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, July 31, 2005

Are muslims living in fear?

More harsh rhetoric.
Every Muslim in Britain is living in fear of police harassment, arrest, and possible execution in the wake of the July 7 bombings, a radical Islamic political party has said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir urged Muslims to continue speaking out against British foreign policy and accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of hypocrisy for treating corrupt Muslim leaders as "...friends and allies".

Spokesman Dr Imran Waheed said the entire Muslim community in Britain is now being held responsible for the actions of a few.

"In these times when every Muslim in the community is living in fear of harassment, arrest, and possible execution, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain urged the Muslim community to remain united and not be divided along Government lines of moderate and extremist," he added.
i wish he'd be that firm against terrorism.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Kyoto is dead.....

Of course, environmentalists are furious at this new agreement.....but, I think this is important progress.
A new agreement between the U.S., Australia, China, India, and South Korea seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, believed to fuel global warming, through technological approaches to the problem. This includes the development and transfer of energy efficiency and pollution reducing technologies to the developing countries of the world. Since these countries have not yet achieved the efficiencies of scale and technological advances that make the industrialized west so productive, their emissions per dollar of productivity currently average twice those of the U.S.

The new agreement is very significant in a number of ways.

Although currently involving only five countries, the signatories to the new "Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate" represent over 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. It includes the two major developing countries, China and India, that were exempted from the Kyoto pact. The U.S and Australia, in particular, have maintained that those countries, with their rapidly expanding economies and relatively inefficient use of energy, must be included in any long-term solution to the global warming problem.

While the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty adopted by most of the world's countries in February of this year, mandated specific emissions reduction targets, it ignores certain economic realities that has already doomed it to failure. For instance, by not including major developing countries, industries can simply move operations to those countries that do not have restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions (as well as other pollutants). Since those nations are not as efficient in their use of energy as the modern industrialized nations, the result can be even greater greenhouse gas emissions than if Kyoto were never adopted.

Furthermore, the EU countries are, less than one year into the implementation of Kyoto, already realizing they will not meet their reductions goals. This failure reflects the need for cheap energy to fuel vibrant economies. The need is so fundamental that you might as well demand that people stop breathing so much -- it just isn't going to happen.

Already, Green groups are saying that the new agreement is, at best, just spin, and at worst an effort to torpedo the Kyoto treaty. Greenpeace, for instance, still considers the Kyoto treaty as the best strategy to reduce emissions. This is probably because Kyoto has specific targets and timetables for reductions, which at least has the appearance of attacking the problem head-on. Even though it is widely agreed that the Kyoto-mandated reductions will not be sufficient to have any measurable effect on global temperatures, just agreeing to reduce seems "greener" than any solution that relies on technology, since technology is perceived to be the root of all environmental troubles anyway.

Again, though, emissions can not be mandated away….at least not if elected government representatives want to remain in office. Given the choice between avoiding some future warming of uncertain magnitude, and the comfort, conveniences, and health of modern life, most people will turn on the air conditioner, grab a cold beer, and wash down their blood pressure pills.

What will predictably generate additional criticism about the new agreement is the fact that these five countries went off and negotiated a pact without involving the European Union or the United Nations. Many will view this as nothing short of political sacrilege. Europeans still seem to be having a hard time accepting the fact that being at the historical epicenter of western culture doesn't entitle them to be consulted on all of our economic decisions. (Nevertheless, when the Bush administration does need advice on matters relating to the Renaissance, I do hope that Europe is consulted first).

If the IRA can do can the Palestinians...

Let's hope the Palestinians can learn something from this.
The IRA instructed its members yesterday to give up violence and embrace peace. The unprecedented statement also ordered its units to abandon their weapons.

The Provisionals' leadership said the organisation would pursue a democratic strategy and give up the armed struggle in which it murdered 1,800 people during three decades of the Troubles
Let's hope the IRA really means it, and that they do truly disarm.

An unfortunate statement from the Vatican...

Here's a further update to the story about the Vatican not condemning terrorism against Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican envoy to Israel on Monday and complained that Benedict "deliberately" didn't mention a July 12 suicide bombing in Netanya while referring to recent terror strikes in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and

"It's not always possible to immediately follow every attack against Israel with a public statement of condemnation," a statement from the Vatican press office said Thursday night, "and (that is) for various reasons, among them the fact that the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law."

"It would thus be impossible to condemn the first (the terror strikes) and let the second (Israeli retaliation) pass in silence," said the statement, which had an unusually blistering tone for the Holy See.
This statement is hard to believe. Does the Vatican really believe that terrorism against Israel is morally equivalent to trying to defend herself? No one is asking the Vatican to condemn every single act...but why NOT acknowledge the terrorism that Israel faces every day????

Thursday, July 28, 2005

MSM ignore progress in Iraq...

We've blogged earlier on Michael Fumento's trip to Iraq. Here's another piece on the coverage of Iraq in the Mainstream Media.
Editorial page associate editor Mark Yost at the Knight-Ridder newspaper the St. Paul Pioneer Press committed a major boo-boo. He penned a provocative column on media coverage of the Iraq war, observing that from what his contacts there told him – with apologies to Johnny Mercer – the mainstream media are accentuating the negative and ignoring the positive.

Yost couldn’t have imagined he was bathing in blood and throwing himself into the shark pen. His media colleagues were merciless. “With your column, you have spat on the copy of the brave men and women who are doing their best in terrible conditions,” reporter Chuck Laszewski at the same newspaper charged in an open letter. “You have insulted them and demeaned them,” he wrote. “I am embarrassed to call you my colleague.”

Knight-Ridder D.C. Bureau Chief Clark Hoyt devoted a column to a Yost roast, taking time out only to slam U.S. progress in Iraq. To read it is to know exactly why so many Americans believe we can’t trust the media to fairly cover the war.

OF COURSE the war coverage is slanted: The adage "If it bleeds it leads" doesn’t halt at the Iraqi border. That's why when two small shells land in a barren section of city the size of Boston blares: "Blasts rock Baghdad near coalition headquarters" whereas the completion of an electrification program or water main gets not a column inch.

The myth of moderate islam?

The Spectator has a long and important article on the myth of moderate islam.
The funeral of British suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer was held in absentia in his family’s ancestral village, near Lahore, Pakistan. Thousands of people attended, as they did again the following day when a qul ceremony was held for Tanweer. During qul, the Koran is recited to speed the deceased’s journey to paradise, though in Tanweer’s case this was hardly necessary. Being a shahid (martyr), he is deemed to have gone straight to paradise. The 22-year-old from Leeds, whose bomb at Aldgate station killed seven people, was hailed by the crowd as ‘a hero of Islam’.

Some in Britain cannot conceive that a suicide bomber could be a hero of Islam. Since 7/7 many have made statements to attempt to explain what seems to them a contradiction in terms. Since the violence cannot be denied, their only course is to argue that the connection with Islam is invalid. The deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, said that ‘Islam and terrorists are two words that do not go together.’ His boss, the Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, asserted that there is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist Muslim.

But surely we should give enough respect to those who voluntarily lay down their lives to accept what they themselves say about their motives. If they say they do it in the name of Islam, we must believe them. Is it not the height of illiberalism and arrogance to deny them the right to define themselves?

On 8 July the London-based Muslim Weekly unblushingly published a lengthy opinion article by Abid Ullah Jan entitled ‘Islam, Faith and Power’. The gist of the article is that Muslims should strive to gain political and military power over non-Muslims, that warfare is obligatory for all Muslims, and that the Islamic state, Islam and Sharia (Islamic law) should be established throughout the world. All is supported with quotations from the Koran. It concludes with a veiled threat to Britain. The bombings the previous day were a perfect illustration of what Jan was advocating, and the editor evidently felt no need to withdraw the article or to apologise for it. His newspaper is widely read and distributed across the UK.

More Muslim bashing???

