentions the "epic battle" for Benghazi. What "epic battle" is that? The almost immediate takeover by troops under a Libyan army officer who switched sides, with Benghazi being abandoned by Qaddafy's forces, after very little fighting and casualties perhaps in the hundreds? Was that the "epic battle" in the manner of, say, the Battle of Stalingrad, or the Landing at Normandy. Was it even as epic as  the tiny Battle of Cowpens which Kenneth Roberts insisted determined victory for the Americans, and in which one of my relatives, Colonel Morgan, commanding the Americans, defeated the British under Banastre Tarleton ("Morgan's cunning plan at Cowpens is widely considered to be the tactical masterpiece of the war and one of the most successfully executed double envelopments of all of modern military history.")?

There was no "epic battle" at Benghazi, no "epic battle" at Musrata. It is the NATO forces that are inflicting all of the serious damage on Qaddafy's forces, by controlling the skies, by bombing everywhere, by putting Qaddafy and his ruling circle on constant edge, and inhibiting their  freedom of movement and that of their armed forces..

Now those LIbyan rebels want money, and still more money. But apparently it does not occur to them to ask the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis, or even the Qataris who have been just a little more forthcoming than the others. No, it is to the West that they automatically turn, and it is the leaders of the West who find this unsurprising, almost natural, nothing to object to, and who have already spent nearly five billiion dollars so far, and no doubt will have to be tied up by their furious citizens if we are to prevent those leaders, once the numberless sands of Cyrenaica settle, from doling out still more billions or tens of billions to "reconstruct" Libya because -- so the Libyan rebels and the Arab League, which both gave the go-ahead for us to enforce a "no-fly zone" and then signalled that further efforts were also deemed acceptable, will no doubt say -- we "destroyed Libya so we have to pay for its rebuilding."

Oh no we don't.

Posted on 05/30/2011 2:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
A Musical Interlude: Two Sleepy People (Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Orpheans)

Listen here.

Posted on 05/30/2011 2:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
While NATO Does All The Fighting, Bored Libyans Watch From Afar, Play With Cars, And Wait For "Salaries, A Wife, And A BMW"

Young and Bored, Behind the Wheel

Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

The rebellion having moved on, young men in Benghazi, Libya, gather again to watch the risky automotive ballet called drifting.

BENGHAZI, Libya — The battered white sedan plunged forward, its engine whining and tires screaming, across the long, tiled plaza in a practiced routine of skids and slides. With a quick yank of the wheel, the driver narrowly missed other snaking cars, and with a tug of the hand brake jerked to a halt inches shy of a crowd of cheering spectators.


Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

Abadi L. Majbari, 22, drifting his white Daewoo last week for onlookers. “It's very dangerous,” said one. “It's very extreme.”

The audience was riveted. Watching from parked cars and flashing their headlights, young men tried to coax the driver, Abadi al-Majberi, toward their corner of the plaza to perform for them. Other young men pushed in close, capturing on their cellphones the risky automotive ballet known as drifting.

For these young men, there was no more war to watch — rebel leaders sealed off the battlefield weeks ago — and few outlets for rebellion other than meandering daily protests with uncertain aims. Watching the cars careen, speed and nearly crash filled a void. Muhammad Abu Khairad, a truck driver, said: It’s very good. It’s very dangerous. It’s very extreme.”

Drifting, a freestyle sport that in recent years has won the enthusiasm of bored young men around the world, has long been a favored diversion in sleepy Benghazi, a city with lots of cars and young men. Before the February uprising, young men gathered in Kish Plaza on Thursday nights to watch drivers punish their rides with high-speed drifts and doughnuts, until the police would stop the show. In late February, the sessions stopped, for a time, as the same young men fought Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s security forces on the streets of Benghazi and, in the weeks that followed, in towns hundreds of miles away.

Now, trapped in an angry, aimless space between revolt and liberation, the crowds have returned to watch the drifters, whose choreographed displays of controlled loss of traction seem more popular than ever. The police no longer bother the drifters; the few officers who have returned to the streets have bigger fish to fry.

“Something inside my heart pushes me to watch,” said Mustafa Bakoush, 29. “It’s boring here. And he didn’t leave,” he said, referring to Colonel Qaddafi.

In cars parked around the plaza, spectators smoked hashish cigarettes, blasted rap music or sat on hoods, sharing the latest war videos on cellphones. Mohammed Hussein, 25, sat in a truck with two neighbors — a truck driver and a hash dealer with jailhouse tattoos on his arms that said “Love” and “Torture.” On the side of the truck, a bird was airbrushed between the words “Free” and “Libya.”

Mr. Hussein said he and his friends had joined rebel brigades, but for now there was little fighting and not much else to do. “Entertainment is nonexistent,” he said, blaming Colonel Qaddafi, whose name has become a shorthand explanation for all of life’s ills. “He crushed us.”

