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
















Saturday, 20 December 2014
Mohammad Rafiq Of Birmingham, And The British Underclass
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The 19-year-old girl whom 80-year-old Mohammad Rafiq apparently managed to control or enslave, the English cretins who for 50 pounds did his bidding and threw acid in the girl's face, the girl's half-sister who led the polic astray -- an unedifying picture of the underclass in England today.

Here.

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Posted on 12/20/2014 5:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 20 December 2014
Arab States Have Yet to Transfer Funds Pledged for Gaza
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I'm shocked, shocked! From the Times of Israel:

Less than two percent of the $5.4 billion of aid pledged by international donors to help rebuild Gaza following Operation Protective Edge has been transferred, and none of the Arab states have come through yet on their promised share, according to Palestinian officials.

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Posted on 12/20/2014 5:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 20 December 2014
ISIS reportedly selling Christian artifacts, turning churches into torture chambers
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  Perry Chiaramonte writes in Fox News:

The Islamic State is turning Christian churches in Iraq and Syria into dungeons and torture chambers after stripping them of priceless artifacts to sell on the black market, according to reports.

Ancient relics and even entire murals are being torn from the houses of worship and smuggled out through the same routes previously established for moving oil and weapons in and out of the so-called caliphate, a vast region the jihadist army has claimed as sovereign under Sharia law.

"ISIS has a stated goal to wipe out Christianity,” Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice and the author of "Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore," told FoxNews.com. “This why they are crucifying Christians -- including children -- destroying churches and selling artifacts. The fact is, this group will stop at nothing to raise funds for its terrorist mission.”

It’s not clear what items have been stolen, but the terrorist group has sought to destroy religious groups that don't embrace its twisted and violent interpretation of Islam, and has already blown up several revered Christian sites and monuments.

Last July, ISIS militants used sledgehammers to destroy the tomb of Jonah in Mosul. Around the same time, they were destroying Sunni shrines and mosques in the northern province of Ninevah, including the Shia Saad bin Aqeel Husseiniya shrine in the city of Tal Afar and the al-Qubba Husseiniya, as well as Christian churches in Syria. The group follows a strict interpretation of the Sunni faith which is against idolatry of anything other than God. ISIS has also threatened to destroy the holy sight of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, have powerful historical ties to the region, and some of its most treasured sites and relics are in Iraq and Syria, according to experts. Their destruction or dispersal is tragic, said Shaul Gabbay, senior scholar at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

“The Middle East is where the three monotheistic religions begun and anything that can inform us about the history and chronology of the development of religion is of unparalleled significance to the core identity of anyone who is Christian,” Gabbay told FoxNews.com. “This is where Abraham, the forefather of the three monotheistic religions, came from, where Moses led the Hebrews to the Promised Land and where Jesus Christ was born, walked, died and was resurrected.

“Anything physical part that exists from the past including more modern artifacts is of extreme value to Christianity both at the informative and educational level as well as the spiritual/faith level,” he said.

Experts believe Islamic State's trafficking in religious artifacts is both to make money and to culturally cleanse the region. The Islamic militants have converted churches in Qaraqosh and other Iraqi cities into torture chambers, according to the Sunday Times. One priest from the region, who gave his name as Abu Aasi from Mosul, told the newspaper earlier this month that prisoners were being held in the Bahnam Wa Sara and Al Kiama churches.

“These two churches are being used as prisons and for torture,” he said while in hiding. “Most inside are Christians and they are being forced to convert to Islam. Isis has been breaking all the crosses and statues of Mary.”

Christianity is believed to be practiced by just three percent of the population of Iraq. They lived in relative religious freedom while under Saddam Hussein's rule, but have faced persecution from Islamic State in the last two years. In particular, the Yazidi, a Kurdish Christian people, have been hounded and murdered by the extremist group, leaving many of them becoming refugees trying to escape the region.

“We know that ISIS considers several groups -- including Christians -- as 'infidels without human rights,'" Sekulow said. "ISIS jihadists commit violence against fellow Muslims in violation of Islamic law. They routinely commit war crimes and engage in torture in violation of international law; and they also kill and threaten Christian, Jewish, and other religious communities.”

“In short, ISIS is composed of religiously motivated psychopaths," he said.

 

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Posted on 12/20/2014 4:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Ali Salem On Qutb, The Founding Texts Of Islam, And Non-Muslim Defenders Of The Faith
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Ali Salem, in The Wall Street Journal, here.

The comments on the piece are also worth reading.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 9:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 19 December 2014
A Musical Interlude: You Call It Madness (Russ Columbo)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 8:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Celebrated Egyptian Writer Ali Salem: Israel Is Not The Enemy
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Story here.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 8:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Al-Qaeda Seizes Three Dozen Syrian Army Tanks
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Story here.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 8:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Hanukkah in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia: Lamps Shedding Light Amid Fields of Flowers
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For thirty years during Hanukkah a large Hanukkah lamp-stand has been set up in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia, and ceremonially lit amidst much celebratory partying.

This year, the ceremony and partying were cancelled because of the actions of a Muslim who - obeying the Quranic injunction to "terrorise them" and taking to heart the teachings and example of Mohammed who proclaimed (according to the canonical Hadiths) "I have been made victorious by terror") - attacked a cafe, held 17 non-Muslim Sydneysiders hostage, forced some of his hostages to display in the cafe window a black flag inscribed with the Shahada, and ultimately murdered two of the hostages before getting killed by police.

However, Sydney's branch of Chabad still set up the menorah, and its lights are burning steadily by night, one and two and three and four, one added each successive night, above the fields of flowers.  And amongst all those bunches of flowers there is a second, small menorah.

Hanukkah in the city of Sydney, 2014.

As reported by the Times of Israel, among others.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/menorah-honoring-terror-victims-erected-in-sydney/

'Menorah honoring terror victims erected in Sydney'

'Chabad sets up 32-foot menorah following deadly siege of Australian cafe.

(click on the link to see a picture - CM)

'Chabad set up a menorah in downtown Sydney as a tribute to the victims of a terrorist attack.