This week, we had a Canadian imam claiming muslims were being terrorized...and now this.
The most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham claimed yesterday that Muslims were being unjustly blamed in the war on terrorism and that the eight suspects in the two bombing attacks on London "could have been innocent passengers".

Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the city's central mosque, called Tony Blair a "liar" and "unreliable witness" and questioned whether CCTV footage issued of the suspected bombers was of the perpetrators.

He said that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda".

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Saddam's Torturers in Norway...

Will Norway become a haven for torturers?
Some of the men who worked for Saddam Hussein's regime, and carried out torture for him, are living in Norway under refugee status.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that several of those who tortured Saddam's opponents were granted at least temporary residence permission after arriving in Norway after the invasion of Iraq, to seek asylum.

The men were members of Iraq's Baath Party, and, according to NRK, admitted to Norwegian authorities that they conducted attacks and torture on behalf of Saddam.

How long must this charade go on?

The Europeans keep on offering more, the Iranians keep on being insistent they won't budge. When will we get the message?
Three European Union powers plan to offer Iran a limited package of nuclear, economic and political incentives next week to give up suspect nuclear work amid growing pessimism that Tehran's leaders will take the bait.

Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany are due to hand over the proposals to the Iranian government after new hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes office next Wednesday, but signs are growing that they will get a dismissive reception.

Outgoing President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that Iran would resume some work on its nuclear fuel cycle, which the West suspects is part of a clandestine effort to produce a bomb, regardless of what the so-called EU3 group offers.

"Our deadline for suspending nuclear work was the EU proposal. We will wait until the first days of August but will restart activities right afterwards," Khatami told reporters.

The UN and Zimbabwe...

Claudia Rosett on the latest UN report on Zimbabwe...
To whatever extent the recent United Nations report on Zimbabwe calls attention to the brutalities of the country's tyrant, President Robert Mugabe, the U.N. has performed a service. But as far as the report translates into nothing more than a fresh bout of aid funneled via Mugabe's regime, this U.N. initiative will only compound the suffering in Zimbabwe--where the government's latest atrocity has been to "clean up" the cities by evicting hundreds of thousands of poor people, destroying their dwellings and leaving them jobless, homeless and hungry.

In describing this scene, the U.N. report provides a wealth of horrifying detail, but takes a detour around the basic cause, which is not, as the report concludes, such stuff as "improper advice" acted upon by "over-zealous officials." The real cause is the long and ruinous rule of Mugabe and his cronies.

With a delicacy over-zealously inappropriate in itself to dealings with the tyrant whose regime has been responsible for wreck of Zimbabwe, the report starts by thanking Mr. Mugabe for his "warm welcome" to the U.N. delegation, which visited the country from June 26 to July 8. The report, issued by the secretary-general's special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then proceeds to the usual U.N. prescription that what Zimbabwe needs is more aid, and a framework--here comes the UN lingo--"to ensure the sustainability of humanitarian response." While the report also calls for the "culprits" to be called to justice under Zimbabwe laws, Mugabe himself is somehow excused from direct responsibility.

Instead, the report faults wealthy nations for not providing more aid already, and notes that "With respect to the funding issue, some in the Zimbabwe political elite and intelligentsia, as well as others of similar persuasion around the continent, believe the international community is concerned more with 'regime change' and that there is no real and genuine concern for the welfare of ordinary people."

Apart from the problem, not mentioned in the U.N. report's comment, that after a quarter-century of Mugabe's rule the surviving Zimbabwe elite are to a great extent Mugabe's own cronies, there is the profound difficulty that in Zimbabwe's state-choked economy, Mugabe has a record of diverting foreign aid to his supporters, while starving--as well as mugging and murdering--his opposition. Aid workers themselves in recent years have lamented the difficulty of channeling aid in Zimbabwe to the intended beneficiaries. The danger with any massive, not to mentioned "sustainable" humanitarian response, is that it will most likely translate into sustainability of Mugabe's regime (generating hefty fees along the way for any U.N. agencies involved).

Ready to strike again?

The police have done a great job in putting all the pieces together. Let's hope they aren't ready to strike again.
THE fugitive bombers who bungled their attacks on London’s transport system last week returned to their secret cache of explosives to rearm themselves for another assault, Scotland Yard believes.

Immediately after the bombings up to three of the men who tried to blow up three Tube trains and a bus were seen by a neighbour at the ninth-floor flat in New Southgate, North London, that they were using as a bomb factory.

Witnesses claim that some of the suspects made a second trip the next day to the flat where police yesterday found chemicals and bombmaking materials.

The men who lived at the flat, Muktar Said-Ibrahim, 27, who tried to bomb a London bus, and Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, the Warren Street attacker, were described by a neighbour who met them as looking “startled and dishevelled”. They fled shortly before police established last Friday that the flat had been used as a base.

Can the Palestinians cope with extremists?

Maybe not...but couldn't they even try?
Endemic corruption, factionalism and gangsterism inside Palestinian security services make them incapable of dealing with armed extremist groups, says an independent study made public yesterday.

The 82-page report drawn up by a Washington-based thinktank called Strategic Assessments Initiative paints a picture of complete disarray among the soldiers and police working for the Palestinian Authority.

Only one in four possesses a weapon, there is a critical shortage of ammunition, and senior positions are handed out along clan lines rather than on merit. This is in contrast to groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are well armed and organised.

The report's findings suggest the so-called Road Map to peace remains blocked, since a precondition of the agreement demands the authority neutralises all armed radical groups.
The report is pretty damning...but, for my money, they aren't even trying to come to grips with terrorist groups...let alone the fact that there are many terrorists amongst the PA.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Profiling is critical....

An important piece from the New York Post by Yishai Ha'etzni, executive director of the Shalem Center, the Jerusalem research institute that publishes the journal Azure, on why profiling is important.
Screening and random searches would not have averted the tragedy that profiling stopped on April 17, 1986. Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irish woman, was traveling alone to Israel to meet her fiancé's parents. Her bags went through an X-ray machine without problems, and she and her passport appeared otherwise unremarkable.

But in a perfect example of the complexity of profiling, a pregnant woman traveling alone roused the suspicions of security officials. They inspected her bags more closely and discovered a sheet of Semtex explosives under a false bottom. Unbeknownst to Murphy, her fiancé, Nizar Hindawi, had intended to kill her and their unborn child along with the other passengers on the plane.

Unfortunately, the rise in terrorist assaults on Israeli public transportation, entertainment venues and public spaces necessitated that the airport security model be implemented in those areas as well — for one simple reason: it works better than anything else.

In May 2002, a would-be suicide bomber ran away from the entrance to a mall in Netanya after guards at the entrance grew suspicious. Though he killed three people when he blew himself up on a nearby street, he would have murdered far many more people had he been able to enter the mall.

His ethnicity — along with his demeanor, dress, even his hair — was merely one of many factors security personnel use in profiles. But it was a factor.

The American system's "blindness" cuts off the most important weapon in the war against terrorism: Human capability, judgment and perception. Now that the United States faces a higher threat, it cannot afford to neglect those tools.

Using sociological data as well as constantly updated intelligence information, trained security personnel know who is most likely to be perpetuating an attack, as well as how to identify suspicious individuals through behavior. (Again, it is important to note that ethnicity is only one factor among many used to identify potential terrorists.) Removing intelligence and statistical probability as tools would render this model far less effective.

Israelis understand — and other Westerners need to accept — that no system can ever be 100 percent effective. But this is a system that has stood up remarkably well under a vicious and unrelenting assault of terror.

Is profiling worth the resulting infringement on the democratic values of equality? Yes. After all, protecting human life is also a democratic value, perhaps the supreme one.

Random searches of grandmothers and congressmen may make Americans feel virtuous, but they don't keep Americans safe. The attacks of 9/11 and the attacks on public transport in Madrid and London sadly demonstrate that Americans cannot afford feeling virtuous at the cost of human life.

How many more professors are there like this?

Is this typical at what gets discussed at middle east forums?
Jurors in the US terrorism conspiracy trial of Sami Al-Arian were shown a video Tuesday in which the former college professor moderated a symposium where participants spoke approvingly about the killings of Israeli citizens and police in terror attacks.

