My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why Guantanamo was important....

Releasing thugs is never a good idea....
As a prisoner at Guantanamo, Said Ali al-Shihri said he wanted freedom so he could go home to Saudi Arabia and work at his family's furniture store.

Instead, al-Shihri, who was released in 2007 under the Bush administration, is now deputy leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attempted bomb attack on a Detroit-bound airliner.

His potential involvement in the terrorist plot has raised new opposition to releasing Guantanamo Bay inmates, complicating President Barack Obama's pledge to close the military prison in Cuba. It also highlights the challenge of identifying the hard-core militants as the administration decides what to do with the remaining 198 prisoners.

Like other former Guantanamo detainees who have rejoined al-Qaida in Yemen, al-Shihri, 36, won his release despite jihadist credentials such as, in his case, urban warfare training in Afghanistan.

He later goaded the United States, saying Guantanamo only strengthened his anti-American convictions.

"By God, our imprisonment has only increased our persistence and adherence to our principles," he said in a speech when al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula formed in Yemen in January 2009. It was included in a propaganda film for the group.

Al-Shihri and another Saudi released from Guantanamo in 2006, Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, appear to have played significant roles in al-Qaida's expanding offshoot in Yemen. While the extent of any involvement in the airliner plot is unclear, al-Rubaish, 30, is a theological adviser to the group and his writings and sermons are prominent in the group's literature.

Taxis only for women????

The latest innovation from the Muslim world....
Egypt's Cairo province is examining a plan for proving a taxi service for women only in order to prevent mixing of the genders.

The move came following success in separating the genders in railroad cars.

A product made for the Arab world....

Deadly cold across Europe...

Hmmmm....more evidence of global warming???
A wave of frigid air spilled down over Europe and Russia from the Arctic in mid-December, creating a deadly cold snap. According to, at least 90 people had died in Europe, including 79 people, mostly homeless, in Poland. In places, the bitter cold was accompanied by heavy snow, which halted rail and air traffic for several days during the week of Christmas.

This image shows the impact of the cold snap on land surface temperatures across the region from December 11–18, 2009, compared to the 2000–2008 average. The measurements were made by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Places where temperatures were up to 20 degrees Celsius below average are blue, locations where temperatures were average are cream-colored, and places where temperatures were above average are red. Light gray patches show where clouds were so persistent during the week that MODIS could not make measurements of the land surface temperature. The biggest anomalies were in northern Russia, but a swath of below-average temperatures stretched across the countries around the Baltic Sea as well.
hat tip: Watt Up with that?

Why the Palestians won't negotiate with Israel....

Once again, Khaled Abu Toameh shows why he is one of the best Palestinian journalists....
The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have reached the conclusion that, under the current circumstances, it would be a waste of time to return to the negotiating table with Israel. They are convinced that the only way to get anything is by rallying pressure from the international community against Israel.

It is for this reason that representatives of the Palestinians have been negotiating with the Europeans and Americans about the peace process -- not with Israel.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is negotiating about the peace process, but with the foreign ministers of France, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK and not with Israel. Almost every step this leadership takes is fully coordinated in advance with Western diplomats and their governments.

They believe that at present Israel is more isolated than ever in the international arena, particularly in light of the UN’s Gaza War report, the “Goldstone Report.”

The Palestinian leadership has chosen to confront Israel in the international arena, and not at the negotiating table. Abbas’s strategy is to further isolate Israel in the world through boycotts and anti-Israel resolutions at the UN and other international forums.

They see growing support for Palestinians in many European capitals, and are convinced that this will eventually be translated into heavy pressure on Israel.

This is why he is prepared to wait and wait. He believes that the longer he waits, the more Israel will come under pressure.

Palestinian leaders see that the UN and almost all European governments have entirely endorsed the Palestinian narrative in the Israeli-Arab conflict Palestinian, namely that Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, including half of Jerusalem, and allow the establishment of a Fatah-controlled state in these territories.

They see increased anti-Israel sentiments in the West and are encouraged that Israel will not be able to tolerate hostility, isolation and boycott for a long time.

Abbas believes that the international community is negotiating with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. He is fully convinced that only increased pressure on Israel, and not negotiations, will bring about a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders.

And since the whole world, with the possible exception of the US Administration, “is on our side,” why bother return to the negotiating table with Israel?

Egypt's wall of death....

No one complains that this is an apartheid wall...
An underground wall that Egypt is building along its border with the Gaza Strip will significantly stem Palestinian arms smuggling when is completed, an Israeli military officer said on Wednesday.

It may be months before it is finished, however, the officer said.

Cairo has played down the scope of the dig on the 14-km (8-mile)-long frontier but Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers condemn it as a "wall of death" that could seal an Israeli-led blockade by smothering smuggler tunnels from the Egyptian Sinai.

"The wall definitely has the potential to make things difficult, though it (smuggling) won't stop hermetically," an Israeli military officer briefed on Gaza intelligence said.

"There has certainly been an effect already. It's driving Hamas crazy."

Israel has long lobbied Egypt to tackle the cross-border smuggling, which supplies Palestinians with both munitions and basic commercial goods lacking in Gaza. Asked when the Egyptian wall might be finished, the officer, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said: "If they work 24/7, it will still take a protracted period -- months."

Egyptian officials have said steel tubes were being placed at several points along the frontier to form a barrier, but have not elaborated on its purpose. Unlike Israel, Egypt maintains relations with Hamas and has an Islamist opposition movement.

Citing an unnamed Egyptian intelligence source, Israel's biggest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said the wall would run as deep as 30 metres (yards) and would be rigged with sensors and pressurised hoses to flood tunnels with seawater.

How Israel does airport security....

We all have much to learn from the Israelis...
Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben Gurion airport shares with Pearson – the body and hand-luggage check.

"But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said.

"First, it's fast – there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."

The goal at Ben Gurion is to move fliers from the parking lot to the airport lounge in 25 minutes tops.

And then there's intelligence. In Israel, Sela said, a coordinated intelligence gathering operation produces a constantly evolving series of threat analyses and vulnerability studies.

"There is absolutely no intelligence and threat analysis done in Canada or the United States," Sela said. "Absolutely none."

But even without the intelligence, Sela maintains, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – who allegedly tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day – would not have gotten past Ben Gurion's behavioural profilers.

So. Eight years after 9/11, why are we still so reactive?

Sela first blames our leaders, and then ourselves.

"You can easily do what we do. You don't have to replace anything. You have to add just a little bit – technology, training," Sela said. "But you have to completely change the way you go about doing airport security. And that is something that the bureaucrats have a problem with. They are very well enclosed in their own concept."

And rather than fear, he suggests outrage would be a far more powerful spur to provoking that change.

"Do you know why Israelis are so calm? We have brutal terror attacks on our civilians and still, life in Israel is pretty good. The reason is that people trust their defence forces, their police, their response teams and the security agencies. They know they're doing a good job. You can't say the same thing about Americans and Canadians. They don't trust anybody," Sela said. "But they say, `So far, so good.' Then if something happens, all hell breaks loose and you've spent eight hours in an airport. Which is ridiculous. Not justifiable."

The environment is getting better....

Yes, for years things have been improving...
The warnings of doom and tidings of gloom have been with us since 1970, and have not abated. There is no evidence in the press or on the bookshelves that anything has ever gotten better. So logically, there is something wrong here. If all the trends have been so bad for so long, why are we living longer than ever before, and not suffering from the mass shortages, major wars, starvation and black skies that have been foretold for decades?

Actually there is nothing wrong with the logic, it's the facts that are out of whack. Most things related to the environment and public health have actually been getting better, not worse, ever since Canada, the United States, and the other western countries began enacting regulatory legislation in the 1970s.

What do I mean by most things? Air pollution, water pollution, nutrition, health and lifespan, rescue of endangered species, infant mortality, agriculture, poverty, human rights and freedom to name a few.

What has happened is quite strange. The very environmental organizations and activists who were responsible for helping make such improvements possible absolutely refuse to admit they have in fact been victorious on so many issues. They, and all of the media, and now the entire culture, are stuck in a self-perpetuating and totally false aura of doom.

The facts about where we are now compared to where we have been, can be found in my 2007 book, Where We Stand: A Surprising Look at the Real State of Our Planet. Thanks to the Bush administration, the last decade was probably the worst for environment and public health policy for quite some time. Despite that, the improvements that started in the 1970s have continued. Three (of the many) areas of continued improvement during the past 10 years are: air pollution, toxic exposures, and endangered species.

