Saturday, November 20, 2004
Something to think about:
Andrew E. Bush reminds us of this:
First, while the values divide between Europe and America may be growing, it is not because America is growing more religious. Rather, it is because Europe has all but abandoned the religious heritage that has served as the moral foundation of Western Civilization for two millenia. Europeans are free, of course, to take their moral guidance from Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Derrida rather than Moses and St. Paul, but they are not entitled to embrace nihilism and hedonism as their new religion and then accuse Americans of changing.
Second, while the United States has long valued international organizations and still gives them every bit of respect that they earn, most Americans are reluctant to surrender their national sovereignty to those organizations, especially when their freedom and safety is at stake. This, however, is not a new position; it is a position as old as the nation-state. It is Europeans who have embarked on the unprecedented experiment of voluntarily subsuming their national identities to the whims of international bureaucracies.
This point leads inexorably into the third. Americans continue to cling to old verities of natural law and natural rights, not least of which is the supreme demand for government based on the consent of the governed. It is precisely the connection between consent on one hand and accountability and legitimacy on the other that causes Americans to prefer fealty to their Constitution over international organizations. We can hold George Bush (or Tom Daschle) accountable, but how can we hold accountable Kofi Annan or Hans Blix? There is a growing recognition by observers that the European Union has been built at a great cost to democracy; Europeans themselves refer to a "democratic deficit." Many Europeans may be willing to throw overboard one of the most central principles of a free society, but they can hardly complain when Americans prove not so willing.
Altogether, Europeans have effectively removed themselves from Christendom while surrendering their sovereignty and much of the basis of their liberty. It is Europeans who have stopped having children and who have instead opened the floodgates to a potentially decisive fifth column of anti-Western immigrants; Europeans who have adopted the historically novel view that diplomacy with tyrants can succeed in the absence of a credible threat of force. And now it is Europeans who argue that Americans are the ones who have changed. This might be a good time for self-reflection among Europe’s elites, if they can spare a moment from their mourning.
We look at Europe and see a sick society that is not reproducing itself, seems to worship death in the form of easy euthanisia and denying medical care to very ill children and was so wrapped up in oil for food money that it's hard to know what is true. We see a Europe that will weep over a failed statesman who never could outgrow his terrorist roots but who will snub the man working hard to make a new democratic state. Who has changed? Who has embraced the darkness?
How much do we trust this organization?
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said there is clear evidence that UN staff sexually abused refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Allegations of abuse at UN camps surfaced last year, prompting the UN's internal watchdog to launch an inquiry.
After being briefed on its progress, Mr Annan said a small number of civilian and military personnel had committed "shameful" acts of gross misconduct.
He added that those involved must be held accountable.
Two years ago, a UN investigation rejected similar allegations of sexual exploitation of refugees by UN staff in West Africa.
In a statement released in Nairobi, Mr Annan said he had received a "detailed briefing... about the investigations which the UN initiated some time ago into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by both civilian and military peacekeeping personnel in the DRC".
He added: "I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it.
Geert Wilders and His Solution for the Dutch Problem
One of the most popular politicians in the Netherlands said Friday the country's democracy is under threat and called for a five-year halt to non-Western immigration in the wake of the killing of a Dutch filmmaker by a suspected Muslim radical.
"We are a Dutch democratic society. We have our own norms and values," right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders told The Associated Press in an interview. "If you chose radical Islam you can leave, and if you don't leave voluntarily then we will send you away. This is the only message possible."
In his first interview with the foreign media since the slaying of filmmaker Theo van Gogh on Nov. 2, Wilders said his own life has been repeatedly threatened. He said he has begun living under state protection and has even had to stay away from his own home.
Wilders split with the free-market coalition partner Liberal Party two months ago because it backed the candidacy of predominantly Muslim Turkey for the European Union.
He formed his own conservative party, the Wilders Group, which has one seat in the 150-member parliament. But a recent poll suggested his anti-immigrant message was reverberating through the electorate, and he would win 24 seats if elections were held today -- up from 19 seats before Van Gogh's murder.
Wilders said that without swift, bold action, Islamic fundamentalism will topple the country's democratic system.
"The Netherlands has been too tolerant to intolerant people for too long," he said. "We should not import a retarded political Islamic society to our country. There is nothing to be ashamed of to say this. It's not Islam. I speak out against the facts."
In Brussels, Belgium, European Union leaders met Friday to discuss immigration, one of Europe's most pressing and sensitive issues. EU justice and interior ministers agreed to demand that new immigrants learn the language of their adopted countries and adhere to "European values" to guide them toward better integration.
Even as the number of immigrants arriving in Europe falls due to tougher policies, led by a sharp drop in the Netherlands, Wilders said closing the borders isn't enough. Newcomers should be forced to integrate.
"If in a mosque there is recruitment for jihad, it's not a house of prayer, it's a house of war. If it's not a house of prayer, it should be closed down," he said.
Wilders, known for his radical positions and peroxide-blond hair, has been a member of parliament since 1998. He was born and educated in the southern city Venlo, near the German border.
"I'm very tough on radical Islam. I have the toughest ideas on beating this problem and I'm proud of it. I say nothing wrong. I'm no racist, no anti-Islamist," he said.
Wilders and the police took the death threats more seriously following the slaying of Van Gogh, who had produced a television drama critical of how women are treated in some Muslim societies. The filmmaker was shot and stabbed to death, allegedly by a 26-year-old suspected Islamic extremist who holds Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.
