Thursday, 30 June 2011
Does The Olive Tree Initiative Lack Credibility?

by Jerry Gordon (July 2011)

On May 9th, the President of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, California (JFOC), Shalom Elcott, was loitering on the plaza during the first day of the 2011l anti-Israel Apartheid Awareness Week organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU)at University of California, Irvine (UCI). He encountered Professor Amihai Glazer. Glazer was one of 60 faculty members who had signed a letter expressing the view that antisemitism did indeed exist on the UCI campus - Islamic antisemitism. The conversation became heated when Elcott suddenly hit Glazer with coiled up flyers after Glazer told him he had “a credibility problem.”  more>>>

Posted on 06/30/2011 1:25 PM by NER
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Hezbollah Members Indicted For Murder Of Hariri


Indictments issued in murder of ex-Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri

A United Nations-backed tribunal does not name the four suspects it indicted in the 2005 truck-bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But local media reports suggest all four are Lebanese nationals linked to Hezbollah, a militia and political party backed by Iran and Syria.

By Alexandra Sandels and Patrick J. McDonnell

July 1, 2011




A United Nations-backed tribunal issued a long-anticipated indictment Thursday in the 2005 truck-bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a sensational killing that stoked sectarian tensions in the region.

The identities of the four suspects accused in the killing were not released, and the indictment remained sealed. But local media reports suggested all four were Lebanese nationals linked to Hezbollah, a militia and political party backed by Iran and Syria.

Both Syria and Hezbollah have denied any involvement in the highly polarized case. Hezbollah has denounced the tribunal as a product of a U.S.-Israeli plot.

Lebanese media reports identified one suspect as Mustafa Badreddine, who the Daily Star, a Beirut-based English-language daily, identified as Hezbollah's operations chief.

Also reportedly named as a suspect is Salim Ayyash, a U.S. passport-holder who is accused of leading the cell that carried out the assassination of Hariri, the Daily Star reported. [what an improvement to identify him as "a U.S. passport-holder" instead of as "an American"]

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah, a major political and military force in Lebanon. The group had previously called for an end to the U.N.-approved inquiry.

More indictments could be possible, but it remained unclear whether any Syrians might be targeted.

Conspiracy theories have run amok since the massive bomb exploded along the Beirut waterfront on Feb. 14, 2005, killing Hariri, in a passing motorcade, and 22 others.

The case has remained one of the most divisive issues in Lebanon, a nation battered by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990 and by sundry other bouts of violence, including sectarian battles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in 2008.

Hariri, a construction magnate, was a member of Lebanon's Sunni community, which has been a rival of Hezbollah, a Shiite group.

Outrage about the assassination resulted in massive protests and the eventual ouster of the Syrian army from Lebanon after 29 years in the strategically situated and volatile nation of 4 million. Many allies of Hariri blamed Syria because of strains between the prime minister and Damascus before his death.

The case could pose a dilemma for Prime Minister Najib Makat, whose government is dominated by Hezbollah and its allies. He vowed to "deal with the developments with vigilance," noting that the indictments "are not judgments."

Makat pledged to "protect the nation and prove wrong those counting on the indictment to divide the Lebanese."

Allies of Hariri and his Sunni-based political movement called on the government to move quickly to cooperate with the tribunal.

"Trying to obstruct is not only wrong and unethical but it will also make any cloud hanging over a group thicker," said Mohammed Shatah, a onetime external policy advisor to Saad Hariri, the slain leader's son who is himself a former prime minister. "If people are indicted and are associated with a party or a political group, then those political groups should engage in this judicial process."

The younger Hariri also called on the government to pursue the case fully.

"Today, we witness together a distinctive historic moment in the political, judicial, security and moral life of Lebanon," said Hariri, whose government was toppled in January after Hezbollah and allied groups pulled their support over its cooperation with the tribunal.

Independent experts say it is extremely unlikely Hezbollah will hand over any suspects to the government. That raises the possibility that the indictments may be largely a symbolic victory for the Sunni Muslim community represented by Hariri.

"Hezbollah will not turn them in and the Lebanese government will not do anything to apprehend them," said Hilal Khachan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut. "The indictment is nothing more than a statement."

The indictment comes at a sensitive moment, when the regime of President Bashar Assad in neighboring Syria, which many suspect of complicity in the Hariri slaying, is facing massive protests and international condemnation.

Though some fear the tribunal decision could spur unrest in Lebanon, others doubt major disturbances. They note that the various factions, especially Hezbollah, have other concerns, including the fate of Syria. No major incidents were reported on Thursday following word of the indictment.

"For Hezbollah, it's not worth it to escalate," Khachan said. "Hezbollah is lying low … and keeping their eyes on developments in Syria."

The Lebanese government now has 30 days to arrest the four suspects or the Hague-based tribunal will make the indictments public and summon the suspects to appear before the court.

Posted on 06/30/2011 1:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Benevolence, Mother of Destitution: A Review of David Stove’s What’s Wrong with Benevolence

by Mark Anthony Signorelli (July 2011)

What's Wrong with Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment
by David Stove, edited by Andrew Irvine
Encounter Books, 240 pp.


Among the unjustly small portion of the public who know and admire the work of David Stove, the late Australian philosopher, two features of the man’s writings likely stand out as the basis for that admiration: a fierce iconoclasm, which trampled over nearly every fashionable academic piety of the late twentieth century, and a mordant, hilarious wit, which made the task of reading his books more pleasurable than is the case with almost any other prominent philosopher of our times. more>>>

Posted on 06/30/2011 1:20 PM by NER
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Repentance Revisited

by Rebecca Bynum (July 2011)

“Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”- (Matthew 25:40)

One of the most disturbing aspects of observing the general abandonment of religion and morality in our society, is the all too common spectacle of some public figure, who, having behaved in an immoral fashion, must then must go through thoroughly predictable motions, undoubtedly originating in a public relations office somewhere, which requires that person to a) make a public confession of their unseemly acts (and don’t leave out the details), and/or b) to toddle off to some rehab clinic for “therapy,” implying that their moral failings were not actually moral failings at all, but the result of disease, some psychic or physical (usually an ill-defined “genetic”) disorder. Alcoholism, to be sure, contains elements of both: a genetic predisposition coupled with free will action. Alcoholism definitely cannot be said to be purely the result of moral failure, but the alcoholism model has now seemingly been extended to the entire moral realm. more>>>

Posted on 06/30/2011 1:13 PM by NER
Thursday, 30 June 2011
An Artistic Interlude: The Dream Of Constantine (Piero Della Francesca)

Posted on 06/30/2011 1:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
The Three Fears Of Pope Benedict

From the Newsletter on the Vatican of Robert Moynihan:

