Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Mild-Mannered British Desire For The Annihilation Of Israel
The Mild-Mannered British Desire For The Annihilation Of Israel
MONDAY, 19TH JANUARY 2009
The British sociologist Frank Furedi reports what he has heard from Britain's educated classes since the Gaza crisis began:
I am standing in a queue waiting to buy a train ticket from London to Canterbury. A well-dressed lady standing behind me informs her friend that she 'can't wait till Israel disappears off the face of the earth.' What struck me was not her intense hostility to Israel but the mild-mannered, matter-of-fact tone with which she announced her wish for the annihilation of a nation. It seems that it is okay to condemn and demonize Israel. All of a sudden Israel has become an all-purpose target for a variety of disparate and confused causes. When I ask a group of Pakistani waiters sitting around a table in their restaurant why they 'hate' Israel, they casually tell me that it is because Jews are their 'religion's enemy.' Those who are highly educated have their own pet prejudice. One of my young colleagues who teaches media studies in a London-based university was taken aback during a seminar discussion when some of her students insisted that since all the banks are owned by Jews, Israel was responsible for the current global financial crisis.
This shocking anti-Jewish bigotry and violence - according to the Community Security Trust, Anglo-Jewry is in the middle of the worst outbreak of Jew-hatred since records began a quarter of a century ago, with more than 150 incidents across the country recorded since the beginning of the Gaza war -- has erupted in Britain as a direct result of the British media and political class giving the impression that the Israelis are deliberate child-killers. Both politicians and journalists have accepted at face value the Hamas claim that the dead in Gaza were mainly civilians, whereas the Israelis maintain that the vast majority were terrorist operatives. The British elites have accepted all claims of Israeli atrocities as well-founded, even though as far as I can see there is not a shred of evidence for any of them. They have also treated the word of the UN as objective holy writ, even though there are serious grounds for suspecting that the UN are the patsies of Hamas. ...
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Interviews with Geert Wilders and Wafa Sultan
From: Jesse Petrilla
Subject: My interview with Geert Wilders on YouTube
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 5:23 PM
I have just posted the United American Committee's
interview of Dutch MP Geert Wilders that I filmed along with
Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council while on our
recent trip to the Parliament in The Netherlands. It is an
amazing interview that is a warning to everyone in America
of things to come:
View this original video at:
Please share this with friends and post it on blogs
United American Committee
New Blue Astronaut Photos
I've written a paper on it, addressing the orthodox theories, and giving my own ideas, here:
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Universe is All Orgone Blues
At 3:47 AM +0000 1/22/09, jwildresearch wrote:
True color photographs, mostly with natural blue hues. The best site,
and longest download, is the second Mars site, with dramatic photos
A comet ["True color composite image in logarithmic scale of fragment
B of comet 73P"]:
Monday, January 26, 2009
While Europe Sleeps...
An Anatomy of Surrender
Motivated by fear and multiculturalism, too many Westerners are acquiescing to creeping sharia.
Islam divides the world into two parts. The part governed by sharia, or Islamic law, is called the Dar al-Islam, or House of Submission. Everything else is the Dar al-Harb, or House of War, so called because it will take war-holy war, jihad-to bring it into the House of Submission. Over the centuries, this jihad has taken a variety of forms. Two centuries ago, for instance, Muslim pirates from North Africa captured ships and enslaved their crews, leading the U.S. to fight the Barbary Wars of 1801-05 and 1815. In recent decades, the jihadists' weapon of choice has usually been the terrorist's bomb; the use of planes as missiles on 9/11 was a variant of this method.
What has not been widely recognized is that the Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, KhoÂ?meini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies' basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.
Call it a cultural surrender. The House of War is slowly-or not so slowly, in Europe's case-being absorbed into the House of Submission.
The Western media are in the driver's seat on this road to sharia. Often their approach is to argue that we're the bad guys. After the late Dutch sociologist-turned-politician Pim Fortuyn sounded the alarm about the danger that Europe's Islamization posed to democracy, elite journalists labeled him a threat. A New York Times headline described him as MARCHING THE DUTCH TO THE RIGHT. Dutch newspapers Het Parool and De Volkskrant compared him with Mussolini; Trouw likened him to Hitler. The man (a multiculturalist, not a Muslim) who murdered him in May 2002 seemed to echo such verdicts when explaining his motive: Fortuyn's views on Islam, the killer insisted, were "dangerous."
Perhaps no Western media outlet has exhibited this habit of moral inversion more regularly than the BBC. In 2006, to take a typical example, Manchester's top imam told psychotherapist John Casson that he supported the death penalty for homosexuality. Casson expressed shock-and the BBC, in a dispatch headlined IMAM ACCUSED OF "GAY DEATH" SLUR, spun the controversy as an effort by Casson to discredit Islam. The BBC concluded its story with comments from an Islamic Human Rights Commission spokesman, who equated Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality with those of "other orthodox religions, such as Catholicism" and complained that focusing on the issue was "part of demonizing Muslims."
Press acquiescence to Muslim demands and threats is endemic. When the Mohammed cartoons-published in September 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten to defy rising self-censorship after van Gogh's murder-were answered by worldwide violence, only one major American newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, joined such European dailies as Die Welt and El País in reprinting them as a gesture of free-speech solidarity. Editors who refused to run the images claimed that their motive was multicultural respect for Islam. Critic Christopher Hitchens believed otherwise, writing that he "knew quite a number of the editors concerned and can say for a certainty that the chief motive for 'restraint' was simple fear." Exemplifying the new dhimmitude, whatever its motivation, was Norway's leading cartoonist, Finn Graff, who had often depicted Israelis as Nazis, but who now vowed not to draw anything that might provoke Muslim wrath. (On a positive note, this February, over a dozen Danish newspapers, joined by a number of other papers around the world, reprinted one of the original cartoons as a free-speech gesture after the arrest of three people accused of plotting to kill the artist.)
Last year brought another cartoon crisis-this time over Swedish artist Lars Vilks's drawings of Mohammed as a dog, which ambassadors from Muslim countries used as an excuse to demand speech limits in Sweden. CNN reporter Paula Newton suggested that perhaps "Vilks should have known better" because of the Jyllands-Posten incident-as if people who make art should naturally take their marching orders from people who make death threats. Meanwhile, The Economist depicted Vilks as an eccentric who shouldn't be taken "too seriously" and noted approvingly that Sweden's prime minister, unlike Denmark's, invited the ambassadors "in for a chat."