'The 32 foot menorah was erected late Thursday night in downtown Sydney, just hours after Chabad cancelled its annual candle-lighting ceremony in the wake of the terror attack that killed ended with three people, including the assailant, killed.  The Menorah has been used for Hanukkah lighting ceremonies for nearly 30 years.

'At the foot of the Menorah is a message that reads - "The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the lights of the Festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation".

'Erecting the menorah sends a message even in the absence of the lighting ceremony, said Rabbi Elimelech Levy, the director of Chabad Youth NSW and coordinator of the annual Hanukkah in the City celebration.

'"Whilst the event was cancelled, the presence of the giant menorah sends a powerful message that light will always overcome darkness", Levy said. "As we mourn the loss of life and the atrocity that has taken place, people of goodwill will continue to shine the light of freedom and communal harmony, which is what the Hanukkah menorah is all about."

Freedom, yes. But sometimes one must fight to defend freedom and indeed life itself, and that too is what Hanukkah tells us.  It tells us - "have faith and be brave!" - CM

'The menorah was scheduled to be erected Monday night, but was postponed because of the siege at the Lindt chocolate cafe.

'Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Iranian cleric (let's just leave out the "self-styled" - he was an Iranian cleric, a Shiite who decided to join the "strong horse" and become a Sunni Muslim - CM) held almost 20 people hostage before the 16-hour siege ended in a shootout.

'On Thursday two Chabad rabbis joined an interfaith gathering at the memorial site which has become a sea of tens of thousands of flowers.

'Rabbi Levi Wolff gave a yarzheit candle to Ken Johnson, the father of Tori, who was killed trying to subdue the terrorist.

"I told him that Tori is one of God's tallest candles, and that he has lit up a nation with his brave act", Rabbi Wolff told J-Wire, a local Jewish website."

And here is the J-wire story, by Henry Benjamin.

http://www.jwire.com.au/menorah-martin-place-2/

"Menorah in Martin Place

'The Chanukah celebration organised in Sydney's Martin Place, the scene of this week's siege, was cancelled in respect to those who lost their lives; but the giant menorah has been erected and carries a message to all Australians.

'Chabad has constructed the 10 metre high Chanukah Menorah in Martin Place in the same place it has stood annually for the last thirty years...

'After lengthy discussion and consultation with the authorities and communal leaders the decision was made to cancel the Chanukah Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Martin Place, scheduled for the third night of Chanukah, Thursday 18 December...

'In Martin Place the Menorah quietly sheds its light on one of the darkest moments of Sydney's history."

The large Menorah is answered by a smaller one placed amidst the flowers, in lieu of a wreath (click on the link immediately below, to see a picture).

http://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/2798646/jewish/A-Menorah-as-Memorial-to-Sydney-Terror-Attack.htm

"A Menorah as Memorial to Sydney Terror Attack.

'Emissary couple joins those paying their respects at Martin Place site.

'The Menorah stood out amid a sea of flowers as a gentle reminder that light can dispel darkness, and that goodness still exists.

'It was a message that Rabbi Levi Wolff, chief minister and spiritual head of Sydney's Central Synagogue, and a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, hoped to pass along Tuesday morning when he and his wife, Chanie, visited Martin Place, site of the recent terror attack on a local cafe. The area was filled with Australians paying their respects.

"Many of my congregants and [community] members work and own businesses within the area where tragedy struck, and my wife and I felt strongly that there needed to be a visual Jewish representation there today while the country was still mourning, and the eyes of the country and the world are on that very spot", said Wolff.

'Given that Chanukah, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil, was just a few hours away, Wolff said that bringing a menorah - his wife brought flowers as wel - was appropriate...'.

And, finally, some commonsense and clearheadedness from the rabbi of the synagogue of Coogee, east Sydney, which I found just now on the synagogue website.

http://coogeesynagogue.org/the-latest-newsletter/

'Coogee Synagogue Newsletter 27 Kislev - 19 December 2014.

"Think Again - # we'll walk with Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson'.

"I went to visit the makeshift shrine at Martin Place today.  The overall sombre tone in the air was one of sadness, grief, and a lot of forgiveness.

'I however felt anger and I wanted to shout out that this has been happening ot my people for so long; but it is unfair to judge someone else's grief.

Yes. anger.  At last, someone prepared to state that anger is appropriate.  Anger was what much of the public rhetoric surrounding this vicious little jihad raid has sought to suppress.  And anger - healthy anger, anger that fuels a courageous response to naked evil - is what Hanukkah is also about. - CM

'The absolute senseless deaths and the fact that a city was closed down, helped me to understand the commandment (Deuteronomy 25:17) - "Remember that which the Amalekites did to you".  It seemed that the Torah was condoning hate and anger against a particular group of people, the Amalakites and all its descendants, in every generation till the end of time. Every generation, it seemed, developed an Amalakite group to oppose and hate.

'But how can you command to hate?

'The Torah understood well the vagrancies of human nature; there is a time to love and there is a time to hate.

'Sometimes it is correct to have anger and hate, when faced with evil.

"It becomes a mitzvah to express the core emotion of disgust and abhorrence, in the face of evil.

"It is why the Bible references evil in so many passages and on so many occasions, as if to remind us that evil does exist and that it is our task to oppose, resist and confront the wickedness of evil.  The Torah finds good reason to "Remember that which the Amalakites did".

'The alternative is tyranny, repression and bigotry. Winston Churchill famously said, "All it takes for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing".

I am not sure who precisely said those words, but they are true irrespective of who said them. - CM

'This week Australia awoke to the news for the first time confronted with the insidious brutality and viciousness of evil terrorism on its own soil.

"We had two hostages dead, many injured, and the entire nation left bewildered.

'The images of a black Muslim flag juxtaposed with Lindt's Merry Christmas greeting and terrified cafe staff pressed against the window.

'It was news that Jews are only too familiar with.

'One can only remember the pain of 9/11, Bali (the Bali jihad bombing in 2002 - CM) and the brutal deaths only three weeks ago in Har Nof.

'Terrorism is the targeting of civilians in the name of a philosophical ideology, a cause that is somehow more virtuous than life itself. But how can a cause be greater than life? Life is godly and sacred, so how can you have a cause that is greater than God and Allah himself.

