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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum


















Monday, 30 March 2015
Bizarre Shooting Incident at NSA Fort Meade Maryland
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Fort Meade, Maryland NSA Heaquarters Main Gate Shooting Incident

A stolen vehicle attempted to breach the main gate of the NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland resulting in a shooting death , injuries to a second occupant  of the vehicle and a security officer  in a police cruiser .  Fort Meade is located in Laurel, Maryland adjacent to the busy Baltimore-Washington Parkway equidistant between the two cities.  I am familiar with the NSA complex having been stationed as an Army Intelligence officer with the 52th MI Group during the Viet Nam Era. The successor 525th MI Brigade is part of the VXIII Airborne Corps headquartered at Fort Bragg, NC. The NSA headquarters complex is separate from the Army base and has extensive physical security arrangements to prevent an assault like today’s bizarre event involving two men disguised as women ramming a stolen vehicle into a police vehicle at the main gate.  A later ABC report provided further information, “Hotel Partying Preceded Deadly Shooting At NSA Gate, Sources Say:”

Shortly before 9 a.m. ET today, a vehicle with two people inside "attempted an unauthorized entry at a National Security Agency gate," according to a statement from the NSA.

"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus," the statement continued. "The vehicle failed to stop and barriers were deployed."

Sources say the two inside were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual's car without permission. However, it's still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate.

A law enforcement source confirms the car that crashed at NSA was reported stolen in Howard County, Md.

Nevertheless, when the vehicle "accelerated toward an NSA police car blocking the road" and "refused to stop," an NSA police officer opened fire, and one of the two men inside the "unauthorized vehicle" ended up dead, the NSA statement said. The other man in the vehicle was "severely injured” and taken to a local hospital, according to sources.

An NSA Police officer injured in the incident was also taken to the hospital.

“The incident has been contained and is under investigation,” Colonel Brian Foley, Fort Meade garrison commander, said in a statement. “The residents, service members and civilian employees on the installation are safe. We continue to remain vigilant at all of our access control points."

The FBI said they do not believe the incident is related to terrorism. The FBI evidence response team is on the scene investigating and testing for the possible presence of drugs.

The incident is being investigated by FBI, NSA Police and Army Criminal Investigation Command. Anne Arundel Police and Maryland State Police are also on the scene assisting.

President Obama has been briefed on the incident, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

 

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Posted on 03/30/2015 3:51 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Monday, 30 March 2015
In Boston, Officer John Moynihan, Angelo West, And Black Lives Matter
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A career criminal who had tried to kill policemen before, Angelo West was stopped for a traffic violation by a policeman, John Moynihan. West then shot Moynihan in the face, just below the eye. Moynihan is in a medically-induced coma. Other officers shot and killed West. Now Black Lives Matter (Boston Division) is going to hold a meeting to decide what response it should make to this latest outrage by the Occupying White Policemen who have no understanding, this case shows yet again, that Black Lives Matter.

Here.

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Posted on 03/30/2015 1:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 30 March 2015
Hamid Dabashi: Ode To Edward Said
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Remember Edward Said? He's the one who started a Permanent Jobs Program for the most primitive people who wanted to live in the West, and get jobs in universities,, and did so not through the brilliance of their scholarship, or through the lucidity and seductiveness of their classroom performance, but because they were authentic, they were aggrieved, they were victims of the very West in which they desired so much to live, and to make sure that they could, without much talent or knowledge, manage to find a way to carve out a category -- post-colonial studies, bristling with ressentiment -- that would be off-limits to Westerners, and could only be taught by the people who had authentically suffered -- just the way Edward Said, at Harvard and Columbia, had suffered.

One of the beneficiaries of Said's ludicrous "Orientalism" -- it had a good run, but it's on its way out, that way out no doubt hastened by the spectacle, too longlasting and too widespread to continue to overlook, of Muslim behavior all over the wolrd -- was Hamid Dabashi, who became that appetizinig thing, a Full Professor at Columbia University, hired, and then promoted, by those who shared the same background, felt the same resentments and hatreds.

I put up, from time to time, Hamid Dabashi's Ode To Edward Said.

Here it is, one more relevant time.

And to judge by what Hamid Dabashi continues to produce, and to unembarrassedly post, he still doesn't realize what a figure he cuts. So you can, if you wish, continue to digest and relish his work, simply by googling the name "Hamid Dabashi." Bon appetit!.

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Posted on 03/30/2015 12:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 30 March 2015
Religious Illiteracy Hampers West’s Response to Radical Islam
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It seems that some lessons are difficult to learn. As ISIS was busy slaughtering Yazidis, Coptic Christians and western hostages, burning fellow Muslim alive, and destroying ancient pre-Islamic artifacts, President Obama was denying its spiritual pedigree and planning a White House summit on violent extremism that would deny any connection between radical Islam and terrorism. 

