Monday, December 27, 2010

West Bank Settlement Labourers

PA lightens ban on working in settlements to ease Palestinian unemployment

Figures show number of Palestinians employed in settlements has increased to nearly 35,000; PA legislation barring employment there would be an economic blow to Palestinian population.

By Avi Issacharoff

The Palestinian Authority has reconsidered a proposal that would have barred Palestinian laborers from working in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Although several PA officials, notably Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh and Prime Minister Salad Fayyad, came out in favor of such a move at the beginning of the year, it appears the PA has decided not to push for legislation on the issue because it is unable to offer the workers alternative employment.

Palestinian laborer - Reuters - Dec. 2010

A Palestinian laborer working on a construction site in Har Homa in December 2010.

Photo by: Reuters

Nonetheless, the PA's campaign against the purchase of products from the settlements is continuing with greater intensity. It has recently expanded the campaign all over the West Bank and says certain localities do not use items produced in the settlements.

The settlements and laborers who work in them have a mutually beneficial relationship, and settlement construction relies on Palestinian labor. Many Palestinian workers who do not have permission to work in Israel proper find employment in the settlements.

According to Israeli figures from September 2009 that were provided to the PA's donor countries, 22,000 Palestinians were working with Israeli permission in the settlements, including the settlements' industrial zones.

Non-governmental organizations have said, however, that about 10,000 other Palestinians are working in the settlements without formal permission, mainly in seasonal agricultural work.

It also appears that since September 2009, the number of Palestinians employed in the settlements has increased to nearly 35,000. These workers support a Palestinian population of more than 200,000, and PA legislation barring employment in the settlements would be an economic blow to Palestinians in the West Bank following a rise in Palestinian living standards there.

Abu Libdeh told Haaretz that the issue is currently being handled by Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani, who said he has no details to provide at the moment.

Associates of Fayyad said there was never an intention to pass legislation barring Palestinian employment in the settlements without suitable alternative employment. They said the PA seeks to reduce the number of Palestinians working in the settlements, but there is no intention at this time to harm the laborers financially.

As published online at, 28 December 2010

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Lithuania's Holocaust Past

Dr.Efraim Zuroff, Nazi Hunter: Lithuania Has Not Changed
by Dr. Efraim Zuroff Zuroff: Lithuania is Unchanged

Dr. Zuroff is Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Israel Office, and Coordinator of the SWC Nazi war crimes research worldwide ( Dr. Zuroff is also an author; his most recent book was Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice, published by Palgrave/Macmillan.

The visit to Israel this past week of Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius went virtually unnoticed by the Israeli media. In fact, the report by David Lev on Friday on Israel National News ("Is Lithuania Sincere About Owing Up to its Holocaust Past?") was, to the best of my knowledge, the only attempt to assess the most important aspect of current Lithuanian-Jewish relations, the attitude of the Baltic republic to its bloody Holocaust past and the extensive complicity of Lithuanians in the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews (both in their own country and outside her borders), in the light of recent attempts by Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors to rewrite the history of the Shoa [Holocaust, ed.] in a totally distorted manner.

Unfortunately, however, rather than exposing this insiduous campaign, which has strong and very dangerous anti-Semitic undertones, the article was an interview with Yisrael Rosenson, the author of a recent book on LIthuania, which contained a totally opposite assessment of the current situation. Rosenson is not only woefully misinformed, but tried especially hard to paint present a positive assessment of Lithuanian intentions and policy on Holocaust issues, for reasons I can only surmise.

Thus, according to Yisrael Rosenson of the Efrata Teachers College in Jerusalem, "at least some elements of the country's society are making a very sincere effort [my emphasis-EZ] to reevaluate their behavior, to make an honest accounting of their crimes against the Jews." Apparently Rosenson is referring to the government officials in charge of Holocaust education in Lithuania, who according to him have established a national "Holocaust educational center which coordinates programs for all children in all the country's schools." In addition, he claims that "There are Holocaust research centers in Lithuanian universities, with many studies discussing the Lithuanian people's failures regarding the Jews."

If these facts were indeed accurate, there be a basis for Rosenson's positive appraisal of the sincerity of at least part of contemporary Lithuanian society in this regard, but unfortunately his information is all wrong and in fact the situation in this regard is far worse than he could ever imagine.

First of all, there is no national center for Holocaust education. The subject has been entrusted to three institutions, which instead of preserving the accepted narrative of the Shoa, have been leading the campaign to equate Communist crimes with those of the Nazis in an effort to undermine the status of the Holocaust as a unique historical tragedy. I am referring to the International Commission For The Evaluation Of The Crimes Of The Nazi And Soviet Occupations, whose name clearly indicates its agenda and stance on the false equivalency between Nazi and Soviet crimes being actively promoted by the Lithuanian authorities.

The second is the Genocide and Resistance Research Center, whose attitude toward Holocaust issues is clearly manifest in its Museum of Genocide Victims in the heart of Vilnius, which does not even mention the Holocaust or the mass murder site of Ponar, but stresses the Jewish origin of Communist officials in blatantly anti-Semitic cartoons in its permanent exhibition.

The third organization involved is the Vilnius Tolerance Center headed by Emanuel Zingeris, a Jewish member of the Seimas, who no longer is a member of the local Jewish community and is one of the key operatives in the efforts of the Lithuanian government to promote the Prague Declaration of June 3, 2008, the main manifesto of the false equivalency movement.

As far as Lithuanian universities are concerned, not a single one has a Holocaust research center, nor are there any courses on Holocaust history. In fact, just this past summer, Vilnius University purged its most prominent Jewish professor, world-renowned Yiddish expert Prof. Dovid Katz, who has been teaching there the past eleven years, and whose primary sin was his courageous defense of several elderly Holocaust survivors who fought with the Soviet anti-Nazi partisans and who were accused in the local nationalist press of committing "war crimes" against innocent Lithuanian civilians.

These trumped-up charges against Jewish heroes, whose only hope of survival was to join the partisans, is part of the false symmetry being promoted by the Lithuanian authorities in order to relativize the Holocaust crimes of Lithuanians, as if they were the mirror image of similar or equivalent crimes by Jews against Lithuanians, and thereby deflect the fully-justified criticism of Lithuanian behavior during the Shoa. Of course, if the campaign to equalize Communist and Nazi crimes were to succeed, that would turn the Lithuanians from a "nation of killers" into a "nation of victims," which would do wonders to erase their guilt for Shoa crimes.

Rosenson is also wrong when it comes to the important issue of the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. He correctly points out that there was very strong resistance to doing so in Lithuania, but offers the explanation that there was similar opposition to such trials in other countries, pointing to France which did not try Lyon Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie until the eighties. What he neglects to mention is that the only reason there were any trials whatsoever of Lithuanian Nazi war criminals in independent Lithuania was external pressure from the US, Israel, and the Wiesenthal Center and that the local authorities did everything possible to prevent any of the criminals from actually being punished, turning the entire judicial process in these cases to a total farce. Instead of serving as an important history lesson, like the trial of Jasenovac concentration camp commander Dinko Sakic in Croatia, the Lithuanian attitude toward their Nazi collaborators was one of understanding and sympathy for the last people on earth to deserve such treatment.

In view of all of the above, and given Rosenson's efforts to describe Lithuania in a positive light, one can only wonder why a respected religious Zionist educator would defend the truly-indefensible behavior of a country which had the highest percentage of Jewish victims in the Holocaust and is trying its hardest to erase or at least minimize the memory of those crimes? The only possible answer is that in recent years the Lithuanian government has allocated enormous sums to try and improve its image in Jewish communities the world over. Can it be that the year-long program on Lithuanian Jewish history which culminates with a trip to Lithuania which is organized by Rabbi Rosenson personally and sponsored by Efrata Teachers College has been the recepient of Lithuanian government largesse? I hope that the existence of this program and nothing more explains why Efrata hosted the previous Lithuanian ambassador to Israel (currently the Deputy Foreign Minister) despite the terrible acccusations made at that time by the Lithuanain government against Jewish anti-Nazi partisans.

I do not know the answer to this question and I would like Rabbi Rosenson to explain. I can only hope that Rosenson's interview was the result of ignorance rather than funding , but something is very seriously wrong when a respected Zionist religious educational leader publically provides patently false information to defend those who are, in my opinion, in the process of inflicting serious damage on the interests of the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust.

As published online at, 27 December 2010

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Iranian Sanctions

Report: U.S. Companies Trade with Iran Despite Sanctions
by Maayana Miskin U.S. Companies Trade with Iran

Over the past decade, United States-based companies have done billions of dollars in trade with Iran, North Korea, and other countries under sanctions for supporting terrorism, according to the New York Times. Products traded with Iran include gum, cigarettes, and sports equipment.