The most recent threats were disclosed when two terror suspects, arrested Nov. 10 after a standoff in which several policemen were wounded by a hand grenade, were charged with threatening Wilders and other politicians, their lawyer said.
The latest video threat broadcast on the Internet -- in Dutch, with Arabic music in the background -- condemns Wilders for insulting Islam and offers the reward of paradise for his beheading.
Pandora's Box: The Chirac Agenda?
While the Europeans were congratulating themselves for their feckless diplomacy, the Iranians were taking to the airwaves and arguing that they gave up nothing in the deal and received everything. Hamid Reza Asefi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said the suspension of nuclear activities would last only until Iran and the Europeans reached a long-term agreement. For his part, Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said that enriching uranium is "Iran's right, and Iran will never give up its right to enrich uranium."
Iran's interest in making the deal is clear. The IAEA governing board is set to meet next week to discuss Iran's nuclear program. By agreeing to the deal with the Europeans, Iran has effectively foreclosed the option, favored by the US, of transferring Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council for discussions that could lead to sanctions on Iran.
Aside from that, all along, Iran has been gaming the system. It has pushed to the limits all feasible interpretation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory, to enable it to reach the cusp of nuclear weapons development without breaking its ties or diminishing its leverage over the Europeans as well as the Russians and Chinese. In so doing, it has isolated the US and Israel – which have both gone on record that Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons – from the rest of the international community, which is ready to enable Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capabilities.
In the meantime, as Iran has negotiated the deal with the Europeans, it has moved quickly to develop its nuclear weapons delivery systems. Its recent Shihab-3 ballistic missiles tests seem to have demonstrated that Iran can now launch missiles to as far away as Europe. In addition, last week's launching of an Iranian drone, as well as this week's Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel, have shown that Iran has developed a panoply of delivery options for using its nuclear (as well as chemical and biological) arsenals to physically destroy Israel.
For their part, the European powers must know that this deal is a lie. The ink had not dried on their signatures when Iran announced that it wasn't obligated by the agreement to end its uranium enrichment. As well, on Wednesday, just two days after the deal was announced formally, the Iranian opposition movement, the National Council of Resistance – the political front for the People's Mujahedeen (which the deal stipulates must be treated as a terrorist organization comparable to al-Qaida) – held press conferences in Paris and Vienna where its representatives stated that Iran is continuing to enrich uranium at a Defense Ministry facility in Teheran and that it bought blueprints for nuclear bombs three years ago from Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan's nuclear bomb store. The Council of Resistance is the same organization that blew the whistle on Iran's nuclear program in 2002, when it exposed satellite imagery of Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz.
Aside from this, European leaders themselves have said that in their view there is no military option for taking out Iran's nuclear facilities. In an interview with the BBC this week, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran, full stop." Straw made this statement the same week that French President Jacques Chirac made an all-out diplomatic assault against British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his alliance with US President George W. Bush. Speaking to British reporters on Monday, Chirac said, "Britain gave its support [to the US in Iraq] but I did not see much in return. I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors." Chirac added that he had told Blair that his friendship with Bush could be of use if the US adopted the EU position on Israel and the Palestinians. Since Bush has refused to do so, Chirac argued, Bush has played Blair for a fool.
From these statements, two things about the European agenda become clear. First, by bringing Britain into the talks with Iran, the French have managed to ensure that the Americans, if they decide to do something about Iran's nuclear weapons programs, will be forced to act without British backing and at the expense of the British government, thus causing a serious fissure in the Anglo-American alliance. Straw's statement is breathtaking in that it shows that on the issue of Iranian nuclear weapons, the British prefer to see Iran gain nuclear weapons to having anyone act to prevent them from doing so.
Chirac's statement exposes, once again, France's main interest in international affairs today. To wit: France wishes only to box in the US to the point that the Americans will not be able to continue to fight the war against terrorism. The French do this not because they necessarily like terrorists. They do this because as Chirac has said many times, he views the central challenge of our time as developing a "multipolar" world. France's obsession with multipolarity stems from Chirac's perception that his country's primary aim is not to free the world from Islamic terror, but to weaken the US.
Source: Carolyn B. Glick via Townhall
Friday, November 19, 2004
From the Biting the Hand department:
Federal counter-terrorism agents swept down on homes and businesses in Seattle yesterday, conducting searches and charging 13 men with gun, immigration and bank-fraud violations.... None of the men targeted in the raids is accused under terrorism statutes. However, the federal charges unsealed yesterday allege the ringleader of the bank-fraud case told a paid FBI informant that his "whole Muslim crew" was involved in stealing money because "you can't go to war broke."
According to the complaint, the purported ringleader, a drug felon named Karim Abdullah Assalaam, told an acquaintance that the money obtained through the fraud "goes to help our Muslim brothers and sisters. ... It goes to the cause, not like it goes to me and you."
However, the complaint alleges that his half-brother, Attawwaab Muhammad Fard, who is also charged, used some of the money to buy a used Lexus. "There was a lot of jihad talk," said one highly placed federal law-enforcement official familiar with the case. "But most of the money went into their pockets."...
Several gun-related cases also sprang from the investigation. Assalaam and four other men were charged as felons possessing firearms, including several handguns, two shotguns and an AK-47 assault rifle.
In one instance, federal agents had reported "unusual activity" at a shooting range in Renton involving one of the men apparently teaching a group of individuals how to shoot.
