Friday, 24 July 2009
I wrote this in April about something I noticed in March:-
I was walking past an Islamic primary school in East London one Saturday morning a few weeks ago. . . The school is next to a pub and within quite a busy local shopping centre.
I could smell bacon frying . . .
I wondered then how long the pub would last. I went past again on Wednesday. The pub is closed down with metal shutters on each window.
It lasted barely another 4 months.
Posted on 07/24/2009 1:31 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 24 July 2009
Turkey Has a Different Attitude Toward Hizb ut Tahrir than the Hilton does
To be fair to the Hilton, Hizb ut Tahrir is not a designated terror group in America, but doesn't make them any less dangerous, which they might have known, had they cared enough to check them out. So much for the Hilton's patriotism. Thanks to Alan for the following story.
Istanbul, 24 July (AKI) - Turkish police say they have detained around 200 suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an outlawed pan-Islamist party, in an operation carried out in 23 provinces across the country on Friday. A statement made by Turkish police said that this operation is part of an ongoing investigation to track down members of the party.
Police said they have uncovered a number documents during the investigation that link those detained to the Islamist group.
The Hizb ut-Tahrir movement was established in 1952 in Jerusalem. The group's aim is to 'unite' all Muslim nations within an Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law.
It has not yet been determined if the group has been involved in any sort of violent terrorist attacks. The group claims its means are wholly peaceful.
Uzbekistan blames Hizb ut-Tahrir for bombings in the capital in 2004, an accusation the group denies.
Posted on 07/24/2009 11:49 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 24 July 2009
Victims to select own-faith officers
I didn't get a chance to write about this yesterday and I wanted time to think about the contrasts.
We will start with the Express.
MUSLIM crime victims could gain the right to have their cases overseen by police from their own religion, it emerged last night.
Police in London already give victims the right to ask for a Sikh officer to be involved in an investigation but the scheme could be introduced for other religions elsewhere.
Chief Supt Joanna Young, from the Met’s Criminal Justice Policy Unit, said: “If it’s a success, I would encourage the other (police) associations to do likewise.”
The project is intended to help investigate “honour” killings and forced marriages but Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Peter Smyth said: “We’re stretched thin enough already. Are Sikh officers going to have their rotas changed so there’s always one on duty? It’s political correctness gone mad."
For once the BBC have things a little more in perspective.
Officers within the Met have told the BBC Asian Network that crimes in the community have gone unsolved and unreported because of a lack of understanding of the culture by officers from a "white" background.
Palbinder Singh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association (MPSA) said: "It's about understanding and appreciating difference. We have got evidence in the most serious type of crimes where Punjabi culture itself is the issue, that they haven't been properly investigated."
The new service will not allow victims of crime to prevent a white officer taking on their case. However, they can ask for a Sikh officer to be involved and, if required, be their contact with the police.
Jagdeesh Singh, whose 27-year-old sister Surjit Athwal was murdered in a so-called honour killing, supports the scheme. In 2007 Mrs Athwal's husband and mother-in-law were convicted of her murder, almost 10 years after she went missing from home.He said the case "exposed many gaps".
"They did not understand the methods of cover up in the Punjabi community. The investigation only started to produce results when we had a Sikh officer allocated to the investigation. Prior to that for years and years we had a group of well-meaning officers who had great difficulty in comprehending the whole idea of an honour crime or honour killing, They need to be able to read the cultural signs in a crime."
Other Sikhs in London, like Sandeep Singh and Sharan Kaur, agreed. However, arguing against such policing divisions, they said they are Sikh but also passionately British.
"It doesn't matter what religion, what creed, colour you are, you need to be aware of issues that people deal with," Sharan Kaur said. "Because then you go into saying 'Muslim officers for Muslim crimes. Even though it may be cultural or even religious, police officers need the diplomacy to work with any customer, any crime. Sikhism is about not separating,"
Now we know that the majority of honour crimes (or as I think they should be better called family prestige crimes) are committed in the Islamic community, wherever that community originates from. But, probably because of geographical and historical juxtaposition with Muslims, they do also happen elsewhere in the Indian sub-continent.
But I think it is significant that while Muslims frequently all close ranks against the girl or boy concerned, especially her own family, the best known organisation trying to help girls is Karma Nirvana set up by a Sikh woman. In the case of Surjit Athwal her family fought for her murderous in laws to be brought to justice. In a Muslim family her own brothers would have been the ones responsible for her death.
There is a striking contrast here. Muslims want their needs to be pandered to and frequently don't regards criminal behaviour as a crime at all. Its jizya, or jihad or allowed under sharia.
In contrast, whether or not this initiative is the right way to go about it, Sikhs want the criminal element in their community brought to justice and dealt with under British law.
Posted on 07/24/2009 11:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 24 July 2009
'Shameful' record number of anti-Semitic attacks in capital
From The London Evening Standard
Israel's invasion of Gaza this year prompted a steep increase in anti-Semitic attacks and intimidation in London, according to Jewish groups.
The Community Security Trust recorded 303 anti-Semitic incidents in the capital in the first half of this year, a record.
There were 67 more attacks than in the same period last year and the total accounted for nearly half of all incidents in Britain.
Much of the surge took place in January when there were more than nine incidents every day.
Trust spokesman Mark Gardner said: "British Jews are facing ever-higher levels of racist attack and intimidation that threaten the well-being of our otherwise happy and successful Jewish community.
"There is no excuse for anti-Semitism, racism and bias, and it is totally unacceptable that overseas conflicts should be impacting here in this way. During the conflict, people were phoning up Jewish groups and screaming abuse down the phone or bombarding them with insulting emails. Most of those groups are in London and that accounts for some of it. But there was also graffiti with slogans like 'Kill the Jews', attacks on synagogues and a number of assaults."