The elite media regularly underreport fundamentalist Muslim misbehavior or obfuscate its true nature. After the knighting of Rushdie in 2007 unleashed yet another wave of international Islamist mayhem, Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "If you're wondering why you haven't been able to follow all the columns and editorials in the American press denouncing all this homicidal nonsense, it's because there haven't been any." Or consider the riots that gripped immigrant suburbs in France in the autumn of 2005. These uprisings were largely assertions of Muslim authority over Muslim neighborhoods, and thus clearly jihadist in character. Yet weeks passed before many American press outlets mentioned them-and when they did, they de-emphasized the rioters' Muslim identity (few cited the cries of "Allahu akbar," for instance). Instead, they described the violence as an outburst of frustration over economic injustice.
When polls and studies of Muslims appear, the media often spin the results absurdly or drop them down the memory hole after a single news cycle. Journalists celebrated the results of a 2007 Pew poll showing that 80 percent of American Muslims aged 18 to 29 said that they opposed suicide bombing-even though the flip side, and the real story, was that a double-digit percentage of young American Muslims admitted that they supported it. U.S. MUSLIMS ASSIMILATED, OPPOSED TO EXTREMISM, the Washington Post rejoiced, echoing USA Today's AMERICAN MUSLIMS REJECT EXTREMES. A 2006 Daily Telegraph survey showed that 40 percent of British Muslims wanted sharia in Britain-yet British reporters often write as though only a minuscule minority embraced such views.
Mainstream outlets have also served up anodyne portraits of fundamentalist Muslim life. Witness Andrea Elliott's affectionate three-part profile of a Brooklyn imam, which appeared in the New York Times in March 2006. Elliott and the Times sought to portray Reda Shata as a heroic bridge builder between two cultures, leaving readers with the comforting belief that the growth of Islam in America was not only harmless but positive, even beautiful. Though it emerged in passing that Shata didn't speak English, refused to shake women's hands, wanted to forbid music, and supported Hamas and suicide bombing, Elliott did her best to downplay such unpleasant details; instead, she focused on sympathetic personal particulars. "Islam came to him softly, in the rhythms of his grandmother's voice"; "Mr. Shata discovered love 15 years ago. . . . 'She entered my heart,' said the imam." Elliott's saccharine piece won a Pulitzer Prize. When Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes pointed out that Shata was obviously an Islamist, a writer for the Columbia Journalism Review dismissed Pipes as "right-wing" and insisted that Shata was "very moderate."
So it goes in this upside-down, not-so-brave new media world: those who, if given the power, would subjugate infidels, oppress women, and execute apostates and homosexuals are "moderate" (a moderate, these days, apparently being anybody who doesn't have explosives strapped to his body), while those who dare to call a spade a spade are "Islamophobes."
The entertainment industry has been nearly as appalling. During World War II, Hollywood churned out scores of films that served the war effort, but today's movies and TV shows, with very few exceptions, either tiptoe around Islam or whitewash it. In the whitewash category were two sitcoms that debuted in 2007, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Little Mosque on the Prairie and CW's Aliens in America. Both shows are about Muslims confronting anti-Muslim bigotry; both take it for granted that there's no fundamentalist Islam problem in the West, but only an anti-Islam problem.
Muslim pressure groups have actively tried to keep movies and TV shows from portraying Islam as anything but a Religion of Peace. For example, the Council for American-Islamic Relations successfully lobbied Paramount Pictures to change the bad guys in The Sum of All Fears (2002) from Islamist terrorists to neo-Nazis, while Fox's popular series 24, after Muslims complained about a story line depicting Islamic terrorists, ran cringe-worthy public-service announcements emphasizing how nonviolent Islam was. Earlier this year, Iranian-Danish actor Farshad Kholghi noted that, despite the cartoon controversy's overwhelming impact on Denmark, "not a single movie has been made about the crisis, not a single play, not a single stand-up monologue." Which, of course, is exactly what the cartoon jihadists wanted.
In April 2006, an episode of the animated series South Park admirably mocked the wave of self-censorship that followed the Jyllands-Posten crisis-but Comedy Central censored it, replacing an image of Mohammed with a black screen and an explanatory notice. According to series producer Anne Garefino, network executives frankly admitted that they were acting out of fear. "We were happy," she told an interviewer, "that they didn't try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance."
Leading liberal intellectuals and academics have shown a striking willingness to betray liberal values when it comes to pacifying Muslims. Back in 2001, Unni Wikan, a distinguished Norwegian cultural anthropologist and Islam expert, responded to the high rate of Muslim-on-infidel rape in Oslo by exhorting women to "realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it."
More recently, high-profile Europe experts Ian Buruma of Bard College and Timothy Garton Ash of Oxford, while furiously denying that they advocate cultural surrender, have embraced "accommodation," which sounds like a distinction without a difference. In his book Murder in Amsterdam, Buruma approvingly quotes Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen's call for "accommodation with the Muslims," including those "who consciously discriminate against their women." Sharia enshrines a Muslim man's right to beat and rape his wife, to force marriages on his daughters, and to kill them if they resist. One wonders what female Muslims who immigrated to Europe to escape such barbarity think of this prescription.
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and one of Britain's best-known public intellectuals, suggested in February the institution of a parallel system of sharia law in Britain. Since the Islamic Sharia Council already adjudicates Muslim marriages and divorces in the U.K., what Williams was proposing was, as he put it, "a much enhanced and quite sophisticated version of such a body, with increased resources." Gratifyingly, his proposal, short on specifics and long on academic doublespeak ("I don't think," he told the BBC, "that we should instantly spring to the conclusion that the whole of that world of jurisprudence and practice is somehow monstrously incompatible with human rights, simply because it doesn't immediately fit with how we understand it") was greeted with public outrage.