Dear rabbi: here alone, you slipped up in an otherwise refreshingly honest commentary.  You should not have mentioned allah, because allah commands and loves death, the death of its followers and the death of the despised non-Muslim untermenschen who in the Quran are described as "the worst of beasts".  The remote and capricious and despotic allah of the Muslims - who is admiringly described as "the best of deceivers", who does not love his grovelling slaves and does not keep covenant - has nothing whatsoever in common with the life-giving, covenant-keeping, invincibly faithful YHWH of the Bible, the Holy One of Israel. - CM

'Nothing, no ideology can justify terrorism.  It is good that our Bible condemns Amalek and the awfulness of Evil.

Yes.  I would argue that in our time and indeed for the past 1400 years one of the most thoroughgoing and dreadful and extravagantly-murderous manifestations of "Amalek" has been the Ummah, or mohammedan mob, the Empire of Islam. - CM

'What happened in Martin Place on Tuesday was pure and simple evil.

Yes. - CM

"To be sure it was an act carried out by a crazy self-styled imam, but it was fuelled by the ideology of fanaticism, hatred and jihad.

In other words, to cut a long story short: Islam, which Winston Churchill in his book "The Story of the Malakand Field Force" summed up as "the religion of blood and war".  The first chapter of that book - especially the portions that deal with Islam, and jihad - should be required reading for all non-Muslim religious, political and military leaders, world-wide. - CM

'But the whitewash of Sheik Haron Monis has begun in the media; he is being portrayed in the news as a "lone madman" and "violent criminal". These descriptions are not strictly untrue, but first and foremost he was a terrorist fuelled by fanatical ideology.

That is: he took Islam fully to heart. - CM

'He brought Sydney and most of the nation to a standstill. Australia has never seen anything like this before.

'When it comes to those of us who mourn Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, it is no consolation that he was mad, crazy, and that he acted alone.

Or that he is believed to have acted alone; we do not know for sure that that was the case. He saw himself as part of the Ummah; he had crossed over from the Shiite to the Sunni branch of that body. - CM

'Monis was a Muslim extremist (a devout Muslim - CM) who had a Facebook following in the thousands, and cleverly planned this terror act in the Lindt cafe with bullet-proof windows, opposite Channel 7 [news headquarters - CM].

'His deed struck down two people who will now never come home to their loved ones, cut down in their prime, who were yesterday full of hopes and dreams for the future.  And there are others who will bear the scars for the rest of their lives, most of them invisible.  One does not simply "return to normal" after such an experience.

'Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson are heroes.  They died trying to save others, but they were just regular normal good people. Tori had been the manager of Lindt cafe for the past two years and Katrina Dawson was a successful lawyer married with three young children, living in our city of Randwick.  She and her husband were good friends of some of our co-religionists. There is only a small degree of separation amongst us.

'There seems to me to be an unseemly haste in declaring our solidarity with the Muslim community,

(hear, hear! - CM)

who have certainly rightly condemned this act.

At least in public. What the Muslim mob in Australia may be saying to one another in private, when the dirty unbelievers are not listening, might be another story; I hope that AFP and ASIO are keeping a weather ear open on all their wiretaps.  The good rabbi, though wiser than many others in Australia, is here being rather too trusting. - CM

'But where is the anger of (at - CM) the Amalakites?

'The # I'llridewithyou campaign seems to be a response of victimhood, and that Australians are somehow to blame and we are at fault for causing anti-Muslim bigotry.

You nailed it, rabbi. - CM

'There has been an outpouring of grief and mourning by the placing of flowers at Martin Place.

'The Jewish custom is to light a candle.  We light a yahrtzeit candle and place the memorial candle in a prominent position when remembering a loved one. The candle is a metaphor that life never ceases and that the soul is not extinguished.

'As we light our Chanukah candles it too becomes a metaphor of defiance against tyranny.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Let us defy and resist all those who would drag planet earth down into the bottomless pit of a global caliphate ruled by despots and subject to the institutionalised sadism of the unlaw that is the Sharia of Islam, total and totalitarian. - CM

'The Chanukah light is our response to darkness.  It illuminates the message of hope and the battle for life.

'We refuse to live in fear, and we will continue to buy our coffee in Lindt cafes and our chocolate in Max Brenner stores.

'When we light our Chanukah candles this year here in Australia we are going to light one for the memory of #I'llwalkwithToriJohnsonandKatrinaDawson, whose souls will never be extinguished.

As always, 

l'chaim, and see you in shule.

Elozer Gestetner."

'Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson: May their memory be a blessing."

Seconded, rabbi. -  C

 

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Posted on 12/19/2014 7:36 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Ivan Rioufol: Hollande And His Way Out
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The nonsense about France as a nation whose immigrants have been a source of strength, a bit of national luck for which the French should be grateful, the wonderful integration of Muslims into France -- all this is too absurd for Rioufol to bother to refute. He simply repeats the nonsense Hollande has spouted, for all to laugh at. But what will Holland do? And will the Muslim voters, 86% of whom voted for him when he first ran, be his secret source of strength, in the undoing of France?

Rioufol, and comments on Rioufol, here.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 5:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Advent Calendar XIX
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The levitation merchants in Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery are usually Yoda, the Grim Reaper or Gandalf the Grey. But in honour of the season Santa Claus (he doesn't look dignified enough to be a Father Christmas) has looked in. 

It takes all sorts.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 2:39 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 19 December 2014
A Maccabee for All Seasons - Jewish, Christian, Literary and Rastafarian
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (December 2014)


This year the Jewish festival of Hanukkah lasts from December 16 until the 24. It will be celebrated for a full eight days with one candle lit each night until all eight shine on the eighth day. Jews in the US, Israel (where it is a national holiday) and around the world, celebrate Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil, when their ancestors in Judea, the Maccabees, after having successfully fought off Hellenistic invaders who forbid the Jewish Temple rituals, discovered a tiny amount of sacred oil which managed to light the Temple sanctuary in Jerusalem for a full eight days.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/19/2014 1:51 PM by NER
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Friday, 19 December 2014
Muslim charities lose government help over 'extremism'
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From the BBC

Two Muslim charities have lost their grants after the government claimed they had links with Islamist extremism.

