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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky
















Tuesday, 25 November 2014
A Determined Mother Gets Her Revenge On The Afghan Taliban
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The story, which has appeared as well in the Western press (e.g., in Corriere della Sera), can be found here.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 8:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Islamic State And Its Training Camps
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Posted on 11/25/2014 3:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Listen to 1330amWEBY Middle East Roundtable Today at 6:00PM EST on Turkey “Bordering on Terrorism”
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Listen to the latest in a series of international discussions on developments in the Middle East on 1330AMWEBY, Pensacola, Florida. This is the latest program in the periodic round table discussions led by “Your Turn” host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks.  

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer

Our guest will be Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Dr. Schanzer is the author of a number of books including, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State.  He is the co-author with Merve Tahiroglu of a FDD Center for Sanctions and Illicit Finance research monograph, "Bordering on Terrorism: Turkey's Syria Policy and the Rise of the Islamic State”.

The WEBY program will air Tuesday November 25, 2014 during the 5 to 6:00PM CST (6:00 to 7:00PM EST) segment. You may listen live here.

 Among the topics to be discussed:

  1.  Failure of the P5+1 negotiation with Iran over its nuclear program to achieve a final agreement.  
  2. Bi- partisan support in US Congress for stronger sanctions against Iran despite objections by the Administration.
  3. Erdogan’s Turkey emerges as a NATO member with state sponsor of terrorism given its porous border allowing passage of ISIS recruits, providing Hamas a base for launching attacks against Israel, facilitating financing and oil sales for the Islamic State while curtailing support for Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS.
  4. The row between Israel and Jordan over the Temple Mount riots and violence in Jerusalem led to meetings in Amman with Secretary of State Kerry, King Abdullah and Israeli PM Netanyahu.
  5. PA President Abbas’ manipulation of the Arab nationalist riots in Jerusalem furthers his legacy, seeking recognition of a Palestinian State as the 194th Country in the UN.
  6. The emerging partnership of convenience between Egypt and Israel with the former destroying hundreds of smuggling tunnels between Rafah and Gaza isolating Hamas from its Salafist ISIS allies in the Sinai.
  7. The significance of Secretary of Defense Hagel’s ‘resignation’ under pressure by the Administration.

An article based on this broadcast will appear in the December 2014 edition of the New English Review.

 

 

 

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Posted on 11/25/2014 12:17 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
On Twitter, ISIS Supporters Call To Use Ferguson Protests As Cover For Lone-Wolf Attacks
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MEMRI:

In light of the protests in Ferguson, MO, in Ferguson itself and throughout the U.S., a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) social media group has called upon ISIS supporters in the U.S. to use the protests as a cover to carry out lone-wolf attacks. Al-Nusra Al-Maqdisiyya, a prominent group of pro-ISIS activists on social media, wrote on its Twitter account:  "O lone mujahid, you must use the breakdown of security in #Ferguson to increase the burning in America. They are squabbling over worldly [matters], so you send them to hell! #ISIS". Another tweet read: "O supporters of the Islamic State in America, what is happening in #Ferguson is a valuable opportunity that will not return. Rise up and engage them with themselves, away from the mujahideen. Spill their blood in the roads and in the neighborhoods." The group likewise urged ISIS supporters to distribute ISIS videos, especially ones in English, on the trending Twitter hashtags related to the events in Ferguson.

ISIS members and pro-ISIS supporters online are also spreading inciting tweets in reaction to the protests. Following are examples:

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Source: @bakoon7, November 25, 2014.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 12:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Two Female Suicide Bombers Murder 30-50 in Northern Nigeria
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VOA:

More than 30 people are dead after two female suicide bombers attacked a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

The bombers targeted the crowded market Tuesday. Witnesses said the first bomber set off her explosives, killing at least three people, and as people gathered at the blast site, the second bomb exploded.

A reporter for VOA in Maiduguri, Abdulkareem Haruna, reports 37 people were killed with many others wounded.

The French news agency (AFP) puts the death toll at more than 45.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion will likely fall on militant group Boko Haram.

The group is blamed for scores of deadly bombings and other attacks over the past five years, and has made increasing use of female suicide bombers.

Boko Haram is strongly suspected in two other brutal attacks over the past week that killed nearly 100 people.  

The group has taken over territory in Borno and neighboring Adamawa state for what it calls a caliphate to be ruled under Islamic law.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 12:29 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
London university bans preacher who calls homosexuality a 'filthy' disease
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From the London Evening Standard

Imran ibn Mansur, 24, also known as the self-styled Dawah Man who helps people be spiritual “superheroes”, was today banned from appearing at the University of East London. The university also banned this week’s event, advertised on Facebook by its Islamic Society, over fears — denied by organisers — that gender segregation could be enforced, after “brothers” and “sisters” were given separate contact points for tickets. It comes six months after another Islamic Society event was banned after being advertised as a “segregated event”.

Former rapper Mr Mansur, who has visited other campuses and given Muslim students a university “survival guide”, made the comments in apparently homemade online videos. Protest groups have welcomed the ban.

In one video posted in July last year Mr Mansur preaches to a “brother” seeking advice on his gay desires. The preacher blasts “filthy Western culture” and tells him to marry a woman to “protect” himself. He adds: “It’s not something you were born with, the same way a person who’s sick, we’re all born healthy but then you get an illness so you take the treatment to get rid of not only the symptoms, but the disease.”

He adds: “Homosexuality, sodomy, is an act that in the sharia… comes under the category of ‘obscene, filthy, shameless’ acts.”

In another video posted a month later he tells a young Asian man in the street to remove his “gay” earring. He says: “You like women not men? Take the earring off then bro. Know that an earring is something that a woman wears… don’t do that, it’s gay.” The man then takes it out.

Mr Mansur today said he was exercising his right to freedom of speech and did so “sensibly and with tolerance”. 