Another prominent accommodationist is humanities professor Mark Lilla of Columbia University, author of an August 2007 essay in the New York Times Magazine so long and languorous, and written with such perfect academic dispassion, that many readers may have finished it without realizing that it charted a path leading straight to sharia. Muslims' "full reconciliation with modern liberal democracy cannot be expected," Lilla wrote. For the West, "coping is the order of the day, not defending high principle."
Revealing in this light is Buruma's and Garton Ash's treatment of author Ayaan Hirsi Ali-perhaps the greatest living champion of Western freedom in the face of creeping jihad-and of the Europe-based Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan. Because Hirsi Ali refuses to compromise on liberty, Garton Ash has called her a "simplistic . . . Enlightenment fundamentalist"-thus implicitly equating her with the Muslim fundamentalists who have threatened to kill her-while Buruma, in several New York Times pieces, has portrayed her as a petulant naif. (Both men have lately backed off somewhat.) On the other hand, the professors have rhapsodized over Ramadan's supposed brilliance. They aren't alone: though he's clearly not the Westernized, urbane intellectual he seems to be-he refuses to condemn the stoning of adulteresses and clearly looks forward to a Europe under sharia-this grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and protégé of Islamist scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi regularly wins praise in bien-pensant circles as representing the best hope for long-term concord between Western Muslims and non-Muslims.
With the press, the entertainment industry, and prominent liberal thinkers all refusing to defend basic Western liberties, it's not surprising that our political leaders have been pusillanimous, too. After a tiny Oslo newspaper, Magazinet, reprinted the Danish cartoons in early 2006, jihadists burned Norwegian flags and set fire to Norway's embassy in Syria. Instead of standing up to the vandals, Norwegian leaders turned on Magazinet's editor, VebjÃ¸rn Selbekk, partially blaming him for the embassy burning and pressing him to apologize. He finally gave way at a government-sponsored press conference, groveling before an assemblage of imams whose leader publicly forgave him and placed him under his protection. On that terrible day, Selbekk later acknowledged, "Norway went a long way toward allowing freedom of speech to become the Islamists' hostage." As if that capitulation weren't disgrace enough, an official Norwegian delegation then traveled to Qatar and implored Qaradawi-a defender of suicide bombers and the murder of Jewish children-to accept Selbekk's apology. "To meet Yusuf al-Qaradawi under the present circumstances," Norwegian-Iraqi writer Walid al-Kubaisi protested, was "tantamount to granting extreme Islamists . . . a right of joint consultation regarding how Norway should be governed."
The UN's position on the question of speech versus "respect" for Islam was clear-and utterly at odds with its founding value of promoting human rights. "You don't joke about other people's religion," Kofi Annan lectured soon after the Magazinet incident, echoing the sermons of innumerable imams, "and you must respect what is holy for other people." In October 2006, at a UN panel discussion called "Cartooning for Peace," Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor proposed drawing "a very thin blue UN line . . . between freedom and responsibility." (Americans might be forgiven for wondering whether that line would strike through the First Amendment.) And in 2007, the UN's Human Rights Council passed a Pakistani motion prohibiting defamation of religion.
Other Western government leaders have promoted the expansion of the Dar al-Islam. In September 2006, when philosophy teacher Robert Redeker went into hiding after receiving death threats over a Le Figaro op-ed on Islam, France's then-prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, commented that "everyone has the right to express their opinions freely-at the same time that they respect others, of course." The lesson of the Redeker affair, he said, was "how vigilant we must be to ensure that people fully respect one another in our society." Villepin got a run for his money last year from his Swedish counterpart, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who, after meeting with Muslim ambassadors to discuss the Vilks cartoons, won praise from one of them, Algeria's Merzak Bedjaoui, for his "spirit of appeasement."
When, years after September 11, President George W. Bush finally acknowledged publicly that the West was at war with Islamic fascism, Muslims' and multiculturalists' furious reaction made him retreat to the empty term "war on terror." Britain's Foreign Office has since deemed even that phrase offensive and banned its use by cabinet members (along with "Islamic extremism"). In January, the Home Office decided that Islamic terrorism would henceforth be described as "anti-Islamic activity."
Western legislatures and courts have reinforced the "spirit of appeasement." In 2005, Norway's parliament, with virtually no public discussion or media coverage, criminalized religious insults (and placed the burden of proof on the defendant). Last year, that country's most celebrated lawyer, Tor Erling Staff, argued that the punishment for honor killing should be less than for other murders, because it's arrogant for us to expect Muslim men to conform to our society's norms. Also in 2007, in one of several instances in which magistrates sworn to uphold German law have followed sharia instead, a Frankfurt judge rejected a Muslim woman's request for a quick divorce from her brutally abusive husband; after all, under the Koran he had the right to beat her.
Even as Western authorities have hassled Islam's critics, they've honored jihadists and their supporters. In 2005, Queen Elizabeth knighted Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain, a man who had called for the death of Salman Rushdie. Also that year, London mayor Ken Livingstone ludicrously praised Qaradawi as "progressive"-and, in response to gay activists who pointed out that Qaradawi had defended the death penalty for homosexuals, issued a dissertation-length dossier whitewashing the Sunni scholar and trying to blacken the activists' reputations. Of all the West's leaders, however, few can hold a candle to Piet Hein Donner, who in 2006, as Dutch minister of justice, said that if voters wanted to bring sharia to the Netherlands-where Muslims will soon be a majority in major cities-"it would be a disgrace to say, 'This is not permitted!' "
If you don't find the dhimmification of politicians shocking, consider the degree to which law enforcement officers have yielded to Islamist pressure. Last year, when "Undercover Mosque," an unusually frank exposé on Britain's Channel 4, showed "moderate" Muslim preachers calling for the beating of wives and daughters and the murder of gays and apostates, police leaped into action-reporting the station to the government communications authority, Ofcom, for stirring up racial hatred. (Ofcom, to its credit, rejected the complaint.) The police reaction, as James Forsyth noted in the Spectator, "revealed a mindset that views the exposure of a problem as more of a problem than the problem itself." Only days after the "Undercover Mosque" broadcast-in a colossal mark of indifference to the reality that it exposed-Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair announced plans to share antiterrorist intelligence with Muslim community leaders. These plans, fortunately, were later shelved.