A spokesman for Birmingham-based Islamic Help, said it was "surprised, dismayed and angered" by the action. The Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), said the decision was based on "unfounded allegations".

The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would not fund any group "linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence".

In a written statement the Secretary of State for the department, Eric Pickles, claimed Islamic Help had invited "an individual with extremist views" to speak at an event, and that the MCF - an umbrella organisation for Muslim charities - had "failed to reassure us that they have robust measures in place to investigate and challenge their members."

A spokesman for Islamic Help said the speaker alleged to have extremist views had not been identified to them.

Mr Pickles said only programmes which "uphold fundamental British values" would receive aid.

Both Islamic Help and the MCF had received the money through the Faith Minorities in Action project, which was set up by the DCLG in March last year.

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Posted on 12/19/2014 6:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 19 December 2014
'We have killed all the children. What do we do now?'
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From the Telegraph

Taliban militants who stormed a Pakistan high school killing more than 130 students followed instructions from a commander, according to transcripts given to local newspapers by the authorities.

“We have killed all the children in the auditorium,” one of the attackers told his handler. “What do we do now?”

The handler replied: “Wait for the army people, kill them before blowing yourself.”

The Taliban have released several pictures of their jihadist murder team. One is below, from AP via the Telegraph.

The conversation was one of the last between the seven attackers and their Taliban boss, according to security officials. Shortly after, two of the suicide attackers charged special forces soldiers arriving at the Peshawar Army Public School. Five other attackers blew themselves up inside the school.

More than 100 of the deaths in the attack were in the school auditorium, where several classes of senior boys were having a joint first aid class. Many of the survivors described the attackers going through the auditorium, pulling boys from under desks where they were hiding and shooting them. Others ran into militants who were blocking the doors.

“Did the attackers have prior knowledge of the congregation in the main hall?” a security official was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. “ don’t know this yet. This is one of the questions we are trying to find an answer to.”

At least two of the children killed in the attack were beheaded, according to medical staff. “One 13-year-old boy came in without his head. It was missing,” said a senior doctor who was among staff who received the dead and injured at the Lady Reading Hospital. He said his throat appeared to have been cut with a sharp knife.

Another health worker, Anwar Ali, said a second boy from grade six also had his head missing. “He has received multiple bullet injuries in his whole body,” Mr Ali said. “His head was missing. It seems that he was beheaded by the militants.”

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Posted on 12/19/2014 1:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 19 December 2014
British teenagers of 14 offered cash to become jihadi brides
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From the Telegraph, and the London Evening Standard 

British girls as young as 14 are being helped to join Islamic State fighters in Syria as jihadi brides in increasing numbers by London-based “facilitators”, the Standard had learnt. Teenagers are being helped with applying for passports, given funding and sometimes even accompanied to the region after being groomed online.

Pockets of east London in particular are becoming hotbeds for organised groups of men and women helping young IS supporters to get to the Syrian conflict zone, the Standard has learned.

Haras Rafiq, an expert at British counter-terrorism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, says the organisation is “aware” of groups working across London but particularly in the east of the capital.

He said: “The average age is being reduced. Some of the girls getting out there are only 14. There are people here who have facilitated passports. Girls who are under a certain age are being accompanied by an adult over 18, usually a woman, to go help them. Help them apply for a passport, and even take them out there. The main areas they are working out of are in east London.”

 

Mr Rafiq said the attraction for these girls is escaping their “regressive” home lives.

He added the roles this girls play once in IS are primarily domestic. But Mr Rafiq added they are also given the job of acting as the “morality police” and attend radicalisation classes where they learn how to “brainwash” potential new recruits online.

The warning comes after a girl of 15 was rescued from joining the conflict in Syria after Met counter-terrorism officers stopped the plane she was on as it was taxiing down the runway at Heathrow. The girl, from Tower Hamlets, had bought a ticket to Istanbul without the knowledge of her parents. But she was prevented from travelling to join Islamist fighters after Scotland Yard detectives learnt of her plans earlier this month. 

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Posted on 12/19/2014 1:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Taliban Spokesman: At Peshawar, We Followed The Teachings Of The Prophet
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With details from Sahih Bukhari, here.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 9:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Advent Calendar XVIII
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When I did an Advent calendar in 2008 I included a passage from The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. The book tells the story of the friendship that grows up between Adam Ayscough, the Dean of the Cathedral City, and Isaac Peabody the clockmaker. The book, which is set in the 1870s in a Cathedral City which is mostly Ely in the Fens, culminates in the events of Christmas. In 2008 I copied out a paragraph describing Christmas Morning.

This passage takes place earlier; the week before Christmas. Some years previously the Dean rescued a young boy, Job Mooring, from the life of a chimney climbing boy and arranged his education in the City orphanage. Job has promise as a craftsman and Isaac has taken him on as his apprentice.  Polly the housemaid is an old friend from the orphanage, and now they are growing up their friendship has become courtship.

“Last Christmas” said Job “I did not know what Christmas was.”  When he had first come to Mr Peabody he had not wanted to look back for he had felt like somebody just awake after a nightmare, and afraid to think about it lest it catch him again, but now the evil had receded so far that he liked to set it as a backcloth to the procession of his shining days. “I did not know what it was” he repeated. “Shall I put the shutters up?”

“Another five minutes said Isaac. “I don’t like to close too soon before Christmas.”

“Thirty minutes late now” said Job but he laughed and leaned his arms on the counter, content to wait. He was tired and so was Isaac, for it had been a busy day with people in and out buying Christmas presents, but they had enjoyed it to the full and their tiredness was of the pleasant kind that invests the thought of supper and bed with the haloed glory.  

