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 (

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Palestinian TV erases Israel...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lovefest in Gaza....

Americans need to see this...
Tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers of the terrorist Palestinian Islamic Jihad group were reported to have rallied in the streets of Gaza on Friday to show their opposition to the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The crowds were heard chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

PIJ's exiled leader Ramadan Shallah sent a recorded message from Damascus commemorating the 15th anniversary of the assassination of former leader Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta, suspected to have been carried out by the Mossad.

"Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence," said Shallah. He warned of a "third Nakba" should the peace negotiations continue to fruition

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I hate UNESCO....

As Netanyahu says, this is just absurd...
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday slammed world culture organization UNESCO's decision to characterize the site of Rachel's Tomb as a Muslim mosque.

"The attempt to separate the nation of Israel from its cultural heritage is absurd," said the prime minister.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office read, "It is unfortunate that an organization that was established with the goal of promoting the cultural preservation of historical sites around the world, is attempting due to political reasons to uproot the connection between the nation of Israel and its cultural heritage."

The PMO's statement came in response to a report publicized by UNESCO that referred to Rachel's Tomb as a mosque and requested that Israel remove Rachel's Tomb -near the West Bank city of Bethlehem - and the Cave of the Patriarchs - in Hebron- from the Israeli list of national heritage sites.

UNESCO's requests comes after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in March, according to Saudi paper Al Wattan, claimed that the al-Aksa Mosque, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb “were not and never will be Jewish sites, but Islamic sites.”

Israel wins a debate!

People can be turned around...
It's not every day that Israel marks a victory away from home, especially not on hostile grounds such as University of Cambridge in England. But on Thursday, Israel secured an unexpected triumph in the institution's prestigious debate club, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

The university's debate club is a forum that gathers regularly to discuss different topics relating to the academia and international media.

Since its establishment in 1815, the debate club has hosted legendary figures such as Winston Churchill, the Dalai Lama and Ronald Regan.

The Union Society that operates the club is considered as the birthplace of British elite, boasting many graduates who have pursued political careers in the Kingdom and abroad.

Last Thursday, the debate club hosted an event titled "Israel is a Rogue State."
The debate's starting point was that Israel is a problematic country, which does not obey international law.

Due to the preeminence of the hosting institution, The Israeli embassy in London decided to send representatives Ran Gidor, the embassy's political advisor and a Cambridge graduate, and Shiraz Maher, a former radical Islamist that has become an enthusiastic Israel supporter.

Harsh diatribe

The opposing side was represented by journalist and publicist Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Booth, who is considered as one of the most prominent and outspoken pro-Palestinian activists in Britain, converted to Islam after visiting Iran six weeks prior to the event.

Thousands attended the debate, including Cambridge's senior academic staff, students and guests.

At first, it seemed the hall was overwhelmingly anti-Israel, as Booth and Mark McDonald, who heads the Labor party's Friends of Palestine & Middle East Association, engaged in a harsh diatribe against the Jewish State.

The event took a sharp turn when a few students from the pro-Palestinian camp raised pro-Israeli arguments during the discussion.

One of them told the audience that Israel gives political asylum to Darfuri refugees, while Egypt shoots them as they try to infiltrate the border, and that the Jewish State initiates internal probes over international violation, also noting Israel's liberal policies vis-à-vis gay and lesbian rights.
The student then pointed at Gidor and said, "Could you imagine China, Iran or even Britain sending a top diplomat to a discussion that defines Israel as a rogue state?"

After both sides concluded their arguments, the audience was asked to vote for the side that they deemed more persuasive.

Surprisingly, the Israeli side won with 74% of the votes, marking an important PR achievement in what could be considered one of Europe's main anti-Israeli strongholds.

Hamas steps up executions of collaborators...

Nothing like Hamas justice...
Hamas authorities in Gaza have begun imposing the death penalty as part of a campaign against Palestinians found guilty of collaborating with Israel.

Two men have been executed in Gaza this year for passing information to Israeli forces. Dozens more are in jail.

But human rights workers say the executions have been carried out in violation of Palestinian law.

Omar Kaware is one of 42 men who share a single prison cell in Gaza's main jail.

Metal bunks cram the room and the inmates share one toilet and one bathroom between them.

Every one of these men is accused of spying for Israel. And several, including Mr Kaware, have been sentenced to death.

"They accused me of collaborating with the Israelis, but I'm innocent," he said.

Mr Kaware was accused of giving information to Israeli forces which helped them pinpoint and assassinate a string of Palestinian militants.

He says he was set up by a vengeful neighbour and was tortured into making a confession.

He revealed scars on his hands and feet as evidence.

"They beat me. They tied my arms to the ceiling, hit me all over," he said.

And, now a word from that 'Green' peace conference in Ottawa...

From the Ottawa Citizen Article on that ridiculous 'Green' peace conference...
"Keynote speaker Saeid Ameli, dean of the faculty of global studies at Tehran University, said the controversy was based on misperceptions of Iran. He said concerns speakers weren't free to criticize the Iranian government were irrelevant, because he has no criticisms to express."
And, then this:

"[Festival organizer Paul] Maillet said the Iranian panelists were more than just government mouthpieces and maintained it was possible for them to speak their minds."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

London borough becomes Islamic Republic....

Thanks to Brigitte for sending this to me....this is a very scary story...
Outside the Wellington Way polling station in Tower Hamlets yesterday, as at many other polling stations in the borough, people had to run a gauntlet of Lutfur Rahman supporters to reach the ballot box. As one Bengali woman voter went past them, we heard one of the Rahman army scolding her for her “immodest dress.”

That incident is perhaps a tiny taste of the future for Britain’s poorest borough now it has elected Mr Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”

For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims.

We have told how the borough’s change from a conventional council leader to a mayoral system came about as a result of a campaign led and financed by these two groups – and how the IFE, in its words, wanted to “get one of our brothers” into the position.

We have described in detail, again without complaint or challenge by Mr Rahman, his deeply problematic two years as council leader until he was removed from that post six months ago, partly as a result of our investigations. After he secured the leadership with the help of the IFE, millions of pounds were channelled to front organisations of the IFE, a man with close links to the IFE was appointed as assistant chief executive of the council despite being unqualified for the position and the secular, white chief executive was forced out. Various efforts were made to “Islamicise” the borough. Extremist literature was stocked in Tower Hamlets’ public libraries.

We have described, once more without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman, how he signed up entire families of sham “paper” Labour members to win the party’s mayoral nomination – acts which caused him to be sacked as the Labour candidate by the party’s National Executive Committee.

Now, however, Mr Rahman has won as an independent – getting more than double the number of votes of the Labour candidate imposed in his place, Helal Abbas. As mayor, he will have far more power than he had as a council leader. And unlike a council leader, no-one can sack him, except the voters in four years’ time.

We should be clear what this result was, and was not. It was a decisive victory. But it was not much of an endorsement by the borough’s people. Turnout, at 25.6%, was astonishingly low, with most voters (particularly the white majority, and they still are a majority) unaware of, indifferent to or turned off by the process. Lutfur’s 23,000-odd votes are only about 13 per cent of Tower Hamlets’ electorate.

It was not a victory for any sort of democracy. It was the execution of a careful and sophisticated plan by a small, well-financed and highly-organised cabal to seize control of a London borough. It deployed not just volunteers from the IFE and other bodies but also people paid to campaign by Lutfur’s business backers. Someone also paid for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of copies of the most pernicious literature ever seen in a British election, in which Mr Abbas was falsely smeared as a wife-beater, a bankrupt, a racist and and an insulter of Islam.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are settlements really the obstacle to peace???

You can always count on Khaled Abu Toameh to write something intelligent...
For nearly two decades, the Palestinian Authority conducted peace talks with Israel while construction in the Jewish settlements was continuing. Every now and then the Palestinian leadership would complain about the construction, but it never made a big fuss about the issue. Nor had it threatened to suspend the peace process.

The Palestinian leaders even "forgot," when they signed the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993, to demand that the agreement include an Israeli commitment to stop building in the settlements.

Palestinian leaders living in the West Bank can't say that they never saw the bulldozers working in the settlements.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lives not far from a settlement near Ramallah. From his balcony, he saw how the Bet El settlement grew over the past two decades. It's impossible to travel throughout the West Bank without noticing the construction work in the settlements.

Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, talked and worked with Israel while the construction was continuing. Until two years ago, Abbas was negotiating with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, while the settlements were being expanded. Ironically, the Olmert government built more in the settlements than the "right-wing" government of Binyamin Netanyahu.