What Pope Benedict Fears
In an article published on the internet in three parts beginning on May 21 and concluding on June 22, the writer Antonio Margheriti Mastino presents what he says are the words and thoughts of Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, currently the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship in the Vatican.
Among the many interesting statements made in this report, one stands out: the statement that Pope Benedict, who is known to regard Canizares with favor, told Canizares personally meeting that he (Benedict) has three great fears:
(1) The secularization within the Church;
(2) The peaceful invasion of Europe by Islam;
(3) The ever-greater control -- and the next words are within quotation marks, meaning Margheriti Mastino is presenting these words as an exact quotation of what Cardinal Canizares said to him -- "of freemasonry on the cultural level and of the centers of power of the European Union."
Given that Franklin, Washington, and many other prominent figures in the early American Republic were Freemasons, or Masons, there has never been in this largely Protestant country the kind of demonization of the freemasons that one observes in Catholic circles, particularly in Spain and Italy. As it happens, there have been scandals involving people who, nominally Catholic, have also been Freemasons. One thinks of Gelli and the P2 Lodge, about which you can read more here.
But when anyone, even the Pope, correctly identifies as a major worry -- not for Catholics alone, but for all non-Muslims living in Europe, or depending for their cultural coherence on the continuance of Europe as a part of the non-Muslim, not the Muslim, world -- he makes a mistake by putting, in the same list, and reflecting the same exaggerated fear of, "massoneria." It's a peculiar thing, and hard to explain to those outside of Spain, outside of Italy, just what shivers invocation of that word can cause. And of course right-wing -- real right-wing, not non-right-wing sensible people like Geert Wilders -- circles have tended in the unlamented past to lump together "the Jews and the Freemasons" -- see the anti-Dreyfusards and the likes of Charles Maurras,, see the most protocolish of Black Hundreds Russians, see see see.
It's too bad the Pope had to warn direly about the Freemasons, and hint at a conspiracy.
He might have done it differently.
He might have said that he had not three, but two great fears.
The first was a failure to recognize the importance of Christianity in the development of European civlization, and a failure as well to give Christianity its proper due, and an attempt to diminish its power and role at every step, as if it could be sloughed off by Europe without consequences.
The second is the peaceful invasion of Europe by Islam, an invasion to be followed, through Da'wa (the Call to Islam), and through demographic conquest, by Muslim domination, and the destruction of Western civlization's creations (its art, its literature, its music, its political and legal institutions, its everything) in the long run, with Europeans ideologically too weak to oppose, too unsure of themselves, too unaware of the achievements of the civillization in which they have inherited only a life estate, and have a duty to preserve and pass on.
That's what he should have confided to Cardinal Lloveras, and not opened himself up to criticism for warning darkly about "freemasons."
Just goes to show that not only is nobody perfect, but no one's infallible.
Posted on 06/30/2011 12:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Hamas on Campus?

Olive Tree initiative at U.C. Irvine

The New English Review will publish a definitive artiicle on this topic in the July edition entitled: "Does the Olive Tree Initiative Possess Any Credibility?"

 A Jewish organization is winning college converts to the Palestinian cause.

by Jerry Gordon, Pajamas Media, June 30, 2011

On May 9th, the president of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, California (JFOC), Shalom Elcott, was loitering on the plaza during the first day of anti-Israel “Apartheid Awareness Week,” organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). There, he encountered Professor Amihai Glazer. Glazer is one of 60 faculty members who signed a letter expressing the view that anti-Semitism did indeed exist on the UCI campus — including Islamic anti-Semitism. The conversation got heated when Elcott hit Glazer with coiled-up flyers after Glazer told him he had “a credibility problem.”

One potential problem was the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), currently at UCI and spreading to other university campuses. The objective of the OTI program, sponsored by the JFOC Rose Project, was to send Jewish and non-Jewish students to Israel and the West Bank, exposing them to a variety of views from Israeli and Palestinian representatives and affording an understanding of all sides of the issues.

The problem was that some OTI students may have come back from encounters on the West Bank and Israel as converts to the Palestinian cause. Those Palestinian representatives included Aziz Duwaik, Hamas speaker in the Palestinian legislature; George Rishmawi, co-founder of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM); and Mazin Qumsiyeh, a leading architect of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Duwaik was recently arrested by the IDF for the third time. Qumsiyeh was arrested by the IDF during the May 15, 2011, Al Nakba day protest in Al Wajala on the West Bank, and had been involved in an anti-Semitic email incident at a university in the U.S. in 2003. Rishmawi spoke at a November, 2010, OTI event at UCI.

The JFOC vigorously denied that OTI students met with Rishmawi, the ISM co-founder, alleging confusion over two persons with the same name — one having an S and the other an N as their middle initial. But OTI materials containing the 2008 and 2009 itineraries expressly identify George Rishmawi as an ISM co-founder.

Some JFOC officials, campus Hillel leaders, and OTI students denied the existence of Islamic anti-Semitism on campus perpetrated by MSU speakers and others in Muslim advocacy groups. Eleven students from the UCI MSU and UC Riverside MSA chapters were indicted by the Orange County DA for conspiring to disturb a public meeting at UCI on February 8, 2010, featuring the Hon. Michael B. Oren, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Oren, ironically, was delivering a speech underwritten by JFOC’s Rose Project.

The JFOC’s credibility problem surfaced with a response to a California Public Records Act request by local activists. That information uncovered a “smoking gun” letter sent by JFOC President Elcott to UCI Chancellor Drake in October 2009. It revealed a meeting between OTI students and Duwaik. The JFOC leaders seized upon this letter as evidence that they had brought this to the attention of UCI administrators seeking an investigation. But they never informed the community. It appears that JFOC donated nearly $60,000 to the OTI over the period from 2009 to the present.

There were allegations of fraud and character assassination perpetrated by the student president of UCI Hillel in a petition supporting OTI, purportedly containing 87 student signatures. It has been reported that there were fewer than six. The petition also attacked a local community activist, Dee Sterling of the Ha’Emet (The Truth) website, for “disrupting Jewish life on campus.” Sterling had organized two pro-Israel rallies by community members, including non-Jewish Zionists, opposing the MSU Apartheid Awareness Weeks in both 2010 and 2011.

Joe Wolf, a PhD candidate at UCI, described the Hillel student petition signature fraud at Pajamas Media. “Sterling’s reputation,” he said, “was slandered in a letter that mischaracterized her intentions.” These disclosures began unraveling a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the OTI. The 2011 OTI program is set to roll out this summer in the midst of roiling Palestinian protests, raising concerns about possible dangers to OTI students from kidnapping or worse.

The JFOC and Rose Project leaders might find themselves confronting an incensed Jewish community for creating the OTI credibility problem. As comments in the Jerusalem Post article titled “A Very Balanced Itinerary?” reveal, JFOC leaders persist in white-washing a malformed and dangerous program indeed.

Jerry Gordon is a senior editor at the New English Review webzine.
Posted on 06/30/2011 9:59 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Spanish Interior Minister: Loose Libyan Weapons End Up With Al-Qaeda


Spain: al-Qaeda possibly buying Libyan war weapons


MADRID (AP) — Sophisticated Libyan army weapons are being trafficked and possibly sold to al-Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa, giving the group the potential to increase instability in a key part of the continent, Spain's interior minister said Thursday.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb, or AQMI, is a growing menace that could conceivably spread outside its natural homeground of the Sahel region of Africa unless Western countries step up efforts to counter it.

The West considers North Africa, which is just across the Mediterranean from Europe, as vital in the fight against terrorism. Algeria, where an Islamist insurgency erupted in 1992 with sporadic attacks continuing, has become a key U.S. ally in the anti-terrorism battle. [after Pakistan, after Yemen, after Saudi Arabia, after Egypt, it is now Algeria's turn to become -- very temporarily -- "a key U.S. ally in the anti-terrorism battle"]

Rubalcaba briefed reporters during a break in a meeting with colleagues from five other EU countries and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano. The countries agreed among other things to set up a permanent coordination mechanism for their countries' liaison people in the Sahel region — the vast, bone-dry stretch of land just below sub-Saharan Africa that includes countries such as Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Chad.

They also agreed to reach out to the African Union to step up joint counterterrorism efforts, Perez Rubalcaba said.

Perez Rubalcaba said fairly sophisticated weapons from Libyan army forces fighting to keep Moammar Gadhafi in power as rebel forces try to oust him are being sold by traffickers at Libya's southern border and possibly ending up in the hands of AQMI.