The city — the rebels’ de facto capital — is similarly restless, choked with mysterious traffic jams that form at odd hours for unknown reasons, since many people are still not working. Many people, waiting to start a new country, seem to be losing patience; fights break out after car accidents at intersections untended by the police. People now ignore news that once had people glued to cafe televisions, like trips by rebel leaders overseas or accounts of the fighting in the western mountains.

Other people have tired of the waiting. On Thursday night, for the first time in months, the city was filled with wedding processions, accompanied by honking car horns and gunfire. And many young people, seizing new freedoms, are busier than ever, creating dozens of newspapers and magazines that have suddenly appeared in kiosks and coffee shops, and new civil society groups to lead the next phase of the revolt.

But others drift, a sport referred to here in Arabic by a word that means “entertaining.” It is not confined to Kish Plaza: cars on city streets will suddenly lurch this way and that, then straighten out and keep driving.

But the plaza remains the best-known spot. On one side sits a 19th-century Ottoman palace, on the other a long white arcade. Facing the plaza are the ruins of the Katiba, formerly Colonel Qaddafi’s sprawling military garrison and the site of the uprising’s epic battle for Benghazi, when thousand of protesters backed by defecting soldiers drove out government forces. [what "epic battle" was that? There was no "epic battle" for Benghazi. The army forces defected within a few days. End of "epic battle,"with scarcely a thousand casualties on both sides.]

On Thursday night, spectators talked about the battle — a proud, distant memory — but focused on the driving. At about 11 p.m., Mr. Majberi sidled out of his white Daewoo, ending his performance with a punctured tire and a big grin.

A Kenny Rogers song, “Reuben James,” drifted out of a nearby car stereo.

A burgundy BMW roared into the arena, and the crowd cheered. A big yellow pickup followed. Behind nearby apartment towers, someone fired a machine gun into the air. On an asphalt road running alongside the plaza, another BMW spun in circles, kicking up a cloud of smoke. Grungy old BMWs, known as “bunnies,” with their small bodies, big engines and rear-wheel drive, are the drifters’ car of choice here.

At 11:20, an intermission served as a reminder that Libya was still at war. In a solemn procession, four long-bed trucks flying rebel flags drove slowly through the plaza. There were other reminders, including several men in fatigues, one of whom said he was on a much-needed break from the front.

(On another recent night, the language of revolution seeped into the plaza, as the crowd chided a particularly reckless driver. “Get out!” they chanted again and again, echoing the protest movement’s call to dictators around the region.)

As the intermission ended Thursday night, the trucks drove off, and after more gunfire, someone threw a small explosive device used in fishing near the crowd, a common prank that nonetheless sent dozens of people running.

This was big-city excitement for Ali Idriss, 30, a refugee who worked as a driver for a Kenyan company in the oil refinery town of Ras Lanuf. The only entertainment there, he said, was playing basketball.

The smoke, the noise and the cars provided a welcome distraction from recent traumas, especially his flight with his family from Colonel Qaddafi’s soldiers, moving from town to town until they reached the safety of Benghazi. “We are still sad,” he said. “I cannot express what’s inside. We have many things to say, many things to do. I hope the next days will be better.”

At midnight, the performance ended and the plaza emptied. A driver, drunk on moonshine, tried to fix his car, and blamed Colonel Qaddafi for wrecking it.

Nearby, a group of young men, still full of energy, sat around a truck, blasting a rap song called “Martyrs of the Katiba.” They had dead-end jobs and high hopes. “We want salaries, and a wife,” said Muhammad Faytouri, 17.

“And a BMW,” his friend Ahmed Sheikhi added.



So right now British and French and American and Italian and Danish and Dutch airmen are conducting more of those sorties -- now getting  close to 10,000 in all -- over skies where Qaddafy's forces have all kinds of weaopnry that, just possibly, they might start to use, even if they haven't to date. And meanwhile, in Benghazi,the "center of the revolution" and apparently, so we are now to be told, the sight of an "epic battle," the young and the restive do not go off to war, do not even think about doing so, but remain in Benghazi, waiting for the end, waiting as do New Guinean tribesman wait for the Big Birds to fly overhead and drop caro, waiting for the Westerners to risk their lives, fight their battles and, not incidentally, supply them with money.

The most revealing statement of all is that last one about his expectations as to "salarries [NB: not jobs, but "salaries"],  a wife, and a BMW, for this was not, I'm afraid, meant as a joke, but reflects the mindset of far too many Arabs and Muslims who are essentially Cargoi-Cultists, unable to grasp the nature of what makes their societies so wretched, and what is the secret of Western success, and yet, though they know so little, they do know, and those at the top who are likely to divert much aid to themselves know even better, how to inveigle or blackmail the Infidel West into supplying billions in aid.