So how did the issue of the settlements become the "major obstacle to peace?"

Some Palestinians say that the settlements became a major issue only when the US Administration and other Western governments started demanding a freeze of settlement construction.

The Palestinian leaders can't afford a situation where Presidents Barack Obama and Nicola Sarkozy appear to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians, especially when it comes to the issue of settlements.

There's no ignoring the fact that the settlements are a problem for the Palestinians. But to say that the settlements are the major obstacle to peace is an exaggeration.

If the settlements were really the major obstacle to peace, how come peace did not prevail when Israel destroyed all the settlements in the Gaza Strip and evicted more than 8,000 Jews from there?

In Israel there is talk these days about establishing three major settlement blocs in the West Bank in any permanent deal with the Palestinians. Most Israelis know that many of the settlements will have to be dismantled and their residents relocated to the three big blocs: Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel.

This means that Israel wants to retain control over 10-15% of the West Bank after signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians. In such a case, the Palestinians should demand that Israel compensate them with the same amount of land, or even more from, from Israel proper. Some Israelis have already endorsed the idea, which they define as "land swap."

Monday, October 25, 2010

London borough becomes Islamic Republic....

Thanks to Brigitte for sending this to me....this is a very scary story...
Outside the Wellington Way polling station in Tower Hamlets yesterday, as at many other polling stations in the borough, people had to run a gauntlet of Lutfur Rahman supporters to reach the ballot box. As one Bengali woman voter went past them, we heard one of the Rahman army scolding her for her “immodest dress.”

That incident is perhaps a tiny taste of the future for Britain’s poorest borough now it has elected Mr Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”

For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims.

We have told how the borough’s change from a conventional council leader to a mayoral system came about as a result of a campaign led and financed by these two groups – and how the IFE, in its words, wanted to “get one of our brothers” into the position.

We have described in detail, again without complaint or challenge by Mr Rahman, his deeply problematic two years as council leader until he was removed from that post six months ago, partly as a result of our investigations. After he secured the leadership with the help of the IFE, millions of pounds were channelled to front organisations of the IFE, a man with close links to the IFE was appointed as assistant chief executive of the council despite being unqualified for the position and the secular, white chief executive was forced out. Various efforts were made to “Islamicise” the borough. Extremist literature was stocked in Tower Hamlets’ public libraries.

We have described, once more without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman, how he signed up entire families of sham “paper” Labour members to win the party’s mayoral nomination – acts which caused him to be sacked as the Labour candidate by the party’s National Executive Committee.

Now, however, Mr Rahman has won as an independent – getting more than double the number of votes of the Labour candidate imposed in his place, Helal Abbas. As mayor, he will have far more power than he had as a council leader. And unlike a council leader, no-one can sack him, except the voters in four years’ time.

We should be clear what this result was, and was not. It was a decisive victory. But it was not much of an endorsement by the borough’s people. Turnout, at 25.6%, was astonishingly low, with most voters (particularly the white majority, and they still are a majority) unaware of, indifferent to or turned off by the process. Lutfur’s 23,000-odd votes are only about 13 per cent of Tower Hamlets’ electorate.

It was not a victory for any sort of democracy. It was the execution of a careful and sophisticated plan by a small, well-financed and highly-organised cabal to seize control of a London borough. It deployed not just volunteers from the IFE and other bodies but also people paid to campaign by Lutfur’s business backers. Someone also paid for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of copies of the most pernicious literature ever seen in a British election, in which Mr Abbas was falsely smeared as a wife-beater, a bankrupt, a racist and and an insulter of Islam.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The tragic tale of a Muslim lesbian in the UK....

And, how many thousands of gay men and women go through suffering like this???
"I took off my hijab, and I threw it on the floor and my brother got really mad. It's the worst thing I could have done to offend my religion, aside from burn or tear the Koran.

"My mother, she kind of stood still, and started listening, and it was very liberating that she finally wanted to hear what I had to say.

"I told her about my sexuality and I said 'that's right, I do meet girls, and I love it' and I told her that she had been hurting me really badly, and I will never forgive her."

Now 20, Reviva - not her real name - recounts the day she finally came out to her family, her pupils flash and the flat, matter-of-fact delivery of her story-telling becomes briefly animated.

This, you realise, is the pivotal moment in a disturbing journey of self-discovery which encompasses family estrangement, exorcism, and attempted suicide.

Like hundreds of young men and women in Britain, Reviva was forced into marriage in spite of her sexual orientation, and still carries deep psychological scars from years of torment at the hands of her parents.

Rising trend

The government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has received hundreds of calls from young gay men and women - mainly men - who fear they are going to be forced into marriage by their family, against their will.

This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total.

Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

When arranging to interview her for 5 live Investigates, we asked Reviva if she would like to bring a friend for support. But this attractive student, with a hint of Goth, opts to come alone, preferring to keep even her closest friends in the dark about her troubled past.

As she admits, "I'm unable to show emotion, I'm unable to trust people. The only person I really trust is myself. I am unable to be vulnerable with a person, I'm unable to feel a lot of things."

Born in the Middle East, but schooled in Britain, Reviva's difficulties began in adolescence when she became aware of being attracted to girls rather than boys.

"The first kiss I had, I was around 12," she recalls.

"It was always kisses in the playground, and kisses in the gym. With girls it was always perfect. It was always nice. It wasn't something I was ashamed of. It was beautiful."

Not for discussion

Aware that her parents had deep religious and cultural objections to homosexuality, Reviva gently tried to make them aware of her situation, but was quickly rebuffed:

"I tried to introduce it to them, because I knew it was a thing you don't talk about. It's forbidden. But once you mention 'homosexual' the discussion is over. You can't go into detail about it."

Far from accepting the situation, Reviva's parents set up weekly meetings with eligible bachelors - and reacted with violence when their teenage daughter refused to play along.

"The worst thing they tried was burning my hand on the stove. Anything they could grab, they'd hit you until you'd sort of pass out.

"They always tried to hit me where it couldn't be seen, to hide the scars. Because don't forget I was meant to get married, so I was meant to have skin that isn't damaged."

Reviva says she attempted suicide several times, knowing that she could never satisfy her parents, for whom she reserves an unmistakable venom.

While she understands the roots of their traditional views, her simmering anger betrays the belief that when all is said and done, her home should have been a refuge - not a place of emotional torture.

Escalating ordeal

In a desperate attempt to force the situation, her father even signed her away in an Islamic marriage to a man in another country, who she had never met.

Reviva, who was still at school, used her impending exams as a delaying tactic to ensure the relationship was never consummated and it was ultimately annulled.

Far from ending, her ordeal intensified. The troubled teenager was taken to her grandmother's house in the Middle East where, as she recalls with a chilling lack of emotion, her parents tried persuading her to take her own life.

"I was damaging the family honour. I was making the family looking like a modernised, westernised, filthy family. So what they wanted to do is get rid of what is damaging the honour.

"They put you in a room on your own, I don't get any food, or any water, and I have to just sit there and wait to die or kill myself."

To aid the process, a gun, a knife, and pills were left in the room, along with a can of petrol and a box of matches. In her view, Reviva says it would have amounted to murder, not suicide, should she have decided to killed herself.

"But I wasn't in a situation where I felt I have to end my life. Even if I was, I wouldn't have done it the way they wanted me to do it."

Her refusal to give in led to further action from her family, as they sought to "cure" her of her homosexuality.

"They tried a few exorcisms" she deadpans, as if having evil spirits cast out was nothing more extreme than a routine dental check up.

This intense young woman briefly lightens up and punctures her solemn tale with a vivacious smile:

"It isn't like The Omen, it isn't as dramatic. You lay on a prayer mat, and somebody who is very religious, will read several verses from the Koran.

"It's very frightening because everyone is scared of being possessed by something, and then you think 'maybe I am?' because I have desires and thoughts that my parents think are wrong."

After this morale-sapping ordeal, Reviva briefly tried to come to an accommodation with her parents' views and dutifully studied the Koran.

Break for freedom

Reviva's family then returned to England but not long after she found one-way plane tickets for her and her father and she realised he was trying to marry her once more - again, to a man she had never met.

Iran restricts the social sciences....

Well, they are right about women's studies....
Iran has imposed new restrictions on 12 university social sciences deemed to be based on Western schools of thought and therefore incompatible with Islamic teachings, state radio reported Sunday.