One American company was permitted to do work on an Iranian gas pipeline, despite sanctions aimed at Iran's gas industry in particular.

The transactions have been made possible by a 2000 law that allows exemptions from sanctions for companies selling food or medical products. The law was initially meant to allow humanitarian aid, but following pressure from lobbyists, included permits for non-humanitarian food products such as soda, beer, and additives.

Some purchasers of the “humanitarian” food products have been found to have links to terrorism. The New York Times found that of the Iranian chain stores that bought food colorings and cake sprinkles from the American company McCormick & Co., one is government owned, and a second counts blacklisted banks among its major investors.

Adam Szubin directs the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which issues licenses for trade with countries under economic embargo. He told the Times that his office has limited resources and cannot fully investigate every buyer; in addition, he said, deals are allowed by law to go through even if the buyer has terrorist ties, as long as less than half the company is owned by those engaged in terrorism.

The report stated that Szubin's office has granted almost 10,000 requests to trade with countries under sanction in the past 10 years.

Stuart Eizenstat, who directed sanctions policy for the Clinton administration, told the Times that allowing exemptions could be positive “if it represents a conscious policy decision to give countries an incentive.” However, he said, American policy is not served by “loopholes like this that you can drive a Mack truck through.”

Iranians Feel Sanctions at the Pump

Tough American and European sanctions against Iran recently led to a significant change in Iranian policy, as the government stopped subsidizing gasoline, sending prices soaring from $0.38 per gallon to $2.55. The country has been experiencing gas shortages due to the sanctions, which have targeted Iran's fuel industry.

The Obama administration added new sanctions last week. Five new Iranian companies have been added to the Treasury Department's blacklist.

As published online at, 27 December 2010

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turkey Unbound

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must be possessed of a truly sardonic sense of humour. He appears enthralled with the prospect of turning truth inside out so that blatant untruths may be construed as reality. His reality is the kind that accuses Armenians of co-opting history to reflect their version of historical events. "In 1915 and before that, it was the Armenian side that pursued a policy aimed at exterminating our people which led to hunger, misery and death. There is no genocide in our civilization", he trumpeted in a speech glorifying Turkish military victory in World War I.

Thus no need for Turkey to feel obligated to take ownership of the Armenian genocide they perpetrated against a helpless Armenian population driven from the geography consecrated to Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan has no patience for the lies on the world stage accusing his great good friend in Sudan of another genocide attempt in Darfur. The simple and honest answer to all such charges is denial, for Muslims do not engage in genocide. Islamic regimes are always mindful of human rights and careful to obey the letter of Islamic law. Islamic Republics are well known for their civilizing respectfulness toward others.

On the other hand China is prepared to commit genocide in dealing with its Uighur Turkish population. And Israel most certainly inclines toward genocide in its relations with the Palestinians.

Where the international community sees Iran as a threat to world peace; most certainly as a threat to peace in the Middle East, Prime Minister Erdogan sees a deliberately, maliciously misunderstood Islamist regime being scapegoated by the West. As for Syria's reputation in the West as a safe haven for terrorist leaders, and a supplier of weapons to terror militias, Hezbollah and Hamas too have been unfairly labeled as terror groups, where in reality they are simply warriors of Islam.

The sacrifices that these warriors have willingly made on behalf of Islam mark them as blessed martyrs to undying whom gratitude is owing.
"Martyrdom for us is our school, our ideology, our heart and our prayer. It allows the continuation of Islam. The blood of the martyr revitalizes our religion. Mullah Hassan Ali Ahangaran, Martyrs Museum, Tehran...In the Hot Zone, Kevin Sites
The once-proud Democratic Republic of Turkey teeters now on the cusp of falling into an extremist Islamic state. The country's secularist politics and society are in deep danger of succumbing to fundamentalism. The Turkish military which until recently was the keeper of the faith with Kemal Ataturk's vision of a secular Turkey has been targeted and neutralized through its senior officers accused of treason and imprisoned. The Turkish judiciary has fallen into line, the press is complicit through state pressure, and the secret police know to whom they are obligated under this government.

The new Islamist-oriented Republic of Turkey has broken with its 15-year accord with Israel, ostensibly outraged over the Jewish state's maltreatment of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, accusing Israel of embarking on ethnic cleansing. While in Northern Cypress a process of ongoing colonization is proceeding, operating within an occupied zone, where a wall dividing the island ensures that Greek Cypriots are denied entry to Northern Cyprus, guarded by Turkish troops to ensure Cyprus remains divided and Greeks do not re-gain their territory.

In the face of all of this, Turkey demands that Israel issue an apology and restitution for its having halted an 'aid flotilla' that set off from Turkey bound for the Gaza Strip to break the blockade that Israel has instituted to attempt to control the materials and goods that reach Hamas in Gaza. During the commission of the boarding of the lead ship armed Turkish 'activists' attacked the boarding Israeli sailors, leading in the ensuing battle to the deaths of 9 of the Turks.

Video footage clearly shows the sequence of events where Israeli sailors, taken by surprise, were surrounded and attacked with prepared militiamen using weapons, culminating in the Israelis fighting back and killing 9 of their attackers.

For Turkey to demand, for the restoration of normal relations with Israel, an apology and compensation appears breathtakingly arrogant. The government of Turkey knew very well that a terrorist group which they supported had a group of their men on board the Mavi Marmara, and they approved and encouraged the blockade-busting tactics. To pretend hurt innocence, demanding compensation and apology is just another level of hypocrisy the new Islamist leadership has become adept at.

Turkey will have to make up its mind precisely where it wants to position itself. It has pretty well severed ties with former ally, Israel, at a time when it still aspires to membership in the European Union. It has established close ties with clear and declared enemies of Israel, both Iran and Syria, and championed Hezbollah as a legitimate political party in Lebanon, and Hamas as its own political legitimacy, handily overlooking the agendas both terror groups favour; the destruction of Israel. Under the aegis of Iran, this is the formula.

Turkey is conflicted between its aspirations; on the one hand its celebrated (within Arab countries) new alliance with other Islamic countries, on the other its long frustration with the European Union insisting it must strengthen its human rights record before admission to the EU is seriously contemplated. It is entirely possible that France and Germany will never be convinced that Turkey's place is within the EU.

It is clear that Turkey is having second thoughts about its decision to be outraged with Israel on weak pretexts. The level of hypocrisy within Turkey has reached legendary heights. Quite in keeping, however, with the Islamist government's orientation.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Priceless Reasoning

"Opportunities to travel and volunteer abroad cannot only channel energy and engender a concern for others, but also take the glamour out of the al-Qaeda narrative and increase appreciation of Western citizens for the rights granted in their own countries." Demos
It comes across as too precious to believe. A British think-tank, of all sources, preaching to the Western world that more work must be done to lead impressionable and vulnerable young Muslim men away from the allure of signing on to violent jihad, and substituting attractive alternatives, like enticing them to allow themselves to be recruited for good works, volunteerism, altruistic pursuits that would better fill the boredom gaps for them.

And save the world a whole lot of grief. Why didn't anyone think of this wonderful solution? It stands to reason that appealing to the better nature of restless young men nursing a grievance and learning to really get into the hate-thing, enjoying themselves immersed into the nitty-gritty of learning how to conduct themselves in a soldierly fashion at Pakistani-based jihad training camps, would save these young men from themselves.

And save us from their bigoted, racialized, quasi-religious, ideological-political violent initiatives. Guess we suffer from an abysmal lack of practical imagination. The British think-tank Demos, however, is to be congratulated for arriving at a formula that would serve to attract and move young Muslims into the direction of good works to salve their irate sensibilities, reacting to "Islamophobia" being exhibited by the world of infidels.

The Edge of Violence, the report issued by Demos, appears to be rife with brilliant ideas. It makes good sense, does it not - to encourage young men who have grown up in Western communities, taken advantage of all the freedoms and opportunities within, inclusive of university education - to appreciate those experiences. Question: why might it be necessary to point out to them how privileged they have been to begin with?

Since homegrown radicalization was pioneered in Britain, and later seen in fewer but still alarming incidences elsewhere, while Britain still remains champion of these emerging jihadists, it puzzles the mind why these delightful solutions are not being put in place there. Why is this think-tank bruiting their solutions toward Canada, Denmark, France and the Netherlands, without first experimenting in the United Kingdom?

Of course the very question of why Muslim youth find violent jihad so appealing should be first addressed. And perhaps the answer is as basic and elemental as youth eternally turning to the forbidden, the excitingly alluring with just the right edge of danger to excite their hormonal passion for adventure. And perhaps, just perhaps, the 'right values' were simply never engrained in them through the home environment.