UEL Islamic Society declined to comment.

 

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Posted on 11/25/2014 6:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Depression, Treatment and Suicide
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Hope springs eternal, but so do financial crises in hospitals. Once, while researching the history of the hospital in which I was working at the time, I discovered that it had been so short of money in the 1840s that it had been forced to sell some land to a railway company that wanted to build a line near the hospital. The physicians were against the sale, for they feared the noise of the trains might kill the patients, “especially the brain cases.” They were overruled, and when the first train went by they observed the patients anxiously to monitor the adverse effect on them. There was none.

However, psychiatric hospitals seem often to be built near railway lines, which act as a magnet to the patients who are suicidal. Patients of such hospitals who commit suicide while on the premises usually do so by hanging, while those who do so outside usually jump from a tall building or throw themselves in front of trains.

A paper from Germany in a recent edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzes the characteristics of 100 suicides of psychiatric patients who threw themselves in front of trains conveniently near to the hospitals in which they were resident at the time. It took the authors ten years to collect their sample, whom they compared with other patients of the same age, sex and psychiatric diagnosis who did not throw themselves in front of trains. The object of the exercise was to see whether such suicides could be predicted and therefore prevented. The authors rather laconically remark that when a man throws himself in front of a train — and nearly two-thirds of the cases were men — it is likely that he really means to die.

Most of the suicides were among schizophrenics. They had been ill either for a short or a very long time. Not surprisingly, they had tried suicide before. But by far the strongest association with suicide among such patients was a change in therapist – the person principally concerned in their care – shortly before. Distressed people want to think that there is a particular person who is concerned for their welfare, and change is probably experienced as further abandonment by those who already feel abandoned. This is an important finding as psychiatric practice around the world becomes more and more depersonalized.

But there was one association upon which the authors did not much remark: the fact that the suicides were more likely to be taking SSRI antidepressants than those with the same diagnosis who did not commit suicide.

This does not by itself prove causation, of course; but it was striking that those with the same diagnosis who were taking another type of antidepressant, the tricyclic, did not have an excess of suicides. This is important, because it has long been suspected that SSRIs increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts in those who take them. Indeed, ten years ago the FDA issued a warning that the drugs increase suicidal thoughts – though only in children and adolescents. In the case of the German suicides, the combination of benzodiazepine tranquilizing drugs such as Valium to SSRI drugs (which can cause agitation) was particularly associated with suicide.

The patients who committed suicide on railway lines were also more likely to be treated by polypharmacy, defined as the prescription of more than three different drugs at a time. This, however, may only have been an indication of the intractability of their symptoms.

The development of SSRI drugs was once heralded as a great advance. I was skeptical of this from the first: the older, cheaper drugs were better. Such is often the way.

First published in PJ Media.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 6:04 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Swedish Welfare Benefits And The Jihad
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The average immigrant family with "two children" receives about $3,200 per month. And with more children -- oh, the sky's the limit. 

And who are those immigrants? And how do they behave, inside Sweden, in Schengenland, and in the Midldle East? 

Read here.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 6:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Children are the Future
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There are no subtitles. Sorry.

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Posted on 11/25/2014 12:09 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Erdogan: Your Bodies, Our Selves
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Women in Islam, with the "portable seclusion" of the chador, the niqab, the abaya, the whatever-you-want to call it, have it just fine, because their inferiority is properly recognized, and allowance made for it. They are best at breeding, and breeding is their business, their metier, their vocation, their role, their calling. Why can't they understand that, Erdogan wonders.

Story here.

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Posted on 11/24/2014 10:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Sensible French Report On "Religious Radicalisation" Scandalizes Some
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Here.

But there's nothing wrong with this report from the academy in, fatidically, Poitiers. The outward and visible signs of taking Islam too much to heart -- the uncut beard without moustache, the prominent zebibah, and so on -- are properly identified. The "religious radicalism" that is being examined, after all, is the only one that now counts, which is Muslim "religious radicalism" or, to put it otherwise, the promotion of Islam among its adherents so that they will take it more to heart and act on their beliefs. And that means violence against non-Muslims. Muslims can do no other. 

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Posted on 11/24/2014 10:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Sharia law guidelines abandoned as Law Society apologises
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From The Telegraph

The Law Society has withdrawn controversial guidelines for solicitors on how to compile “Sharia compliant” wills amid complaints that they encouraged discrimination against women and non-Muslims. Andrew Caplen, president of the society, apologised and said the criticism had been taken on board.

It follows a storm of protest after The Telegraph disclosed in March that the society had issued a practice note to solicitors effectively enshrining aspects of Islamic law in the British legal system. The guidelines advised High Street solicitors on how to write Islamic wills in a way that would be recognised by courts in England and Wales.

They set out principles which meant that women could be denied an equal share of inheritances while unbelievers could be excluded altogether. The document also detailed how children born out of wedlock might not be counted as legitimate heirs.

Mr Caplen’s predecessor as president, Nicholas Fluck, strongly resisted criticism of the guidelines when details were published in March. But in a short statement the society said it now had decided to withdraw them in light of “feedback” from the public and lawyers themselves. 

Sadikur Rahman, a leading member of the Lawyers’ Secular Society, who was among the first to raise concerns about the practice note, praised the Law Society as a rare example of a major organisation publicly changing its mind. “The language that they have chosen to use today is quite astonishing for an organisation that only a few months ago was resistant to change at all,” he said.

He added that it was a vindication for those who were accused of racism or being anti-Muslim for questioning the wisdom of original practice note.

“You should be able to criticise an ideology, that should not be taken as racism,” he said.

He added: “As far as the public is concerned the Law Society represents all lawyers in England and Wales.The practice notes might just be guidance but they tell us how our firms should practise, if you didn’t follow the guidance issued by the Law Society on a particular point you might be deemed to negligent.They carry a huge amount of weight and it would be seen as an endorsement.