The list includes law, philosophy, management, psychology, political science and the two subjects that appear to cause the most concern among Iran's conservative leadership - women's studies and human rights.

"The content of the current courses in the 12 subjects is not in harmony with religious fundamentals and they are based on Western schools of thought," senior education official Abolfazl Hassani told state radio.

Hassani said the restrictions prevent universities from opening new departments in these subjects. The government will also revise the content of current programs by up to 70 percent over the next few years, he said.

The politically correct Lucy van Oldenbarneveld meets Tarek Fatah....

Yesterday, I went to see Tarek Fatah speak at the Writers Festival in Ottawa about his new book, "The Jew is Not My Enemy".

He was terrific, to say the least. Funny, serious, and resolute in his defense of western values and the enlightenment. Scathing about radical Islam and pissed off that far too many people on the left don't see the threat.

However, after his opening 15 minute talk, he then sat down for a discussion with Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, a CBC reporter.

She was horrible.

First Question: What's wrong with women wearing a burka and other coverings?

Tarek answered that this was unacceptable for women to walk around in tents and that the thought process behind it was repugnant. Lucy's second question was well, only a about one hundred women wear them, so why all the fuss. Fatah replied that you wouldn't accept 100 people being kept as slaves -and that even one person being kept as a slave would be one too many.

Lucy wouldn't give up. The next question was still on the same topic....perhaps we should recognize the courage these women have to wear the burka and show their independence.

By this time, Fatah was livid.

Van Oldenbarneveld decided to go on another tack - and the question was on Islamophobia in Canada. Fatah answered with a long list of Muslims who
have been elected to public office, and who have high positions in government, etc.

He wondered....where is all the Islamophobia??

She countered with a question about whether Muslims feel threatened because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threats against Iran.

Fatah answered that Muslims are killing Muslims in Pakistan, and that hundreds of thousands have died in Darfur. That's real Islamophobia.

Not to be deterred, Lucy shot right back with a question about Islamophobia in Europe, and after Fatah answered that question, she came right back with a question about Islamophobia in Germany.

I think she asked five questions about Islamophobia.

Remember, Fatah's book was on Muslim anti-semitism! But, not one question on that at all. Perhaps she hadn't read the book.

Her last question of the day - well, back to the burning issue of the burka and once again whether we can admire the independence of women who want to and who choose to wear the burka.

Throughout it all, Tarek Fatah was excellent. He was adamant that we have nothing to apologize for in the west. He also said that many in the left seem to have abandoned their 'liberal' principles, and that many conservatives have now taken up
these principles. As somebody who is left of centre, the abandonment of enlightenment positions by people like Jack Layton is profoundly disappointing.

I hadn't realized that Fatah was a longstanding member of the NDP, but he left when he saw a member of Hezbollah take a senior position in the party.

During the question period, once women got up and was clearly very anti-Israel. Well, you could just see Lucy brighten right up! She allowed her to ask 3 questions...and, by the last anti-Israel question (what's wrong with calling Israel an apartheid state?), Fatah just blasted her.

But wait, there's more! Lucy and one questioner insisted that honour killings were just crimes of passion, and that all communities - Jewish and Christian - suffer through such crimes. Fatah was patient - he explained that the typical honour killing consisted of a family sitting down and planning out a murder - at the dinner table - and that this was hardly a crime of passion.

So, there you have it. Rather than actually question Fatah on his book on Muslim anti-semitism, Lucy van Oldenbarneveld turned the afternoon into a seminar on political correctness - and making Fatah's point that we in the west are weak-kneed about defending our values.

One last thing. Buy Tarek Fatah's book. In fact, buy two and give one away.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obama turns the other cheek on Iran....

The Wikileaks Iraq documents show the malignant influence of Iran on Iraq....something that Obama has just ignored...
On Dec. 22, 2006, American military officials in Baghdad issued a secret warning: The Shiite militia commander who had orchestrated the kidnapping of officials from Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education was now hatching plans to take American soldiers hostage.

What made the warning especially worrying were intelligence reports saying that the Iraqi militant, Azhar al-Dulaimi, had been trained by the Middle East’s masters of the dark arts of paramilitary operations: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese ally.

“Dulaymi reportedly obtained his training from Hizballah operatives near Qum, Iran, who were under the supervision of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) officers in July 2006,” the report noted, using alternative spellings of the principals involved. Read the Document »

Five months later, Mr. Dulaimi was tracked down and killed in an American raid in the sprawling Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad — but not before four American soldiers had been abducted from an Iraqi headquarters in Karbala and executed in an operation that American military officials say literally bore Mr. Dulaimi’s fingerprints.

Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look — at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence — at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran’s role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.

But the field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military. The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in Iraq still continues as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has sought to assemble a coalition — that would include the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr — that will allow him to remain in power. But much of the American’s military concern has revolved around Iran’s role in arming and assisting Shiite militias.

Citing the testimony of detainees, a captured militant’s diary and numerous uncovered weapons caches, among other intelligence, the field reports recount Iran’s role in providing Iraqi militia fighters with rockets, magnetic bombs that can be attached to the underside of cars, “explosively formed penetrators,” or E.F.P.’s, which are the most lethal type of roadside bomb in Iraq, and other weapons. Those include powerful .50-caliber rifles and the Misagh-1, an Iranian replica of a portable Chinese surface-to-air missile, which, according to the reports, was fired at American helicopters and downed one in east Baghdad in July 2007.

Iraqi militants went to Iran to be trained as snipers and in the use of explosives, the field reports assert, and Iran’s Quds Force collaborated with Iraqi extremists to encourage the assassination of Iraqi officials.

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran’s leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

How's this for a raving lunatic on campus???

This is what goes on on campus these days...
Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are questioning officials at a state-supported university after a professor publicly called for the destruction of Israel.

In a letter Wednesday to the president of Lincoln University, state Sens. Daylin Leach and Anthony Williams ask if the professor is expressing anti-Semitic views on campus.

Video of a Sept. 3 rally in Washington, D.C., shows tenured literature professor Kaukab Siddique saying Israel must be destroyed, "if possible by peaceful means."

Siddique tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that "I am against Israel - not against Jews."

Adbusters flirts with anti-semitism....

This isn't the first time...they once had an article highlighting in red the Jews that are neoconservatives....
Adbusters Media Foundation, which publishes the slick, anti-consumerist Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, describes itself as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.” Judging from the latest edition of the magazine, the Adbusters “activist movement” has become infected with plain, old-fashioned bigotry.

In the current edition, Adbusters offers its readers a one page “photo essay” — Truthbombs on Israeli TV — that makes comparisons between the situation that Palestinians are experiencing in Gaza and what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto experienced under the Nazis. There are pictures of people fighting fires in Gaza … and people fighting fires in the Warsaw Ghetto. There are pictures of people injured in the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people injured in Gaza. There are pictures of people smuggling food into the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people smuggling goods into Gaza. It’s truly a tour de force of investigative journalism.

The argument is obscene, and continues the disgusting tradition of some supporters of the Palestinian cause to turn Jews into Nazis and Palestinians into Jews. In so doing, these propagandists not only demonize Israelis (i.e., Jews), but minimize the murderous extent and intent of Nazism’s genocidal project. In other words, such vile analogies become a form of Holocaust minimilization.

Adbusters postures as chic and eco-friendly. It describes itself as a magazine concerned with the “erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.” In the present case, they should have been more concerned with the erosion of their own moral and ethical standards.

When we contacted the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), from whom Adbusters got the Warsaw Ghetto images, they were shocked — and they gave us this statement: “Any comparison between the Warsaw Ghetto (or the Holocaust as a whole) and the situation in Gaza is wildly inaccurate, a gross misrepresentation of the facts and offensive to victims of the Holocaust.” Interestingly, the USHMM told us that they granted permission to Adbusters to use the pictures because they were told that the magazine was doing a story on “war crimes” that would address what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto. The USHMM has sent Adbusters a cease and desist letter demanding that the photos be immediately removed from their website.

Let’s take a moment for the obligatory statement that criticism of Israeli policies is acceptable, and that one can be critical of such policies without being anti-Semitic. But let’s also take a minute to stress that the differential treatment of Israel by Adbusters and their fellow travelers crosses the line into anti-Semitism. Natan Sharansky’s observation that criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism when it demonizes, delegitimitizes and employs a double-standard is relevant here. Let’s take a further moment to consider that such Nazi analogies are specifically identified as anti-Semitic by both the European Union and the U.S. State Department. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) also employs that definition.