Concentrations of the major toxic air pollutants have all declined in North America during the bad decade of the naughts. Carbon monoxide air levels are less than half what they were in 2000. Sulfur dioxide has decreased by one-third from what it was at the beginning of the decade. Particulates have decreased by 20 per cent, nitrogen dioxide by 30 per cent, and ozone by 15 per cent.

What about carbon dioxide, the evil culprit behind global warming? We certainly know that CO2 emissions keep spiralling out of control, right? Well, no, wrong. Carbon dioxide emissions have been steadily declining in the past five years.

We have heard a lot about body burdens of dangerous chemicals. The well-known journalist, Anderson Cooper, was found to contain a number of chemicals in his blood stream. Aside from the fact that the levels of such chemicals were tens or hundreds of times lower than minimum toxic doses, does this raise the question of a new and terrible trend of increasing chemical contamination of our bodies? In reality, the reverse is true. Our chemical body burdens have been decreasing consistently over time since the 1970s. Dieldrin is present in our blood at levels 10 times lower than it once was, PCBs are present from three to five times less and DDT is found at 15 times lower concentrations.

The reason for these decreases is simple. We have been subject to much less chemical exposure than we were decades ago thanks to regulations prohibiting toxic chemical releases into the environment. The best example of this is lead. Since the ban on lead in gasoline and other products, lead in human blood has steadily declined to levels over 100 times less in 2000 than were found in the 1980s. And this decrease continued over the past decade, falling by another 35 per cent from 2000 to 2009.

Everyone knows that biodiversity is doomed on the planet. We have been told that we are losing thousands of species every day. No one knows where this figure comes from, but it doesn't matter. Clearly we are wiping out all of our wildlife, and we are the relentless, uncaring engines of mass extinction.

Actually, no, we are not. The heroic efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as mandated by the Endangered Species Act, have been incredibly successful, a fact known probably only to the employees of the service and their immediate families. Of the thousands of animals, birds, flowers, insects and plants in the U.S. that have been listed as endangered or threatened, a total of seven have actually gone extinct. And none of these extinctions occurred in the past two decades.

In contrast, bald eagles, crocodiles, grey wolves, river otters, beavers, Lake Erie water snakes, bighorn sheep, wild turkeys, Robbins' cinquefoil (a relative of the rose), Aleutian Canada geese, large-flowered skullcaps, Maguire daisies, flying squirrels, grizzly bears, brown pelicans, Hawaiian hawks, silvery minnows, short-tailed albatross, razorback suckers, Houston toads, black-footed ferrets, San Joaquin kit fox, North Atlantic right whales, and others are recovering, and many have been taken off the endangered list. If this comes as a surprise to you, if you think you missed the headlines, don't worry, there were no headlines. Which doesn't make it less true.

Israel still has to foil many terrorist attempts...

Some statistics on terror attempts...
Dozens of attempts by terror groups to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks via the porous Egyptian border were thwarted throughout 2009, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed on Wednesday in its annual report.

The attempts were made by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. The terrorists crossed into Sinai and then tried to enter Israel usually armed with explosives or weaponry. Last month, IDF troops thwarted an infiltration by a suspected terrorist across the Egyptian border. Searches along the border later uncovered a bag containing a sophisticated 15-kilogram bomb.

In general, the Shin Bet noted a sharp drop in terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and from the Gaza Strip. In 2009, 566 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel in comparison to 2,048 in 2008. Out of the 566, 406 were fired into Israel during Operation Cast Lead in January, meaning that 160 have been fired in the past 11 months.

The most common type of attack in the West Bank, the report noted, was the throwing of Molotov cocktails, which made up 90 percent of attacks in the territories in 2009.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another similar terror-attack....

Very similar, no???
A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Somali man — whose name has not yet been released — was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody.

"We don't know whether he's linked with al-Qaida or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," said Barise.

The disputed territories....

A short good primer on the legal status of the disputed territories in the Middle East....
The recent statements by the European Union's new foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton criticizing Israel have once again brought international attention to Jerusalem and the settlements. However, little appears to be truly understood about Israel's rights to what are generally called the "occupied territories" but what really are "disputed territories."

That's because the land now known as the West Bank cannot be considered "occupied" in the legal sense of the word as it had not attained recognized sovereignty before Israel's conquest. Contrary to some beliefs there has never been a Palestinian state, and no other nation has ever established Jerusalem as its capital despite it being under Islamic control for hundreds of years.

The name "West Bank" was first used in 1950 by the Jordanians when they annexed the land to differentiate it from the rest of the country, which is on the east bank of the river Jordan. The boundaries of this territory were set only one year before during the armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan that ended the war that began in 1948 when five Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish State. It was at Jordan's insistence that the 1949 armistice line became not a recognized international border but only a line separating armies. The Armistice Agreement specifically stated: "No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of either Party hereto in the peaceful settlement of the Palestine questions, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations." (Italics added.) This boundary became the famous "Green Line," so named because the military officials during the armistice talks used a green pen to draw the line on the map.

After the Six Day War, when once again Arab armies sought to destroy Israel and the Jewish state subsequently captured the West Bank and other territory, the United Nations sought to create an enduring solution to the conflict. U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 is probably one of the most misunderstood documents in the international arena. While many, especially the Palestinians, push the idea that the document demands that Israel return everything captured over the Green Line, nothing could be further from the truth. The resolution calls for "peace within secure and recognized boundaries," but nowhere does it mention where those boundaries should be.

It is best to understand the intentions of the drafters of the resolution before considering other interpretations. Eugene V. Rostow, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in 1967 and a drafter of the resolution, stated in 1990: "Security Council Resolution 242 and (subsequent U.N. Security Council Resolution) 338... rest on two principles, Israel may administer the territory until its Arab neighbors make peace; and when peace is made, Israel should withdraw to "secure and recognized borders," which need not be the same as the Armistice Demarcation Lines of 194."

Lord Caradon, the British U.N. Ambassador at the time and the resolution's main drafter who introduced it to the Council, said in 1974 unequivocally that, "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial."

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, made the issue even clearer when he stated in 1973 that, "the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal." This would encompass "less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territory, inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proven to be notably insecure."

The decade of the green meanies....

The second half of the Robert Sibley article...
The "return of religion," including a new secular religion like environmentalism, reflects a crisis of meaning in the sense that many people have turned to religion because the modern project, the Enlightenment project of scientific progress and material betterment, no longer satisfies our desire for meaning and purpose.

Behind our "spiritual dis-ease," says Darby, are all the anxieties and uncertainties of our time. "People always have difficulty with change and uncertainty, and in a technological age there is a lot of change and uncertainty. So people tend to latch on to whatever promises to make sense of the world. This can take the form of religion."

Environmentalism is one of the multifarious forms by which the religious impulse has, as it were, "returned" to the modern world. As novelist Michael Crichton once sardonically remarked, "Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists."

The Green ethos certainly shares much the same psychology and spiritual longing evident in religious movements. The Green prophets and all those true believers who just know that global warming is due to man's greed and rapacity (read capitalism and the United States) show all the symptoms of perfervid religious fundamentalists. Like other secular religions, environmentalism wants to remake the world according to its understanding of perfection.

In response to the spiritual crisis of our time, the Greens want to recover a lost paradise where mankind can redeem itself through the salvation of the planet, and, thereby, be restored to a state of grace. And, like every religion, environmentalism possesses a priestly elite (Bono and Cate Blanchett, for example), holy texts such as the Kyoto Accord, rituals like recycling and organic eating, and forms of public worship such as Earth Day and Earth Hour. Environmentalism also includes eschatological claims, its certainty of the end-time to come, although this end-time is referred to as catastrophic climate change rather than the Apocalypse or Judgment Day.
But, read the whole thing, please...

Climategate - an important e-mail....

Global warming is only significant in 10% of the area around the world...
The Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) provides data to the IPCC. They process temperature station data into adjusted averages for 5x5 degree grids covering the world. In November 2009, CRU had various emails hacked and released. A CRU email from Phil Jones to Michael Mann, Malcolm Hughes and others, Mar 11, 2003, stated: “Even with the instrumental record, the early and late 20th century warming periods are only significant locally at between 10-20% of grid boxes.” [] (What a difference statistics can make in creating false illusions like “global” warming.)