Islam is a Cargo Cult, the biggest Cargo Cult in history.

Posted on 05/30/2011 2:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
When Libyans Say "We Want Constitution, Civil Society, Parliament" " What Do They Mean?

Free of Qaddafi’s Grip, Young Libyans in Benghazi Find a Voice

Free of Qaddafi’s Grip, Young Libyans in Benghazi Find Voice

Libyan youths gather to discuss subjects to be published in the weekly newspaper Berenice Post, in the eastern town of Benghazi. Photographer: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

Atem Shembesh says she rarely read newspapers before the Libyan rebellion began in February. Now, the 17-year-old high school student writes for one that she founded with two friends.

Berenice Post, an Arabic and English weekly, is one of more than 50 publications that have sprung up in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi since the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi. Young Libyans in this eastern city are taking advantage of newfound freedoms to churn out publications, sketch anti-Qaddafi caricatures and record revolutionary rap.

“I wasn’t interested in newspapers because they didn’t present the truth,” Shembesh said. “For the first time, we have freedom of speech and of the press. We have so much to say and the media is the best way to do it.”

Rebel leaders, who are lobbying the international community for recognition and funds, tout the changes as a sign of commitment to an open Libya. European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, visiting Benghazi on May 22, told reporters she was “astonished” at how many new titles have hit newsstands. Only last year, Reporters Without Borders ranked Libya 160th out of 178 countries in its press freedom index.

“Even while fighting for our lives, we have begun to put the building blocks in place for a free society,” Mahmoud Gebril, who heads the opposition’s executive body, wrote in The New York Times on May 12. “The people of Benghazi, the base of our struggle, are participating in traffic control and trash collection, and creating newspapers and radio stations that reflect the new spirit of tolerance and freedom.”

Youth Movement

In a country where the median age is 24 1/2, “the next stage belongs to the youth,” said Abdelhafiz Ghoga, vice president of the rebel’s National Transitional Council, in an interview in Benghazi.

While Ghoga recently told journalists that Libya needs a “responsible” media that “serves the goals of the revolution,” some young writers are less restrained. “They don’t call the press the fourth estate for nothing,” said Idris Abidia, 24, a medical student and co-creator of Sawt, or Voice, newspaper. “There has to be accountability.”

For now, the young journalists and artists have their sights set on Qaddafi, whose forces continue to battle for control of cities in western Libya.

Akram Alibruki, a 30-year-old partner in a clothes store with a passion for caricatures, says that when he used to sketch unflattering drawings of the Libyan leader, he’d do so only at home and carefully shred his work afterwards. These days he exhibits his cartoons at a media center in Benghazi where visitors tread on a rug bearing the face of a young Qaddafi.

Artistic ‘Jihad’

Sitting under a wall plastered with caricatures, one showing Qaddafi in a prison cell with an iron ball chained to his leg, Alibruki calls his art “a jihad,” or struggle.

“I want to show the crimes that Qaddafi has committed,” he said. “We’re making up for years of suppression. Now, I can draw whatever I feel like.” His work was displayed at an exhibition in Egypt and has been published in the local press.

At a Benghazi cultural center that has become home to several newspapers, young Libyans in skinny jeans and t-shirts tap on keyboards and huddle around desks to brainstorm. At press conferences, they compete with seasoned foreign correspondents to quiz rebel officials.

The new publications carry interviews with Qaddafi’s opponents, frontline news, profiles of those who perished in the fight, poems and diary-like pieces. Some publish definitions of words like “democracy” and “constitution.”

One-Man State

When the regime started to collapse in the east we heard the people say: ‘We want constitution, civil society and parliament,’” said Abidia. “But when you ask the youths what these are, they fall silent.”

To give other Libyans a voice, Abidia and five friends who created Sawt set up a mailbox outside the Benghazi courthouse, the epicenter of the protests. They publish the letters left there. “Sometimes people leave us donations too.” He and his friend pay for Sawt’s 3,000 weekly copies themselves. They’re looking for a sponsor.

“They are very enthusiastic youths who tried to tear down a barrier,” said 47-year-old journalist Moftah Abou Zeid. “I commend that, but they’re not specialists.” Abidia admits their first issue, which appeared in March, was a “disaster,” replete with grammatical mistakes.

Spreading the Word

The title has since expanded from eight to 12 pages. “People are thirsty for freedom and for speaking up,” said Abidia. They sent copies with an aid ship to the port of Misrata, the main rebel-held city in western Libya.

Some are also putting their progressive principles into practice. At Berenice Post, when Shembesh and the other founders wanted to decide whether to keep on a group of intern reporters, they put the question to a staff vote.