The reason for this is simple: Germany under Nazism was beyond redemption. It could not be repaired. It had to be destroyed and then rebuilt. This destruction was a task accomplished by the free democracies of the world and their allies. This is what the analogy of Israelis to Nazis implies: that Israel must be dismantled. The same may be said about comparisons to apartheid.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Al-Qaeda threatens 5 North African States....

5 states in risk of being over-run by Al-Qaeda...
Mauritania, Mali and Niger have seen a steady escalation of al-Qaeda activity targeting Western aid workers and experts. Somalia, to their east, has disintegrated in the face of Islamist assault. In Yemen, across the Red Sea from Somalia, security forces have been waging a losing battle against resurgent jihadist armies that have claimed the lives of dozens of troops.

Amadou Marou, the President of Niger's National Consultative Council has been in Europe with a grim message for governments. "Somalia got away from us", he said, "and northern Mali is in the process of getting away from us".

Mohamed Abdillahi Mohamed, Somalia's new Prime Minister, has also called on the US and Europe to "step up to the plate". Aid to Somalia, he said, "is not an option, it's a necessity. We are dealing with al-Shabaab, who are extremists and seeking to take their war throughout the world".

Al-Qaeda's regional affiliates have expanded dramatically throughout this belt of states, exploiting the administrative weaknesses and corruption of their governments.

Large swathes of Somalia are already under the control of al-Shabaab, a Somali al-Qaeda affiliate, which is known to have hundreds of US and UK citizens among its ranks. Western intelligence services say they have evidence that those recruits are preparing for attacks on the West.

Last month, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, its north African branch, kidnapped seven people, including five French citizens, from a uranium mine in Niger. AQIM has demanded a ransom of £5 million and a rollback on France's burka ban for the lives of the hostages Mauritania has been engaged in pitched battles with AQIM, and the country's air force has been bombing jihadist targets in northern Mali the region where British tourist Edwin Dyer was executed by terrorists last year.

Mauritanian jihadists also murdered an American aid worker last year, and earlier attacked Israel's embassy to the country.

Yemen, which is home to another al-Qaeda affiliate called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has served as hub for several plots targeting the West, often carried out by western citizens inspired by the charismatic Islamist televangelist Anwar al-Awlaki.

A shooting at the beach in Syria....

This is from an interview with a former inspector of the IAEA....
The Iranians' evasive behavior worries Heinonen because of its implications for Syria. In September 2007, foreign sources said the Israel Air Force demolished a Syrian nuclear reactor for producing plutonium, built near the Euphrates river with North Korean technology and staff.

The IAEA demanded that Syria provide information about the site. Damascus stalled its response, and in the months following the attack it staged a massive cover-up operation, replacing the soil at the site. Remains of equipment and materials were transported to undisclosed locations.

Only in June 2008 did Syria allow IAEA inspectors, led by Heinonen, to visit the site. They did not meet Dr. Ibrahim Othman, the head of the Syrian Nuclear Energy Commision. Heinonen and his inspectors managed to obtain soil samples from the site and found traces of uranium. Since then Syria has refused to cooperate with the IAEA.

Heinonen believes Syria has to be under "special inspection," a higher level of monitoring that could lead to a referral to the UN Security Council, much the way the Iran case has been handled.

"I'm asked, why are you concerned with a site that was attacked?" says Heinonen. "If it was indeed a nuclear reactor, it does not exist anymore. My answer is that if it was a nuclear reactor, it would have been a precedent: the first time that an IAEA member state was constructing a plutonium rector on such a large scale. And if it was a reactor, what happened to those who built it? Are they implementing their know-how and technology somewhere else? As more time passes, the chances of discovering the truth become slimmer. The equipment gets rusty, sand storms cover the site and people we wanted to talk to disappear."

General Mohammed Suleiman, a senior intelligence officer who accompanied them on their tour of the site, was shot dead on a Syrian beach two months after their meeting.

Why does everybody lie to the Palestinian refugees???

Some hard truths from Khaled Abu Toameh...
Palestinian Authority leaders are now saying that they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state because that would mean that they would have to give up the "right of return" for millions of Palestinians to their original homes inside Israel.

These leaders are actually continuing to deceive the refugees into believing that one day they will be permitted to move into Israel.

The Palestinian Authority, like the rest of the Arab governments, has been lying to the refugees for decades, telling them that one day their dream of returning to their villages and towns, many of which no longer exist, would be fulfilled.

Meanwhile, the refugees are continuing to live in harsh conditions in their UNRWA-administered camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

No Arab or Palestinian leader has ever dared to confront the refugees with the truth, namely that they are not going to move into Israel. On the contrary, Palestinian and Arab leaders continue to tell these people that they will go back to their former villages and towns.

Arab and Palestinian governments are lying to the refugees because they want to avoid any responsibility toward their plight. The Arab governments hosting the refugees have done almost nothing to improve the living conditions of the refugees.

On the contrary, Palestinian refugees living in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have long been subjected the victims of racism and other repressive and unjust measures and laws that deprive them even of basic rights. Governments such as Jordan receive a payment for each refugee, turning the refugees into nothing more than property, like stocks on Wall Street.

Since its establishment in 1994, the Palestinian Authority has also done very little to help the refugees. In the West Bank, most of the international aid is being invested in major cities such as Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Jenin, as well as scores of villages.

UNRWA is also not offering a solution to the refugees. Instead, the UN agency is perpetuating the problem by creating new generations of refugees. UNRWA is in fact encouraging the refugees to stay where they are. For UNRWA, refugees are a gigantic UN jobs program, providing over 30,000 of them, costing over $1 billion USD a-year, or, according to separate sources, a third of all other UN regugee services combined.

The case of the Palestinian refugees is one of the most important issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict. It needs to be solved for once and for all -- and immediately. The refugees have the legitimate and moral right to continue dreaming about their original villages and towns. But the Arab and Palestinian governments do not have the right to continue lying to these people.

Turkey won't boycott Iran...

And, what's Obama going to do about this???
Turkey has rebuffed a U.S. effort to persuade it to scale back its trade ties with Iran despite a persistent U.S. lobbying campaign this week in Washington and Ankara.

Ali Babacan, a Turkish deputy prime minister, told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that Turkish companies remained "free to make their own decisions" about whether to comply with U.S. and European sanctions aimed at cutting off trade with Iran.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blast in Hamas compound injures children...

Gee, I thought they knew everything there is to know about bomb-making...
A huge blast Wednesday at a Hamas military base in southern Gaza lightly injured more than a dozen people, including children, Hamas officials said. It appeared the explosion was accidental.

Hamas did not say what caused the blast in a crowded neighborhood in the town of Rafah and the Israeli military said it wasn't involved. Israeli warplanes often target Hamas weapons facilities, but Israel usually confirms those attacks.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights has repeatedly called on Hamas not to store explosive materials in civilian areas. It said a similar explosion in August wounded 58 people and destroyed seven houses.

Explosives stored by Palestinian militants often explode prematurely or detonate while bomb makers are working with them.

Hamas said five children, three women and five other people were all slightly injured by flying glass from the explosion.

A hero for our times - Philippe Karsenty....

And, he's coming to Ottawa to speak on November 13th, as part of the 1st Annual Free Thinking Film Festival....
I’m speaking of Philippe Karsenty, who delivered a talk in Montreal on October 13 of this year dealing with the infamous Mohammad al-Dura hoax perpetrated by France 2 TV. Karsenty, deputy mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine and director of the Paris-based analysis firm Media-Ratings, has become justly celebrated as the man who single-handedly defied the entire French media, political establishment and intellectual synod which closed ranks to defend the official version of what happened on September 30, 2000 at the Netzarim junction in Gaza. The episode and its aftermath are by this time widely known, but a brief recapitulation would not be out of place.

Jamal al-Dura, a native of Gaza, and his 12-year-old son Mohammad, were filmed supposedly caught in a crossfire between Palestinian operatives and Israeli soldiers at the Netzarim junction, approximately five kilometers from Gaza City. According to Israeli-French journalist Charles Enderlin, France 2 TV’s Jerusalem correspondent who edited and narrated the clip, and his cameraman Talal Abu Rhama who bore witness to the event, the Israelis deliberately targeted the two victims for a full forty-five minutes, wounding the father and killing the son. An expurgated version of the film circulated around the globe, and the international media, with scarcely an exception, condemned the Israelis as child killers. With the collusion of the Western press, the Palestinians had invented yet another martyr to grace their faux hagiography.

