Friday, August 31, 2007

Ban Islam!

Daniel Pipes

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
August 29, 2007

Non-Muslims occasionally raise the idea of banning the Koran, Islam, and Muslims. Examples this month include calls by a political leader in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, to ban the Koran — which he compares to Hitler's Mein Kampf — and two Australian politicians, Pauline Hanson and Paul Green, demanding a moratorium on Muslim immigration.

What is one to make of these initiatives? First, some history. Precedents exist from an earlier era, when intolerant Christian governments forced Muslims to convert, notably in 16th-century Spain, and others strongly encouraged conversions, especially of the elite, as in 16th- and 17th-century Russia. In modern times, however, with freedom of expression and religion established as basic human rights, efforts to protect against intolerance by banning the Koran, Islam, or Muslims have failed.

In perhaps the most serious contemporary attempt to ban the Koran, a Hindu group argued in 1984–85 that the Islamic scriptures contain "numerous sayings, repeated in the book over and over again, which on grounds of religion promote disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and incite people to commit violence and disturb public tranquility."

The taking of this demand, known as "The Calcutta Quran Petition," to court prompted riots and deaths in Bangladesh. The case so alarmed New Delhi that the attorney general of India himself took part in the proceedings to oppose the petition, which, not surprisingly, was dismissed.

Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002) led the most consequential effort so far to end Muslim emigration, in his case, to the Netherlands.

This early petition set the standard in terms of collecting objectionable Koranic verses. Other efforts have been more rhetorical and less operational. The most consequential was by Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands to end Muslim immigration. Had he not been assassinated in 2002, he might have ridden his issue to the prime ministry.

The coordinator of Italy's Northern League, Roberto Calderoli, wrote in 2005: "Islam has to be declared illegal until Islamists are prepared to renounce those parts of their pseudo political and religious doctrine glorifying violence and the oppression of other cultures and religions."

A British member of Parliament, Boris Johnson, pointed out in 2005 that passing a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill "must mean banning the reading — in public or private — of a great many passages of the Koran itself." His observation prompted a Muslim delegation to seek assurances, which it received, from the Home Office that no such ban would occur. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity in 2006 called for prohibiting one translation of the Koran, The Noble Koran: A New Rendering of its Meaning in English, because "it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them."

Other Western countries witnessed lesser efforts: Norway's Kristiansand Progress Party sought to ban Islam in 2004 and Germany's Bundesverband der Bürgerbewegungen sought to prohibit the Koran in 2006, arguing for its incompatibility with the German constitution. "Stop the Islamification of Denmark" demanded in early 2007 the prohibition of parts of the Koran and all mosques, calling them unconstitutional. Australia's Catch the Fire Ministries argued in 2004 that because "The Koran contradicts Christian doctrine in a number of places and, under the blasphemy law, [it] is therefore illegal."

Elsewhere, writers have made the same demands. Switzerland's Alain Jean-Mairet is the strategist of a two-part plan, popular and juridical, with the goal that "all the Islamic projects in Switzerland will prove impossible to fulfill." In France, an anonymous writer at the Liberty Vox Web site wishes to ban Islam, as does Warner Todd Huston in the United States.

The 2006 movie V for Vendetta portrays a future Britain in which the Koran is banned.

My take? I understand the security-based urge to exclude the Koran, Islam, and Muslims, but these efforts are too broad, sweeping up inspirational passages with objectionable ones, reformers with extremists, friends with foes. Also, they ignore the possibility of positive change.

More practical and focused would be to reduce the threats of jihad and Shariah by banning Islamist interpretations of the Koran, as well as Islamism and Islamists. Precedents exist. A Saudi-sponsored Koran was pulled from school libraries. Preachers have gone to jail for their interpretation of the Koran. Extreme versions of Islam are criminally prosecuted. Organizations are outlawed. Politicians have called for Islamists to leave their countries.

Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is. Tolerate moderate Islam, but eradicate its radical variants.