Mind, it helps when the youth in question are not overburdened with too many brains at birth, and they might have been bypassed by normal genetic endowments leaving them somewhat sociopathic by character. Aided by the fact that for some, the familial atmosphere is conducive to illicit activity and resentment of the prevailing culture in which they find themselves.

Violent extremist groups which solicit recruits in fairly public fora are not all that hard to find. They seem to feel they can operate with impunity as hate mongers and conduits to groups more than willing to train callow youth toward mature terrorists, functioning at a level deemed satisfactory for all concerned.

The researchers whose message is that government and its institutions may not be fully capable of apprehending these activities and protecting the public and the state, may have taken their cue from the British experience. The recommendation that individuals, organizations, communities, must become involved in weeding out, identifying, and offering alternatives to violence-prone youth might be useful to the Muslim community itself.

Which begs the obvious question: why must the Muslim community be instructed in this kind of harm-reduction, rather than see it in and of themselves as their duty and obligation both to their 'vulnerable' youth, and to their communities, and above all, to the country which has given them refuge and the opportunity to live decent lives?

If vulnerable immigrant populations value in any measure whatever the opportunities opened to them by their migration to Western countries, and their place within them, it should be in their vested interest, and an automatic response to firmly eschew the values that are at obvious odds with those of the West. A firm hand should be taken as a matter of course, in directing their youth toward norms that honour the social contract.

Those Muslim groups and communities which benefit from life in Western countries and raise their young to take their place within the larger communities as equal citizens, equally deserving and desiring of all the civil freedoms and opportunities of all other groups, have an especial obligation to identify and counter those groups that espouse other values.

The ignorance with which conspiracy theories are accepted and used to nurse grievances which feed into the general atmosphere of "us versus them", is one that the leaders of Muslim communities must take seriously and make every effort to counteract. The one practical recommendation - that Muslim imams pass language proficiency tests, and an increased deployment of Muslim police officers - seems potentially useful.

And then, in the Canadian context, one ponders on the peculiarities of a revelation that two young Muslim men wanted on murder charges, one of whom escaped the country thanks to the assistance of two other young Muslim men charged as accessories, were enrolled in academic police training classes with the intention of becoming police officers.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Recruiting For Armageddon

Well, there's a revelation. As though no one had suspected. Which is to say that North Korea's brilliant nuclear scientists have been travelling to and fro, and trading secrets with Iran. Brethren in nuclear ambitions, albeit not completely altruistic. Since Iran did dispense with some of its oil-wealth toward the economy-starved North Koreans.

Still, it's news of a sort, that Iran actively recruits for nuclear scientists to work on its program. When it would doubtless prefer to be able to boast that it has no need of foreign scientific brilliance to augment its own. It did benefit from some Russian technical nuclear know-how. And of course without recourse to Pakistani-based nuclear expertise to begin with, would any of this have been occasioned?

North Korea is happy to oblige its Iranian friends with advanced technology and its scientists. A steady flow of North Korean military and engineering staff so enthusiastically welcomed by Tehran in a wholesome exchange of long-range ballistic missile technology and uranium enrichment expertise.

Truly novel, this type of thing. Ingenious; starve the people and build bombs. Each country intent on 'securing' its security, power, prestige. For the benefit, needless to say, of the elite; the people can be left to their own desperate devices. Both countries are hard pressed economically as a result of the economic sanctions placed against them owing to their international outlier status.

Iran sees the pinnacle of its power and status attainable with the assurance of mastering nuclear bomb production, and using the resulting arsenal for its threatened purpose. Bomb Israel and that would result in an object lesson for its Arab neighbours to get their priorities straight and recognize Iran as the predominant power in the Middle East; for starters.

North Korea has amply demonstrated how it is possible and even practical for it to blackmail the West and South Korea to provide energy and food, freeing up whatever it has left over for further covert investments in nuclear installations, giving impetus and inspiration to Iran. Both countries excel at 'surprising' Western experts at the ease with which they have been able to build 'secret' advanced nuclear installations.

While Iran threatens its neighbours, (atheist) North Korea fulminates and delivers its bellicose message about prosecuting a 'sacred war' against South Korea. North Korea's Kim Jong-il has not hesitated to mount military attacks against its neighbour, something Iran has not yet done directly. Hamas and Hezbollah however, have direct access to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and await his orders.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the inside track to Allah, something no one should forget. The passion with which he and Ahmadinejad await the appearance of the Hidden Imam Muhammad al Mahdi, to bring about the Apocalypse, enlighten the world and bring it out of its state of chaos into one of universal peace under the universal Caliphate, may also, many fear, explicate their lack of caution in proposing to use a nuclear device.

In the end, the chaos and destruction that would ensue would bring the hidden imam to reveal himself in all his messianic glory and save the world for Islam. Of course, Iran would be right up there, front and centre, and commanding the new world order. It might, just might, allow North Korea to dominate in its sphere of the world.

Much to China's chagrin.

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How Perfectly Jolly!

The worst of all possible worlds; Britain has long attracted and gone out of its way to support and give haven to individuals and groups whose brand of Islamism is ferociously out of whack with what its followers claim it to represent, as a religion of peace. The Islam that the mullahs and imams and other clerics who comfortably settled in Britain - to speak at its many mosques, in Arabic-speaking fiery speeches denouncing the very country that gave them haven, exhorting young Muslims to violent jihad - is the one front and centre in the world of terror today.

What is astonishing is the very fact that official Britain has been so avuncular about the presence of those ferociously fulminating clerics for so long. Long enough to ensure that more than one generation of Muslim men has been tainted with the compelling need to enlist as martyrs for the universal Islamist cause leading to the Caliphate they are so devoted to. Young Muslim men, born in Britain, educated there, seething with discontent and anger at the West and its values, sufficiently at home in the country to form university student unions recruiting for jihad.

These are young men who know the country fairly intimately. It has, after all, been the country of their birth, if not in the end the country of their birthright. That would only come to pass when Britain does truly succumb to Islamism and adopts universal sharia law. That's some atmosphere to be certain. That the country's counter-terrorism agencies are on constant guard now against the carefully determined plans by home-bred Brits whose religious conversion to deadly violence poses a threat to stability.

Given that Scotland Yard has admitted it is currently giving high-alert attention to one hundred terror cases, thirty of which are considered to be 'pressing', while approximately ten are classified as 'urgent' or 'imminent'. That's shaving it pretty close, isn't it? Islam4UK is kind of snappy too, is it not, as a hopeful sloganeering mantra of Muslim youth devoted to the downfall of the government of the country, determined to mount one of their own in due time, in tune with a new judiciary.

It is certainly instructive how fundamentally attractive men like Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden are inspirationally to bored young men avidly seeking the adventures of their lives. Exciting adventures are just what the doctor ordered to banish those insipid boredom-diversions of petty crime from the near horizon in favour of not-so-covert activities conducted right under the eyes of slow-moving intelligence agents.

The latest to be arrested in Britain, young men of Bangladeshi origin - if it's not of Pakistani origin; geographic neighbours withal - are said to have been influenced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They were affiliated with a banned group, which makes things all the more attractive, doesn't it? A Police Commission spokesman described the arrests as being "intelligence-led" on the suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.

Terrorism? Actually, not; holy war. As opposed to the kind of unholy war being waged in Afghanistan, for example, by British troops within the NATO command. These were young men accustomed to standing on street corners handing out leaflets promoting holy war. Furthermore, some of them fit right into their neighbourhoods. Neighbours spoke approvingly of them as "...a very nice family, the dad always says hello, he's very polite."

And at another house where arrests were made, observant neighbours had their own impressions to relay to the curious news media: "He has a lot of people coming and going in the early hours of the morning - it's very odd - and you can often hear religious chanting and singing coming from the house." So, they're quite jolly, quite British, quite stiff upper-lip about it all. After all, this is the land of eccentrics.

British terrorists? Just another brand of eccentric Brits.

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Blazing Cat Fur: Funny he doesn't look...

Blazing Cat Fur: Funny he doesn't look...

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

1967 Borders

The Big Lie: ‘1967 Borders’ is a Fallacy, Says Former Ambassador
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ‘1967 Borders’ is a ‘Fallacy’

The term “1967 borders,” the Arab world’s mantra for the borders of a PA state, never existed, says former Ambassador to Canada Alan Baker in a research paper for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Ever since neighboring Arab countries attacked Israel in 1948 as it became an independent country for the first time in 2,000 years, there were no borders, only temporary military lines defined by the 1949 “Armistice Lines” that ended, at least formally, the War for Independence.

However, the Arab world has repeated the term “1967 borders” so much that it has been adopted as fact by mainstream media and most international leaders. The term refers to the 1949 ceasefire line from which Israel military forces advanced at the beginning of the Six-Day War on June 4, 1967 and should be called "pre-1967 War Armistice Lines" or "1949 Armistice Lines". INN, it should be noted, has used those accurate terms consistently..

Even Brazil, which recently decided to “recognize” the Palestinian Authority based on the supposed 1967 borders, stated during a United Nation debate on Resolution 242 in 1967 calling for negotiations for boundaries, “Its acceptance does not imply that borderlines cannot be rectified as a result of an agreement freely concluded among the interested States. We keep constantly in mind that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East has necessarily to be based on secure permanent boundaries freely agreed upon and negotiated by the neighboring States."

Baker (pictured) noted that Jordan, which also has adopted the fallacy of “1967 borders,” said in the same debate, "There is an Armistice Agreement. The Agreement did not fix boundaries; it fixed a demarcation line. The Agreement did not pass judgment on rights political, military or otherwise. Thus I know of no territory; I know of no boundary; I know of a situation frozen by an Armistice Agreement."

Although the “1967 borders” denote lines of separation, they have no basis in history, law, or fact,” Baker explained. “The 1949 armistice agreements specifically stated that such lines have no political or legal significance and do not prejudice future negotiations on boundaries,” he continued.

“There are no provisions in any of the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians that require withdrawal to the ‘1967 borders.’ There were never any geographic imperatives that sanctify the 1967 lines."

The "Armistice Lines” of 1949 were determined in agreements signed by Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. They were not borders, Baker pointed out. “The armistice demarcation line represented nothing more than the forward lines of deployment of the forces on the day a ceasefire was declared…. The line was demarcated on the map attached to the armistice agreement with a green marker pen and hence received the name ‘Green Line.’

“The Security Council in its resolution stressed the temporary nature of the armistice lines that were to be maintained ‘during the transition to permanent peace in Palestine.'"

The Armistice Agreement stated, “The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move. The provisions of this article shall not be interpreted as prejudicing, in any sense, an ultimate political settlement between the Parties to this Agreement.

"The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in...this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto."

Baker quoted Judge Steven Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice, who stated in 1994, "The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them."

The current Arab campaign for recognizing the Palestinian Authority according to the supposed “1967 borders” ironically is often based on the oft-quoted UN Resolution 242. This is the resolution which Baker noted emphasizes in its very first paragraph the “...respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

The Palestinian Authority has accepted in previous agreements the concept that borders will be negotiated, but the Arab world’s “diplomatic war of attrition” has virtually erased this perception in the media and in the international community. A 1993 agreement signed by Arafat states that there are, "...remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest."

The PA in the past several months has called for “negotiations” but in reality has demanded that Israel accept the so-called “1967 borders” without negotiation, lines which Baker’s research paper shows havs no legal or historical foundation as borders.

As published online at, 23 December 2010

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Cairo Synagogues

Egypt to Preserve Alexandria Synagogue as 'Jewish Monument'
by Chana Ya'ar Egypt to Fix Alexandria Shul

Egypt plans to restore Alexandria's lone remaining active synagogue, the Eliahou Hanabi Synagogue – the city's “only Jewish monument,” according to a report published in the Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.

Located on Nebi Daniel Street, the synagogue was hailed in the report as “one of Egypt's most important Jewish historical sites.”

The renovations are to be carried out by Cairo University's Center for Antiquities and Environment Studies, according to the report, which noted that “all Egyptian Jewish monuments” are to be renovated.

Ali Hilal, project manager at the Supreme Council for Antiquities, said the sites were considered a part of Egypt's heritage.

There once were 13 synagogues that once existed in the city of Alexandria, according to the website of the Association Internationale Nebi Daniel.

The largest of these, the Eliahou Hanabi Synagogue was built in 1850. It was destroyed by Napoleon during his military campaign, and later rebuilt. According to the Associate website, the 150-year-old house of worship is actually built on the site of a much older synagogue, the Voltera.

Guarded around the clock, the building is surrounded on three sides by landscaped gardens. The synagogue, which itself is fairly well maintained, is the only synagogue where services are maintained, according to the Association.

Over the past year, Egypt has restored several of its synagogues, including the Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo was rededicated -- although Jews are not allowed to pray there.

As published online at, 23 December 2010

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reporting to the International Criminal Court

"They make war on us not because we suppressed the democratic expression of Ivorians, but because they deny the Ivorian people's sovereign right to choose its own leaders, respect its institutions and live in a free country." Laurent Gbagbo
What a string of whoppers. But if you're intent on persuading followers that you're right and the opposition is wrong, appeal to their collective sense of identity in the social order and paint the opposition as of nefarious intent and scornful of that social order, prepared to overturn the freedoms that all hold dear for their own sinister purposes.

True to form another African country steps up to the ballot box and finds itself politically conflicted by a tyrant posing as a democratic leader, because democracy is fashionable and tyranny is not. Although dictatorships in the service of menacing tribal bellicosity comes far more naturally to Africa than any mode of political manoeuvring mirroring the political order of their former colonial masters.

Perhaps Laurent Gbagbo has taken modern-day inspiration from Sudan, from Kenya, from Zimbabwe, from Egypt; even Venezuela, Burma, China and North Korea, in asserting with such audacious confidence that he is the sole legitimate first executive of Ivory Coast. Who is capable of gainsaying him when he has the full support of the Ivorian military? Who are the United Nations, in any event, to declare for his competitor?

Like Sudan, the country is politically divided between its south and its north. And although the presidential vote seemed to fall in favour of Alassane Ouattara, Mr. Gbagbo claims otherwise, and it is he, not Mr. Ouattara, who still holds the winning cards. Mr. Ouattara as a former prime minister and International Monetary Fund bureaucrat, may know what's best for his country, but he is in the unfortunate position of being held incommunicado.

Even Ban Ki-moon has been placed in the position of desperation with forces representing Gbagbo cutting off supplies for his UN peacekeeping mission. The 800 UN peacekeepers who are protecting Mr. Ouattara will themselves require protection, should Mr. Gbagbo's threats realize reality. Civil war may be in the offing, just as it is currently in Sudan where the oil-rich south of the country is threatening secession from the north.

And, as Mr. Gbagbo interprets the current stand-off to his loyal supporters, "The troubles we see today in Ivory Coast are caused by the refusal of my opponent to submit himself to the laws, rules and procedures that apply in our country." The international community at large is also guilty of refusing to recognize and bow to the "laws, rules and procedures" that apply in Ivory Coast, quite evidently.

Mr. Gbagbo is not in search of a safe haven, in exile. He is determined to continue his strongman role in Ivory Coast and the international community can like it or not, and the country can be brought beyond the brink of civil war and the interference of the International Criminal Court in The Hague can warn of consequences, but the perennial president is brutishly determined to prevail.

Of course there are those within the country whose legitimate appeal to the voters may resonate sufficiently for a massive show of civil disobedience to create further violence and victims to finally cause a successful intervention. Even as the incoming prime minister in the newly-elected president's government speaks of national reconciliation, Mr. Gbagbo remains resolute that Ivory Coast is his personal plaything.

"If Laurent Gbagbo puts an end to the killing in the streets of Abidjan ... there will still be a chance for national reconciliation of the type seen in South Africa. But if Laurent Gbagbo is going to keep killing civilians ... it will obviously be his duty to report to the International Criminal Court."

And heaven knows, doing his duty is impressively vital in Mr. Gbagbo's list of to-do things.

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Limp-Wristed Security

What precisely is it about Britain that has resulted in the country becoming a haven for brutishly violent Islamists? Well, the country's much-vaunted freedoms, for one thing. It seemed to occur to the British authorities in the last decade, that they really had no idea what the foaming-at-the-mouth Islamist clerics that entered the country so seamlessly were uttering when they preached violent jihad, and instructed Muslim youth in their duty to Islam.

There were, eventually, a few of these incendiary imams who were invited to leave the country and others who amazingly ended up in incarceration. By then, however, the die had been cast. Britain lent itself readily to the very forward-appearing leftist inclinations to allow diplomats, lawmakers and high-ranking military from countries which the leftists considered human-rights-abusers of Palestinians, to be summarily arrested. Israelis all, interestingly.

Writers whose books or articles were deemed to be offensive to the dignity of Islam would see their publications banned in Britain. And if they themselves happened to travel to England for business purposes, they could be sued on the basis of what they wrote being interpreted as defaming Islam. Britain was, and remains, ready and prepared to defend the rights and freedoms of Islamists to silence their perceived enemies.

Accommodating, understanding Britain has for decades been recognized as jihad-central. Which has not protected the country from quite successful terrorist attacks, regardless. It has, however, hugely encouraged 'restless' youth, 'vulnerable' youth, 'impressionable' youth, to believe that theirs is the right to destroy British society and help to make it over into an Islamic state on the way to a larger caliphate. Britain4Islam resonates.

The gestation period was long, but fruitful. Away back in 1996, jihadists were already establishing their British-Islamist credentials. And Britain appeared to be more than a little willing to entertain the possibility of extending sharia to its two million Muslims. Even the Bishop of Canterbury thought there was merit in the proposal, in the spirit of understanding and ecumenism.

Britain is so excessively tolerant,that it does next to nothing, even while its security agents know that terrorist recruiters stand openly in public handing out Islamist-terror tracts. Even while they spout loudly belligerent manifestos, and degrading descriptions of British troops fighting Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even while the outlawed groups still making their presence in and around London and environs loudly protest the bestiality of British soldiers and celebrate the "magnificent martyrs" represented by the 9/11 suicide attackers.

Out of Britain come Pakistani and Bangladeshi and Nigerian and Saudi men who have grown up as 2nd generation Brits, had their education in the country, mounted their Islamic student bodies in the brotherhood of jihad in its universities, then go on to travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan and Somalia to train as mujahadeen for the cause.

Sometimes returning to Britain to wreak havoc there, and sometimes being apprehended before they reach success.

None of this is a secret, for British 'intelligence', although not perhaps their intellectuals, are well versed in the knowledge of underground and above-ground, furtive and audacious activities. The knowledge is there that the seething mass of humanity known as worshippers of Islam is also blighted with the youth who seem to gravitate toward lives of crime, quite aside from violent jihad.

Britain sees itself as responsible, in the sense that it has not been aware enough, kind enough, offering greater opportunities and understanding to the vulnerable to prevent them from wandering off the straight and narrow....

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sincerely, Of Course

The more 'advanced' situations appear to become, the more they appear to resemble what preceded them. Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Perez, yet when he had the opportunity to make a final peace plan with Israel a reality at the urging of President Bill Clinton, he confided that he would be signing his own death warrant if he had the audacity to sacrifice the ongoing PLFP state of war for one of peace with Israel.

Currently, the PLFP, which is the militant tail that wags the Fatah dog that administers the Palestinian Authority has a similar mind-set, that it will not set aside its constant of a state of war against the Israeli "occupiers" of Palestinian land. It is not merely the West Bank settlements that they speak of, when they refer to land belonging to the Palestinians; but rather the entire geography once known as Palestine, inclusive of that portion upon which sits Israel itself.

This, of course, is the very live agenda that is maintained internally, not the one that is placed in the public sphere for international digestion. The peace talks that have gone nowhere, that continue to fizzle, while being portrayed as legitimate and sincere, are not quite meant to be the end of hostilities between Israel and the PA. The demands by the PA of a freeze on settlements has an authentic ring to Western ears, but it is a ploy, and a successful one.

Should the desire for peace be pre-eminent in the minds and plans of the Palestinians they would negotiate and bargain and come to the table with the purpose of achieving peace, but the simple fact is, the kind of peace they envision is one which negates the existence of a Jewish state, one in which a Palestinian Arab state encompasses what is to their way of thinking, a foreign Zionist entity within an Arab Muslim geography.

The West, through the sympathies extended toward the Palestinians as a stateless people in perpetual refugee status, has given great impetus to the legitimacy of the PA entitlements as they see them. The entitlement to insist that it is only just that up to 7 million Palestinian 'refugees' be allowed to return to the place of their ancestors, thus displacing the Jewish state for an Arab one. The entitlement that Jerusalem be divided to make way for a Palestinian capital. The entitlement that the Palestinians select their state borders preferentially.

The European Union, the United Nations membership at large, sympathetic to the demands of the Palestinians and deaf to the security and existential requirements of Israel, pushes the State of Israel to relent, to accept, to sacrifice, for it is not they who will stand on the cusp of extinction, but the Jewish State. The 'disillusioned' Palestinians are seen to be disadvantaged by the need to participate in honest negotiations where they should be expected to make sacrifices of their own.

"The peace process is in a deep coma", mourned Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, but with some degree of satisfaction, withal. "I don't think anyone wants to continue this negotiation. There is no more credibility to this negotiation process. This is an exercise in futility - ridiculous." Yes, and why is that so? Because Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies insist that West Bank settlement construction cease and desist; beyond which no further discussions can take place.

The ten-month freeze was put in place for that purpose, but it was only in the tenth month before the freeze was finally lifted that the PA came to direct talks. Fitfully, half-heartedly, awaiting the lifting of the freeze, so they could re-commence boycotting any further direct talks, and finally declare that indirect talks too were futile. Mahmoud Abbas speaks on the one hand of deploring violence, yet he encourages it by declaring the violence to be the sincere efforts of 'martyrs'.

He knows very well that the PLFP is guiding what the PA does, and that a third intifada is in the offing. He is very well aware that in commiserating with the militants in Hamas and the PLFP offshoots he is encouraging further assaults against Israel. He is fully knowledgeable about the fact that during the Mount Carmel firestorm there were multiple incidences of Palestinian Arab arson, some 25 in number.

He is also aware that the Islamic religious authority in Jerusalem engaged in illegal excavations at the Temple Mount, destroying Jewish archaeological sites dating to the Second Temple, and where a new mosque was erected and is now in use. This kind of sabotage and vicious disrespect for other religions and others' sacred histories is typical of Arabs and Muslims who have made it a commonplace to build mosques over other religions' houses of worship.

The Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh warned a Jerusalem audience that they must never forget that the Israeli-Arab conflict speaks to "Israel's very existence in this part of the world", not the least bit about the provocation they claim the settlements in the West Bank represent. Toameh describes Mahmoud Abbas as "corrupt, discredited, weak", and without much actual power, warning that Hamas is prepared to take possession of the West Bank, should Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders as demanded.

Arab foreign ministers have made it clear to the United States administration that they feel the now-aborted direct talks will achieve nothing useful. That they are hoping the U.S. will make firm recommendations to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on borders that will encompass the new Arab state, should it come to pass. Not a unilateral declaration of statehood, as is being bandied about, then withdrawn, then returned to the fore. One which Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela and Bolivia have thus far committed to recognizing.

The Palestinians are past masters at posing as helpless aggrieved victims of an unjust, powerful state that seeks to dominate them and ensure that they never reach autonomous sovereignty. They revel in their victimhood, as the longest-reigning, United Nations-supported refugee group in the world. This has been more a matter of choice than one of unfortunate circumstances, because they excel in refusing anything resembling a fair settlement.

Compromise and authentic search for a peace settlement has never been seriously considered by the PLO, Fatah or the Palestinian Authority; all one and the same, and all so accustomed to considering themselves hapless victims, and portraying themselves as such to the wider world, that they are functionally incapable of acting in their own best, long-term interests.

Instead, they remain committed to destroying Israel, and once that has been accomplished, they will proudly lift themselves out of the sludge of helplessness in which they have mired themselves for so long, to curtsy to the world, in appreciation for its sympathetic and extremely useful support.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Lord's Resistance Army's Christmas

A former Roman Catholic altar boy. Who absorbed the Christian message of tolerance and love for his fellow man to heart, in a singular manner. He is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Joseph Kony sees himself as a Christian liberator. His view of Christianity and of himself as a representative of it is quite outstanding. He makes Charles Taylor look like a gentle, unassuming champion of his people.

Kony's tormented view of Christianity demonstrates a kind of human evil that is difficult to comprehend. He and his LRA leaders represent the first people to be indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Like Sudan's Omar al-Bashir it is doubtful whether he will ever be apprehended, held to account for his incredible crimes against humanity and sentenced.

He has spent 22 years spreading terror in Uganda, which thought it knew terror under Idi Amin. Mass murders, kidnappings, homelessness has marked his reign of terror. But more, the abduction of children, to force them to become unwavering murderers, stealing away their humanity and re-making them into murderous automatons, for fear of their own lives.

Africa's tribal rivalries, its incessant clan clashes and violent upheavals look trivial in comparison to the massive events of inhuman suffering that have been imposed on Central Africa through attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army. Kony visualizes his very specific type of theocracy, through his very own interpretation of the Bible's Ten Commandments.

His child soldiers do his bidding, killing, maiming, torturing, raping and abducting their unfortunate victims. There is no compassion, no pity, no conscience, for the child soldiers were never able to experience any of those human emotions extended toward themselves. They live to kill on orders of Kony, or they die at his orders.

Kony and his LRA are in 'good company', next door to Democratic Republic of the Congo, with its Hutu militias executing their countless enemies, and Sudan, where another civil war looms on the near horizon. And with the close approach of Christmas, fearful villages wonder which of them will next be targeted, in Sudan, the DRC, Central African Republic.
"It's unbelievable that world leaders continue to tolerate brutal violence against some of the most isolated villages in central Africa." Marcel Stoessel, Oxfam

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Demanding Justice In Mexico

Mexico is fast descending beyond a state of parlous existence for its people. The poverty-stricken who would like nothing better than to depart for other, safer pastures. Anyplace that could give them haven from the deadly wars being perpetrated by the drug cartels. Anyplace that would have them, where they would be safe from escalating lawlessness.

It is not only police, the national army, judges and mayors of small towns where the drug trade has managed to completely destroy law and order and any vestiges of public safety that have been imperilled, but the very future of Mexico itself. The federal government appears incapable of stemming the rising tide of unbridled, vicious slaughter.

Not that state governments are doing any better. The middle class of the country are also affected, and nowhere seems quite safe. The brazen murders of people involved in the drug trade, along with those who seek to break up the power of the cartels have shocked the world and certainly sobered the country, let alone its North American neighbours.

And now, in plain sight of the governor's office in the capital of the state of Chihuahua, a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered at 16, her body dismembered and her killer set loose, was killed in cold blood, at close range. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, holding a lone vigil in front of the governor's office in outraged protest that her daughter's murderer is on the loose is yet another sacrifice to unpunished crime in Mexico.

Her daughter, Rubi Frayre, murdered by her boyfriend Sergio Barraza, who confessed to her killing, has never seen justice. And nor has her mother. It is more than likely that the very man who murdered the daughter also murdered the mother. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz knew very well that her life was in danger, from the death threats she had received from her daughter's murderer and his family.

"What's the government waiting for - that he come and finish me?" she challenged, standing outside the governor's palace, in an interview. "Then let him kill me, but here in front to see if it makes them ashamed." They took up the challenge, confronted her at night, in the dark, in front of the governor's office, chased her as she attempted to flee, fired at point-blank-range and ended her protest.
"He confessed to the killing and reported the place where the remains of Mrs. Escobedo's daughter could be found. This is what no one can understand the irresponsibility of these judges who set free a highly dangerous subject." Chihuahua Gov.Cesar Duarte.
And now?

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Luton's Open Recruiting

Does Britain know whether it's coming or going? Even as the country is alerted to the fact that another group of 12 jihadists planning Christmas Day attacks in central London have been apprehended, the phenomenon of recruiting ever more dissatisfied Muslim youth goes on unabated. Four homes were raided across the UK, with links to an extremist group.

London Police and MI5 undercover officers concluded their long-standing investigation by a timely intervention. The arrests were characterized as "timely" by the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and he should know, shouldn't he, given that there is less than a week left to the public Christmas festivities. Which represent the featured sites for attack in busily populous London.

Timeliness is a highly rated construct in such apprehensions. One needs to strike to avert catastrophe. Which makes the average non-intelligence-engaged mind wonder why so little attention appears to be given to the supposedly outlawed terror groups operating in Luton, where the suicide bomber who shocked Stockholm learned his stock-in-trade. It took ten years for Taimour Abdulwahab to become fully indoctrinated in Luton.

The Islamist group al-Muhajiroun operating out of Luton appears determined to shorten that indoctrination period with eager new recruits. And they're operating fairly brazenly. So much so that moderate Muslims in Luton complain that they've been violently targeted by the Islamists for their lack of support, while the authorities appear to be completely disinterested in their presence.

Led by a former inland revenue accountant, Ishtiaq Alamgir, who was behind the organization of an Islamist 'protest' against British troops hailing from Luton, after their Afghanistan tour, which erupted in violence and arrests, the man is comfortable enough in a sense of his own security to operate freely in town by actively recruiting and handing out jihadist screeds and directing young Muslim men to terror web sites.

Celebrating the wonderful achievements of the September 11 hijackers, jihadist supporters set up street stalls in open sight of the curious and the adventurous to distribute their literature and entice recruits, citing "the terrorist activities of Britain", in their efforts to turn young Muslims toward violent jihad.

Well infiltrated within British society, working for the public service, as legal counsels, and alongside progressive leftists who anxiously agree that the Islamists have a legitimate grievance and an open invitation to air their opinions, extending those opportunities to include recruitment to jihad, a lot more will have to be done to extinguish the fires of raging jihad in the country, beyond arresting the occasional careless group planning carnage.

Much certainly depends on it. Yet the British government seems to be having a difficult time getting truly serious about extinguishing those opportunists among its Muslim population who feel free to viciously disparage the government, its politics and its armed forces abroad in defence of Western values.

The holding pattern of attempting to remain abreast of the most pressing alerts to impending attacks may suffice only so long as the police and MI5 can assemble enough time and personnel. As soon as the number of jihadists and planned attacks accelerate beyond the point of no return, what then?

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Progress in Afghanistan

The long-awaited White House review of the situation in Afghanistan claims that the Obama-initiated 30,000 troop surge made all the difference, battering the Taliban and shoving them back from whence they came. Well, they came from Afghanistan, from various Taliban-held provinces in the country, since that's where they live traditionally, and it is where they still hold fast.

One truth that did finally emerge, however, was the unvarnished albeit reluctant admission that "progress has not come fast enough", thanks to the lack of co-operation from the Government of Pakistan. That, the lack of Pakistani co-operation in the battle against the Taliban has been a constant throughout the years; nothing whatever has changed there. Before President Asif Ali Zardai, it was General Musharaff.

The U.S. chose in its great wisdom to believe all the lies that General Musharaff, Pakistan's ISI and its National Army fed to the Americans, assuring them that they were on side. When, clearly enough,and well enough known to U.S. intelligence, they were not. They were arming, training, securing and guiding the Afghan Taliban to ensure a continued destabilized Afghanistan, which better served their purpose.

That aside, the claim that "al-Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistan is weaker and under more sustained pressure than at any other point since it fled Afghanistan in 2001", is of questionable value. For the fact is the tribal NorthWest Provinces represent a secure sanctuary for both the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban, along with al-Qaeda. And from its safe aeyrie there al-Qaeda's affiliates, branches and associates take direction and comfort.

Somehow the upbeat assessment of the White House doesn't quite match that of aid groups working within Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross anticipates increased battles in the year to come: "The proliferation of armed groups threatens the ability of humanitarian organizations to access those in need. Access for the ICRC has over the last 30 years never been as poor."

The U.S. State Department, oddly enough, appears to have reached a radically opposite conclusion to that of the White House, daring to state not too obliquely that they doubt the "war can be won". That in and of itself is another kind of declarative revelation; that war represents an impediment to peace.

Of course the kind of peace that will reign in Afghanistan once Western troops finally pull out is anyone's guess. Afghanistan is as it has always been: fundamentalist Islamist, harsh, aggressive, corrupt. In lock-step with its neighbour Pakistan, now battling its own Taliban, and which country which simply cannot wrench itself away from its irredentist hatred of India.

That's quite the neighbourhood, in fact is it not, with Iran on one side, the "Stans" on the other, and China not too far away, leaving India the sole democratic symbol of a state dedicated to hope for the future.

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Haitian Aid

A year after a devastating earthquake struck the Island of Hispaniola, Haiti has done next to nothing to help the million internally displaced still living in squalid refugee camps. A year after the disaster, with international aid pouring into the country at an unprecedented rate, Haitians have been confronted with a cholera outbreak. The country is in a situation of hopeless triage; where first to turn to ameliorate the misery of its people?

Yet the estimates of the Haitian government itself is that there are over four thousand foreign aid groups operating within the country of ten million people. And then there is the work of the United Nations and its famed peacekeeping contingents long stationed in Haiti. After the initial successful emergency co-ordination post-earthquake providing medical attention, food, potable water and tents, everything appears to have gone slack.

One-tenth at least of the population still lives in those inadequate tents. The indigent poor and the homeless have seen no signs that matters are about to improve for them. There is no employment, cholera has struck 100,000 people and people are dying by their thousands. But all is not entirely bleak in Haiti. Not for the island's wealthy class, nor for the countless foreign aid groups.

Foreign aid, humanitarian aid groups have become an industry unto themselves, a growth industry and a profitable one. International funding for these groups is never at a too-low ebb, for Haiti's plight strikes the consciences of people the world over, particularly in the Americas. The government is as useless as it always has been. The recent election was a fiasco, and spurred violent protests.

The aid groups speak of building schools, hospitals, sanitation systems, public housing. All the infrastructure of a state that the state itself generally engages in. But of the millions upon millions of international aid sent to Haiti, much of it unaccounted for, and assumed to have made its way into personal bank accounts, not much appears to be deployed for a nation-building purpose.

The well-funded international aid groups are making life extremely pleasant for the country's wealthy class, buying high-priced vehicles from Haitian dealers, shopping at Haitian-owned upscale markets, while making apartment rentals pricier, exacerbating the situation for ordinary Haitians. Luxury hotels and restaurants are doing very well, thank you.
"You wonder where all the money is going besides seeing all the blans driving new four-by-fours", wryly observed one Haitian aid worker.
As for the Nepalese UN peace troops, their mission is questionable. To maintain order and security, certainly. But Haitians do not appear to have invested much belief in their presence. Accusing them of having brought the cholera bacterium to the island to begin with, and spreading it through dumping human waste in a riverway. Which may very well be a canard, since the Haitian authorities have done the very same thing with Haitian waste.

Yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did determine that the cholera strain appears to have emanated from South Asia. And the UN troops remain deeply unpopular: "They don't need to be here. they don't give us work. they don't know what they're doing. They march out three times a day. They're looking for women."

This is Haiti, awaiting rescue from its existential dilemma of ignorance, poverty, corruption and misery.

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Blazing Cat Fur: Muslim Attempts To Turn Montreal Into Nazi Shithole

Blazing Cat Fur: Muslim Attempts To Turn Montreal Into Nazi Shithole

Blazing Cat Fur: Youtube Dhimmified: Cows To IslamoNazis And Censors Palestinian Media Watch Account

Blazing Cat Fur: Youtube Dhimmified: Cows To IslamoNazis And Censors Palestinian Media Watch Account

Blazing Cat Fur: Coming soon to a bus near you....

Blazing Cat Fur: Coming soon to a bus near you....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holocaust Diminishment

In the planning for quite some time, now, because there is seen to be 'undue' attention to the Holocaust, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights whose purpose is to chronicle human rights abuses in a larger perspective, but also focus largely on the Holocaust, has come under fire from an organization which states it represents German-Canadians. And it seems that umbrella organization, speaking on behalf of 90 German-Canadian clubs, churches and businesses across the country, has taken umbrage with that purpose.

"We shouldn't have a Holocaust exhibit as a permanent exhibit if no one else has one", according to Tony Bergmeier, national president of the German-Canadian Congress.

Oops, why not? In fact, there are many countries of the world which have built stand-alone, single-purpose Holocaust memorials. The Holocaust stands out as a truly impressive over-arching, government-sponsored, national and during a time of war, international determination in Axis and occupied countries to destroy all living traces of a single ethnic human community. During that time of war in a world conflagration, time, energy and resources were deployed for the singular purpose of destroying Europe's Jews.

With the success of the Axis countries in establishing the Thousand-Year Reich under German rule, there would have been an extension of the ghettoes, the death camps, in the vanquished countries of the free world. Feeding Jews into the death chambers that Nazi Germany planned and worked so efficiently to exterminate a people they claimed were inferior and deserving of wholesale destruction. The minute attention and details paid to accomplishing this grotesque scheme to rid the world of Jews is surely deserving of close attention...?

But Mr. Bergmeier claims his organization strenuously objects to permanent galleries edifying the Holocaust, and those dedicated to the plight of Canada's aboriginal peoples in view of the fact as he saw it, that no other human-rights violation of human suffering will receive permanent display.
"The way it is, (it's) one type of exhibit for the Holocaust and one for the native people, and separate types of exhibits for the rest of the world. ..That's not the proper way."

Oh. Perhaps, on the other hand, it is justified and does represent the 'proper way'.

As the distinguishing international example of man's inhumanity to man in the 20th Century there are many who have no problem whatever disagreeing with Mr. Bergmeier and those whose interests he represents. And as Canada's singular blot on human rights, shared by other Western countries in their similar historical casual dismissal of aboriginal rights, the permanent displays on native justice certainly qualifies.

Mr. Bergmeier, on behalf of all the groups he represents, is willing to lend his particular expertise to demonstrate the proper way. The website for his umbrella group states it is dedicated to preserving German culture and "defend(ing) human rights within the laws of Canada, and the human rights declaration of the United Nations". Denying that he or his organization are "holocaust deniers", he feels entitled to contact the Government of Canada to relay his concerns.

His concerns appear blatantly designed to keeping a lid on further revelations and spreading greater information within Canada about the Holocaust, a German-designed and -prosecuted wholesale execution of a people, quite amazing in its scope and technical focus, let alone the bestiality of its intent and immense success.

The Holocaust information will inform that the mentally and physically impaired, gypsies, homosexuals, political dissenters, religious protesters, also were incarcerated and met their dreadful deaths as did six million European Jews. This was a unique event in the annals of human atrocity. It encompassed all the Axis and occupied countries of Europe with the demand that they remit their Jewish populations for transfer to death camps.

The horrendous event became known to the international community which itself did precious little to aid desperate Jews to escape the inevitable, when that could still be arranged. The League of Nations, later the United Nations, had the Holocaust largely in mind when it issued its human rights declaration. Post-Holocaust, guilt lay heavy on the consciences of countries and their leaders, and among vast numbers of people who could not believe the extent of the carnage.

Most certainly, with no equivocation required, this sole event is deserving of illumination on the world stage, with its solemn pledge that such dreadful human rights violations, plans for and execution of genocide, never again be allowed to occur. Regardless of the fact that that very pledge itself, although heartfully declared and dedicated to humanity, would see its resolve falter and dreadful events re-occur.

That, in fact, there were previous horrible events like the Ukrainian Holdomor, like the massacre of Armenians by the Turks, like the atrocities of Pol Pot, like the Rwandan genocide, Russia's slaughter of intellectuals and professionals and China's "cultural revolution", prior to and following the Holocaust, serve as good enough reason to memorialize the Holocaust in the manner in which it is being done, to instruct and caution.

The kind of vested interest that German-Canadians have in muffling attention to the Holocaust is obviously self-serving, and their oppressive denials of reality would never see the light of day in Germany itself which continues to serve its penance in deploring what its Nazi past represents; the absolute descent into the deepest recesses of human-devised evil possible, on this Earth.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Islamic Rejection: Islamist Radicalization

Amazing how countries of the West have permitted themselves to be transformed. It hasn't taken all that long, come to think of it. The last several decades, at most. With a steady migration of immigrants seeking to further their futures and those of their offspring, by taking advantage of opportunities and freedoms available to them in countries other than those reflecting their own heritage and place of birth.

Perhaps those immigrants did not understand that they would find the values and priorities, the culture and freedoms they would find in their welcoming new countries, quite representative of their own values. Instead, the degraded social mores they discovered to exist in the countries to which they had migrated ensured they would not wish to integrate fully. They would choose to separate themselves from what was so clearly offensive to them.

Religion, once so vital and important in societies of the West, now diminished in value. While the immigrants held their religion to be the very most important element of their lives. Their religion carefully delineated every facet of their lives. Beginning with their prayerful devotions, five times each day. Ending with their rejection of all that emanated from Western culture, with its distasteful promiscuities and its 'freedoms'.

France has its ghettos where authorities dare not intrude. They are places of poverty and disadvantage, as the immigrant populations do not merge with the larger society and French society at large has no wish to mingle with the immigrants. Crime is rampant since the youth are not gainfully employed in the banlieues, yet police fear for their safety should they enter the squalid and violent enclaves where torching vehicles is an angry sport.

Towns in Britain, like Luton, where Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly studied at Bedfordshire University and attended the Al Ghurabaa mosque appears yet another enclave of extremism from whence have come impressive numbers of jihadist faithful. MI5, Special Branch and the British Ministry of Defence have identified Luton as a "notable" centre for "extremist networks" in England's south.

It has become a spiralling menace. Recruiters seek out mentally unstable youth, or youth susceptible to the allure of adventure, violence, exciting and dramatic opportunities to express themselves as valiant warriors in Islam's vast army of dedicated martyr-assassins. When one person has been successfully radicalized, he sees it as his duty to seek out other recruits and indoctrinate others in the secret world of global jihad.

The options are various: travel to places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia or Iraq, and do battle with the infidel, the invaders, the oppressors of Islam. After having had the benefit of training in the various Saudi-funded jihadi training camps. Once that initial training has been completed, decamp to confront the enemy where it is assembled on Muslim soil, or return to the West.