In a related case in King County Superior Court, prosecutors in October filed assault and extortion charges against some individuals associated with an Islamic religious school run out of a South Seattle barbershop. The school was "training children ... in Anti American rhetoric," and "how to shoot and fight the Americans," according to court documents.
The owner of a restaurant downstairs from the Crescent Cuts barbershop on Rainier Avenue South told police that he had been asked to participate in the bank-fraud scheme. When he refused, he said, he was assaulted by a group of individuals and beaten with a meat tenderizer.
He described the school in court documents as "an anti-American training ground for Muslims."
Interesting how to use US resources to raise kids to attack US people...
A GOP Senatorial Change in Tactics...
The Republican Conference changed its rules yesterday to give Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) new powers to ensure party discipline.
A coalition of loyalist and new senators managed unexpectedly to push through the more sweeping version of the proposed changes, defeating a watered-down proposal.
The stronger one, which passed on a 27-26 secret-ballot vote, allows Frist to fill half of all vacancies on “A” committees as he chooses. The other half would be made by seniority, the traditional way Republicans award committee slots.
“It certainly leaves the option open for significant changes in the way we do business around here,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an opponent of the idea.
Critics warned that Frist could use his new powers to punish those who challenge party orthodoxy and reward those to toe the leadership line. Asked how he would employ his new powers, Frist told The Hill, “Sensibly, reasonably, responsibly.” He said he looked forward to “maximizing the strength of each U.S. Senate member.”
But Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a maverick who has criticized White House strategy, said, “I’m one who believes we must always be careful of centralization of power in any institution. We have to be careful with this. It has some unintended consequences.”
Most senators expressed optimism that Frist would wield the new authority wisely.
“See how it works,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Change is good,” he added.
Opponents of the idea mostly rallied around a weaker version, sponsored by conference Chairman Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), which would grant the leader the ability to appoint two slots on each “A” committee as they became available.
One GOP aide said the stronger version prevailed partly because of support from a newly elected crop of seven GOP senators, who stand to gain from it. Since there were two mutually exclusive proposals on the table, “there was no middle ground,” the aide said.
Shared Values, Morality and Culture
UTRECHT, The Netherlands, November 18, 2004 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Adrianis Simonis of Utrecht believes that the "spiritual vacuity" of Dutch society has left the Netherlands open to an Islamic cultural takeover.
"Today we have discovered that we are disarmed in the face of the Islamic danger," the cardinal told the Italian daily Avvenir. He pointed out that even some young people who were born and raised in the Netherlands have become militant Muslims. The rise of Islam, Cardinal Simonis said, is related to "the spectacle of extreme moral decadence and spiritual decline that we offer" to young people.
"Nowadays political leaders ask whether the Muslims will accept our values," the Dutch cardinal observed. "I ask, 'What values are those? Gay marriage? Euthanasia?'"
If those are the reigning moral principles on which today's society is built, Cardinal Simonis continued, he rejects them as emphatically as Islamic leaders.
The cardinal said that he did not intend to take an extreme position, insisting "fundamentalism is always a problem." But on the other hand, he said, a society must be based on a common understanding of public order and morality. "It isn't enough to learn our language," he said.
The problem for the Netherlands, the cardinal continued, is a "lack of identity." The time is long past, he observed, when Christians "would fight and die for their faith." Today Islamic radicals are prepared to fight, as was evident earlier this month when the noted screenwriter Theo van Gogh was assassinated by Muslim zealots. Cardinal Simonis added that he still holds out "hope that these tragic facts will force us to recover our identity."
Commenting on the Dutch tradition of tolerance, Cardinal Simonis observed that the notion of "tolerance" as it is understood there today is a recent development. "For three centuries, Catholics were barred from public office," he noted. The current penchant for "tolerance," he said, "came later, after a common loss of faith-- roughly 40 years ago."
Today Dutch society is known for its permissive attitude toward social issues, with laws that allow euthanasia, same-sex marriage, widespread use of recreational drugs, prostitution, and adoption by homosexual couples.
If the Dutch want to hold together as a people they have some hard ground to cover. Time will tell if it's too late.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Another Moroccan Connection, biting the hand that feeds them....
AMSTERDAM: A translator at the Dutch AIVD intelligence service [Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst] is suspected of leaking information to two groups of Muslim militants including one allegedly linked to the killing of a filmmaker, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The authorities arrested a 34-year-old AIVD employee on September 30 on suspicion of betraying state secrets. They held three others on suspicion of distributing the information but they were released last week due to a lack of evidence.
A prosecution spokesman said the main suspect, an interpreter and translator at the AIVD who is now in custody, was suspected of tipping off a group in Utrecht suspected of possessing explosives, possibly for an attack.
The man, identified by the Dutch Volkskrant daily as a Moroccan named Othman Ben A, is also suspected of leaking information to an Amsterdam-based group of Muslim militants linked with the November 2 killing of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.
The murder of Van Gogh, who enraged some Muslims with a film criticising Islam, sparked a surge of sectarian violence, including arson attacks on mosques, churches and religious schools.
Volkskrant said the AIVD employee founded a lobby organisation that worked to counter negative portrayals of Muslims in the media since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The prosecution spokesman declined to comment on the man’s identity.