Posted on 07/24/2009 8:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 24 July 2009
Jimmie Rodgers, "Blue Yodel #1"
Eddy Arnold, "Cattle Call"
Leanne Rimes, "Blue" Written by the legendary Texas disc jockey Bill Mack originally for Patsy Cline. Note the Lolita reference in the video. Miss Rimes was only 14 years old.
Posted on 07/24/2009 7:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 24 July 2009
Who owns the yodel? Yo-de-lay-it?s-me-ee-not-you-hoo
Little ol' lady.
Little ol' lady who?
I didn't know you could yodel.
That'll be £5, please. From The Times:
To the uninitiated it might seem like a cry of pain. There are those, including the Pope, who view the yodel as joyous communion; others have compared it to the protracted scream of a cat that has a firework attached to its tail. And it goes like this: “holla-rae-di-ri, di-ri, di-ri” — preferably sung in falsetto and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.
Now every syllable is up for legal examination as a court in Munich ponders its copyright. It might turn out to be the yodelling case of the century.
On one side of the courtroom are the descendants of Karl Ganzer, who wrote the Kufstein song.
It is belted out at sentimental moments — such as after the fourth litre of beer — in Bavarian beer cellars. It starts harmlessly enough (“Do you know the pearl, the pearl of Tirol”) then plunges into the yodelling.
The Ganzer family claim to have performance rights that, because the song is trilled almost every Saturday evening on primetime state television in two-hour folk music galas, could generate hundreds of thousands of euros.
Pitted against the Ganzers are lawyers representing Egon Frauenberger, a music publisher and former friend of the Ganzers, who claims that he gave the rather flat “ho-la-di-le” of the original song a special spin.
His lawyers said that as a commercial and artistic adapter, Mr Frauenberger deserved the fees that he had already been collecting.
German experts said, however, that yodels were free to the world. The Mokombi pygmies, Melanesians and Lapps yodel, but no one appears to be worried about their copyright.
Pope Benedict XVI, who grew up in Bavaria, wrote in a scholarly work that the theologian Augustine of Hippo must have been referring to yodelling when he described jubilus, “a form of wordless shouting, screaming or singing expressing a joy so large it transcends words”.
The yodel is ancient and, by definition, without text. So how can laws governing payment for the written word be applied?
“Yodelling is made up of textless syllables,” Josef Ecker, a yodelling teacher, told the newspaper Der Spiegel. “Syllables are free, they’re public property.”
Yodelling is thought to have been taken to the US by German immigrants, many of whom joined the first waves of pioneers in the West. Riley Bluckett, a blind guitarist, is credited with being the first to fuse yodelling with country music in 1924.
And perhaps the last. Sometimes there's a reason why something hasn't been done before*.
I'm waiting for someone to combine yodelling with ululating. Music is haram, but would that count? I don't knoollululululalalala-dee-ri-di-rululululala-di-reeeee.
*Update: having heard these country yodels from Rebecca's post, I have changed my mind. It works surprisingly well.
Posted on 07/24/2009 6:15 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 24 July 2009
Am I Angry?
No! Am I Ragingly Furious And Ready To Lash Out At The Fools Who Perpetrated This Gross Insult? Yes, Oh So Very Yes!
This week I happen to be at my other home in the North of Scotland. The calm and the peace of this lovely family place, this blessed corner of my beautiful other country wherein I have experienced much joy and much community spirit, has been completely wrecked for me, however, by a chance item which I happened to watch on BBC Scotland’s premier news programme, ‘Reporting Scotland’, at 18:30hrs. this evening.
Please don’t run away with the idea that I am in any sense castigating the BBC for I am not, for once, so doing. That organisation merely reported a fact – it is the fact that makes me angry, not the reporting of it, which, given the nature of the fact, it was absolutely necessary for the BBC to report on (in my opinion).
A publicly funded exhibition is encouraging people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and visitors have responded with abuse and obscenity.
The show includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.
The open Bible is a central part of Made in God’s Image, an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”
The exhibit, Untitled 2009, was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, which said that the idea was to reclaim the Bible as a sacred text. But to the horror of many Christians, including the community church, visitors have daubed its pages with comments such as “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all.” A contributor wrote on the first page of Genesis: “I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”
The Church of Scotland expressed concern, the Roman Catholic Church called the exhibit infantile, and a Christian lawyers’ group said that the exhibition was symptomatic of a broken and lawless society.
The exhibition has been created by the artists Anthony Schrag and David Malone, in association with organisations representing gay Christians and Muslims. Mr Schrag, the gallery’s artist in residence, said that he did not believe in God, but that his research for the £7,000 show had underlined his respect for people of faith.
The community church, which celebrates “racial, cultural, linguistic, sexual, gender and theological diversity”, had suggested the “interactive” Bible and pens and Mr Schrag, 34, said he had been intrigued.
“Any offensive things that have been written are not the point of the work,” he said. “It was an open gesture. Are those who say they are upset offended by the things that people write, or just by the very notion that someone should write on a Bible?”
The artist, a Canadian who took a master’s degree at Glasgow School of Art, said that human rights were at the centre of the show. “If we are to open up the Bible for discussion, surely we have to invite people to speak out,” he said. “Art allows us to discuss difficult things, and Goma allows difficult discussions to take place — that is why Glasgow is at the cutting edge of contemporary art.”
Jane Clarke, a minister of the community church, said she regretted the insults that had appeared. “The Bible should never be used like that. It was our intention to reclaim it as a sacred text,” she said. While the exhibition’s supporters insist that the exhibit promotes “inclusivity” and should break down barriers between orthodox religion and gay and transgendered people, most contributors have paid scant regard to matters of sexuality.
One writer has altered the first line of the Old Testament from “In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth” to “In the beginning, God (me) I created religion.” Another has written “The Gospel According to Luke Skywalker”. The main sentiment, however, is rage at Christianity. “F*** the Bible”, one message says.