The very use of the term “violent extremism” minimized the terrorist threat by obscuring its ideological motivations.  And by using neutral terminology to mask its doctrinal character and goals, the president didn’t simply ignore the religious connection – he affirmatively denied it and thus facilitated Islamist dissimulation.

He also attempted to shift blame for terrorism by legitimizing Muslim grievances against the West and attributing the actions of religious extremists to economic privation.  With other world leaders and moderate Muslims finally acknowledging the threat, President Obama’s steadfast refusal to do likewise seems pathological.  His denial of the religious foundation for much of today’s terrorism – and for Iran’s nuclear ambitions – is a slap in the face of reality and an insult to Israel and all other U.S. allies that are targets of Islamist aggression.  Moreover, it demonstrates either ignorance of history or an affinity for those committed to religious totalitarianism.

CONTINUE READING AT http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/16706#.VRld5PnF-So

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Posted on 03/30/2015 12:14 PM by Matthew Hausman
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Monday, 30 March 2015
Even Stephen Greenblatt Can Annoy The Dabashis And The Salamis
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Stephen Greenblatt, who has not always been treated kindly at this website, was invited to a Shakespeare conference in Teheran. Many of the other morris-zapps declined; Greenblatt decided to go. His report on his trip has just been published at The New York Review of Books. And it has already elicited furious responses, expressed in very bad English, full of resentment and illogic and hysteria, by Hamid Dabashi (at Columbia University) and by Ismail Salami (at Tehran University). Read what you can stand to.

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Posted on 03/30/2015 9:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 30 March 2015
The Lions Of Tikrit, Holding Off The Safavids And The Rafidite Dogs
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How do Sunni Arabs see the handful -- no more than a few hundred --of  ISIS fanatics who have managed to hold off, for a month, the 30,000 troops, mostly Shi'ite militiamen, with some Iraqi army forces, and some Iranian advisors too, who started their campaign to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State nearly a month ago, on March 2, and promised, kept promising, it would all be over in a few days. And this "it would all be over in a few days" was repeated every few days.But Tikrit was not taken.  Now the Americans, responding to a request from the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi government, have been bombing. And still the ISIS forces remain, quite ready and eager to die.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the likelihood that this Great Battle of Tikrit might become, not just for Islamic State members, but for others too,  a Sunni Alamo, or possibly, given that there are about 300 men left, a Muslim Thermopylae. Judging by the comments at Al Jazeera put up today under a piece about Tikrit, that mythologizing has already started. And since that month of holding-off forces ten times their size has already passed, even if Tikrit falls to the Shi'a tomorrow, it's too late to prevent that inspiring tale of an Alamo or Thermopylae, Sunni version, from entering, and staying, in many Sunni minds.

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Posted on 03/30/2015 8:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 30 March 2015
A Musical Interlude: She Didn't Say "Yes" (Leo Reisman Orch., voc. Frank Luther)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 03/30/2015 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 30 March 2015
The Three Big Issues On Which Iran Has To Say Yes Or Has To Say No
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The Iranian negotiations have been behaving --- have been allowed by the Americans to behave -- like smiling sly bazaaris in the souk. oilily promising or holding out the promise of making a very special deal, a deal only for you, effendi, because I like you so much, I even love you effendi, more than I love my father, more than I love my mother. This should have been nipped in the bud early on, and the Iranians made self-conscious and embarrassed about their non-Western style of negotiation, held up repeatedly for inspection and analysis by the American negotiators. But that didn't happen, and right up till now the wiles and guiles have been on display. Not tolerable. 

Meanwhile, the three big questions have still not been resolved.

From Reuters:

Unclear if Iran deal can be reached now, 3 big issues remain -diplomat

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(Reuters) - There are three major sticking points that must be resolved if Iran and major powers are to secure a framework deal before a self-imposed end-March deadline and it is unclear whether those differences will be bridged, a Western diplomat [French, surely] said on Monday

The diplomat said the most difficult issues were related to the duration of any limits on Iranian nuclear activities after an initial 10 years, the lifting of U.N. sanctions and restoring them in case of non-compliance by Tehran.

"There cannot be an agreement if we do not have answers to these questions," the diplomat said on condition of annonymity. "The feeling is that if things are to happen, it's now that the pieces will fit together. There's a moment when you have to say yes or no." (Reporting by John Irish; editing by Louis Charbonneau)

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Posted on 03/30/2015 6:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
The Collapse of Obama’s Geo-Political Equilibrium in the Middle East
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Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at Sharm El=Shaik Summit , March 27, 2015. Source: AP/MENA

This weekend, less than 72 hours before the deadline for P5+1 political framework for Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama’s “offshore balancing” act in the Middle East collapsed. In a January 27, 2014 New Yorker interview with editor David Remnick President Obama revealed:

It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shiites weren't intending to kill each other ... And although it would not solve the entire problem, if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion - not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon - you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there is competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.