Isaac did not call himself a jeweller but he did in his odd moments make pinchbeck brooches, heart-shaped lockets and ear-rings whorled or delicately pointed like shells or stars. He also made eternity rings set with imitation jewels whose first letters spelt words like regard, dearest and adored, adjectives nicely graded to express the degree of feeling which ravaged the breast of the enamoured male at the moments of purchase, and these as well as his clocks had a great sale before Christmas. Job had proved as expert as Isaac at making these trifles but one of the rings that he had made was not for sale. It was in a leather heart-shaped box in his pocket, burning a hole there until such time that he could give it to Polly as her Christmas present. As well as jewellery he had created flights of little birds, angels and stars, and silver reindeer with golden antlers to hang upon the Christmas trees that were sold in the market.

There had been moments during the past week when it had scarcely been possible to move in the shop for excited children, papas, mammas, uncles, aunties and nannies, but now most of the pretty trifles had been sold and the ticking of the clocks, that for days had been drowned by the babel of voices and laughter, had come back into the silence as the singing of birds comes back when the wind dies at dusk. It was dark now beyond the bow windows of the shop, the sky clear after a passing shower and spangled with stars above the crooked roofs of Cockspur Street. The windows of the houses were small squares of orange and gold reflected in the shining cobbles. The lamplighter has passed down the street and the muffin man had passed up it, but now there was no one about, not even a cat. Yet they waited in the lamplight, leaning on the counter, and listened to the voices of their clocks as other men listened to a harpsichord or the slap of small waves against the hull of a boat. It was to them the music of their hearts , that pulsed in time to the heart-beat of the celestial clock.

The celestial clock is a metaphor, but it is also the name Isaac had given to the best clock he had ever made. If you want to know how it ends you will have to read the book. It’s still in print.

My daughter took this photograph in Ely last Christmas. The shops don't fit the exact description of Cockspur Street but they have a feel of the type.  The great octagon of the Cathedral dominates Ely just as  the ‘great Rollo Tower’ dominated the City of Adam Ayscough and Isaac Peabody. 

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Posted on 12/18/2014 4:12 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Husain Haqqani, Denouncing One Kind Of Pakistani Denial, Is Forced To Exhibit Another Kind
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Husain Haqqani, married to one of the Ispahani girls (I'm not sure if it's the one who was briefly married to Leon Wieseltier, or one of her sisters), is a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.  He knows, and has written about, how meretricious the Pakistani rulers, generals and zamindars alike, have been with the United States, how for  decades they have inveigled tens of billions of dollars in American aid, and used that financial and military suport partly to support Muslim terrorist groups in Kashmir, and  in Afghanistan, and allowed the most fanatical Muslim groups the freedom to open madrasas, to win followers, to threaten non-Muslims and those Muslims who did not share their fanaticism, and now they are discovering that they, too, are the object of those fanatics' hatred.

 

Husain Haqqani can't openly discuss what's in the Qur'an, in the Hadith, in the Sira. He has to confine himself to denouncing the Pakistani "deep state." But surely he knows, somewhere inside he knows, that no real reckoning can take place, because Islam remains Islam, and its mind-forged manacles will always keep the Pakistanis, even if they turn, temporarily, against the Taliban, in thrall to that ideology that will keep resupplying the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Toiba (under whatever name it chooses to go by), and a dozen other similar groups, too similar to go to the bother of distinguishing one from the other.  Islam is the cross that Muslims must bear, but we, who are not non-Muslims, are under no obligation to allow Muslims into our lands, and thus to share that burden.   

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Posted on 12/18/2014 2:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
The World Economy Staggers Along
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Almost the only G-20 government that is behaving sensibly is that of Saudi Arabia. As the sun sets with agonizing dilatoriness on the Obama administration, there is no sign of a resurrection of fiscal sanity, of any concern to reform “Affordable Care,” or even of a desire to palliate the shambles of the justice system with its ancillary constabulary and custodial abuses (though African Americans are severely provoked). For what promised to be a transformatively reforming regime, the very tired incumbent has turned out to be one of history’s great underachievers, but he is in numerous company. The aberrantly incompetent French government of François Hollande has managed to lead that rich and highly intelligent, if demiurgically fractious, country into negative economic growth despite chronic fiscal deficits.

German chancellor Angela Merkel talks a good game and deserves some credit for maintaining a reasonable economic performance, but her attempt to fulfill Germany’s longstanding vocation as Europe’s greatest power has been a fiasco. She sternly admonished Russia not to abuse Ukraine but doesn’t reduce German dependence on Russian natural gas. Her coalition partner, the Social Democratic party (SDP), is in a state of schizophrenia whose traditions are rooted in the Reuter–Schumacher and Schmidt–Brandt schisms between upholders of the Western Alliance and fantasist appeasers of the Kremlin, whoever lurked within it. The opposition parties in Germany do not contain any identifiable sane elements: They are the former Communists who have changed only their name and discarded their uniforms, the cyber-pirate nihilists, and the Greens, still fuming about nuclear power and slaves to their addiction to Russian natural gas.

Almost since the hyperactive child-emperor Wilhelm II fired Bismarck in 1890, discarded the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, and unsuccessfully challenged the naval superiority of the British — driving both those countries into the arms of the revanchist French — Germany has, as Winston Churchill famously said, been at our throat or at our feet. It is undoubtedly capable of showing responsible leadership, and now that Washington has virtually checked out of Europe, there is no one else to do it; but there, as in France and the United States, a possible strengthening of the government (in this case by giving Merkel back a feasible coalition-partner) is two years away.

The Russians are finally retrenching somewhat from their agitation of Russian irredentist minorities in the former Soviet Union, under the pressure of Saudi reductions of the oil price, but this is a problem that always had to be addressed and will not be dealt with sensibly with the present infestation of shilly-shallyers and poseurs in what used to be grandiloquently called the chancelleries of the Great Powers. There are substantial ethnic Russian populations in the Baltic and Caucasus states, as well as in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kirghizstan, and Uzbekistan. No sane person imagined that Russia would happily go back to its pre-Romanov borders of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy, and no one could expect Vladimir Putin to do so. But if the West had any leadership in its major countries of the stature of Adenauer, Kohl, de Gaulle, Pompidou, Churchill, Thatcher, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, or the senior Bush, some sort of understanding could be made that allowed coherent chunks of those former Soviet republics that wished to reunite with Russia to do so. Such an understanding would Finlandize some adjoining areas as neutral in foreign policy but autonomous in local affairs, and some would depart the Russian orbit for the West. Were it not for the Saudi tanking of the oil price — which is not aimed at shale-oil exploitation, much less at the tide of Russophilic activity in Eastern Europe, but at Iran’s nuclear program and Iranian and Russian support for the palsied Assad regime in Syria and envenoming of Hamas and Hezbollah — Putin would, to his heart’s content, pluck back parts of the old Russian empire sequentially. The Saudis are exposing Russia as an economic basket case, and, by serendipitous happenstance, are restraining Russian appetites for imperial restoration, in the absence of anything useful from the same powers that implemented the containment strategy that caused the Soviet Union peacefully to disintegrate.