The video is another piece of evidence prosecutors are using to try to convince jurors that Al-Arian and three other men standing trial in federal court in Tampa, Florida, are guilty of raising money in the United States and supporting the mission of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group blamed for 100 deaths in the Middle East.

The video showed Al-Arian moderating a 1989 conference in Chicago sponsored by the Islamic Committee for Palestine, an entity he founded that prosecutors say was a front for support of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

One of the panelists, asked by a young man for a practical solution to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, suggests they meet outside to discuss how to smuggle weapons.

One speaker, Fawaz Damra, who is an imam of a Cleveland mosque, said: "The first principle is that terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation."

The faces of terror....

The latest from Palestinian Media Watch:
Terrorists from three Palestinian terror organizations murdered an Israel couple on Saturday night, July 23. The murdered couple were parents of teenage children. PA condemnations in English were careful to avoid criticizing the "action" as murder or terror, but rather censured it as "damaging to the PA." In Arabic however, the PA’s official daily effectively endorsed the murders, as it has done consistently under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, legitimizing and glorifying the terror and granting the most elevated status to the murderers – the status of Shahid – Martyr for Allah.

The daily also published a heroic picture of the "Shahids," as pictured above.

The prison system...

I really hadn't thought much of the prison system as a breeding ground for terrorists.
While the media has obsessed over two high-profile cases in recent months involving improper handling of classified information, communications involving terrorists have been getting translated by people without any security clearances—and there’s been nary a whimper from most of the Washington press corps.

There are 119 inmates in the federal prison system with “specific ties” to international Islamic terrorist organizations, and almost all of them are able to communicate with the outside world through phone calls and letters. (Full disclosure: this journalist broke the story on the front page of the Washington Times two weeks ago.) Not only did the Bureau of Prisons have, until recently, no full-time Arabic translators, but the people they were—and still are—using have undergone no special background check beyond the pro forma one conducted on all federal employees.

To put it simply, the communications of 119 convicted and suspected terrorists housed in federal prisons are being handled by people who have no security clearances. They haven’t been put through a polygraph test, had their family histories thoroughly vetted, their character analyzed, or their neighbors interviewed—all basic elements of investigations required before granting someone security clearances.

Monday, July 25, 2005

London police acted as they should...

According to the Israelis...
Israel has become increasingly successful at disarming suicide bombers with help from robots and bombproof rooms. But if all else fails, security forces have shoot-to-kill orders, and experts say London police acted within reason in killing an innocent man.

Israel's most recent capture was over the weekend, when high-tech sensors on a security fence signalled that someone had infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Hours later, a would-be suicide bomber was found with five-kilograms of explosives strapped to his waist. Security forces instructed the Palestinian teenager to remove the bomb belt and surrender. He complied and was taken alive.

"They decided that first of all he has to be caught," said Zeev Schiff, a military analyst for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. "Had he resisted or made a wrong move, they would have killed him."

Israel's experience has been painfully acquired: more than 100 Palestinian suicide bombers have killed hundreds of people over the past five years.

But while the preference is to capture suspects alive for their intelligence value, Israeli police and soldiers, like other security forces, have clear instructions to kill if necessary -- just as London police did Friday when they shot a Brazilian electrician suspected of being a bomber.

How's this for a position: You can get married, but no sex...

Sounds like quite the relationship, no?
The Church of England is to allow gay clergy to enter into civil partnerships but only if they promise to abstain from sex, according to guidance issued yesterday.

It has been drawn up to clarify the Church's position on the Civil Partnerships Act, which will offer same-sex couples a legal status similar to marriage when it comes into effect on Dec 5.

In a "pastoral statement", the House of Bishops said that clergy would be able to take advantage of the Act, but only if they reassure their bishops that they will uphold Church teaching. Clergy were also told that they should not offer formal services of blessing for couples who had been through a civil partnership ceremony, but they could pray with the couple.

Why doesn't he tell them to help root out the terrorists?

But then, he doesn't have a clue.
Puerto Rican rock icon Ricky Martin, on his first ever visit to the Middle East, pledged Monday that he would try to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West.

"I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes," he told youngsters from 16 mainly Arab countries attending a youth conference. The children, aged 14 to 16, expressed concern about being labeled as "terrorists" by the West.

"I have been a victim of stereotypes. I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered 'losers,' drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing," said Martin, sporting a black tee-shirt and jeans.

"Those comments are made out of ignorance and we have to sometimes ignore the ignorant, but we also have to educate the ignorant. You have me here as a friend," he added.

He might be a man...but where's the backbone?

Of course, he couldn't have gotten the job had he had a backbone.
he new head of the women studies department at the University of Washington won't be using the ladies' room.

UW is tapping a man to chair the department. Professor David Allen will be the only man in charge at the 10 major universities that offer doctoral programs in women studies.

Allen knows his appointment is controversial. But Allen thinks he's the man for job. Allen says men can be committed to supporting feminism, too.

Allen is also a nurse and knows about gender stereotyping. He says his father thought it was an "outrageously bad idea" that he became a nurse.
Supporting feminism??? How self-loathing can you get?

Pope ignores terror against Israel...

It's not just the Pope...but Tony Blair did this as well did several newspapers who published maps of terror attacks, but left out Israel.

Pope Benedict XVI faced the first major conflict of his 3-month-old papacy when Israel summoned the Vatican envoy Monday to express outrage that the pope "deliberately failed" to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis.

The pontiff also said in separate comments Monday that he didn't see any anti-Christian motive in recent attacks blamed on Muslim extremists and urged dialogue with the best elements of Islam.

The German-born Benedict, who has consistently reached out to Jews since assuming the papacy, was criticized by Israel for remarks Sunday from his Alpine vacation retreat in northwestern Italy.

He prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists and referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and
Iraq, but did not mention attacks in Israel.

"The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attack that occurred in Israel last week," a Foreign Ministry statement issued in Jerusalem said.

A July 12 suicide bombing in the seaside city of Netanya killed five Israelis. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

"We expected that the new pope, who on taking office emphasized the importance he places on relations between the Church and the Jewish people, would behave differently," the Israeli statement said. It called on the pope to condemn attacks "against Jews in the same way he condemns terror attacks against others."

How embarassing can she be?

Jane Fonda has done many stupid things in her's another one.
Actress and activist
Jane Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in

"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," she said.

Fonda said her anti-war tour in March will use a bus that runs on "vegetable oil." She will be joined by families of Iraq war veterans and her daughter.
Vegetable oil? How appropriate!

Cathy Young on the violence against women act...

Let's hope Congress doesn't pass this piece of legislation again, or at least make it really gender-neutral.
AST WEEK, with international terrorism still the center of attention, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on a different kind of domestic security issue: the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation, which funds programs aiding victims of sexual assault and family violence, is the kind of measure no one wants to oppose for fear of appearing insensitive or even antiwoman. But maybe now, 11 years after the passage of the original measure, is a good time to reevaluate some of its premises and policies.

The act, first introduced by Democratic Senator Joe Biden and later championed by some leading conservatives such as Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, could be seen an example of positive and mainstream feminist accomplishment. But underneath its mainstream trappings, the 1994 bill was steeped in a radical feminism of the ''men bad, women good" variety -- an ideology which regards domestic abuse and rape as part of a collective male war against women. Ironically, the law's political success was partly due to the fact this kind of feminism dovetails easily with a traditional, putting-women-on-a-pedestal paternalism.

Despite its ideological origins and its reliance on inflated statistics (such as the long-debunked claim that ''battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the US"), the act has undoubtedly done some good. Reauthorized in 2000, it contained many beneficial practical measures in the area of victim services and criminal justice: for instance, making restraining orders issued in one state enforceable in another, or making abusers subject to federal charges if they cross state lines to stalk or assault victims. It also encouraged some solid research on domestic violence, sexual assault, and related issues.