DEBKAfile - New Arabian Gulf Oil Pipeline Network Will Detour Hormuz

DEBKAfile - New Arabian Gulf Oil Pipeline Network Will Detour Hormuz

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen have launched the vast Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline project with encouragement from Washington, DEBKA-Net Weekly 313 revealed on Aug. 10, 2007. By crisscrossing Arabia overland, the net of oil pipelines will bypass the Straits of Hormuz at the throat of the Persian Gulf and so remove Gulf oil routes from the lurking threat of Iranian closure.

Click HERE to see the full-size map.

The 35,000-strong new Saudi security force, disclosed this week, will protect the new project, together with the oil installations of the world’s biggest oil exporter, from attack by such enemies as al Qaeda or Iran. The first 5,000 recruits are already in training, as plans advance to start laying the first section of the new pipeline system in November, 2007.

Because of the sensitivity of their mission, Saudi security experts assisted by American advisers are thoroughly screening each recruit about his family, tribal and past associations to weed out religious extremists. DEBKAfile adds that the new oil security force will be the third largest in Saudi Arabia, after the armed forces and the National Guard.

The first Trans-Arabia pipeline will carry 5 million barrels of oil a day, almost one third of the 17 million barrels produced by Gulf emirates. The crude will be pumped through pipes running from the world’s biggest oil terminal owned by Saudi Aramco at Ras Tannura, south to S. Yemen’s oil port of Mukallah and west to the Red Sea port and industrial town of Yanbu north of Jeddah.

The $6 billion investment in the first stage will come from the participating governments within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council – GCC.

Rising regional tensions and the vulnerability of the Straits of Hormuz, the only maritime outlet for Gulf oil, to hostile blockade has galvanized the partners into urgent action to get the project up and running.

The Straits of Hormuz are a chokepoint in every sense.

Only 37 km wide, they consist of two lanes able to accommodate oi tankers entering and exiting Gulf ports. Every 24 hours, an average 30 vessels transit the straits loaded with roughly one-quarter of the world’s oil consumption.

This volume varies according to weather conditions, currents and whether it is day or night. The traffic during the navigable hours tends to be heavy, no more than 6 minutes between each vessel. Even if the US Navy and Air Force deployed in the Persian Gulf succeed in keeping the Straits of Hormuz open to shipping in an emergency situation, their very presence must slow the traffic down. The flow could be reduced to about half its regular capacity.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Gulf sources report that the Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline project’s second stage for rerouting South Iraqi oil will start in early 2009 without waiting for the first to be completed

Consisting of about 60% of Iraq’s oil product, the oil from the Basra terminal will be diverted from the Shatt al-Arb outlet to the Persian Gulf, which Iraq shares with Iran, and flow into pipes crossing the Iraqi Desert directly into Saudi Arabia – according to the plan.

On August 9, Tehran countered by announcing negotiations with Baghdad on a deal to build a pipeline to carry 200,000 barrels per day of southern Iraqi crude to refineries in Iran.

According to another part of the plan, Tapline will be resusciated. The story of how this pipeline fell into disuse mirrors half a century of Middle East conflict.

The Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company started operating in 1950 as the largest oil pipeline of its time, a joint venture of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso), Standard Oil of California (Chevron), The Texas Company (Texaco) and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (Mobil). It transported Saudi oil from Persian Gulf fields to a Mediterranean outlet, whence it was shipped to Europe and the eastern United States.

The conflict in Palestine in 1946 caused the Tapline Company to seek alternative routes, which went through Jordan, over the Golan Heights and up to the north Lebanese port of Tripoli on the Mediterranean. The section running across Golan was discontinued after the 1967 war.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s oil sources report that Kuwait and Qatar, though members of the GCC, have opted out of the Trans-Arabia pipeline project.

The two emirates are deeply involved in building a gas pipeline network which is a higher priority for them than the transport of oil - especially Qatar which has large gas reserves but not much oil.

Southern Iraq’s oil is therefore projected to flow directly into Saudi Arabia and bypass Kuwait.

The Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline network will consist of five main branches:

Pipeline No. 1: Work begins on this section in November. It will run 350 km from Ras Tannura on the Saudi easern coast to Al Fujairah in the United Emirates, also collecting cruide from Abu Dhabi’s Habashan oil field. Its 48-inch diameter provides a capacity of 1.5 million bpd.