His naive  paradigm  of  a geo-political  equilibrium between Shia Iran and Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia foundered with the dramatic intervention by the Saudi Air Force on Wednesday  March 25, 2015 attacking Houthi rebels in northern Yemen , the capital, Sana’a  and targets near Aden.  Operation “determination storm” has begun.  The Saudis gave less than 1 hour notice to the Pentagon and the White House of the launch of the air campaign.  The Administration wasn’t consulted. That effrontery to the leader of the free world was in evidence at the 26th Summit of the Arab League in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Shaik. Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, The ousted US- backed President of Yemen, who had fled from Aden to Saudi Arabia, accused the Houthi of being “stooges” for Iran. He refused any offer of a cease fire while the Saudis and Emirati air units continue attacking Houthi forces.  Iran warned the Saudi and Emirate allies of “bloodshed,” if attacks continue.  The Saudi have mobilized 150,000 ground forces for possible action. The US may provide aerial refueling, bombs and air search and rescue for downed pilots as they did for two Saudi pilots on Thursday.   

  In a statement released today, Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Araby said   the Arab states would “join ranks and look into taking pre-emptive and defensive arrangements to maintain the Arab national security.”  The Declaration went on to point out:

 the  "conflict between the concept of a modern state and destructive projects that detract the idea of a national state and employ the ethnic, religious and sectarian variation in bloody conflicts, sponsored by external parties." It cited recent developments in Yemen and the slide the country almost fell into as a flagrant example of these challenges and stressed the dire need for "necessary measures to counter them."

The Washington Post reported   Arab leaders had effectively announced a “joint military force to intervene in neighboring states grappling with armed insurgencies.”

David P. Goldman in an Asia Times column, “The Middle Eastern Metternichs of Riyadh, noted the stunning assertion of the Saudi leadership in the confrontation with Iran over the US policy collapse in the Middle East and failures in Yemen:

A premise of the “realist” view that American policy in the region should shift towards Iran was that the Saudi monarchy would collapse and Sunni power along with it. All of us underestimated the Saudis.

Now the Saudis have emerged at the top of a Sunni coalition against Iran–limited for the moment to the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, to be sure, but nonetheless the most impressive piece of diplomacy in the Sunni world since Nasser, and perhaps in modern times. That attributes a lot of importance to a coalition assembled for a minor matter in a small country, but it may be the start of something important: the self-assertion of the Sunni world in response to the collapse of American regional power, the threat of Sunni jihadist insurgencies, and the Shi’ite bid for regional hegemony.

There was more drama in Lausanne, Switzerland, when an Iranian journalist Amir Hossein Motaghi, a former election aide to Islamic Republic President Rouhani defected. The UK Telegraph reported Motaghi saying: “The US negotiating team is mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.” Meanwhile Secretary of State Kerry and the US team are endeavoring to have the P5+1 approve a verbal outline of a political framework with the intransigent Iranians, who demand immediate lifting of financial sanctions while denying compliance with IAEA requests for background information on past military application developments. 

These developments gave rise to further criticism by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who warned  at a Sunday   cabinet meeting that:

 Iran is trying to “conquer the entire Middle East” as the West appears close to signing a pending nuclear deal with Israel’s arch-enemy.

"This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that," Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem, according to Reuters.

Doubtless, Netanyahu will have more to say to US House Speaker John Boehner who travels to Jerusalem this week for a previously arranged meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister in the midst of cobbling together a ruling majority following his victory in the March 17th, Knesset elections.

The failure of a US supported state in Yemen adds to the growing shadow of Iranian Hegemony over four Arab capitals in the Levant; Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sana’a.  Should the Saudi and Gulf emirates air attacks not succeed in halting the Iran-backed Houthi conquest of the remaining stronghold of Aden, then Iran may control a major international geo-resource choke hold on the Red Sea with significant economic repercussions.  The prospect of a Shia Sunni sectarian war in the Middle East fuels the apocalyptic end time’s vision of chaos of the Iranian Shia Mahdists  are seeking to arouse the moribund Twelfth Imam from his slumber at the bottom of the holy well in the holy city of Qum hard by the underground uranium enrichment cascade hall of Fordow.

 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, elected by the Assembly of Experts  to fulfill that  bizarre Islamic obligation, is on the verge of achieving the ultimate symbol of chaos - becoming a nuclear threshold state courtesy of the looming  P5+1 political framework that may be announced on March 31st. With Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS cells, the vanquishing of US counterterrorism in the region, Iran has achieved its goal of fomenting chaos to bring about end times.   As night follows day, Sectarian war between Sunni Arab states and Shia Mahdmen in Tehran could erupt.  All while the Administration in Washington abandons Israel surrounded by Iranian proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Sunni Salafist Islamic State seeking its destruction.  Is this the legacy that President Obama wants to leave behind when he leaves the White House in January 2017?  If it is, then his pursuit of an accommodation with an Iran equipped with a stockpile of nuclear weapons and nuclear warhead tipped Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles amounts to colossal appeasement and “faithless execution” of his oath of office as Commander in Chief to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.  