Unfortunately, it also helped enshrine a dogmatic and one-sided approach to family violence. For one, while the legislation is ostensibly gender-neutral, its very title reflects the notion that partner abuse is a ''women's issue" -- leading, in some cases, to confusion over whether programs serving male victims are even eligible for grant money. At last week's hearings, the issue of abused men was explicitly acknowledged. According to Dave Burroughs, a Maryland-based activist on behalf of male victims who did not testify but attended the session, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter specifically questioned a witness on the availability of services for men and noted that according to federal crime surveys, 12 percent of domestic assault victims are male. (In other studies which do not focus on whether the respondent regards the attack as a crime, that figure goes up to about 40 percent.)

In fact, some aspects of the act promote covert gender bias. For instance, the legislation requires states and jurisdictions eligible for federal domestic violence grants not only to encourage arrests in domestic assault cases, but also to ''discourage dual arrest of the offender and the victim." This provision is based on the false belief that in cases of mutual violence, one can nearly always draw a clear line between the aggressor and the victim striking back in self-defense. While the language is ostensibly gender-neutral, the assumption is that the aggressor is male; the feminist groups which pushed for this clause made no secret of the fact that its goal was to curb arrests of women.

The law has also created a symbiotic relationship between the federal government and the battered women's advocacy movement, which is heavily permeated by radical feminist ideology. The state coalitions against domestic violence, which formally require member organizations to embrace the feminist analysis of abuse as patriarchal coercion, play a vital role in the allocation of federal grants and in overseeing the implementation of programs and policies. Among other things, these groups frown on any batterer intervention programs that focus on drug and alcohol abuse or mental illness as causes of domestic violence.

What if Israel mistakenly killed a Brazilian Catholic?

Tom Gross from the Jerusalem Post asks the question.
Israel has taken enormous care in its "targeted killings" of "ticking bombs," almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

CONTRARY TO the absolute lies told in British media in recent days, the Israel Defense Forces have not instituted a shoot-to-kill policy, or trained the British to carry out one. For example, on Friday, at the very time British police were shooting the man in the Tube, the IDF caught and disarmed a terrorist from Fatah already inside Israel en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Israeli forces didn't injure the terrorist at all in apprehending him and disarming him of the 5-kg. explosive belt he was wearing.

And yet, for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state.

By evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting, but the BBC still hadn't interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities to be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn't been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and The Guardian hadn't yet called British policy against its Pakistani population "genocide."

As for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot, and who strongly defended the shoot-to-kill policy as a legitimate way to prevent suicide bombings, he was not yet facing war crimes charges – as Livingstone himself has demanded Israeli political leaders should be.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

You can now blame everything on Iraq...

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezeula, blames the Egyptian bombings on the US!
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has criticised the American military occupation of Iraq as a threat to world peace and said US actions appear to be setting off more terrorist attacks, including the latest bombings in Egypt.

Chavez condemned the attacks that killed at least 88 people early Saturday in Egypt.

"There is nothing that can justify abominable acts like these," he said.

"It must be asked if these acts would be occurring if the US government hadn't invaded Iraq. I think not."

Latest on the Oil-for-Palaces program...

It appears there more to the story about Benon Sevan, the head of the Oil-for-Palaces program.
New York: Investigators in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal say they have discovered a network of overseas bank accounts operated by Benon Sevan, the former head of the United Nations program, who is the subject of a criminal inquiry by American prosecutors.

Officials from investigative agencies, including the UN's Volcker inquiry, say Mr Sevan has accounts in his native Cyprus, Turkey and Switzerland.

The first interim report from the inquiry, published in February, criticised Mr Sevan for a "grave and continuing" conflict of interest over oil export vouchers from Saddam Hussein, which he solicited for an oil trading company in Panama.

The investigators, who described his conduct as "ethically improper" estimated it had netted the company about $US1.5 million ($2 million).

Mr Sevan denies allegations of steering Iraqi oil to the trading company as part of a system of bribes and kickbacks.

The inquiry said the origins of $US160,000 received by Mr Sevan remained a mystery, although Mr Sevan said he had been left the money by an aunt. The investigators said the aunt's lifestyle and modest pension were not consistent with such large sums.

The UN ran the oil-for-food program, which was designed to ease the impact of sanctions. It is believed to have allowed Saddam to make up to $US10 billion in illicit revenue.

A Volcker committee spokesman said "new material" had been found regarding Mr Sevan, and his role would be a focus of the third interim report, due this month

What's with Condoleeza Rice?

Why is she going soft on the Palestinians?
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's weekend visit to the region, intended to facilitate Israel's disengagement plan, was profoundly disappointing.

The hastily planned trip was intended to calm a deteriorating situation caused by the Islamic Jihad suicide bombing outside a Netanya shopping mall on July 12, which killed five Israelis, and relentless bombardments of Gaza and western Negev communities by Hamas which killed 22-year-old Dana Galkovitch in Netiv Ha'asara and further traumatized residents of Sderot and Gush Katif.

Though PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's foreign minister has candidly reneged on the PA's road map commitments to confiscate weapons and explosives in the hands of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and those elements within his own Fatah movement aligned with the rejectionists, Rice nevertheless complimented the Palestinian leadership for taking "important steps" against terrorism. Such praise strikes the wrong tone.
I mean, really, he's done almost nothing. We need a Secretary of State who can tell him the truth, and not coddle him.

Victor Davis Hanson's latest piece

Please read the whole's brilliant.
First the terrorists of the Middle East went after the Israelis. From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass.

Yasser Arafat, replete with holster and rants at the U.N., had become a “moderate” and was thus free to steal millions of his good-behavior money. If Hamas got European cash, it would become reasonable, ostracize its “military wing,” and cease its lynching and vigilantism.

When some tried to explain that Wars 1-3 (1947, 1956, 1967) had nothing to do with the West Bank, such bothersome details fell on deaf ears.

When it was pointed out that Germans were not blowing up Poles to get back lost parts of East Prussia nor were Tibetans sending suicide bombers into Chinese cities to recover their country, such analogies were caricatured.

When the call for a “Right of Return” was making the rounds, few cared to listen that over a half-million forgotten Jews had been cleansed from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and lost billions in property.

When the U.N. and the EU talked about “refugee camps,” none asked why for a half-century the Arab world could not build decent housing for its victimized brethren, or why 1 million Arabs voted in Israel, but not one freely in any Arab country.

The security fence became “The Wall,” and evoked slurs that it was analogous to barriers in Korea or Berlin that more often kept people in than out. Few wondered why Arabs who wished to destroy Israel would mind not being able to live or visit Israel.

In any case, anti-Semitism, oil, fear of terrorism — all that and more fooled us into believing that Israel’s problems were confined to Israel. So we ended up with a utopian Europe favoring a pre-modern, terrorist-run, Palestinian thugocracy over the liberal democracy in Israel. The Jews, it was thought, stirred up a hornet’s nest, and so let them get stung on their own.

Where are the liberals?

A New York Times editorial wonders why liberals aren't protesting the North Korean regime.
Liberals took the lead in championing human rights abroad in the 1970's, while conservatives mocked the idea. But these days liberals should be embarrassed that it's the Christian Right that is taking the lead in spotlighting repression in North Korea.

Perhaps no country in human history has ever been as successful at totalitarianism as North Korea. Koreans sent back from China have been herded like beasts, with wires forced through their palms or under their collarbones. People who steal food have been burned at the stake, with their relatives recruited to light the match. Then there was the woman who was a true believer and suggested that the Dear Leader should stop womanizing: after she was ordered executed, her own husband volunteered to pull the trigger.

"The biggest scandal in progressive politics," Tony Blair told The New Yorker this year, "is that you do not have people with placards out in the street on North Korea. I mean, that is a disgusting regime. The people are kept in a form of slavery, 23 million of them, and no one protests!"
However, the Christian Right is trying to change things.

Political correctness in the Netherlands...