Pipeline No. 2: This will link Ras Tannura to Musqat, Oman.

Pipeline No. 3: This will run southwest from Ras Tannura through Hadhramouth and onto Mukalla, on the Yemeni shore of the Gulf of Aden.

Pipeline No. 4: This pipeline will will also terminate at Mukalla, but first circle round from Ras Tannura to the UAE before turning back into Saudi Arabia and on to Yemen.

Pipeline No. 5: This line will slice across Arabia from Ras Tannura in the East due west to Yanbu on Saudi Arabia’s western coast on the Red Sea.

This route is already occupied by two older pipelines. They were laid in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war for the very same purpose as the contemporry project, namely to circumvent the Straits of Hormuz. One was built to carry Iraqi oil out to market away from the war zones of the Iranian-Iraqi frontier.

Alive to possible Iranian or al Qaeda sabotage attempts, the Trans-Arabia Pipeline partners have decided to sink large sections underground and secure the system with such obstructions as fences, earthworks, moats and roadblocks. The new oil force will man the system.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s estimates, even after the US pulls its army out of Iraq, it will retain troops for securing both the northern and southern oil fields and installations. They will be there to keep Iran at a distance, especially from the the Basra oil center.

The project also fits into the preparations underway in the Gulf oil emirates and Saudi Arabia to step up oil production by 4 million bpd to rein in skyrocketing prices before they hit $100 per barrel.

On the inter-Arab plane, Riyadh hopes Syrian Bashar Assad will appreciate the benefits accruing to his country from the pipeline across its territory - enough to draw away from his close clinch with Iran and mend his fences with Washington. The Saudis are pinning their hopes on Tapline’s resurrection helping to put Damascus-Washington relations on a new footing.

DEBKAfile - DEBKAfile: USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group takes up position opposite Lebanese coast amid trepidation over September presidential election

DEBKAfile - DEBKAfile: USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group takes up position opposite Lebanese coast amid trepidation over September presidential election

Saturday, August 25, 2007

IDF Terminates Terrorists

JERUSALEM — Under the cover of fog, two heavily armed Palestinian militants on Saturday used a rope and ladder to scale a massive border wall and enter Israel from Gaza, attacking an army base with explosives and gunfire before they were tracked down and killed by Israeli troops.
The infiltration was the latest incident in a spike of violence that left eight Palestinians dead in less than 24 hours. Among those killed was an 11-year-old boy shot Friday while visiting relatives in a West Bank village.
Militants frequently attack the Israeli border. But Saturday's infiltration was one of the few times they have managed to slip through the heavily fortified fence enclosing Gaza.
In the most brazen attack, militants tunneled into Israel in June 2006, killing two soldiers and capturing a third. The captured soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, remains in captivity. Tensions have risen further since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of Gaza in June.
In Saturday's early-morning raid, the militants took advantage of darkness and weather conditions to slip into Israel near the Erez border crossing, said Col. Moni Katz, an Israeli commander. "There was thick fog that enabled us to see only a few meters ahead," he said.
Katz said a total of four militants approached the wall, but only two climbed into Israel. Soldiers showed reporters the rope the attackers used to slide down.
Maj. Tal Lev-Ram, an Israeli army spokesman, said there was "an intention to carry out a large attack in Israeli territory." He said the militants were heavily armed "head to toe" with grenades and automatic weapons.
Lev-Ram said the militants attacked an army post at Erez — the main passageway for people going in and out of Gaza — and continued into Israel. Ground forces were dispatched and killed the infiltrators after a brief chase. He said the militants were about 700 meters (yards) inside Israeli territory when they were shot.
After the clash, their bodies were dragged away by a small robotic crane — used in case the men were rigged with explosives. Authorities set up checkpoints and conducted searches along the border for several hours as precautionary measures. Two soldiers were lightly wounded in the fighting, the army said.
In Gaza, three militant groups — the Popular Resistance Committees, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades — claimed responsibility in a joint statement.
An Al Aqsa official confirmed the fog had created a "golden opportunity," adding the border farming community of Netiv Haasara was the target. He was not authorized to talk to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The groups also issued a farewell video made by the two dead attackers in which the men, wearing green and brown camouflage, read verses from the Koran and said the attack was for the sake of God and the Palestinian homeland. The men brandished automatic weapons, and flags of the three groups were in the background.
In other violence, militants detonated a bomb near the border fence in southern Gaza, lightly wounding four soldiers, the army said.
The volatile border with Gaza has grown increasingly tense since Hamas took control of Gaza in June after five days of fighting against the rival Fatah movement. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group and has stepped up its activities in Gaza, launching incursions to halt rocket attacks and searching for tunnels that can be used by militants.
The army also frequently thwarts attempted infiltrations, including one on Friday night in which two militants were killed after firing at Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the border.
In the West Bank, meanwhile, Israeli forces opened fire at a car full of Palestinian gunmen in Jenin early Saturday, killing two Islamic Jihad militants inside and wounding two others, Palestinian security officials said.