“I certainly heard from Muslim lawyers congratulating the Law Society for having issued it, the way they saw it was that the Law Society had come on board with sharia law.” 

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Posted on 11/24/2014 2:18 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Frank Gardner: "It's So Bloody Unfair"
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From an article about the BBC correspondent(to which "Proud Kafir 7908", alerted me) -- the one who was always pro-Arab, the one who was "reluctant" to report from Cairo on all the gaiety following  the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Frank Gardner, who after he had been shot famously called out "Help me, I'm a Musilm, help me, I'm a Muslim" because he knew, having studied Arabic and "falled in love" with the Arabs and so on, understood that the only chance he had for being helped by passersby was if he told them he was a Muslim. He has learned very little, it seems, from his ordeal, and perhaps in your house, as in mine, there will not be a wet eye upon reading his tale.

Here's the most revealing bit:

He was once a captain in the Royal Green Jackets, as an Army reservist, but is anxious to point out that he was “a Cold War warrior who ran around Germany” and had nothing to do with any conflict in the Gulf. “We came to Saudi Arabia as completely peaceful, objective journalists to report on what was going on there. And we paid for it. Totally unfairly.”

They had just finished filming when a car pulled up. “A young man gets out and says, ‘Salaam alaikum – Peace be upon you’. But as he is saying that, he is reaching into a specially-sewn pocket in his dishdasha and pulling out a pistol.” Gardner started to run but was shot in the shoulder.

“It went straight through. It hurt like hell. I kept running. The next thing, there was another shot and I was down on the ground.”

Simon Cumbers was already dead. “I remember looking up at these horrible, evil faces. They were almost like Hallowe’en joke shop masks.”

They left him for dead. As he lay with his body smashed and contorted, Gardner was outraged. He had loved the Middle East since he was a teenager, studied Islam and Arabic at university and worked for banks in Saudi Arabia before joining the BBC, where he regularly stressed that most Muslims were kind, peace-loving people and nothing like the terrorists.

“In the horrible aftermath and the couple of hours between being shot and being saved by a brilliant surgeon, I had time to think an awful lot of thoughts. One of them was, ‘This is so bloody unfair. I go to the effort to learn this language, to understand the people, to live with them in Jordan, Bahrain, Cairo, to have a lot of respect for their beliefs and customs, and what do I get? A bellyful of bullets.”

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Posted on 11/24/2014 12:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Phaedra Al-Majid And Those Who Threaten Her
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Posted on 11/24/2014 8:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Dietrich Von Hildebrand's "Mein Kampf Gegen Hitler" Now In English
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Born in Florence, raised in the grand former Minim priory of San Francesco di Paola, where his father Adolf von Hildebrand worked on his art, Dietrich von Hildebrand was publicly opposed to the National Socialists even before the Beer Hall Putsch. His life was full of drama. Toward the end of that life he wrote a memoir of what he called "Mein Kampf gegen Hitler" for hissecond, much younger wife Alice (who was born in the year of that Putsch); this memoir has at long last been translated into English and published in this country. You might want to read "My Battle Against Hitler."

You can find out more, amazonically, here.  

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Posted on 11/24/2014 8:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
A Musical Interlude: Goodnight Vienna (Jack Buchanan)
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Listen here. 

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Posted on 11/24/2014 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
A Sassanian Delay
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Posted on 11/24/2014 7:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 24 November 2014
The Day Marion Barry was Shot by Black Muslims
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Justin Moyer writes in the Washington Post:

Contemporary account of the Hanafi siege from 9News Now. Marion Barry appears around :51.

It’s a strange tale barely mentioned in the many articles about the former D.C. mayor since his death on Sunday: In 1977, Marion Barry was shot by a group of radical black Muslims. The New York Times gave the shooting two sentences. Even The Washington Post’s Bart Barnes, in his terrific obituary, didn’t devote many inches to Barry’s misfortune:

Charismatic, irrepressible and engaging, Mr. Barry always seemed to get up again. In 1977, while on the council, he was shot during the siege of the District Building (now the John A. Wilson Building) by Hanafi Muslims, who also had taken over the Islamic Center and B’nai B’rith offices.

Mr. Barry’s wound was superficial, but it nevertheless enhanced his mystique. After a brief hospitalization, he returned to the political arena and in less than two years was mayor of the District.

Record scratch. Say what? Why did 12 Hanafis coordinate a siege of three buildings, taking 150 hostages in the nation’s capital on March 9, 1977, and shoot the future mayor of our city? Was this 9/11 in miniature?

Not really. The Hanafi Muslims who took over the John A. Wilson building weren’t foreign nationals motivated by decades-long United States involvement in foreign wars. Instead, the violence stemmed from a bloody beef between African American Muslim groups.

“To the extent that any outsider could understand the anger behind this three-pronged attack,” The Post wrote in 1977, “it seemed to originate in a bitter sectarian feud between two groups that are both black and call themselves Muslim — the Hanafis, who consider themselves orthodox, and the nation of Islam, followers of the late Elijah Muhammed [sic], better known as the Black Muslims.”

Four years before the siege, on a winter day in 1973, gunmen linked to the Nation of Islam stormed a home on upper 16th street in Northwest Washington. Their target: Hanafi leader and former Nation of Islam national secretary Hamaas Abdul Khaalis.


Hamaas Abdul Khaalis in Washington on March 14, 1977. Khaalis was later taken to police headquarters for processing. (AP Photo/Charles Bennett)

Khaalis was not at home — but seven unlucky people, including five children, were. Three were shot. Four were drowned. All died — and seven men were later convicted in the slayings.

Khaalis wasn’t satisfied. More than four years later, he and 11 others took over the headquarters of B’nai B’rith, an international Jewish service organization, on Rhode Island Avenue NW, the Islamic Center of Washington on Massachusetts Avenue NW and the D.C. City Council chambers.

They demanded satisfaction — and wanted the men convicted of the 1973 killings turned over to them, “presumably for execution,” as WETA put it. Other demands included repayment of a $750 fine imposed on Khaalis for contempt of court during the trial of the 1973 killers, and an end to the release of the film “Mohammed, Messenger of God” (also called “The Message“), a movie the Hanafis deemed offensive.

“We have told this government to get busy and get the murderers that came into our house on Jan. 18 and murdered our babies,” Khaalis told The Post during the siege. “And our children. And shot up our women. … Tell them the payday is here. We gonna pull the cover off of them. No more games.”

At B’nai Brith, attackers wielded machetes.

“They had big huge swords,” Andrew S. Hoffman, a 20-year-old student from George Washington University, said after being released. “They kept saying they were gonna cut people’s heads off … They all said they were going to die, but they were going to die for a cause.”

Outside of D.C. Council chambers, the gunmen “blasted away,” as The Post wrote. Barry was hit by a ricochet shotgun pellet.

“Councilman Marion Barry staggered into the Council Chamber and fell into a chair, clutching his bloody chest,” according to the paper. “He, too, cried out: ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot.’”

After almost 40 hours, the siege ended — partly thanks to the ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan and Iran, who quoted the Koran to Khaalis.

“And let not the hatred of some people in once shutting you out of the sacred mosque lead you to transgression and hostility on your part,” one said. “Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor.”

Khaalis initially proved uninterested in talk.

“Don’t teach me the Koran,” he told the ambassadors over the phone. “I know it better than you. Do you know that there are occasions when blood calls for repayment by blood?”

Eventually, he relented. After in-person meetings with ambassadors, Khaalis and his group surrendered on March 11.

The Post marveled at the unexpected end to the unexpected hostage crisis.

“The strange circumstances that brought Moslem ambassadors — one of them from an Arab nation technically at war with Israel — into the B’nai B’rith headquarters to negotiate with an American black professing Islam have rarely been matched in the annals of either diplomacy or law enforcement,” the Post wrote.

All 12 gunmen were later convicted for the siege. Khaalis got a 41-to-123 year term.

Barry, who was not held hostage, was not the siege’s main victim — indeed, as Barnes wrote, the bullet, which just missed his heart, may have helped propel him to the mayor’s office. But at the District building, WHUR reporter Maurice Williams was killed.

“I believe this incident was one of the more traumatic incidents in the history of this city, and the fact that he was the only African American journalist ever killed in the line of duty … makes it a very special occasion,” Paul Brock, WHUR’s news director when Williams was a student intern, told The Post in 2007.

The siege took place a generation before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — and bore little resemblance to them. The siege was instigated by a domestic group with a specific, local grievance. But some said the attack presaged future events.

“This was an early wake-up call about violence and terrorism and the extent to which groups will go to engage in violence either for the sake of violence or to make a point,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, told The Post. “Little did we know 30 years ago that this kind of issue would be a daily concern for all of us, not only here in Washington but abroad as well.”

Though he emerged relatively unscathed, Barry told The Post the Hanafi siege made him think of his own mortality.

“That God’s in charge,” he said. “Life is not promised. You could be gone in a flash.”

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Posted on 11/24/2014 7:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Life, Death, and the New Orthodoxy
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In a village in South Wales, 34-year-old Matthew Williams was recently stunned by a taser discharged by a policewoman. He died soon afterward in police custody.

The reason the policewoman tasered Williams was that she had found him in the hotel in which he had been lodging, bent over the prostrate body of a 22-year-old woman whose face and eyeball he was eating. The policewoman told him to step away from the body but he refused; and, quite reasonably supposing that he was not to be reasoned with, she shot him with the taser. The woman whom he was cannibalizing died of the injuries he inflicted.

Unconfirmed reports say what is highly probable, that the author of this appalling crime was high at the time on drink and drugs, namely cocaine, cannabis, and injected “miaow-miaow,” the street name for mephedrone, an amphetamine-like substance. If so, this increased the likelihood that tasering could bring on fatal cardiac arrest.

He had been released two weeks earlier after having been sentenced to five years in prison for a serious assault upon a previous girlfriend, though he served only half that sentence—for it is now customary in Britain for judges knowingly to perpetrate a fraud on the public by sentencing criminals to a term of imprisonment that they know will be cut by half. Thus when a sentence of, say, three years, is handed down, the defendant knows perfectly well he will be released in 18 months as of routine and as of right. There is no protest against this charade, though if words should retain their meaning anywhere it is in the law.

The case, and the public commentary on it, revealed quite a lot about the state of our civilization. The commentary centered on two main questions: the dangers attached to the use of tasers; and why the culprit had not been properly supervised after his release from prison since he was known to be habitually violent and inclined to take drugs.

Certainly, the police in Britain, who have in general become more bullying as they have grown more ineffectual, seem to ignore warnings that tasers fired at the chest may result in a cardiac arrest. They are supposed to use a taser only as a last resort, in dangerous situations. It is not surprising, perhaps, that in the heat of the moment they aim at the part of the body that it is easiest to hit; it is also possible that they are insufficiently trained to do otherwise.

The purpose of tasers is to subdue a suspect deemed to be dangerous, without harm to him or to the police. About one person a year has died in Britain after the use of these weapons by the police since there were first introduced 10 years ago. Their use has grown rapidly, but at the same time the use of firearms by the police (in Britain the police are not armed, and any use of firearms by the police must be specially authorized) has declined almost as markedly. Last year, the police fired guns on only three occasions, though they were authorized to carry them 10,000 times. If in practice they had used guns rather than tasers, it is probable that more than one person would have been killed during these incidents, assuming it was truly necessary to use one or the other weapon.

The tasering discussion was an avoidance of the truly significant aspect of the case: the decision to release Matthew Williams in the first place.

Oddly enough, the probation service’s failure to monitor Williams adequately after his release also attracted more attention than did the initial decision to release him. But in the present legal climate in Britain, his assault on his former girlfriend must have been a serious one indeed for him to have been sentenced to five years. Probably (though I cannot swear to it) it was of a severity for which a sentence of 20 years or even life would have been both more just and more sensible. The fact that when he was released the police placed yet another woman, also a former lover of his, under their protection suggests that the assault for which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment was not the result of a sudden rush of blood to the head, but a reflection of his habitual violent criminality. And I would stake quite a lot of money on a bet that the assault on the woman for which he was imprisoned was not his first conviction for violence, much less his first violent offence.

In other words, in these circumstances, what could monitoring by the probation service have been expected to achieve? At best, the service could have interviewed Matthew Williams intermittently and perhaps drug-tested him. But even this would have been of doubtful value, for two reasons. The first is that, thanks to targets that have been set by its political masters, the probation service is adjudged by the percentage of those under its surveillance who “complete” that surveillance without mishap, and therefore a return to prison for breach of the conditions of release would be regarded as failure. In effect the service has been given an incentive to look the other way.

Second, a man like Williams was never likely to be dissuaded from his coarse, impulsive pleasures by the threat of an appointment with a probation officer in a few days’ time. Almost certainly he was not one to “think ahead” but was rather more inclined to seize, not the day, but the second. He had no sense of restraint from within, and his experience of life and the criminal justice system had taught him that restraint from without was not a force much to be reckoned with.

Any monitoring by the probation service whose absence was so lamented by commentators would have been about as much use as a paper handkerchief in a monsoon. But just as the dog that did not bark was a clue for Sherlock Holmes in Silver Blaze, so in the commentary on the Williams case there was the non-barking dog that tells us about the state of our culture and civilization: namely the non-judgmentalism that was the precondition of his last victim’s appalling death.

The hotel in which he killed this young woman in so horrible a way was in effect a hostel for released prisoners. The village being a small one, this would have been known to everyone, including the victim. Photographs of the perpetrator do not suggest his high cultivation, to say the least. The victim, having met him in a bar, consented within a short lapse of time to go back to his room, from which she did not emerge alive.

Her previous boyfriend was serving three-and-a-half years in prison—meaning 21 months—for arson. He tried to burn his own house down after the victim ended her relationship with him. He had an earlier conviction for having assaulted her.

To have learned from that experience would have been to develop a prejudice; and there is nothing worse in the contemporary moral universe than to make a judgment based upon prejudice. By going to the monster’s room on the faintest of acquaintance with him, knowing or strongly suspecting him to be an ex-prisoner, she was demonstrating not foolishness but a virtue: that of being non-judgmental. Granted that going with him may not have been the most prudent of decisions, but at least she was not prejudiced.

Alas, life, or at least human life, is judgment. Yet this was not something that commentators were prepared to say out loud—they having done so much in the past to disguise and discredit this obvious consideration.

First published in The Library of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 11/24/2014 5:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Monday, 24 November 2014
Jihadi attack on UK 'inevitable':
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From the Mail

Britain is facing an ‘almost inevitable’ attack by fanatics who have been ‘militarised’ by Islamic State, according to police and security officials.

In speeches today, Theresa May and senior police will warn that the ‘diverse’ terrorist threat posed by jihadis returning from Syria and Iraq is one of the greatest this country has ever faced. Addressing a conference in London, Mrs May will unveil draconian new laws to try to protect the public and stem the flow of cash and recruits to Islamic State.

Potential attacks could range from a ‘lone wolf’ beheading in a crowded shopping centre or street, to a bomb plot using fertiliser stolen from British farms. One Whitehall official told the Mail: ‘It is almost inevitable that something is going to happen in the next few months.

According to Britain’s most senior officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, police and MI5 have already foiled five major plots this year. Chillingly, there is normally only one major plot disrupted every 12 months. Sir Bernard said the challenges faced by police and MI5 in monitoring jihadis returning from Syria were huge. He warned: ‘They’re going to be militarised, they will have a complex web of people that they know, and of course they will have learnt tactics that they may want to use here.’ Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Bernard said there was a ‘growing concern’ about the risk of a ‘lone wolf’ attack on British streets.

Soldier Lee Rigby was murdered by two Muslim converts who ambushed him as he walked back to his barracks in Woolwich, South East London, last year. ‘It doesn’t take an awful lot of organising, doesn’t take too many to conspire together, there’s no great complexity to it,’ Sir Bernard said. ‘So that means we have got a very short time to interdict, to actually intervene and make sure that these people don’t get away with it.’

Today assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the Met’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, will say the ‘danger posed by violent extremists has evolved’. Speaking alongside Mrs May at the Royal United Services Institute, he will say: ‘They are no longer a problem solely stemming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, far away in the minds of the public. Now, they are home-grown, in our communities; radicalised by images and messages they read on social media and prepared to kill for their cause.’

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Posted on 11/24/2014 2:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
Islamic State Recruiting, Exploiting Children in Syria and Iraq as Spies, Fighters
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AP:

BEIRUT –  Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police.

In Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists' headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods.

Across the vast region under IS control, the group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age, according to a growing body of evidence assembled from residents, activists, independent experts and human rights groups.

In the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where ethnic Kurds have been resisting an IS onslaught for weeks, several activists told The Associated Press they observed children fighting alongside the militants. Mustafa Bali, a Kobani-based activist, said he saw the bodies of four boys, two of them younger than 14. And at least one 18 year old is said to have carried out a suicide attack.

In Syria's Aleppo province, an activist affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army said its fighters encountered children in their late teens "fairly often" in battles against the rival Islamic State group.

It is difficult to determine just how widespread the exploitation of children is in the closed world of IS-controlled territory. There are no reliable figures on the number of minors the group employs.

But a United Nations panel investigating war crimes in the Syrian conflict concluded that in its enlistment of children for active combat roles, the Islamic State group is perpetrating abuses and war crimes on a massive scale "in a systematic and organized manner."

The group "prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty, adherence to their ideology and a cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life," it said in a recent report. The panel of experts, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, conducted more than 300 interviews with people who fled or are living in IS-controlled areas, and examined video and photographic evidence.

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Posted on 11/23/2014 4:45 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
UPDATE: The Benghazi House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee Report is a “Whitewash”.
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Sunday morning at Brunch with long term family friends in Pensacola, we discussed the cares of the world.  We brought up the Final Report of the House Permanent Select  Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) on Benghazi , chaired by outgoing chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI).   The husband, a talented researcher at a North West Florida think tank that contract research with DARPA had a one word comment, “whitewash”. He said it was all about process and not substance.

 Saturday, in preparation for a Lisa Benson National Security Radio Show segment on the House Select Intelligence Committee Benghazi report, we held a conference call  with  KenTimmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi and  Dick Brauer, a member  of the Citizens’ Committee on Benghazi and one of the Founders of Special Operations Speaks (SOS). Brauer is a retired USAF Col. And former commandant of the Special Operations School at nearby Hurlburt Field here in Northwest Florida.   While Timmerman thought the report was ‘lame,’ the consensus of opinion on the call echoed my brunch partner’s comment today.  Timmerman suggested that the HPSCI Report needed a definitive review.  Brauer, who will provide critical comments on the Lisa Benson Show this afternoon, had this revelation:

This just in from a trusted SOS source, "Mike Rogers, who retires from Congress at the end of this session, released the report with the help of the Democrats. Most of the Republicans were not informed of the vote and had no chance to weigh in."

Brauer believes more substance may be revealed during an upcoming early December 2014 House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by former federal prosecutor, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  The question remains as to the timing of the HPSIC Benghazi Report released Friday, November 21, 2014.uer

Listen to a discussion on the Benghazi report with Col. Brauer of Special Operations Speaks, Lisa Benson and Jerry Gordon from the Sunday, November 23, 2014 Radio Show.

Ex-CIA agent, Larry Johnson, resonated these observations in a  post on  his blog, No Quarter, The Bengazi Whitewash from the House Intelligence Committee.  Johnson rebuts the HPSCI findings:

Much of the media is celebrating the new report from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee as a vindication for the Obama Administration. Well, it is not. Only one little problem, you have to read the report like a lawyer in order to understand the meat of the matter.

There are six key findings.

The first finding is typical of the obfuscation:

The Committee first concludes that the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and, without a requirement to do so, ably and bravely assisted the State Department on the night of the attacks. 

Yes, but the response was delayed because the Chief of Base refused to give immediate clearance to launch a rescue mission:

The security contractors — Kris “Tanto” Paronto, Mark “Oz” Geist and John “Tig” Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, with Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ chief political anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?

Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.

“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”
Modal Trigger

But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”

So, yes, the most of the CIA personnel at the annex acted bravely and honorably. But even the HPSCI report acknowledges that at least 21 minutes passed before the CIA contractors were give the green light to go to the aid of their besieged State Department colleagues. Left unexplained, why did the Chief of Base choke. More important, was he ever held accountable for this delay.

Number Two:

Second, the Committee finds that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks. In the months prior, the IC provided intelligence about previous attacks and the increased threat environment in Benghazi, but the IC did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks.

Yes and no. This is not good news for Obama. It is especially bad news for Hillary Clinton. The report also explicitly states:

Prior to the Benghazi attacks, the CIA provided sufficient strategic warning of the deteriorating threat environment to U.S. decision­ makers, including those at the State Department.

We now know for certain that Hillary Clinton, with the assistance of Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, denied requests from Embassy Tripoli for additional security assets and resources in Libya.

The report also makes this misleading claim (again, think like the damn lawyers who wrote this):

In the months prior to the attacks, the IC provided intelligence about previous attacks and the increased threat in Benghazi, but it did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks. The CIA was conducting no unauthorized activity in Benghazi and was not collecting and shipping arms to Syria. The CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and was able to assist the State Department in Benghazi.

Pay close attention to the phrasing.

1) “The CIA was conducting no unauthorized activity in Benghazi.” A true statement. As Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books, eight members of the House and Senate had been briefed on the Libya operation:

The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognized exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

Technically, it was an “authorized” operation. In reality, most members of Congress knew nothing of the operation.

Here’s the other whopper:

 

and was not collecting and shipping arms to Syria. 

 

Yes, the CIA was neither “collecting nor shipping the arms.” That was being done by Brits, Turks and Arabs from the Gulf. I also know personally of one American who was hired by a British firm who convinced the man that he was a non-official cover officer of the CIA. This man was in Benghazi, did collect MANPADS and turned them over to a British citizen who was part of the company he worked for. The critical question is to define the precise nature of the CIA’s role in supporting and monitoring the clandestine effort to arm the rebels in Syria. This was not only a CIA operation; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was fully informed on the details and the goals of the operation.

Third finding:

 The Committee finds that a mixed group of individuals, including those affiliated with Al­ Qa’ida, participated in the attacks on  U.S. facilities in  Benghazi , although the Committee finds that the intelligence was and remains conflicting about the identities, affiliations, and motivations of the attackers.

In contrast to the original claims of the Obama Administration (and later the New York times), the attack was carried out by people with direct ties to Al Qaeda. That’s one of the reasons that the Obama team fought so hard to keep this out of the 2012 Presidential election. Obama insisted that Osama was dead and Al Qaeda on the run. Nope. Al Qaeda was over-running a  US diplomatic and intelligence facility in  Benghazi .

Fourth finding:

Fourth, the Committee concludes that after the attacks, the early intelligence assessments and the Administration’s initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate. 

Okay. HPSCI finds a very diplomatic way to say that the Obama Administration lied about  Benghazi . Their phrasing reminds me of the White Star Line’s comments on the Titanic’s first and last voyage:

“The Titanic failed to arrive in  New York ’s port on time.” 

As the HPSCI folks would say, that’s “not fully accurate.”

Fifth finding:

Fifth, the Committee finds that the process used to generate the talking points HPSCI asked for-and which were used for Ambassador Rice’s public appearances-was flawed. HPSCI asked for the talking points solely to aid Members’ ability to communicate publicly using the best available intelligence at the time, and mistakes were made in the process of how those talking points were developed. 

This finding alone underscores the corruption of the HPSCI report. “Flawed?” That’s akin to describing the January 1986 Challenger Space flight as “flawed.” What is indisputable from the email record of the process used to produce the now infamous talking points was that politics was inserted into the intel process. Now, the Obama Administration is not the first to try to use political pressure to influence and alter intelligence judgments. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, both Bushes and  Clinton have all done it in some form or fashion. But we do not have to rely on second hand evidence that Obama and his team did this. We have the documentary evidence which, even the House Intel Committee concedes, shows a manipulation of the intelligence for political purposes.

Last, and certainly not least:

Sixth Finding. Finally, the Committee found no evidence that any officer was intimidated, wrongly forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement or otherwise kept from speaking to Congress, or polygraphed because of their presence in  Benghazi . The Committee also found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in  Benghazi and no evidence that the IC shipped arms to  Syria .

This too is a dishonest and nuanced conclusion. The key phrase is, “because of their presence in  Benghazi .” All true. It ignores the men and women who were directly working the issue in  Washington ,  DC and other places. Those men and women were polygraphed. They were threatened. They were intimidated.

Why?

To cover up the lie that the Obama Administration knew nothing about arms shipments to Syrian rebels, was doing anything to support the activities of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to move weapons to Syria and that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the attack. It was during and immediately after the attack that the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department engaged in a deliberate effort to cover up the truth.

This whitewash from Mike Rogers does nothing to refute those lies. What needs to be looked at is Mike Rogers’ conflict of interest. It appears that his wife, Mimi, was part of a company that was involved in this clandestine operation. According to Judicial Watch:

No issue has dominated Rep. Roger’s time as committee chairman more than  Libya . Protests against Muammar Gadhafi’s regime began in February 2011. In March, NATO air strikes commenced and the  U.S. named Christopher Stevens as special envoy to the Benghazi-based Libyan opposition. By August, the end of the Gadhafi regime was in sight. The Associated Press reported that the CIA and State Department were “working closely” on tracking down the dictator’s vast arms stockpiles, including chemical weapons, yellowcake uranium, and some 20,000 shoulder-fired missiles known as MANPADS. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the AP that Mr. Stevens was working with officials in  Benghazi on how to track down the weapons.

By early October 2011, concern over missing MANPADS was growing. Prized by insurgent forces and terrorists, MANPADS (the acronym stands for “Man-Portable Air Defense Systems”) are capable of shooting down attack aircraft — or a civilian plane. “We have reports that they may in fact have crossed borders,” Mr. Rogers told  USA Today, criticizing the Obama administration for a lack of urgency. “I have some concerns we may be a little bit late.” By the end of the month, Gadhafi was dead. Less than a year later, Mr. Stevens — by then Ambassador Stevens — would be dead too, killed with three other Americans in an attack on the  Benghazi stations of the State Department and CIA.  Benghazi became a full-blown crisis. Chairman Rogers emerged as one of the Obama administration’s sharpest critics, hammering it for a lack of transparency.

Libya  also was an area of activity for Aegis, Ms. Rogers’ company. As Rep. Rogers assumed control of the Intelligence Committee, an Aegis subsidiary, Aegis Advisory, began setting up shop in  Libya . “Aegis has been operating in  Libya  since February 2011,” noted an Aegis Advisory intelligence report aimed at corporate clients. The report, marked “Confidential,” notes the company’s ability to provide “proprietary information [and] expert knowledge from our country team based in  Tripoli .” Security was part of the Aegis package, too. “Aegis has extensive links in  Libya  which can be leveraged quickly to ensure safe passage,” the report noted. In 2012, Al Jazeera reported that Aegis was hunting bigger game in the country, “seeking a $5 billion contract to guard  Libya ’s vast and porous borders.” Aegis declined to respond to Judicial Watch’s questions about Libyan border security contracts.

Ms. Rogers’ rise at Aegis was swift. A former press aide to Ambassador Paul Bremer in  Iraq and an assistant commissioner for public affairs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, she was named executive vice president when the  U.S. branch opened in 2006. She was promoted to president in 2008 and added the position of CEO in 2009. In 2011, Ms. Rogers was named vice chairman of the company’s board of directors. In December 2012, she left Aegis and joined the law firm Manatt as a managing director for federal government affairs.

Aegis took a particular interest in events in  Benghazi . One recipient of Aegis Advisory’s  Libya briefings was Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, the global intelligence and consulting firm. According to Stratfor documents obtained by Wikileaks, Aegis’s  Libya briefings were circulated to Stratfor’s confidential “alpha list.” The alpha list “is a repository for most of the intelligence that comes in,” a Stratfor analyst wrote in an email released by Wikileaks. “The first rule of the alpha list is that you don’t talk about the alpha list.”

This report illustrates the continuing corruption of  Washington . Mike Rogers, the co-author as it were by virtue of his position as Chair of HPSCI, has a clear conflict of interest. Rather than recuse himself, it appears he has helped try to whitewash what remains a bloody stain on the Obama Administration’s foreign and intelligence policy.

 

 

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Posted on 11/23/2014 12:35 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
Martin Sherman: Israel's Suicidal Restraint
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On The Cusp Of Carnage, here. 

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Posted on 11/23/2014 11:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
The Real Rached Ghannouchi
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Rached Ghannouchi has spent his entire life working to undermine the secularism of Bourguiba and the Destour Party. He was given -- idiotically -- refuge in London, from which den he remained free to conduct his campaign to bring Islam back, in a big way, to Tunisia. 

He's been back, since the soi-disant "Arab Spring," and he found himself in the government but the responsibilities of rule turned out to be hard, and even harder was overcoming the opposition of those Tunisians who didn't want Islam brought back into the political and social order, and who took Rached Ghannouchi's measure quite well. He's a master of low cunning; he took Ennahda out of the race, leaving Essebsi (a real secularist) and Marzouki (a much-compromised and pseudo-secularist), knowing from the initial results that his party had no possibility of winning. 

And lately he's been giving talks at Columbia, having his Op/'Eds (skillfully written by English-speaking operatives), all allowing him to pretend to be a great supporter -- to have been one all along -- of "democracy" as against the twin evils of anarchy (Libya) and despotism (Egypt). He has no interest in democracy, though those editors in New York who allow him to publiish his deceptions appear not to know this, not to know his history. He's interested in more and ever more Islam, but also recognizes the need to go slowly, and to seem to yield, when necessary.None of his Western hosts appears to know his background, to understand what he is up to and how he is so happy to use them.

You can read the things he has written for him to fool Western audiences, all of it put up at his soothing English-language website. 

But after you've done that, you should watch a very different Rached Ghannouchi, explaining in Arabic to his supporters as to why they should understand his reasons for removing Ennahda from the electoral competition. It's a Musliim version of reculer pour mieux sauter. He wants to lie in wait, to pick  up the pieces, as others try to deal with the difficulties of unemployment, climate change, and so on. And what does he mention, what does he evoke? The Treaty of Hudaibiiyya, where Muhammad dismayed some of his followers by seeming to make an agreement with the enemy Meccans, and to abandon his earlier demands. But, Ghannouchi says, the Treaty of Hudaibiyya was a triumph, for  as all Muslims know, it allowed Muhammad to build  up his forces and then, once strengthened, to violate the treaty and attack the Meccans. "I am like Muhammad at Hudaibiyya," says Ghannouchi to his followers. In the end we will be in a positiion of strength and then you'll see."  You can view the real Rached Ghannouchi, very different from the public-relations democrat and statesman who has been fabricated for  the West, for New York newspapers and Washington conferences,  here.

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Posted on 11/23/2014 10:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
Former Diplomat Investigated for Passing Intelligence to Pakistan
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Sounds like a scene right out of this season's Homeland. The NYTimes:

WASHINGTON — American investigators intercepted a conversation this year in which a Pakistani official suggested that his government was receiving American secrets from a prominent former State Department diplomat, officials said, setting off an espionage investigation that has stunned diplomatic circles here.

That conversation led to months of secret surveillance on the former diplomat, Robin L. Raphel, and an F.B.I. raid last month at her home, where agents discovered classified information, the officials said.

The investigation is an unexpected turn in a distinguished career that has spanned four decades. Ms. Raphel (pronounced RAY-full) rose to become one of the highest-ranking female diplomats and a fixture in foreign policy circles, serving as ambassador to Tunisia and as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs in the Clinton administration.

Ms. Raphel, 67, considered one of the leading American experts on Pakistan, was stripped of her security clearances last month and no longer has access to the State Department building.

Photo

 

Robin L. Raphel in 1997. She has lost her security clearance and State Department access, officials say. Credit Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters

The investigation is a rare example of an F.B.I. espionage case breaking into public view. Counterintelligence — the art of spotting and thwarting spies — is the F.B.I.’s second-highest priority, after fighting terrorism, but the operations are conducted almost entirely in secret. On any given day, Washington’s streets crawl with F.B.I. surveillance teams following diplomats and spies, adding to files that are unlikely ever to become public.

The senior American officials briefed on the case spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation. Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and Department of Justice declined to comment.

Ms. Raphel has not been charged with a crime. The scope of the investigation is not known, and it is unclear exactly what the Pakistani official said in the intercepted conversation that led to suspicion about Ms. Raphel. It is also not clear whether the conversation was by telephone, email or some other form of communication.

Still, the new details shed some light on the evidence that Justice Department prosecutors are weighing as they decide whether to bring charges. And they help explain why the F.B.I. viewed the matter seriously enough to search her home and State Department office, steps that would bring the investigation into the open.

Ms. Raphel is among a generation of diplomats who rose through the ranks of the State Department at a time when Pakistan was among America’s closest allies and a reliable bulwark against the Soviet Union. After retiring from the government in 2005, she lobbied on behalf of the Pakistani government before accepting a contract to work as a State Department adviser.

While the F.B.I. secretly watched Ms. Raphel in recent months, agents suspected that she was improperly taking classified information home from the State Department, the officials said. Armed with a warrant, the agents searched her home in a prosperous neighborhood near the Maryland border with Washington, and found classified information, the officials said.

(...)

Her longstanding relations with Pakistan’s government have also made her an object of scorn in India, the bitter rival of Pakistan, and a country that has grown closer to the United States during both the Bush and Obama administrations. The Indian news media has aggressively covered the espionage case in recent weeks, with The Times of India describing Ms. Raphel as a “brazenly pro-Pakistan partisan in Washington” with a “pathological dislike for India which she did little to conceal.”

In 1988, Ms. Raphel’s former husband, Arnold L. Raphel, then the American ambassador to Pakistan, was killed in a mysterious plane crash with the president of Pakistan, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq.

The cause of the crash was never determined, spawning numerous theories, including that it was an assassination and that nerve gas in a canister hidden in a crate of mangoes had been dispersed in the plane’s air-conditioning system.

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Posted on 11/23/2014 10:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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