"The Libyan crisis is having an influence on AQMI," he said. "One that we find particularly negative is the possible appearance of arms from the Libyan army, or what remains of it, in the hands of terrorists."

The Libyan civil war is giving AQMI potential to increase its influence in the Sahel region, where it is active after having first surfaced in Algeria.

"Organized crime would probably grow because it is clear they are linked, and risks for Europe and the United States would grow," Perez Rubalcaba said.

Besides Rubalcaba and Napolitano, the meeting was attended by representatives of Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Poland.

Napolitano stressed the need to step up security against terrorists targeting the transport of goods across the world.

"The global supply chain security issue is one of our priorities," Napolitano told The AP in an interview.

"We had been working on this before last October but when AQAP — al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula— had hidden bombs in two toner cartridges that were put in air cargo it illustrated that they were willing to try to blow up a plane, be it a passenger plane or a cargo plane. So we accelerated our efforts in this regard."

Napolitano said material confiscated at the compound where Osama bin Laden had been living in Pakistan — and killed in a U.S. raid in early May — confirmed Washington was on the right track, adding that the material mentioned surface transportation as a target for attack.

She said the U.S. government was in contact with domestic and international air, land and sea transport institutions to see how best to minimize this threat.

"There's much that can be done," she said. "The movement of cargo around the world supplies the international economy and you have got to make sure that there is security in that movement because jobs depend on it, manufacturing depends on it."

Posted on 06/30/2011 10:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Arab Attacks On Jews In Israel

Hostility exposed on Isawiya streets

Where police are unwilling to enter, hostile pockets of potentially lethal danger are created for anyone who unintentionally wanders in.

  Nir Nahshon was travelling from Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus to Ma’aleh Adumim last Sunday when, in his words, he “met death face-to-face, and it stared me in the eye.” The 28-year-old, misdirected by his GPS device, found himself in Isawiya, an Arab neighborhood just outside Jerusalem’s French Hill, inside sovereign Jerusalem city limits.

A 11-year-old boy spotted him and started shouting “Yahud, Yahud” (Jew, Jew). That sufficed to draw a crowd. Some people began hurling cement blocks at Nahshon’s car. Molotov cocktails followed. Then he was pulled from the vehicle, beaten and kicked. Nahshon said later he feared his life was about to end in the same gruesome way that it did on October 12, 2000, at the start of the second intifada terror war, for two reservists – Yossi Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhitz – who had strayed into Ramallah.

More than many other terrorist atrocities, the Ramallah lynching is deeply ingrained in the psyche of Israelis. The killers’ gleeful viciousness is hard to forget. Details of appalling bloodshed often fade from memory, but not so the ghastly homicide of the reservists, who were surrounded by a screaming mob, dragged to a police station and beaten to a pulp. They were stabbed, disemboweled and their eyes gouged out. One corpse was tossed out the window, whereupon the crowd stomped on it and set it on fire. The brutality was emblemized in a photo showing one of the perpetrators, Aziz Salha, jubilantly waving his blood-soaked hands from a window of the building to the frenzied throng below.

But, as Nahshon’s case illustrates, the readiness to resort to violence against an Israeli whose “crime” was merely to take a wrong turning into an Arab neighborhood persists, even amid the relative calm that prevails today over the pre-1967 Green Line. Self-evidently, such hostility is fed by the steady dose of incitement and demonization of Israel that so often pollutes the official PA media, its educational system and mosques. A young schoolboy’s mind was so poisoned that he exhorted passersby to “kill the Jew,” and many locals responded with alacrity.

Nahshon might well have met a dreadful fate had it not been for Isawiya’s courageous mukhtar, Darwish Darwish, who took him into his home and shielded him. The rescuer feared his own house would be targeted next. He said later that moderates were unprotected because the police were loath to enter Isawiya. Somehow Nahshon was smuggled out and handed over to policemen waiting outside Isawiya’s perimeter.

Last November, three students from Givatayim and an Australian friend lost their way in the dark in the same area, en route to a pub. They too ended up surrounded by an Isawiya mob baying for their blood. With blocks, stones, pipes and assorted projectiles hurled at them, the four somehow avoided being pulled out of their car and managed to get away.

Ambulance crews report frequent assault when summoned to help Isawiya’s own residents.

And it’s not only Isawiya.

A few days ago, Jewish mourners visiting their mother’s grave at the Mount of Olives cemetery were attacked at close range by stone-throwing Arabs. A young girl was injured. Such attacks are a not uncommon occurrence at this ancient, sacred site.

Last month, five policemen were wounded at A-Tur after rocks and firebombs were thrown at them.


ALL OF these cases – and there are numerous others – occurred inside sovereign Israel. The grim concern is that any Jew in a predominantly Arab area may find himself in mortal danger. Make a wrong turn, and your life could be at risk.

This intolerable situation highlights how dismal has been the deterioration in relations over the past few years – how stark a contrast to the period before Camp David 2000 and the subsequent Arafat-fostered terrorism when tens of thousands of Israelis did their weekly shopping in the West Bank without having to fear for their lives.

It also underlines the lost deterrent of our law-enforcement authorities. Where police are unwilling to enter, hostile pockets of potentially lethal danger are created for anyone who unintentionally wanders in.

No law-enforcement hierarchy in any city should allow itself to become reconciled to consistent, potentially deadly attacks against a segment of the population. Reducing widespread Palestinian Arab hostility to Jews requires a change of mindset from Palestinian opinion-shapers, a protracted process of education for reconciliation. The sooner that starts, the better. Meanwhile, however, Israel’s law-enforcement hierarchy is obligated to protect ordinary Israelis from the violent consequences.

Posted on 06/30/2011 9:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Reprinting General Brémond's "Berbères Et Arabes"

The Western press seldom covers the condition of Berbers in North Africa, or of Berbers in France. But the resentment felt by Berbers over the attempt to make them abandon use of the Berber language (Amazigh), in schools and even at home, led some years ago to riots in Tizi-Ouzou. It was under the French, not the Arabs, that the Berbers were allowed to use, to hold onto, their language and culture. Forced arabization was halted by the arrival of the French in 1832; it has returned, with all the weapons of modern technology, after the French left in 1962.

It is unsurprising that the more Berbers become aware of all the ways that Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, that they will open themselves to other messages, and possibilities, including that offered by Christianity. Christian missionaries have had little success among Arabs, but have done better among Berbers. And now the Arabs who rule in Algeria have tried to halt the inroads made by Christianity among the Berbers - but they cannot do so among the Berbers who live in France.

As part of a world-wide effort to encourage, among the 80% of the world's Muslims who are not Arabs, recognition of all the ways that Islam has been and always will be a vehicle for Arab supremacism, including a linguistic and cultural imperialism much more successful than the European variety, certain books might usefully be reprinted.

Among those books that the French government might re-publish, both in the original French, and in translations into both Arabic and Amazigh, is General Brémond's 1950 work, "Berbères et Arabes." Its subtitle: "La Berbérie est un pays européen." If published in large quantities, for sale at subsidized rock-bottom prices, the book might encourage Berber self-consciousness, and resentment of Arabs, and possibly even, because Islam is so entangled -- necessarily --  with Arab domination, a willingness to see Islam in a new light, to break its hold on Berber minds.

Worth a try.

Posted on 06/30/2011 9:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
A Musical Interlude: Shanghai Lil (Gene Kardos Orch., voc. Dick Robertson)

Listen here.

Posted on 06/30/2011 8:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011

"Exponential" and its adverbial form "exponentially" are misused, and their misuse -- as sloppy synonyms for "great," "enormous" or, adverbially,  "at an unspecified but very great rate" -- are especially infuriating, because of the clear technical meaning, so important in mathematics and hence, in Physics, Chemistry, biology, of the word "exponential." See, for example, here. .