Friday, August 24, 2007

CNN Loves the Peaceful Islamacists

CNN has been broadcasting a series titled, "G-d's Warriors."
Don't watch it unless you want to puke all over yourself.Guess who comes out to be the good guys and who comes out to be the bad guys?
That's right, the Jews and the Christians are the ones we have to worry about because Baruch Goldstein shot some Muslims screaming, "Kill the Jews" in a cave 13 years ago.
They don't mention what the innocent Muslims were screaming, of course, or that they had recently murdered two of Goldstein's closest friends, one of whom died in his arms.
CNN condemns the Christians because they support Israel.
The Muslims, if you didn't know already, are according to CNN, just misunderstood.

CNN has a lot to answer for.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You call this work?

Shabbat Shalom, everyone,

In case you wonder why I do this on Shabbat, well, I don't get paid, so it's not work, right?
If I got paid it would be work, it would be tiring, I'd have to deal with stress and deadlines and labor unions and yentas and schmucks, and so forth.
So anyway, it's a labor of love.
You know, IsraelAmerica is the largest web site dealing with these issues from this perspective in New Mexico.
We are the first "IsraelAmerica" the others are imitators.

Israel has worked out such a deal with the Big Satan, 30 Billion.
The Arabs are praying 10 times a day now, and planning suicide attacks using Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers.

Here's a couple of items of interest I tracked down for you today:
Israeli Arabs Deny Holocaust ...
A recent poll showed that over 25% of Israel's Arab citizens believe the Holocaust never happened. In addition nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews avoid entering Arab Israeli towns

The most shocking revelation was that 33 percent of Arab Israeli high school and college graduates who had access to higher education denied the holocaust as compared to 28 percent of Israeli Arabs who lacked the 'higher education.' Obviously, something is wrong with the educational system, when uneducated Arabs have correct information and 'educated' Israeli Arabs are miss-educated.

Among Israeli Jews, 63 percent said they avoid entering Arab towns and cities, and 68 percent fear the possibility of civil unrest among Israeli Arabs.

Regarding the recent Lebanese war, 48 percent believe that Hezbollah's rocket attacks were justified. 89 percent said viewed Israel's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime, yet only 44 percent saw Hezbollah's attacks on Israel as such. Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hezbollah's capture of IDFsoldiers was justified. In addition, 76 percent described Zionism as racist.

But two thirds desired to live in Israel as a Jewish state, even if it existed alongside a Palestinian state. Seems that the Jewish money is still greener than that of the Arabs.

Majority of Israeli Jews Against Withdrawals ...
Another poll found that a majority of Israelis want no more withdrawals. from parts of the Land of Israel – not even for "real peace." Even in the case of a “real peace deal,” 68 percent of Israelis were against withdrawal from the Golan Heights and 53 percent from Judea and Samaria and 86 percent from the Western Wall.

A shocking only 8% believe that a peace agreement with Syria can be reached. But when asked if the lands conquered in the 1967 Six Day War improved Israel’s security situation, 51 percent said it did and 29 percent said it worsened it.