Indeed, it did not take long before Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish published his Requiem for Muhammad al-Dura, a piece of versified hogwash which became an instant hit and continues to this day to resonate. “Mohammad,” Darwish writes, “hunters are gunning down angels, and the only witness/is a camera’s eye…” Postage stamps commemorating the event were issued throughout the Islamic world, monuments were erected, the Second Intifada which had only just begun took on a second wind, journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in revenge and Israeli citizens were murdered in the streets by Palestinian suicide bombers. No one doubted the official story of Israeli barbarism and Palestinian innocence. Even the Israeli political and military establishment did not contest world opinion and issued a hurried apology. But there was a serious problem with the universally accepted transcript of the “firefight.” The only significant “shooting” was done by the camera crew.

It was soon revealed that France 2 TV possessed 27 minutes of tape but released only 59 seconds worth of material. Enderlin, who was not present at the Netzarim shootout but justified his reportage by saying that “the image corresponded to the reality of the situation,” insisted that portions of the film were too painful to reveal, enabling him to bury the outtakes. This, of course, rendered him complicit in what became a worldwide campaign of slander and disinformation, a modern blood libel in everything but name. A subsequent investigation conducted by the Israeli Defense Force arrived at the conclusion that Israeli fire, coming from an oblique position, could not have produced the round bullet holes that pocked the wall against which the al-Duras were crouching. A forensic team from Germany, which examined the evidence in March 2002, went one better, determining from angles and trajectories that the soldiers manning the Israeli outpost could not possibly have shot the al-Duras, at least not in our familiar Euclidean world dominated by the laws of geometry and ballistics.

Karsenty entered the fray shortly afterward, airing his rebuttal on his Web site, and soon found himself on the wrong end of a libel suit. In a partial reprise of the notorious Dreyfus scandal, the French Court of First Instance, despite the recommendation of the public prosecutor that it rule in Karsenty’s favour, convicted the defendant of libeling France 2 TV and Charles Enderlin. (To compound the mockery, the government of Nicolas Sarkozy later awarded Enderlin the Legion of Honor.) Karsenty vowed to continue the fight and has recently won a second decision, of which more later.

Karsenty has prepared a slide/video display with which he accompanies the lectures he has given in many cities around the world. The evidence he has marshaled from various sources, including the eighteen minutes of tape France 2 was compelled by the court to reveal, definitively reduces the entire anti-Israel media offensive regarding al-Dura to the level of abject farce. (What happened to the other nine minutes remain a mystery.) Frame after frame reveals the depth of ignominy which Israel’s besmirchers were more than willing to plumb.
Please read the whole article....and don't miss Philippe Karsenty in Ottawa on November 13th.

Shame on the European Parliament...

Not surprisingly, they can't help themselves when it comes to demonizing Israel...
Andrei Sakharov was among the greatest of Russia’s communist-era dissidents. Brave, brilliant and principled he spoke truth to power against the full might of the Soviet Union’s totalitarian polity. But, like his Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel, the secret of his brilliance was that he could see further and wider than the confines of the system that oppressed him. He saw in communism a magnification of problems and deficiencies that affected the modern world generally, and that meant capitalist societies too.

Here is a sample of his writings on freedom of expression taken from his book Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom:

“…intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship”.

With those words in mind — particularly “freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices”, “infection of people by mass myths” and “treacherous hypocrites and demagogues” — consider that at the behest of Greens and European United Left groupings an organisation dedicated to demonising the Israeli military, Breaking the Silence, was recently nominated for the shortlist for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize. According to news reports, the winner will be announced on Thursday, October 21.

But whether Breaking the Silence wins or not, the name of Andrei Sakharov and everything he stood for has now been so grossly abused by this disgraceful nomination — to be shortlisted for a prize is itself to bestow an honour on the nominee — that if it wasn’t the product of the European Parliament one would simply be speechless with disbelief.

The squalid reality of what kind of organisation Breaking the Silence really is was revealed in a masterful, and superbly written, commentary in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post by Michael Dickson, Israeli head of StandWithUs, one of the world’s most effective pro-Israel education and advocacy groups.

In that piece, Dickson said the following:
“Breaking the Silence is hypocritical about its aims and even its name. If it wanted to present a true picture of the IDF, it would not blatantly omit the context of terrorism, the goals of Israel’s enemies, the deadly rocket fire from Gaza. It would not omit how the enemy hides behind Palestinian civilians and attacks Israeli civilians. It would raise awareness about the moral dilemmas the IDF faces. But instead, it omits this vital context in its reports, which often consist of anonymous, unverified testimony.

“There isn’t even any “silence” to “break.” Israel is an open and democratic society that regularly criticizes its own actions, and anyone is free to present complaints and findings to government officials and the courts”.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Iran doubles enriched uranium stockpiles....

And, what's Obama going to do about it???
Iran announced Wednesday it has almost doubled its stockpile of uranium that the country began enriching to higher levels earlier this year in defiance of UN demands to halt the program.

Nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran now has 30 kilograms, or about 66 pounds, of uranium enriched to 20 percent — almost twice the amount reported in June.

Uganda publishes gay list...calls for their murder....

Where's the western world in denouncing this???
A Ugandan newspaper published a story featuring a list of the nation's "top" gays and lesbians with their photos and addresses, angering activists who say the already marginalized group risks facing further attacks.

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone newspaper -- not affiliated with the U.S. magazine with the same name -- featured 100 pictures of Uganda's gays and lesbians. Next to the list was a yellow strip with the words "hang them."

The story comes about a year after a Ugandan lawmaker introduced a measure that calls for the death penalty or long jail terms for those who engage in some homosexual activities.

The proposal was shelved after an international outcry.

"For me, the first thing that crossed my mind was, 'how can this country allow such things to happen?" said Julian Pepe, who was also named in the story.

"They were calling for our hanging, they are asking people to take the law into their hands. We are all terrified."

The 29-year-old said she's a lesbian.

"I came out when I was 12, I have supportive parents who have been there for me," said Pepe, a program coordinator for Sexual Minorities Uganda.

Those named in the story are living in fear, she said. Some have had to change jobs and move to new places.

Is Israel a Jewish State????

Jeff Jacoby, of the Boston Globe, is one of my favorite columnists...
Nothing about Israel could be more self-evident than its Jewishness. As Poland is the national state of the Polish people and Japan is the national state of the Japanese people, so Israel is the national state of the Jewish people. The UN’s 1947 resolution on partitioning Palestine contains no fewer than 30 references to the “Jewish state” whose creation it was authorizing; 25 years earlier, the League of Nations had been similarly straightforward in mandating “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” When Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948, its Jewish identity was the first detail reported. The New York Times’s front-page story began: “The Jewish state, the world’s newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate.”

Today, half the planet’s Jews live in that state, many of them refugees from anti-Semitic repression and violence elsewhere. In a world with more than 20 Arab states and 55 Muslim countries, the existence of a single small Jewish state should be unobjectionable. “Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people,” President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly last month. By now that should be a truism, no more controversial than calling Italy the sovereign homeland of the Italian people.

And yet to Israel’s enemies, Jewish sovereignty is as intolerable today as it was in 1948, when five Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state, vowing “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.” Endless rounds of talks and countless invocations of the “peace process” have not changed the underlying reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is not about settlements or borders or Jerusalem or the rights of Palestinians. The root of the hostility is the refusal to recognize the immutable right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. Until that changes, no lasting peace is possible.

That is why the Israeli government is correct to insist that the Palestinian Authority publicly recognize Israel as the Jewish state. It is the critical litmus test. “Palestinian nationalism was based on driving all Israelis out,” Edward Said told an interviewer in 1999, and the best evidence that most Palestinians are still intent on eliminating Israel is the vehemence with which even supposed “moderates” like Mahmoud Abbas will not — or dare not — acknowledge Israel’s Jewishness as a legitimate fact of life. “What is a ‘Jewish state?’” Abbas ranted on Palestinian TV. “You can call yourselves whatever you want, but I will not accept it. . . . You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic]. Call it whatever you like. I don’t care.”

There are those who argue that Israel cannot be both a Jewish state and a democracy. When Israel’s parliament decided last week to require new non-Jewish citizens to take an oath of allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state, some people bristled. “The phrase itself is an oxymoron,” one reader wrote to the Boston Globe. “How can a state openly favor one ethnic group over all others and declare itself to be democratic?”