Hitchens on the latest terror attempt....

Once gain, Hitchens gets it right...
What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims. Our civil aviation is only the most psychologically frightening symbol of a plethora of potential targets. The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war," accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Netanyahu impresses the Egyptians...

They too believe he really wants peace with the Palestinians...
Israel's prime minister on Tuesday presented Egypt with ideas for restarting Mideast peace talks, impressing his hosts with proposals that go further than past Israeli positions, Egypt's top diplomat said.

The sides also discussed the latest developments in efforts to broker a prisoner swap between Israel and the Hamas militant group. A top Hamas official in Damascus told The Associated Press that the group had rejected the latest proposal from Israel. He said Israel was refusing to release key prisoners and insisting on mass deportations of freed militants.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit refused to divulge specifics on Tuesday's discussions, but said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears serious about trying to resume negotiations with the Palestinians.

"I can't talk about details, but the prime minister was discussing positions that surpass in our estimate what we've heard from them in a long time," Aboul Gheit told reporters. "I can't say that he has come with changed positions, but he is moving forward."

The new world disorder???

An important article from Robert Sibley of the Ottawa Citizen...
Over the last 50 years, western countries have become therapeutic societies. They are populated by consumers who think security is a birthright, that they have a "right" to lives of comfort, that the state exists, if not to provide happiness, then, at the very least, to mitigate the conditions of unhappiness. The idea that citizens might be called upon to forego self-indulgence in order to maintain the orders and institutions that keep us secure seldom intrudes our narcissistic assumptions.

But then it doesn't help that so many of the West's intellectual elite have taught westerners to despise their own civilization. Up until the 1960s, intellectuals were generally respectful of the western inheritance. It was thought -- and taught -- that whatever its flaws and failings (and yes, there were many), the West, drawing on its Greek and Judeo-Christian inheritance, had benefited mankind as a whole, bringing the rule of law, literacy and technology, among other benefits.

Beginning in the 1960s, though, a post-modern attitude emerged: the West as the fount of the world's ills. Imperialist, aggressive, exploitative, environmentally destructive; these came to be regarded as the characteristics of western triumphalism. Western economic success is at the expense of other cultures. Human rights are merely a western ethnocentric value, with no universal applicability to other cultures.

This assumption of cultural relativism -- the notion that all cultures are of equal value -- now dominates the western mind. You see it in esthetics and the social sciences. Tolstoy's novels possess no greater quality than the fables of pre-literate Zulus. Western feminists, who once objected to western patriarchal attitudes, now defend the body-covering chador as a liberation from men's eyes and female circumcision as a form of "self-decoration," as Germaine Greer once described the procedure. As for hard science, well, it's only a western way of knowing.

Such views beggar intelligence. As cultural critic William Henry so aptly, if unfashionably, stated: "Some ideas are better than others, some values are more enduring, some works of art more universal. Some cultures, though we dare not say it, are more accomplished than others and therefore more worthy of study ... (But) that does not mean that all contributions are equal. ... It is scarcely the same thing to put a man on the moon as to put a bone in your nose."

But why are those who so obviously benefit from western culture so willing to denounce it? The relativists want tolerance for other cultural practices, yet deny the same to western culture. As historian Keith Windshuttle puts it: "The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against humanity."

Arguably, such thinking has sapped the West's ability to believe in itself. How, though, do we account for this suicidal mentality?
Please read the whole thing....

A failed response to terrorism....

Ron Radosh looks at Obama's current response to terrorism...
After an embarrassing few days of obfuscations and denials about the import of the terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253 — including Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s claim on the Sunday talk shows that the system was working perfectly — on Monday administration spokesmen tried to claim they meant that after the failed attack the system immediately took action by beefing up security. They also said that they responded at once by notifying all international airports as well as planes in the sky.

Finally, on Monday morning, President Barack Obama addressed the public from his vacation spot in Hawaii. The statement made by the president, however, inadvertently displayed the great problems with his approach towards the jihad waged by worldwide radical Islamist terrorists.

First, President Obama said the following: “As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body, setting off a fire.” (my emphasis) The language is that of courtroom legalese, carefully indicating that a suspect is only “allegedly” guilty of anything, until such time as a jury is convinced by a trial that he was indeed the party responsible for the crime committed.

But as the world knows, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indeed very guilty, and only because a Dutch filmmaker sitting near him interceded and subdued him, helping put out the fire at the same time, was the plot unsuccessful. Rather than treat the culprit as a foreign national who became converted in London to the doctrines of radical Islam by mullahs at his local mosque, evidently the decision has been made to treat him as a defendant in a criminal case, with a subsequent trial in which his guilt is not to be prejudged. Although he is a foreign national, evidently he will be treated as if he were an American citizen.

Perhaps that is why at present, the government has not been able to obtain necessary DNA samples from him, since Abdulmutallab clearly does not want to voluntarily acquiesce in giving a sample to the FBI. Coercion and rough treatment, including serious interrogation about the involvement of others, could be used against the government in any ensuing trial.

One might contrast this strongly with the decision made during the Second World War by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When would-be Nazi saboteurs landed off Long Island in a sub ready to move throughout the country and engage in sabotage, the plot fell apart when one of their numbers surrendered and implicated his fellow plotters. They were all arrested and tried in a secret military tribunal, and duly executed. The public was not informed; there was no hesitancy in carrying out a tough sentence, and nothing at all said about treating them as criminal defendants in a New York City court.

Stop the Aksa Martyrs Brigades....

Despite the help from the Palestinian Authority in stamping out Hamas, they have not tried to stop the Fatah-based Aksa Martyrs Brigade...
The United States' recent request for a public clarification from National Security Adviser Uzi Arad following the IDF's killing of three wanted Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists in Nablus is unusual and raises questions.

Arad's reported need to explain to his US counterparts the defensive nature of the IDF operation several days after the Iranian-backed terror cell's murder of Rabbi Meir Chai, a father of seven, seems exceptional. This IDF operation was no different than hundreds of other actions against Palestinian terror groups that have murdered well over 1,000 Israeli civilians since the Palestinian Authority launched the Aksa war of terror in 2000.

As a rule, the US has not asked Israel for public clarifications on antiterror operations. Clearly, close communications are important. There are multiple security and intelligence channels betweenIsrael and its closest ally that have been and should be used to handle these types of security queries. The Israeli Embassy in Washington, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, the US consulate in Jerusalem, military attaches and representatives of respective intelligence agencies are appropriate addresses.

But in this extraordinary case, the US demanded a public clarification on behalf of the PA. This clearly represents heightened US sensitivity to Palestinian protests over the IDF's "unjust" incursion into Area A of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank, where the PA has overall security responsibility, to net the Fatah-associated terror cell that resulted in its elimination.

THIS IS where it seems more appropriate that the US issue clarifications to Israel. At least one of the Aksa Brigades commanders - Annan Sabuh, who was found with two M16 automatic rifles and two other firearms - had been part of the amnesty program for former Fatah-affiliated terror group commanders and operatives that was predicated on turning in all weapons. The amnesty program was implemented in no small part at the behest of the United States and its security reform program, which began under Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton in 2005.

Notwithstanding IDF praise for PA public policing improvements in some West Bank cities and for PA security actions against Hamas, the American-trained and -funded Palestinian security forces under the command of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have either refused or been unable to uproot the terror infrastructure of the Fatah-associated Aksa MartyrsBrigades . Similar to the three recently neutralized terrorists, thousands of additional Aksa Martyrs operatives and other Fatah militia members have gone into "retirement" via the amnesty agreement with the PAsecurity forces and their US security coordinators, but many operatives still store weapons in their homes. US security officials may also be aware that some Fatah terror operatives have even been sheltered in PA security installations to remove them fromIsrael's most wanted list.

Fayyad has also coopted some Aksa commanders by assigning them to senior positions in the PA security forces, such as Abu Jabbal, a senior PA security forces officer in Nablus. The increased US commitment in 2009, equaling some $130 million to upgrade the PA forces to nearly 3,500 men, has failed to address the very problem of the continued existence of Al-Aksa MartyrsBrigades and other armed Fatah factions that resulted in the recent murder of Chai. It is well known in senior Fatah security echelons that the limited capacity and political will of PA forces require the IDF to assume between 70 percent and 80% of the security operations against the extant terror infrastructure in theWest Bank.