Former Chief Rabbi: Gaza Residents Share Collective Guilt ...
former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that all civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot. He said that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.

According to Jewish war ethics an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets. The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.

Although he opposed a ground troop incursion into Gaza that would endanger IDF soldiers, better he proposed carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life. He son explained: "If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,and if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."

Well, that's all for today, folks, come back.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blackout in most of Gaza City

I heard a commentator on one of the news shows today say that we needed to fight terrorism the way the Israelis do.
Here, Here!
This is some of what is going on there today:

An Israeli army spokesman said that deliveries of fuel had been stopped for security reasons [AFP] Power has been cut in many parts of the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian electricity company said there was a shortage of fuel deliveries from Israel.

Palestinian Company Cuts Off Gaza Power

By IBRAHIM BARZAK Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian company cut off power to parts of the central Gaza Strip Friday after Israel closed a crossing through which fuel is brought into the Palestinian area.

Several neighborhoods of Gaza City were blanketed in darkness a few hours after the Gaza Generating Company, which supplies the strip with about 25 percent of its electricity, said it would turn off three of its four generators.

"For two days we have not received fuel," Gaza Generating Company Chairman Rafik Malikha told a press conference in Gaza City. "The Israeli side is preventing vehicles from approaching the crossing."

GAZA CITY (AP) — Israeli aircraft fired two missiles Friday at Palestinian rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas forces said.
The missiles missed the launching squad that was on its way back from firing rockets toward Israel and caused no injuries, the forces said. Witnesses said they heard two explosions after seeing Israeli helicopters in the area.

The army confirmed that aircraft had fired at Palestinian militants who launched rockets. More than 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Friday, some from the area of the airstrike, the army said.

A new book is out, apparently putting forward the old cannard about the "Israel Lobby".
Let's hope the book dies a quick death.

Backlash Over Book on Policy for IsraelBy Patricia Cohen

In an article last spring about the pro-Israel lobby, two scholars set off a firestorm of charges of anti-Semitism. Their new book on the topic has re-ignited the fire and led many to question the wisdom of providing a forum to what some consider a "conspiracy issue."

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" is not even in bookstores, but already anxieties have surfaced about the backlash it is stirring, with several institutions backing away from holding events with the authors.

John J. Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, were not totally surprised by the reaction to their work. An article last spring in the London Review of Books outlining their argument - that a powerful pro-Israel lobby has a pernicious influence on American policy - set off a firestorm as charges of anti-Semitism, shoddy scholarship and censorship ricocheted among prominent academics, writers, policymakers and advocates. In the book, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and embargoed until Sept. 4, they elaborate on and update their case.
"Now that the cold war is over, Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States," they write. "Yet no aspiring politician is going to say so in public or even raise the possibility" because the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful. They credit the lobby with shutting down talks with Syria and with moderates in Iran, preventing the United States from condemning Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon and with not pushing the Israelis hard enough to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. They also discuss Christian Zionists and the issue of dual loyalty.

Opponents are prepared. Also being released on Sept. 4 is "The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control" (Palgrave Macmillan) by Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. The notion that pro-Israel groups "have anything like a uniform agenda, and that U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East is the result of their influence, is simply wrong," George P. Shultz, a former secretary of state, says in the foreword. "This is a conspiracy theory pure and simple, and scholars at great universities should be ashamed to promulgate it."

The subject will certainly prompt furious debate, though not at the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Jewish cultural center in Washington and three organizations in Chicago. They have all turned down or canceled events with the authors, mentioning unease with the controversy or the format.

The authors were particularly disturbed by the Chicago council's decision, since plans for that event were complete and both authors have frequently spoken there before. The two sent a four-page letter to 94 members of the council's board detailing what happened. "On July 24, Council President Marshall Bouton phoned one of us (Mearsheimer) and informed him that he was canceling the event," and that his decision "was based on the need 'to protect the institution.' He said that he had a serious 'political problem,' because there were individuals who would be angry if he gave us a venue to speak, and that this would have serious negative consequences for the council. 'This one is so hot,' Marshall maintained."