But there is no conflict at all between Israel’s Jewish identity and its democratic values. Indeed, the UN’s 1947 partition resolution not only called for subdividing Palestine into “independent Arab and Jewish states,” it explicitly required each of them to “draft a democratic constitution” and to elect a government “by universal suffrage and by secret ballot.” The Jews complied. The Arabs launched a war.

Many of the world’s democracies have official state religions. Think of Britain, whose monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England; or of Greece, whose constitution singles out the Eastern Orthodox Church as the country’s “prevailing religion.” The linking of national character with religion is a commonplace. Israel stands out only because its religion is Judaism, not Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.

Nor is democracy incompatible with ethnic or national distinctiveness. Ireland waives its usual citizenship requirements for applicants of Irish descent. Bulgaria’s constitution grants the right to “acquire Bulgarian citizenship through a facilitated procedure” to any “person of Bulgarian origin.” It is not oxymoronic to describe Ireland as “Irish and democratic” or Bulgaria as “Bulgarian and democratic.” Israel’s flourishing little Jewish democracy is no oxymoron either.

Vaclav Klaus's latest speech....

Again, another speech in its entirety...
It is a great honor for me to be here tonight, getting a chance to deliver the inaugural lecture of the Global Warming Policy Foundation to such a distinguished audience.

Even though it may seem that there is a whole range of institutions both here and overseas which bring together and support those who openly express doubts about the currently prevailing dogma of man-made global warming and who dare to criticize it, it apparently is still not enough. We are subject to a heavily biased and carefully organized propaganda and a serious and highly qualified forum here, on this side of the Atlantic, that would stand for rationality, objectivity and fairness in public policy discussion is more than needed. That is why I consider the launching of the foundation an important step in the right direction.

We should keep saying very loudly that the current debate about global warming –and I agree with the Australian paleoclimatologist Prof. Carter that we should always speak about “dangerous human caused global warming” because it is not “warming per se that we are concerned with”[1] – is in its substance not part of the scientific discourse about the relative role of a myriad of factors influencing swings in global temperature but part of public policy debate about man and society. As R. M. Carter stresses in his recent book, “the global warming issue long ago ceased being a scientific problem.”[2]

The current debate is a public policy debate with enormous implications.[3] It is no longer about climate. It is about the government, the politicians, their scribes and the lobbyists who want to get more decision making and power for themselves. It seems to me that the widespread acceptance of the global warming dogma has become one of the main, most costly and most undemocratic public policy mistakes in generations. The previous one was communism.

The debate has, of course, its scientific dimension but this part of the debate doesn’t belong here. I also do not intend to play the role of an amateur climatologist.[4]

What belongs here is our insisting upon the undisputable fact that there are respectable but highly conflicting scientific hypotheses concerning this subject. What also belongs here is our resolute opposition to the attempts to shut down such a crucial public debate concerning us and our way of life on the pretext that the overwhelming scientific consensus is there and that we have to act now. This is not true. Being free to raise questions and oppose fashionable politically and “lobbystically” promoted ideas forms an important and irreplaceable part of our democratic society. Not being allowed to do so would be a proof that we have already moved to the “brave new world” of a postdemocratic order. (I am tempted to say that we are already very close to it).

We need a help from the scientists. They shouldn’t only try to maximize the number of peer-reviewed articles or grants but should help the politicians as well as the public to separate environmentalists’ myths from reality. They should present relevant scientific theories and findings in such a way that would make it possible for us to decide for ourselves what to accept and what to question. I have been trying to follow the published theories for a couple of years and am strongly on the side of those who say that “carbon dioxide is a minor player. It is not the primary cause of global warming and therefore humanity is not to blame”[5].

Looking back at geologic time, the 1998 Nobel Prize for Physics laureate Robert Laughlin[6] says that “climate change is something that the Earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission” and that “far from being responsible for damaging the Earth’s climate, civilization might not be able to forestall any of these changes once the Earth has decided to make them” (p. 11). He adds that “the geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we are gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control” (p. 12). These formulations seem to me rather persuasive.

Most of us gathered here are not climatologists or scientists in related disciplines of natural sciences, but economists, lawyers, sociologists and perhaps also politicians or ex-politicians who have been for years or decades involved in public policy debates. This is the reason why we follow with such an interest and with an even greater concern the prevailing intellectual and political climate, its biases and misconceptions, as well as its dangerous public policy consequences.

Many of us came to the conclusion that the case for the currently promoted anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is very weak. We also know that it is always wrong to pick a simple, attractive, perhaps appealing scientific hypothesis, especially when it is not sufficiently tested and non-contentiously pushed forward, and to base ambitious, radical and far-reaching policies on it – without paying attention to all the arguments and to all the direct and indirect as well as opportunity costs associated with it. The feeling that this is exactly what we have been experiencing motivated me to write a book with the title Blue Planet in Green Shackles, which was published in May 2007 and in which I attempted to put the global warming debate into a broader perspective.[7] A year after its publication, I was extremely pleased to get a book An Appeal to Reason, A Cool Look at Global Warming,[8] in many respects similar to mine, written by Nigel Lawson.

We are not on the winning side, but looking back, we can afford to say that since the launching of the massive global warming propaganda at the UN Rio Summit in 1992 and since its subsequent acceptance worldwide, several things happened that suggest some degree of optimism:

- the global temperature ceased rising;

- new alternative hypotheses for the explanation of climate fluctuations have been formulated;

- the reputation of the “scientific standing” of some of the leading exponents of the global warming doctrine has been heavily undermined recently (the most scandalous example being the case of the “hockey stick”, which constituted the basis of the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the IPCC);[9]

- the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009 revealed to everyone willing to see the existing heterogeneity of views and the apparent contradictions of interests.

Yet the global warming alarmism and especially the public policy measures connected with it have been triumphally marching on. Even the recent worldwide financial and economic crisis and the enormous confusion, fear, as well as indebtedness it created did not stop this victorious “long march.”

Let me repeat the three simple facts that most of us – I hope – are aware of. We can only wish our opponents, the global warming alarmists, accept that we do not question them. Otherwise, they would continue shooting at wrong targets, which is what they – probably intentionally – have been doing up until now.

Let’s start with a long-term fact that the global mean climate does change. No one disputes that. It changes now, it was changing in the past and will – undoubtedly – be changing also in the future. In spite of that, we have to add that over the last ten thousand years (the era of Holocene), the climate has been much the same as at present and the average surface temperature did not vary significantly.[10] If there has been any long term trend there has been an overall gentle cooling trend.

Presenting the climate changes we’ve been experiencing in the last decades as a threat to the Planet and letting the global warming alarmists use this bizarre argument as a justification for their attempts to substantially change our way of life, to weaken and restrain our freedom, to control us, to dictate what it is we should and should not be doing is unacceptable.[11] Their success in influencing millions of quite rational people all around the world is rather surprising. How is it possible that they are so successful in it? And so rapidly? For older doctrines and ideologies, it took usually much longer to get such an influential and widely shared position in society. Is this because of the specifics of our times? Is this because we are continuously “online”? Is this because religious and other metaphysical ideologies have become less attractive and less persuasive? Is this because of the need to promptly refill the existing spiritual emptiness – connected with “the end of history” theories – with a new “noble cause,” such as saving the Planet?

The environmentalists succeeded in discovering a new “noble cause.” They try to limit human freedom in the name of “something” that is more important and more noble than our very down-to-earth lives. For someone who spent most of his life in the “noble” era of communism this is impossible to accept.

The second undisputable fact is that – with all the well-known problems of measurement and data collection[12] – over the last 150 years, which is a medium-term time scale in climatology, the average global temperature has shown warming-cooling rhythms superimposed on a small upward warming trend.This trend has existed since the Earth (or rather its Northern Hemisphere because data from the Southern Hemisphere are not available) emerged from the Little Ice Age approximately two centuries ago.[13] We also know that this new trend was repeatedly interrupted, one important example being the period from the 1940s to the middle of the 1970s, another the period of the last 10 – 12 years. The warming in the last 150 years is modest and everything suggests that also the future warming and its consequences will be neither dramatic, nor catastrophic. It does not look like a threat we must respond to.

The third fact is that also the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere fluctuates in time, sometimes precedes, sometimes follows the temperature increase, and that – with all the problems of not fully compatible time series – in the last two centuries we witness a mostly anthropogenically enhanced amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Its concentration increased from 284.7 ppmv in the year 1850 to 310.7 in the year 1950, and to 387.3 in 2009.[14]

There is no need to dispute these facts. The dispute starts when we are confronted with a doctrine which claims that the rough coexistence of climate changes, of growing temperatures and of man-made increments of CO2 in the atmosphere – and what is more, only in a relatively short period of time – is a proof of a causal relationship between these phenomena. To the best of my knowledge there is no such relationship between them.[15] It is, nevertheless, this claim that forms the basis for the doctrine of environmentalism.