An interview with Afshin Ellian, a Dutch law professor and Muslim.
Question: What role did political correctness play in bringing the Netherlands to its current crisis in dealing with violent Islamic radicalism?

Political correctness places our young Muslims in the hands of radical imams. These young Muslims are not used to a sharp debate and, consequently, don't have the ability to critically reflect on themselves. As I have written in my newspaper column, the longstanding Dutch tradition of respecting social groups and institutions has been stifling, and even has totalitarian tendencies.

In the 1990s, the Dutch political establishment tried by all necessary means to suppress all criticism of multicultural society. The idea was that Islam and the Muslims had to be protected from the dangerous European. As a consequence, no one dared to criticize the far-reaching Islamification of our cities and schools. The Muslims were allowed to co-exist with their own culture – suppressing women, abusing children and practicing religious intolerance and cultural backwardness – as a separate community in Dutch society. The fortress of Muslims became the prison of backwardness.

Muslim extremists are also enemies of the majority of Muslim people. It is the obligation and duty of the government to protect the majority of Muslim people against those criminals. If we isolate the small group of criminals, then it's obvious to see for common people that the majority of Muslims are good-willed people and definitely not terrorists.

More on Red Ken...

A good overview of the latest from 'Red' Ken.
Speaking of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, Livingstone went on: "Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves."

This last passage is extraordinary and worth taking apart in detail to illustrate the kind of mind-set we are dealing with.

THE FIRST clause, of course, is a flat-out lie. As Livingstone must surely know, all citizens of Israel proper, including more than a million Arabs, have the right to vote in Knesset elections. As he must also know, Palestinians living in the territories also have a vote and recently and very publicly used it. They did, after all, elect Mahmoud Abbas as PA chairman.

The second clause is a slippery but highly characteristic deception. The only reason the Palestinians do not run their own affairs is because they have consistently refused to accept statehood alongside Israel.

The third clause contains another lie: Israel does not prevent the Palestinians from working and only stops them from coming to work inside Israel when it is concerned about terrorist attacks.

But, interestingly, note how that clause concludes with the words "for three generations." Here, the mask has slipped.

Three generations (60 years by most definitions of the word "generation") refers back to the inception of Israel itself. Perhaps unwittingly, Livingstone reveals his annihilationist prejudices.

It is not the "occupation" that concerns him, it is the very existence of the Jewish state.
The final part of the passage contains both obscenity and idiocy. It is obscene because, on the basis of the above noted lies and deceptions, it offers Palestinian suicide bombers the excuse of "just cause." Who could really blame them? he effectively says.

It is idiotic because one could easily quote dozens of peoples who have lived under genuine tyrannies but have not responded by strapping themselves up with explosives to blow to pieces as many men, women and children as they can. Did Jews respond to the Holocaust by slaughtering innocent Germans? Did east Europeans respond to Stalinism by blowing up Russian buses?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

No racial profiling in New York...

Isn't this exactly where we should be using terrorist profiling?
A day after a second terror attack struck the London transportation system, the NYPD has begun random searches of New York City commuters throughout the city's mass transit system.

Meanwhile, news has come from London that one of the suspects being sought in connection with Thursday's attacks was caught by a surveillance camera wearing a "New York" shirt near the scene of one of the bombings.

Although authorities believe at least some of the London bombers could be Muslim supporters of the al Qaeda terror network, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the NYPD's anti-terror measures will not target any particular ethnic group.

"Every certain number of people will be checked," Kelly said Thursday, describing the NYPD's search methodology. "There will certainly be no racial profiling allowed."

I knew it was fruitless....

Negotiating with Iran is useless.
ran said Saturday that it had delivered a message to European foreign ministers in London last week, telling them not to try to solve a nuclear dispute by asking Tehran to surrender atomic technology.

Three European Union countries - Britain, Germany and France - have been negotiating with Tehran to try to end a crisis over Iran's nuclear program. The European Union has asked Iran to stop making nuclear fuel in return for economic incentives.

Iran says that the nuclear fuel is destined for power stations rather than warheads, and argues that it has every right to make enriched uranium.
Yeah, right!

Belgium reaches 2,500 gay marriages!

I think this is terrific news.
The Belgian government said Friday that 2,442 same-sex couples have wed since gay marriage became legal in 2003.

Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage on September 1, 2003. The first was The Netherlands. Since then Spain, Canada, and the state of Massachusetts have followed.

The Belgian Interior Ministry said that when the law first went into effect there was a flood of gay couples marrying but that has slowed over the past year.

Today 3 percent of all marriages in Belgium are now between partners of the same sex.

Of course, they blame Israel...

Not surprising, that they point the finger at Israel.
Less than 24 hours after terrorists killed at least 88 people in attacks on the Sinai resort town of Sharm el- Sheikh, Egyptian sources claimed that Israel was responsible for the deadly bombings.

The claims were apparently based on the fact that most of the victims were Egyptian nationals.

Egyptian media analysts, sources in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian parliamentarian Ala Hasnin, in an interview with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network, all suggested Israel was responsible for the attacks.

One Egyptian analyst interviewed by Al-Jazeera said that is was in Israel's interest to carry out such a terror attack and thus Jerusalem was thus responsible for Saturday's bombings.

The Egyptian analyst also added that Israel wants undermine its own disengagement plan - yet another reason, he said, to carry out attacks in Egypt.

The analyst told Al-Jazeera there is an abnormal concentration of Israelis visiting in Sinai and that they pose a security threat.

"Why are Israelis able to enter Sinai without undergoing stringent security checks?" the analyst asked.

He went on to add that the United States also has a motive to carry out such an attack.

The analyst closed his Al-Jazeera interview by saying that Israel wants to prove what he described as its fallacious claim that terrorism is spreading throughout the region.

Slave Disclosure Laws...

Is this the latest thing to hit the US? Oakland has now adoped a slave disclosure law that forces contractors to disclose whether they (or parent companies) had any ties to slavery. It is not clear what happens if they do have such ties.

It's time to move on from slavery. For those of you who want to read something really enlightening, read the chapeter in Thomas Sowell's new book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals", on the real history of slavery.

Friday, July 22, 2005

London 9/11 plot...

I really wasn't aware of this plot....were you? This is from the Times of London.
AN INDIAN man was jailed in Bombay yesterday for plotting to fly passenger jets into the House of Commons and Tower Bridge in London on September 11, 2001.

Mohammed Afroze was sentenced to seven years after he admitted that he had a role in an al-Qaeda plot to attack London, the Rialto Towers building in Melbourne and the Indian Parliament.

His lawyer has claimed, however, that the confession was “forcefully taken” and that Afroze was tortured by Indian police.

Afroze admitted that he and seven al-Qaeda operatives planned to hijack aircraft at Heathrow and fly them into the two London landmarks. The suicide squad included men from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Afroze said. They booked seats on two Manchester-bound flights, but fled just before they were due to board.

Afroze returned to India in October 2001. He was arrested in Bombay and charged with “committing depredation on territories at peace with India”.

No shortage of sympathisers

These statistics are a little unsettling.
YouGov sought to gauge the character of the Muslim community's response to the events of July 7. As the figures in the chart show, 88 per cent of British Muslims clearly have no intention of trying to justify the bus and Tube murders.

However, six per cent insist that the bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified.

Six per cent may seem a small proportion but in absolute numbers it amounts to about 100,000 individuals who, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do.

Moreover, the proportion of YouGov's respondents who, while not condoning the London attacks, have some sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried them out is considerably larger - 24 per cent.

A substantial majority, 56 per cent, say that, whether or not they sympathise with the bombers, they can at least understand why some people might want to behave in this way.

YouGov also asked whether or not its Muslim respondents agreed or disagreed with Tony Blair's description of the ideas and ideology of the London bombers as "perverted and poisonous".

Again, while a large majority, 58 per cent, agree with him, a substantial minority, 26 per cent, are reluctant to be so dismissive.

How's this for a sermon?