Last night the producers of the exhibition indicated that the most offensive pages would be removed, but Christians expressed outrage and disbelief that the show had been staged at all. “This is symbolic of the state of our broken and lawless society,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre. “We have got to a point where we call the desecration of the Bible modern art. The Bible stands for everything this art does not: for creation, beauty, hope and regeneration.”
The Church of Scotland said it condemned any sacrilegious act. “We would discourage anyone from defacing the Bible,” a Kirk spokesman said.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “One wonders whether the organisers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”
A video by Roxanne Claxton forms a second element in the exhibition. It shows a young woman ripping pages out of the Bible and stuffing them in her knickers and bra, and in her mouth. The film showed “the word as power”, Mr Schrag said. “Roxanne gave a performance where she ate a Bible and it became part of her.”
Made in God’s Image is part of a series of exhibitions focusing on human rights organised by Culture and Sport Glasgow, part of the city council. The division’s chief executive is Dr Bridget McConnell, wife of the former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell.
Now, I have very specific views about the Bible, specifically about the translation and recension of the ancient texts and also about the way that so many so-called Christians seem, in my opinion, to worship the Book rather than God and to find ‘truth’ in ancient, probably erroneous, texts rather than in the Church and in the Spirit Who moves it. However, that is neither here nor there in the context of this particular affront to my faith. What I find most deeply offensive about this particular exhibit at this particular exhibition is precisely what the un-named ‘spokesman for the Catholic Church’ said in the antepenultimate paragraph of the timesonline
report which I have reproduced above:
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “One wonders whether the organisers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”
That is precisely the point, Mr. un-named ‘Spokesman for the Catholic Church’. Well said! I couldn’t agree with you more if I tried to!
The ignorant and ill-informed comments which currently deface this exhibit were obviously written by people who are deeply under-educated and wilfully, perhaps deliberately, naive in their understandings: people, moreover, who have been deliberately deprived of any understanding of basic Christian theology, and of the arguments currently raging abroad amongst the Christian faithful, by a determined attack upon our countries’ educational systems by successive Socialist governments of our great countries within this United Kingdom; attacks which seek only to destroy profound education and complex understandings of positions in order to advance some sort of discredited Socialist utopia – within which said utopia morality and belief are determined by the whims of the State and the passions, and current fads, of those who rule.
This exhibit is an offence against reason and encourages those who cannot think and reason to express ridiculous opinions about something which they have no learning about, and little knowledge of, saving their own silly prejudices. It demonstrates quite conclusively the paucity, the meanness, the narrow-minded stupidity and the excessive zeal of the ‘commissars’ of political correctness, and of the lamentable state of education in the United Kingdom today.
I would have referenced the BBC’s own web site had I been able to find this article there. You must all know how difficult it is to find anything on that enormous and sprawling site – no criticism intended other than a criticism of the BBC’s search engine. Simply put, I didn’t have the time to carry on searching so I settled for the report at timesonline
. If any of you can find the original BBC report please comment below with the link for that would be much appreciated.
Posted on 07/24/2009 5:51 AM by John M. Joyce
Friday, 24 July 2009
Bus firm accused of thinly-veiled racism
I love all the comments in the Australian Daily Telegraph in response to this dozy bint's complaint.
WOMAN wearing a Muslim headscarf was told by a bus driver to take off her "mask" because it was against the law to wear it on board.
Australian-born mother of two Khadijah Ouararhni-Grech was wearing the pink floral headscarf known as a niqab when she tried to board the HillsBus vehicle at Merrylands Rd, Greystanes.
"As I was stepping on to the bus, the driver said: 'You can't get on the bus wearing your mask'," Ms Ouararhni-Grech told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
"I was just going to visit my mum. I was born here in Parramatta. I'm Maltese and I'm Muslim because I choose to be Muslim". How can she still think she is Maltese if she was born in Australia? The Maltese are generally very aware of the shortcomings of islam, having suffered under it for several centuries in the Middle ages; however there is a Libyan influence which causes concern by their families for those Maltese women who have been tempted to marry Libyans.
After politely telling him that the niqab was not a mask, he insisted, saying: "Sorry, it is the law."
After a heated discussion that lasted more than five minutes, the driver allowed Ms Ouararhni-Grech to travel on the bus.
HillsBus, Sydney's largest private bus company, has confirmed it is investigating Tuesday's incident. It is yet to contact Ms Ouararhni-Grech.
"At HillsBus we take complaints seriously and we value our record of customer service," a spokesperson said yesterday.
Ms Ouararhni-Grech said she wanted the bus company to improve driver education, rather than punish the driver. "I'd just like to change his attitude, I just want him to be educated on the subject," she said. "I'd be more than happy to go to the company with my sheikh and educate these people about what this exactly is and our beliefs and the reason why."
The comments, 150 of them the majority of which support the bus driver.
~Firstly this is NOT a race row - Islam is not, never has been and never will be a race - it's merely a belief system, nothing more. And I agree with the bus driver 100%. For instance, if I had a shop, I wouldn't allow anybody covering their face to even come in the door. Banks require people to remove face covering before entering too. I commend this bus driver and hope he and his colleagues stick to their guns. If this woman doesn't want to remove that hideous rag, she can damn well walk.
~May I suggest this confrontational and arrogant women and her ridiculous head and face covering NOT use public transport in future, nor venture into public places.
~This can be fixed with one word TAXI !!!!
~Who cares if she was Muslim. I can understand the rationale behind the request. I can't enter a shop with my motorcycle helmet on. What is the difference? I entered a pub a few months ago in the lower mountains. I had a hat and sun glasses on, was asked to remove them as it is their policy as they had been recently robbed.
~So I am assuming the next time I enter a bus wearing my balaclava because I am a member of the Jedhi knights, I will be allowed to do so. . . can someone tell me how you can tell whether it is a man or a woman under those black post boxes I see moving around the street ...... see my point. Wearing any kind of material over the face should be illegal. And against that there can be no legitimate arguement in country such as ours.