It is not a new doctrine.[16] It has existed under various headings and in various forms and manifestations for centuries, always based on the idea that the starting point of our thinking should be the Earth, the Planet, or Nature, not Man or Mankind.[17] It has always been accompanied by the plan that we have to come back to the original state of the Earth, unspoiled by us, humans.[18] The adherents of this doctrine have always considered us, the people, a foreign element.[19] They forget that it doesn’t make sense to speak about the world without people because there would be no one to speak. In my book, I noted that “if we take the reasoning of the environmentalists seriously, we find that theirs is an anti-human ideology” (p. 4).

To reduce the interpretation of the causality of all kinds of climate changes and of global warming to one variable, CO2, or to a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is impossible to accept. Elementary rationality and my decades-long experience with econometric modeling and statistical testing of scientific hypotheses tell me that it is impossible to make strong conclusions based on mere correlation of two (or more) time series. In addition to this, it is relevant that in this case such a simple correlation does not exist. The rise of global temperature started approximately 150 years ago but man-made CO2 emissions did not start to grow visibly before the 1940s. Temperature changes also repeatedly moved in the opposite direction than the CO2emissions trend suggests.[20]

Theory is crucial and in this case it is missing. Pure statistical analysis does not explain or confirm anything. Two Chinese scientists, Guang Wu and Shaomin Yan, published a study,[21] in which they used the random walk model to analyze the global temperature fluctuations in the last 160 years. Their results – rather unpleasantly for the global warming alarmists – show that the random walk model perfectly fits the temperature changes. Because “the random walk model has a perfect fit for the recorded temperature … there is no need to include various man-made factors such as CO2, and non-human factors, such as Sun” to improve the quality of the model fit, they say. It is an important result. Do other models give a better fit? I have not seen any.[22]

The untenable argument that there exists a simple causal nexus, a simple functional relationship, between temperature and man-made CO2 is only one part of the whole story and only one tenet of environmentalism.[23] The other, not less important aspect of this doctrine is the claim that there is a very strong and exclusively damaging relationship between temperature and its impact upon Nature, upon the Earth and upon the Planet.

The original ambition probably used to be saving the Planet for human beings but we see now that this target has gradually become less and less important. Many environmentalists do not pay attention to the fate of the people. They want to save the Planet, not mankind. They speak about Nature, not about men.[24] For these people, the sophisticated economic reasoning we offer is irrelevant.

Only some of them look at the people. Only with them the debate about the intergenerational discrimination and solidarity and about the proper size of discount rates used in any intertemporal analysis comes into consideration, only here can the economists make use of some of their concepts.[25] The unjustifiably low rate of discount used by the environmentalists (notably in the Stern Review[26]) was for me the original motivation to enter the discussion.[27]

Chapter 4 of my book was devoted to the importance of proper discounting. Nigel Lawson did something very similar in his Chapter 7 with the title “Discounting the Future: Ethics, Risk and Uncertainty.” For him, “the choice of discount rate is critical in assessing which policies might make sense, and which clearly do not.” I agree with him that “with a higher discount rate, the argument for radical action over global warming now collapses completely” (p. 83).[28]

Many serious economists argue the same way and are in favor of using higher discount rates. University of Chicago Prof. Murphy[29] says quite strongly: “we should use the market rate as the discount rate because it is the opportunity cost of climate mitigation.” This is what N. Stern and others clearly do not want to do. They think in misconceived ethical terms, but it is wrong. We do not deny that if the existing trend continues, rising temperatures will have both its winners and losers. Even if the overall impact happens to be detrimental – which is something I am not convinced of – the appropriately defined discount for the future will ensure that the loss of value in the years to come will be too small for the present generation to worry about.

How is it possible that so many politicians, their huge bureaucracies, important groups in the scientific establishment, an important segment of business people and almost all journalists see it differently? The only reasonable explanation is that – without having paid sufficient attention to the arguments – they have already invested too much into global warming alarmism. Some of them are afraid that by losing this doctrine their political and professional pride would suffer. Others are earning a lot of money on it and are afraid of losing that source of income. Business people hope they will make a fortune out of it and are not ready to write it off. They all have a very tangible vested interest in it. We should say loudly: this coalition of powerful special interests is endangering us.

Our interest is, or should be, a free, democratic and prosperous society. That is the reason why we have to stand up against all attempts to undermine it. We should be prepared to adapt to all kinds of future climate changes (including cooling) but we should never accept losing our freedom.

Václav Klaus, The Global Warming Policy Foundation Annual Lecture, London, October 19, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can anybody shut Carter up???

He says Palestinians living in a cage in Gaza....
Former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that Palestinians are "living in a cage" in Gaza and that the militant group Hamas must be included in all major efforts for peace.

Carter was in Syria with an international group of veteran statesmen known as the Elders, which includes Ireland's former President Mary Robinson, and sets out to offer "collective influence and experience to support peace building."

Syrian President Bashar Assad, who also attended the Elders meeting, told Carer Israel is not willing or able to make peace with the Palestinians. The comments were reported by DP News, a Syrian news agency.

Separately, Carter said at the meeting, "We believe that Hamas should be included in all the major efforts to peace ... It is part of the Palestinian people," Carter said. He added that "1.5 million Palestinians are held in a cage or prison while their human rights are taken away."

Palestinians threaten armed resistance if peace talks fail....

More threats....before they even negotiate...
Ahmed Qurei, a senior PLO official and former Palestinian Authority prime minister, has said he does not rule out the possibility that the Palestinians will launch an “armed resistance” against Israel if the peace talks fail.

Rupert Murdoch talk on Israel....

I just had to post this in its entirety...
Last night, Rupert Murdoch gave an extraordinary speech at an Anti-Defamation League dinner in which he revealed, yet again, that he is a true and selfless friend of the Jewish people and of Israel. Here is the text:

You [the ADL] were founded a century ago against the backdrop of something we cannot imagine in America today: the conviction and then lynching of an innocent Jew. In the century since then, you have fought anti-Semitism wherever you have found it. You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds. And you have held America to her founding promise. So successful have you been, a few years ago some people were beginning to say, “maybe we don’t need an ADL anymore.” That is a much harder argument to make these days. Now, there’s not a single person in this room who needs a lecture on the evil of anti-Semitism. My own perspective is simple: We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews. For the first decades after Israel’s founding, this war was conventional in nature. The goal was straightforward: to use military force to overrun Israel. Well before the Berlin Wall came down, that approach had clearly failed.

Then came phase two: terrorism. Terrorists targeted Israelis both home and abroad – from the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich to the second intifada. The terrorists continue to target Jews across the world. But they have not succeeded in bringing down the Israeli government – and they have not weakened Israeli resolve.

Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by delegitimizing it. The battleground is everywhere: the media … multinational organizations … NGOs. In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.

The result is the curious situation we have today: Israel becomes increasingly ostracized, while Iran – a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel’s destruction – pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and without apparent fear of rebuke.

For me, this ongoing war is a fairly obvious fact of life. Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spell out the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel. In Europe, Jewish populations increasingly find themselves targeted by people who share that goal. And in the United States, I fear that our foreign policy sometimes emboldens these extremists.

Tonight I’d like to speak about two things that worry me most. First is the disturbing new home that anti-Semitism has found in polite society – especially in Europe. Second is how violence and extremism are encouraged when the world sees Israel’s greatest ally distancing herself from the Jewish state.

When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century.

Today it seems that the most virulent strains come from the left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.

Back in 2002 the president of Harvard, Larry Summers, put it this way: “Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.”

Mr. Summers was speaking mostly about our university campuses. Like me, however, he was also struck by alarming developments in Europe.

Far from being dismissed out of hand, anti-Semitism today enjoys support at both the highest and lowest reaches of European society – from its most elite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes. European Jews find themselves caught in this pincer.

We saw a recent outbreak when a European Commissioner trade minister declared that peace in the Middle East is impossible because of the Jewish lobby in America. Here’s how he put it: “There is indeed a belief—it’s difficult to describe it otherwise—among most Jews that they are right. And it’s not so much whether these are religious Jews or not. Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East.”