The Saudis needs to be confronted about stuff like this. Here's part of a sermon on July 15th by Sheikh Abd Al-rahman, imam of Islam's most holy mosque in Mecca.
Oh Allah, liberate our Al-Aqsa Mosque from the defilement of the occupying and brutal Zionists… Oh Allah, punish the occupying Zionists and their supporters from among the corrupt infidels. Oh Allah, scatter and disperse them, and make an example of them for those who take heed.

Is Gaza going to become a mecca for terrorists?

Lots of people are thinking about moving to Gaza.
Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Marxist-Leninist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), announced Thursday that he will move to the Gaza Strip after Israel completes its withdrawal.

Hawatmeh, who is based in Damascus, is the first leader of a radical Palestinian group to announce his intention to move to Gaza after disengagement. The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have also reportedly expressed their desire to move to the Gaza Strip.

Canadian Muslims denounce terrorism

Yesterday, a group of 120 imams and islamic leaders in Canada issued an unequivocal statement denouncing terrorism. It was an impressive statement - and didn't have the usual excuses for terrorism against Israelis. However, as pointed out in today's National Post, only a small numbe of Canada's 500-1,000 imams signed the statement. And, they still have yet to issue a fatwa against terrorism.

Long John Baldry Dies....

One of my favorite bluesmen passed away last night. Long John Baldry had been fighting a chest infection for over four months and was only 64 when he died. He released over 40 albums and was instrumental in helping the careers of Elton John and Rod Stewart.
You can get more information on Long John at his site.

I was lucky to see him play live several times...once at the closing ceremonies of the Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990. He was also one of the few openly gay blues artists - and he was proud to call Canada home.

Why do they hate us?

A nice op-ed in the New York Times by Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies int the Social Sciences.
Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). "Born again" or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970's (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the "world proletariat" and "Revolution" without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don't distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces. Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect on behalf of their nominal causes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

John Howard on the cause of terrorism in London...

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: 'Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

'Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

'And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

'Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

'When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

'When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

'Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.'

The use of cameras in fighting terrorism...

I've never had a problem with cameras in public spaces.
Despite the privacy advocates’ claims, public spaces are public—fortunately. | 18 July 2005

Will the civil libertarians please shut up now? If they had had their way, London’s public surveillance cameras would have been unplugged long ago, and the British police would not have quickly identified the 7/7 suicide bombers from their pictures in the King’s Cross and Luton train stations—a breakthrough crucial to tracking down other participants in the plot. The London attacks have exposed the privacy fanatics’ campaign against public cameras as folly; it is just a matter of time before reality crushes other civil libertarian excesses as well, including opposition to data mining and to immigration law enforcement.

Few crime-fighting technologies have inspired more hysterical rhetoric from privacy nuts than public cameras. Erecting a camera on a street corner where drugs are sold, say, has been portrayed as the stratagem of a totalitarian state intent on controlling a submissive public. And few anti-camera campaigners have matched the philosophical excesses of legal journalist and law professor Jeffrey Rosen. Rosen’s absurdities were penned after 9/11; they look even more embarrassing after 7/7.

Ironically, it was London’s recently vindicated camera network that had inspired Rosen’s flights of fancy. Rosen visited England in the weeks after 9/11 to report on the Orwellian nightmare that America risked replicating in an overreaction to the World Trade Center attacks. London has over half a million public cameras, according to the Wall Street Journal, the highest number anywhere. Rosen reported his findings in an October 2001 New York Times Magazine cover story and in his 2004 book, The Naked Crowd.

Rosen saw in England’s cameras less the heavy hand of a Gestapo or a Stasi and more the sophisticated stratagems of postmodern literary theory. Mimicking the French pseudo-historian Michel Foucault, Rosen charged that public cameras were “technologies of classification and exclusion.” As a “post-Marxist,” Foucault had left behind economics in favor of sexier topics like deviance and social control. Rosen’s take on cameras echoed Foucauldian obsessions. Public videos, said Rosen, are instruments of “social conformity. . . . They are ways of putting people in their place, of deciding who gets in and who stays out.”
A nice article by Heather Mac Donald.

Lots of clues in latest bombing....

This time around, the bombers left a lot of clues...
he bomber at Shepherds Bush was startled when the blast from his device merely blew him on to his back, rather than kill him outright. Passengers who saw the explosion said that he appeared shocked that he was able to walk away.

Police sources said that all four detonators were homemade. They said that the detonator used in the attack at Warren Street station consisted of nails packed around explosive.

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that the intention of the terrorists must have been to kill, but he added that it was too early to conclude whether the latest attacks were the work of the same network that caused such carnage a fortnight ago.

He added: “There is a resonance here. There were four attacks and there were four attacks before. We do believe that this may represent a significant breakthrough in the sense that there is forensic material at these scenes.”

Counter-terrorist experts believe that the failure of the devices will provide fingerprints, DNA and possible matches to the bombs used on July 7. Closed-circuit television from Underground stations and the streets, witness statements and descriptions provided by passengers will be a major part of identifying and catching the bombers.

Senior police officers accepted that they could have been facing fresh casualties across London. Sir Ian said that detectives had begun assembling details of the would-be bombers and he urged the public to send digital photographs or mobile phone images to a Scotland Yard website.

Police praised three men, believed to be two officers and a member of the public, who tackled the bomber at the Oval, ripping his rucksack from his back and securing vital evidence.

First gay marriage in Alberta!

Rob Bradford and Keenan Carley are the first same-sex couple to be married in Alberta. Congratulations!

First, blame the Israelis..

It's the primary rule: Blame the Israelis first.
Palestinian sources said they had arrested a suspect on Thursday in the stabbing of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy Wednesday night in the West Bank village of Karyut. The sources confirmed that the suspect was a member of a rival clan, Israel Radio reported.

Earlier, Palestinian sources had reported that the boy was killed in a brawl that erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli settlers who had entered the village from the nearby settlement of Shiloh.

However, Palestinian officials soon admitted to IDF officers that the incident was related to an inter-clan dispute.

Outrageous claims about the bombings...

Stewart Bell has a rundown of some horrible claims about the London bombings.
Several Canadian Internet sites have begun posting articles claiming that Britain's MI5 security service, the "far right" and Israel were behind the July 7 attacks.

"Tony Blair Ordered the London Bombings," asserted a headline featured prominently on the home page of a Montreal Muslim website yesterday.

Another article on the same website claimed the men named as the bombers were innocents who had been "framed" as part of a police "cover up."

The bombings were "staged," it claimed, to justify the deportation and internment of Muslims in concentration camps as well as "an unstoppable wave of hate crimes."

"Far right-wing British terrorists may have been behind London bombings," says yet another headline, above an article claiming the attack was an attempt to stir a backlash against British Muslims.

Conspiracy theories began appearing almost immediately after the bombings, but they gained credence last Friday when Ahmad Janati, chair of Iran's Guardians Council, said in a nationally broadcast sermon that the British government might have carried out the killings to justify its military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. The British Foreign Office called the statement "irresponsible."

But conspiracy theories are still flourishing. A posting on the home page of the Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera (under the heading Conspiracy Theories) claims the "London bombings were either an MI5, CIA, or Mossad operation."

An Internet site run by activists seeking to free Mohammed Harkat, Hassan Almrei and other foreign terrorists arrested in Canada claims the bombings were an "inside job: another staged 9/11 to intensify the war on Islam."

Some Canadian sites have tried to link Israel to the attack. One says the Israeli embassy in London "was warned before the attack." Another claims the bombings were done "with the knowledge of some pro-Israeli elements in Scotland Yard."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Iraq constitution singles out Israel...

The draft Iraqi constitution singles out Israel.
3. Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, has no criminal judgment against him from the Iraqi authorities during the time of his residency on the territory of the Iraqi republic.

4. An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israeli.
I hope they have the good sense to change these clauses. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for posting this item.

2 Teenage boys hanged in Iran for being gay...

hat top: Andrew Sullivan

One of the teenagers is under the age of 18.

Gay Marriage now the Law in Canada...