ASSERTIONS BY some US officials as to the effectiveness of PA security forces must also be reassessed in view of recent Aksa Martyrs actions against the Palestinian leadership. Aksa operatives fired shots recently at Anan Atiri, deputy to the incoming governor of Nablus, after publishing leaflets labeling the governor a traitor. The group has also publicly labeled Fayyad an American agent and has published threats against him. Add this to the fact that Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades shot at outgoing Nablus Governor Jamal Muheissin on November 26, and that in May it published a leaflet there accusing PA President Mahmoud Abbas of participating in assassinations in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Gaza vs. The West Bank...

The Palestinians have two paths - one towards peace and reconciliation, and one towards misery...
The picture of what's happened to the Palestinian people on the ground - in Gaza on the one hand and in the West Bank on the other - is far more surprising, and powerfully educational.

A year on, unoccupied Gaza, where Hamas rules, is an isolated, angry place - a toxic stew of Islamic radicalism and political repression.

Women cannot walk the streets alone without getting hostile glances or worse. Children, if they go to school at all, are taught to hate Israel. Unemployment is rampant, upward of 40%. Terrorists, drawing from the ranks of the disaffected unemployed, find safe haven. After all, they run the joint.

Though missile launches fell sharply after Israel's intervention, they have since begun to creep up. More than 700 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza in the first nine months of this year.

All this despite the fact that Israeli humanitarian aid increased ninefold from 2008 to 2009.

Contrast this with the West Bank, where Israel is technically an occupying force but the Palestinian Authority runs the show. The streets are quiet. The economy is growing. The city of Ramallah has film festivals, shopping centers and construction sites. Joblessness is in the teens. Observers say conditions are the best they've seen since 1948.

Perhaps most importantly, terrorists in the West Bank have precious few save havens.

Reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz last week: "The successes of the Palestinian security forces there have aroused jaw-dropping admiration in the Israel Defense Forces, notably because of the Palestinians' capabilities in fighting Hamas and other terrorist groups. Indeed, the Palestinian forces have surprised even the Shin Bet security service and Military Intelligence by uncovering dormant Hamas cells ... whose existence was unknown even to the Israeli defense establishment."

Some important things about that failed bombing attempt...

David Aaronovitch of the London Times lists six important things about the latest failed jihadi-attack...
But there are other important things that the Christmas Day incident reminds us about. The first is that successful suicide bombings are still happening all the time. In Pakistan yesterday, someone thought that his path to paradise was ensured by blowing himelf up in the middle of a peaceful Shia parade through Karachi. 25 people died. On Christmas Eve in Kandahar someone else achieved self-martyrdom near a hotel, taking eight others with him. This is a truly murderous ideology, as pernicious and brave as Nazism.

The second is that there are still sufficient numbers of jihadis who persist in trying to find a way to the next 9/11 in the West, and who continually experiment with ways of achieving that great result.

The third lesson is that real “grievance” is not a measuring-stick for a likelihood to attack in this way. There are no undiscriminating suicide bombers among the world’s many environmental activists, or among the Iranian opposition. Abdulmuttalab is the well-educated son of a plutocrat, and was wealther than almost all the British people with whom he mixed. He was, however, an Islamist extremist, believing in an ideology that will always provide the fanatic with a proximate cause.

Fourth, let’s mark his family’s statement that what he did was “out of character”, as though (BBC please note) there was ever an observable character for a suicide bomber. Fifth, he has been reported as having been the president of the University College London Islamic Society. We may allow that that society does many good things, but its sequence of meetings on the “War on Terror” held in 2008, and as reported on its own YouTube video, was a clear and propagandistic attempt to cultivate Muslim anger against the West.

Fifth, Abdulmuttalab’s movements remind us of the interdependence of our world. This was a Nigerian who had studied in Britain, travelled to Yemen for training and to be fitted for his bomb, going on to Nigeria via Ethiopia, then to the Netherlands, taking a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. It was of no interest to him whether most of the passengers were American, Dutch or British.

And sixth, though the Christmas Day bomb could have originated in a number of places, it is significant that it seems, like al-Asiri’s, to have been made in Yemen. Yemen is close to being a failed state, and this situation seems to have provided space and time for the training and experimentation needed for a plot of this kind.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Iranian police refuse to shoot....

A nice sign....
An Iranian opposition website said police forces refused orders to shoot at pro-reform protesters during clashes on Sunday in central Tehran, where it reported earlier four demonstraters had been killed.

"Police forces are refusing their commanders' orders to shoot at demonstrators in central Tehran ... some of them try to shoot into air when pressured by their commanders," the Jaras website said.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Iranian segregation....

Ahmadinejad continues his Islamist policies....
An increase in efforts to separate men and women in Iranian institutions has sparked concern that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered a substantial tightening of state policy on sex segregation since his June reelection.

Since Ahmadinejad was elected, the government has made various moves to further segregate office buildings, hospitals, public parks and primary schools and in the half year since the president was reelected a number of Iranian ministers and religious leaders have called for a more strict adherence to sex segregation in various aspects of public life.

"There has definitely been a concerted effort to rekindle the kind of policies that enforce gender segregation," Dr. Mehrdad Khonsari, a senior research consultant at the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies told The Media Line. "There are efforts to have separate dining areas in universities, to close co-ed places, the atmosphere is just generally different."

Scene from demo in Iran....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas message from Afghanistan....

Terry Glavin has published a Christmas greeting from Ehsanullah Ehsan, school principal and director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar.

Hundreds of students have received an education through this centre and have gone onto very good jobs.

I thought I would pass this on as well:
Let me wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and would like to take the opportunity to thank you very much for your very noble services, sacrifices, bringing us, the Afghans and the world peace, security and development.

I know 2009 was not an easy year for some of us, the families who lost their love ones in fight against terrorism, extremism, warlordism, druglordism, backwardness and human rights violations.

We also understand that challenges in Afghanistan have caused some of you to celebrate this great occasion of Christmas and New Year away from your homes and love ones. We thank you and wish you all a joyous and peaceful Christmas commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, may peace be upon him.

God is with us and we will soon be receiving his blesses of peace, enlightenment, prosperity, solace, dignity and unity.

Through this massage I would like to reiterate that your tireless and brave efforts and countless generosities are noticed and appreciated by the hundreds of men and women teachers and students of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC).

You should be proud of what you're doing. Your families must be proud of you. You may not know, but we all appreciate what you have been doing. Your mission is holy and a success, no doubt about it.

We do know you are working in a very complex and uncomfortable situation. You are dealing with warlords, drug lords, tribal lords/rivals, extremists, corruption and interference by prejudice and selfish networks around Afghanistan. We do know how wisely and professionally you are handling all of this mess to save Afghanistan and the world. We thank you for your dedicated services and we are praying for your successes in your very holy mission of bringing us peace, security and development.

Let us wish you all a very joyful Christmas and New Year and pray that the New Year may bring healing and peace to our suffering Afghanistan and the world as a whole.

- Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

More on Palestinian Christian refugees....

They face real discrimination from Muslim Palestinians....
The pilgrims will be there as midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity is again broadcast live around the world this Christmas Eve -- but the town of Bethlehem is fast losing its last few year-round Christian residents.

Christians are fleeing the town of Christ's birth, and the much-reported hardship that Israel inflicts on residents of the West Bank town has little to do with it. It's the same reality across the Arab world: rising Islamism pushes non-Muslims away.

Islamists frown on real-estate ownership by non-Muslims -- Christian, Jew or anything else. And though the secular Palestinian Authority still controls the West Bank, the clout of groups like Hamas is growing: Even in Bethlehem, where followers of history's most famous baby once thrived, Christians are ceding the land.
Arab Christians lighting candles at the Church of the Nativity.

Yes, ever since the PA took control of the West Bank in the early '90s, its leaders have taken care to show the world an idealized picture of Muslim-Christian solidarity. But it's a facade -- a way to score anti-Israeli political points.

That tradition continues: Monday, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported on Palestinian Christians "trapped" in Gaza as Israel refuses to let them travel to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas with their brethren.