Mr. Mearsheimer later said of Mr. Bouton, "I had the sense that this phone call pained him deeply."

Mr. Bouton was out of town, but Rachel Bronson, vice president for programs and studies at the council, said, "Whenever we have topics that are particularly controversial or sensitive, we try to make sure someone from another point of view is there." In this case, she said, there was not sufficient time to set up that sort of panel before the council calendar went out. There are no plans to have the authors speak at a later date, however.

"One of the points we make in the book is that this is a subject that's very hard to talk about," Mr. Walt said in an interview from his office in Cambridge. "Organizations, no matter how strong their commitment to free speech, don't want to schedule something that's likely to cause controversy."

After the cancellation Roberta Rubin, owner of the Book Stall, a store in Winnetka, Ill., offered to help find a site for the authors. She said she tried a Jewish community center and two large downtown clubs but they all told her "they can't afford to bring in somebody 'too controversial.' " She added that even she was concerned about inviting authors who might offend customers.

Some of the planned sites, like the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, a cultural center in Washington, would have been host of an event if Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt appeared with opponents, said Esther Foer, the executive director.

Mr. Walt said, "Part of the game is to portray us as so extreme that we have to be balanced by someone from the 'other side.' " Besides, he added, when you're promoting a book, you want to present your ideas without appearing with someone who is trying to discredit you.
As for City University, Aoibheann Sweeney, director of the Center for the Humanities, said, "I looked at the introduction, and I didn't feel that the book was saying things differently enough" from the original article. Ms. Sweeney, who said she had consulted with others at City University, acknowledged that they had begun planning for an event in September moderated by J. J. Goldberg, the editor of The Forward, a leading American Jewish weekly, but once he chose not to participate, she decided to pass. Mr. Goldberg, who was traveling in Israel, said in a telephone interview that "there should be more of an open debate." But appearing alone with the authors would have given the impression that The Forward was presenting the event and thereby endorsing the book, he said, and he did not want to do that. A discussion with other speakers of differing views would have been different, he added.

"I don't think the book is very good," said Mr. Goldberg, who said he read a copy of the manuscript about six weeks ago. "They haven't really done original research. They haven't talked to the people who are being lobbied or those doing the lobbying."

Overall Mr. Mearsheimer said he thinks the response to their views will be "less ferocious than last time, because it's becoming increasingly difficult to make the argument in a convincing way that anyone who criticizes the lobby or Israel is an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew." Both Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt pointed to the growing dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq, criticism of Israel's war in Lebanon and the publication of former President Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" as making it somewhat easier to criticize Israel openly.

"This isn't a cabal; this isn't anything secretive," Mr. Walt said.

American Jews who lobby on Israel's behalf are not all that different from the National Rifle Association, the anti-tax movement, AARP or the American Petroleum Institute, he said, "They just happen to be really good at it."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Padilla guilty of aiding Al-Qaeda

Good riddance to Padilla.
This loser was willing to trade his lack of Saturday night dates for the lives of innocent women and children.

A US federal jury overnight found citizen Jose Padilla guilty of aiding Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network and conspiring to commit murder outside the United States.
The jury found Padilla, a 36-year-old former member of a Chicago gang, guilty of supporting Islamic terrorists and of conspiring to kill, kidnap and maim people.
Padilla's two co-conspirators, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were also found guilty of the three charges they faced.
The seven-man, five woman jury took a day and a half to reach the verdict.
The three month long trial focused largely on wiretaps of telephone conversations between Padilla's co-defendants.

The White House was quick to hail the verdict.
"We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all. Jose Padilla received a fair trial and a just verdict," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
Padilla was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Chicago. He later moved to South Florida.
A convert to Islam, Padilla was detained in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare airport after returning from Egypt and was taken to a US navy prison in South Carolina.
Then-US attorney general John Ashcroft justified placing Padilla in military detention as an "enemy combatant" by saying he was suspected of planning to detonate a radioactive bomb in the United States.
But when Padilla was transferred to the civilian justice system after spending three-and-a-half years in military detention held without charge, the indictment made no mention of the so-called dirty bomb plot.