“We’re starting to practice democracy, or what we know about democracy,” she said.

Posted on 05/30/2011 1:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Pakistanis, Well Versed In Crazy Conspiracy Theories, Blame India And U.S.

From the AP:

Amid bombings, Pakistan turns to conspiracies

ISLAMABAD – Facing a surge in violence after the killing of Osama bin Laden, Pakistanis are taking comfort in conspiracy theories that allege Indian or American agents — not fellow Muslim countrymen — are behind the attacks, especially last week's brazen assault on a naval base.

Lawmakers, media pundits, retired generals and even government officials often hint at suspicions of a "foreign hand" in the violence, despite there being no evidence and often explicit claims of responsibility by militant groups like the Pakistani Taliban.

Aired on television talk shows and in newspapers, conspiracy theories are everywhere — underscoring the challenges facing the United States as it seeks to convince Pakistan's overwhelmingly anti-American population that it faces a shared enemy in the Taliban.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fought back Friday against the stories flying around.

"America cannot and should not solve Pakistan's problems, that is up to Pakistan," she told reporters. "But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear." [Pakistan's problems, including its conspiracy theorizing, are a result of Islam. It is Islam, after all, that discourages, that even punishes, those who dare to question, those who do not accept their roles as "slaves of  Allah" but attempt to engage in some semblance of  free and skeptical inquiry. This is done to protect Islam from any questioning, but the result is much broader: it effects everything that Muslims think, say, do].

While tales of malign intervention by foreign powers exist in other developing countries, [but mainly, overwhelmingly, in Muslim lands] in Pakistan they come with a heavy price. They confuse the country as to who it is fighting and complicate efforts to defeat militants and counter their extremist ideology.

Shifting the blame away from Islamist militants and onto foreigners helps protect the powerful Pakistani army from an uncomfortable truth: its long association with militants that are now turning against the state.

Right-wing Islamists who support the Afghan Taliban and share the Pakistan Taliban's hatred of America and calls for strict Islamic law are also put in a difficult position by the terror being unleashed on the country. For them, it is easier to blame foreigners out to destabilize the country than acknowledge the slaughter carried out in the name of Islam.

No evidence is ever reported to back up the claims, but unsubstantiated rumors make it into media coverage: the bodies of suicide attackers were uncircumcised, for example, implying they were not Muslims, or Indian-made ammunition was found at the scene.

Ironically, the Pakistani Taliban share Clinton's dislike of the conspiracy theories — but for different reasons.

"Those who are accusing us of working for anyone else's agenda should ask themselves what they are doing," Waliur Rehman, the Taliban's No. 2 commander, told The Associated Press.

"We are neither working for CIA, Mossad, RAW nor any other organization," he said, referring to the Indian spy agency. "We work to get the blessing of God."

The attack on the naval base in Karachi was one of the most brazen in more than four years of militant violence. A team of gunmen infiltrated the base, destroying two U.S-made surveillance planes and killing at least 10 people during a 16-hour standoff.

The fact that the attackers destroyed planes that are believed to be used mostly to guard against India and do not appear directly related to the war against militants has given grist to the conspiracy theorists, as has the supposed sophistication of the assailants and their weapons.

India and Pakistan have waged three wars since 1947 and exist in a state of semi-hostility.[it is not India that makes war on Pakistan, but Pakistan that has made repeated war, and supported many terrorist attacks, on India. It is exactly as with the Muslim Arabs conducting Jihad against Israel]Left-wing critics accuse the army, which has ruled the country for much of its existence, of indoctrinating the country with mistrust of India to ensure that it keeps getting a large share of the country's budget.

Ruling party lawmaker Liaqat Ali Khan said it was only natural that suspicion should fall on "India if our army installations are attacked."

"My mind too goes toward RAW. India wants to demoralize the Pakistani army and a demoralized Pakistani army suits India well," he said.

One especially potent conspiracy theory is that the United States wants to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Those who spread the story say the U.S. raid on bin Laden in an army town on May 2 was a practice run for such an operation and the latest bomb attacks are to destabilize the country so Washington has a pretext for moving in.

A Pew opinion poll released in April found that just 10 percent of Pakistanis had confidence in President Barack Obama, while 69 percent judge India to be a very serious threat — far higher than either the Taliban (57 percent) or al-Qaida (41 percent).

That such suspicions should abound is not really surprising. Such is the unpopularity of America here, that the government has never publicly acknowledged collaborating with Washington in the fight against militants.

Militants are normally referred to as "miscreants" and there is no serious effort to discredit their extremist ideology.