In fact, the Israelis decline to let people travel from Hamas-controlled Gaza for the simple reason that Hamas is still sponsoring suicide-bomb and other attacks on its civilians. (It also threatens the secularists of Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank.) Gaza residents can't go to Egypt, either (Cairo's even building a wall to keep them out), because Hamas and its parent, the Muslim Brotherhood, threaten the regime.

Back to the exodus: Fifty years ago, Christians made up 70 percent of Bethlehem's population; today, about 15 percent.

Indeed, the Christian population of the entire West Bank -- mostly Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic, with Copts, Russian Orthodox, Armenians and others -- is dwindling.

But, again, the story's the same in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast. Practically the only place in the region where the Christian population is growing is in Israel.

In Bethlehem, Christians now feel besieged. Growing numbers of rural southern West Bankers from the Hebron area have moved north to Bethlehem in recent years. Many see the land as Waqf -- belonging to the Muslim nation. They increasingly buy or confiscate land -- and talk of laws to ban Christian landownership.

Seeing the trend, many Christians have decided to sell while they still can; real estate is leaving families that have owned it for generations.

Then, too, the Christians of the West Bank have traditionally been wealthier and better educated than the Muslims. When Jordan ruled the area from 1948 and 1967, Christians could get permits to travel abroad -- and emigration became part of the tradition.

Now, having relatives abroad means a chance to escape. There are frequent attacks on Christian cemeteries and churches; Christian-owned businesses are often defaced -- and government jobs have grown scarce for non-Muslims.

For all of the late Yasser Arafat's respectful talk about Christianity and its common purpose with Islam, the West Bank Christian population (not counting Jerusalem) dropped under his rule by nearly 30 percent, from 35,000 in 1997 to 25,000 in 2002. It's even lower now -- less than 8 percent of the population.

Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote recently that, before Pope Benedict visited the Holy Land in May, a Christian merchant told him jokingly, "The next time a pope comes to visit . . . he will have to bring his own priest with him [to] pray in a church because most Christians would have left by then."

The forgotten Palestinian refugees....

Palestinian Christians face real hardship...and not from Israel...
Meet Yussuf Khoury, a 23-year old Palestinian refugee living in the West Bank. Unlike those descendents of refugees born in United Nations camps, Mr. Khoury fled his birthplace just two years ago. And he wasn't running away from Israelis, but from his Palestinian brethren in Gaza.

Mr. Khoury's crime in that Hamas-ruled territory was to be a Christian, a transgression he compounded in the Islamists' eyes by writing love poems.

"Muslims tied to Hamas tried to take me twice," says Mr. Khoury, and he didn't want to find out what they'd do to him if they ever kidnapped him. He hasn't seen his family since Christmas 2007 and is afraid even to talk to them on the phone.

Speaking to a group of foreign journalists in the Bethlehem Bible College where he is studying theology, Mr. Khoury describes a life of fear in Gaza. "My sister is under a lot of pressure to wear a headscarf. People are turning more and more to Islamic fundamentalism and the situation for Christians is very difficult," he says.

In 2007, one year after the Hamas takeover, the owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore was abducted and murdered. Christian shops and schools have been firebombed. Little wonder that most of Mr. Khoury's Christian friends have also left Gaza.

On the rare occasion that Western media cover the plight of Christians in the Palestinian territories, it is often to denounce Israel and its security barrier. Yet until Palestinian terrorist groups turned Bethlehem into a safe haven for suicide bombers, Bethlehemites were free to enter Israel, just as many Israelis routinely visited Bethlehem.

The other truth usually ignored by the Western press is that the barrier helped restore calm and security not just in Israel, but also in the West Bank including Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity, which Palestinian gunmen stormed and defiled in 2002 to escape from Israeli security forces, is now filled again with tourists and pilgrims from around the world.

But even here in Jesus' birthplace, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Christians live on a knife's edge. Mr. Khoury tells me that Muslims often stand in front of the gate of the Bible College and read from the Quran to intimidate Christian students. Other Muslims like to roll out their prayer rugs right in Manger Square.

A voice from the left on global warming...

Alexander Cockburn has long believed that there is nothing to human-induced global warming...
The global warming jamboree in Copenhagen was surely the most outlandish foray into intellectual fantasizing since the fourth-century Christian bishops assembled in 325 AD for the Council of Nicaea to debate whether God the Father was supreme or had to share equal status in the pecking order of eternity with his Son and the Holy Ghost.

Shortly before the Copenhagen summit, the proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) were embarrassed by a whistleblower who put on the Web more than a thousand e-mails either sent from or received at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, headed by Dr. Phil Jones. The CRU was founded in 1971 with funding from sources including Shell and British Petroleum. It became one of the climate-modeling grant mills supplying tainted data from which the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concocted its reports.

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environment global warming

Deceitful manipulation of data, concealment or straightforward destruction of inconvenient evidence, vindictive conspiracies to silence critics, are par for the course in all scientific debate. But in displaying all these characteristics, the CRU e-mails graphically undermine the claim of the Warmers that they command the moral as well as scientific high ground. It has been a standard ploy of the Warmers to revile the skeptics as whores of the energy industry, swaddled in munificent grants and with large personal stakes in discrediting AGW. Actually, the precise opposite is true. Billions in funding and research grants sluice into the big climate-modeling enterprises and a vast archipelago of research departments and "institutes of climate change" across academia. It's where the money is. Skepticism, particularly for a young climatologist or atmospheric physicist, can be a career breaker.

Many of the landmines in the CRU e-mails tend to buttress longstanding charges by skeptics (yours truly included) that statistical chicanery by professor Michael Mann and others occluded the highly inconvenient Medieval Warm Period, running from 800 to 1300 AD, with temperatures in excess of the highest we saw in the 20th century, a historical fact that makes nonsense of the thesis that global warming could be attributed to the auto-industrial civilization of the 20th century. Here's Keith Briffa, of the CRU, letting his hair down in an e-mail Sept. 22, 1999: "I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards 'apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data' but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. ... I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago."

Now, in the fall of 1999, the IPCC was squaring up to its all-important "Summary for Policymakers" - essentially a press release, one that eventually featured the notorious graph flatlining into nonexistence the Medieval Warm Period and displaying a terrifying, supposedly unprecedented surge in 20th-century temperatures.

Briffa's reconstruction of temperature changes, one showing a mid- to late-20th-century decline, was regarded by Mann, in a Sept. 22, 1999, e-mail to the CRU, as a "problem and a potential distraction/detraction." So Mann, a lead author on this chapter of the IPCC report, simply deleted the embarrassing post-1960 portion of Briffa's reconstruction. The CRU's Jones happily applauded Mann's deceptions in an e-mail in which he crowed over "Mike's Nature trick."

Other landmines include e-mails from Kevin Trenberth, the head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. On Oct. 14, he wrote to the CRU's Tom Wigley: "How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geo-engineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!"

Only a few weeks before Copenhagen, here is a scientist in the inner AGW circle disclosing that "we are no where close to knowing" how the supposedly proven AGW warming model might actually work, and that therefore geoengineering - such as carbon mitigation - is "hopeless."

This admission edges close to acknowledgment of a huge core problem: that "greenhouse" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics, which says that a cooler body cannot warm a hotter body without compensation. Greenhouse gases in the cold upper atmosphere cannot possibly transfer heat to the warmer earth, and in fact radiate their absorbed heat into outer space. (Readers interested in the science can read Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner's "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics," updated in January 2009.)

Recent data from many monitors including the CRU, available on, show that the average temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans near the surface of the earth has decreased significantly across the past eight years or so. CO2 is a benign gas essential to life, occurring in past eras at five times present levels. Changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human emissions of CO2, the latter being entirely trivial in the global balance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas...

Thanks to Vlad Tepes for posting this..

The Muslim Council of Britain is unhappy....

Do they have to spend so much time worrying about Israel???
Britain's flagship Muslim organization on Wednesday attacked a government pledge to reform a war crimes law used to try to arrest visiting Israeli dignitaries, saying the move could hurt Britain's image in the Middle East.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it was deeply disappointed that foreign minister David Miliband promised to change the law so that judges could no longer issue secret arrest warrants against Israeli officials or military officers, saying the move was biased toward Israel.

Taliban blows up another girls school...

And, people like Jack Layton want to negotiate with the Taliban...
The Taliban blew up a girls' school in Pakistan's Khyber district, where troops are fighting against militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday.