~How dare this mask wearing woman suggest that she will educate anyone on her dress or beliefs...this is Australia, and we do some things differently to other countries..one is not wearing masks in public..and if its not law...IT SHOULD BE..
~Well that's a Good Law , I agree with the Driver and that roar in the background is the approval of All Australians.
~Another situation where the minorities yet again become the "victims". I am so tired of all this garbage. If you don't like Australia and its customs then leave. We're not forcing you to stay here - go live in a muslim country with islamic laws.
~Of course she shouldnt be allowed to wear it, it is a sign of social control and terrorism, how dare she have the hide to even argue the point. We need ban these at once. If they dont like it, Indonesia aint far away- leave.
~Dear Ms Ouararthni-Grech - I would like to educate you on our beliefs. It is important for reasons of security in banks, buses and trains etc - that all people show their faces.
~This woman claims to be Maltese. Well I'm telling you she's an imposter as no one in Malta practises the Muslim faith and again if they do then they are not Maltese. The Maltese along with the Knights of St.John fought against the Muslims in 1565 to rid of such practise and won although being out-numbered 3 to 1. This woman brings shame to Malta and to the Maltese culture.
Posted on 07/24/2009 3:14 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 July 2009
"No, you're the strict Muslim fundamentalist"
From the Local in Sweden:
Three children of a father accused of abusing and imprisoning his family spoke out on Thursday as the trial of the 58-year-old kicked off in Uppsala in eastern Sweden.
Despite the fact that the children are born in Sweden, two of them needed interpreters in court. They testified about abuse, fear and never having attended school.
The father warned of the dangers of Swedish society, telling his children they would be raped and lobotomized and that all Swedes were racists.
“If all the children in Sweden were lobotomized, why are they so happy?” recalled one of the daughters, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
Between September 2003 and March 2004, the children were confined to the family's apartment, never leaving the dwelling once, according to public prosecutor Johan Strömbäck.
Three of the children have sought compensation totaling 148,000 kronor ($20,000) for deprivation of liberty (frihetsberövande), including missing out on their education.
During a morning court hearing, three of the man's four children testified about their experience while confined by their dominating father, who is a native of Iran.
Both brothers needed the assistance of an interpreter, but their 22-year-old sister testified in clear Swedish.
She said that she had to fight to learn the language, despite the fact that she was born in Sweden, just like her brothers.
She explained that she clearly remembered how smug her father was when he learned that children who were not residing in Sweden were exempt from compulsory school attendance.
“He has deprived us of our rights as Swedish citizens,” the daughter said.
“I’ve never attended school, either in Iran or in Sweden. Not one single minute.”
When the 58-year-old man took the stand in the afternoon, he denied all the accusations against him, claiming his wife and children were lying.
He said his children had made up their stories out of fear of their mother.
“She’s taken over the whole family and controls their lives, not me,” he said.
He claimed that his wife was a “fundamentalist” and wanted to send the children to schools in Iran run by mullahs.
The father also refuted accusations that he had beaten his children.
“I’m against violence, it’s the mother who is violent,” he said.
“She does what she wants in the name of Islam.”
He said his children did in fact attend school in Iran and that there are diplomas to prove it at the country’s education ministry.
However, the 58-year-old was unable to produce any diplomas in court.
According to him, the children’s mother forbid them from attending school in Sweden.
“They want to make me look like a monster,” he said.
Anyone who has "debated" a Muslim will recognize the effortless prevarication, the projection of one's own beliefs onto others, and the resort to victimhood.
The strict control of a father over his wife (or wives) and children comes directly from the teachings of the holy, holy Qur'an. He is basically given control over every facet of their life, and death.
Islam breeds a particular, easily recognizable, mental pathology.
Posted on 07/23/2009 11:09 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 23 July 2009
A Musical Interlude: Mean To Me (Ambrose Orch.)
Posted on 07/23/2009 10:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Dutch returns severed head of Ghana chief
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The descendants of an African chief who was hanged and decapitated by a Dutch general 171 years ago reluctantly accepted the return of his severed head Thursday, still angry even as the Dutch tried to right a historic wrong.
The head of King Badu Bonsu II was discovered last year in a jar of formaldehyde gathering dust in the anatomical collection of the Leiden University Medical Center. The Dutch government, embarrassed by its discovery, agreed to Ghanaian demands that the relic be returned.
On Thursday, members of the king's Ahanta tribe, dressed in dark robes and wearing red sashes, took part in the hand-over ceremony, honoring his spirit by toasting with Dutch gin and then sprinkling the drink over the floor at the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
Luckily they didn't pull the other one, by dropping trou' and defecating on the rug, "according to ancient Ghanan tradition."
But descendants of the chief said they were not consoled.
"I am hurt, angry. My grandfather has been killed," said Joseph Jones Amoah, the great, great grandson of the chief.
The chief's head was stored elsewhere at the ministry and was not displayed during the ceremony. It is expected to be flown with the tribe members back to Ghana on Friday.
Tribal elders said after the hand-over that they were also angry because they had been sent by their current chief only to identify the head, not retrieve it. Taking it back without first reporting to the chief would be a breach of protocol, they said. ["Cor! We wanted TWO all-expenses-paid trips to Europe!"]
"We, the Ahanta, are not happy at all," said Nana Etsin Kofi II.
The head was taken by Maj. Gen. Jan Verveer in 1838 in retaliation for Bonsu's killing of two Dutch emissaries, whose heads were displayed as trophies on Bonsu's throne, said Arthur Japin, a Dutch author who discovered the king's head when he was working on a historical novel.
Bonsu also killed the acting governor Hendrikus Jacobus Tonneboeijer.
The elders demanded the Dutch government provide aid to their tribe to appease the slain chief.
Nana Kwekwe Darko III, who tipped the gin onto the floor according to tradition, dabbed tears from his eyes afterward and said he wanted the Dutch to build schools and hospitals for his people.