It is a sign of the enfeebled and delusional state of most contemporary economic thinking that oil-price declines are greeted in Western stock exchanges with alarm. These reductions are like a $500 billion tax cut for the population of the North Atlantic countries, with no significant revenue reductions to any but a couple of the governments (Canada, Norway). They should be a matter for celebration, not only for the increase in disposable income, the ultimate non-inflationary boost to supply and demand, but as a vindication of the expanded search for energy despite the wailing of the environmentalists.

 

And it could be a geopolitical reprieve as well: As the West has waffled over the Iranian nuclear program, the Saudis have laid a rod on Tehran’s back, and, if that is not sufficient, there is still a prayerful hope that Israel will bring the rafters down around the ears of Iran’s furtive subterranean nuclear physicists, toiling like Nibelungen to endow Iran’s mad theocracy with the ultimate weapons of terror. The International Atomic Energy Agency has identified another clandestine Iranian organization beavering away in violation of all Iran’s promises and it is impossible, on current form, to imagine the irresolute alignment of the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China imposing anything serious on Iran, or Iran complying with anything that gave any sane person a sense of security that it was really abstaining voluntarily from becoming a nuclear military power.

The reelection of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is a straight victory for inflation, everything else having failed to restore Japanese economic growth (everything, that is, except what hasn’t been tried, i.e., tearing apart the built-in feather-bedding of the Japanese employment model that effectively requires all able-bodied people to be on the payroll no matter how superfluous or imaginary the work they do).

Another indication of how peculiar everything to do with international public policy is becoming was the address of Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, to the New York Economic Club last week. In an acrobatic handspring, he professed lock-step solidarity with the U.S. administration that has spent the past several years urging the British and other Europeans to expand the money supply through the deathly euphemism of quantitative easing. He declared that “the pessimists used to argue that Britain and America couldn’t escape the financial crisis without massive fiscal stimulus and even higher deficits.” Just what does the chancellor, who is presumed to know something of arithmetic, think has gone on as the U.S. has raised federal public debt by 80 percent (i.e., $8 trillion) in six years, and his government has raised it from about 45 to 96 percent of GDP in four years? He is right to take credit for relatively good unemployment and economic-growth figures, but he did not achieve them by emulating the Obama-Geithner economic miracle of achieving minimal economic growth by creating an immense increase in the money supply in six years, and what he actually did do was not worth hurtling over the Atlantic to New York to give prideful speeches about. The greatest advantage the Americans and the British have is that they are not the Europeans, who have persisted for six almost uninterrupted decades in paying unaffordable Danegeld to organized labor and the small farmer (from historically understandable fear of labor and agrarian discontent), while life expectancies rose and birth rates declined, encumbering a smaller share of the population with the burden of carrying the ever-expanding number of public-benefit recipients. The dollar and the pound look good compared with the soft underbelly of the Euro, which Germany does not wish to discard because of the advantage a tainted euro gives to German exports.

None of these currencies is worth anything except in relation to one another; no advanced countries (except Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Luxembourg, and most of Scandinavia) have national-debt levels that are not dangerous by traditional standards; and every announced plan, including that of the U.K., for ending deficits is based on chimerical growth figures and more inflation (the U.S. has not progressed to the point of even espousing one, no matter how far-fetched). George Osborne has done his best and Britain, unlike the United States, is not a rich country; his espousal of an “activist monetary policy,” “a credible commitment to sustainable fiscal policy,” and “supply-side reform” is all right as far as it goes. But neither country, and few others, have done anything to crow about in any of this. Nothing profoundly useful is going to happen until the major countries reform entitlements and make them affordable to their aging societies, and attach their currencies to some measurement of value that holds governments accountable to inflation in key areas, and not just the recent mixture of inflation and stagflation that produces acceptable averages but much discomfort. We will not drink ourselves sober, even by fiddling with the size of the whiskey bottle and the draft-beer glass, and the exotic combination of the Saudis and the Israelis will not pull our chestnuts out of the fire after they have retrieved their own.

I am afraid that this will have to do as my Christmas and New Year’s greeting, heartily extended to all; I prayerfully hope that, a year from now, some of these necessary steps will have been taken.

First published in National Review Online.

— 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] .

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Posted on 12/18/2014 2:20 PM by Conrad Black
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Response to the Hack of Sony: Shame on America!
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Schuyler Moore writes in Forbes:

Sony takes a bold move and exercises its First Amendment rights – rights that don’t exist in most of the world – to make a comedy about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. In return, it suffers an outright attack from North Korea – no different than if North Korea had fired a missile onto the Sony lot. Make no mistake about it – this was a foreign government military attack on American soil, worse than 9-11 because it was government sponsored. And what does America do? Do we rally around and protect the wounded victim of this attack? Do we counterattack the foreign enemy that perpetrated this outrage? Do we defend our freedom of speech rights? Do we fight back, like we have to all other attacks in our history? Do we stand tall, united?

No! We help the enemy by rubbing salt in the wound of the victim. We pick through the detritus left on the streets from the attack and publish private correspondence that was blown into the wind for the world to see like sick voyeurs. We revel in shadenfreude at Sony’s distress. We publicly speculate that the injury will be exacerbated by the firing of the very executives that had the courage to make this film in the first place. The theaters all fold to more threats and pull the film until Sony has to give up on the release. We don’t counterattack. We do worse than standing idly by and watching the carnage – we cower.