Militants detonated explosives overnight at the government-run school in Bazgarah town, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Peshawar, capital of the violence-plagued North West Frontier Province.

"The building had 21 rooms. All have been completely demolished," local administration chief Shafeerullah Wazir told AFP by telephone.

There were no casualties because the property was empty at the time.

"Taliban and their local allies are responsible. They are destroying educational institutions to avenge the military operation against their hideouts in the area," said Wazir.

"This was the ninth educational institution blown up in Khyber over the past six weeks," he added.

6 months for biting teacher's ear....

We blogged this incident when it first happened...
A man who attacked a teacher for having shaken the hand of his 9-year-old daughter during a parent-school meeting has been sentenced to six months in prison.

The attack took place last October when the man, who is an ethnic Palestinian, attacked a mathematics teacher, who is Moroccan, for shaking the hand of his daughter prior to a school-home meeting. Apart from repeated blows, the teacher was also bitten in the ear.

The sentence has been appealed.

Israeli organ stealing blood libel surfaces....again....

The press just can't do it's homework to find the truth...
On Sunday I noted that the British media’s slandering of Israel has gone further than usual recently and is no longer just limited to leftist papers like The Independent and The Guardian, but is also now common in more conservative ones such as The Times, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times.

In the past two days, the British print media have been digging up an old story from 15 years ago (about an Israeli doctor who transplanted minor organs like cornea and skin from dead Israelis – mainly Jewish Israelis but also a few Arab ones) to suggest to readers that Israel is now, as a matter of policy, harvesting the major organs of live Palestinians.

(Some countries, notably China – but not Israel – do remove live organs for transplant. There is scarcely a word about this in the British media. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terror militia Hezbollah has been accused of harvesting the organs of Lebanese Christians, with hardly any investigation of this charge by the so-called human rights groups of America and Europe.)

This morning, The Guardian, unlike other British newspapers, apologized, saying:
• We should not have put the headline "Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs" on a story about an admission, by the former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv, that during the 1990s specialists at the institute harvested organs from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers without getting permission from the families of the deceased (21 December, page 15). That headline did not match the article, which made clear that the organs were not taken only from Palestinians. This was a serious editing error and the headline has been changed online to reflect the text of the story written by the reporter.
Yet as of Tuesday evening (Iran-time), for a second straight day, the British taxpayer-funded BBC Persian language service is continuing to highlight the lie that Israel is harvesting the organs of Palestinians on its home page here, and in a story here.

You do not see such garbage on Radio Farda, which is the U.S. government’s equivalent of BBC Persian.

BBC Persian is under the direct supervision of the British foreign office. Why British politicians and commentators (including those from the Conservative Party) put up with it, is beyond me.

Isn’t the Iranian regime serving up enough anti-Semitic hate to their own public without the BBC joining in?

Europe's Israel obsession...

Europeans are obsessed with making Israel into a villain....
Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (the European Union's new chief diplomat in the likely case you don't know her) isn't exactly what one would call "experienced." Perhaps to shed her much-deserved reputation as a foreign-policy novice, she used her maiden speech in the European Parliament to fuel the Continent's No. 1 international-affairs obsession: trashing the Jewish state.

"We're deeply concerned about daily living conditions of people in Gaza," she told law makers last week. "Israel should reopen the crossings without delay."

It's rather odd, to say the least, that no sooner had Israel left Gaza in 2005, than the same people who so anxiously had called for Israel to "end the occupation" wanted it back in the picture. Even though Hamas returned Israel's peace gesture with relentless rocket attacks, Israel is nevertheless expected to establish some sort of free-trade zone with the Islamists and open its borders again to Palestinian suicide bombers.

Egypt, the Palestinians' Arab brother nation, meanwhile, can quietly build a steel wall—yes, steel—at its Gaza border without having to fear negative Western press coverage, let alone the Baroness's wrath. She has only Israel in her crosshairs, even though Jerusalem is actually still providing a lifeline to the Palestinians.

Despite all the misreporting about a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Gaza as a result of Israel's blockade, the flow of aid support from Israel to the narrow strip is uninterrupted. In the week of Dec. 13 -Dec. 19 alone, 553 truckloads with 13,587 tons of merchandise reached Gaza from Israel, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.

The result is obvious. For an authentic look at life in Gaza, check out the photos of crowded markets filled with food, clothing and candy, published last month on the Web site of "Palestine Today," a Gaza newspaper, as first reported on these pages by Mideast analyst Tom Gross (

It is not surprising, perhaps, that the Baroness cannot summon insights into the Gaza situation. She cannot get the EU's own policy straight, either.

"The EU is opposed...," Ms. Ashton claimed, "to the construction of the separation barrier." Just a week earlier, though, her bosses, the 27 foreign ministers of the EU member states, declared that "the separation barrier where built on occupied land...(is) illegal under international law." That's not quite the same as the total opposition the Baroness implied, particularly given the fact that the barrier largely follows the 1949 armistice line.

The EU's new foreign-policy grandee apparently will not look beyond the legalistic objections to the barrier's trajectory to see the immense benefits it has brought to both parties. The barrier helped prevent Palestinian terrorism, thus bringing security to Israelis and Palestinians, which in turn was instrumental in paving the road for the Palestinian territories' recent economic revival. And without this return of calm and security, Israel could never be expected to make further concessions for peace.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 noses and 2 ears for 2 noses and 2 ears....

Pakistani justice in action....
A PAKISTANI court has ordered two brothers should have their noses and ears cut off after they were found guilty of doing the same to a woman who refused to marry one of them.

The two brothers, Sher Mohammad and Amanat Ali, abducted their 22-year-old cousin, Fazeelat Bibi, at gunpoint in September after her father refused to let her marry Mohammad.

"They put a noose around her neck and tried to strangle her. After failing to do so, Sher Mohammad chopped of her nose and two ears with a knife," government prosecutor Ehtesham Qadir said.

The mother of the girl died of heart attack on seeing the condition of her daughter.

The judge at an anti-terrorism court in the eastern city of Lahore handed down the sentences on Monday in line with the Islamic law of Qisas.

The law was introduced in Pakistan during the military rule of General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1979. It stipulates punishment equal to the crime, akin to an eye-for-an-eye, unless the culprit is pardoned by the victim or the victim's family.

Such sentences are rarely handed down by Pakistani courts and have always been revoked on appeal.

The court also sentenced the pair to life in prison, Qadir said.

Three of their accomplices are on the run.

The footprint is way too big....

This solar project is far from green...
Panoche Valley is known mostly for cattle and barbed wire, a treeless landscape in eastern San Benito County that turns green every spring.

A posse of lawmen gunned down the famous Gold Rush bandit Joaquin Murrieta, an inspiration for the fictional character Zorro, near here in 1853. Nothing that exciting has happened since.

But now the remote valley 25 miles south of Hollister is finding itself at the center of a new showdown. A Silicon Valley company is proposing to build here what would be the world's largest solar farm — 1.2 million solar panels spread across an area roughly the size of 3,500 football fields.

"This is renewable energy. It doesn't cause pollution, it doesn't use coal or foreign oil, and it emits no greenhouse gases," said Mike Peterson, CEO of Solargen Energy, the Cupertino company behind the $1.8 billion project.

But critics — including some environmentalists — say green energy isn't always green. In a refrain being heard increasingly across California, they contend the plan to cover this ranch land with a huge solar project would harm a unique landscape and its wildlife.
3,500 football fields? A nuclear power plant would take up just a small fraction and probably provide far more energy...

Thanks God the female ski jumpers can now go home....

They're just cry-babies...they never had a case....
A group of feisty women ski jumpers have lost their last attempt to leap the obstacles set in their path to competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In a ruling just weeks before the games are set to begin, the Supreme Court of Canada refused today to hear their appeal of a decision keeping them out of the Olympics.
The plain fact of the matter is that this sport - female ski jumping - has not met the IOC requirements for an Olympic sport. Perhaps, over time it will, and the sport will then be added...but right now, sorry, this sport is not in. This case was about a bunch of cry-baby ski jumpers who felt they could use Canadian law to change the Olympics.

Politically correct Christmas carols....

Gee, what next???
Christmas carols are being re-written to make them politically correct, a music teacher has claimed.