Canadian Muslim reformist Irshad Manji has noted that in 2006, when 17 terrorists were arrested in Toronto on the verge of giving Canada "its own 9/11," "the police did not mention that it had anything to do with Islam or Muslims, not a word." When, after van Gogh's murder, a Rotterdam artist drew a street mural featuring an angel and the words THOU SHALT NOT KILL, police, fearing Muslim displeasure, destroyed the mural (and a videotape of its destruction). In July 2007, a planned TV appeal by British cops to help capture a Muslim rapist was canceled to avoid "racist backlash." And in August, the Times of London reported that "Asian" men (British code for "Muslims") in the U.K. were having sex with perhaps hundreds of "white girls as young as twelve"-but that authorities wouldn't take action for fear of "upsetting race relations." Typically, neither the Times nor government officials acknowledged that the "Asian" men's contempt for the "white" girls was a matter not of race but of religion.
Even military leaders aren't immune. In 2005, columnist Diana West noted that America's Iraq commander, Lieutenant General John R. Vines, was educating his staff in Islam by giving them a reading list that "whitewashes jihad, dhimmitude and sharia law with the works of Karen Armstrong and John Esposito"; two years later, West noted the unwillingness of a counterinsurgency advisor, Lieutenant Colonel David Kilcullen, to mention jihad. In January 2008, the Pentagon fired Stephen Coughlin, its resident expert on sharia and jihad; reportedly, his acknowledgment that terrorism was motivated by jihad had antagonized an influential Muslim aide. "That Coughlin's analyses would even be considered 'controversial,' " wrote Andrew Bostom, editor of The Legacy of Jihad, "is pathognomonic of the intellectual and moral rot plaguing our efforts to combat global terrorism." (Perhaps owing to public outcry, officials announced in February that Coughlin would not be dismissed after all, but instead moved to another Department of Defense position.)
The key question for Westerners is: Do we love our freedoms as much as they hate them? Many free people, alas, have become so accustomed to freedom, and to the comfortable position of not having to stand up for it, that they're incapable of defending it when it's imperiled-or even, in many cases, of recognizing that it is imperiled. As for Muslims living in the West, surveys suggest that many of them, though not actively involved in jihad, are prepared to look on passively-and some, approvingly-while their coreligionists drag the Western world into the House of Submission.
But we certainly can't expect them to take a stand for liberty if we don't stand up for it ourselves.
Friday, January 23, 2009
EU Left-Fascism - Doing Muhammed's Dirty Work
Submission in the Netherlands
The trial of Geert Wilders represents another blow against Dutch freedom.
22 January 2009
"The Freedom Party (PVV)," read yesterday's press release, "is shocked by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal's decision to prosecute Geert Wilders for his statements and opinions. Geert Wilders considers this ruling an all-out assault on freedom of speech."
The appalling decision to try Wilders, the Freedom Party's head and the Dutch Parliament's only internationally famous member, for "incitement to hatred and discrimination" against Islam is indeed an assault on free speech. But no one who has followed events in the Netherlands over the last decade can have been terribly surprised by it. Far from coming out of the blue, this is the predictable next step in a long, shameful process of accommodating Islam-and of increasingly aggressive attempts to silence Islam's critics-on the part of the Dutch establishment.
What a different road the Netherlands might have taken if Pim Fortuyn had lived! Back in the early spring of 2002, the sociologist-turned-politician-who didn't mince words about the threat to democracy represented by his country's rapidly expanding sharia enclaves-was riding high in the polls and appeared on the verge of becoming the next prime minister. For his supporters, Fortuyn represented a solitary voice of courage and an embodiment of hope for freedom's preservation in the land of the dikes and windmills. But for the Dutch political class and its allies in the media and academia-variously blinded by multiculturalism, loath to be labeled racists, or terrified of offending Muslims-Fortuyn himself was the threat. They painted him as a dangerous racist, a new Mussolini out to tyrannize a defenseless minority. The result: on May 6, 2002, nine days before the election, Fortuyn was gunned down by a far-left activist taken in by the propaganda. The Dutch establishment remained in power. For many Dutchmen, hope died that day.
Fortuyn's cause was taken up by journalist, director, and TV raconteur Theo van Gogh, who was at work on a film about Fortuyn when he was slaughtered on a busy Amsterdam street on November 2, 2004. The killer, a young Dutch-born Islamist, had been infuriated by Submission, van Gogh's film about Islamic oppression of women. Epitomizing the Dutch elite's reaction to the murder was Queen Beatrix's refusal to attend van Gogh's funeral. Instead, she paid a friendly visit to a Moroccan community center.
The spotlight then shifted to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brilliant Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament and cowriter of the script for Submission, who, rejecting the Islam of her birth, had become an eloquent advocate for freedom, especially for the rights of Muslim women facing no less oppression in the Netherlands than they had back in their homelands. Hirsi Ali was lucky: she wasn't murdered, only hounded out of the parliament, and out of the country, by a political establishment that viewed her-like Fortuyn and van Gogh before her-as a disruptive presence.
That was in 2006. In that year, as if to demonstrate the gulf between popular and elite views, a poll showed that 63 percent of Dutchmen considered Islam "incompatible with modern European life." Yet Piet Hein Donner, Dutch Minister of Justice, insisted that "if two-thirds of all Dutchmen wanted to introduce sharia tomorrow . . . it would be a disgrace to say 'this is not permitted'!"
With Hirsi Ali abroad, the torch passed to Geert Wilders. At times, it seems that he is the last prominent Dutch figure willing to speak bluntly about the perils of fundamentalist Islam. The same people who demonized Fortuyn have done their best to stifle Wilders. In April 2007, intelligence and security officials called him in and demanded that he tone down his rhetoric on Islam. Last February, the Minister of Justice subjected him to what he described as another "hour of intimidation." The announcement that he was making a film about Islam only led his enemies to turn up the heat. Even before Fitna was released early last year, Doekle Terpstra, a leading member of the Dutch establishment, called for mass rallies to protest the movie. Terpstra organized a coalition of political, business, academic, and religious leaders, the sole purpose of which was to try to freeze Wilders out of public debate. Dutch cities are riddled with terrorist cells and crowded with fundamentalist Muslims who cheered 9/11 and idolize Osama bin Laden, but for Terpstra and his political allies, the real problem was the one Member of Parliament who wouldn't shut up. "Geert Wilders is evil," pronounced Terpstra, "and evil has to be stopped." Fortuyn, van Gogh, and Hirsi Ali had been stopped; now it was Wilders's turn.