"We are always telling the world about the losses and sacrifices we have sustained in the war on terror, but at the same time we never see any explanations of who is doing the killing," said Cyril Almeida, a liberal columnist.[and, judging by his name, a non-Muslim]  "It infinitely complicates counter-extremism efforts. They can't happen if poison is being pumped into the veins of Pakistani society."

Hamid Gul, a former head of the country's main intelligence agency and a supporter of the Afghan Taliban, is a prime conspiracy theorist. Since the bin Laden killing, he has appeared on television repeating a popular rumor: The al-Qaida leader was really killed in Afghanistan and brought to Pakistan to humiliate the country.

"My feeling is that it was all a hoax, a drama which has been crafted, and badly scripted I would say," he told an Indian TV station recently. "But they shouldn't make a scapegoat of Pakistan in this way. This is very wrong."

Posted on 05/30/2011 12:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
The Burial Of Latané

Look here.

A painting not to be studied in classes on art history, but in classes on American history.

Posted on 05/30/2011 12:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
A Musical Interlude: The Girl Friend (Savoy Orpheans)

Listen, and sing, first inwardly and then, by pressing replay, aloud, to the lyrics provided here.

Posted on 05/30/2011 10:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Amichai Magen: Sovereignty, And Responsible Sovereignty, Of States

Towards Responsible Sovereignty

by Dr. Amichai Magen

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 142, May 29, 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The rise of a globalized Islamist insurgency and armed non-state actors – some of whom, like Hizballah, command more fire power than most national governments – represents a real challenge to the international system. Specifically, the use of proxies who fight from within the territory of weak or failed states is pernicious in that it defies the conventional categorization of armed conflict, blurs state responsibility for armed attacks, and undermines deterrence. This reflects a deeper crisis – a crisis of sovereignty.

State sovereignty has been the organizing principle of the international system for more than 350 years, since the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Our existing notion of sovereignty – what we might call "conventional sovereignty" – emerged in the very different context of 17th-century Europe and was designed to address very different needs: namely to prevent warring princes from interfering in one another's internal affairs, especially religious affairs.

The fundamental rule of conventional sovereignty is that each state has the right to determine its own domestic authority structure; that outsiders must not interfere in those domestic affairs (the principle of nonintervention); and that in the international system, states are like individuals in society – they are equal and have rights and responsibilities.

Conventional sovereignty, which has since become the global standard, assumes a world of autonomous, internationally recognized and, most importantly, effectively governed states. Under this model, state-to-state relations are what count, and states are accountable for threats emanating from their territory.

This world, however, no longer exists. Thus, conventional sovereignty no longer works.

Today, there are between 30 and 45 failed states, and this number is growing. In the past, these entities would have been swallowed up by their neighbors or by powerful empires. But in today's world, the Darwinian mechanism has ceased to operate. States today are a little like diamonds – once formed they last forever. Unfortunately, unlike diamonds, not all states shine.

One of the most striking aspects of the contemporary world is the extent to which domestic sovereignty has ceased to function in states that still enjoy international legal sovereignty, with all its benefits. The benefits are considerable and include:
·        The right to territorial integrity and self-defense (individual or collective);
·        Juridical equality (right to legislate and enforce rules within its territory);
·        International legal personality, including power to purchase and transfer state assets;
·        Power to enter into contractual agreements with other states, UN membership and membership in other international organizations;
·        Sovereign immunity for the head of state and diplomats;
·        Financial and technical assistance from the IMF, World Bank and bilateral donors;
·        The ability to litigate before international courts;
·        Participation in creating international law and shaping the international system.

Thus, states like Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – entities that have ceased to function internally and have become breeding grounds for international threats – continue to enjoy such far reaching privileges and protections. Similarly, states like Iran, Syria and Pakistan retain their international legal sovereignty, instead of having it curtailed. Much more can and should be done to condition the benefits of sovereignty on responsible domestic and international behavior.

While both the US and EU have acknowledged the threat from failing states, they have so far failed to articulate a clear alternative doctrine. Moreover, the tools currently available to well-governed powerful states for dealing with badly-governed or collapsed states – namely (1) targeted killing of terrorists, (2) development (or governance) assistance, and (3) transitional administrations – are inadequate.

Targeted strikes on terrorists, whether conducted by drones or special ops raids, are legal and legitimate means of fighting terror, and their use is indeed growing. The Obama administration has made such strikes a central feature of its security strategy, with 171 drone strikes undertaken in 2009 and 2010 – in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen – compared with only 43 under the Bush administration from 2004 to 2008. But strikes against specific individuals do not address the underlying threat, and targeted killing is legally limited to military targets, excluding political leaders, who are ultimately the source of the problem.

Development assistance – the pouring of trillions of dollars into so-called "developing countries" in an effort to ensure stability, alleviate poverty and jumpstart economic growth – is only helpful in emerging democracies with already decent leadership. Such external development aid rarely makes a positive and decisive difference to the fortune of weak and failed states.