The enemy has won. We have just relinquished our freedoms to a two-bit foreign power. It is as though after 9-11, we gathered up the private papers that fell to the street and published them in the newspapers and laughed at the victims and fired those that survived. And then, instead of counterattacking, we surrendered and gave into Al Qaeda’s list of demands.

What next, America? Are we now to be held hostage by a tin-pot prison camp dictator? What are the movies, books, and articles that will never see the light of day now? Who else are we afraid of offending?  Do you think it ends after the Sony attack? Are you kidding – given the success of that attack, the next one is a certainty. The only issue is who is attacked and who does the attacking. And we will have deserved it based on our shameful response to this one.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 11:37 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Changing Climates of History
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JR McNeil writes in Public Books:

December 1, 2014 — Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on?

Perhaps a historiographical wheel is turning. A century ago, historians and other scholars of human affairs often felt quite comfortable turning to climate as explanation for both broad patterns and twists and turns in history. Those who saw in climate adequate explanation for the vigor of some peoples and the stupor of others followed in the intellectual traditions of Montesquieu, Ibn Khaldun, and Aristotle. They looked to climatic regimes to help make sense of the diverse fortunes of nations. This outlook was deeply ahistorical: the climate that allegedly made people in southern China listless a century ago is very much the same as it is today, when the people of southern China are among the most economically dynamic around. Arnold Toynbee, writing in the 1930s, believed that the bracing climate accounted for the economic vivacity of the north of England, whereas the softer climate of London and the home counties did not provide sufficient stimulus in the south, which lagged behind. This looks silly 80 years later, not least because it’s the north of England that lags behind today. Toynbee also thought the challenging climate of New England explained the domination of US history, as he saw it, by New Englanders.1 Such views, emphasizing the power of climatic regimes in human affairs, were never universally held—Hegel, among others, objected strenuously to them—but nonetheless made sense to many leading lights of the historical profession before the mid-20th century.

Climate change, on the other hand, never seemed quite as useful to historians. Some geographers, most famously perhaps Ellsworth Huntington, argued that pulses of drought accounted for the folk migrations of various pastoral peoples across Asia. His argument was taken up here and there, and others like it occasionally found favor among historians. But by and large, climate change did not figure prominently in historical explanation. No doubt this was in part because no one knew enough about past climate to make much use of it. And few people, whether historians or not, supposed that climates did change very much, or fast enough, to make much difference to human history. As late as the 1960s, the great French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie supported this position when, after a decade of careful study of the question, he concluded that climate change had mattered little in European history in the centuries since 1000 CE. In the English translation of his big book on climate history, he put it this way: “the human consequences of climate seem to be slight, perhaps negligible, and certainly difficult to detect.”2 (He now freely admits he thought climate more important than he allowed, but trimmed his sails for fear of the response from his senior colleagues in the French academic firmament.)

By the 1960s, the sciences of historical climatology and paleoclimatology had just begun to reveal the mutability of climate on historical time scales (as opposed to geological ones). Not only might ice ages come and go, but volcanic eruptions could bring a string of very cold years around the world. Droughts, especially those related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation might not only be severe, but could affect several large regions of the world at once. Evidence from European history piled up in favor of the proposition that the centuries between 1250 and 1850 were colder than those immediately preceding or following. This evidence inspired scholars to conceive of a Little Ice Age, a term first used in 1939, and in routine use among historians by the 1970s.

Since the 1980s, anxiety about contemporary climate change has inspired research that has brought a cavalcade of new evidence about past climate. New scientific techniques have emerged providing “proxy” evidence for past climate, allowing increasingly lengthy and detailed reconstructions of global, regional, and local climates. Every year the numbers of tree ring, fossil pollen, and ice core oxygen isotope analyses grows. For more than a decade now, new evidence from Antarctic and Greenland ice cores has provided a fair record of earthly climate going back more than 400,000 years. For anyone interested in the subject, these are heady times. It is easy to feel like a kid in a candy shop, with endless morsels of new data there for the grabbing.

Nonetheless, historians on the whole have resisted temptation. They are ill at ease assigning agency to anything other than people, whether individually or in groups. They may delight in arguments about the role of culture or economic structures, or the agency available to the dispossessed or subaltern, but they are usually unwilling to take seriously arguments that attribute historical agency to animals, plants, rocks, or changes in any of the Earth systems, climate included. Arguments that embrace such non-human agents are routinely dismissed as environmental determinism, which since 1945 has carried a faint whiff of the biological determinism of the Nazis. No wonder historians sought to distance themselves from it.

Historical arguments and understandings that entirely omit climate change are of course often right to do so. Depending on a historian’s subject, climate shifts might indeed be entirely irrelevant. Intellectual historians, for example, might not see any use for climate data. When studying the origins of Maoism it might not seem particularly relevant. Equally, the hordes of historians focusing on the years between 1815 and 1980, have chosen a period in which climate change was slow, extreme climate events comparatively few, and non-climatic changes dramatic—in other words, an era in which neglect of climate is minimally problematic.

But earlier periods are another matter, and it is here that a new literature foregrounding climate is taking hold. While junior scholars are wading in fearlessly, as they are expected to do, it is more remarkable that established historians are taking a climate turn. Among those eager to seize on the new evidence about old climates is Richard Bulliet. He is a distinguished historian of the Middle East, who has written reams of respected work on medieval Iran, on Islamicization, on technology, and, not least, on camels.3 Bulliet, now emeritus at Columbia University, has long been attracted by new methods, and built his reputation partly on innovative study of biographical dictionaries and the evidence provided by names therein.