But Wilders-who for years now has lived under 24-hour armed guard-would not be gagged. Thus the disgraceful decision to put him on trial. In Dutch Muslim schools and mosques, incendiary rhetoric about the Netherlands, America, Jews, gays, democracy, and sexual equality is routine; a generation of Dutch Muslims are being brought up with toxic attitudes toward the society in which they live. And no one is ever prosecuted for any of this. Instead, a court in the Netherlands-a nation once famous for being an oasis of free speech-has now decided to prosecute a member of the national legislature for speaking his mind. By doing so, it proves exactly what Wilders has argued all along: that fear and "sensitivity" to a religion of submission are destroying Dutch freedom.
Bruce Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within. He blogs at BruceBawer.com.
The War on Wilders
By Jacob Laksin
To understand just how outrageous is the court's order it is necessary to consider the substance, such as it is, of the charges against Wilders. It does not exaggerate the case to say that Wilders is being accused of nothing more than holding an opinion with which the court's judges disagree. ....
Monday, January 19, 2009
End of Global Warming Hysteria in Sight?
If you're wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.
At December's U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world's top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?"
I asked myself, why would such obviously smart guy say such a ridiculous thing? But it turns out he's right.
The earth's temperature peaked in 1998. It's been falling ever since; it dropped dramatically in 2007 and got worse in 2008, when temperatures touched 1980 levels.
Meanwhile, the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center released conclusive satellite photos showing that Arctic ice is back to 1979 levels. What's more, measurements of Antarctic ice now show that its accumulation is up 5 percent since 1980.
In other words, during what was supposed to be massive global warming, the biggest chunks of ice on earth grew larger. Just as an aside, do you remember when the hole in the ozone layer was going to melt Antarctica? But don't worry, we're safe now, that was the nineties.
Dr. Kunihiko, Chancellor of Japan's Institute of Science and Technology said this: "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or the other ... every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so." Now why would a learned man say such a crazy thing?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Minnesotans For Global Warming Song
Sex-Repressive Cultures Produce Youth-Bulge Violence
- JANUARY 12, 2009
Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel
Stop funding a Palestinian youth bulge, and the fighting will stop too.
By GUNNAR HEINSOHN
From today's Wall Street Journal Europe
As the world decries Israel's attempt to defend itself from the rocket attacks coming from Gaza, consider this: When Hamas routed Fatah in Gaza in 2007, it cost nearly 350 lives and 1,000 wounded. Fatah's surrender brought only a temporary stop to the type of violence and bloodshed that are commonly seen in lands where at least 30% of the male population is in the 15-to-29 age bracket.
In such "youth bulge" countries, young men tend to eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society. In Arab nations such as Lebanon (150,000 dead in the civil war between 1975 and 1990) or Algeria (200,000 dead in the Islamists' war against their own people between 1999 and 2006), the slaughter abated only when the fertility rates in these countries fell from seven children per woman to fewer than two. The warring stopped because no more warriors were being born.
In Gaza, however, there has been no demographic disarmament. The average woman still bears six babies. For every 1,000 men aged 40-44, there are 4,300 boys aged 0-4 years. In the U.S. the latter figure is 1,000, and in the U.K. it's only 670.
And so the killing continues. In 2005, when Israel was still an occupying force, Gaza lost more young men to gang fights and crime than in its war against the "Zionist enemy." Despite the media's obsession with the Mideast conflict, it has cost many fewer lives than the youth bulges in West Africa, Lebanon or Algeria. In the six decades since Israel's founding, "only" some 62,000 people (40,000 Arabs, 22,000 Jews) have been killed in all the Israeli-Arab wars and Palestinian terror attacks. During that same time, some 11 million Muslims have been killed in wars and terror attacks -- mostly at the hands of other Muslims.
What accounts for the Mideast conflict's relatively low body count? Hamas and their ilk certainly aim to kill as many Israelis as possible. To their indignation, the Israelis are quite good at protecting themselves. On the other hand, Israel, despite all the talk about its "disproportionate" use of force, is doing its utmost to spare civilian deaths. Even Hamas acknowledges that most of the Palestinians killed by Israeli air raids are from their own ranks. But about 10%-15% of Gaza's casualties are women and minors -- a tragedy impossible to prevent in a densely settled area in which nearly half the people are under 15 and the terrorists hide among them.
The reason for Gaza's endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Unlike the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which deals with the rest of the world's refugees and aims to settle them in their respective host countries, UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem by classifying as refugees not only those who originally fled their homes, but all of their descendents as well.
UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) -- only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West's largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom. Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza's population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040. Within that period, Gazans may alter the justifications and directions of their aggression but are unlikely to stop the aggression itself.
The Hamas-Fatah truce of June 2007 allowed the Islamists again to direct all their energy on attacking Israel. The West pays for food, schools, medicine and housing, while Muslim nations help out with the military hardware. Unrestrained by such necessities as having to earn a living, the young have plenty of time on their hands for digging tunnels, smuggling, assembling missiles and firing 4,500 of them at Israel since 2006. While this gruesome activity has slowed the Palestinian internecine slaughter, it forced some 250,000 Israelis into bomb shelters.
The current situation can only get worse. Israel is being pushed into a corner. Gazan teenagers have no future other than war. One rocket master killed is immediately replaced by three young men for whom a martyr's death is no less honorable than victory. Some 230,000 Gazan males, aged 15 to 29, who are available for the battlefield now, will be succeeded by 360,000 boys under 15 (45% of all Gazan males) who could be taking up arms within the coming 15 years.
As long as we continue to subsidize Gaza's extreme demographic armament, young Palestinians will likely continue killing their brothers or neighbors. And yet, despite claiming that it wants to bring peace to the region, the West continues to make the population explosion in Gaza worse every year. By generously supporting UNRWA's budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in their own countries. Much is being said about Iran waging a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. One may argue that by fueling Gaza's untenable population explosion, the West unintentionally finances a war by proxy against the Jews of Israel.