Furthermore, the record of transitional administrations (peace-building or post-conflict reconstruction missions) has been mixed at best. These administrations generally work in the easiest cases: in small countries, where levels of violence are low and key constituencies within the country have already reached mutually acceptable agreements. Elsewhere, however, taking over sovereignty from a failed state for a transitional period has proven hugely costly – in blood as well as treasure – with little guarantee of success. Moreover, transitional administrations are seen as temporary measures meant to simply restore conventional sovereignty.

Ensuring that democracies are able to defend themselves effectively in the twenty-first century will require military, political and legal innovations. It will also necessitate the establishment of a foundational principle that reflects new global challenges, brings coherence to expectations about state conduct in the international arena, and wins the support of key states around the world.

One idea that has been raised by some practitioners and scholars is to extend state-like rights and responsibilities to troublesome non-state actors. According to this rationale, if groups like Hizballah, Hamas and al-Qaeda are "engaged" and "brought into" a new legal regime, they will be more likely to play by the rules of international humanitarian law.

This is a deeply flawed proposition. It not only ignores the fundamentally subversive goals of Islamist jihadi organizations and naïvely assumes they can be tamed, but takes us in an entirely wrong direction. Strengthening the peace and security of the world requires strengthening well-governed states, not empowering or legitimizing rogue non-state actors.

Another idea that has been raised is to make consolidated liberal democracy a sine qua non condition for membership in good standing in the international community, and to effectively override sovereignty where the state doesn't meet this requirement.

Democracy is a universal human aspiration. No famine or genocide has ever taken place in a liberal democracy. Democracies are also more stable regimes and make reliable allies. The best protection for international society, therefore, is "a world of well-governed democratic states."

In fact, there is now substantial state practice to support the idea that effective, democratic government should be adopted as the only legitimate form of government. Countless UN reports and Security Council resolutions cite treaty-based rights to political participation and urge free and fair elections. International election monitoring (IEM), which was virtually unknown when the Berlin Wall fell two decades ago, is now universal and ubiquitous. Membership in the European Union, Council of Europe and OSCE is open only to liberal democracies, and since 1997, members of the Organization of American States (OAS) are legally required to suspend a member-state whose government takes power through undemocratic means.

At the global level, too, there is now a caucus of democracies at the UN – albeit a nascent and underdeveloped one. Leading legal scholars have postulated the emergence in international law of a legal right to democratic governance and have called for a "Treaty of Democratic Peace" to be signed. They have also called for a "Community of Democracies" to eventually replace the UN.

And yet, as long as international giants like China and Russia do not make the transition to liberal democracy, making this the foundational principle for a secure international order is regrettably unrealistic.

While the free world cannot, at this point in human history, insist on democracy being the foundational principle of international politics and law, it can, alternatively, insist on the somewhat diminished standard of “responsible sovereignty.”

Responsible sovereignty – a term originally articulated by African scholar Francis Deng and later invoked by Bruce Jones, Carlos Pascual and Steve Stedman – entails security obligations and duties both to one's own citizens and to other sovereign states. Responsible sovereignty means that national governments are legally obliged to ensure basic standards of security, freedom and welfare for their citizens as well as actively prevent the export of security threats from within their territory. It also implies effective accountability for these obligations.

The notion of responsible sovereignty, therefore, differs from conventional sovereignty in three key respects: First, conventional sovereignty emphasizes non-interference and international juridical equality among states regardless of their regime type, whereas responsible sovereignty emphasizes positive duties and basic standards of state behavior.

Second, responsible sovereignty is not entirely agnostic about regime type. It does not insist that the domestic government be a consolidated liberal democracy, but it does not tolerate state failure either. It demands at least basic state effectiveness and legitimacy as conditions for recognizing a state as sovereign and for the state's enjoyment of the privileges of sovereignty.

Finally, responsible sovereignty emphasizes states' accountability for actions that have consequences beyond their borders. In a world of diffuse threats and interdependent security, states cannot permit their territory to be used to launch cross-border attacks, let alone aid and abet the export of such attacks.

But how would the principle of responsible sovereignty be operationalized? And who will decide? These are important questions that I cannot do adequate justice to here.