This minister did not suggest the problem was any specific Israeli policy. The problem, as he defined it, is the nature of the Jews. Adding to the absurdity, this man then responded to his critics this way: Anti-Semitism, he asserted, “has no place in today’s world and is fundamentally against our European values.”

Of course, he has kept his job.

Unfortunately, we see examples like this one all across Europe. Sweden, for example, has long been a synonym for liberal tolerance. Yet in one of Sweden’s largest cities, Jews report increasing examples of harassment. When an Israeli tennis team visited for a competition, it was greeted with riots. So how did the mayor respond? By equating Zionism with anti-Semitism – and suggesting that Swedish Jews would be safer in his town if they distanced themselves from Israeli actions in Gaza.

You don’t have to look far for other danger signs:

The Norwegian government forbids a Norwegian-based, German shipbuilder from using its waters to test a submarine being built for the Israeli navy.

Britain and Spain are boycotting an OECD tourism meeting in Jerusalem.

In the Netherlands, police report a 50% increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by these things. According to one infamous European poll a few years back, Europeans listed Israel ahead of Iran and North Korea as the greatest threat to world peace.

In Europe today, some of the most egregious attacks on Jewish people, Jewish symbols, and Jewish houses of worship have come from the Muslim population.

Unfortunately, far from making clear that such behavior will not be tolerated, too often the official response is what we’ve seen from the Swedish mayor – who suggested Jews and Israel were partly to blame themselves.

When Europe’s political leaders do not stand up to the thugs, they lend credence to the idea that Israel is the source of all the world’s problems – and they guarantee more ugliness. If that is not anti-Semitism, I don’t know what is.

That brings me to my second point: the importance of good relations between Israel and the United States. Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel. My view is the opposite. Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities more certain. Far from making things better for the Palestinian people, sour relations between the United States and Israel guarantees that ordinary Palestinians will continue to suffer.

The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure – not when Washington feels distant.

Right now we have war. There are many people waging this war. Some blow up cafes. Some fire rockets into civilian areas. Some are pursuing nuclear arms. Some are fighting the soft war, through international boycotts and resolutions condemning Israel. All these people are watching the U.S.-Israeli relationship closely.

In this regard, I was pleased to hear the State Department’s spokesman clarify America’s position yesterday. He said that the United States recognizes “the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people.” This is an important message to send to the Middle East. When people see, for example, a Jewish prime minister treated badly by an American president, they see a more isolated Jewish state. That only encourages those who favor the gun over those who favor negotiation.

Ladies and gentlemen, back in 1937, a man named Vladimir Jabotinsky urged Britain to open up an escape route for Jews fleeing Europe. Only a Jewish homeland, he said, could protect European Jews from the coming calamity. In prophetic words, he described the problem this way: “It is not the anti-Semitism of men,” he said. “It is, above all, the anti-Semitism of things, the inherent xenophobia of the body social or the body economic under which we suffer.”

The world of 2010 is not the world of the 1930s. The threats Jews face today are different. But these threats are real. These threats are soaked in an ugly language familiar to anyone old enough to remember World War II. And these threats cannot be addressed until we see them for what they are: part of an ongoing war against the Jews.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beirut film festival pulls film to please Ahmadinejad...

The film, Green Days, is pulled to spare his feelings last is a statement from the director of the film...
Cinema lovers of Lebanon,

I was happy to think that by watching the film “Green Days,” you will see a realistic tale of Iran’s elections. A green election which the Iranian regime turned into blood red after they killed tens and arrested thousands.

News reached me that some of the officials in the art of politics and expediency in your country, under the excuse of not upsetting Ahmadinejad before he enters Lebanon, have prevented the showing of “Green Days” in the Beirut Film Festival.

Cinema lovers of Lebanon,

I wish I could come to each one of your houses with that movie so we could watch together the moment Neda died. Then my broken heart would ask your tearful eyes, My dear Lebanese, how could he who extinguished the Nedas of his own land not extinguish your Nedas of Lebanon?

Cinema Lovers of Lebanon,

Ahmadinejad stole our votes yesterday and will steal your trust today. His intention is not to help you, just as his intention is not to serve Iran. His firebrand cries of justice to Iranians have brought nothing but poverty, imprisonment and torture under the name of God and his rabble-rousing against Israel is nothing but a public deception of the Islamic world and will bring nothing for your land other than war. He uses your land as a frontline trench of his imaginary war. His insignificant loan is like the blood money for the great spirit of the youth of your country.

Ahmadinejad in my land is the symbol of censorship. Look how he brings censorship to your country before even arriving there.

We Iranians have learned to turn our homes into a festival to combat censorship, if you too turn your homes into a film festival and show the movie of “Green Days” to the mourning mothers of Lebanon and say that the mourning mothers of Iran say to each other:

‘Ahmadinejad and [Iran's ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei begin with the name of God but only end in the interests of Satan.’

A new wave of hate in Hungary...

Jews are leaving...
The New York Times recently dubbed Budapest "Hollywood on the Danube." More international films are produced there than in any other European city, partly because Budapest has state-of-the-art production studios and receives generous tax breaks from the government. Most of all, however, it's because of the city itself. Budapest is Europe in a nutshell, the perfect double for Rome, Paris, Madrid or Munich and the ideal setting for all kinds of movies. Anthony Hopkins is currently filming a thriller there, while Nicole Kidman appears in a comedy being produced in Budapest. Earlier this year, Robert Pattinson, the star of the "Twilight" films, shot scenes on Budapest's landmark Széchenyi Chain Bridge for the upcoming film "Bel Ami."

But there is also news from the real Budapest, and the real Hungary of recent months.

Neo-fascist thugs attacked Roma families, killing six people in a series of murders. The right-wing populists of the Fidesz Party won a two-thirds majority in the parliament, while the anti-Semitic Jobbik party captured 16.7 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Hungary, next to the Socialists. Unknown vandals defiled the Holocaust Memorial with bloody pigs' feet. A new law granted the government direct or indirect control over about 80 percent of the media. The television channel Echo TV showed an image of Nobel laureate and Auschwitz survivor Imre Kertész together with a voiceover about rats. Civil servants can now be fired without cause. Krisztina Morvai, a member of the European Parliament for Jobbik, suggested that "liberal-Bolshevik Zionists" should start thinking about "where to flee and where to hide."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

1st Annual Free Thinking Film Society

Friday, October 15, 2010

Defenders of Israel need to go on the attack...

I was also at the Camera conference, and Bret Stephens was amazing...
Last weekend, I was a speaker at a huge CAMERA conference in Boston on the topic of the "war by other means", the global campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel.

CAMERA stands for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. The work it does in combating the media onslaught against Israel, through careful, calm and forensic exposure of the lies and distortions being promulgated about Israel, is of enormous value. But, for all the great work that it does, and for all the undoubted commitment of the conference's 800-plus participants, it seems to me that so many American pro-Israel Jews - like those in this country and doubtless elsewhere - are missing the big picture.

This feeling was amplified by remarks made by another conference speaker, Wall Street Journal columnist (and former Jerusalem Post editor) Bret Stephens. As he said, much pro-Israel advocacy isn't very smart because it is conducted from a permanent defensive crouch rather than an offensive position which sticks the accusations into Israel's attackers.

So, for example, such friends of Israel fret endlessly about whether or not Bibi will extend the moratorium on new building in Jewish communities in the disputed territories, rather than ask the much more germane question of what the Palestinians are offering as an equivalent concession. The answer to that one, said Stephens, is that they say they will keep the lid on terrorism. So their great concession is to stop killing Jews. Which kind of illustrates that, while the issue in contention for Israel is land, that for the Palestinians is mass murder.

Put the other side on the back foot. Change the narrative

But instead of accusing the Palestinians and their western supporters of this rejectionism - the true reason for the Middle East impasse - many self-professed "friends" of Israel position themselves on the very ground that Israel's enemies have chosen to conceal their real aim to obliterate it.

This ground defines the conflict instead as being about the boundaries of two states, Israel and Palestine. Hence the almost exclusive focus on the settlements and the territories, and on Israel's supposed obduracy on these issues as the major obstacle to peace. This is demonstrably absurd. The only obstacle to peace is the Palestinians' continued and open refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and thus their continued objective to wage a war of extermination against it.

That is why, when the bulk of the territories was offered to them in 2000, their response was to start blowing up Israelis in buses and pizza parlours; that is why, when Jewish settlers were removed from Gaza, their response was to fire thousands of rockets at Israeli towns; and that is why "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians will never accept Israel as a Jewish state.