If we seriously want to avoid another generation of war in Gaza, we must have the courage to tell the Gazans that they will have to start looking after their children themselves, without UNRWA's help. This would force Palestinians to focus on building an economy instead of freeing them up to wage war. Of course, every baby lured into the world by our money up to now would still have our assistance.
If we make this urgently needed reform, then by at least 2025 many boys in Gaza -- like in Algeria -- would enter puberty as only sons. They would be able to look forward to a more secure future in a less violent society.
If the West prefers calm around Gaza even before 2025, it may consider offering immigration to those young Palestinians only born because of the West's well-meant but cruelly misguided aid. In the decades to come, North America and Europe will have to take in tens of millions of immigrants anyway to slow the aging of their populations. If, say, 200,000 of them are taken from the 360,000 boys coming of age in Gaza in the next 15 years, that would be a negligible move for the big democracies but a quantum leap for peace in the Near East.
Many of Gaza's young -- like in much of the Muslim world -- dream of leaving anyway. Who would not want to get out of that strip of land but the international NGOs and social workers whose careers depend on perpetuating Gaza's misery?
Mr. Heinsohn heads the Raphael Lemkin Institute at the University of Bremen, Europe's first institute devoted to comparative genocide research.
Assassins of the Mind - Hitchins
Assassins of the Mind
When Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, it was the opening shot in a war on cultural freedom. Two decades later, the violence continues, and Muslim fundamentalists have gained a new advantage: media self-censorship.
by Christopher Hitchens February 2009
At a dinner party that will forever be green in the memory of those who attended it, somebody was complaining not just about the epic badness of the novels of Robert Ludlum but also about the badness of their titles. (You know the sort of pretentiousness: The Bourne Supremacy, The Aquitaine Progression, The Ludlum Impersonation, and so forth.) Then it happily occurred to another guest to wonder aloud what a Shakespeare play might be called if named in the Ludlum manner. At which point Salman Rushdie perked up and started to sniff the air like a retriever. "O.K. then, Salman, what would Hamlet's title be if submitted to the Ludlum treatment?" "The Elsinore Vacillation," he replied-and I find I must stress this-in no more time than I have given you. Think it was a fluke? Macbeth? "The Dunsinane Reforestation." To persist and to come up with The Rialto Sanction and The Kerchief Implication was the work of not too many more moments.
This is the way, when discussing Rushdie and his work, that I like to start. He is sublimely funny, and his humor is based on a relationship with language that is more like a musical than a literary one. (I here admit to my own worst plagiarism: invited to write the introduction to Vanity Fair's "Black & White Issue" some years ago, I took advantage of Salman's presence in my house to ask him to riff on the two keywords for a bit. He free-associated about everything from photogravure to the Taj Mahal, without a prompt, for about 30 minutes, and my piece was essentially done.) And this is a man whose first language was Urdu! Toward the end of the Second World War, George Orwell wrote to his friend Mulk Raj Anand to predict that one day there would be a whole category of English literature written by Indians. Today, no literate person has not absorbed a novel by Vikram Seth or Arundhati Roy or R. K. Narayan or Rohinton Mistry, and for most European and North American readers the breakthrough moment came when Salman Rushdie published Midnight's Children, in 1981. Here was someone born as a British colonial subject who had annexed the proudest part of the Raj's dominion-the English language itself-and made it his own. The novel is still the only one to have won the Booker Prize twice, but really that's the least of it.
His later novels have maintained the standard: I specially recommend The Moor's Last Sigh, which contains a marvelous portrait of the city of Bombay before the religious sectarians changed its name to Mumbai. "Those who hated India," wrote Salman with awful prescience, "those who sought to ruin it, would need to ruin Bombay." His fictional genius to one side, Rushdie also chronicled the new age of migration and the contradictory synthesis of cultures.
How often have I been able to speak and write about my friend in this way? Not that often. For example, when he was staying in my house back at Thanksgiving of 1993, so were about a dozen heavily armed members of the United States' finest anti-terrorist forces. And you all know at least some of the backstory. On Valentine's Day 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran gave Salman's book The Satanic Verses the single worst review any novelist has ever had, calling in frenzied tones for his death and also for the killing of all those "involved in its publication." This was the first time that most people outside the Muslim world had heard the word fatwa, or religious edict. So if you have missed the humorous and ironic side of Mr. Rushdie, this could conceivably be the reason why. Just to re-state the situation before I go any farther: two decades ago the theocratic head of a foreign state offered a large sum of money, in his own name, in public, to suborn the murder of a writer of fiction who was not himself an Iranian. In the event that some would-be assassin died in the attempt and failed to pick up the dough, an immediate passage to paradise was assured. (Again, this was the first time that many in the West found out about this now notorious Koranic promise.) I thought then, and I think now, that this was not just a warning of what was to come. It was the warning. The civil war in the Muslim world, between those who believed in jihad and Shari'a and those who did not, was coming to our streets and cities. Within a short time, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, was stabbed to death on the campus where he taught literature, and the Italian translator Ettore Capriolo was knifed in his apartment in Milan. William Nygaard, the novel's Norwegian publisher, was shot three times in the back and left for dead outside his Oslo home. Several very serious bids, often backed by Iranian Embassies, were made on the life of Salman himself. And all this because the senile Khomeini, who had publicly promised that he would never make a deal with Saddam Hussein because god was on the Iranian side, had had to swallow the poison (as he put it) of signing a treaty after all, and was urgently in need of a crowd-pleasing "issue" that would restore his purist religious credentials.
I nonetheless maintain that language and not politics was the crucial question here. Salman Rushdie, raised a Muslim, concluded that the Koran was a book made by the hands of men and was thus a fit subject for literary criticism and fictional borrowing. (Almost every historic battle for free expression, from Socrates to Galileo, has begun as a struggle over what is and is not "blasphemy.") In contrast, the very definition of a "fundamentalist" is someone who believes that "holy writ" is instead the fixed and unalterable word of god. For our time and generation, the great conflict between the ironic mind and the literal mind, the experimental and the dogmatic, the tolerant and the fanatical, is the argument that was kindled by The Satanic Verses.