Dutch authorities are holding seven men in connection with Van Gogh’s murder, including chief suspect Mohammed B, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan. In Spain on Tuesday, a judge accused a Moroccan prison inmate of membership of an Islamic militant group to which Mohammed B allegedly belonged. Dutch media reported the Netherlands handed over an Algerian man with Spanish residence to Spanish authorities last week on suspicion he posed a threat to national security.
The Justice Ministry was not immediately available to comment on the reports, which said the man was among a group of suspects acquitted by a Dutch court in 2003 of allegedly helping to recruit fighters for “holy war”. The case was based on intelligence reports whose credibility could not be verified.
So many of the violence in the Netherlands, the real problem sources have a Moroccan connection. Idly wondering how long the Netherlands is going to sit on their hands.
A letter from a marine
This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does.
This is one most don't hear:
A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives.
The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag.
But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares.
This is the story everyone hears:
A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face.
The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"
The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing.
Think about it. If you were the soldier, if you were the officer writing rules of engagement, if you were trying to tell the true story, and not just have an agenda to be against the war (which the reporter in question reportedly does based on comments I have run across), how would you do it?
As the 15-strong Security Council meets in special session in Nairobi today to debate Sudan, the crisis in Darfur is worse than on 30 July when the first resolution was approved by 13 votes to nil. Every five minutes, another person dies.
UN staff say the Khartoum government’s armed forces have continued to attack their own people. Refugees have been beaten while UN workers stand by helplessly. Women and children have been gunned down in Darfur’s marketplaces. The world’s worst current humanitarian crisis is getting worse.
The death toll has been notoriously difficult to tally, thanks, in large part, to the obstructiveness of the Sudanese government. A figure of 70,000 deaths has been mooted, but aid workers say that simply accounts for deaths as a result of military action. Yesterday, the British aid agency Save the Children took the plunge: its spokesman, Paul Hetherington, estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 people had died since the start of the Darfur conflict.
According to the UN’s World Food Programme, about 10,000 people are dying every month.
Source: The Scotsman
Watch your six...
The judge advocate general heading the investigation, Lt. Col. Bob Miller, told NBC News that depending on the evidence, it could be reasonable to conclude the Marine was acting in self-defense.
"The policy of the rules of engagement authorize the Marines to use force when presented with a hostile act or hostile intent," Miller said. "So they would have to be using force in self-defense, yes."
"Any wounded -- in this case insurgents -- who don't pose a threat would not be considered hostile," said Miller.
Charles Heyman, a senior defense analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in Britain, defended the Marine's actions, saying it was possible the wounded man was concealing a firearm or grenade.
"You can hear the tension in those Marines' voices. One is showing, 'He's faking it. He's faking it,'" Heyman said. "In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely wounded."
If the injured man makes even the slightest move, "in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him."
While we're at who's guilty of breaking international conventions of treating people, there is this.
Things the "insurgents"did:
Mutilated bodies dumped on Fallujah's bombed out streets today painted a harrowing picture of eight months of rebel rule.
As US and Iraqi troops mopped up the last vestiges of resistance in the city after a week of bombardment and fighting, residents who stayed on through last week's offensive were emerging and telling harrowing tales of the brutality they endured.
Flyposters still litter the walls bearing all manner of decrees from insurgent commanders, to be heeded on pain of death. Amid the rubble of the main shopping street, one decree bearing the insurgents' insignia - two Kalashnikovs propped together - and dated November 1 gives vendors three days to remove nine market stalls from outside the city's library or face execution.
The pretext given is that the rebels wanted to convert the building into a headquarters for the "Mujahidin Advisory Council" through which they ran the city.
Another poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.
Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.
Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.
You may call these type of actions the actions of freedom fighters, insurgents, with images of the American Revolution in the back of the mind, but to me, they are just the most recent in a long like of those who belong to Terror. From the Terror of the French revolution, through the horrors of Pol Pot, through the bloodletting in Rwanda to the rape in Sudan to Iraq today. No excuses.
Remember Oscar Wilde
If he does do this, he will probably finally have to release his military records, and it will rehash a whole lot of what made some of those who voted against him because of his activity with the Vietnam anti-war movement.
I can only recommend that he review what happened to Oscar Wilde when Wilde sued for liable...sometimes you reveal enough of yourself that the results are worse than the initial problem....
Geneva Convention Conventions
The rules of war, the Geneva Convention, do not protect soldiers who are not wearing their own country's uniforms. To get the protection of rules, you have to play by the rules.
Terrorists are not enemy soldiers covered by the rules of war. Nor should they be. They observe no rules.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations can all talk about "the Geneva Convention." But that agreement on the rules of war has never applied to combatants not wearing the uniform of any country that is a party to the Geneva Convention.
Terrorists wear no uniform and show no mercy, as they have repeatedly demonstrated by beheading innocent civilians, including women.
So when one soldier kills another terrorist fighter who later turns out to be unarmed, although there was no way to be sure of that until the body was searched, why does the American press treat him like a war criminal?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
A Quagmire of their own.
Backing the rebels.
The Ivory Coast reopened the nation's civil war Nov. 4 with airstrikes on the rebel-held north. Two days later, Ivory Coast warplanes bombed a French peacekeeping post, killing nine French troops and an American aid worker and plunging the world's top cocoa producer into its current unprecedented crisis.
France then blew up Ivory Coast's air force on the tarmac.
As a result, the backers of the government in power went on a rampage, attacking many Europeans.
Several dozen white women have been raped in the Ivory Coast over the past week as pro-government gangs plundered the homes and businesses of Europeans, although an uneasy calm has settled over the capital, Abidjan.