The same-sex marriage bill has now received royal assent and is now the law of Canada.
Canada's same-sex marriage bill has been given royal assent and is now the law.

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin gave royal assent to Bill C-38, filling in for Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson, who is on medical leave.

The bill was passed by the Senate, 47-21, in a late-night vote Tuesday, a few days ahead of schedule. Three of the 95 sitting senators abstained.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-38 in late June, ending years of heated debate.

Canada is the fourth country in the world to sanction same-sex marriage, following similar moves by Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

As the debate on the legislation dragged on, Liberal senators threatened to invoke closure and call a snap vote. But the debate ran its course with the last word coming from Liberal Senator Ione Christensen, who read an e-mail from a Yukon constituent.

"You have no idea what a difference it makes to the human spirit to know that you are treated equally under the law," Christensen said.
Big question now is whether the Conservative Party will drop this as an issue.

I love it when this happens...

So-called multiculturalists don't like it when people from other cultures disagree with them.
An Ottawa police detective who gives sexual harassment sensitivity training to taxi drivers was accused of being insensitive herself for suggesting that some cultures don't treat women with the respect they warrant, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Det. Theresa Kelm is charged with explaining to drivers what constitutes acceptable behavior toward women in Canada (search) and what types of actions or remarks cross the line into harassment or assault.

"Some of this behavior may be acceptable in the countries they are from," Det. Kelm told an interviewer. "Our message to them is that it's not acceptable here, and it won't be tolerated."

The comment was made in a story about a cab driver who was convicted of sexually assaulting a female passenger, the third case of its kind in the Ottawa area in the past year.

Yousef Al Mezel (search), president of the union that represents Ottawa taxi drivers, called the comment racist because it implied that Canadian culture was superior to that of other countries in terms of its attitude toward women.

A police spokeswoman said the idea that in some countries disrespect of women is acceptable "does not reflect the views of the Ottawa Police Service."

How's this for a statement!

Several writers/activists have banded together for statements against terror. Here's a terrific statement from Peter Tatchell, a prominent gay-rights activist in the UK.
We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left-wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called 'resistance' in Iraq. This 'resistance' uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi - stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn't care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.

More PA/Hamas violence...

Yet more fighting...
Hamas operatives fired on the home of a Palestinian security chief in Gaza early Wednesday, hours after reaching agreement with the ruling Fatah movement to end several days of clashes between the rival factions, a top Fatah official said.

Early Wednesday - after several days of clashes in which two bystanders were killed and several people wounded - Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement cut a deal with Hamas to remove gunmen from the streets of northern Gaza.

But barely two hours later, Hamas gunmen refused to stop at a Palestinian police roadblock in Gaza, and then opened fire on the homes of Palestinian police chief, Rashid Abu Shbak, and Fatah leader Abdullah Efrangi, said Soufian Abu Zaida, a Cabinet minister and top Fatah official.
Does this sound like the Palestinian Authority is tackling Hamas????

The evidence that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake...

Christopher Hitchens references a Financial Post article by Mark Huband. Here is a link to that article.
Human intelligence gathered in Italy and Africa more than three years before the Iraq war had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq.

This intelligence provided clues about plans by Libya and Iran to develop their undeclared nuclear programmes. Niger officials were also discussing sales to North Korea and China of uranium ore or the "yellow cake" refined from it: the raw materials that can be progressively enriched to make nuclear bombs.

The raw intelligence on the negotiations included indications that Libya was investing in Niger's uranium industry to prop it up at a time when demand had fallen, and that sales to Iraq were just a part of the clandestine export plan.

These secret exports would allow countries with undeclared nuclear programmes to build up uranium stockpiles.

One nuclear counter-proliferation expert told the FT: "If I am going to make a bomb, I am not going to use the uranium that I have declared. I am going to use what I acquire clandestinely, if I am going to keep the programme hidden."

This may have been the method being used by Libya before it agreed last December to abandon its secret nuclear programme. According to the IAEA, there are 2,600 tonnes of refined uranium ore - "yellow cake" - in Libya.

However, less than 1,500 tonnes of it is accounted for in Niger records, even though Niger was Libya's main supplier.

Information gathered in 1999-2001 suggested that the uranium sold illicitly would be extracted from mines in Niger that had been abandoned as uneconomic by the two French-owned mining companies - Cominak and Somair, both of which are owned by the mining giant Cogema - operating in Niger.

"Mines can be abandoned by Cogema when they become unproductive. This doesn't mean that people near the mines can't keep on extracting," a senior European counter-proliferation official said.

He added that there was no evidence the companies were aware of the plans for illicit mining.

When the intelligence gathered in 1999-2001 was thrown into the diplomatic maelstrom that preceded the US-led invasion of Iraq, it took on new significance. Several services contributed to the picture.

The Italians, looking for corroboration but lacking the global reach of the CIA or the UK intelligence service MI6, passed information to the US in 2001 and to the UK in 2002.

The UK eavesdropping centre GCHQ had intercepted communications suggesting Iraq was seeking clandestine uranium supplies, as had the French intelligence service.

The Italian intelligence was not incorporated in detail into the assessments of the CIA, which seeks to use such information only when it is gathered from its own sources rather than as a result of liaison with foreign intelligence services.

But five months after receiving it, the US sent former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to assess the credibility of separate US intelligence information that suggested Iraq had approached Niger.

Mr Wilson was critical of the Bush administration's use of secret intelligence, and has since charged that the White House sought to intimidate him by leaking the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent.

But Mr Wilson also stated in his account of the visit that Mohamed Sayeed al-Sahaf, Iraq's former information minister, was identified to him by a Niger official as having sought to discuss trade with Niger.

As Niger's other main export is goats, some intelligence officials have surmised uranium was what Mr Sahaf was referring to.

Hitchens on Karl Rove

Slate has a very good article by Christopher Hitchens on the Karl Rove affair.
The third bogus element in Wilson's boastful story is the claim that Niger's "yellowcake" uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein's agents. The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam's double-dealing. If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such "good relations"—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran. This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing. It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.

Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as "objective" as it looks. I dare say that more than one supporter of regime change took this option. I would certainly have done so as a reporter if I had known.

CBC on strike?

Boy, we can only hope. A small pice in the Ottawa Citizen today saying that more than 87% of CBC employees are prepared to strike.

Let's hope this is true and they go out on strike for a long, long time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Blame UK Movement has started...

Hey, it's only been a week or so, and now the knives are out.
After the talks, Imam Ibrahim Mogra said that, as Muslims, they felt the "pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe every day". The war had been a "successful recruitment sergeant for people who wish to preach hatred for our country and our Government".

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, condemned the bombings as an "act of criminality" but said the leaders had made clear that Mr Blair could not "simply shun the issue of foreign policy".

Radical Muslims who did not take part in the talks said they would not be silenced by warnings of new legislation making it a crime to glorify or condone terrorism.

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed said that support for America over Afghanistan and Iraq and the re-election of Mr Blair had all contributed to the attacks.

Anjem Choudary: 'The real terrorists are the police'

"I blame the British Government, the British public and the Muslim community in the UK because they failed to make the extra effort to put an end to the cycle of bloodshed which started before 9/11 and on July 7 was devastating for everybody," he told the Evening Standard.

Anjem Choudary, the British leader of the militant Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, said that Muslim leaders should not meet Mr Blair for talks while Muslims were being "murdered" in Iraq.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, he declined to condemn the London bombings, which killed 56 people, and said there was "a very real possibility" of a repetition.

"The British Government wants to show that they are on the side of justice and of truth, whereas in reality the real terrorists are the British regime, and even the British police, who have tried to divide the Muslim community into moderates and extremists, whereas this classification doesn't exist in Islam."

Steyn on multiculturalism...