When someone is unvigilant with  words -- using them carelessly, as so many do with  "exponential" and "existential" -- we are entitled to draw the conclusion that such unvigilance with words bespeaks a carelessness about other things.


Frederick Ungar, in his introduction to Karl Kraus' book, "The Last Days of Mankind," writes that Kraus often quoted Confucius:

"If concepts are not right, words are not true; if words are not true, works are not achieved; if works are not achieved, morality and the arts do not thrive; if morality and the arts do not thrive, justice miscarries; if justice miscarries, the nation does not know where to put its feet and hands. Therefore, disorder in words must not be tolerated."

If you have, in your misspent youth, misused the word "exponential" or, almost as bad, allowed others to do so in your presence, now is the time to own up and make amends and straighten up, and fly right. Go ahead. Just repeat that one-word message supposedly sent by the celebrated General Napier, after he conquered Sind, back to his superiors in London  (the story, alas, is apparently not true -- but with the justifciation that se non e vero, it damn well ought to be,  let's pretend it is) and confess to the ghost of his famous relative, the mathematician John Napier: Peccavi. 

Yes, you certainly have.

Posted on 06/30/2011 7:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011

From a report on Greece:

"The Greek economy is worth a mere 3 per cent of European Union output and look at the damage its debt crisis has done to the rest of the continent.

Now imagine if the debt contagion were to infect Italy, the third largest economy in the euro zone, after Germany and France. The debt crisis would instantly transform itself into an existential crisis, with the euro’s demise the likely outcome. After tallying up the bailout costs of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, there simply wouldn’t be enough spare change to rescue an economy bigger than Canada’s and roughly the same size as Britain’s.

 From a report on some self-promoting political blogger, the kind who likes to use such words as "lefty" and "leftist" and "the left":

"They clapped when the film compared her to Ronald Reagan, once feared by establishment Republicans. They nodded in agreement when the film showed Andrew Breitbart, a conservative commentator, calling Palin “an existential threat to the left.

From an interview with meretricious Musharraf:

"Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said India is an "existential threat" to his country and blamed New Delhi for its nuclear ..."


Let's leave the word "existential" where it belongs. In Time:  back in the early 50s , along with nasty Pierre Poujade, and winning Got-Milk? Mendes-France, and Dien Bien Phu, and Boris Vian. In Space:  at a sidewalk table at Les Deux Magots, or possibly -- now we are moving over to Montparnasse -- the Coupole, or in a smoky boite where smoky-voiced Juliette Greco is singing.

Okay? That's "existential." Only that, and nothing more.


Posted on 06/30/2011 7:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Understanding The World Of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Apologists

From the Wikipedia entry on Simone de Beauvoir:

Ephebophilia debate

A number of de Beauvoir's young female lovers were underage, and the nature of some of these relationships, some of which she instigated while working as a school teacher, has led to a biographical controversy and debate over whether de Beauvoir had inclinations towards ephebophilia.[13][14][15][16] A former student, Bianca Lamblin, originally Bianca Bienenfeld, later wrote critically about her seduction by her teacher, Simone de Beauvoir, when she was a 17-year-old lycee student in her book, Mémoires d'une jeune fille dérangée.[17] In 1941, de Beauvoir was suspended from her teaching job, due to an accusation that she had, in 1939, seduced her 17-year-old lycee pupil Nathalie SorokineDe Beauvoir would, along with other French intellectuals, later petition for an abolition of all age of consent laws in France

She Came to Stay and The Mandarins

In 1943, Beauvoir published She Came to Stay, a fictionalized chronicle of her and Sartre's sexual relationship with her students, Olga Kosakiewicz and Wanda Kosakiewicz. Olga was one of her students in the Rouen secondary school where Beauvoir taught during the early 30s. She grew fond of Olga. Sartre tried to pursue Olga but she denied him; he began a relationship with her sister Wanda instead. Sartre supported Olga for years until she met and married her husband, Beauvoir's lover Jacques-Laurent Bost. At Sartre's death, he was still supporting Wanda. In the novel, set just before the outbreak of World War II, Beauvoir makes one character from the complex relationships of Olga and Wanda. The fictionalized versions of Beauvoir and Sartre have a ménage à trois with the young woman. The novel also delves into Beauvoir and Sartre's complex relationship and how it was affected by the ménage à trois.



Posted on 06/30/2011 7:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Qaddafy's Boughten Friendship And The WaBenzi Of The African Union

From Bloomberg News:

African Leaders Scorn NATO From $837 Million Resort as Qaddafi Clings On

Equatorial Guinea’s leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Equatorial Guinea’s leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Photographer: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

African leaders will probably scorn the international campaign against Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi today from the luxury of an Equatorial Guinea resort built by a president who imprisoned critics in the run up to their bi- annual summit.

Equatorial Guinea’s leader, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, will oversee the African Union meeting at a purpose-built 580 million-euro ($837-million) resort near the capital of an oil- rich nation where three quarters of the population earn less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

Obiang, who came to power after overthrowing his uncle in 1979, now presides over an organization that is taking the moral high ground as it looks for a peaceful end to Qaddafi’s rule. Leaders are demanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization halt its bombing campaign in Libya and accuse the International Criminal Court of pouring “oil on the fire” by issuing an arrest warrant for Qaddafi.

“You see a lack of consistency and a bit of betrayal in what the AU espouses toward governance,” said Festus Aboagye, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. “We see the AU paying lip service” to human rights.

Two weeks before the summit started, Equatorial Guinea officials deleted video footage of slum dwellings and an interview with the country’s sole opposition lawmaker that a German TV crew had filmed, Joerg Brase, a reporter for ZDF TV, said from Nairobi, Kenya, on June 23. The journalists were then escorted to their plane to leave the country, he said.


“We deplore the human rights abuses,” Henry Bellingham, the U.K.’s Minister for Africa and the United Nations, said in a June 28 interview in Malabo. “We made it absolutely crystal clear that in order for Equatorial Guinea to take its place in the world community, that they’ve got to have proper governance, they’ve got to treat the opposition fairly.”

As president of sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-biggest oil producer, Obiang has overseen an oil boom that brought gross domestic product per capita to $34,680, on a par with the U.K., according to the United Nations Development Programme. Yet, most of the 660,000 population remain mired in poverty.

Obiang lavished million of dollars on a new conference centre and resort for today’s summit. Each head of state is housed in their own Tuscan-style villa overlooking the purpose- built seaside complex, which is reached by a six-lane highway that by-passes Malabo, a town of 150,000 people.

‘Modern City’

Equatorial Guinea had created “a new modern city,” AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said in his opening address to the summit, delivered beneath an image of a group of beaming children and a sun shining out from behind the AU logo.

Obiang, who was elected African Union president in January to replace President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, didn’t respond to an interview request from Bloomberg News. Mutharika was preceded from Qaddafi himself, who helped win influence in the continent by setting up a $5 billion Libya Africa Investment Portfolio in 2006.

“When the population doesn’t have water and electricity, this kind of extravaganza is political exhibitionism,” Fabian Nsue Nguema, a human rights lawyer, said in an interview in his Malabo flat, where the lack of running water forces him to line up buckets to clean himself. “To us, he looks like just another Qaddafi.”


Political activists, students and migrants have been detained ahead of the summit, Human Rights Watch said in a June 22 statement, citing local monitors and opposition groups.

African presidents will discuss “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development,” the summit’s official theme, under a five-tier crystal chandelier in an air- conditioned hall that allows the guests to call waiters on personal touch-screens.