Not everybody agreed with me about the nature of this confrontation. President George H. W. Bush, asked for a comment, said that no American interest was involved. I doubt he would have said this if the chairman of Texaco had been hit by a fatwa, but even if Salman's wife of the time (who had to go with him into hiding) had not been an American, it could be argued that the United States has an interest in opposing state-sponsored terrorism against novelists. Various intellectualoids, from John Berger on the left to Norman Podhoretz on the right, argued that Rushdie got what he deserved for insulting a great religion. (Like the Ayatollah Khomeini, they had not put themselves to the trouble of reading the novel, in which the only passage that can possibly be complained of occurs in the course of a nightmare suffered by a madman.) Some of this was a hasty bribe paid to the crude enforcer of fear: if Susan Sontag had not been the president of pen in 1989, there might have been many who joined Arthur Miller in his initial panicky refusal to sign a protest against the ayatollah's invocation of Murder Incorporated. "I'm Jewish," said the author of The Crucible. "I'd only help them change the subject." But Susan would have none of that, and shamed many more pants wetters whose names I still cannot reveal. Others remarked darkly that Rushdie "knew what he was doing," as if that itself was something creepy or mercenary on its face. By the way, he certainly did know what he was doing. He had studied Islamic scripture at Cambridge University, and I well remember one evening, at the apartment of Professor Edward Said near Columbia, when the advance manuscript of The Satanic Verses was delivered to Edward by the Andrew Wylie agency. In a covering note, Salman asked America's best-known Palestinian for his learned advice, given the probability that the book might upset "the faithful." So, yes, he "knew" all right, but in a highly responsible way. In any case, it is not the job of writers and thinkers to appease the faithful. And the faithful, if in fact upset or offended, are quite able and entitled to explore all forms of protest. Short of violence.
Those last three words are not a proper sentence, but they summon to mind the various "sentences" that have since been pronounced by the faithful in their periodic fits of rage. The Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, descendant of the painter, shot down and then ritually butchered on an Amsterdam street after making a short film about the maltreatment of Muslim women in Holland. His colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an elected member of the Dutch parliament, forced into hiding and ultimately into exile by incessant threats of death. Another small (and unusually open and multicultural) European democracy, that of Denmark, its embassies burned and its exports boycotted and its citizens threatened, because of a few cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in a morning newspaper in Copenhagen. Daniel Pearl, of The Wall Street Journal, taunted on video for being a Jew and then foully beheaded. Riots and burnings and killings all across the Muslim world, some of them clearly incited by the authorities, in response to some ill-judged words about Islam from the Pope.
These are among the things that have happened, and have become depressingly taken for granted, since the fatwa of the ayatollah. We live now in a climate where every publisher and editor and politician has to weigh in advance the possibility of violent Muslim reprisal. In consequence, there are a number of things that have not happened. Let me give a recent and trivial example that isn't altogether lacking in symbolic importance. Last October, Sony PlayStation abruptly delayed the release of its biggest video game in 2008, LittleBigPlanet, because an accompanying track by the Malian singer Toumani Diabaté included two expressions that, according to the Press Association report, "can be found in the Koran." Following the lead of the American press-which refused to show its readers the Danish cartoons and thus permit them to judge for themselves-the report did not care to say which "expressions" these were. It was a textbook instance of self-censorship or, if you prefer, of crying before you are hurt. There was one American magazine (the secular Free Inquiry, for which I write) that did print those Danish cartoons-Borders Books pulled that issue from the shelves.
But that you can be hurt, let nobody doubt. A few weeks before Sony PlayStation capitulated in advance, so to speak, a firebomb was thrown into a private home in North London that is also the office of a small publisher named Gibson Square Books. The director, Martin Rynja, was chosen for this atrocity because he had decided to publish a romantic novel called The Jewel of Medina, by the American writer Sherry Jones, which told the tale of the prophet Muhammad's youngest and favorite wife, the nine-year-old Aisha (aged six at the time of her betrothal). The novel had originally been commissioned by Random House in New York. How did such a small London press acquire the honor of becoming its British publisher? Because Random House dumped the book on receiving a threat from a single reader that it might have another "Rushdie affair" on its hands. The date of the subsequent firebombing, 26 September last, was the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Satanic Verses.
So there is now a hidden partner in our cultural and academic and publishing and broadcasting world: a shadowy figure that has, uninvited, drawn up a chair to the table. He never speaks. He doesn't have to. But he is very well understood. The late playwright Simon Gray was alluding to him when he said that Nicholas Hytner, the head of London's National Theatre, might put on a play mocking Christianity but never one that questioned Islam. I brushed up against the unacknowledged censor myself when I went on CNN to defend the Danish cartoons and found that, though the network would show the relevant page of the newspaper, it had pixelated the cartoons themselves. And this in an age when the image is everything. The lady anchor did not blush to tell me that the network was obliterating its very stock-in-trade (newsworthy pictures) out of sheer fear.
Sometimes this fear-and this blackmail-comes dressed up in the guise of good manners and multiculturalism. One must not wound the religious feelings of others, many of whom are poor immigrants in our own societies. To this I would respond by pointing to a book published in 1994. It is entitled For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech. Among its contributors is almost every writer worthy of the name in the Arab and Muslim world, ranging from the Syrian poet Adonis to the Syrian-Kurdish author Salim Barakat, to the late national bard of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Darwish, to the celebrated Turkish writers Murat Belge and Orhan Pamuk. Especially impressive and courageous was the list of 127 Iranian writers, artists, and intellectuals who, from the prison house that is the Islamic Republic, signed their names to a letter which said: "We underline the intolerable character of the decree of death that the Fatwah is, and we insist on the fact that aesthetic criteria are the only proper ones for judging works of art.. To the extent that the systematic denial of the rights of man in Iran is tolerated, this can only further encourage the export outside the Islamic Republic of its terroristic methods which destroy freedom." In other words, the situation is the exact reverse of what the condescending multiculturalists say it is. To indulge the idea of religious censorship by the threat of violence is to insult and undermine precisely those in the Muslim world who are its intellectual cream, and who want to testify for their own liberty-and for ours. It is also to make the patronizing assumption that the leaders of mobs and the inciters of goons are the authentic representatives of Muslim opinion. What could be more "offensive" than that?