This weekend the President was in Florida playing golf  in Palm City, Florida with a Halliburton Director and the Houston Astros owner while his global equilibrium went up in flames. So much for his feeling the pain of the middle class.   Stay tuned for further developments.

 

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Posted on 03/29/2015 10:19 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Iraqi Shi'a Leader: Kurds Are Leeches On The Body Of Arab Iraq
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And if they dare to try to secede, even if the Iraqi Arabs are otherwise occupied, Iran and Turkey will take care of the problem of Kurds who want an independent Kurdistan.

Here.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 10:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Houthi Women In Yemen Will Fight The Zio-Saudi Aggression
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Posted on 03/29/2015 10:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Washington Post: Why Reward Iranian Mendacity?
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The editorial in the Washington Post appeared two days ago, here.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 9:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Iran Backs Away From A Key Commitment It Had Made
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Posted on 03/29/2015 9:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
A Musical Interlude: On The Air (Rudy Vallee)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 8:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Oxford Union invites banned anti-Islam activist
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With the news that the Oxford Union had invited Anjem Choudary to speak (closely followed by Trinity College Dublin putting such restrictions on Maryam Namazie that she was effectively barred) I know certain people wrote letters and e-mails of protest to the University. This is not the most obvious effect - but I think it is a brave and intelligent one. 

From The Cherwell 

In one of her first acts as President of the Oxford Union, Olivia Merrett has invited American author and leader of the group ‘Jihadi Watch’ Robert Spencer to take part in next term’s ‘This House Believes Radicalisation is Born at Home’ debate, along with the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary.

Robert Spencer, who also co-founded the group ‘Stop Islamization of America’ (SIOA), is banned from entering the UK, following the Home Office’s 2013 decision that his visit would not be “conducive to the public good”, and that his views would be likely to “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence”.

The ban was issued after he was invited to speak at an EDL rally in Woolwich, where drummer Lee Rigby was killed. At around the same time, Anjem Choudary infamously declared himself “proud” of Michael Adebolajo, one of Rigby’s killers, and insisted that Rigby would “burn in hellfire”.

In the invitation, seen by Cherwell and reproduced in full below, Merrett told Spencer, “Your knowledge and experience will be of huge interest to many in the University.

Though projects such as SIOA may be appear [sic] somewhat questionable, we would like to hear your reasons behind it.”

Merrett also intimated that Spencer would have control over which media outlets would be allowed to cover the debate, telling him, “The level of media coverage is, of course, entirely at your discretion.”

In a post on the Jihadi Watch website, which was taken down almost instantly, Spencer commended the Oxford Union for extending the invitation, and called for it to appeal to the Home Office to get the ban lifted.

But Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League (EDL), and sometime associate of Robert Spencer, defended the Oxford Union for the invitations to Spencer and Choudary, and called for the Home Office ban to be lifted, telling Cherwell, “I think it’s about time we heard some people who were honest. Anjem Choudary’s very honest, and so is Robert Spencer.

“Robert Spencer tells the truth; that’s all he does, he tells the truth. He’s never called for violence, never incited any hate, he’s just told the truth about an ideology. And the only reason he was banned was because they were fearful that it could provoke terrorism.

“So what they’re doing is limiting not just his freedoms but they’re limiting what freedoms we have to listen to people in this country, because of what the violent reaction could be from Muslims. It’s absurd, he should never have been banned in the first place. . . "

Neither Robert Spencer nor the Oxford Union could be reached for comment, while the Home Office told Cherwell that since the pre-election period had started, it could not provide a comment either.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 2:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
No International Amnesty for the Palestinians
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A senior White House official, who had perhaps recently seen the film The Godfather, was heard to remark "It's not personal; it's strictly business" when commenting on the attitude of the U.S. administration toward the Israeli prime minister. 

One might accept the administration position if President Barack Obama had taken "yes" for an answer when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retracted his statement that a Palestinian state would not be established during his tenure.  Using imperial language, Obama said in an interview with the Huffington Post on March 25, 2015, "We believe that  Netanyahu meant it[.] … Instead, 'we' need to reconsider the options available to us to ensure that we do not see further deterioration in the region."

Those options might involve United States approval of the Palestinian Authority's intention to bring charges of war crimes against Israel to the International Criminal Court.  This is indeed a moment to review the situation, with all its trials and tribulations. 

After the Israeli election, Netanyahu issued the statement that he favored a two-state solution, but "circumstances have to change."  The Obama administration might be helped in its "reconsideration" of the need for circumstances to change by the publication of a crucially important objective report by Amnesty International (AI) documenting the hostility against Israel.