The outward image is about youth and development, but look at the waste and excess around this summit,” Nsue, who said he spent five months in jail in 2002 for criticizing what he considered an excessive wage increase for state functionaries, said on June 28.

Only 10 countries ranked below Equatorial Guinea on Transparency International’s 2010 list of global corruption perceptions.

Obiang, who survived coup attempts in 2004 and 2009, won 95 percent of the vote in a November 2009 election that human rights groups say were neither free nor fair.

“Obiang is very keen to get more international kudos,” Patrick Raleigh, an analyst for the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, said in an interview. “His reputation is mud, but he’s got quite a lot of respect for staying in power for so long.”

Posted on 06/30/2011 7:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Surely In England And France Taxpayers Will Be Glad

he Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-5 to approve the measure offered by Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, and Senator John McCain, a Republican, sending it to the full Senate.

It would authorize the mission for up to one year after the date of enactment of the resolution by Congress, unless the NATO mission ends sooner.

It also says that the removal of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is a political goal of U.S. policy, and calls for the United States and NATO to be reimbursed for the costs of the operation from assets seized from Gaddafi's government.

Posted on 06/29/2011 8:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
The Latest On Johann Hari, And An Attempt To Deflect Attention

From Digital Journal:

Op-Ed: Hari plagiarism- More allegations of lifted materials

Yesterday I wrote a sceptical article on the subject of plagiarism allegations against Johann Hari. I distrust online witch hunts on principle, and one quote doesn’t qualify as a basis for condemnation. Now far more serious allegations have emerged
New information from Brian Whelan, editor of Yahoo Ireland, indicates materials related to an interview with Hugo Chavez in The New Yorker contains materials similar to Hari’s much later interview with Chavez. An interview with a gay football player called Thomas also contains materials related to an earlier interview. What’s strange about this situation is that anyone could find these things in a few seconds on Copyscape. I had no trouble. It’s routine procedure to check for use of materials which are, after all, commercial properties. So why aren’t the original sources howling about it? The most likely reason is that it would reflect badly on them. They should have noticed, and they didn't. [why deflect attention from the plagiarist, Hari, to those from whom he lifted material?]The situation is bizarre: 1. Some of Hari’s interviewees stand by him regarding the use of their own materials. That’s OK. If the original source of materials gives the OK, it’s still truly lousy form not to attribute the exact source, but it’s not a hanging offence. 2. The editors of major league publications like The New Yorker haven’t said a word. Is this just typical media apathy, or are these guys so far behind the times they don’t know what to do about it? 3. There are a few stooges who are saying every chance they get, as they do in all media about plagiarism, “Everyone does it”. No, they damn well don’t. If you can’t produce your own materials and do your own bloody work, go back to being an office boy/girl, and get the hell out of the business. More parasites are not required. God knows that the global “news media” isn’t exactly an example of professional stringency and ethical achievements. It’s a corrupt, inept, unthinking slopfest most of the time. It will forgive itself for anything, as long as materials sell. Hari, however, is standing on top of a large pedestal, and it’s a long way down. Hari’s left wing orientation is another issue. The guy is verbose, like many of his ilk, and has been accused of pretentiousness by some, but this situation casts a shadow over his ideology and by default over the left. This is a gift to the online rednecks, who can now divert attention from their own ultra-hackathon and disinformation campaigns to Hari’s apparent blunders and indiscretions. Hari has now been placed in a position requiring him to answer the allegations clearly and unequivocally. These allegations have to be answered, and answered convincingly, including an OK from the original sources to clarify exactly whether the use of materials was sanctioned. The situation isn’t looking good for Hari, but with a caveat- I have my own doubts about some of the materials of Hari’s that I’ve seen, a few of which look very much like “editorial piecework”, paragraphs in dubious alignment with not-overly-fabulous continuity and erratic flows of information. It is possible that there have been inputs from researchers or other sources into these pieces. It should also be remembered that content checking is the responsibility of editors, not journalists. Someone has to be looking out for breaches of copyright, so why weren’t they. The Independent and other new media for which Hari writes should have spotted these issues, and obviously didn’t. If there’s a problem, Hari isn’t the only problem. One thing about my earlier article on this subject holds true- The mob rule element on the net is a risk to free speech, where allegations take the place of facts. The original allegation, one quote from an un-cited source, was a storm in a non-existent teacup, and it produced a horde of vilification. That’s not healthy, and it has to be countered by those who value facts above innuendo. One more thing- This guy Hari remains innocent until proven guilty. He has the right to mount a defence, and should be allowed to do so.

Posted on 06/29/2011 10:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Johann Hari Comes Undone

From the blog GuidoFawkes:

Dirty Hari Far From Killing the Story, Johann is Rapidly Unraveling 

Guido is fairly sure Johann Hari has breached Article 1 of the PCC Code. He has admitted misleading his readers. Despite the desperate attempts by his editor, Simon Kelner, to spin that his favorite son is being attacked for political reasons, the Hari-wagon is coming off of the tracks.

The Telegraph are coming down on him heavily. Firstly there is Brenden O’Neil rightly pointing out that “the notion that one can reach “the truth” by manipulating reality should be anathema to anyone who calls himself a journalist.” Janet Daley weighs in with a valid arguement:

“Many, if not most, of his interviewees were people whom he admired and whose political views he shared. By replacing what he admits were often their less-than-articulate responses to live questions with text from their published works, he was performing a service to their reputations which was worthy of a spin doctor or a professional propagandist.”

Toby Young points us to the career ending decision:

“His fate now turns on whether the committee that awarded him the Orwell Prize for Journalism asks him to return the prize (and the £3,000 prize money). It is hard to see how they could do otherwise, given that Hari still doesn’t seem to think his cut-and-paste habits are anything to be ashamed of.”

And in a slap to Kelner’s face and reputation, this issue goes beyond any left or right divide. The New Statesman is being particularly thorough in making sure the golden child of the left is held to the level of accountability that his platform and reputation deserve. The most damning revelation of the day so far comes from the Staggers, who reveal that Hari directly lifted other peoples work for an “interview” he did with Chavez in 2006. The dictionary definition of plagiarism. 

Meanwhile The Guardian have provided a helpful poll on whether you think Hari’s apology was enough, needless to say it’s not looking good for him. Guido is digging around rumours of Hari being fired from his student paper for “making things up in order to make a story stronger”. He also bought you two more accusations of plagiarism earlier and Forbes have compiled cases of Hari getting his facts completely wrong, deliberately perhaps. Hilariously historian Guy Walters has found Hari lifted text Ann Leslie’s biography for his own interview with her. No wonder she said he wasn’t “a real journalist” on Newsnight last night. Brian Whelan, who triggered this onslaught has found another smoking gun.

Right now hundreds of articles by the disgraced bard are being scrutinised, fact-checked, cross-referenced and flagged up. You shake one branch…


More on Johann Hari at NER -- begrudging praise for a seeming nascent grasp of Islam, followed by a comment that is less hopeful  --  can be found here.

Posted on 06/29/2011 10:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Fitzgerald: The Errors Of The Deux-Rivistes

[Re-posted from 2006]

"…still did not fully understand the complexities of the Mediterranean." -- from this article, describing Josep Borrell, president of the European Parliament

Perhaps Josep Borrell can begin to understand the complexities of the Mediterranean starting with the following:

In France successive governments over the past 35 years thought that France, and through France Europe, could be strengthened, could become a counterweight to mighty America, if there were some kind of alliance with the newly-rich and therefore newly-powerful (so it was felt) Arabs. They believed in the policy of "Deux-Rivisme," in which both banks (rives) of the Mediterranean would be seen to have much in common, with the only thing dividing them of importance being the Mediterranean itself. In other words, a feature of geography, and not much more, divided France from, say, Algeria.