It was unclear what would become of it once it reaches Ghana.
Posted on 07/23/2009 5:04 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 23 July 2009
More on "Bashir al Ameriki" AKA Bryant Neal Vinas, Al Qaeda operative
Here’s more in this AP report, “Documents: US al-Qaida recruit trained as bomber,” on American Al Qaeda Jihadi, Byrant Neal Vinas, AKA “Bashir Al Ameriki”.
Vinas, a Latino convert to extremist Islam was a native of Patchogue on Long Island North Shore. Captured by Pakistani authorities in the City of Peshawar in 2008, he was turned over to US counterterrorism agents and following his interrogation was arraigned on terrorism charges in January. He is the second Latino American convert caught as an al Qaeda operative, Jose Padilla convicted on terror bombing charges was the first. Other prominent American Islamic converts involved with Al Qaeda include John Lindh Walker, captured in the opening stages of the War in Afghanistan in 2001 who hailed from Marin County California and Southern Californian Adam Gadahn, “Azzam al Ameriki” who runs Al Qaeda’s video production studio. We also have posted on several American- born Jihadis converts who have joined the Taliban-like Al Qaeda affiliate, al Shabaab in Somalia.
Vinas, according to unsealed Brooklyn Federal court hearing records, has revealed more about himself and al Qaeda targets in the West. Yesterday we learned about Vinas turning over to al Qaeda information on New York’s subway system that could have been used for a highly destructive mass casualty attack. Today, we learn that he was trained as a suicide bomber, a Shahid or martyr in Islam. But we also have revealed that he may have given the US intelligence that resulted in the killing of an Al Qaeda chief in a Predator attack, last year. There are also allegations that he knew of an Al Qaeda plot to attack a Belgian metro system, denied by a prime suspect now in Belgian authorities’ custody.
Here is what this fascinating AP report notes on Vinas:
Bryant Neal Vinas took courses in plastic explosives and bomb theory, according to a statement he gave to investigators as part of a terrorism case in Belgium. The statement, provided to the AP on Thursday, was to be released after a hearing Friday, officials said.
Since the 26-year-old New York man's arrest in Pakistan in November 2008, Vinas has become one of the most valuable informants in the war on terrorism, giving investigators a fascinating and rare look into al-Qaida's day-to-day operations in a lawless region bordering Afghanistan.
He provided insights on many key members of Al-Qaida and how the organization recruited and indoctrinated people. Vinas also revealed the group gave lessons on assassination, poison, kidnapping, forgery and advanced bomb making, according to the statement.
While he has been in custody in New York, the U.S. has made a series of successful unmanned Predator drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida locations in the difficult-to-penetrate border region, raising questions about whether Vinas provided the information that led to any of the deadly attacks.
One of those strikes took place in northwest Pakistan on Nov. 19, about the time of Vinas' capture. The strike killed al-Qaida member Abdullah Azzam al-Saudi, who was reportedly a recruiter for the terrorist organization.
Vinas told authorities that he knew of an Abdullah Azzam, a law enforcement official told the AP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Vinas' attorney Len Kamdang declined comment Thursday.
Vinas, who grew up in the New York City suburbs on Long Island, was charged in court papers unsealed Wednesday with giving al-Qaida "expert advice and assistance" about New York's transit system and with a rocket attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year.
He pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, supporting and receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization in a sealed courtroom in Brooklyn, according to a transcript of the hearing unsealed Thursday.
Vinas admitted to traveling to Pakistan in 2007 "with the intention of meeting and joining a jihadist group to fight American soldiers in Afghanistan," the transcript read.
The question remains what is the full extent of American born converts and naturalized American Somalis who have gone to Afghanistan and Somalia. Further, unlike Padilla, Walker and now Vinas, how many have returned as trained al Qaeda operatives in terrorist cells waiting to attack us here at home.
Posted on 07/23/2009 8:52 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 23 July 2009
USAF chief visits Israel: "may the Schwartz be with you."
USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz was on a visit to Israel this past week. It was sort of a ‘home to home’ visit as IAF Chief of Staff Gen. Nashultan had a paid a visit to Schwartz last month in Washington. Schwartz is the USAF’s first Jewish chief. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Class of 1973, he has over 4,200 flying hours as a command pilot. We know Schwartz well from his several assignments in the USAF Special Ops command at Hurlburt Field based in Northwest Florida.
The Jerusalem Post report on Schwartz's visit to Israel, “America's first Jewish Air Force commander makes Israel visit” noted the aerial tour of the country and consultation:
According to defense officials, Schwartz and Nehushtan discussed a wide-range of issues. Schwartz's visit came on the heels of a similar visit Nehushtan made to the US last month.
During his four-day visit, Schwartz met with Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and flew in an IAF Zufit reconnaissance plane. Nehushtan also gave Schwartz a helicopter tour of Israel's borders and explained to him the different threats the country faces in the north and south.
Schwartz presumably discussed possible purchase by Israel of the Joint strike fighter, the F-35, now that the US Senate has spiked further production of the F-22 stealth fighter bomber, The Raptor, that Japan, Israel and Australia were seeking to buy to keep the Georgia Lockheed Martin Production line operating. President Obama had urged the Congress to not procure further copies of the F-22, as it was designed to counter Soviet era threats and allegedly because the F-35 Joint strike fighter replacement was cheaper. The Senate voted to stop F-22 procurement on July 22nd, causing ripple effects, including the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the US aero space industry. The IDF had filed a letter with the Pentagon to purchase the F-35 last month after discussions about Israel using its own avionics and ECM capabilities were allegedly granted by the Pentagon. Note this comment from the IAF procurement chief in a Defense Industry Daily report, “Israeli Plans to Buy F-35s Hitting Obstacles, Moving Forward “:
In an exclusive June 2006 interview, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze’ev Snir told Israel’s Globes publication that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was a key part of their IAF recapitalization plans, and that Israel intends to buy over 100 of the fighters to replace their F-16s over time. A 100-plane deal would have cost at least $5 billion under Israel’s original estimates, and would involve the F-35A conventional take-off Air Force version. Snir added that:
“The IAF would be happy to equip itself with 24 F-22s but the problem at this time is the US refusal to sell the plane, and its $200 million price tag.”