The men from the Young Patriots movement loyal to the Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo had attacked the women in retaliation for what they felt to be unjust French interference in their country's internal affairs, the French military said. General Henri Poncet said in Ivory Coast: "There have been rapes. There were... tragedies for a certain number of women."
The rioters in Abidjan had been joined by 4 000 convicts from the country's most secure prison who had escaped through the sewers.
Herve Ladsous, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Paris, said a French prosecutor is compiling a list of crimes against French nationals. At least 10 women, one in her 60s, have filed charges of rape. Two French women and one other European national who are known to have been raped have already been evacuated.
Catherine Rechenmann, head of a French citizens' organisation in Ivory Coast, said: "When people start attacking women, when they are raped, it's over, the barriers have been breached. We have been stabbed in the back. People are fleeing and I tell others they must leave too."
The UN response? Sanctions.
The resolution gives the government and rebels a month to get the peace process back on track or face a travel ban and an asset freeze against those blocking peace and violating human rights.
Also included in the ban is the incitement of public hatred or violence - a reference to hate messages on television and radio that have been whipping up anti-French anger.
France has also airlifted many people out.
Will this make any more difference in regional stability than the situation in Darfur? Or is France getting involved with a situation that will be more involved than they like?
Hat tip to Aldaynet
They Try to Ignore it, But....
Women who undergo abortions suffer serious psychological problems more frequently than was previously thought, according to a new study.
Published yesterday in the Medical Science Monitor, the study surveyed 331 Russian women and 217 American women who had undergone one or more induced abortions, but who hadn't experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Among the study's major findings were:
- Of American women, 53.9 percent felt badly after their abortion while only 13.8 percent felt relief.
- Some 36.4 percent of the American women had suicidal thoughts and 26.7 percent increased their use of alcohol or drugs.
- Only 10.8 percent of the American women surveyed said they received adequate counseling before the abortion. Fully 84 percent did not receive adequate counseling and 5.2 percent were unsure.
- Over 42 percent of American women reported being sexually or physically abused before age 18 compared to only 11.4 percent of Russian women.
- About 50 percent of all the women surveyed felt that their abortion had been morally wrong.
- Some 79.2 percent of the American women had never been counseled on alternatives to abortion.
- Over 54 percent of American women were not sure about their decision to abort their pregnancy.
"This is the first published study to compare reactions to abortion among women in two different countries," said Dr. Vincent Rue, lead author of the study and co-director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss. "It is also the first to provide a detailed breakdown of traumatic symptoms which the subjects themselves attribute to their abortions. These results will help mental health workers to be better prepared to recognize and treat the psychological complications of abortion."
David C. Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute, was one of four authors of the study. The Elliot Institute has previously conducted numerous studies on the effects of abortion on women.Increasing concerns over the psychological damage to women who have undergone an abortion prompted Rep. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa., to introduce the "Post-Abortion Depression Research and Care Act," H. R. 4543, in June. The stated purpose of the proposed law is "to provide for research on, and services for individuals with, post-abortion depression and psychosis." In pursuit of this goal, the bill proposes a congressional appropriation of "$300,000 for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009."
In some circles, if you try to even begin to discuss that there is something like post-abortion depression, they will shut you down, deny your research, and try to discredit you. But it isn't helping the many women who are suffering. when you taint reality with politics.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
What we are fighting against
It gets so easy to abstract it all, to see this as just another Delta Force movie, an action adventure film where our good guys will go in and save the day.
But this is not a Hollywood job. Bruce Willis nor Schwartzenager nor Rambo will be coming to save the day. This is a place where real people are butcherd. Real people have their eyes put out under Taliban style Sharia law, their hands removed, their daughters raped. Real people are kidnapped, tortured, executed.
Sometimes, there is a moment that drives this home. Today for me, was seeing a picture of Margaret Hassan, not too pretty, aging, but pleasant. She did good work. She tried to be a help. I wept for her.
Then I ran across this piece:
The video was of a Russian soldier getting his head sawed off in Chechnya. I mentioned in the script that it took a minute. The bureau chief here asked me to time it out. In fact it took two minutes, five seconds. This detail made it worse. I changed the script. I could not use the video, but I could use the audio. I would use pictures of young French Muslims watching the tape. They were being recruited to fight against U.S. forces in Iraq.
The bureau chief asked about the audio — if it was a cry, as I had written in the script. I told him it was not a cry. It was a scream that turned into a gurgle when the blood got in his windpipe. A woman in the office made a sound.
I worked on the edit in my hotel room on a laptop computer in the afternoon. It was still sunny out. On the screen a young Russian soldier was being killed. To take the audio I had to see the video. I set an in-point on the edit where he began his scream, then set another point to lower the audio so you could hear the reporter's track.I had to do this several times to get it right. At one point I covered most of my eyes with my left hand and hit the edit button with my right hand. I could see just a little piece of the screen and out loud I found myself saying, "Oh God I'm so sorry."
by Steve Harrigan.
My heart breaks. What sort of world are we creating? Western culture that wallows in artificial death and evil and sexual perversion in the movies and TV, and abortion and euthanasia, and attempts to destroy all that is good and considered holy because it interfers with play and hides from the reality that your relativism creates, and a Moslem way that perverts the good of Islam and which is wallowing in death and letting the youth drink in snuff pics, and chosing the dark and repudiating the good to get back at a world that gave them a sense of inferiority, or threatens their sense of control or something.