AI has never been positive in its attitude toward the State of Israel or its political figures.  Last year, it issued two reports critical of Israeli actions during the fifty-day fighting in Gaza, and it has long been critical of the Israel Defense Force.  Every mainstream media has covered stories of alleged violations of international law by Israel.  Therefore, the report, "Unlawful Deadly: Rocket and Mortar Attacks by Palestinian Armed Groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel Conflict," which AI issued on March 25, 2015, comes as a surprise. 

The report is devastating in its precise account of Palestinian violation of humanitarian law.  Its basic accusation is that Palestinian "militant" armed groups have killed both Israeli and Palestinian civilians in an indiscriminate manner.  The Palestinians' flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law during the conflict is evident from the routine firing of rockets toward Israeli towns and cities.  Specific assaults included direct attacks on civilians, including civilian property, residential homes, public buildings, and educational institutions.  

AI boldly asserts that Palestinians are guilty of war crimes as a result of their direct attacks on civilians; their use of prohibited weapons that are inherently indiscriminate, such as unguided rockets and imprecise mortars; and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians.

The Palestinians have long shown a reckless disregard for the lives of civilians in Israel.  They have deliberately targeted civilian centers in Israel in the hope of killing civilians.  Between 2001 and July 7, 2014, the start of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian groups fired 15,200 rockets and mortars against Israeli civilians.  From July 8 until August 26, they fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars from Gaza, and struck 224 Israeli residential areas.

The danger to Israel has intensified because of the increase in range of weapons – namely, medium- and long-range rockets.  From 2001 to 2004, the Palestinians fired homemade Qassam rockets.  In 2014, they fired long-range ones, such as the Iranian Fajr 5, the R-160 rocket, M-75s, and the M-302, weapons that can hit the major Israeli cities.

Though it does not refer to them as "terrorists," the report states that the Palestinian organizations involved have committed war crimes.  The fact that they launched unguided rockets and mortars that could not be aimed at a specific target is a breach of international law.  Those who have claimed responsibility are the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad), al-Nasser Salah a-Din (the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees), the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (the armed wing of Fatah), and the National Resistance Brigades (the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine).

Palestinian attacks on August 22 killed six Israeli civilians, including a four-year-old boy in a family car near his home.  But their killings were not limited to Israelis.  On July 28, 2014, they killed 28 Palestinian civilians when a Hamas projectile from Gaza landed in the al-Shati Gaza refugee camp.  Hamas had falsely claimed, and mainstream media reported it to be the case, that Israel was responsible for those murders, but AI concludes that all evidence shows that it was a Palestinian rocket that killed their own civilians.

In fact, Palestinians killed more civilians in Gaza than in Israel. The report notes that it was Israel's effective system for civilian defense, including bomb shelters and advanced warning systems, and particularly the Iron Dome anti-missile system, that helped limit Israeli civilian casualties.

The report shows that Palestinians are guilty of other violations of international humanitarian law in addition to those above.  Those violations include the storing by Palestinians of munitions in civilian buildings, UNRWA facilities, and United Nations schools, as Israel has long reported.  AI also criticizes the launching by Hamas of attacks in or near locations such as hospitals and religious sites, where civilians were taking shelter.

Rockets and mortars were launched from civilian facilities, such as hospitals including the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and the Greek Orthodox Church, where more than 2,000 people took shelter, in Gaza City  

AI continues to investigate the charges that rockets were launched from within schools in the Gaza strip.  Those launchings include rockets from the UNRWA elementary school in Jabalia on July 13 and 14, the Abu Nur school in the al-Shati refugee camp on July 20, the UNRWA girls' school in Beit Lahiya on August 1, and the boys' school in the UNRWA Shahada al-Manar in Shuja'iyyeh on August 21, 22, and 25.

The report, commenting on the imprecise nature of the massive firing of Hamas mortars, emphasizes that indiscriminate attacks that kill or wound civilians constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.  The July 28 attack was an egregious example of the indiscriminate nature of the rockets fired by armed Palestinian groups.

The White House should note that neither the Palestinian authorities nor the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip have been willing to open investigations into their violations of international humanitarian law.  Nor has AI received any response from the Palestinian authorities about the cases it has been investigating.  AI indicates that Palestinians have not investigated similar violations on previous occasions.  It also points out that Palestinians have long claimed impunity for abuses inflicted by their security forces, such as arbitrary detention, torture, and the use of unlawful force against protestors in both the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

The Amnesty International report is an important contribution to the accurate history of the activities of Palestinians.  It is incumbent on senior officials in the White House to read it and to consider the circumstances Prime Minister Netanyahu says must change if a Palestinian state is to be established.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 8:52 AM by Michael Curtis
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
To Make Men Thin
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‘Men,’ said Marx in his 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, ‘make their own history, but they do not make just it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances already existing, given and transmitted from the past.’ This is true, despite its provenance; indeed so obviously true that it is virtually a truism. For if it were otherwise, men would find themselves behaving in no circumstances at all, which is literally inconceivable. Circumstances are like the poor, only even more so: ye have circumstances with you always.