Nic Robinson was surprised to find the words to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing have been changed to be 'gender inclusive' by removing the words 'man', 'men' and 'sons'.

Attending a carol service at his 13-year-old daughter Hannah's school, he noticed that in verse two the line 'Pleased as man with man to dwell' was changed to 'Pleased with us in flesh to dwell' on the printed sheet.

Then in the next verse the lines 'Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of Earth, Born to give them second birth' were changed to 'Born that we no more may die, Born to raise us from the earth, Born to give us second birth.'

Mr Robinson, 45, of Littleover, Derby, said: 'It's completely unnecessary in my opinion. I don't know any women who feel belittled the use of the word 'man' or 'son'.

'Nowadays, however, there is a section of society that says everything has to conform to this bizarre gender-inclusive business.

'It's such a shame that things which are so well established are being changed for no reason at all. It makes me angry because I love the traditions around Christmas and the church.'

He added: 'Some people only go to church at Christmas and even if they find the words have been mucked about with they will feel more disenfranchised than usual.'

Mr Robinson said he did not know who changed the words, which were printed on a sheet at the carol service, or which book of carols they were taken from.

'I am sure some bishop will write now, explaining, kindly, that hymns have been evolving throughout the ages and that this one, in particular, has known many versions,' he said.

'May I ask the bishop not to bother, but rather to spend his time in contacting the people who have defaced my favourite carol. They need to be told of one glaring omission in their revision, namely the line which follows the one quoted above. This should surely now read 'Jesus our Epersonuel'.

A survey carried out by Ship of Fools, a satirical Christian website, found that many churches now sing 'Glory to the Christ child, bring' in the same carol, rather than the better-known 'Glory to the newborn King.'

Some churches have altered the words to Once In Royal David’s City, removing a reference to children 'all in white' and replacing it with 'bright like stars'.

Yay! Women's bookstores are closing.....

These purveyors of male-hatred are closing...that's just plain good news...
Nearly two decades after almost being destroyed in a firebombing, the Toronto Women's Bookstore is once again fighting for its survival.

Earlier this week, the 36-year-old bookseller issued a desperate plea to its patrons, revealing that financially it was "in crisis" and needed funds urgently to stay open.

It's a plea that's sure to resonate with the few remaining women's bookstores in Canada. The country once had upwards of a dozen such stores, but those numbers have shrunk drastically: according to women's rights website, feminist bookstores in Calgary, Saskatoon, Hamilton, London, Ont., and Sudbury, Ont. have all closed their doors since 2004.

The Toronto Women's Bookstore recently tweeted that there were only 21 stores worldwide, down from 125 in 1994. But those in the women's movement say it's market forces - not a declining interest in feminism - that's bringing the stores ever closer to the final chapter.

"I think it's much more the difficulty of small independent bookstores surviving when Chapters controls 70 per cent of the market," said Judy Rebick, a well-known activist and writer who sat on the Toronto Women's Bookstore's board of directors in the 1990s.
Rebick can blame it on Chapters..but that's not the problem. First, the internet and Amazon have really hurt stores like this. Secondly, who needs a special store to get male-hatred. I believe more and more women are getting tired of the male-bashing...

CFCs and cosmic rays cause of global warming...

Here's a new peer-reviewed paper that disputed CO2 as the cause of global warming...
Cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), both already implicated in depleting the Earth's ozone layer, are also responsible for changes in the global climate, a University of Waterloo scientist reports in a new peer-reviewed paper.

In his paper, Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, shows how CFCs - compounds once widely used as refrigerants - and cosmic rays - energy particles originating in outer space - are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. His paper, derived from observations of satellite, ground-based and balloon measurements as well as an innovative use of an established mechanism, was published online in the prestigious journal Physics Reports.

"My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late 20th century," Lu said. "Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming."

His conclusions are based on observations that from 1950 up to now, the climate in the Arctic and Antarctic atmospheres has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact.

"Most remarkably, the total amount of CFCs, ozone-depleting molecules that are well-known greenhouse gases, has decreased around 2000," Lu said. "Correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate."

In his research, Lu discovers that while there was global warming from 1950 to 2000, there has been global cooling since 2002. The cooling trend will continue for the next 50 years, according to his new research observations.

As well, there is no solid evidence that the global warming from 1950 to 2000 was due to CO2. Instead, Lu notes, it was probably due to CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays. And from 1850 to 1950, the recorded CO2 level increased significantly because of the industrial revolution, while the global temperature kept nearly constant or only rose by about 0.1 C.

Hat tip: Watts Up With That?

Blind lead the blind into a closet...

Thanks to Tim Blair in Australia...

Honest Reporting's 2009 Awards..

The awards for the most biased coverage of Israel and the Middle East....

Here's just one of many awards...this one for the worst headline...from the Evening Standard in the UK...

Here's what happens when you release terrorists....

The deal for Gilad Shalit will lead to many more deaths...
While there are no official statistics regarding how many freed prisoners engage in terrorism, a report published last year by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that out of the more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners released by Israel since 1985, over 50 percent have returned to the path of terror.

"In the terror acts committed by these freed terrorists, hundreds of Israelis were murdered, and thousands were wounded," the report said.

One example was the suicide attack in Cafe Hillel in the capital's German Colony neighborhood in 2003, in which seven people were killed including Dr. David Applebaum, head of Emergency Medicine at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Nava, who was to have been married the next day.

The bomber, Ramez Sali Abu Salim, from a village near Ramallah, had been released from an Israeli prison seven months earlier. He was sent by the Hamas command in Ramallah to perpetrate the attack.

Another example is Matsab Hashalmon, who was released in the Tannenbaum deal with Hizbullah in 2004. Following his release he recruited two terrorists to blow up a bus in Beersheba, killing 16 people.

According to the JCPA report, which quoted information provided by Tzahi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, those freed in the Tannenbaum deal have since been responsible for the murder of at least of 35 Israelis.

Why Copenhagen failed..and why Mexico City will fail too....

Lord Lawson is right on the money here...
The world's political leaders, not least President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, are in a state of severe, almost clinical, denial. While acknowledging that the outcome of the United Nations climate-change conference in Copenhagen fell short of their demand for a legally binding, enforceable and verifiable global agreement on emissions reductions by developed and developing countries alike, they insist that what has been achieved is a breakthrough and a decisive step forward.

Just one more heave, just one more venue for the great climate-change traveling circus—Mexico City next year—and the job will be done.

Or so we are told. It is, of course, the purest nonsense. The only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside.

Far from achieving a major step forward, Copenhagen—predictably—achieved precisely nothing. The nearest thing to a commitment was the promise by the developed world to pay the developing world $30 billion of "climate aid" over the next three years, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020. Not only is that (perhaps fortunately) not legally binding, but there is no agreement whatsoever about which countries it will go to, in which amounts, and on what conditions.

The reasons for the complete and utter failure of Copenhagen are both fundamental and irresolvable. The first is that the economic cost of decarbonizing the world's economies is massive, and of at least the same order of magnitude as any benefits it may conceivably bring in terms of a cooler world in the next century.

The reason we use carbon-based energy is not the political power of the oil lobby or the coal industry. It is because it is far and away the cheapest source of energy at the present time and is likely to remain so, not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

Switching to much more expensive energy may be acceptable to us in the developed world (although I see no present evidence of this). But in the developing world, including the rapidly developing nations such as China and India, there are still tens if not hundreds of millions of people suffering from acute poverty, and from the consequences of such poverty, in the shape of malnutrition, preventable disease and premature death.

The overriding priority for the developing world has to be the fastest feasible rate of economic development, which means, inter alia, using the cheapest available source of energy: carbon energy.

Moreover, the argument that they should make this economic and human sacrifice to benefit future generations 100 years and more hence is all the less compelling, given that these future generations will, despite any problems caused by warming, be many times better off than the people of the developing world are today.

Or, at least, that is the assumption on which the climate scientists' warming projections are based. It is projected economic growth that determines projected carbon emissions, and projected carbon emissions that (according to the somewhat conjectural computer models on which they rely) determine projected warming (according to the same models).

All this overlaps with the second of the two fundamental reasons why Copenhagen failed, and why Mexico City (if our leaders insist on continuing this futile charade) will fail, too. That is the problem of burden-sharing, and in particular how much of the economic cost of decarbonization should be borne by the developed world, which accounts for the bulk of past emissions, and how much by the faster-growing developing world, which will account for the bulk of future emissions.