Are these the two choices you are giving me? Flip sides of the same coin. I repudiate them both. A pox on both your heads.
Evil done in the name of God - updated
I am not sure yet if that was her body, but there is a video going around that purports to be her execution.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The husband of British-Iraqi aid worker Margaret Hassan said on Tuesday a video tape had been discovered which appeared to show her murder by hostage-takers.
"I have been told that there is a video of Margaret which appears to show her murder. The video may be genuine but I do not know," Tahsin Hassan told Reuters in Baghdad.
"I want to know if she is alive or dead. If she's dead I want to know where she is so I can bury her in peace."
Dublin-born Margaret Hassan, who has joint British and Iraqi nationality and had lived in Baghdad for some 30 years, was seized on Oct. 19 while on her way to work at Care International, the charity where she was country director.
Hassan had appeared in video tapes released by her unknown captors calling on the British government to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Killing women is supposed to be against the Koranic teachings, although in this day and age those bent on destruction and hate can find someone to give them a fatwah to excuse whatever barbarity. Moverover, she had been living in the country a long time, working to do good.
That wasn't good enough for her slayers. She had symbolic value, and like people like Ted Bundy, they worked out their fantasy of destruction on this poor woman.
This is what we are fighting against. It's not that we are there. It's that we represent another way of life, one they want to destroy. And they will justify doing whatever they want to do to try to get their way.
Eternal rest grant her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her, this poor woman who was a martyr to trying to do good in a land aching for release. Amen.
From the Captain's Quarters
Kidnaping civilians as hostages paints a cowardly enough picture of Islamist lunatics, and carving their heads off for the camera makes them look almost infantile in their perversity. Putting a bullet into a woman's hooded head is so cowardly that it takes one's breath away. Together with the discovery of the Polish woman's mutilated and disemboweled corpse yesterday and it's difficult to conclude anything except that those responsible have to be tracked down and killed at all costs.
These are not freedom fighters or Minutemen, as Michael Moore notoriously proclaimed them earlier; these aren't even animals, as animals kill to eat or defend themselves. I can only describe them as ghouls, living demons who live to smell the blood of others in what appears to be some pseudosexual release. They live without a shred of honor or dignity, and like any other psychopath, only derive pleasure from the torture of others.
We can never take the pressure off of these "people." No matter what we do, they will never stop killing, and if we're not careful they'll come here for their next victims. Only when we have stamped the last of these sick bastards into the next world will we have any security in this one.
Ah the fruits of relativism....
The president of a major Western power orders troops sent to a crisis-torn country on another continent. Officials close to the president talk of the need for “regime change” and “democracy” and ramp up a military response to the unrest under the cover of a United Nations resolution.
Mobs take to the streets of the crisis country as the Western troops seek to impose order. The military reports that European women have been raped, and local thugs have beheaded foreigners with machetes. The troops rescue frightened whites as the mobs bay for Western blood. Chaos reigns, and back in the Western capital, the public begins to demand what their soldiers are doing in that far-off country.
The troops are French, the country is the former French colony of the Ivory Coast and this is what some observers are now calling French President Jacque Chirac’s “little Iraq.”
Indeed, a letter from a resident of the Paris region to the editor of the French daily “Le Figaro” says, “France is doing in the Ivory Coast what we reproach the Americans for doing.” It is, the writer says “none other than the unilateralism which we denounce (in Iraq), but of course France loves to give lectures to others.”
And why is this happening?
This was a former French colony, and an area that France still considers, in some strange way, hers. If the official government won't do as the French would have it, why back up the rebels.
And this is the cultural light some are saying we should emulate?
Like Walking on Quicksand?
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian security chiefs yesterday ordered a clampdown on weaponry carried by armed groups throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, after a clash in Gaza City killed two bodyguards of the new Palestine Liberation Organization chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.
They also warned that they will ruthlessly suppress any outbreaks of violence.
The Palestinian Security Committee, grouping various security agencies and led by Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, said it wanted to ban weapons from being carried in public places and would begin to register all arms held by militants and members of the public, said Sayeb Elajez, head of the police.
The move also was discussed by Mr. Abbas at a special meeting in Gaza City with the heads of 12 Palestinian factions, many of whom retain their own official and unofficial militias.
However, the security agencies set one significant condition before they would go ahead with the crackdown. They demanded that Israel give assurances that it would not target any of the militias.
In effect, that would require Israel to halt its campaign to eliminate key militants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Fatah faction's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Such assurances are being sought through the mediation of European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, one source said.
Biting the Hand....
There is some feeling that they too hold a viper to their bosom.
"These Germans, these atheists, these Europeans don't shave under their arms and their sweat collects under their hair with a revolting smell and they stink," said the preacher at the Mevlana Mosque in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, in the film made by Germany's ZDF public TV, adding: "Hell lives for the infidels! Down with all democracies and all democrats!"
This was from a film secretly made last week in a Berlin moaque. As the troubles flair in the Netherlands, Germans are asking will the troubles come to them? Although there hasn't been a high profile incident yet, there are growing clashes against Jews by Islamic youth taking place.
Germany's tough-minded interior minister, Otto Schily, spoke at the weekend of "a danger" to the country despite successes in integrating the majority of immigrants.
Schily drew headlines earlier this year with a harsh warning to Islamic fundamentalists: "If you love death so much, then it can be yours."
Things in Germany, though, are not the same as in the Netherlands. Most of the Islamists are Turkish, and Germany makes much greater effort into assimilating their immigrants than the Netherlands was doing. Even so,
Germany's "Verfassungschutz" - the domestic intelligence service - estimates there are 31,000 radical Islamists living in Germany of whom several thousands are prepared to use violence.
The biggest group is a Turkish movement named "Milli Goerues" with 26,500 members, which fights against integration of Turks into German society.
In a court case which set security establishment alarm bells ringing, a judge ruled last week week that Milli Goerues membership did not justify a German airport's bid to ban an employee from working within its security zone.
The number of reported crimes carried out by foreign extremists in Germany almost tripled last year compared with 2002, warns the Verfassungsschutz.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Another reminder about what we are fighting, and why...
The AFP ran with this story yesterday out of Fallujah. The AP carried a cleaned up version of the same story, but without the details of mutilation:
The body of a blonde-haired woman with her legs and arms cut off and throat slit was found Sunday lying on a street in Fallujah, a notorious Iraqi enclave for hostage-takers, marines said.
"It is definitely a Caucasian woman with long blonde hair," said a military official, who cut open a cover that had been over the corpse.
The gruesome discovery was made as the marines moved through the south of Fallujah, hunting out the remaining rebels after a week of fierce fighting to regain control of the city.
"It is a female ... missing all four appendages, with a slashed throat and disemboweled, she has been dead for a while but only in this location for a day or two," said Benjamin Finnell, a hospital apprentice with the Navy Corps, who had inspected the body.
An AFP photographer embedded with the marines noted that the woman was wearing a blue dress and her face was completely disfigured.
The marines said she appeared to have been on the street for about two days.
Perhaps those who have been screaming about how Bush is going to turn the clock backwards on women's rights should think about the type of people we really are fighting. This particular brand of Islam, which sees cutting innocent men's throats as a recruitment tool, see no bad thing about marrying young teen girls, beating women for making too much noise, or using rape as a way to punish a woman's brother, and we see what they can do beyond that as well.
Hat tip to Backcountry Conservative
The Scott Peterson Effect
y Joe Mariani
November 15, 2004
The verdict is in. Scott Peterson, a fertilizer salesman and part-time philanderer from California, killed his wife, (web site) who was eight months pregnant. He tied her body to an anchor made of concrete and dumped it in San Francisco Bay, covering his actions with a story about a fishing trip for which he didn't even have the proper equipment. (web site) Despite the twistings and turnings of attorney Mark Geragos (who first gained media attention with his defense of Susan McDougal (web site) during the Clinton Whitewater scandal), (web site) the jury convicted Peterson of murder.
Why is this significant? Murders happen every day. Peterson was convicted not of one crime, but two. He was convicted of murder in the first degree (premeditated) of his wife, Laci. He was also convicted of murder in the second degree (intentional) of his son, Conner. It turns out that this may be very significant, after all.
- Conner was not yet born.
- You can only murder a human being.
- Conner was murdered, therefore he was a human being.
- A human being has rights.
- Therefore, an unborn child is a human being with rights that should be protected.
I don't look at abortion from a religious standpoint. I've never seen a soul, and -- chances are -- neither have you. I have, however, seen the faces of the unborn (web site) as they smile, cry and play, thanks to the "miracle" of modern technology. (web site) The main Liberal argument seems to be that it's just a lump of "fetal tissue" right up until that magical moment when it breathes air and is transformed into a child. Not even the most fanatical Liberal will claim that it's not alive before that, just that it's not human life. Well, I was once a lump of tissue just like that. So were you. The DNA of an unborn child is fully human DNA. No one has yet documented any important changes that take place exactly at birth, except that suddenly the child's lungs are filled with air. And that's a pretty poor definition of humanity.
What defines us as human, if not our genetic code? At the moment of conception, a totally unique human genetic identity is created, one that has never existed before and will never exist again. There is no sudden, magical change detectable in the DNA between the moment of conception and the moment of birth. Therefore, a baby is a human life from the moment it's conceived until the moment it dies. And if it's human, it has to have some rights. One of those rights ought to be "not dying for someone else's convenience."According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, (web site) "49% of the 6.3 million pregnancies that occur each year are unplanned; 47% of these occur among the 7% of women at risk of unintended pregnancy who do not practice contraception." The three main reasons for choosing abortion are that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities (75%), the women cannot afford a child (66%) and they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner (50%). Overlapping reasons aside, three quarters of abortions are performed for reasons of convenience?
Of all the reasons to end another's life, convenience has got to rank right up there as one of the not acceptable. It wasn't acceptable for Scott Peterson to kill Laci for the convenience of ending his family ties, and the court also ruled that even his unborn son had that much protection. We will see where it takes us in law...but it sets a good precident.
Trouble at the CIA
Arizona Sen. John McCain yesterday slammed the CIA as a quasi "rogue agency" that bungled prewar intelligence and is in desperate need of the high-level purging believed to be under way.
"The status quo is not satisfactory," McCain said, lauding the shakeup sought by new CIA boss Porter Goss as "on the right track."
The White House is said to have instructed Goss to push out officers thought to have been disloyal to President Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media.
John McLaughlin, who took temporary command of the CIA during a tumultuous three-month period prior to Goss' recent appointment amid a wave of criticism of the spy agency, is retiring amid internal conflicts.
"This is a dysfunctional agency and in some ways a rogue agency," McCain told ABC's "This Week."
"This is the agency that . . . when [the president] asked for information about weapons of mass destruction, said, 'It's a slam dunk.' "
McCain accused some in the CIA of working to undermine President Bush, prior to the election.
He also blasted the CIA for failing to gather intelligence on North Korea and Iran, claiming that the U.S. knows little more about those two countries that it did ten years ago.
Several blogs are covering this story:
I had been a bit alarmed about the apparent purge underway at the CIA and its potential effect on agency morale during a time of war, but McCain's criticism and acknowledgement of the need for a broad purge of disloyal and ineffective CIA officials gives the whole effort a lot more credibility with me.
Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush notes:
In my view, this is long overdue. After eight years of Clinton in charge of hiring and firing, the CIA (as well as the rest of the Executive Branch) got a heavy dose of liberals, leftists and others who's mindsets are still entirely frozen in the Cold War - incapable of thinking anew and acting anew in the post-9/11 world. Out of frustration with policies they don't agree with, they have been a thorn in the side of the President in fighting the war - they have forgotten that policy is set by the President and his appointees, not by career bureaucrats. The career government employees are merely to carry out policy, and resign if they really believe the policies being pursued are incorrect.The CIA has had problems as an agency in the past, and it will be interesting to see if it's possible for Goss to turn the tide.
The Dutch Discover Why Tolerance Cannot Be One Sided
The right-of-center government has been blamed for trying to sweep the threat of Islamofascism under the carpet in the name of "tolerance." The Dutch are now asking why the burden of tolerance is always on them, rather than the immigrant population. Why, for example, were immigrants not required to learn to speak Dutch? Why were their children educated in the language of their parents rather than the language of their host country? Why were Dutch taxpayers paying the salaries of imams? These hyper-tolerant attitudes have allowed a parallel population, which owed no allegiance to Holland, to thrive and fester.
The government has had to admit that the murderer had been under surveillance as a possible terrorist and that they didn’t act to restrain him soon enough.
But I wrote in FPM last week that the Dutch government has had a Sleeping Beauty moment, awakened by a venomous kiss, and this gruesome and repellent murder has ramped up anti-terrorism activities and adjustments to social programs. Already they have announced that holders of dual nationality who are found guilty of a crime will have the Dutch half of their nationality revoked.
An opinion poll has shown that 40 percent of the Dutch no longer consider Muslims welcome in their country and 47 percent said they are now less tolerant of Muslims. A woman at van Gogh’s funeral was quoted as saying, "Under the Nazis, you were killed if you spoke out. Now it is happening again." To emphasize that if the Dutch are accused of "intolerance" if they speak out against the Islamification of their country yet the intolerance is all on the Islamic side, at the funeral a sarcastic letter addressed to the murderer was read out promising "we will do our very best to learn more about your beliefs to prevent further ‘misunderstandings’" and apologizing that the murderer had been provoked to kill "during Ramadan."
Although the security services declined to say whether it was related to the murder, two days later, Dutch police fought in a 14-hour shootout at a house in The Hague in which four officers were injured when a terrorist lobbed a hand grenade from a window. It was the biggest anti-terrorist operation since the 1970s, and police evacuated the entire neighborhood. Two suspected terrorists have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
At the same time, police said four people were detained in Amsterdam and one in Amersfoort as part of the same investigation into a network of radical Muslims. Six suspects, including van Gogh’s murderer, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouyeri, who was part of the group, have been arrested. The evidence would seem to suggest that Bouyeri got his orders to murder van Gogh from a terrorist cell in Spain.
Apparently, Samir Azzouz was a frequent visitor to Bouyeri’s apartment. A teenager who didn’t lack for ambition, Azzouz has been charged with planning attacks on a nuclear reactor, Amsterdam’s giant Schiphol Airport, and Dutch government buildings.
Last Thursday, in an emergency debate, the government agreed on new proposals to deal with Muslim extremism, adopting a wide-ranging package of new counter-terrorism measures. The size and mandate of the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) will be expanded, and measures will be taken against radical imams and mosques. Begging the question of course, of why action against radical imams and mosques was not taken years ago. What is this curious somnolence in so many European countries towards Muslim immigrants?
At the same time there is a stated intention to do more to assimilate the disaffected, the assumption being that the process of assimilation is somehow the duty of the host country rather than that of the people who got off a plane – or the back of a truck – with their suitcases and backpacks.
The large circulation Dutch newspapers TROUW, The Telegraaf, and Volkskrant seem to be broadly in agreement and supportive of the government, although TROUW reports that Prime Minister Balkender has been criticized for not having had enough discussions with disaffected Muslims.
Radio Nederlands says: "A conclusion which is warranted…is that for many years the Dutch political world has been naïve: naive in its approach to the encroaching radicalization of young Dutch Muslims; naive as regards the increasing social and other divisions in the underprivileged neighborhoods of the country's main towns and cities; naive in its response to the growing presence of Islamic terrorist cells on Dutch soil inside the country; and naïve once again even in the face of a string of warnings on that very subject from the intelligence and security service."
The Dutch had assumed that the whole world respected their tolerance. And indeed, the whole civilized world does so.
Now the Dutch parliament’s Speaker, Josiah van Arisen, warns: "Jihad has come to the Netherlands."
In the last week, the Netherlands has begun to demonstrate it is prepared to fight back.