Unfortunately, Israel’s September 2008 request for its first 75 F-35s would end up costing them an estimated $15 billion – or about $200 million per plane. All in return for a fighter with poorer air-to-air performance than the F-22, and less stealth. The necessary contract must deal with that sticker shock, and with issues like the incorporation of Israeli technologies, before it can be signed.
According to the Jerusalem Post report Schwartz is to be followed by visits from his Commander in Chief’s National security advisers:
Schwartz's trip to Israel kicks off a round of visits expected next week by senior Obama administration officials, including National Security Adviser James Jones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House official Dennis Ross.
Defense officials said that the talks with the officials would focus on a wide-range of topics including the recent political tension between Jerusalem and Washington over settlement construction but also in order to coordinate positions ahead of the dialogue the US plans to hold with Teheran.
Schwartz may have been briefed on Israel’s military option and the Iran nuclear project crisis. His Commander and Chief, President Obama, US Secretary of Defense Gates and General James Jones, NSC head in the White house have expressed reservations about Israel undertaking a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear and missile development facilities. Gates has argued that a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program would not set back the timetable, but rather sanctions might increase the cost of the undertaking by the Islamic Republic. Early this month Vice President Biden had effectively stated on an ABC “This Week” interview that the US would not stand in the way of Israel’s decision to attack Iran’s nuclear bomb making facilities. President Obama immediately shut down that talk with a comment that there was “no green light given” for such an option. In Bangkok, yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton suggested in remarks at the ASEAN regional meetings that the US might create a defensive shield to protect the Middle East, an implied message that a nuclear Iran might be tolerated.
For the IDF, whom General Schwartz was visiting this past week in Israel, these pronouncements are small comfort given the existential threats posed by Iranian nuclear weapons development . The timetable for Iran to test a device might occur as early as six months as German Intelligence has reported or upwards of 40 months based on Mossad Chief Meir Dagan’s estimates. Schwartz would be in the chain of command that might give the order to provide the IAF with IFF codes to enable Israel’s front line attack aircrafts, F-16is and F-15b’s, to over fly Iraqi and Turkish airspace for a possible Iran mission. Perhaps those arrangements were discussed, perhaps not. But Schwartz’s visit to Israel prefigures what his Commander in Chief has in mind. Israel cannot afford to dither over what form a military option might take. It has a number of options, as we have written in posts, at its disposal: IAF front line aircraft, land based Jericho Missiles, Dolphin submarines equipped with tube launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles, cyber warfare tools. Gen. Schwartz could provide some reality to the Obama national security team after his discussions with his IAF counterparts to counter the fantasy of engagement with Iran and use of faltering sanctions, save one. That is using recently House-passed legislation blocking deliveries of gasoline and diesel fuel from off shore refineries that supply upwards of 40% of Iran’s needs.
What did Mel Brooks say in his 1987 Sci-fi comedy film, Spaceballs: “May the Schwartz be with you!”
Posted on 07/23/2009 4:52 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Hatch and match
Careful brides saved the bottom tier of the wedding cake for the christening. Careless brides did it the other way round. Married? I didn't even know she was pregnant. Not pregnant? There's posh for you.
Shotgun wedding jokes, which for some reason sound more effective in a Welsh accent, are a thing of the past now that anything goes. Rightly so, for the most part. But surely the Church of England should uphold the ideal, while welcoming and forgiving those who fall short of it. The Times reports on its latest attempt to get with the programme:
The tragic single mother is a staple of English literature. Seduced, impregnated and abandoned, she wanders in penury, shunned by society and the Church. Corrupted paragons abound in the 19th-century novel, from Thomas Hardy’s innocent Fanny Robbin, to Elizabeth Gaskell’s guilt-racked Ruth.
But the Church of England is to atone for its historical antipathy towards single mothers. A new all-in-one liturgy, published today, will allow clergy to perform baptisms and marriages at the same time, in a “hatch and match” service. The new liturgy is being promoted by the Bishop of Wakefield, who has been moved by Thomas Hardy’s description of the single mother’s plight. The new service is designed to welcome unmarried mothers into the Church.
Life as a single mother is not an easy one. Money is tight, even if the poorhouse no longer beckons. A one-stop service will be cheaper. Today’s single mothers are rather less likely to die in shamed poverty, shunned by parents and clergy, than characters like Ruth or Fanny. Hardy’s most famous female character, Tess, was cast out of society and the arms of Angel by her sexual relations with Alex D’Urbeville. She would be seen as quaintly abstemious by today’s young women.
The new liturgy cleverly allows the Church to entice women back into the spiritual and marital fold without judgment. Ruth, Fanny and Tess would have been pathetically grateful for the Church’s open-armed embrace. The world has turned. Single mothers used to be desperate for the Church’s approval. Now, it seems, the Church is desperate for theirs.
Nobody is suggesting that the Church go back to the dark days of Tess - a wronged but irritatingly passive fictional "fallen woman". These days the Church would welcome her with open arms. So why is the Bishop of Wakefield - not to be confused with its vicar - fixing a nineteenth century wrong that's no longer broke?
Why, in any case, would a bride and groom want to tie the knot holding a mewling and puking infant? Wouldn't it get in the way? And and promising to have and to hold and to fight against sin, the world and the devil all in one go is a tall order. As for anointing with chrism, don't go there - "I can't believe it's not butter."