Instead Padilla and co-defendants were charged with aiding a US-based militant cell of Al-Qaeda that supplied recruits and funding to Islamic extremists abroad.
They were accused of conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and other countries from 1993 to 2001.
The prosecution portrayed Padilla as an Al-Qaeda-trained terrorist who plotted bloody attacks abroad.
"He provided himself to Al-Qaeda for training to learn how to murder, kidnap and maim," government lawyer Brian Frazier told the court during closing arguments on Tuesday.
The main piece of evidence against him was a "mujahedeen data form" found in Afghanistan in 2001 that was filled out under an alias and bore Padilla's fingerprints.
"You are already inside the Al-Qaeda organisation when you get this form to fill out," said Mr Frazier.
Padilla's lawyers said the charges were exaggerated, and insisted he and the other defendants had links with countries such as Afghanistan and Bosnia because they were involved in humanitarian aid for Muslims there.
One of the defence lawyers, Kenneth Swart, told the court that the charges were politically motivated.
Prosecutors claim that Padilla went to Afghanistan from Egypt in 1998, though the defence insisted Padilla travelled to Egypt to study Islam and Arabic.
A key theme during the trial was the government's claim that Jayyousi used his American Worldwide Relief charity as a front to provide funds and equipment to terrorists. The defence team argued the group sent aid to oppressed Muslims in conflict areas.

Padilla's defence team claimed that while held in military detention from 2002 to 2005 their client was subjected to sleep deprivation, threats of execution, exposure to noxious fumes, and extreme heat and cold, and was forced to wear a hood and stand in one position for extended periods of time.

"Jose was not a member of any support cell because there wasn't one. He did not commit violence. There were no victims, real or imaginary," Padilla's lawyer Anthony Natale told the jurors during the defence phase.

US authorities deny Padilla was mistreated.
Jeanne Baker, who represented Hassoun, a Lebanese-born Florida resident alleged to have recruited Padilla, had argued that the US government "is twisting the facts out of all recognition".
The government "really is trying to put Al-Qaeda on trial", Ms Baker said, adding: "It has nothing to do with the facts."
The defence team, which did not call on a single witness to testify, pointed out that Mr Frazier mentioned Al-Qaeda a total of 91 times in his opening statement.

One down and 3 billion to go!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hamas Militiamen Beat Protesters

It's often debated as to whether or not there actually are middle-of-the- road Arabs in Palestine that want freedom.
Perhaps this incident is a good sign. MB
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Hamas militiamen beat protesters with clubs and rifle butts to try to stop a demonstration by political opponents in the Gaza Strip on Monday, but hundreds chanting "We want freedom" defied the ban.

Hamas routed forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement in five days of savage fighting in Gaza in June. The Islamic militant group has tolerated no dissent since taking over the coastal strip.

After Fatah and other allied groups announced plans to stage a rally Monday, Hamas banned "all demonstrations and public gatherings" that did not have special permission.

Buses arriving at the demonstration site in a main square were halted by Hamas guards who beat protesters, driving them away and confiscating Fatah flags.

Nevertheless, about 300 protesters got past the militia cordon and demonstrated for about 20 minutes, shouting "We want to raise our voice," before dispersing.

Hamas men arrested several demonstrators and confiscated equipment from news photographers and cameramen seeking to cover the arrests, including an Associated Press camera.

The Palestinian journalists' union called on members to observe a three-day boycott of any events organized by the Hamas force to protest the treatment of the media.

Saleh Nasser, of the small, leftist, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine was at the protest and condemned Hamas' response.

"Treating people in this way when they came to raise their voice in a peaceful demonstration is something that is condemned, rejected and cannot be accepted," he said. "We are astonished by the decision to ban demonstrations."

Following the protest, Hamas squads raided Gaza offices of media organizations seeking material from the rally, eyewitnesses said. Staff at Gulf-based satellite broadcaster Al-Arabiyya said the Hamas men seized a camera, videotape and tripod from their premises.