But it does not follow from the fact that men don’t make their history just as they please because they inherit particular circumstances (in part self-created, as our past always is) that they have no choice but to act as they do, any more than grammatical rules determine what people say. Those rules prohibit, or rather make meaningless, certain utterances, but there remain an infinite number of possible meaningful utterances.  

The degree of duress exerted by circumstance varies, of course. A man under torture can still choose not to divulge the information wanted by his torturer, but it would be a harsh judgment indeed to blame him for giving way in the face of continued pain or death. The law, as usual, defines duress more precisely than any phenomenon on a continuum allows, for fear that any circumstance whatever will count as duress if there is not a clear demarcation. But in extra-legal thought, the idea of duress has been so far extended that almost all circumstances, economic, sociological, political or psychological, are deemed by some intellectuals, particularly but not exclusively left-leaning, to count as such.

Recently, in Britain at least, there has been a lot of attention paid to the problem of obesity which (no pun intended) is growing. Since the human world is infused with meaning, the question on every commentator’s lips is, ‘Who is to blame?’ Even the most thoroughgoing determinist needs to blame someone, if it is only his parents.

Some people, mainly conservatives, blame the conduct of the fat themselves: their greed, lack of self-control, laziness, bad habits and so forth. They eat too much, especially of the wrong foods, and watch too much television instead of exercising as they should, or as they are told that they should.

Others, mainly liberals, blame society in general and the food companies in particular. Obesity, which was once a sign of prosperity, is now statistically associated with poverty, that is to say with those who have relatively low incomes in rich countries, as these incomes might be considered rich in poor countries. Moreover, the food that the poor in rich countries are constrained to eat is deliberately and knowingly manufactured in such a way as to result in the obesity of those who eat it – what the French, succinctly, call malbouffe. Obesity is not, then, a pathology of choice, but a pathology of society and a manifestation of injustice and exploitation.

That there are cultural aspects to obesity and slenderness as ideals no one could deny. I once witnessed a startling change in those ideals as they were happening: in Zululand, where I worked briefly as a doctor, modern, educated and urbanised young women would ask for something to make them thinner, while more traditional, unschooled and still-rural young women would ask for something to make them fatter: and interestingly, from my point of view, those who wanted to be made thin were already thin, while those who wanted to be made fatter were already fat. Social pressure of one kind or another obviously had an effect on these young women’s aesthetic ideal.

But a rising rate of burglary, for example, does not mean that the burglars whose activities contribute to that rising rate are not acting voluntarily, and therefore excuse burglary. Each individual act of burglary remains a matter of choice and deliberation. (Except in vanishingly rare cases of automatism, you cannot break into a house and steal its contents without wanting to do it.)

It is true that the content of much prepared food is appalling; and it is also true that food companies deliberately lace that food with fats and sugars that they know are attractive to people with a poor culinary culture and a disposition to easy and quick gratification. But it is not true that people eat such food because it is cheap. With reasonably careful shopping, and a knowledge of how to cook, it is possible to eat much more economically than by buying prepared food.

Liberals take very easily to Professor Lustig’s argument that the epidemic of obesity, which is particularly serious in Anglo-Saxon countries no doubt because of our relatively impoverished culinary traditions, has been caused by the lacing of so many prepared foods with sugars, chemicals which are addictive. Once you have been fed with them, goes the argument, you are inclined to seek them out more and more. It is as if your food had been surreptitiously laced by a drug-dealer, and therefore you are not to blame for how or what you eat; like Luther at Wittenberg, you can do no other. You are a plaything of your neurotransmitters that have been re-set without your knowledge or consent.

It seems to follow from this that the solution to the problem of obesity is to regulate what is put into food. You cannot expect a population of addicts to give up its addiction just by itself – at least not if you think of addiction as a kind of neurological or neurochemical slavery. The only answer, therefore, is to cut off the supply of the addictive substance by regulatory legislation.

I happen to dislike prepared foods, though more on aesthetic than on health grounds; I see what people choose and am appalled by their choices, which seem to me to be those of overindulged children who have never matured in their tastes. And I have no cast-iron, unbending objection to regulatory action, either; none of us is really deeply opposed to requirements for requirements for drinking water to be uncontaminated, or wants our only protection against the supply of contaminated water to be ex post facto legal action under tort law against the suppliers once we have fallen ill from contamination.

Of course harm results when regulators get things wrong. It so happens that one of the reasons manufacturers add sugars so plentifully to our prepared foods is that regulators told them years back to avoid the alternative to sugars, namely fats. Furthermore, it is manipulation by agricultural policies that makes sugars so cheap and convenient for manufacturers.