That was the theory. On that theory, the French allowed millions of Algerians, and large numbers of Moroccans and Tunisians, to settle within Metropolitan France. The promoters of this policy never thought to ask themselves what Islam was all about, even as millions of Muslims made their taciturn way into France. Of course they were there for economic reasons. Of course it was easy for the French to assume, without more, that these Muslim Arabs would in the end integrate into society, just the way the Portuguese immigrants in the 1950s had, or the Vietnamese immigrants. It was not to be. The strength of the belief-system of Islam, which works against integration, works against acceptance of Infidel neighbors and against loyalty to the institutions of the Infidel nation-state, its laws, its customs, its understandings. But this was not made clear to the rulers by those they counted on for advice. A case of criminal negligence, at all levels of government.

Yet these deux-rivistes are still in power, and it is they who danced to the Arab tune (Mr. Josep Borrell should be sent, posthaste, a copy of Bat Ye’or’s seminal Eurabia). They were hoping, in many cases, to be able themselves, or to have their friends, relatives, and business associates recycle petrodollars, which would naturally be directed to those toward whom the Muslim Arabs felt had done the most to promote Arab interests and the Muslim agenda. And that included giving the Arabs a large say in who taught what about Islam, and where, in France. And this too had consequences.

The deux-rivistes -- of whom Dominique de Villepin is a perfect example, with his gush about Islamic greatness, his conceit that because he was born in 1953 in Sale, next to Rabat, he therefore "understands" the Arabs -- are coming a cropper today. But they still do not realize it. Nor do those who in other countries parroted the same nonsense, the nonsense which says: the only real division between Europe and North Africa is that pesky Mediterranean sea.

No, that sea is the least of it. There is a gulf that divides North Africans from Europeans. That gulf is called Islam. That is what Josep Borell should be studying -- but who can he trust to guide him through the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, and understand their effect on Believers, when a small army of apologists for Islam has been deployed all over Western Europe, and now constitutes an army of occupation that controls much of what it is possible to learn about Islam, and what is off-limits for investigation and discussion?

In the 1970s, at the end of his life, the distinguished French scholar of Islam Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq foresaw the terrible consequences of the heedlessness of French immigration policy, and the madness of believing that any Euro-Arab Dialogue could lead to anything but another occasion in which the persistent, relentless, and cunning Arab side would wear down or trick the European side and gain every advantage. And that is exactly what happened, and happens still. The Arabs and Muslims were given a large say in how Islam would be perceived and taught in France and elsewhere in Europe, and they took full advantage of that. Meanwhile, those who had nothing like the scholarly background of Dufroucq, Abel, Fagnan, and other French Orientalists, managed to rise high as advisors on Islam. Deplorable and missing-the-point researchers (conductors of state-supported "recherches" on this and on that) such as Gilles "Wrong Again" Kepel and Olivier "Always Wrong" Roy rose high and are still in place, misleading yet another group of French leaders who, no matter what good grades they may have obtained at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), never learned to think for themselves.

Posted on 06/29/2011 10:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
In Yemen, "Arab Spring" Weakens The Power Of The State
From The New York Times:
June 29, 2011

Strategic Site Is Captured by Militants in Yemen

SANA, Yemen — Islamic militants linked to Al Qaeda gained ground on Wednesday in fierce fighting with security forces just outside the southern port city of Zinjibar.

At least 47 people were killed in the clashes, including 5 civilians, according to local military and government officials. The insurgents took over a sports stadium about five miles east of Zinjibar, which is the capital of Abyan Province, and the fighting continued into the night.

The militants took control of Zinjibar on May 29, after having seized the nearby city of Jaar in late March. They call themselves Ansar al Sharia, meaning supporters of Shariah, Islamic religious law; the name was identified by Qaeda leaders this year as an alternate name for their own organization in Yemen.

The stadium they seized has significant strategic value, because it is next to a military base commanded by Gen. Muhammad al-Somli, who has been leading the effort to combat the militants. The stadium had been used to store food and other provisions for about 2,000 soldiers under his command.

A military official in Aden, Yemen, said that 25 soldiers and 11 militants had been killed in the battle for the stadium. There were about 300 militants, said a reporter who was just outside Zinjibar, Ziad Mohammed, and they used machine guns, Katyusha-type rockets and rocket-propelled grenades.

The inability of 2,000 soldiers to hold the stadium against an attack by a few hundred militants appeared to reflect the security forces’ struggle to subdue the militants, who are taking advantage of the security vacuum in the country.

Zinjibar residents reached by telephone said that General Somli had largely been trapped at his base and had been battling over the past few weeks from the outskirts of Zinjibar.

In other fighting in the Zinjibar area, six militants were killed in an airstrike conducted by the Air Defense Forces within the city, said the military official in Aden, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Another airstrike during the battle for the stadium accidentally hit a bus full of civilians, killing 5 people and injuring 20, said Ghassan al-Sheikh Faraj, leader of the local government council in Zinjibar. Mr. Faraj has fled to Aden.

Thousands of civilians have also left Zinjibar for Aden, which is about 35 miles away, and many are living in schools there.

The militants’ activity is a serious concern for the United States, which has been pressing the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, once an important ally in the fight against terrorism, to leave office after months of antigovernment protests.

In another development, Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi said in an interview with CNN that Mr. Saleh’s injuries from an attack on June 3 were sufficiently severe that “it could be months” before he can return to Yemen from receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. “This is a decision up to the doctors,” Mr. Hadi said, CNN reported.

Posted on 06/29/2011 9:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Iran Sends A Message Of "Peace And Friendship"

From Press TV (Iranian propaganda station):

'Israel jolted by Iran naval might'
Wed Jun 29, 2011

Commander of Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari
Iran's Navy says its presence in the high seas despite the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by the West has jolted the enemies of the country, particularly Israel.

“As a powerful country, we have the right and can be present in the high seas,” Fars News Agency quoted Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying on Wednesday.

“This [presence] began in late 2008 and today the 14th Army-dispatched naval group is present in international waters,” he added.

The official pointed to the country's 12th naval group being dispatched to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and said, “This naval group succeeded, for the first time, in passing through the Bab-el-Mandeb [in] the Red Sea and Suez Canal and entering the Mediterranean Sea,” he said.

The Iranian commander added that this feat jolted the country's enemies “particularly the Zionist regime [of Israel], which did not believe that we could achieve this great achievement,” considering the sanctions imposed against the country.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of developing a military nuclear program, and used this pretext to pressure the UN to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Iran's financial and military sectors in June 2010.

Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use peaceful nuclear technology.

Sayyari also said the Iranian submarine Yunes, which on its maiden mission accompanied the 14th naval group, has just arrived in the Omani capital of Muscat.

He said the submarine has nearly finished its trip and is due back soon.

The official stressed that the presence of Iran's Navy in international waters sends a message of peace and friendship.

Posted on 06/29/2011 9:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Chinese Immigrants In Paris Fear Attacks By North African Muslims

Enquête sur les Chinois de Paris, communauté en plein désarroi

Par Hélène Duvigneau | Journaliste | 26/06/2011 |

Cible facile pour les délinquants, ils ne se sentent pas écoutés par les autorités et tentent se s'organiser pour peser davantage.

Dans la manifestation des Chniois de Paris le 19 juin (Bruno Abile)

Dimanche 19 juin, plusieurs milliers de Chinois et de Français d'origine chinoise ont défilé dans les rues de Paris pour protester contre les agressions répétées dont ils sont victimes.