The June infighting in Gaza, which killed about 100 people, deepened the already bitter political rivalry between Hamas and Fatah.

Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, Abbas expelled Hamas from the Palestinian coalition government and formed a West Bank-based administration of moderates in its place.

Undeterred, deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh pledged to impose law and order on the formerly anarchic Gaza Strip. But his heavily armed police, known as the Executive Force, is gaining a reputation for being heavy-handed at best, particularly when dealing with Fatah supporters.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Debka Anti-Terror Site Foils Bomb Plot

New York steps up security against al Qaeda attack in response to DEBKAfile Exclusive Report, followed by additional info on Manhattan dirty bomb

August 11, 2007, 10:45 AM (GMT+02:00)

New York police increased security Friday, Aug. 10, throughout Manhattan and tunnels and bridges against threat of an al Qaeda plot to detonate a dirty bomb in the city. The department cited an “unverified radiological threat” from Internet chatter reported on Israeli Web site, stressing the security hike was precautionary.

At the same time, the NY police confirmed to Reuters that additional information had been received that a dirty bomb may go off on Friday evening around 34th Street in Manhattan, where the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s department store are located. The deployment of radiological sensors was increased on vehicles, boats and helicopters and vehicle checkpoints set up in Wall Street, lower Manhattan’s financial district and at bridges and tunnels.

New York Mayor and US homeland department played down the threat as “unsubstantiated” and stressed the city’s alert status stayed unchanged at “orange.”

"Bombing in southern Iraq kills governor,"

by Hamid Ahmed for the Associated Press:

BAGHDAD - A powerful roadside bomb on Saturday killed the governor and police chief of a southern province that has seen fierce internal fighting between Shiite factions, officials said.
The bomb struck a convoy carrying the Khalil Jalil Hamza, the governor of the Qadisiyah province, and the provincial police chief home from a funeral service for a tribal sheik at about 5 p.m., army Brig. Gen. Othman al-Farood said.
Hamza and the police chief, Maj. Gen. Khalid Hassan, were killed, along with their driver and a body guard who were in the same SUV, according to al-Farood, the commander of the Iraqi army division in charge of the area.
The attack occurred in the town of Aajaf, as the convoy was headed back to the provincial capital of Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad.
Diwaniyah has been the site of heavy clashes between U.S.-Iraqi security forces and Shiite militia fighters. The area also has seen a rise in internal rivalries between rival militia forces, including the Mahdi Army that is loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
In Baghdad, militants bombed the house of a prominent anti-al-Qaida Sunni cleric, seriously wounding him and killing three of his relatives in what appeared to be an increased campaign against Sunnis who have turned against the terror network.
That attack, which was followed by a fierce firefight, came after Sheik Wathiq al-Obeidi called on residents in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Azamiyah to rise up against foreign fighters, a reference to al-Qaida in Iraq, which recently has seen a surge in opposition from fellow Sunnis.
A Sunni insurgent umbrella group threatened the cleric on Tuesday, calling him a traitor and accusing him of working with the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of Sunni tribal leaders who are fighting al-Qaida in Iraq in the province of the same name west of Baghdad.
"The so-called Wathiq and his followers ... are a legitimate target for mujahedeen (holy warriors)," the statement said.
The concept of takfir, or excommunication, coupled with the mandate to kill unbelievers (Qur'an 9:5) leads to two internal consequences for Muslim communities: One is eternal instability, as tempers are conditioned to be short and explosive over disagreements. Additionally, the lack of separation of religion and state in Islamic teachings only adds fuel to the fire where political disagreements arise, demonstrated by both Shi'ites and Sunnis in this article.

In that atmosphere, the hazards of being branded a substandard believer, coupled with the military and material incentive for demonstrating religious devotion only further encourages as literal a following of texts and teachings as possible (see also: Gaza Strip). And thus, there arises a self-perpetuating cycle in that the solution to Islamically-charged instability is always more Islam (since the root of the problem is that the other party has it wrong), more sharia, and more jihad to make it happen.

Many thanks to Jihad Watch for the work they do in alerting readers Islamic Fundelmentalists. (Also for this article.)

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky