Netanyahu in Washington: An Eleventh-hour Plea for Sanity
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Joint Meeting of Congress
Speaker John Boehner on Left and Senate President Pro-temp Sen. Orrin Hatch on Right
March 3, 2015
by Jerry Gordon and Ilan Freedman
On Tuesday, March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu laid out in an address before a joint meeting of Congress, a compelling rebuttal to the President’s case for the phased deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He diplomatically paid court to President Obama for supplying both known and secret support for the Jewish nation of Israel.
We didn’t need Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come tell us how big a threat a nuclear enabled Iran will be. Well-informed Americans already know that Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons production capability in the hands of an apocalyptic regime , will fan the flames of war in the Middle East and put the entire world at risk.
This is a regime whose rulers are sowing seeds of chaos in preparation for the coming of their messiah, the Twelfth Imam.
Netanyahu’s message to a packed house in a Joint Meeting of Congress was clear, concise, and spelled out starkly the issues and the choices we face.
Watch this C-span Video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before the Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3, 2015:
An affronted delegation. Visually absent from the joint meeting were 50 Democrat members of both Chambers, who chose to demonstrate their partisan loyalty to their party and the President. At issue was misplaced sense that the President had been slighted, represented by Netanyahu’s presence before the Joint Meeting of Congress, because the visit was organized by House Speaker John Boehner without consultation with Obama. That no representative of the Obama administration was present as well showed how petulant partisan politicians, even at the highest levels, can be when faced with what they perceive as slights, real or imagined.
By avoiding the Prime Minister’s speech, they also missed the more than 40 rounds of standing ovations that punctuated his remarks. More importantly they failed to observe minimum protocols of courtesy due to a visiting head of state. In this case, when the object of their anger is the head of state of one of America’s closest allies, their lack of courtesy is shameful.
According to reports from reliable sources, the President was “infuriated” by Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. However, because Netanyahu’s speech was full of praise for Obama and his generous assistance and support of Israel, all Obama could say was that Netanyahu didn’t present anything new or “any viable alternatives”. That became the veritable chorus from his White House spokespersons and in some quarters of the mainstream media. So bitter was the vitriol that one of Netanyahu’s detractors suggested that the Prime Minister’s speech was ‘racist’ because it was critical of America’s first minority President. A group of African American pastors responded by coming out in support of Netanyahu’s speech and went on record in a news conference to disagree with this bizarre comment, promising that they would stand with Israel.
The Prime Minister’s speech was framed in history. Israel’s Prime Minister came to inform Americans about the seriousness of the threat represented by a nuclear Iran. He began the body of his speech by placing his remarks in an historical context.
He explained to the Congressional audience that the ancient Jewish Festival of Purim would begin the following evening. The holiday commemorates another Persian government, some 2,500 years ago, when Haman, Vizier to the Persian Emperor Xerxes (also known as Ahasuerus) singled out the entire Jewish population for slaughter. They were saved by Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, and given permission to defend themselves against the massive pogrom that had been planned against them. Netanyahu then drew the parallel between this ancient plot against the Jews of Persia and the current threats against the Jewish State of Israel by the mullahs of Iran, the current government in the modern-day land of ancient Persia.
Bringing history a bit closer to home, Netanyahu made copious references to the Holocaust. He introduced, for recognition and applause, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel, who sat in the Speaker’s Box as an honored guest of the Prime Minister and his wife, Sara. Wiesel, who is a personal friend of the President, came nevertheless as Netanyahu’s guest. “Although he has deep affection for the President”, in the words of his friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “he didn’t feel saying that the Jewish people face danger would be an offensive message.”
These historical connections, creating links between the ancient threat of a Persian viceroy, the more recent catastrophe of the Holocaust, and the current threats of the apocalyptic reign of Shia Mahdists in Tehran, covered two thousand years of history of the Jewish experience. Today’s threat is hardly less significant. Whether from the Ayatollah Khamenei or the alleged moderates in his government, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, they, like Haman, are determined to wipe Israel, ‘the Zionist Enterprise” off the map of the world. In the words of Hezbollah’s retired Brig. Gen. Walid Sakariya, the nuclear weapons Iran is developing are intended to "create a balance of terror with Israel" and "finish off the Zionist enterprise."
Netanyahu also reminded his audience that Israel is the bastion for world Jewry under anti-Semitic assault in the West and throughout the Muslim world. He warned that it would, out of necessity, defend itself against both conventional and non-conventional threats by Iran and its proxies:
This is why -- this is why, as a Prime Minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.
Netanyahu also put in historical context Iran’s continuing war against the West. He referenced Tehran’s secret war against America, Israel, and Jews that began with the Islamic Revolution in 1979 with the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the hostage crisis that lasted 444 days, a war that still continues.
He spoke of the hundreds if not thousands of American soldiers and diplomats who were killed by Iranian Quds Force and their proxies, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in locations like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, East Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He spoke of the hundreds if not thousands of Jews who were killed in actions across five continents. Witness as examples the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and 1994 AMIA Jewish Center blasts in Buenos Aires, Argentina and, more recently the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in Burgas, Bulgaria by Hezbollah operatives.
Netanyahu aptly pointed out that the Iranian Constitution crafted by these Mahdists said that the purpose of the Islamic Revolution was to export Jihad around the world. Unlike the US, he said, which was founded on the promise of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, Iran’s founding documents promised, “Death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.”
Netanyahu also warned his Congressional audience and those watching live from around the globe that Iran’s apocalyptic version of militant Islam comes from the source and that their current assault against ISIS should not fool us into adopting the ancient Arab maxim, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. “When it comes to Iran and ISIS,” he said, “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”
Iran as the agent of global jihad. Among the most egregious of Iran’s involvement in attacks against the US, was the connivance with Al Qaeda in facilitating the training of many of the 9/11 perpetrators by the late Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, Imad Maghniyah. That was revealed in affidavits by former Iranian intelligence operatives in the Federal Iran 9/11 links case.
More recently, we have the revelations of collusion between the Shia Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda in e-mails from the treasure trove of information captured by US Navy Seal Team Six during the assassination of the late Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan.
Then there is the evidence of Iran’s Quds Force assisting the launch of ISIS in Syria. This is ironic now that the IRGC is leading Iraqi military forces against ISIS in the attack on the late Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit, which was captured by ISIS. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is placed in the precarious and unwelcome position of standing by while Iran expands its reach and forwards its agenda.
Open Source Intelligence as the basis for Netanyahu’s warning. The heart of Netanyahu’s message was conveyed halfway through his speech. It was based, he said, on information available on many public open sources which he invited his audience to “Google”. This was intended to quell any concerns raised by Obama that he would release classified intelligence that could torpedo negotiations with Iran. Many of the details of the ‘deal’ had already been leaked and were in the public domain. So he continued.
"We've been told,” he said, “that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal." Instead, he pointed out, “this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program; and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That is why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb.”
So why would anyone make this deal? Netanyahu posited this theory: “Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?”
Netanyahu used the petard of Ayatollah Khamenei’s own tweets, echoed by Secretary Kerry in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the future chaos wrought by this worse deal. He said, “My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.”
The State Department immediately accused him of taking Kerry’s Congressional testimony out of context, but here is Kerry’s own testimony, which makes the point abundantly clear:
Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.
Netanyahu then painted a dystopian vision for the World and the Middle East region, should Iran, already a global sponsor of terrorism, become a nuclear threshold state and open the Pandora’s Box of nuclear proliferation:
Israel's neighbors -- Iran's neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it's been given a clear path to the bomb.
And many of these neighbors say they'll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that's supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.
This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
If anyone thinks -- if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we'll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.
Netanyahu drew attention to the looming threat of Iran’s missile program and military nuclear developments, excluded from the proposed Memorandum of Understanding being word smithed in Geneva by Secretary Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif:
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught -- caught twice, not once, twice -- operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn't even know existed.
And by the way, if Iran's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.
Iran’s Ongoing Progress Despite Negotiations. To buttress Netanyahu concerns about Iran’s nuclear military applications and ICBM program, we have just heard from reliable sources that the Islamic Republic has achieved a technical breakthrough - the miniaturization of nuclear warheads - through technical support from both China and North Korea so that nuclear warheads will be able to be installed on their slender Shahab missiles.
Less certain is whether experiments with nuclear triggers have succeeded, given several explosions that have occurred at the Lavizan sites near Tehran and at Parchin, the military explosives test center. If this report is separately confirmed it means that Iran would have the ability to load ICBMs with nuclear warheads.
If tests conducted in Caspian Sea by Iran and the purchase of container-launched missiles from Russia are an indication may provide the capability to deploy small yield nuclear detonations off the American coasts. Those could produce an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, possibly disabling our less-than-secure power grid sending the country hurtling back to the pre-industrial age.
Even as the negotiations continue, the media ran a story about how Iran conducted cruise tetst attacks against a mock US aircraft carrier. Less covered but also last week, Iran launched a cruise missile from a submarine in the Persian Gulf. The missile has a range of 150 nautical miles and was designed to destroy a US carrier. So even as they sit at the negotiating table, the Iranians rattle their sabers and clearly demonstrate their animus.
Netanyahu’s Plan. Contrary to Obama’s comment that there was ‘nothing new’, Netanyahu was clear in firmly stating that the lifting of sanctions and restrictions must be justified by Iranian action in three areas:
·stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East;
·stop supporting terrorism around the world; and,
·stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.
Netanyahu’s plan was clear. Marco Rubio summed it up nicely: "Iran can have an economy, or it can have nuclear weapons. But it can’t have both."
A closing thought from the Bible. Netanyahu concluded his address by pointing to the frieze of Moses high on the wall opposite from where he stood surrounding the House chamber. He recited and translated from the Hebrew Moses’ instructions in his final address to the ancient Hebrews about to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land:
Before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them."
My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.
A warning to be heeded. Netanyahu’s message in his address to Congress is not lost on Israelis and the preponderance of Americans, who view Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon as a clear and present damage to the world. At issue is whether the Administration’s obsession with an agreement with Iran at all cost has blinded them to the consequences of a deal that would allow Iran to become a nuclear power.
This is not the time for peevishness. No insults were intended and none should be interpreted. Netanyahu’s visit and his speech were timely – a last minute call for clarity and resolve against an implacable enemy masquerading as a negotiating partner.
There are many who fervently believe that any negotiations with Iran will lead us dangerously close to a nuclear precipice. Perhaps, Netanyahu’s comments before Congress where prescient. Apparently, Iran has rejected the proposed phased deal placing negotiations in Geneva at an impasse.
Netanyahu’s ultimate message is clear: Iran’s nuclear clock is rocketing towards midnight. Can we stop it in time or will our own Munich in Geneva lead us into a nuclear doomsday scenario that, once begun, no one will be able to stop?
For decades the Sikh and Hindu communities have been ‘at the receiving end of predatory grooming by members of the Muslim community’
There is a very true letter in The Times this evening from several Sikh and Hindu organisations and respected individuals.
Sir, For many years political correctness has led to the identity of the community involved in the sexual grooming of children and young women in the UK being described as Asian rather than Muslim. We are consequently encouraged to hear the prime minister’s assertion that “a warped sense of political correctness” will not stifle attempts to fight these crimes — which he now classes as a “national threat”.
Sikh and Hindu communities have for decades been at the receiving end of predatory grooming by members of the Muslim community and have for some time been campaigning in the UK for the recognition that there seems to be a clear pattern emerging in recent high-profile sexual grooming gang cases. This pattern clearly highlights that these gangs seem to predominantly originate from a Pakistani Muslim community, while their victims are almost always of a white, Hindu or Sikh background.
We urge the prime minister to tackle head-on why so many young Muslims in the UK have this disrespectful attitude towards women in other communities, and to urgently engage with the leaders of the Muslim community to find answers to a problem that demeans women, does incalculable damage to interfaith harmony and harms the public perception of members of the Muslim community.
Lord Singh of Wimbledon Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)
Police investigating UK extremists travelling to Syria have arrested two men in London on suspicion of money-laundering. Scotland Yard said the arrests came as part of an investigation into large-scale fraud which involved raids across six addresses in the capital today. Investigations at all six addresses are ongoing, according to the Met Police
Officers arrested a 29-year-old man in west London and a 23-year-old man in east London on Wednesday morning, police said. They are currently being held in custody in a south London police station.
The fraud, which allegedly saw the theft of £150,000 from one elderly man alone, involved conmen cold-calling vulnerable people and impersonating a police officer.They would then inform them their bank account had been compromised and convince the victims into transferring money to an account under the control of the suspect, police said.
The "Palestinian cause" is coming undone; the Arabs have other fish to fry, and some may have come to understand that Israel is, to oppose both the Islamic State and Iran, useful. That understanding is begrudging, but it's there. And while Muslims and a small group of determined non-Musliim antisemites in the West (see Ireland, for example) can continue to push for anti-Israel measures, the menace of Islam wtihin Europe becomes too obvious to deny, and that will limit the appeal of the "Palestinian" cause, which always was just a way to package the Jihad against Israel.
Women, if in relatively small numbers, have become as radicalized and militant as males of their own age on behalf of Islamic terrorist organizations. According to recent studies by British research groups, gender is largely irrelevant in likelihood of people becoming extremists. Young Muslim women are as likely, and may even be more likely, as men to have sympathies with terrorist activity.
These women, as well as men, living in democratic Western countries have left their homes to join and assist the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS). Of the estimated 20,000 foreigners who have joined IS, 3,400 came from the West, including 150 from the U.S. Among them are more than 300 women from Western countries, including 60 from the UK.
But is gender irrelevant? The Western world needs to explore the personal and psychological factors that lead to female jihadism in the necessary attempt to control terrorist activity. This form of behavior by women should provide a warning for Western democratic systems because of the danger of their inciting terrorist action on home soil if and when they return to their countries of origin.
Feminism in the West has not succeeded with these young Muslim women. Changing attitudes towards gender in democratic, secular, Western countries have resulted in more educational and career opportunities for women. The young Muslim women who have joined IS have rejected the Western emancipation of women and have reverted, for the most part, to fulfilling the traditional gender stereotypes that categorize women as the property of men, support figures who fit male constructs of gender roles, submissive to what men want them to do.
At first glance, it may seem that these stereotypes do not pertain to the seemingly aggressive role of young Muslim women. Does their Islamist militancy deny the old gender stereotypes of women as weak and submissive whose appropriate role is to take care of a family and raise children?
There is no overall profile of those going to fight for IS, or of the reasons why they do so. Some women have been militarily active as well as in support roles for male jihadists. They constitute the al-Khansaa brigade, and the Umm al-Rayan brigade, moral police forces. Some serve as doctors, nurses, and teachers. But most have become either “jihadi brides”, some as sex slaves, producers of “baby factories,” cooks, wives, and homemakers.
The sober reality of female life with the Islamic terrorists is far different from the propaganda of the social networks. In that reality, women are treated as the traditional second-class citizens in a patriarchal society, their role confined to motherhood as the purpose of their existence. This is far from equal opportunity.
The Muslim women attracted to IS are not ignorant of the nature of their actions nor unwilling victims of male pressure. They appear to be willing participants by their own volition in the cause of violent extremism. Some women no doubt may have romantic notions of a Middle Eastern paradise, but they are more likely to focus on implantation of Islamist jihad. Some Muslim women have been on the front line as well as in merely supporting roles. Some are fanatical believers in “true” Islamic rules and behavior and have an apocalyptic vision of the future.
Young women and men have joined the IS as a result of different messages and inducements. Some of them have succumbed to the influence of Imams and Islamist propagandists in European countries. Perhaps now more important is a more spontaneous process of becoming militants through friendly group relations and attractive propaganda in social media networks.
Studies suggest that the most effective influential factor has been Muslim family relationships. Those families that are observant tend to structure the life of their daughters on traditional values of homemaking and childbearing. Thus, though it may appear the young women are acting on their own volition, they are in reality fulfilling family and religious rules.
A second influential factor consists of the social media networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, questions on Ask.fm, banter on Twitter, and Tumbir, and videos. Westerners have been surprised by the sophisticated nature of IS propaganda with its mixture of religious ideology, pleasantries about common life, and seductive allusions.
Terrorism has become attractive through this form of brainwashing as foreign fighters discuss openly the wonders of the Islamic State on various forms of the Internet. They are influenced by charismatic figures already attached to jihadists, such as Aqsa Mahmood, the 20-year-old female radiology student from Glasgow who is an Islamist role model.
The young Muslim women are after all teenagers with sexual desires and fantasies, and the Islamist propaganda plays on those dreams by painting IS as a Middle Eastern paradise of romantic love and adventure. But the romantic fantasies quickly become linked to implementation of Islamist jihads.
Most female jihadists have the idea or delusion that their actions are for the good of the Muslim people or for the promotion of Islamic ideology. They, especially recent converts, are dedicated to the cause. Even if not well versed in Islamic religious ideology, their desire is to live under sharia law, to escape the supposed immoral behavior patterns of the West or what they see as the lack of purpose of Western societies. Teenagers, like the rest of society, can find comfort in losing oneself in a supposed higher cause that determines one’s actions, and which is a release from personal problems or failures.
In rejecting Western identities, the young women see themselves as rebels with or yearning for a cause that they will further as part of the Muslim Umma. If they cannot recreate the glorious caliphate of the past, they believe they can serve by observing Islam in the proper manner, ranging from wearing the burqas, now forbidden in France and elsewhere, to the extreme act of joining the jihadists. Like other anti-Western extremist movements, the Islamic State has attracted disaffected or alienated youth by providing certainty and moral absolutes.
Those absolutes may be based more on hatred of Western civilization or what is regarded as “false faiths,” than on love of the true religion. One does not expect 15-year girls to be experts on the Koran. Some jihadists may be genuinely concerned about Muslims being killed around the world, and may seek revenge in savage beheadings of the unbelievers.
These female jihadists do not usually suffer from poverty or lack of education, nor are they emotionally disturbed. The women attracted to terrorist ideologies are more likely to come from second-generation families in Western countries than from recent migrants. Those migrants are likely to be poorer and too busy making a living to engage in ideological warfare or acts of violence.
In general, there is no substantial evidence that low levels of economic development, high rates of unemployment, considerable malnutrition, automatically produce terrorists. Terrorism is not a consequence of global poverty or of unequal distribution of global wealth.
Those sympathetic to terrorism often are educated, at least have post-secondary education, and live in homes with solid families and a middle class income. We now know that Mohammed Emwazi, aka “Jihadi John” the poster boy for IS beheadings, went to an upscale school in London, and obtained a technical degree from the University of Westminster in 2009. The three teenage girls (two were 15 and the third was 16) who left London in mid February 2015 to go to Syria via Turkey were all good students at the Bethnal Green Academy. They are more likely to be skilled in computer science than have any expertise in Islamic theology.
Yet all this may be an insufficient explanation for the willingness of young women to go to fight for Islamist causes. Adventurism may be more of a factor than Islamic ideology. The recruits may long for a life of excitement and camaraderie. That excitement might include love of killing those believed to be the enemy.
The Islamic State has cleverly constructed its propaganda strategy to tempt educated and physically attractive women. It understands that the blonde and blue-eyed female bombers will gain the most foreign publicity and television coverage. There is a paradox in that a religious extremism that is afraid of modernity and carries on an uncivilized war against the cultural heritage of the past should attract well-educated men and women scientists and engineers to its cause.
The Western young Muslim women joining IS are rejecting modern Western society. The democratic secular nations must find messages to counteract the effectiveness of IS propaganda. Those women must be helped to move beyond their traditional roles in patriarchal societies. It is not a question of the line in My Fair Lady, “why can’t a woman be like a man.” It is a question of empowering half of the Muslim population in a more fulfilling manner that subverts the lure of fanaticism.
Wendy Sherman, John Kerry, And Those Frantic Negotiations
Now John Kerry has taken personal charge of the negotiationswith Iran over its nuclear project, negotations .which had been in the famously competent hands of Wendy Sherman, His intense and hectic involvement, which he thinks should impress the Iranians, and the world, with the seriousness and splendor of his deep commitment to The Process And Its Outcome, has only made the Iranians keenly aware of how eager the Obama Administration is for a deal.
And all along the American government might simply have made clear that:
1) Iran has a "perfect right" to try to obtain nuclear weapons, which "right" is something the Iranians keep insisting on, and ought to be conceded, in a perfectly straightforward manner
2) The United States has a "perfect right" to try to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or the capability to produce them
and after those two statements have been made, the American government ought to have
3) Imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran years ago, and announced that they would remain in effect unless, and until, Iran agrees to undo much of its nuclear weapons program.
4) Not entered into negotiations at all. There is no need for negotiations.It would have been better to have rejected negotiations. They only give the Iranians the notioi that they can haggle, in bazaari style,with the naive Americans. The position of the American government, the Americans might have said, has been made clear in 1), 2), and 3).
5) Then wait for the Iranians to suffer -- with their oil income cut in two, their inflation rate of 25-30%, the collapse of their agriculture because of the drop in annual rainfall, the decrease in the birth rate, especially among the educated women (which means a drop in the national I.Q.), the vast population of drug addicts, the Iranian girls who work as prostitutes in the Gulf, servicing the despised Arabs -- and then to ask, repeatedly, for negotiations. And then, only reluctantly, grant them, not frantically but with a certain studied indifference, those negotiations, en grand seigneur, and certainly not allow them to be conducted either by the likes of Wendy Sherman or by John Kerry.
Report Calls for National Debate on Muslim Sex Grooming
I thought if I waited a couple of hours this would come out from behind the paywall at The Times via another news site. From Breitbart London
A national debate is urgently needed to understand why Pakistani-heritage gangs have been abusing white girls across the country, according to a serious case review into the systematic abuse of more than 370 girls in Oxfordshire. The recommendation has been backed by senior police and council staff, who have called for more research to be undertaken.
The review concluded that “a worrying lack of curiosity and follow through” on the part of police and care professionals led to the “indescribably awful” abuse of more than 370 girls in the Oxfordshire region over 15 years.
Its author, Alan Bedford, found that “the association [of group-based child sexual exploitation] with mainly Pakistan heritage is undeniable.” He recommended that “prevention will need both national understanding, communication and debate, and also work with faith groups at a local level.”
...although the report refers to Pakistani men, it also notes “In this report the word ‘Asian’ is used more than ’Pakistani’. This is not to hide any specific ethnic origin, but because this was the description mainly used by the victims and in agency case records. It is believed that when the term ‘Asian’ was used it did very often refer to those of Pakistani heritage, but ‘Asian’ seems to be the word used in common professional parlance.”
The pattern of predominantly Pakistani men abusing white British girls is identical to that seen in Rotherham, where 1,400 girls were abused over 15 years, and also seen in Rochdale, Derby, Telford and Birmingham. However, in contrast to recent reports into the abuse at Rochdale, Bedford found “no evidence” of “any agency not acting when they should have done because of racial sensitivities.”
The report highlights the work being done to bolster community relations as a way of tackling the issue, much of which seems to revolve around outreach to mosques. Examples include police officers attending Friday prayers, meetings between police and mosque leaders, working with mosques and their linked madrassas on safeguarding children and briefing faith leaders (of all faiths) on child sexual exploitation.
But a 2006 poll shows that nearly half of all British Muslims never attend mosque at all, and a further six percent only do so for special occasions. Yet officials seem lost as to how else to reach the British Asian community, perpetrating a sense of lack of direction which pervades the report.
Further bolstering that sense, Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Murray, head of Thames Valley CID, told the Timesthat he would “welcome research to identify why […] a disproportionate number of Pakistani-heritage and black African” men had formed “loosely organised groups” of street-grooming gangs.
Yesterday the Prime Minister held a private meeting with victims of child-grooming, and promised measures to tackle child sexual exploitation.
The Times also sets out a list of the most publicised trials of Muslim sex gang abusers here. Rotherham, derby, Telford, Birmingham, Rochdale, Bristol. Regular readers of the NER will remember more.
How many should be closed in the US...in Britain...in France...Al Monitor:
An Egyptian administrative court on Feb. 18 upheld the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision issued in September 2013 to close down neighborhood places of worship of less than 80 square meters (861 square feet), a move intended to protect young people from the militancy and extremism that can prevail in such places, which lack the legal standing to hold Friday prayers.
This move sets a precedent that raises many questions about the fate of mosques in many Egyptian villages, the grounds of which are usually less than 80 square meters. In reply, opponents of the decision such as the Salafist Nour Party claimed that closing down places of worship without providing a larger alternative serves to further bolster extremist ideology, considering that the larger existing mosques cannot accommodate Friday worshippers who line surrounding streets to pray. On the opposite end of the spectrum, supporters of the decision such as intellectuals and scholars say that those mosques are time bombs that threaten national security, as they fall outside the purview of the Ministry of Religious Endowments and are used to spread subversive ideologies.