In the hot days immediately after the fatwa, with Salman himself on the run and the TV screens filled with images of burning books and writhing mustaches, I was stopped by a female Muslim interviewer and her camera crew and asked an ancient question: "Is nothing sacred?" I can't remember quite what I answered then, but I know what I would say now. "No, nothing is sacred. And even if there were to be something called sacred, we mere primates wouldn't be able to decide which book or which idol or which city was the truly holy one. Thus, the only thing that should be upheld at all costs and without qualification is the right of free expression, because if that goes, then so do all other claims of right as well." I also think that human life has its sacrosanct aspect, and though I can think of many circumstances in which I would take a life, the crime of writing a work of fiction is not a justification (even in the case of Ludlum) that I could ever entertain. Two decades on, Salman himself is thriving mightily and living again like a free man. But the culture that sustains him, and that he helps sustain, has twisted itself into a posture of prior restraint and self-censorship in which the grim, mad edict of a dead theocrat still exerts its chilling force. And, by the way, the next time that Khomeini's lovely children want to make themselves felt, they will be armed not just with fatwas but with nuclear weapons.
Christopher Hitchens is a Vanity Fair contributing editor. Send comments on all Hitchens-related matters to email@example.com.
Monday, January 05, 2009
EU's new figurehead believes climate change is a myth
The Czech government is desperate to keep its head of state as far away as possible from the EU presidency
David Charter, Europe Correspondent
The European Union's new figurehead believes that climate change is a dangerous myth and has compared the union to a Communist state.
The views of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, 67, have left the government of Mirek Topolanek, his bitter opponent, determined to keep him as far away as possible from the EU presidency, which it took over from France yesterday.
The Czech president, who caused a diplomatic incident by dining with opponents of the EU's Lisbon treaty on a recent visit to Ireland, has a largely ceremonial role.
But there are already fears that, after the dynamic EU presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy - including his hyper-active attempts at international diplomacy over the credit crisis and Georgia as well as an historic agreement to cut greenhouse gases - the Czech effort will be mired in infighting and overshadowed by the platform it will give to Mr Klaus and his controversial views.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
The Situation in Israel and Gaza
When I looked out of the window then, I realized that the noise came from a huge demonstration which moved along across the market place in front ....
It consisted of several thousands (sic! - this is pretty muich for such a small city) of *militant* left-winged people, all of them loudly shouting with megaphones and carrying signs with them like: "KILL ISRAEL!!!", "SET PALESTINE FREE!!!", "STOP FASCIST JEWS", "ISRAEL = HITLER", "STOP JEWISH IMPERIALISM!". and so forth.
They were very aggressive, threw stones, and so on.
Gaza by the Numbers
Humanitarian Aid into Gaza (video)
Photos: Israel Under Fire
Sderot and Area Contacts Available for Comment
Israeli Govt. Spokesman Mark Regev transcript and MP3 recording (Dec. 29 conf call)
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor transcript and MP3 recording
Video: Palestinian girl says Hamas responsible for war
Videos from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IDF YouTube Channel
Iran Press Kit
2) Fiction: Gaza has no medical and other aid supplies to help the injured.
Fact: During the first 5 days alone of Operation Cast Lead, Israel has facilitated the delivery of 6,500 tons of aid - 179 truckoads -- into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. The deliveries include basic food commodities, medication, medical supplies and blood units. Another 106 truckloads of humanitarian aid are expected to arrive in Gaza on Jan. 31.  The crossings to Gaza are open for the transfer of humanitarian aid from all international organizations, in full cooperation with the Israeli authorities and without restriction. In a one-day period - Dec. 31 - Israel enabled the transport of 9 truckloads of medicine and medical supplies, along with 10 ambulances, into Gaza.
Fact: Israel has allowed a number of Palestinians into Israel for medical treatment they couldn't receive in Gaza. On Dec. 31, for example, 12 Palestinians accessed Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were injured children; the remaining were chronically sick people, and their escorts, who were allowed into Israel for treatment not available in Gaza.
Further, Hamas - in an effort to exploit the suffering of innocent civilians - has refused to allow injured Palestinians to leave Gaza to go to Egypt for treatment. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit said earlier this week that Hamas was not allowing wounded Palestinians to cross the border into Egypt for treatment: "We are waiting for the wounded Palestinians to cross. They are not being allowed to cross." Asked who was to blame, he referred to Gaza by saying, "Ask the party in control on the ground in Gaza."
Fact: While Israel goes out of its way to minimize civilian casualties, Hamas actually places civilians in harm's way and uses them as shields. Because Hamas is known to use civilian residences to hide their weapons, on Dec. 27, the Israeli military - before launching an attack on such storehouses - called thousands of civilians in Gaza on their cell phones and left Arabic-language messages urging them to leave homes being used for weapons storage.
Richard Landes: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philippe Karsenty: e-mail: pk@M-R.fr
Fact: In the past, Hamas officials have committed deceptions such as pulling dark curtains in mid-day while holding a meeting to make it look as though they were being forced to work by candlelight - a sham exposed by journalists who showed that it was actually daylight outside at the time. The ruse was carried out with the complicity of some Arab satellite TV stations. More recent such deceptions have come to light as recently as November 2008, when Palestinian Authority officials said Hamas staged new blackouts to try to get sympathy from the international community and provoke civilian violence against the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Further, terrorists in Gaza have fired rockets at - and hit - the power station in the Israeli city of Ashkelon that provides Gaza the majority of its electricity. The terrorists also have fired on Israeli workers at a depot that provides fuel to Gaza and a suicide bomber destroyed lines providing electricity from Israel into Gaza. 
Fact: Some Palestinian journalists are manipulating and exploiting unintended victims of the Israeli strikes. Said one Palestinian journalist, members of the Palestinian media are 'directing' civilians to cry and telling them what to say in interviews: "A mother of one of the martyrs stood by the door of the intensive care unit while crying... relatives and those around her were telling her what she should say to the television cameras: 'Say your son [before he died] prayed and went out.' Another tells her: 'Curse the Arab leaders'... The journalists [in the hospitals] are going overboard in their insensitivity and taking advantage of the [difficult] moments, with the explanation that they are showing this to the world. One cameraman told a mourning mother: 'Hit your face, cry, do some action.'"
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