But we always have to start out from where we are, not from where we should have been if our predecessors had been wiser or more prescient than they were; and we can act only on the best information that we have at the time we act. Regulation of the sugar content of prepared foods might produce unforeseen harmful consequences: but we have always to act with incomplete knowledge, and can only do our best according to the information that we have.

I would have no real objection, then, to regulation of the sugar content of prepared foods, provided it was done on intellectually honest grounds. Those grounds would not be that people are incapable of acting other than as they do, but that they are too idle to cook, their tastes and pleasures are too brutish, their habits too gross, for them to be left free to choose for themselves. Someone who knows better must guide them.

Of course, one could just leave everything as it is, without any intervention. It is quite likely, though not certain, that people will one day bethink themselves and eschew the malbouffe to which they have grown accustomed and has made them so fat. There is already a suggestion of reduced levels of obesity among children. A solution without anyone enforcing it is the best of solutions.

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 8:25 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Friends of Iran in the United States
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On February 19, 2015, a full-page ad was published in the New York Times by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) opposing the invitation given to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress.  It asked the question: “Will Congress side with our President or a Foreign Leader?”

The ad did not disclose that the founder and president of the organization, Trita Parsi, was an Iranian-Swedish citizen who holds a Green Card and has had links with Iranian authorities, especially the Iranian defense minister, Javad Zarif.  Those links were held to be extremely close by a critic, Hassan Daioleslam, an Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist who left Iran in 1981 and lives in Arizona.  He wrote that NIAC, and its leader Parsi, are an organization engaged in lobbying Congress on behalf of a foreign government – namely, that of Iran.

The invitation to Netanyahu and his speech to Congress became the occasion for dramatic political theater by Team Obama and its supporters, who disliked the Israeli’s criticism of the Obama administration’s attitude toward Iran.  Nothing was said by that team or in the mainstream media on the question of whether the NIAC had lobbied or tried to lobby Congress or had any impact on the current policy of the Obama administration in negotiating with Iran.

In his articles, Daioleslam (Dia) claimed that the NIAC, and former Congressman Bob Ney, who was associated with it, were helping Iran to manipulate U.S. policy on Iran’s behalf.  Among other issues, in 2007, the organization had lobbied to prevent U.S. funds going to democratic elements in Iran. The NIAC brought a lawsuit in May 2008 in the attempt to halt Daioleslam’s further criticism of the Iranian regime.  But it delayed producing, and sometimes failed to produce, necessary information on its computers, calendar entries, and e-mails.  In addition, the assistant director of the NIAC changed some files from references to “lobbying” to “legislative direct.”

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judge John Bates) in September 2012 dismissed the lawsuit.  The Court found that the NIAC had given false information to it, and it ordered the NIAC to pay Daioleslam’s legal expenses – about $184,000.  It held that the work of the NIAC and its founder, Trita Parsi, was not inconsistent with the idea that it was “first and foremost an advocate for the regime.”  Consequently, Daioleslam’s statement could not be considered defamatory.

The court in July 2010 had ordered NIAC three times to submit its server for inspection to determine if all documents had been given to it, and complained that additional computers in the network of the NIAC had not been produced.  The court found that the NIAC had withheld 5,500 e-mails written by its senior officials.  It is unclear whether this refusal or inability to produce documents was deliberate or result or incompetence.

The decision of the District Court was upheld by the opinion of two circuit judges and a senior circuit judge in the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a decision on February 10, 2015.  The Court of Appeals approved the opinion of the District Court that the NIAC was involved in systematic abuse of the legal discovery process and made false declarations to the court.

The court held that the NIAC had “flouted multiple court orders” and taken “inexcusable” action in delaying delivery of documents to during the lawsuit that it had itself brought, and therefore had driven up the costs imposed on the Daioleslam.  It referred to the NAIC’s conduct as “dilatory, dishonest, and intransigent.”

Ironically, this case is somewhat similar to other events current in Washington where individuals have refused to provide or have misplaced official documents or have given incomplete records after requests by members of Congress for full documentation.

The Court did not finally decide if the NIAC had violated the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  The statute, enacted in 1938, requires that persons acting as agents of foreign authorities in a political or quasi-political capacity make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with a foreign entity.  Action of this kind is legally different from advocating better ties with a foreign entity, because this would be in the interests of the U.S.

The NIAC was founded in 2002 by Trita Parsi, who said it would enable Iranian-Americans to condemn the 9/11 attacks.  It is organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and states that it is non-partisan and does not receive funds from the Iranian government or from the United States government.  It says it is dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community on civic, cultural, and political issues.  It speaks on behalf of that community to which it refers as “one of the most highly educated minority groups in the U.S.”

The founder and president of the NIAC has been invited to the White House, has arranged meetings between the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and members of Congress, and given talks at the CIA.  He has done so without registering as an agent of a foreign power.