Mark Steyn knows how to write a vicious column. Enjoy!
It was the Prime Minister's wife, you'll recall, who last year won a famous court victory for Shabina Begum, as a result of which schools across the land must now permit students to wear the full "jilbab" - ie, Muslim garb that covers the entire body except the eyes and hands. Ms Booth hailed this as "a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry". It seems almost too banal to observe that such an extreme preservation of Miss Begum's Muslim identity must perforce be at the expense of any British identity. Nor, incidentally, is Miss Begum "preserving" any identity: she's of Bangladeshi origin, and her adolescent adoption of the jilbab is a symbol of the Arabisation of South Asian (and African and European) Islam that's at the root of so many problems. It's no more part of her inherited identity than my five-year- old dressing up in his head-to-toe Darth Vader costume, to which at a casual glance it's not dissimilar.

Is it "bigoted" to argue that the jilbab is a barrier to acquiring the common culture necessary to any functioning society? Is it "prejudiced" to suggest that in Britain a Muslim woman ought to reach the same sartorial compromise as, say, a female doctor in Bahrain? Apparently so, according to Cherie Booth.

One of the striking features of the post-9/11 world is the minimal degree of separation between the so-called "extremists" and the establishment: Princess Haifa, wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, gives $130,000 to accomplices of the 9/11 terrorists; the head of the group that certifies Muslim chaplains for the US military turns out to be a bagman for terrorists; one of the London bombers gets given a tour of the House of Commons by a Labour MP. The Guardian hires as a "trainee journalist" a member of Hizb ut Tahir, "Britain's most radical Islamic group" (as his own newspaper described them) and in his first column post-7/7 he mocks the idea that anyone could be "shocked" at a group of Yorkshiremen blowing up London: "Second- and third-generation Muslims are without the don't-rock-the-boat attitude that restricted our forefathers. We're much sassier with our opinions, not caring if the boat rocks" - or the bus blows, or the Tube vaporises. Fellow Guardian employee David Foulkes, who was killed in the Edgware Road blast, would no doubt be heartened to know he'd died for the cause of Muslim "sassiness".

Deferring success...

No, I didn't make this up either.
A group of teachers in the UK has proposed that the word "fail" should be banned from use in classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success."

"I'm sorry, but your son is deferring his success in Math, Mr. Jones"

Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.

Livingston blasts Israel...

This man truly does not know the difference between good and evil...
London Mayor Ken Livingstone lashed out against Israeli policies on Tuesday, saying that they were actions that border with crimes against humanity.

Asked by a reporter at a London press conference how he compared terrorism in the Middle East to the London bombings, Linvingstone replied that he believed the media was applying a double standard, adding that both Israelis and Palestinians had "done terrible things to each other", but there was still a tendency to view the Palestinian side as the one that does all the harm.

"Given that the Palestinians don't have jet fighters, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In that unfair balance, that's what people use. When talking about the imbalance of forces, I will gladly welcome leading members of the Israeli government if they come here even though they have done horrendous things which border on crimes against humanity in a way they have indiscriminately slaughtered men, women and children in the West Bank and Gaza for decades," he said.

CBC stands by its ban on 'terrorism'

A small article on the National Post today on the CBC and it's ban on the use of the words 'terrorism' and 'terrorist'. CBC is sticking to its guns (no pun intended) and will only allow the use of the words in direct quotes or in comments attributed to others.
"Rather than calling assailants 'terrorists,' wew can refer to them as bombers, hijackers, extremists, attackers or some other appropriate noun," the memo says. "We don't judge specific acts as 'terrorism' or people as 'terrorists.'"
The article quotes Norman Spector, former Canadian Ambassador to Israel as saying, "The decision not to use the word is taking sides. 'Genocide' is a very emotionally laden word as well...but they use it. 'Terrorism' seems to be the only word they don't want to use."

An interview with British writer Ian McEwan

A very interesting interview.
SPIEGEL: But isn't the West providing the best advertisement for terrorist recruiters by being in Iraq and killing Islamic civilians, torturing Muslim prisoners a la Abu Ghraib and spreading pictures of the deeds around the world?

MCEWAN: I don't think terror needs a breeding ground. I don't buy the arguments in the Iraq war. What keeps getting forgotten here is that the people committing massacres in Iraq right now belong to al-Qaida. We're witnessing a civil war that's taking place in Islam. The most breathtaking statement was the one of al-Qaida claiming responsibility for the London bombings saying it was in return for the massacre in Iraq. But the massacres in Iraq now are being conducted by al-Qaida against Muslims. I also think it's extraordinary the way in which we get morally selective in our outrages. When there was a rumor that someone at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down the lavatory, the pages in The Guardian almost caught fire with outrage, but only months before the Taliban had set fire to a mosque and destroyed 300 ancient Korans.

How's this for summer camp?

A scene from a Hamas-run summer camp in Gaza. Looks like fun, no?

Source: AFP

Thomas Sowell on 'No Child Left Behind'...

A success for the Bush administration.
There have been many bitter complaints from teachers and principals about the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" act — and more specifically about having to "teach to the test" instead of doing whatever teachers and principals want to do.

Now the results are in.

Not only have test scores in math and reading shown "solid gains" in the words of the New York Times, young black students have "significantly narrowed the gap" between themselves and white students. All this is based on official annual data from 28,000 schools across the country.

What is especially revealing is that it is the young black students who have made the largest gains while older minority students "scored as far behind whites as in previous decades."

In other words, the children whose education has taken place mostly since the No Child Left Behind act show the greatest gains, while for those whose education took place mostly under the old system, it was apparently too late to repair the damage.

Do not expect either the New York Times or the education establishment to draw these conclusions from these data. Nor are black "leaders" likely to pay much attention, since they are preoccupied with such hustles as seeking reparations for slavery.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Why is deportation so hard?

I bet it's much the same in Canada.
MORE than a quarter of a million failed asylum-seekers are still living in Britain, despite the Government’s drive to increase the number of removals.

A highly critical report by the National Audit Office exposes the chaos of the asylum system, with a catalogue of failings including financial mismanagement and near-shambolic record keeping.

The report states that the Immigration and Nationality Directorate is struggling to meet the Government’s latest target that by the end of the year the number of monthly removals should exceed applicants rejected. The number of failed applicants removed from the country fell last year.

The report estimates that the number of failed asylum applicants who have remained in the country was between 155,000 and 283,000 in May last year. Even the lower figure is likely to be an underestimate because it is based on a government database that excludes cases from before the database was introduced in 2000.

Europe needs to get its act together...

You'd think they could get together and make sure stuff like this doesn't happen.
Europe's war against terrorism suffered a setback yesterday when Germany's highest court refused to allow the extradition to Spain of an al-Qa'eda suspect, ruling that the EU's new arrest warrant is invalid under German law.

The constitutional court said that Mamoun Darkazanli, a German citizen whose company is alleged to have been a front for the terrorist group's activities, could not be extradited as the warrant violated the constitution and therefore his basic rights.

Spain issued a warrant for his arrest last September and, as he was preparing to fly from Hamburg airport in the company of police officers two months later, the constitutional court halted the extradition process. He then spent 10 months in custody until his release yesterday.

Darkazanli, 46, a Syrian-German who lives in Hamburg, has been on a United States list of terror suspects since 2001.

He was a friend of the September 11 suicide pilots and appeared in a wedding video with two of them - Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah - two years before the Twin Towers attacks. Shehhi and Jarrah lived and studied in Hamburg with the ringleader of the attacks, Mohammed Atta.

Shortly after the attacks a business card belonging to Wadih El-Hage, the personal secretary to Osama bin Laden, was found in Darkazanli's possession.

I never liked the insanity defense...

And, I don't like it here...
A teacher will claim she was insane due to emotional stress and did not know right from wrong when she had sex numerous times with a 14-year-old student, her attorney said Monday.

"What teacher in her right mind would do something like this?" attorney John Fitzgibbons said after a brief hearing for his client, Debra Lafave, a middle-school reading teacher.

The judge agreed to appoint two mental health professionals to evaluate Lafave, 24. Prosecutors have said a state psychologist already determined Lafave was not insane, while one hired by the defense concluded that she was mentally ill.