Pour cette communauté peu habituée à battre le pavé parisien, l'itinéraire est resté classique (de République à Nation), mais leur a offert plus d'espace que l'an dernier, lorsqu'ils avaient été confinés entre Belleville et Colonel-Fabien.

Malgré le mot d'ordre sécuritaire, les slogans ne sont pas sortis du cadre républicain : « Liberté, égalité, fraternité et sécurité », « Sécurité pour tous ! », ou encore « Cessez la violence ! »

Tout comme la manif organisée le 20 juin 2010 sur la même thématique, mais qui avait rassemblé deux fois plus de monde, c'est un fait divers qui a mis le feu aux poudres : le tabassage, fin mai, d'un employé de restaurant à Belleville. L'homme est toujours dans le coma et une photo le montrant sur son lit d'hôpital tourne sur le Web.

« Les Chinois circulent avec beaucoup d'argent en liquide »

L'édition 2011 s'est déroulée sans accroc, contrairement à l'an dernier, mais six agressions, dont cinq de Chinois, ont été recensées dans les 24 heures suivantes à Belleville. (Voir le diaporama)

12/13 - Dans la manifestation des Chinois de Paris contre la délinquance le 19 juin

La situation des Chinois de Belleville, la préfecture de police la connaît par cœur. En une dizaine d'années, les Chinois de la région de Wenzhou, une ville au sud de Shanghai, ont racheté la plupart des commerces du bas Belleville, où la communauté maghrébine était implantée depuis les années 60.

« Il y a manifestement des agressions qui ont lieu envers la communauté asiatique », reconnaît le directeur de communication de la préfecture de police :

« Les agressions ne sont pas liées à des problèmes raciaux, mais au fait que beaucoup de Chinois ont l'habitude de circuler en transportant sur eux de grosses sommes en liquide. Il y a les recettes des commerçants, les enveloppes rouges des mariages ou l'argent du jeu, les Chinois étant assez joueurs. »

Une délinquance en baisse selon les chiffres, pas les habitants

A la préfecture comme à la mairie du XIe, l'un des quatre arrondissements sur lesquels s'étend Belleville, on assure que la délinquance a diminué depuis un an.

« L'actualité se charge de nous rappeler qu'il y a encore du travail, mais dans l'ensemble, les agressions sur les personnes ont diminué de 8,7% en cinq mois sur l'ensemble de la capitale », explique la police, en prenant appui sur les chiffres de l'Office national de la délinquance (OND).

Mais pour la population, il n'en va pas de même. Wei Ming, 27 ans, arrivé en France à 15 ans, gère une auto-école à Belleville. Il brandit une montagne de photocopies : les dizaines de plaintes pour vols et agressions déposées en quelques mois par les Chinois de Belleville. « Et là, il n'y en a qu'un tiers ! Quand est-ce qu'on va finir par arrêter ces voyous ? »

Membre de l'association des commerçants de Belleville, qui a participé à l'organisation de la manif, il est très remonté contre les pouvoirs publics. « Depuis la dernière réunion du comité de pilotage en septembre, il ne s'est rien passé. On nous abandonne. »

Des migrants qui rechignent souvent à porter plainte

Dans la manif, il est rare que les Chinois interrogés n'aient pas d'exemples à citer de vols à l'arraché ou avec violence. Pour eux, rien n'a changé.

En 2009, un sondage réalisé par l'association Huiji auprès de 183 jeunes Chinois vivant en France révélait qu'un tiers d'entre eux avaient subi une agression physique le plus souvent accompagnée d'un vol. En cause ? « Une délinquance juvénile commune à tous les groupes vulnérables. »

Outre leur habitude du cash, qu'elle soit avouable (culturelle) ou non (économie souterraine) les Chinois ont aussi du mal à s'en référer aux institutions (police, justice) pour faire valoir leurs droits. Souvent arrivés sans-papiers, les migrants survivent en travaillant dans la clandestinité et nourrissent une peur du képi qui ne les incite pas à porter plainte en cas d'agression.

Pour Samir, patron du café Le Pataquès, dans le haut Belleville, la délinquance touche les Chinois, mais pas seulement :

« Les attaques ne sont pas liées à un racisme anti-chinois, et les agresseurs cherchent avant tout de l'argent. Du coup, les vols touchent aussi des non-Asiatiques. »[yes, other non-Muslims are also attacked]

Des agresseurs qui auraient une forme de « racisme de suspicion »

A en croire Richard Béraha, ancien président de l'association Huiji, il existe pourtant une forme de « racisme de suspicion » :

« La police identifie des jeunes en déshérence spécialisés dans l'agression de Chinois, mais elle y consacre peu de temps.

Ce sont souvent des mineurs issus eux aussi de l'immigration et qui développent une vision raciste et discriminatoire à l'encontre des Chinois, proche de celle qui stigmatise les juifs. Ils ont de la thune, en liquide, et le risque est diminué dans la mesure où ils ne portent pas plainte. »

Ce « racisme de suspicion » n'est pas uniquement présent chez ces jeunes, mais aussi chez ceux qui stigmatisent les migrants, notamment l'enrichissement de certains.

Interrogés pendant la manif, plusieurs Chinois mettent en cause, dans un français balbutiant, les jeunes « noirs et arabes » comme étant les auteurs de vols.

Des propos « à prendre avec des pincettes », estime Olivier Wang, porte-parole du collectif des associations asiatiques de France, qui a organisé la manifestation :

« Les gens font un constat, ils décrivent un délinquant, mais cela ne veut pas dire qu'il faille stigmatiser l'ensemble d'une communauté et en monter une contre une autre. Nous-mêmes sommes déjà victimes de stigmatisation. »

Une brigade spéciale pour Belleville… surtout présente le jour

Du côté de la préfecture, on explique qu'un travail est fait auprès des Chinois pour les inciter à être plus prudents. Des brochures ont également été éditées en chinois pour expliquer pourquoi et comment porter plainte.

L'initiative a d'ailleurs entraîné une recrudescence des dépôts de plainte. Depuis janvier, une brigade spéciale de terrain (BST) de 25 hommes patrouille aussi chaque jour entre 14 heures et 22h30, et les correspondants de nuit de la mairie de Paris, chargé de surveiller les zones chaudes, ont élargi leur territoire.

Reste que pour Olivier Wang, ces mesures sont mal ficelées :

« Les agressions ont lieu en général la nuit, une fois que les brigades ont fini leurs rondes. Avec les mêmes moyens, elles pourraient être beaucoup plus efficaces. »

Le soir du 19 juin, Mme Hu, restauratrice et parente de l'homme qui est toujours dans le coma, a été violemment agressée en sortant de son restaurant, à 1h30 du matin. Preuve que la prudence n'est pas encore de mise, elle transportait la recette de son établissement, à savoir 5 000 euros.

La mairie du XXe pas ravie de voir l'ambassade chinoise s'impliquer

Face à ces problèmes, la maire du XXe arrondissement Frédérique Calandra réclame des moyens supplémentaires. Et notamment les patrouilleurs, à l'efficacité vantée par le ministère de l'Intérieur. Elle regrette aussi la difficulté de communication avec la communauté chinoise :

« Cette année, nous n'avons pas été formellement invités à cette manifestation, et nous n'avons pas bien compris qui organisait. »

L'élue relève aussi la « barrière de la langue », la « difficulté à trouver des interlocuteurs représentatifs », mais aussi à « surmonter la crainte naturelle que les Chinois ont lorsqu'il s'agit d'évoquer leurs problèmes ».