Ahmed Karimeh, a professor of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor that legal teachings and conventions specify that Friday, Eid and main prayers must be conducted in a mosque, and not in a neighborhood place of worship. The five daily prayers can be held at these informal sites, but not the special celebration prayers. In that sense, the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments upheld a recognized religious law.
Karimeh explained that closing those neighborhood places of worship, located in apartment buildings, commercial buildings or factories, would help mitigate the influence of extremist religious orators such as those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist groups or Shiites, who use those places of worship to take advantage of religious gatherings. As such, the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision, while late, was the correct one.
Every week seems to bring new revelations of the need for reform of the U.S. criminal-justice system. The most vivid recent example has been a flurry of warnings from the bench in California against corrupt and lawless prosecutors. A panel of three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in January, in Pasadena, Calif., erupted when California’s deputy attorney general asked the judge to uphold two murder convictions from 1995 against a man, Johnny Baca, despite lower courts’ having concluded that prosecutors had secured the convictions with false evidence. Judge Alex Kozinski said that if the state’s attorney general, Kamala Harris (a candidate for the U.S. Senate), did not abandon the case, the court would “name names.”
The hearing was posted online, under a new court policy, and lawyers circulated the video until it became a statewide cause célèbre, as the facts were laid bare to show a brazen use of admittedly false evidence to secure a conviction, and no resulting investigation of the prosecutors or disciplinary action against them. Kozinski claimed that the source of the problem was that state courts, to which federal courts normally defer in state-originated prosecutions, would not overturn or rebuke lawless prosecutors because state judges are elected and voters generally have given prosecutors a blank check to convict unlimited numbers of accused regardless of the shabbiness of the prosecutors’ methods. This is Nancy Grace’s America.
Kozinski referred to an “epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct” and said, “They got caught this time but they are going to keep doing it because they have state judges who look the other way.” One of the Pasadena panel of judges, Kim Wardlaw, blamed “elected judges”: “They are not going to be reversing things.” At Baca’s trial, a prosecutor falsely testified, corroborating testimony he knew to be false. Attorney General Harris, under the Circuit Court threat to publicize the identity of the dishonest prosecutors, abandoned the effort to sustain the original convictions of Baca, 20 years after they were brought down. But even at that late date, the new district attorney in Riverside, where the murders occurred, denied intentional misconduct by his office and promised to try Baca a third time.
In 2010, the Northern California Innocence Project published a report that identified 707 cases in the previous eleven years in which there was clear prosecutorial misconduct. Only six prosecutors were subjected to any disciplinary procedures and state courts upheld 80 percent of the convictions despite the misconduct. All of these must be considered flagrant violations of the Bill of Rights, and there is no reason to doubt that the same pattern obtains in many other states.
The California saga and many others emphasize the danger of lionizing prosecutors, who effectively operate outside the law. The recent indictment of prominent New York State legislator Sheldon Silver by Manhattan district attorney Preet Bharara has been widely acclaimed. Mr. Silver must be presumed innocent, though that is certainly not the spin most of the media have put on it, but the shameful, politically motivated persecution of former New York state senator Joseph Bruno is an instructive and cautionary tale. So are deposed governor Eliot Spitzer’s vendetta against insurance executive Hank Greenberg and former New York Stock Exchange head Richard Grasso, and New York U.S. attorney Cyrus Vance’s ill-considered arrest of IMF chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on a false complaint, denying Strauss-Kahn the presidency of France, an office he would have filled much more capably than the incumbent, who profited from his unjust arrest.
The most egregious of all these false prosecutions of prominent politicians may have been the bribery charges directed against former Alaska senator Ted Stevens. (There are other contenders, including the imprisonment of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, the ultimately failed indictment of former House of Representatives majority whip Tom DeLay, and the dubious conviction of Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.) Stevens, an eminent seven-term senator, was charged in 2008 by prosecutors with improperly accepting a cut rate for the renovation of his home from a man in the oil-drilling business to whom the senator’s good will could be important. Prosecutors knew the allegations to be false; they withheld exculpatory evidence, and briefly obtained a conviction that caused Stevens to lose re-election narrowly, before the whole case collapsed. Judge Emmet Sullivan said, “In nearly 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the misconduct and the mishandling that I’ve seen in this case.” A few of the prosecutors were investigated, though dozens of senior officials were closely involved in such a prominent case.