Posted on 05/30/2011 10:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Turkey Will Never Be In The E.U. -- And Turkey Under Erdogan Should No Longer Be In NATO

According to the NATO treaty, member states must come to the aid of any other member states that are threatened. Turkey is a member of NATO, It was allowed to acquire such membership in a very different age, in 1952, as a payoff for the 5, 400 Turkish troops who were sent, as part of the figleaf  of intervention by "U.N. forces,"to Korea. Since they fought well, and since, further, the Turkish military were both the beneficiares and guarantors of Kemalism, and it was the Turkish military whom the Eisenhower Administration (or, rather, the Dulles brothers, John Foster and Allen) found so impressive, and thoughts of a resurgent Islam seemed not only proposterous, but Islam was seen in those days only as the quaint practice of people far away, people who were poor, and unthreatening, and somewhat comical, but who could be counted on, at least, to be "pro-American" because, you see, Islam was mainly depicted as a "bulwark against Communism." And both listening-posts, and airbases, in Turkey, to eavesdrop on, and deploy power against, the Soviet Union, were another reason to admit Turkey to NATO (though in fact America has had both bases, and listening posts, in places far removed from NATO). And once in NATO, Turkey seemed, for a long while, to be part of the West.

But things are different now. The Soviet Union is not what it once was, and Communism's appeal has waned. Threats change. The threat that made the Americans send tens of billions of dollars in Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union was from the Nazis and the Japanese; the Soviet Union, quite rightly, was an ally of the West. It was foolish for the West to supply the Soviet Union with aid, even if it was humanitarian aid, in the 1920s; it would have been cirminal of the West to supply such aid to the Soviet Union in 1936; it would have been criminal not to supply such aid in 1943; it would have been criminal not to turn on the Soviet Union in 1947 and it was criminally negligent to have allowed the Red Army to enter and remain, unopposed, in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and not to have understood the Soviet Union much sooner, within a year of when the war with Nazi Germany ended.

And it is clear to almost everyone of sense that those who partiipicate in Jihad against non-Muslims are not a "tiny handful" of extremists but, rather, hundreds of millions of Believers in Islam who do not wish non-Muslims well, even if they are prepared, for now, to participate in violent Jihad but prefer, rather, to pursue their aims through other, more effective instruments, and who are prepared, as well, to milk the Infidel West of as much money and weaponry -- or to have that West squander as much money and weaponry on forlorn attempts to keep Muslims, where divided on ethnic and sectarian lines (as in both Iraq and Afghanistan),  from killing each other, or suppressing one another, rather than intelligently exploiting such divisions, in order to divide and dmeoralize the Camp of Islam, and to use the division between the fabulously rich members of the Umma (Saudi Arabia, the United Aram Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar) and the poor members of the Umma (including non-Arab peoples), which has not been a source of friction among Muslims because the poor Muslims have been shored up, been given aid by, the non-Muslim world, in dizzying and ever-increasing amounts. So when Egyptians and Tunisians and Jordanians and of course those recently-invented "Palestinians" (the name Arabs have carefully given to the local Arabs who serve as the shock troops of the diplomatic, propaganda, and terrorist war against the Infidel nation-state of Israel) have their handouts for more and yet more aid, it is always toward the West, and the Western leaders, the Western press, the Western radio and television, never raise the issue of all those trillions of dollars held, as surpluses, and received merely as the result not of any effort, but from an accident of geology , by Kuwait, by Qatar, by the United Arab Emirates, by Saudi Arabia.

This maddens.

But just as maddening is to see a superannuated NATO, one that thinks it can continue to exist with a disloyal member -- a member state, that is, whose leaders show themselves to be loyal to Islam. And Islam is a declared enemy of Infidels, and the other states of NATO, and the reason for NATO's being, has to do with legal and political institutions, and with a way of life that we wish to preserve, that is under permanent threat by those who take Islam to heart. The test has been given to the Turkish government -- all kinds of tests have been given to it. And it has failed.

And when it makes war, or supports the making, of a propaganda war on Israel, the nation-state created by non-Muslims, and so far the only non-Arab or non-Muslim state to exist in the gigantic swath of territory from the Atlantic to the Gulf that Muslim Arabs call their own --perhaps the southern Sudan really will come into being, and perhaps the West will protect it from predatory Arab Muslims determined to cease the oil-wealth that rightly belongs to the black Africans, Christians and animists, in the south (and secretly supported by all the Arabs, including those Egyptians we have gottten into the naive habit of seeing as our allies), then Turkey signals that is no longer a Kemalist state but a firmly Muslim one.

It failed the test with its refusal to allow the Americans to enter Iraq with a fourth division from the north. It has failed the test with the incessant depication in the Turkish Muslim press, and with the most-watched film - that boffo smash hit of Turksih cinema -- that depicted American soldiers in Iraq as "worse than Nazis," to use a description also employed by a prominentTurkish politician and member of Erdogan's party. 