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:59 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Keith Ellison,TiZA and Taxpayer's Money
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
WASHINGTON - Days after his return from an unannounced pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison talked about it as a transformational personal experience, saying "I didn't want to turn it into a politics thing."
Nearly eight months later, the Minneapolis DFLer faces a House Ethics Committee review of his decision to keep the trip's costs under wraps -- even though it was paid for by a local Islamic nonprofit and typically would be reported as a gift to a public official.
Asked about the trip Tuesday, Ellison said that he is "not privy to the internal workings of the organization" that covered his costs, and that he complied with all House Ethics panel disclosure requirements. "Why should I waive a right that's accorded me under the rules?" he said.
Tax records show the group that paid Ellison's expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.
The man who accompanied Ellison to Mecca, Asad Zaman, is executive director of the TiZA school, a political contributor of Ellison's and was president of the Muslim American Society until August, when the Mecca trip was planned.
TiZA has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and probed by state officials for allegedly promoting Islam, which would violate the church and state separation required of public schools -- including charter schools.
The school received state funding to pay rent to the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp., a nonprofit spinoff of the Muslim American Society that owned the building. The corporation then turned over $879,000 to the Muslim society as a grant.
Those close connections have opened Ellison to questions about the nature of the trip. Ellison on Tuesday called it "a private trip," adding that he had told the ethics committee of the trip beforehand and received its approval. A spokesman for the school says no public money was used for the trip, or Hajj, which Ellison took as a once-in-a-lifetime fulfillment of his religious duty as a practicing Muslim. The 16-day pilgrimage is considered one of the most solemn acts in Islam, one that is supposed to be undertaken free of debts and unmet family obligations.
Ellison has justified withholding the cost by citing the religious nature of his journey to Saudi Arabia, saying it had nothing to do with his duties as a congressman.
Such trips generally must be reported under congressional gift rules that call for full financial disclosure. IRS rules, moreover, bar nonprofit religious groups from furthering individuals' "private interests."
Ellison, however, reported the trip under more permissive House rules for outside business activities -- Boy Scout trips, for example -- that are unrelated to congressional duties, but which are not purely for private benefit. Those rules do not require cost accounting.
A public figure who has faced some hostility as the first Muslim member of Congress, Ellison has been reluctant to reveal details of the trip, which is estimated to have cost several thousand dollars.
The Muslim American Society's grants -- for $550,000 in 2007, and $329,000 in 2006 -- represented the proceeds of rent paid by the state of Minnesota for TiZA.
The financial connection to the school rent money is spelled out in the holding company's tax filings for 2006 and 2007: "Receives rent from government agency and donates to MAS of MN [Muslim American Society of Minnesota]."
Zaman did not respond to several inquiries seeking comment on the Mecca trip. In the ACLU's lawsuit, which alleges that the property holding company effectively transferred government charter school funds to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, the ACLU quotes Zaman as saying that "Islam makes no distinction between public and private life."
Twin Cities public relations executive Blois Olson, who is serving as a spokesman for the school, said there is no connection between the TiZA rent money and Ellison's trip, which took place in late November and early December of 2008.
Olson said the Muslim American Society of Minnesota stopped getting the rent funds for the school in early 2007, more than a year before the trip.
At that time, the school property was transferred to the Minnesota Education Trust, Olson said, a separate nonprofit that now acts as TiZA's leaseholder. As part of that transfer, Olson said, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota Holding Corp. turned over $315,000 in rent proceeds to the trust.
The rest of the lease aid, Olson said, went to retire a private $1.3 million loan on the school property.
As a religious organization, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota is not required to make its finances public.
Olson said the Muslim group funded Ellison's trip because it wanted to improve communications "between Muslim-Americans and the broader Muslim world."
The connection between the school and Ellison's trip has propelled him squarely into at debate in the Minnesota Legislature about leasing organizations like the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp. and how they use their public rent funds.
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, who chairs the K-12 Education Finance Division Committee, said the state funds were intended to help charter schools rent space.
She said she is troubled by the large grants to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whether or not the money can be tied directly to Ellison's trip.
"It calls into question the sensibility of the people who lead the school," Greiling said. "And to send Keith Ellison off to Mecca just compounds it."
State officials say the arrangement illustrates long-standing concerns about the relationship between charter schools and the affiliated groups who hold their leases.
Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner for the state education department, said that state law does not regulate how lease dollars are spent by such property-holding corporations.
"While this type of relationship is legal, it is nonetheless concerning," she said of the TiZA payments.
TiZA, which also has a campus in Blaine, received an estimated $4.7 million in state aid this year, including more than $520,000 in annual lease aid. The school also got more than $873,000 in federal charter school grants last year.
Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, said the flow of any public funds to a sectarian group that funded a public official's trip to a religious site heightens the questions Samuelson's group has raised about the separation of church and state.
"The group that paid for it [the trip] gets a large part of its money from the public trough," Samuelson said.
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:32 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Crowley Teaches A Course On "Racial Profiling"
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
An Intrepid M.I.T. Professor On Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West
The following article, by an M.I.T. professor, first appeared in 1998:
What's going on at the Boston Magazine, in the national media, and at Harvard with Mr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. must concern everyone who has serious interest in the integrity of African-American scholarship. The recent Boston Magazine article, " Head Negro In Charge: Why Harvard's Skip Gates May Be the Most Important Black Man in America," April 1998, reveals distressing issues beyond its title.
The title of Boston Magazine's article, "Head Negro In Charge," is actually superb, but the subtitle declaring Mr. Gates to be possibly "the most important black man in America" is foolishness. Yet, the article itself --- notwithstanding its errors of fact, stereotypes, and fantasies --- is insightful (but disturbing) in its portrayal of Mr. Gates. I am reminded of the Trinity --- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost --- where the true believer is discouraged from distinguishing one from the others; the title from the subtitle from the article.