Infiltrate, plan, assemble, and inflict as much damage as possible. Every assault is another triumphant green banner of success, irrespective of the damage done, for even failed attempts are successes. The intention, after all, is to give warning of what is to come. The instilling of terror in the minds of the enemy is the first order of business. All assaults on their security and peace of mind represent a success and a triumph.

If, in the prosecution of instilling terror, a sizeable number of deaths occur and representative installations destroyed, another facet of the mission succeeds. What is the sacrifice of a few disposable lives in any event, balanced against the greater challenge of promoting by whatever means available, that universal Caliphate?

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Shuttle Diplomacy

It requires an energetic and hopeful agenda to hustle back and forth between adversaries as an interlocutor and diplomatic liaison, hoping to achieve something remotely akin to a break-through where each weary and glass-eyed faction may eventually tire enough to agree to some remote, and unworkable arrangement. But even for that potential there must be at least a modicum of goodwill present.

A little bit of honesty and faith in a common future, to permit two resolute adversaries to agree to live in peace alongside common borders.

The proximity talks which had previously been undertaken by the Bush and then the Obama administrations achieved precisely nothing. Two sides resistant to the very idea of accommodating one another. Particularly in view of all the truly bad blood, the spilled blood, the potential for more always lurking in the background. The complete lack of trust evident from each side.

Based on previous attempts that failed, and based on a history of bloodshed.

Israel, of course, is to blame. For occupying areas of the West Bank which the Palestinian Authority has earmarked conclusively as their future territorial state. That this was a geography available to them sixty years ago and which they emphatically rejected in favour of the entire geography is another matter. But is it, given the fact that there are two streams of consciousness at work here?

One that is clearly championing a two-state solution and peace between itself and Israel, and which is fervently, famously espoused to the international community, while pleading for assistance in forcing Israel to withdraw from the West Bank as it did unilaterally from Gaza. Did that Gaza withdrawal assist in achieving peace? As a goodwill gesture what did it achieve?

The other stream of consciousness is the one spoken in Arabic, not English, and addressed to a home audience, sheltered from the international community's scrutiny. And that is the constant advocating of 'resistance' against the 'occupier'.

A resistance that is part of the PA school curriculum, and which plays a huge part in teaching Palestinian children how the past was horribly marred and what the future represents, and who their mortal enemy is and how they are being groomed, as ardent young Palestinian warriors of the future, to combat that enemy.

It manifests itself in commemoration of the martyrs who died in the cause of Palestinian statehood by nobly acting as suicide bombers. It names holidays and streets and buildings after the esteemed martyrs that the enemy considers terrorists for taking the lives of innocent men, women and children.

Those same civilian women and children who are considered also to represent the enemy because they were Israeli, they were Jews.

If it is difficult to persuade Israel that it must take a gigantic leap of faith and dismantle its many and populous settlements in the West Bank, and surrender half of its heritage city of Jerusalem to the demands of the Palestinian Authority, and prepare to grotesquely welcome back Palestinians who fled the country in 1948, effectively diluting the Jewish presence of Israel to a minority, it is equally difficult to persuade the PA to relinquish its hatred of Jews and Israel.

To persuade the Palestinian Authority to surrender its aspiration of assuming the entire territory inclusive of where Israel sits, to once again hold complete autonomic sway over "Palestine". To those solemnly dedicated and determined diplomats dispatched time and again from the United States to the Middle East to achieve the seemingly impossible, good luck and prepare to settle in for another long run.

After which do not be amazed if nothing is achieved. Intransigence is the hallmark of that geography. Bitter grievance is the inheritance of a people who have become quite comfortable in their ongoing status as willing refugees, since the United Nations is itself comfortable in supporting them as helplessly dependent refugees.

Is it little wonder that official Israel expects so little of its Palestinian counterparts? On the basis of previous encounters, ongoing events of violence so readily unleashed in rejection of the deep communion of a desire to establish an aura of peace and reconciliation, why place trust in those who choose not to deserve it?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Europe's Priapic Clown

He visualizes himself as an irresistible stud. A prancing, elegantly mincing, muscle-bound aristocrat of the bedroom, irresistible to women, irrespective of their age. Of course, he does have his own preferences. He may be a little long in the tooth himself, but it's the fresh-faced, firm-bodied young women who attract him. He deserves no less.

This quipping, egocentric man, wealthy beyond the dreams of most Italians and as corrupt as can almost be imagined, relishes the combination of charm and power that he believes he exudes. He quite dotes on himself. It doesn't embarrass him one bit that he courts young women the same age as his own offspring.

Or that he sacrificed a long-time marriage to a beautiful and intelligent woman to the juvenile appeal of cavorting when the mood strikes him - and that appears to occur pathetically often - with his public displays of sex-laced narcissism. He simply cannot deny himself any opportunities to experience sexual liaisons with a fillip of illicit overtones.

He may be 74 years of age, but there's no diminishment of his appetites. He revels in the attention that his outrageous displays of exuberance in life's opportunities attract. He can never quite feel his time in the limelight does harm to his reputation, for he has no reputation left, to speak of, and he finds that more than acceptable.

The Italian voting public appears by turns bemused and amused at his antics. After all, what macho male doesn't find appeal in wealth, self-confidence, power and pulchritude? Silvio Berlusconi has all those and more, in abundance. What's more, who is there in the Italian parliament prepared to confront him?

Particularly when, if a non-confidence vote in Parliament did succeed in voting down the government, all those other lawmakers from his party and opposition parties would be involved of necessity in the dissolution of the current government, and an election to follow. Where many stand the risk of failing to be re-elected.

And if that happened, migod, there goes their extravagant salaries and pensions. There are some principles that are quite simply too costly to support. Outrage with the performance of a prime minister who insults the integrity and importance of his office, just doesn't cut it as a reason to risk losing all of that.

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"Hezbollah's Fingerprints"

There is a heavy gloom in the air in Lebanon, of a government so compromised that it cannot breathe easily. The profound alteration of demographics in the country, once so heavily represented by Christians has seen a marked change. Where just several decades earlier the Palestinian Arabs that settled there, living in squalid refugee camps and looked down upon with disdain and disgust by most Lebanese, there is now a dangerous and powerful militia armed by Lebanon's neighbour Syria whose aspirations to control it have never diminished.

The occupation of Lebanon by Syria, ostensibly to protect the country from further incursions by their Zionist neighbour, and which drained the country of its natural resources, where the rich abundance of foods and consumer goods made its way into Syria, and the government of Lebanon heeded instructions from Syria, is gone, but not forgotten. Syria still hovers possessively over Lebanon, anxious at some future time to resume its overseer role, as a caring neighbour.

It was the assassination of anti-Syrian, pro-Western Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 that finally saw Lebanon re-assert its independence through a populist backlash. And the censure that emanated from the international community, convinced that Syria was involved in that deed, also convinced Syria to decamp, to withdraw itself back into its own borders, leaving Lebanon to itself. Ah, not quite; leaving Lebanon to Iran's proxy militia, Hezbollah.

The triumvirate of Islamist triumph, where Iran supplies the muscle and the fear-mongering, and the oil-based cash and Syria remains the conduit re-arming Hezbollah far beyond what it lost during the Israeli-Hezbollah war that the world called off far too soon, is alive and well. Hezbollah feeling more cocky than ever, spurring the late Rafiq Hariri's son to visit Iran with the respectfully humble request that it calm down its dogs of war.

It will take quite a bit of reassurance, however, none of which will emanate from Iran, as the Middle East waits upon the anticipated United Nations special tribunal's investigation results into Hariri's murder. Hezbollah, now a significant part of Lebanon's governing elite, has always claimed that Israel was responsible for Rafiq Hariri's assassination. Israel is always responsible for any and all sinister and deadly attacks that occur, Arab upon Arab.

But if and when, as widely expected, the United Nations special tribunal announces its indictment, naming senior Hezbollah officials responsible for the assassination, the entire region could be thrown into volatile chaos. There will be reprisals, there always does lurk the menacing potential of civil war and the country yet again torn asunder in hateful antipathies, Sunni against Shia, Kurds against Arabs, and all savaging Christians.

Should Hezbollah be formally recognized as the force behind that assassination, identified as a terror group striking fellow Muslims and Lebanese, what happens with the uneasy coalition government and the tidy arrangements that have thus far served to ensure that the Lebanese government remains prepared for another war with Israel now that Hezbollah's arms have been strengthened under the watch of UN peacekeepers?

Iran claims it is prepared to strike a death blow at Israel. Syria appears to have informed Iran that it is not capable nor prepared to assist. Hezbollah will provide the second strike, and Hamas the third, hitting Israel, presumably, from three directions, while the Arab world stands by awaiting the outcome.

Or so the scenario reads with some uncertainty.

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