One of the prosecutors whose conduct was examined, Nicholas Marsh, committed suicide, which compounds the Stevens tragedy, but he was the only co-author of that travesty who paid a significant penalty for it. Two other prosecutors were the chosen scapegoats and received 40- and 15-day suspensions from practice, which were later reversed with payment of back pay because of procedural bungling by the Department of Justice. These were the paltry results of what should have been a wave of disbarments and indictments and convictions of Justice Department officials. Many had hoped that, after zealot prosecutors had torn down such a prominent senator falsely, and the chief aide to the vice president very questionably, the senior levels of the administration and Congress would move to curb the rogue state American prosecutors had become, terrorizing other office-holders like the French Revolutionary Committee of Public Safety. There has been no such response from those quarters.
There is a gradually rising level of concern over the antics of prosecutors, and effectively a pincers movement is forming, composed of alarm at gonzo prosecution and concern at the hideous cost of imprisoning the largest per capita share of the population of any country in the world. The defeat in 2013 of the 24-year Brooklyn, N.Y., district attorney, Charles Joseph Hynes, who had falsely charged numerous political opponents over many years, may indicate a change in the tide. But these concerns over prosecutorial integrity are colliding in some measure with the anti-terrorist trend toward increased powers of prosecution and detention, and the use, for reasons ostensibly involving national security, of increasingly sophisticated and widespread electronic surveillance.
Broadly stated, there is general unease at prosecutorial lawlessness in conventional areas, even as government monitoring of and intrusion into citizens’ lives intensifies, and the pattern of over-criminalization of American life is reinforced by a previously unnecessary focus on counterterrorism, which understandably attracts considerable public support. Yet Edward Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency’s surveillance and data mining of the U.S. public has shocked millions of Americans. The drive to over-criminalize public affairs probably began its maximum acceleration with the Watergate affair, which glorified the destruction of government leaders, no matter how thin the evidence, and treated media lynchings of official suspects as the courageous triumph of a free press. And while 9/11 and other terrorist attacks were a fair justification for a lot of this increased surveillance activity, there is also a good deal of well-founded concern that terrorism is being exaggerated as a justification for a level of state intrusion that in earlier times would have been considered completely intolerable.
Beneath these lofty national-security arguments, both budgetary and humanitarian concerns are now percolating. State prisons, especially, are terribly overcrowded. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently pledged $75 million to assist local jails and prisons to remove from their stuffed and unsanitary premises those who are nonviolent, mentally ill, or too poor to raise bail. Twelve million people, 4 percent of the entire population, are cycled through the detention system each year, and there are 731,000 people festering in these fetid lock-ups on any given day. The MacArthur effort is an admirable start on a severe problem.
What is desperately needed is a comprehensive reconciliation of the national-security, human-rights, rehabilitation, and public-safety policy arguments tangled up in this terribly difficult situation, which has grown like a tumor, unattended and almost unnoticed, for decades.
— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, A Matter of Principle, and Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. He can be reached at [email protected].
I just ran across a comment on Benjamin Netanyahu's speech this morning before a joint session of Congress. It's written by someone who was, he says, originally skeptical of the worth of such a speech, but he listened -- carefully -- and had to revise his earlier opinion.
What he said is worth posting -- and if you had any doubts before the speech, as did this blogger Jazz Shaw, you should now have none.
Lots of aspects of a mind suffused with Islam are on display, and there is no way to summarize his views adequately. He's against Al-Maliki, against the Iranians, and thinks that if he were in charge, and the Al-Mukhtar Militia, they would drive ISIS out and make its members put on women's clothes, like the Mounties in the Monty-Python sketch.
The speech could be used as the basis of an SNL skit. And yet Watheq Al-Battat's blend of bluster and bravado somehow does not offend. He doesn't blame America, or Israel or the world's Infidels. He talks mostly about Al-Maliki and the bad leadership of the Shi'ites in Iraq.