It failed the test when it allowed the Marmara to sail toward Gaza, despite repeated pleas by the government of Israel that it be stopped, a propaganda stunt by a Hamas-linked group of fanatical Turkish Muslims. It is doing so again, now, even though the border between Gaza and Egypt is open, and even though -- ridiculous as it surely is -- the Israelis continue, in the midst of a war waged on them by Muslim Arabs from Gaza, to continue to supply electicitiy, water, medicines, all kinds of things, in steady daily convoys, to the Arabs who wish them, the Isreaelis, dead, and who would, if they could, would gladly participate in the hate-filled effort themselves.

Turkey should be out of NATO.

The first step is to start to talk about it, openly, and to make sure the news of that talking is heard in Istanbul, in Ankara.

It is 2011, not 1952. The most dangerous enemy of the West are those who take Islam to heart. There is no getting around this. And if in Turkey Kemalism is being constrained, and its supporters --in the army's officer corps, among journalists, magistrates, and university rectors and professors -- are being systematically attacked, arrested, charged with trumped-up and transparently ridiculous conspiracies, and if the march of Erdogan continues. And meanwhile, the Western world has allowed Turkey to profit economically wihout any boycotts of Turkish goods, or any puncturing of Turksih pretensions to beocming a full-fledged member of the E.U., or without any consequences at all for the behavior of the Erdogan regime. This gives no aid or comfort to Turkish secularists, who may not benefit from open Western support, but would benefit from open Western hostility, accompanied by practical measures to show the Erdogan government that it cannot continue to act as it does without consequences.

Posted on 05/30/2011 10:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 May 2011
Erdogan's Government Remains Implacably Hostile To Israel


Turkey saves ire for Israel, concern for Syria

By Tulay Karadeniz and Simon Cameron-Moore

KONYA, Turkey (Reuters) - Democratic governments cannot stop their citizens launching another aid flotilla to Gaza, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday, a year after the storming of an aid ship by Israeli marines.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments on Friday to discourage the activists from launching a second Gaza flotilla, but Ahmet Davutoglu said democratic governments had no right to stop their people from challenging an illegal blockade.

"No democratic country can think that they have full control over these NGOs (non-government organisations)," he said.

The Israeli action against last year's aid flotilla created a diplomatic storm and damaged Israel's relations with Turkey.

Davutoglu said in an interview that warnings about a second international Gaza flotilla should be directed at Israel, which needed to recognise the changing realities in the Middle East.

"Nobody should expect from Turkey and from other (U.N.) member states to forget that nine civilians were killed last year," Davutoglu told Reuters at his residence in the southern central city of Konya, where he is campaigning for election in a parliamentary poll due on June 12.

"Therefore we are sending a clear message to all those concerned. The same tragedy should not be repeated again."

Pro-Palestinian charities and activists are organising a second aid flotilla to try to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza next month, to mark the anniversary of the first attempt.

Davutoglu repeated Turkey's demands that Israel should end its blockade of the 1.5 million people living in the Hamas-controlled enclave and apologise and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks, one of whom was a U.S. citizen.

Israeli marines shot them dead on the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel in a six-strong flotilla, on May 31 last year, after an initial Israeli boarding party was overpowered by activists wielding metal bars and knives.

Davutoglu said the international community had failed to bring Israel to account despite a U.N. Human Rights Council report that declared Israel's actions unlawful after an investigation boycotted by Israel.

"What is the result? Do we think that one member state is beyond international law?" Davutoglu said.


Turkey's friendship with Israel withered after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned an Israeli offensive launched in Gaza in December 2008, and relations went into deep freeze after the Mavi Marmara incident.

"Israel must accept the (need for an) apology and compensation if they want to be a partner in this region," Davutoglu said.

He said Israel should recognise the changing landscape of the Middle East by ending the blockade, which it justifies by the need to prevent arms from reaching Hamas.

He said Egypt's decision on Sunday to relax travel for Palestinians through the Rafah Crossing, Gaza's only door to the outside world not controlled by Israel, further obviated the reason for the blockade. [ID:nLDE74R04H]

While Davutoglu's wrath was saved for Israel, Turkey is increasingly concerned by the civil unrest in friend and neighbour Syria, where Ankara vies for influence with Iran.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in a crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's security forces since pro-democracy protests broke out in Syria in March.

NATO-member Turkey has called repeatedly for an end to the violence, but uses tempered language in dealing with Syria.

"We will continue to work very hard in order to make possible the political transformation in Syria," Davutoglu said.

He said his government was not involved with a gathering of Syrian opposition groups in the southern Turkish city of Antalya this week, and he had only learnt of it in the media.

Erdogan, who has urged Assad to make reforms since the "Arab Spring" began, received another assurance when the two leaders spoke by telephone on Friday, Davutoglu said.

"It is clear that the political will has been reconfirmed," Davutoglu said. "But we will see what will be the action. This is more important."



Posted on 05/30/2011 10:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Showing 21-41 of 517 [Previous 20] [Next 20]