In his Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran: A Moment in World History, he offers an elaborate if tentative argument to explain the rise and fall of an urbanized, commercialized, cotton-based economy in Iran from the 9th through the 12th centuries. Using the extremely slender evidence from medieval Iran, especially the names of a few hundred religious scholars, Bulliet argues for an irrigation-fed cotton boom in northern Iran in the 9th and 10th centuries, initiated mainly by immigrant Arab Muslim entrepreneurs. The cotton boom fueled urbanization and export trade, and undergirded an era of prosperity in Iran. But, employing relevant snippets of medieval Arabic texts and tree-ring analyses from western Mongolia, Bulliet identifies a century-long cold snap, beginning early in the 11th century, which he calls the Big Chill. Caused by a high-pressure cell usually anchored over Siberia that connects the climates of Mongolia and Iran, the Big Chill, according to Bulliet, undercut the cotton economy, and “triggered” the southward migration of Turkic herders from western steppe lands into Iran. In making the migration argument, Bulliet returns to his knowledge of camels and camel history, arguing that colder times made northern Iran less hospitable to the one-humped dromedary familiar in Arabia, and more suited to two-humped, shaggy, Bactrian camels (or to two types of hybrid camels that were also cold-resistant) native to the steppes. He finds implications of the Big Chill and the decline of cotton that include the exodus of many Persian literati, shifting the cultural centers of Islam westward from Iran and Iraq and spreading Persian influence far and wide. In this case, at least, if one believes Bulliet, intellectual history did have a component of climate change history to it.

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 10:21 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Fourth Geneva Convention Calumny against Israel
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Swiss Ambassador Paul Fivat

Source: EPA

 

If the EU court rulings on Hamas and the European Parliament vote on “in principal” recognition of a Palestinian state weren’t enough ‘gifts’ on Hanukkah for Israel, there was  the third calumny. That was    the approval of a declaration by the Geneva Convention Conference stigmatizing Israeli ‘Occupation”  and “illegal settlements” in the West Bank.  See our Iconoclast post yesterday, “Sound an Alarm this Hanukkah”.

 The Geneva Convention, an outgrowth of a Swiss initiative in the 19th Century, had been negotiated with 196 nations following WWII. The Conventions endeavored to codify “the standards of international humanitarian law in time of war and occupation.”  The objective of the Geneva Conventions was to “limit the barbarity of war and protect those who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).”

Why Israel was singled out for this latest Geneva Convention conference rather the Sunni Muslim extremist Islamic State, which has clearly violated the Convention in its barbaric treatment of civilians and prisoners, is mind numbing, yet clearly political.   To the Palestinians, their supporters in the Arab League and the member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the barbarity of their Sunni brothers of the Islamic State is of no moment.  It’s about Jewish Israel willfully defending itself against such violators of the Conventions like Hamas and the PA PLO-Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade in both Gaza and the West Bank.  Very Orwellian. Clearly, Europe has forgotten its post-Shoah obligation in support of the Jewish nation. Given the rise of Antisemitism, largely driven by accommodation of burgeoning European Muslim émigré communities’, yesterday’s outcome in Geneva was predictable.  The ‘presumptive ‘state of Palestine’ hypocritically acceded to the Conventions in early April 2014, after 25 years seeking membership.

Israel severely criticized  and boycotted yesterday’s proceedings on the grounds that Palestine is not a universally recognized state, “complicating possible peace talks”. The Jewish nation had the support of both Canada and the US.  

Israel Hayom reported “Geneva Convention signatories call on Israelis, Palestinians to respect humanitarian law”:

At a conference in Geneva, 126 of the 196 parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention sign a declaration emphasizing their "deep concern" about "the impact of the continued occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the closure of the Gaza Strip."

[…]

The nations that took part in the conference signed a 10-point declaration reaffirming the obligations of both Israelis and Palestinians under international humanitarian law. According to the declaration, "All serious violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated and that all those responsible should be brought to justice."

The declaration does not create new obligations but reiterates some, such as the "need to fully respect the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law," to prohibit "indiscriminate" and "disproportionate" attacks, the targeting of civilian objects and placing military objectives in the "vicinity of civilians and civilian objects. … The signatories 'reaffirm the illegality of Israeli settlements.'

[…]

Swiss Ambassador Paul Fivat, who chaired the conference on Wednesday, told reporters afterward the declaration is legally binding on all nations that adopted it.

"This is a signal and we can hope that words count," Fivat said.

Watch Swiss Ambassador Fivat’s comments on this news video:

 

 

The  clear-eyed and  usually astute Khaled Abu Tomah offers these comments in a Gatestone Institute article that clearly illustrate the European hypocrisy in honoring the Palestinian requests to throw Israel under the bus, EU Backs Palestinian Dictatorship:

 

These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.

These Western parliamentarians are in fact acting against the interests of the Palestinians, who are clearly not hoping for another corrupt dictatorship in the Arab world.

"The situation in Palestine does not conform at all with democracy or the rule of law... Wake up and see the loss of rights, law and security." — Freih Abu Medein, former Palestinian Authority Justice Minister.

"Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] wants to concentrate all authorities in his hands and the hand of his loyalists. He's acting in a dictatorial way and wants to be in control of everything, especially the finances." — Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the PLO.

By turning a blind eye to human rights violations, as well as assaults on freedom of expression, the judiciary and the parliamentary system in the Palestinian territories, Western parliaments are paving the way for a creation of a rogue state called Palestine.

Sic transit ignominia Europa.

 

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Posted on 12/18/2014 8:53 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Muslim Reformer Hassan Jabali Thinks Islam Can Be Reformed
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Here is the original article by Hassan Jabali, from Homs, now living in Canada,k on what must be done to make Islam tolerable. And a reply -- there have been many -- by one well-informed skeptic, at the Canadian site Poste de Veille, here.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 7:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Michele Tribalat: How Hollande Lies About Immigration
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In French, here.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 7:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Eric Zemmour: The Deliberate Misrepresentation Of My Interview
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The campaign to discredit Eric Zemmour, by those journalists and politicians who have been apologists for Islam and Muslims in France, has no end. It includes putting words into his mouth -- in this case, the loaded word "deportation." But it's a word Eric Zemmour did not say. Nor did his interviewer in Italy, so the charge that "even if he did not say it, he should have objected to its use by the interviewer" is baseless.

Zemmour is having none of it. 

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Posted on 12/18/2014 7:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 18 December 2014
Mumbai Murders Mastermind Free On Bail In Pakistan
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A day after all that soul-wrenching soul-searching, with a solemn declaration  of war against "terrorism" by Nawaz Sharif, it turns out that in Pakistan "terrorism" does not include those acts of terror whose victims are non-Muslims. Story here.

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Posted on 12/18/2014 7:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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