The NIAC also expresses its “vision” to work to ensure that human rights are upheld in Iran and that civil rights are protected in the U.S.  It received funds, almost $200,000, from the National  Endowment for Democracy.

More significantly, the NIAC has pressed for an end to international sanctions on Iran.  The NIAC has also played a partisan role in U.S. and international politics.  It lobbied against the appointment of Dennis Ross to the National Security Council.  The documents revealed to the Court that Parsi had helped prepare reports about Iran and helped send them to Atieh Company in Tehran, which paid Parsi for his work.

One can only hope that the NIAC was not consulted in the current negotiations with Iran on nuclear issues.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 8:18 AM by Michael Curtis
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
American Negotiators Frantic For A Deal With Iran
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Posted on 03/29/2015 7:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis Talks Of Martyrs
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And the Muslims who are killing them.

Here.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 7:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Fifth Isil runaway held on take-off
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It turns out that one of the girls from Bethnal Green Academy who was made a Ward of Court to stop her defecting to ISIS/ISIL last week was stopped in her earlier attempt. She was following girl(s) from the private Muslim School(s) in the borough run by the East London Mosque. Also more about papa's connection with the jihadist underworld.

From the Sunday Telegraph. 

A fifth girl from Bethnal Green Academy travelled to join Islamic State (Isil) and was only stopped after her plane was halted on the runway, it can be revealed. . . Her case is particularly concerning, however, since it took place in December, more than two months before the other girls left. 

It had been thought that four girls from the school – Kadiza, Shamima and Amira, plus another teenager who succeeded in reaching Syria in December, Sharmeena Begum – were the only Bethnal Green pupils to have tried to travel to Isil.

However, the 15-year-old is the fifth. All five children were friends. The 15-year-old who was taken off the plane is one of five girls remaining at Bethnal Green Academy who have been made wards of court and handed travel bans to prevent them from going to Syria.

Tower Hamlets council attempted to prevent journalists from revealing the further links to the academy, but a judge ruled that it was in the public interest to report it.

Amira Abase’s father, Abase Hussen, blamed police for his daughter’s disappearance, saying they had “terrified” his daughter and should have done more to warn him after Sharmeena Begum left for Syria. 

 emerged yesterday that a man appearing to be Mr Hussen and bearing a close resemblance to him attended an extremist rally with Anjem Choudary, former head of the al-Muhajiroun group which has radicalised dozens of convicted terrorists. Also present was Michael Adebowale, one of those who would later murder the soldier Lee Rigby.

Pictures of the event, in 2012, appear to show Mr Hussen chanting “Burn, burn USA” and attempting to hold a blazing US flag. Behind him, hundreds of jihadi sympathisers chant provocative slogans while holding black terrorist banners.Mr Hussen had claimed to the committee that he did not even know what Islamic radicalisation was.

As the Telegraph revealed two weeks ago, Mr Hussen’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee – who also gave evidence to the committee blaming the police – is an extremist with links to both al-Muhajiroun and Cage, the pro-terrorist lobby group which defended Mohammed Emwazi, “Jihadi John,” as a “gentle” and “beautiful” man who had been “radicalised by MI5.”

Mr Akunjee, also known as Mohammed Akunjee, attacked the Met for making a “cacophony of error” over the girls, saying: "One would hope the Met would have expended greater resources checking their facts and getting it right.” However, he has previously said that no Muslim should co-operate with anti-terror police, saying that Prevent, the government’s counter-terror policy, is “straightforward, paid-for spying on the community.” 

Mr Akunjee is based in Brentford, on the other side of London. The revelation of Mr Hussen’s apparent al-Muhajiroun links may help explain how he came to be representing families from Tower Hamlets.

One source involved in the investigation of the three girls said: “We are desperate to get Akunjee off the case but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.”

Another London teenager who has travelled to join Isil attended a private Muslim school in Tower Hamlets run by the East London Mosque, an institution controlled by an extremist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), and which has regularly hosted hate preachers.

Zubair Nur, 19, went to London East Academy, one of six private Muslim schools identified by Ofsted in November as leaving children “vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation.” Nur was also a lead volunteer for the IFE’s youth wing, the Young Muslim Organisation (YMO), and attended private study classes with the mosque’s imam, Abdul Qayyum.

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Posted on 03/29/2015 2:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 28 March 2015
Sunni And Shi'a Representatives Exchange Views On Iraqi Television
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Posted on 03/28/2015 11:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 March 2015
An Interview With Geert Wilders
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Posted on 03/28/2015 11:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 March 2015
A Musical Interlude: A Little White House At The End Of Honeymoon Lane (Al Bowlly)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 03/28/2015 10:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 March 2015
Real Estate Notes From All Over
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The king, or emir, or sultan, or ruler, or whatever he calls himself, of nasty little Qatar has just bought his second, and possibly favorite, wife, a little seaside place, 64 rms w/vu, tout confort.

Details here.

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Posted on 03/28/2015 10:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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