The title may have emerged from Mr. Gates himself who has been cited within the Cambridge academic community for using this phrase, among both blacks and whites. Having lifted the title from him, Boston Magazine perhaps has been both too pleased with its own increased visibility and too contrite by the title's derision to apologize. Curiously, Mr. Gates has experience in devising appropriately self-referential titles, as with his earlier work of literary criticism, the Signifying Monkey. What is most striking to me about the Boston Magazine title is how appropriately it too is self-referential and perceptively depicts the contents of the article, though aided and abetted by a grossly exaggerated subtitle.
For several years now, major media, including the New Yorker, Newsweek, The Boston Globe (most frequently and most trivially), and the New York Times, have been trying to sell the idea of Mr. Gates's importance, with Harvard's complicity and Mr. Gates's own billboard advertising. Never mind that blacks in and out of academia see Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, David Satcher, Tiger Woods, Frank Raines, Arnold Rampersad, John Hope Franklin, and the two Jordans (Michael and Vernon) --- to name a few --- as more influential by a long shot. Furthermore, Mr. Gates is careless with the truth, even in small matters, as with his claim to be the first black American to earn a doctorate from Cambridge University. Having earned a Cambridge doctorate in engineering, I was on the MIT faculty while Mr. Gates was still a sophomore at Yale. I have informed Mr. Gates of this fact, yet he persists in this claim. The media have been trying to peddle these and other asinine goods such as the head coach of the so-called Harvard Dream Team, not only on the Lower East Side but uptown as well. It won't work; at least, not along this part of the Charles.
Anyone who sees the Boston Magazine article as beneficial to either Mr. Gates or the black community is shortsighted. Mr. Gates's caricatures of black life and culture, punctuated by his constant uses of stereotypical and derogatory language, reinforce the article's title in many of its historical interpretations. The reader is being told that gratuitous profanity is a substitute for critical analysis, that celebrity replaces scholarship, and that name-dropping is preferable to the difficult task of intellectual creativity.
From Mr. Du Bois to Mr. Gates, it appears that Harvard's Afro-American tradition has gone from innovative and cogent analysis to public posturing and Jive Talkin' 101. In the words of the great patriot, and no doubt, Harvard Af-Am icon, Don King, "Only in America." The article's image of Mr. Gates throughout is that of a modernized and updated Stepin Fetchit --- shameless, grinning and bowing, shuffling around the globe, incidentally becoming "an accomplished literary archaeologist." This mocking image comes full force in the article when the author describes Mr. Gates's own childhood fantasy --- one which he seems to be constantly evolving in adult life and which I quote with editorial suggestion for effect:
"One of his [Mr. Gates's] favorite Amos and Andy episodes is 'The Punjab of Java Pour,' in which Andy [Mr. Cornel West] dresses up as a turbaned Oriental potentate with Kingfish [Mr. Gates] as his servant, so they can enjoy a vacation [of academic tenure] at a luxury hotel [Harvard University] for free."
Now we have a much clearer understanding of Harvardian Afro-American studies!
This is the stuff of People Magazine and TV Guide, Court TV and Geraldo, but not evidence of substantive scholarship. Harvard knows better. So the question is why? Why is Harvard arbitraging in this spurious currency, trying to unload this counterfeit onto the black community and the world? Why is it hosting media spectacles, featuring the New Yorker's Tina Brown, to anoint a serious academic program? The rock goddess Tina Turner would have been a better choice. She could have mesmerized the crowd with her fille de joie "Private Dancer" and invited Mr. Gates to join her on stage. What meshugaas!
Cut the buffoonery, Skip, and get to work --- scholarly work, that is.
James H. Williams, Jr.; PhD Cantab
SEPTE Professor of Engineering
Charles F. Hopewell Faculty Fellow
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
April 21, 1998
Posted on 07/23/2009 1:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
A Musical Interlude: There Ought To Be A Moonlight Savings Time (Annette Hanshaw)
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
From Officer Figuaroa's Account
On July 16, 2009 at approximately 12:44 PM, I Officer Figuaroa #509 responded to an ECC broadcast for a possible break at __ Ware St. When I arrived, I stepped into the residence and Sgt. Crowley had already entered and was speaking to a black male.
As I stepped in, I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman’s information which he stated “NO I WILL NOT!” The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt. that the Sgt. was a racist and yelled that “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN America!” As the Sgt. was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted “You don’t know who your messing with!”
I stepped out to the gather the information from the reporting person, WHALEN, LUCIA. Ms. Whalen stated to me that she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open. As I returned to the residence, a group of onlookers were now on scene. The Sgt., along with the gentleman, were now on the porch of __ Ware Street and again he was shouting, now to the onlookers (about seven), “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!” The gentleman refused to listen to as to why the Cambridge Police were there. While on the porch, the gentleman refused to be cooperative and continued shouting that the Sgt. is racist police officer.
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
More On Sergeant Crowley
From an article about Sergeant Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department:
So what does Crowley think about Gates' claim that he's a racist?
"It almost doesn't even warrant a comment it's so ridiculous. My friends, my family, my colleagues, those people (whose) opinions mean the most to me, they know who I am. They know what I am and what I am not."
"It's an unfortunate thing that the professor or other people have even mentioned that."
'APOLOGY WON'T COME FROM ME'
Crowley, 42, said he won't apologize. And his union has expressed "full and unqualified" support for him.
"The apology wont come from me. I've done nothing wrong," he told WBZ.
REGGIE LEWIS CONNECTION
Fellow officers, black and white, say he is well-liked and respected on the force. Crowley was a campus police officer at Brandeis University in July 1993 when he administered CPR trying to save the life of former Boston Celtics player Reggie Lewis.
Lewis, who was black, collapsed and died during an off-season workout.
Gates' supporters maintain his arrest was a case of racial profiling.
Crowley said he wouldn't do anything different if he had the chance to do things over.
"If a similar call came in tomorrow, I wouldn't shy away from responding and I would do what I have to do."
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald