Saturday, November 10, 2007
Storm Track Disinformation: Is Islam the Fastest-Growing Religion?
The second-largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam is also the fastest-growing religion. In the Oh, that’s just wonderful news. But CNN fails to report that many of those mosques teaches from the book of Wahabism supplied directly from
Read the rest at The Gathering Storm.
Read the rest at The Gathering Storm.
Give them unmitigated hell, Joe
Financial Times- Lieberman hits out at 'paranoid' Democrats
By Edward Luce in Washington
Published: November 9 2007 02:00 | Last updated: November 9 2007 02:00
The 2008 Democratic candidates are beholden to a "hyper-partisan, politically paranoid" liberal base that could endanger the final nominee's chances of winning next year's presidential election, Joe Lieberman, the former vice-presidential Democratic candidate, said yesterday.
In his most outspoken attack on fellow Democrats since he was unsuccessfully challenged last year by Ned Lamont, a liberal Democrat, for his Senate seat in Connecticut, Mr Lieberman yesterday said he might not vote for the Democratic presidential nominee next year.
Is there the slightest shock in that conclusion?
He argued that George W. Bush and the Republican presidential candidates remained truer than the Democratic party to its tradition of a "moral, internationalist, liberal and hawkish" foreign policy that was established by presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.
"The Democratic party I grew up in was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders," he said.
Every republican commercial show demostrate how very much the forces which control the democratic party today dislike the way of life we have been handed, and how much they regard the founding ideas of the nation itself as wrong, and even evil.
Although reviled by many in the Democratic party's base, particularly among the "netroots" of groups such as MoveOn.org and Daily Kos, Mr Lieberman's comments play directly into the increasingly testy exchange between Hillary Clinton, the party's presidential frontrunner, and her principal rivals.
In September, Mrs Clinton voted for a Senate resolution sponsored by Mr Lieberman that called for economic sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for allegedly sponsoring terrorist groups that -target US forces.
OK then Dems, tell me how PROMOTING DEMOCRACY TO REPLACE DICTATORSHIPS IS BAD?
Democrats Warn Pakistan Like '70s Iran
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Two Democratic presidential candidates with extensive foreign policy experience warned Thursday that the current unrest in Pakistan is reminiscent of events that led up to the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81.
Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador during the Clinton administration, said the U.S. is in danger of repeating the mistakes that led to one of the nation's worst international debacles of the last half century.
"We made the mistake years ago of backing a dictatorship in Iran. We're paying for it today. ... Unless we advocate democracy and human rights and a dramatic change in Pakistan, we're in danger of making the same mistake," Richardson said during a general question-and- answer sessions about U.S. security.
Well then I guess they think we are doing correctly in Iraq, huh?
And thus they voice the complaint of 'liberals' (now the neocons) thru the 50's and 60's and 70's. Namely we are backing anti communist dictator bastards in violation of our own heritage just because these sons of bitches claim to be anti communist. The dems today, of course, just want to be on the opposite side from Bush even if that requires some gymnastics
I agreed then. And I agree with the principle today. Today we have the perfect analog. "Apres moi, le deluge" claims Pervez. Maybe he's right, probably not. The thing is, with people ruling themselves all that can be done is to ensure OPPORTUNITY. Sort of like the civil rights movement. We can ensure there is equal opportunity (sometimes), we cannot ensure outcome. Democracy with guaranteed individual rights is a constant vigilant struggle.
That's why Musharraf's ploy...looks like he is arresting thousands of lawyers, and giving in to thousands of talib's..is anti democratic and not anti terrorist. So what is he about? Preserving personal power? Perhaps Ms Bhutto or some other elected govt will be better equipped, and be more credible to begin to erode the MMA's sway, and the madrassahs' long history of instilling venom.
It's either laws or men, Pervez. You have chosen....poorly.
More Iran and the Russian SU-30's, and Chinese J-10's
Time is NOT in our favor.
Every day that goes by means American action WILL be more costly
MOSCOW — Iran is in negotiations with Russia for an advanced fighter-jet.
Russian industry sources said Teheran has expressed interest in Russia's Su-30 fighter-jet. They said the two countries have been negotiating a major deal and could reach agreement in 2008.
"The Iranians need a fighter-jet that could operate in the same airspace as the U.S. F-15 and F-16," an industry source said. "They also need aircraft that could conduct offensive missions."
The sources said the Iranian Air Force, with 1970s-era fighters, has examined a range of Russian and Chinese aircraft. They cited the Chinese-origin J-10A fighter-jet, said to have been based on technology from Israel's defunct Lavi combat aircraft project in the 1980s.
"Russia is now more prepared to consolidate and promote ties with Iran," a Russian envoy said.
On Oct. 22, the Moscow-based Kommersant business daily reported that China approved the export of 24 J-10 fighters to Iran in a $1 billion deal. The newspaper said deliveries would begin in 2008 and last through 2010.
But a senior industry source said the J-10 contract with Iran has not been signed. The source said Teheran prefers more modern fighters from Russia, particularly the Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker fighter-bombers.
Iran has been negotiating for the procurement of 250 Su-30 fighters from Moscow. A senior Russian diplomat predicted a breakthrough that would result in a major weapons deal between Moscow and Teheran. The diplomat did not elaborate.
More the SU-30 HERE.
More on the sale which got a Russian investigative reporter murdered HERE
Plus c'est les memes choses, baby
Here's how it works. Saudi Arabia reaps windfall revenues from the sale of crude oil, now hurtling toward $100 a barrel. And the kingdom returns the petrodollars to fund weapons sales from and hate in the West.For all the Dems, and Ron Paul -ite morons who think if we simply mind our own business we will all sing cumbaya, WAKE UP. And to all the absolute idiots in the admin who think we have 'allies' in the Al Saud, either you are paid off, petrified, or so incompetent we should coat you with tar and feathers. There IS no business relationship, or alliance possible with those who think they are fulfilling god's order to wipe out kufr-dom, one way or the other.
The weapons are known. Riyad plans to purchase at least some $50 billion over the next five years. More than $40 billion of this will come in aircraft and related purchases from Britain and the United States. The rest will go to France, Russia and Pakistan.
The Saudis plan to export something in exchange for weapons: hate. Riyad has been financing the most virulent anti-Western literature that preaches jihad against non-Muslims.
You'd think that Riyad would be careful where it funds the hate literature. No way. The kingdom's focus has been Britain and the United States, essentially the Western backers of the house of Saud.
In London, Saudi-financed mosques are the key distributors of literature against Christians, Jews, Shi'ites and even moderate Muslims. The British think tank Policy Exchange visited 100 mosques and Islamic institutions funded by Saudi Arabia. Most of the books and pamphlets were in English and they called openly for the murder of gays and others who did not confirm to the Wahabi sect of Islam that dominates the kingdom.
"Saudi Arabia is the ideological source of much of this sectarianism — and must be held to account for it," Policy Exchange said in a report.The government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was briefed on the Saudi hate literature. But Abdullah didn't hear a word of this from his hosts during his visit to London last week. Brown was too busy trying to sell new weapons to Riyad while Queen Elizabeth was working on protocol with the Arab monarch.
This editorial by Paul Belien, editor of the Brussels Journal, appeared in the November 7, 2008 edition of the Washington Times (emphases mine):
During the Second World War, the Nazis worked on plans to build the "Amerikabomber," an airplane specially devised to fly suicide missions into Manhattan's skyscrapers.Is the above smoke and mirrors? I don't know. I need to study more. One side of me says, "I stand next to any ally who recognizes the Islamic threat. The high road is the long way into town, and we don't have any time to spare." Another side says, "Certain alliances are too dangerous to undertake."
Albert Speer, the Nazi minister for armaments, recalled in his diary: "It was almost as if [Hitler] was in a delirium when he described to us how New York would go up in flames. He imagined how the skyscrapers would turn into huge blazing torches. How they would crumble while the reflection of the flames would light the skyline against the dark sky." Hitler hated Manhattan. It was, he said, "the center of world Jewry." Less than 60 years later, Hitler's plans were executed by Muslim immigrants living in Germany. At the 2003 trial of the network around Mohamed Atta (the pilot who flew into the World Trade Center), Shahid Nickels, a German convert to Islam and a friend of Atta's, said that the Islamists had targeted Manhattan because it is "the center of world Jewry, and the world of finance and commerce controlled by it."
The parallels between Nazism and Islamism are overwhelming. Yet the subject is a taboo. When last March the German historian Matthias Kuentzel, author of "Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11," was to give a lecture at the University of Leeds (Britain), the university authorities cancelled the lecture after threats from Muslim students.
There is a war going on between the Jihadists and the West. We are losing the battle because, as so often in man's history, our political leaders think that they are still fighting the previous war. Europeans who warn against the danger of Islamism are considered — and sometimes even prosecuted — as xenophobes, racists, even neo-Nazis.
The European left, in league with the Islamists, is constantly reminding the Europeans of Hitler and the Nazis, accusing Europe's identity, the very core of its being, of being intrinsically evil. Hence, attempts to rob Europe of its identity are seen as "good," even when those eager to eradicate this identity leave no doubt that they will eradicate the Jews first.
Unfortunately, some American "conservatives" are also blind. Last year, Ralph Peters wrote in the New York Post that Europe's identity is stained by "ineradicable viciousness." He said that the Europeans are "world-champion haters," who have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing." Mr. Peters' message is similar to that of Ayyub Axel Koehler. Last June, Mr. Koehler, a convert to Islam and the chairman of the German Council of Muslims, told German church leaders that Europe should be ashamed of the "trail of blood" that it had left throughout the world down the centuries.
To some, defending Europe's identity is seen as a characteristic of neo-Nazism, while they fail to realize that Hitler's real successors are the Jihadists. To many Europeans it now seems that the only way in which Europe can atone for the crimes of the Holocaust is by looking on passively while others prepare a new holocaust.
And so, ironically, Hitler will get his way and win the war after all. Contrary to what is generally acknowledged, the Fuehrer did not care about Europe's or even Germany's identity. Those European nationalists who today take their inspiration from Charles Martel, the Germanic leader who beat the Arabs in 732 at the Battle of Tours, cannot be neo-Nazis for the simple reason that Hitler explicitly wished Martel had lost the battle.
"Had Charles Martel not been victorious," Hitler told his inner crowd in August 1942, "then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world." Hitler told Mr. Speer that Islam is "perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament." If the Muslims had won in Tours, the whole of Europe would have become Muslim in the 8th century; and "the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of [Europe]. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire." Today, Germany, like the rest of Western Europe, is rapidly turning Islamic. In addition to the many Muslim immigrants, 4,000 Germans convert to Islam each year. As always the converts are among the most radical. Last September, Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider, two young German converts to Islam, were arrested as they were preparing to bomb Frankfurt International Airport. Hitler would have been proud of them [the jihadists]. And he would have loathed the so-called "racists" who worry about their country losing its national identity.
Others here will have a better grasp as to the validity of Mr. Belien's argument.
Labels: Always On Watch
Now the Barbarians Want Britain to Adopt Islamic Values in the Name of Integration!
This is the limit! The chutzpah of it all! Now the Muslim immigrants want the indigenous British population to adopt some Islamic values to integrate with the Muslim community! Integration, he says, works both ways. Yes, Dr Bari, just as it does in Saudi Arabia, and in other barbaric Islamic cultures. This really is the giddy limit! This is the example par excellence of Muslim immigrants trying it on.
How much longer must the long-suffering British tolerate this damn nonsense?
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari now suggests that alcohol be banned in all public places, just like smoking! (What did I tell you would happen after that ridiculous smoking ban?) He also wants the British to adopt arranged marriages, and homosexuality must be outlawed again, of course. In a few words, they want to drive us all back to the Dark Ages.
This man thinks that Britain could benefit from a little more morality (Islamic morality, of course). Hm! Does this ridiculous man not think that the Islamic world could benefit from a little more Christian humanity?
When immigrants start trying to dictate the terms and conditions, it is high time that the indigenous population sat up and started thinking seriously about repatriation for this group of people who are so obviously impossible to integrate. For if something is not done about this problem soon, then I see only strife ahead. The streets of Britain really will, then, become “rivers of blood”! - ©Mark.
THE TELEGRAPH: The head of the Muslim Council of Britain does not mince his words on integration, report Rachel Sylvester and Alice ThomsonMark Alexander
There is fear and loathing in Britain. This week, the head of MI5 claimed there were 2,000 people involved in terrorist activity and children as young as 15 were being "groomed" to be suicide bombers.
Gordon Brown announced plans to require immigrants to learn English and Downing Street said the Prime Minister wanted to double the number of days that terrorist suspects can be detained without trial. Then, just as the Metropolitan Police was being censured for shooting the Stockwell One, the Lyrical Terrorist became the first woman to be convicted of terrorist crimes.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), thinks the Government is stoking the tension. "There is a disproportionate amount of discussion surrounding us," he says. "The air is thick with suspicion and unease. It is not good for the Muslim community, it is not good for society."
The 53-year-old special needs teacher has a gentle manner and a quiet voice - he describes himself as a "community spokesman" rather than a "religious leader" - but he does not mince his words.
Britain must, he warns, beware of becoming like Nazi Germany.
"Every society has to be really careful so the situation doesn't lead us to a time when people's minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s. If your community is perceived in a very negative manner, and poll after poll says that we are alienated, then Muslims begin to feel very vulnerable. We are seen as creating problems, not as bringing anything and that is not good for any society."
There is, in his view, no such thing as Islamic terrorism.
"Terrorists are terrorists, they may use religion but we shouldn't say Muslim terrorists, it stigmatises the whole community. We never called the IRA Catholic terrorists." Dr Bari thinks Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, made the extremists' job easier by giving a bleak picture of the threat on the eve of the Queen's Speech. Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension (more) By Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson
Dissecting the Burqa
This Islamic garment is a symbol of oppression for a variety of mostly straightforward reasons, and as such is morally reprehensible. What I just said shouldn’t be controversial at all to uphold, were it not for the raging storm of political correctness that has swept through our culture lately. So I’m not going to go through the ideological reasons of how and why the burqa sucks, because to me it’s so trivial. Plus I don’t even invoke any of that when I see a woman in a burqa: the silent war of cultures, the sickening throwback to a savage era of female subjugation to men, etc…
My immediate reaction whenever I spot a burqa-girl comes as an intimate shocking shudder down my spine. What an awkward and obtrusive image! It ironically generates the same kind of silent tension in common social settings as would the presence of a completely naked person sitting next to you in the bus, or nonchalantly walking into a bank or a restaurant. Whether one tries to mingle with people while naked or hermetically covered from head to toe, the absurd contrast to what everyone else is wearing screams out loud at the crucial subtleties we commonly take for granted in the spectrum of human relations.
Our clothes keep us warm, seal off and protect our most delicate body parts from environmental damage, conceal our genitals and breasts so as to not rub in everyone’s faces our crude sexual attractiveness or lack there of, but also allow us to invent a public identity through a personalized combination of designs, accessories, and possibly symbols and slogans. So our clothes enhance our individuality but it’s our face that forms the epicenter of our public persona: we cognitively anchor the representation of anyone’s personality to that person’s unique facial features. We are prone to recognize faces out of random mixes of objects whenever possible, so our brains are primed for this. The face takes up a disproportionately large chunk of our mental representation of human beings as children’s drawings illustrate. Eye contact and facial expressions play an important role in how we relate to others during conversations and even in how we warm up to strangers.
The burqa is a monstrous device because it effectively shaves off the most basic and accessible dimension of identity: the face. The woman hiding underneath it is dehumanized in the eyes of her beholders: she is reduced to an indeterminate object of unspecified form and features. A horse can hide under a burqa, or a clown, or a monkey, or a coffin, or a thief, or a ghost, or a mummy, or a giant noodle. Not only does the burqa erase the wearer’s most human and recognizable trait, her face, but it also razes to the ground all other external symbols of identity: the distinctive combinations of clothing items, styles, accessories, jewelry… How can I empathize with someone in a burqa if all I see is a monochromatic faceless shapeless bag? The wearer is practically interchangeable with anyone else wearing a burqa. There is zero potential for deep or subtle interpersonal relations through such a discomforting barrier. It’s alienating on a human level to be the one who is fully open and exposed while your interlocutor is hiding behind an opaque veil. This makes any kind of interaction with burqa-girls intrinsically awkward.
The burqa has also a perverse X factor that elicits laser beams out of my eyes: in its underhanded way it’s so self-righteously slutty! The entire rationale for it is that you need to fully cover every square inch of your face and body lest any random male passerby spontaneously breaks down and starts to compulsively drool (or worse) all over you. You really think you’re such hot shit that it’s a big deal whether anyone can see your hair or face? Nobody cares! Nobody is aroused by your stupid hair! Get over it!
Not only does wearing the burqa imply an overly sexualized sense of self, but it also silently spells out a moral condemnation of all women who do not abide by such anal and self-demeaning standards of “modesty”. If your standards for socially proper attire are so far removed from the norm that you are practically living in your own moral planet, and that planet is collapsing into a black hole under its own warped field of ‘judgmentality’, there will be a point where the principle of general cultural relativity breaks down in an asymmetric fashion: As viewed from the PC planet, your style is kind of weird and no fun, but perfectly equivalent to whatever they’ve got over there, and while they might not go out of their way to bond with you for one politically correct excuse or another, you must surely be a great girl underneath and the PC crowd wishes you all the best in life. As viewed from your planet, however, the PC crowd is roaming with lustful immodest sluts who seduce every male in their path by flaunting their face and hair, and are so going to burn in hell for it.
The burqa is eerie, alienating, judgmental, demeaning, dehumanizing, and is calling everyone else a whore.
--crossposted at Kejda.net
Friday, November 09, 2007
The BNP Is Not A Racist Party?
Exhibit A: A Jewish female BNP candidate who won a council seat in Essex.
Exhibit B: A Jewish/BNP Alliance against Muslims in the UK.
That looks good. I am happy when there is less strife in the world. However, I will not put blinders on to be more happy. The truth is, for every intelligent BNP leader, there seems to be quite a few lower-rung BNP members who believe that it is important that we preserve a "white Britain."
In other words, they divide the world along racial lines, instead of ideological lines. If this is the case then a citizen of the UK who happens to be Indian, for instance, is not deemed as desirable a partner for marriage and having children. It is, theoretically, preferable, according to the BNP, that Indians who are British citizens would not have very many children, especially since white British citizens aren't quite living up to snuff in the baby-making department.
Hey, maybe someone can make me feel comfortable with the BNP. Like I said, I'd rather there be less strife in the world.
Rome Didn’t Fall in a Day: an analysis of Western Europe’s cultural demise
The burqa/headscarf is unfortunately becoming so ubiquitous in the US and Canada that I am starting to get tired of getting outraged every single time I spot it. Being rightfully appalled can be exhausting business. I have noticed that I tend to bypass the appropriate emotional response (read: repulsion) increasingly more often lately, and instead just silently proceed to make more additions to my deportation wish list. I do make a distinction between the headscarf and the full-body burqa: while the former is simply disgraceful, the latter should be illegal to wear in public because it covers the face along with enough loose space in the gut area for its wearer to comfortably squeeze in a concealed weapon, which has practical ramifications for criminals on the run and would-be bank robbers. I also differentiate with respect to the nuances of disgust reserved for the spread of the burqa in Western Europe on the one hand, and across the US, Canada, and Australia on the other hand. How so?
In short, Europe stands for nothing today. Ethnic nation-states in the Old West are crumbling under a scary moral void. Too many European citizens have no such thing as a comprehensive set of principles behind their various national identities; all they’ve got is their measly “Germanness”, “Frenchness”, “Britishness” or whatnot to hold on to, all of which are rapidly eroding in the acid of Cultural Relativism that the Europeans have been so eager and so stupid to embrace. Europe cannot stomach the backwardness of its Muslim Immigrants, yet it has no new cultural home to offer them. The French want their immigrants to participate in their “Frenchness” somehow, but “Frenchness” is inherited, it can never be acquired. Of course Sarkozy’s father was an outcast because of his Hungarian last name. There’s no way to get around it: Europe never forgets anyone’s ethnic otherness. The Holocaust is very eloquent on this subject. The European identity is ethnic/tribal at its core, not ideological. Europe has no moral shelter to offer even its natives, let alone its immigrants. Now that the church has been dethroned from its historic position of moral hegemony, the Old Continent is mutely agonizing like a giant headless cockroach awaiting slow starvation.
So what do Europeans have to say to burqa wearers, or to female circumcisers for that matter? “That’s not how we dress/do things over here”?? Europeans have no firm conceptions of why some of their traditions and practices are objectively superior to the new influx from the savage world.
That’s because the moral foundation of their civilization has been a mix of Christian theology (now increasingly irrelevant) and pure ethnocentricity (Cultural Relativism has rendered ethnocentric supremacism impotent.) So I do not feel as strongly about defiant burqa-girls in Western Europe. I think it would be in their best interest to renounce their backward ways and embrace the less backward European tradition, but there is no guarantee that they will be fully accepted by the nationalistic establishment even if they do so. Furthermore, because Europe advertises its culture as a nationalistic dogma instead of a cogent moral argument, of course there will be poor penetration within the Muslims: they’ve already got their own big fat dogma! It also makes European culture less appealing to defend, thus I am less outraged when I spot burqa-girls flagrantly defacing it.
By contrast, the former British colonies are not ethnic nation-states. They are essentially membership clubs, the belonging to which is based on clear ideological commitments. For example, the national identity of the US is nothing but a moral profile outlining American values. That’s all there is to it. If you don’t like freedom, then why do you come to the US? If you don’t value self-realization, then what are you doing here? The burqa/headscarf and the subjugation they imply, of women to men, flies in the face of the American tradition of freedom and equal moral entitlement of genders. It is an uncompromising culture of freedom that is supposed to make Americans “American”. A lot of Americans themselves skimp on the “all men created equal” statement here and there but at least pay it due lip service. Now if someone so visibly refuses to partake in that culture, then what is supposed to make them “American”? They clearly do not belong in the country.
Until the day comes when national boarders are obsolete and anyone can freely go/live anywhere, the US will have to discriminate between peoples of the world with respect to their admissibility into the country. Because America is not an ethnic nation-state, it would be racist to select on the basis of ethnicity (the Diversity Visa Lottery is preposterous, I know). All that remains then is ideology, and to a lesser degree, skills. Being American should not be a matter of arbitrary background circumstance, though it’s sadly becoming more and more fashionable for disaffected youths born in the country to view it as such, but rather a conscious choice affirming one’s embrace of a free life and the moral entitlements and responsibilities stemming from such a life. A similar argument goes for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand too, although these countries’ values are perhaps less explicitly outlined than in the case of the US constitution.
Back to Europe… Well you know what they say: there’s eurotrash and then there’s Euro Trash. I must confess that for practical reasons I consider most if not all of Europe to sadly be trash. I exhausted a good part of this topic above, but there’s plenty more to be said. Western Europe is plagued by rampant political correctness and a Fallen Empire syndrome: what a deadly mix!
The former is manifested in hasty and pathetic attempts by Western European countries to reinvent their identities within a contrived culture-neutral neo-leftist frame. This confirms my gut suspicion that neo-leftism is the popular fallback of the half-assed apostates of Christianity. The nanny state is increasingly replacing the Church’s traditional social and moral functions in European countries.
The latter haunts the conscience of nearly every European but they are so repressed about it that you wouldn’t have a clue, and probably wouldn’t believe me unless you have some first-hand experience with Eurobullshit. We need to remember that it’s been less than a century since the Old West gave up its imperialist status quo. The European public image has been drastically sanitized since, maybe too drastically in too short a time for the European sub-consciousness to catch up. The Old Continent is torn between its emerging proletarian neo-leftist identity and the burning shame from its fall from relevance.
A lot of it is sublimated into raw leftist strife, but underneath it all Europe deeply resents not being a superpower: it misses its old glory, its colonies. This motivation can be traced back to the foreign-policy inclinations of the former superpowers: they keep supporting their traditional vassals of centuries ago, no matter how much the dynamics have changed since. The European stance on Serbia is a prime example of this. There is no practical reason to maintain these positions because the imperialist intentions of exerting influence by proxy in any given region have almost completely disappeared. Europe sticks to its antiquated positions/favoritisms for nothing but continuity’s sake. It’s a way of reassuring itself that it’s still relevant in the world, that it can still decide the fate of smaller nations, that it has the cojones to stick with its stubborn and arbitrary nation-building (or “nation-destroying”) initiatives without being made to flinch (take that, America!). Defiance and rage against the US are outlets for Europe’s sour grapes mentality.
The bottom line: a growing army of passive-aggressive drones in chronic collective-identity crisis. So many European youths feel helpless, have no light in their eyes, lack an ideological back-spine, and are brainwashed into State worshiping. Europeans like thinking of themselves as cultured, tolerant (I’m probably repeating myself, since the conventional wisdom maintains that cultured and tolerant are synonyms) worldly, classy (unlike those brute Americans) and progressive. Yet they obsess over petty nonsense like attacks on the purity of their languages (the perpetrator being of course, English), commonly despise avant-garde entrepreneurship as plebeian vulgarity, but value the study of dead languages, equation-drilling, their regional literature, and pedantic academicism.
The truth is that while Europe has been the driving locomotive of Western Civilization for the major part of the latter’s existence, the amazing philosophical evolutions (revolutions?) it spurred have found room to burst only at the seams of Europe’s backwardness: the greatest most progressive ideas originating from the Old West were only grudgingly and halfassedly accepted by the establishment, often not before vigorous attempts to repress them. Socrates got served, the Athenians almost had Aristotle’s head on a plate, Galileo was persecuted, Roger Bacon was imprisoned, John Locke was intimidated, and the list goes on and on. The revolutionary thinkers who carried the Western tradition forward were very often cutting against the grain of their own culture, and to this day Europe has yet to fully accept and adopt what its best minds have suggested it…
There are meaningful historical reasons for Europe’s decline:
Under many variations, ethnocentrism has been ubiquitous in the world since the dawn of civilization: to view essential aspects of oneself as derivative from the collective, and not only to prefer one’s way but also to believe it best, superior to all others, has been the natural status quo for millennia. Collectivism and the firm binding of the good with one’s own way through refusing to see a distinction between the two, form the very cultural fabric of ethnic nation-states.
Greek philosophers were the first men we know to address the problem of ethnocentrism. Distinctions between the good and one’s own, between nature and convention, between the just and the legal, are signs of this movement of thought. They related the good to the fulfillment of the whole potential of the individual and were aware that few, if any, of the nations of men had ways that allowed such fulfillment. They were open to the good: They used reason to seek it out. They wanted to be able to evaluate themselves and others, and thus had to use objective standards to judge even their own practices (The Closing of the American Mind, p.36-38).
Fast forwarding to the end of Medievalism: Eventually, in as far as curious objectivity was applied to the physical world through the quest for finding new and better ways, the advancements in technical knowledge/engineering yielded such staggering tangible results to the benefit of the population at large, that most of Europe eventually embraced this new fashion of thinking (to the Church’s great discontent). It even became fashionable for wannabe enlightened monarchs to cultivate their own “pet scientist-philosophers” in their courts.
The application of rational objectivity began to spread by contagion to the conception of human nature. The fruits of this experiment were thornier than their counterparts from the natural sciences: The emergence of Man in a new ethical frame that conceived of him as a free rational agent with inalienable moral entitlements derived from his very nature as Man, with his life, liberty, and happiness as paramount values, was an ideological stab to the heart of the collectivist ethnic nation-state and its authoritarian power structure. So this re-conception of ethics on a universal individualist plane appeared as a threat to ethnocentric culture and a dangerous uprooting charm. Politically, the development of these heretical ideas inspired administrative transformations: mostly on an incremental basis but also through bloody revolutions.
Yet friction from Europe’s tribalistic heritage was enormous, and certainly sufficient to considerably damp down the impact of these advancements. Compromises with the establishment were sought, which often corrupted the essence of the proposed liberal values for the sake of preserving social order: at the end of the day, it meant conserving the status quo. This resistance to liberalism didn’t originate from just the ruling class with indeed much to lose, but sadly from Europe’s masses, the people with so much to gain from the adoption of liberty. National identity pointed them back to the passionate attachment to their backward provincial ways, and away from Western Thought that was trying to liberate them from it. Science chipped away at subjectivity while universal individualist ethics eroded collectivist chauvinism, but the bulk of Europe’s population could not bring itself to turn the page.
The people of Europe had been split into fanatic religious sects at constant war, isolated in ethnic factions, pitted against one-another for centuries, trapped in puddles of provincialism infested by superstition. Embracing liberalism meant giving up the immense pride derived from the minuscule differences between their customs and myths and those of their neighbors. It meant giving up their collectivist identity with its perks of supremacist righteousness and feelings of superiority, which they had no felt need to objectively scrutinize.
Countries like England and Holland did experiment with economic freedom with great results, but only on a fickle discretionary basis and for purely consequentalist reasons. They never accepted the moral foundations that supported free markets and free societies. Lacking firm ideological and institutional commitments to universal individual rights, these countries’ courtship of these classical Man-centric values did not stand the test of time. In short, Europe had too much cultural baggage for liberalism. The seeds of freedom had to be sewn somewhere else.
After failed efforts to conceive a new society within sterile Europe, the United States of America was Western Thought’s first love child: a country conceived in liberty, self-determination, and natural law. Indeed its initial political formulation wasn’t flawless: slavery and deficient political rights for women were ugly incumbents. Yet it’s noteworthy that the Founding Fathers never specifically banned women from voting (but the states did have that power and used it). Many of them were also vocal abolitionists throughout their lives. Most importantly, they drafted the Constitution as such an airtight argument for freedom, that with time it successfully transcended all the leftover debris of Old-Continent tyranny that were originally incorporated into the country for the sake of expediency.
Whereas Europe’s kinky flirts with freedom revolved around the whim of kings, queens, political coalitions, or angry mobs, America’s political heart was always in the right place. While Europe was still consumed by its ethnic wars well into the 20th century, America was busy getting prosperous through commerce. While Europe was preparing to butcher millions of its own, America was becoming a new home to thousands every year, affording them opportunities never dreamt of in their old caste-based societies.
So I wonder: How and why exactly did Europe pull a 180 and get so hard-core PC in just a matter of decades? What catalyzed such a drastic surgical detachment from the tribalist undertones of its billennial culture? I think it was mostly an implosion:
Marxism had an ideological binding-effect on European nations. It consolidated international strife into an intra-national dynamic of factions in perpetual state of struggle and discontent: from the old chauvinistic rivalry between the English and the French, to the more intimate strife between the proletariat and the capitalist class within the same country. Note that the Marxist paradigm is an elaboration of, and qualitatively self-similar to, the original looser frame of ethnic hatred: Like the latter, it interprets people in collectivist and dehumanizing terms (ethnicity/class), pits them against one another over grievances that are often imaginary or second-hand (differences in language, religion, regional customs/ transient relative positions in the labor market), and encourages them to consume their hatred (ethnic cleansing/class war).
Marxism was a fractal refinement of ethnic conflict.
It brought it physically closer to the hearts of those who had craved hatred for its own sake throughout generations. It was a deeper more “nuanced” drill into the same direction of projecting hatred inwards.
One important trait Marxism doesn’t share with classical ethnic chauvinism is self-victimization. While ethnocentrism is usually supremacist, leftist strife acknowledges a deep inferiority complex through its obsession with the “exploitation” of the proletariat. This partly explains why Marxism spread like fire in Russia and Eastern and Southern Europe: these nations were history’s rejects. Their powerful western neighbors, the Ottoman Empire, and other transient regional superpowers had brutalized and humiliated them for centuries, often using them as pawns in international conflicts. Marxist self-victimization appealed to these countries’ peoples on a very intimate level.
By contrast, Western Europe was too invested in its grandeur to immediately succumb to an oppressed and dispossessed internal vision of self. But around the middle of the 20th century, the Old West woke up with a terrible headache from a hangover of lost greatness. A few remarkable things had happened:
First of all, Europe practically lost all its colonies. So used were the former colonial powers to their international limbs, that they now felt stubbed. This certainly took a toll on their collective self-esteem.
Most importantly, America saved Western countries’ political viability after both world wars, besides saving their people directly from annihilation. The vital and one-sided reliance on their unrefined transatlantic cousin was hard to swallow. Both wars had exploded from the major western powers’ unhinged ambitions of world dominance. By the end of WW2 all the initial contenders were devastated to the bone, while the insolent fresh-faced USA emerged as the world’s supreme powerhouse among international applause for saving Europe from its homicidal lunacy.
The pendulum of power had permanently shifted away from the Old West, but the humiliation did not end there. Adding insult to injury, as a bonus consequence of their insane war, the USSR was now looming like a giant cancerous nuclear mole right on Europe’s ass. The troubled continent had to look for protection from the US, again.
The prospect of being vassals to the US does things to the sub-consciousness of a people whose primary notion of identity for centuries had revolved around the ability to dictate submission to the rest of the world. If you’re an American who has felt European rancor first-hand, this might explain a few things.
When the USSR ceased to be a threat, there was a collective sigh of relief, and then just silence. With no imminent threats to distract it, Europe could finally fully digest the realization that it was now irreversibly light years behind America in just about every relevant respect. Europe did slowly succumb to a pitiful internal vision of self, which allowed socialism to creep in like a virus since the end of WW2, infiltrating the severely weakened immune defenses of national pride.
Cultural relativism is an interesting highlight of Europe’s neo-leftist disposition. It’s generally touted as an umbrella to shield the mostly Muslim immigrants from cultural scrutiny but in reality it’s largely a self-serving construct. It serves as an outlet for collective neurosis through escaping reality. In a world dominated by pragmatic dynamics, led by the USA and trailed by Eastern emerging powers, Europe has to face everyday what it missed out on: the opportunity to be relevant, to institutionally embrace freedom and capitalism, and to be part of the new world order. Instead the Old West cannibalized itself in the last century over supremacist collectivist dogmas, and its consolation is now that at least its priorities were correct: that everything is culturally relative, that there is no such thing as natural law dictating what man’s proper mode of existence is, that one politico-economic system is just as good as any other (so long as a collective culture backs it) no matter the objective level of prosperity it can afford its people, that cultural hegemony is the only thing worth fighting for (as Europe bloodily did), and that their delusions are not deluded so long as they really believe in them. The core of Europeans’ passion for political correctness lies in their psychological need of escaping reality, of hiding their heads in the sand, of refusing to acknowledge their ideological failures, and avoiding a much needed objective assessment of their situation.
Many Europeans channel these repressed needs by applying the sophistry of cultural relativism to their backward immigrants, but in reality it’s themselves they are trying to shield and protect. When the clash between their culture and the savage Islamic influx is truly shocking, most Europeans don’t know how to react. They are so invested in cultural relativism that the path of least resistance is often appeasement. There is a minority that fights fire with fire, counteracting the pressure from Islam with ultra-nationalistic fascist sentiment. This goes to illustrate that the European identity is mostly tribal/ethnic, not ideological, and that itself is the main problem.
The most popular defense of Europe’s identity comes as a resurgence of ethnic chauvinism, rather than as an appeal to Western values on their own objective merits.
Europe needs a reality check urgently. It is sad to see America becoming more and more like Europe, when Europe is the one in dire need of looking up to what America is supposed to be. Rome didn’t fall in a day, but until Europe acknowledges its big problem, gives up the stubborn and irrational attachment to its collectivist ways, and develops enough character to challenge radical Islam on a moral plane, it will remain the sick man of the Free World.
-cross-posted at kejda.net
Religion of Peace: Suicide Bomber Kills 59 Schoolchildren In Afghanistan
The man walked into a crowd of people, waited for children to line up with some politicans for a photo-op and then detonated himself:
KABUL, Afghanistan - Dozens of schoolchildren and five teachers were among those killed in a suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week — the country's deadliest since the fall of the Taliban — the government said Friday.
The 59 schoolchildren had lined up to greet a group of lawmakers visiting a sugar factory in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives.
"The education minister has ordered that no children should be ever again be used in these sort of events," said Zahoor Afghan, an Education Ministry spokesman. He said the children ranged in age from 8 to 18.
In all, the explosion claimed the lives at least 75 people, including several parliamentarians, and wounded 96. It was the deadliest attack in the country since the toppling of Taliban regime from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared three days of mourning Wednesday and ordered an investigation. No group has claimed responsibility, and the Taliban denied any involvement.
L.A. Police To Map Muslims
LOS ANGELES - Civil rights advocates criticized plans by the Los Angeles Police Department to map the city's Muslim communities, calling it racial profiling.
The LAPD's counterterrorism bureau plans to identify Muslim enclaves in order to determine which might be likely to become isolated and susceptible to "violent, ideologically based extremism," said Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing on Thursday.
(Pastorius note: Uh, how about all of them. Where in the world have Muslims congregated and not turned violent eventually? Where in the world is there an Islam represented by moderate media, government, political organizations and academic institutions? The answer is: Nowhere!)
"We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to those communities," said Downing, who heads the counterterrorism bureau.
(Pastorius: Oh yeah, what about the fucking Saudis?)
Downing said the plan is still in its early stages, but the LAPD wants to work with a Muslim partner ...
(Pastorius note: Oh yeah, that Muslim partner is a good idea.)
... and intends to have the data assembled by the University of Southern California's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis.
Downing testified about the plan before a U.S. Senate committee on Oct. 30.
In his testimony, Downing said his bureau wanted to "take a deeper look at the history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown, socioeconomic status and social interactions" of the city's Muslim communities.
There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.
On Thursday, several Muslim groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sent Downing a letter expressing "grave concerns" about the program.
"Singling out individuals for investigation, surveillance, and data-gathering based on their religion constitutes religious profiling that is just as unlawful, ill-advised and deeply offensive as racial profiling," said the letter.
It was signed by representatives of the ACLU of Southern California; Muslim Advocates, a national association of Muslim lawyers; the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The plan "basically turns the LAPD officers into religious political analysts, while their role is to fight crime and enforce the laws," said Hussam Ayloush, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who signed the letter.
However, another group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is considering working with the LAPD on the project.
"We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people's civil liberties are protected," said Salam al-Marayati, the council's executive director.
Storm Track Disinformation: Infidel Women Charged with “Emotional Abuse” of Muslim Men
1:24:00 p.m. permanent link#
Kosovo Emerging as Bastion of Radical Islam
El-Baradei: Helping Iran To Go Nuclear
This is from Ed Lasky at the American Thinker:
When, in the all-too-near future, the world looks to identify those responsible for allowing Iran's nuclear arsenal to change the world forever, one name will figure prominently: Mohammed. Not the Prophet Mohammed as most people would presume. The founder of Islam plays a role, but the Mohammed in question is Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He will be the man who will be credited as the enabler. The mullahs will get their nuclear scepter, and the world's ability to restrain the messianic, genocidal and suicidal regime in Iran gets far weaker.
ElBaradei's record reveals a pattern of egregious behavior that should have led to his ouster long ago. It is a record that heretofore escaped much scrutiny thanks to a compliant diplomatic corps and a complacent media. While the record of Iranian subterfuges, broken promises, violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), and blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council -- all clearly geared towards developing a nuclear arsenal -- has been well-documented, the role that Mohammed ElBaradei has played in serving their interests has received notably less attention.
ElBaradei is an Egyptian, and served in that nation's government for many years before joining the staff of the IAEA in 1984, becoming its Director General in 1997. The wisdom behind allowing an Egyptian to assume the role as the world's nuclear negotiator should be questioned.
The Middle East is a cauldron of violence. While some might believe a Middle Easterner could be trusted by the governments in the region, his insider status could give other parties sway over him. Even if he is a man of impeccable character and virtue, he is subject to pressures and implicit threats that might come his way in his UN office. Will ElBaradei be accountable only to the IAEA? Given that he has already been accused of exceeding his mandate (more on this below), does his background offer some grounds for concern?
Go read the whole thing.
Wahhabism, Financed By Saudi Arabia, Quickly Gains Ground in Bosnia
Thick iron bars block the entrance to Abu Hamza's store in Sarajevo's Islamic shopping center. Affixed to the bars is a handwritten note: "My Bosnian citizenship has been revoked. I have to defend myself, and for this reason my store is only open sporadically."
Abu Hamza, a bearded 42-year-old man originally from Syria, sits in his store among colorful veils and gold-embroidered tunics and speaks in a gentle voice about Bosnia's fate. Which, he says, will be either an evolution of true Islam, or a revolution. Fundamentalist Islam Finds Fertile Ground in Bosnia (more) By Renate Flottau
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The Many Faces Of Belgian Fascism
BRUSSELS -- Belgium is the birthplace of René Magritte. So perhaps it's not surprising that, in politics, even the fascism here is surreal.
Take Belgian Socialists, Flemish or Walloon. The hallmark of nearly every European socialist party has long been hostility to religion. In recent years, Belgium's ruling Socialist-Liberal coalition has antagonized Catholics by legalizing gay marriage and euthanasia, banning crucifixes from government buildings and abolishing the traditional Te Deum service previously held by the government to commemorate the inauguration of Leopold I, first king of the Belgians.
But then the Socialists began taking note of Belgium's Muslim community, some 500,000 strong. In Brussels, notes Joël Rubinfeld of the Atlantis Institute think tank, half of the Socialist Party's 26-member slate in the city's 75-seat parliament is Muslim. In the commune of Molenbeek, longstanding Socialist mayor Philippe Moureaux has made Halal meals standard in all schools; police officers are also barred from eating or drinking on the streets during Ramadan. The Socialist Party was also, improbably, the leading opponent of a bill that would have criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide. This, too, is a product of burgeoning Muslim-Socialist alliance, as is the party's routine denunciations of Israel.
Now take the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), the secessionist Flemish Party previously known as the Vlaams Blok until a court ruled it illegal in 2004. The Blok has longstanding links to Nazi collaborators. One of the party's founding members is Karel Dillen, who in 1951 translated into Flemish a French tract denying the Holocaust (possibly the only French text for which a Vlams Blok party member has ever shown sympathy.) For many years, the party's chief selling point was its call to forcibly deport immigrants who failed to assimilate. It also made plain its sympathies with other far-right wing European parties, such as Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front in France.
But that's changing. Younger party leaders, realizing their anti-Semitic taint was poison, began making pro-Israel overtures. And the party's tough-on-crime, hostile-to-Muslims stance began to attract a considerable share of the Jewish vote, particularly among Orthodox Antwerp Jews who felt increasingly vulnerable in the face of the city's hostile Muslim community.
Today, Vlaams Belang is the largest single party in the country.
Then there are the government's actual policies. In April, Belgians were shocked by the murder of a teenager named Joe Van Holsbeeck, who was stabbed to death in Brussels's central train station by two Gypsy youths, at the height of the afternoon rush hour, in broad view of dozens of onlookers. (Apparently, the killers wanted his MP3 player.)
Amid a pervasive and growing sense of lawlessness -- Belgium's per capita murder rate, at 9.1 per 100,000 is nearly twice that of the U.S. -- the murder became the occasion of much national soul-searching. When Jean-Marie Dedecker, a senator from the ruling Liberal Party, opined in an op-ed that "policemen look the other way in order to avoid being accused of racism," he was rebuked by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt for "inciting hostilities."
There is also the amazing case of journalist Paul Belien, who edits the Brussels Journal, a pro-American, Euroskeptic, anti-Islamist blog. In February, the blog was one of the few news sources to republish the notorious Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, thereby attracting some two million unique visits. It also attracted extraordinary scrutiny from the Flemish newsweekly Knack. Noting that Mr. Belien's blog had been cited by Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, Knack described the link as "no coincidence," but rather a "deliberate provocation by the neocons," the ultimate aim of which was to make Americans and Europeans believe "that all Muslims are violent and dangerous, after which the clash in Palestine, Iran and Syria can really kick off."
But that was as nothing compared to the reaction Mr. Belien provoked by an article following the Van Holsbeeck murder, in which he described the killers as "predators" and called for Belgium to decriminalize the possession of self-defense weapons (pepper-spray is what he says he had mainly in mind).
Two weeks after the article appeared, Mr. Belien received a letter from the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, a government-mandated body whose mission is to "assist victims of discrimination" and "sensitize the general public on anti-discrimination." (Belgium has one of the strongest anti-discrimination regimes anywhere.) Mr. Belien's article, according to the CEOOR, constituted an "incitement to violence"; he was ordered to remove it from his blog or face state prosecution. He complied. In the meantime, he says he received emails with pictures of burned corpses and messages reading, "This is what is going to happen to you."
Mr. Belien has since been questioned by the police for homeschooling his five children, four of whom have moved on to university or beyond. Part of Mr. Belien's problem, surely, is that his wife is a member in parliament for the Vlaams Belang. But whatever her politics, Mr. Belien is not a member of the party, and nothing on the Brussels Journal suggests that it is a party vehicle. His chief crime, rather, seems to be that he has laid bare, to an English-speaking audience, the lesser-known charms of the Belgian state.
Meanwhile, the real fascists in Belgium are gaining strength, largely protected from scrutiny by the country's "anti-racism" legislation. At Brussels's Imam Reza mosque, a preacher commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini's death: "The enemies cannot extinguish the light of the Islamic Revolution." And in Molenbeek, the newspaper Het Volk published a study of the local Muslim population: The editor, Gunther Vanpraet, described the commune as "a breeding ground for thousands of Jihad candidates."
History's Bloodiest Siege
The alarm was raised. More of these strange objects drifted into view, and men waded into the shallows to drag them to the shore. What they found horrified even these battle-weary veterans: wooden crosses pushed out by the enemy to float in the harbor, and crucified on each was the headless body of a Christian knight.
This was psychological warfare at its most brutal, a message sent by the Turkish Muslim commander whose invading army had just vanquished the small outpost of Fort St Elmo — a thousand yards distant across the water.
Now the target was the one remaining fort on the harbor front where the beleaguered, outnumbered and overwhelmed Christians were still holding out: the Fort St Angelo. The Turkish commander wished its defenders to know that they would be next, that a horrible death was the only outcome of continued resistance.
But the commander had not counted on the mettle of his enemy — the Knights of St John. Nor on the determination of their leader Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, who vowed that the fort would not be taken while one last Christian lived in Malta.
On news of the grotesque discovery of the headless knights — many of them his personal friends — Grand Master Valette quickly ordered that captured Turks imprisoned deep in the vaulted dungeons of the fort be taken from their cells, and beheaded one by one.
Then he returned a communiquè of his own: the heads of his Turkish captives were fired from his most powerful cannon direct into the Muslim lines. There would be no negotiation, no compromise, no surrender, no retreat.
We Christians, the Grand Master was saying, will fight to the death and take you with us.
The Siege of Malta in 1565 was a clash of unimaginable brutality, one of the bloodiest — yet most overlooked — battles ever fought. It was also an event that determined the course of history, for at stake was the very survival of Christianity.
If vitally strategic Malta fell, the Muslim Ottoman Empire would soon dominate the Mediterranean. Even Rome would be in peril.
The Muslims had hundreds of ships and an army tens of thousands strong. The Christians were a ragtag bunch of just a few hundred hardbitten knights and some local peasant soldiers with a few thousand Spanish infantry. Malta looked doomed.
That the Hospitaller Knights of St John existed at all was a minor miracle. They were a medieval relic, an order established originally to look after ailing pilgrims to the Holy Lands during the Crusades 300 years earlier — other orders of the Crusades, such as the Knights Templar, had been extinct for two-and-a-half centuries.
They came from countries all over Europe: Germany, Portugal, France, Spain. All that united them was a burning desire to defend Christendom against what they perceived as the ever-encroaching tide of Islam. Yet by the 16th century, an age of the increasing power of nation states, these trans-national zealots were viewed as an embarrassing anachronism by much of Europe.
Already the Turks had forced them from their earlier home, the island of Rhodes. Now the knights had moved to Malta — and were threatened once more.
So savage was the fighting, so mismatched the two sides and so important the moment, that I chose the Siege of Malta as the subject of my latest novel, Blood Rock. It was the stage, as we thriller writers say, for epic and mind-blowing history.
But as I researched for my book, I came to realize that what happened on Malta more than 400 years ago is salutary in today's context. For as we know only too well, religious extremism, terror tactics and barbarism still exist.
Malta was no mere siege. It teaches us many things: the need for courage and steadfastness by an entire populace in the face of threat; the fragility of peace; and the destructiveness of religious hate.
Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey and pitiless ruler of the Ottoman Empire, stared out upon the glittering waters of the Golden Horn estuary of Istanbul. He was the most powerful figure on the planet — his titles included Vice-Regent of God on Earth, Lord of the Lords of East and West — and Possessor of Men's Necks on account of his habit of beheading servants who displeased him.
His realm and absolute remit stretched from the gates of Vienna to the gardens of Babylon, from Budapest to Aden. He was one of the richest men of all time who never wore the same clothes twice, ate off solid gold plates encrusted with jewels, and took his pleasure in a harem of more than 300 women.
An octogenarian, he was utterly ruthless, employing an assassination squad of deaf mutes to strangle traitors. (The reasoning was that they could never be influenced by the pleas for mercy of their victims, nor tell any tales.)
Suleiman had used them to dispatch both his Grand Vizier (his prime minister) and his favorite sons. Less worthy subjects could be executed by pouring molten lead down their throats.
Yet by the standards of the day and his own dynastic line he was not especially violent. Other sultans had done worse: one, tiring of his womenfolk, had drowned his entire harem - some several hundred strong — in muslin sacks at the bottom of the Bosphorus; a second had written into the royal prerogative that he could shoot ten or more citizens a day with his bow and arrows from the roof of his palace.
Suleiman controlled the greatest fighting force in the world. Before him lay an armada of 200 ships ready to sail, an army of 40,000 troops on board. He planned to wipe the barren rock of Malta and the Knights of St John from the map.
These knights lived by raiding and disrupting his Ottoman shipping routes. The last straw had been their capture of the prized ship of his powerful courtier the Chief Black Eunuch.
Because all his "parts" had been cut off by a clean sweep of a razor — a metal tube had been inserted into his urethra and the wound cauterized in boiling oil — the eunuch was also entrusted to look after Suleiman's harem.
The Sultan did not expect undue trouble exacting his revenge. A mere 700 knights stood in his way. Such a rabble would be quickly cleared.
The Turkish fleet headed across the Mediterranean in March 1565. Aboard the ships were the elite janissary shock-troops — the "Invincible Ones" — who had carried Islam across Europe with the slashing blades of their scimitars.
Accompanying them were the blackplumed cavalry corps and the infantry as well as the drug-crazed Iayalars who wore the skins of wild beasts and whose raison d'etre was to reach paradise through death as they slit infidel Christian throats in battle.
In late May 1565, the invasion force arrived at the island. The knights awaiting them enjoyed good intelligence of their plans and had asked for assistance from the Christian armies of European nations. Every kingdom spurned their request — other than Sicily, which said that if the knights held out, help would eventually come.
Bomb Threat At La Guardia8:57:00 p.m. permanent link# 0 Comments
ISRAEL'S INNER CABINENT HOLDS EMERGENCY MEETING ON IRANIAN NUKES
The inner cabinet met Wed. Nov. 7, to discuss the shortened timeline estimate for Iran to attain a nuclear weapons capacity, based on new intelligence information. IDF intelligence chief Brig. Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday that Iran would have this capacity by late 2009, whereas the previous estimate was 2010 or 2011.
Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi told a radio interviewer that the new timeline made 2008 the critical year for grappling once and for all with the Iranian program.
The new data was put before the ministers ahead of their meeting Wednesday. DEBKAfile's Washington sources report that American nuclear and intelligence experts agree on the timetable after poring over the new intelligence input. This includes materials gathered in the Israel attack of Syria's nuclear installation on Sept. 6. They have reached three key conclusions:
1. That Iran is engaged in the secret production of plutonium for nuclear weapons as well as radioactive materials for a dirty bomb, in parallel to its uranium enrichment projects. Israeli intelligence has believed this for three years, but until the operation in Syria there was no concrete evidence. This discovery is at the center of the current US-Israeli controversy with the International Atomic Energy Agency- IAEA, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei.
If he accepts the evidence, it will be an admission that his vast inspection apparatus in Vienna, whose job it is to watch out for nuclear misdemeanors across the world, missed out twice – in Iran and then in Syria. Dr. ElBaradei might then face the suspicion that his work is governed by political rather than professional motivations.
Up until now, the nuclear watchdog's chief has not sent inspectors to examine Israel's findings at the two Syrian sites targeted. He evidently fears they will come back with evidence of plutonium-related nuclear activity.
2. The working premise followed by American and Israeli intelligence is that if Syria was on the road to manufacturing plutonium, Iran must be far more advanced on this course and must be presumed to have begun manufacturing enough waste for dirty bombs and very likely also the materials for a nuclear bomb.
This premise demands a radical reassessment by the United States and Iran's Gulf and Middle East neighbors of their options for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat and essential restructuring of the Israel military's functions to meet a possible radioactive attack by Iran or its terrorist proxies close closer at hand.
3. DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report that these developments throw new light on the role of the Iranian heavy water plant at Arak and natural uranium heavy water reactor, whose capacity to produce plutonium places it at the center of Iran's nuclear program.