The 2006 Stern Review, quite the shoddiest pseudo-scientific and pseudo-economic document any British Government has ever produced, claims the overall burden is very small. If that were so, the problem of how to share the burden would be readily overcome—as indeed occurred with the phasing out of chorofluorocarbons (CFCs) under the 1987 Montreal Protocol. But the true cost of decarbonization is massive, and the distribution of the burden an insoluble problem.

Moreover, any assessment of the impact of any future warming that may occur is inevitably highly conjectural, depending as it does not only on the uncertainties of climate science but also on the uncertainties of future technological development. So what we are talking about is risk.

Not that the risk is all one way. The risk of a 1930s-style outbreak of protectionism—if the developed world were to abjure cheap energy and faced enhanced competition from China and other rapidly industrializing countries that declined to do so—is probably greater than any risk from warming.

But even without that, there is not even a theoretical (let alone a practical) basis for a global agreement on burden-sharing, since, so far as the risk of global warming is concerned (and probably in other areas too) risk aversion is not uniform throughout the world. Not only do different cultures embody very different degrees of risk aversion, but in general the richer countries will tend to be more risk-averse than the poorer countries, if only because we have more to lose.

3 Muslims in Ottawa beat man savagely...

This is really horrible...
A volunteer rink attendant suffered serious brain damage when six assailants savagely beat him at an outdoor rink in the Walkley Road area in February after he told them not to drink beer in the dressing room, an Ottawa court was told Monday.

Assistant Crown attorney Caroline Thibault said Douglas Beardshaw, 43, had to have part of his skull removed and Stephen Lee, 22, a skater who tried to help him, lost several front teeth and suffered cuts to his face.

The two men were beaten and one was stabbed in the leg in the parking lot at Pauline Vanier Park at 1015 Harkness Ave. near Walkley road at about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 10.

The trial of three youths charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon began Monday and is expected to last nine days.

One youth pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charged of assault causing bodily harm.

Two adults — Ali Ismail Ali, 19, and Said Mohammed Muddei, 18 — are to stand trial in June on charges stemming from the incident. Ali is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of assault with a weapon, while Muddei is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of uttering threats.

“The Crown submits that there should be no issue

that the complainants were swarmed and beaten up and that it was aggravated assault,” Thibault said. “Mr. Beardshaw required emergency surgery.”

“The DNA testing matched the complainants’ blood. A trail of blood helped locate the adults. Both complainants’ blood was on several of the accused,” Thibault said.

Const. Bart Gilligan, of the Ottawa police forensic identification section, showed the court photos of a trail of blood leading from the rink parking lot to the corner of Walkley and McCarthy roads.

“The maintenance person was assaulted after he encountered a number of persons drinking in the parking lot,” Gilligan said. “There were blood stains in the parking lot and hockey sticks, skates and gloves on the ground.”

Gilligan testified that he found broken beer bottles and two cases of empty bottles in the rink dressing room. Empty beer cans and bottles were tossed in the snow outside.

Gilligan showed the court photographs of three hockey sticks found at the scene, one with what appeared to be bloodstains on the shaft, and a shovel with a metal blade. Photos of the victims showed Beardshaw with a long vertical scar on the back of his head and Lee with a closed left eye and missing teeth.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dressing for the Islamic police....

Changing fashions in part of Indonesia...
In Pasar Rakyat, a market in Meulaboh in Indonesia's West Aceh, a young woman busily browses through a rack of skirts. She is wearing a loose, long skirt, a tight, long-sleeved T-shirt and a jilbab that comes up to her chest. She analyzes the material of the skirts, touching them to feel the texture.

“I have to replace my clothes with skirts and Muslim outfits [that are long-sleeved and loose],” 20-year-old Rahma said last Tuesday. “I don’t want to be arrested by the Wilayatul Hisbah [Shariah police] when they really implement the new law.”

The district of West Aceh will begin enforcing a new regulation in January that will strictly forbid Muslims, especially women, to wear tight clothes. M Nur Juned, head of West Aceh district’s Shariah division, said in a telephone interview with the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that authorities would regulate the clothes that people were allowed to wear.

“For women, the clothes should not be skintight, see-through, show the contours of their bodies or be boyish. The jilbab should be long so it can cover their chest,” he said. “Women can still wear trousers as long as they are not tight.

“As for men, they can’t wear shorts when they are out in public. And they can’t dress up like a woman, either. Allah hates such a thing.”

Juned said that in 2008, the West Aceh government had advised Muslims in the area regarding their manner of dressing.

“We [the district-level office] circulated letters to subdistrict offices on how people should dress. But since this was only an appeal and there were no sanctions, people didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “We decided to make it more serious by issuing this new regulation.”

He said that those caught breaking the law would be reprimanded and advised on how to dress accordingly. He added that if a person repeated the offense, he or she would be subject to the ta’zir penalty.

The word ta’zir literally means to bring something to a halt. But it can also be translated as “to help, respect or honor.” Under Shariah law, ta’zir is defined as a sentence or punishment given to those charged with assault.

“The kind of punishment [subject to ta’zir] depends on how serious the violation is,” Juned said.

“Punishment can range from the very mild to harsher ones. It could mean being caned once to dozens of times.

“It is the Shariah court that decides [how many times one should be caned] depending on how serious the violation is.”

Why the Tories defunded Kairos....

One of the best decisions of the Harper government...and Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star explains why....
It is rather presumptuous for a non-Jew to define anti-Semitism. That's not something a Gentile can feel in the bones, especially in its nuanced rather than overt form.

Stating the parameters of anti-Semitism – for many that means making a contorted distinction between Jews and the Jewish state of Israel – is akin to whites telling blacks what constitutes racial bigotry. There's an inherent condescension.

Let's try to be fair on one point. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney didn't explicitly accuse KAIROS – the Toronto-based ecumenical activist group – of being anti-Semitic in remarks last week at the Jerusalem-hosted Global Forum for combatting anti-Semitism.

What he said was: "We have defunded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions against (Israel)."

KAIROS, stunned to learn it will be losing $7 million for projects slotted over the next few years, immediately shot back, claiming Kenney had been misinformed about the organization's positions and fretting over the politicization of the aid process by the Conservative government.

Executive director Mary Corkery argues that criticizing the actions of Israel's government is not anti-Semitic, which may or may not be true. Certainly it's a convenient polemic for anti-Semites to hide behind, a means for burying the flagrant Jew-hating beneath less toxic rhetoric, although the truth often outs itself, as occurred at Durban I and Durban II.

KAIROS is an umbrella outfit that includes 11 mainstream religious denominations in Canada. It has for decades been active in promoting "liberation theology," sponsoring and facilitating social, economic and ecological justice around the world, including the Middle East.

Corkery and other KAIROS officials outright deny that the agency favours a boycott of Israel or advocates divesting funds from Israeli corporations.

This is, at the very least, disingenuous and dissembling. While KAIROS has a more narrowly focused activist agenda, it has launched highly partisan attacks on the government in the past. The Tories, with their long memory and punitive trigger finger, are now pushing back.

KAIROS slammed Canada for putting radically Islamist Hamas and Hezbollah on this country's terrorist group list, lamenting that Canada was the first country to cut off aid when Hamas won the Palestinian elections. Of course, before that election, KAIROS claimed the majority of Palestinians didn't support Hamas, a ballot-disproven contention that was later recast to fit the Hamas sweep.

As Corkery co-wrote in a 2006 letter to the editor published in the Globe and Mail: "People living in Gaza and the West Bank voted ... not to destroy Israel, nor do they want this. Palestinians voted against corruption and impoverishment and for local candidates who offered honesty, jobs and social services."

As recent history has shown, both Palestinian voters and KAIROS got that benign, proactive, humanitarian assessment of Hamas wrong.

KAIROS is intimately aligned with other groups, internationally, that have aggressively called for economic and academic boycotts against Israel. The most notable of these is the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Center of Jerusalem, a Palestinian Christian organization dismissed by its critics as a "fraudulent peace group" with a "racist road show."

Indeed, in 2005 KAIROS was among the co-sponsors that hosted a controversial Sabeel conference in Toronto on "Morally Responsible Investment" (MRI), which is another way of saying disinvestment, which is another way of saying targeted boycott.
There's more....