Elle s'étonne aussi que lors de l'inauguration de l'association des commerçants de Belleville, dont la mairie a suscité la création en 2010, un représentant de l'ambassade de Chine ait été invité :

« Je souhaite que ces commerçants deviennent surtout des citoyens de Belleville, et je ne suis pas convaincue que la présence d'un représentant de l'ambassade arrange la spontanéité des rencontres. »

Pour Frédérique Calandra, la production de sécurité est l'affaire de tous :

« Tout ce qui tend à déréguler l'espace public, comme la mauvaise gestion des bacs de poubelles, le stockage illégal de denrées sur la voie publique… est générateur d'insécurité. Et puis il y a pas mal d'évasion fiscale. Or l'impôt permet, entre autres, de payer des policiers. » [a point that should not be lost on these Chinese immigrants]

« Entretenir une stratégie de tension avant les élections »

Hamou Bouakkaz, adjoint au maire de Paris chargé de la démocratie locale et de la vie associative, est le seul élu (PS) à avoir discrètement fait le déplacement à la manif de dimanche :

« J'ai rappelé que les questions de sécurité dépendent de la préfecture de police et non de la mairie. Et qu'à ce titre, comme nous sommes en période pré-électorale, vouloir entretenir une stratégie de tension n'est peut-être pas complètement anodin.

Je me suis aussi réjoui de l'émergence du fait associatif chez les Franco-Chinois, ce qui me paraît être un signe d'inclusion dans la société française. »

Un message politique de la gauche municipale dans une manifestation qui manquait justement d'hommes politiques, et alors que l'électorat asiatique est traditionnellement acquis à la droite.

Contrairement aux apparences, les organisateurs de la manifestation ne sont pas les mêmes que ceux de l'an dernier. « En 2010, la manifestation avait été organisée de manière conventionnelle et très institutionnelle », souligne Huong
, membre actif de la diaspora d'origine cambodgienne, employé de la mairie de Paris et proche des réseaux chinois.

« Personne n'aurait imaginé que nous aurions manifesté »

De fait, la manif s'est organisée de manière plus spontanée cette année, en deux ou trois semaines. « Il y a un mois, personne n'aurait imaginé que nous aurions manifesté », souligne Olivier Wang, porte-parole du Collectif des associations asiatiques de France et leurs amis français, organisateur de l'événement.

La plus vieille association de représentants des Chinois en France, l'Association des Chinois résidants en France, surnommée parfois le « mini-consulat », n'a pas été conviée aux réunions de préparation, alors qu'elle avait piloté le défilé de l'an dernier :

« L'association qui a fait la demande de manifestation, l'Association chinoise pour le progrès des citoyens (ACPC), met en avant des valeurs que je ne partage pas », poursuit Huong Tan, qui est aussi le conseiller du président de l'Association des Chinois résidant en France :

« Et comme je ne savais pas comment cela allait être organisé, la prudence m'a incité à ne pas participer. »

Côte français et côté chinois, la peur de dérives racistes

Il faut dire que côté chinois comme français, la crainte de dérives racistes et la présence de partisans d'extrême droite dans le cortège de l'an dernier, a sans doute joué dans la décision de ne pas s'impliquer. Des représentants de l'ambassade de Chine, peu désireux de voir dériver l'événement, auraient essayé de dissuader les organisateurs, et prévu un autre événement au même moment.

Qui plus est, Pékin, qui refuse traditionnellement d'intervenir dans la politique intérieure des pays étrangers, n'avait sans doute pas intérêt à participer à une manifestation qui risquait de donner lieu à des débordements, au moment même où la Chine connaît un vent de révoltes sociales.

Pour Guy, ami des organisateurs et habitant du quartier, ces tensions au sein de la communauté chinoise relèvent également du conflit de générations. « Il y a des jeunes qui veulent manifester, veulent s'intégrer, et refusent d'être récupérés. »

Le collectif organisateur n'a pas de réalité juridique et leurs membres se considèrent plus comme un mouvement de terrain que comme une institution bien structurée.

Plutôt que l'ACPC, jeune structure d'aide aux migrants dont le site Internet est entièrement en chinois, ce sont surtout les commerçants de Belleville qui ont pris en main l'organisation de la manif, aidés par quelques amis du quartier.

Le budget de l'événement, publié sur le site Huarenjie, s'élève à 10 544 euros. L'ensemble a été financé par des dons d'associations et de commerçants.Vingt-et-une personnes ont été recrutées bénévolement pour assurer le service d'ordre et 300 casquettes ont été commandées pour les personnes chargées d'encadrer la manif et d'éviter les débordements.

« L'erreur fut d'avoir des slogans et des drapeaux en chinois »

En deux semaines, trois réunions de préparation ont donné lieu à d'âpres débats, principalement sur la question de l'image à renvoyer.

Faut-il ou pas venir avec des drapeaux et si oui lesquels ? Quels slogans porter ? Comment prévenir les gens ? « Nous sommes des novices », reconnaît Olivier Wang, il y a certainement des choses que nous n'avons pas fait dans les formes. » Comme par exemple ne pas avoir créé de site Internet ou diffusé les contacts des organisateurs…

Autre surprise : ce jeune avocat de 27 ans a été désigné porte-parole du collectif en raison de sa faconde, alors même que son association, l'AJCF, n'a pas participé officiellement à la manif.

Olivier a beaucoup aidé à coacher l'association de commerçants pour éviter de reproduire les erreurs de l'an passé :

« Ce que l'on ne voulait pas c'est d'être accusés de communautarisme. L'an dernier, l'erreur fut d'avoir des slogans en chinois et des drapeaux chinois. Cette année, nous nous sommes dits que nous étions français, du moins une bonne partie d'entre nous, et qu'il fallait nous approprier les symboles français »

« Les jeunes pensent qu'il est temps de participer à la vie citoyenne »

« Ils sont passés sans transition des drapeaux chinois aux Français », s'amuse Guy. « Si pour les Français, manifester avec 300 drapeaux paraît excessif, ce n'est pas le cas des Chinois. »

Pour les organisateurs, il s'agissait surtout d'exprimer un ras-le-bol général, et de défendre l'intérêt des commerçants, tout en dépassant les clivages politiques. Ils n'ont cependant pas toujours bien perçu les risques de récupération, explique Guy :

« C'est compliqué en France de défiler sur cette thématique, car il y a toujours un risque que ce soit perçu comme une campagne d'extrême droite. » [and whose fault is that, if not the media that present any protest against Muslim  anti-Infidel attitudes and behavior, as "far-right"]

Cette année, des sites d'extrême droite [what makes them "extreme right"? Nothing at all -- except that they are anti-Islam, against the growth of Muslim numbers, and the Muslim presence, Muslim power, in France] avaient d'ailleurs relayé très tôt l'événement. Autre particularité de la manif : la présence de nombreux jeunes. « Ils sont là parce qu'ils considèrent que la France est leur avenir et qu'il est temps de se réveiller pour participer à la vie citoyenne », analyse Olivier Wang.

Et contrairement à leurs parents, qui ont dû trimer et se taire, eux sont beaucoup plus revendicatifs.

« Les Chinois n'ont en quelque sorte pas “tué le père” »

Pourtant, malgré ces deux manifs, les jeunes ont l'impression que les responsables politiques se désintéressent de la communauté chinoise, traditionnellement considérée comme sans problèmes. Contrairement à d'autres, la communauté asiatique française n'a pas suscité beaucoup de vocations politiques et ne s'est pas non plus dotée d'une instance de représentation.

Deux organismes ont certes discrètement déposé leurs statuts cette année : le Conseil représentatif des associations asiatiques de France (Craaf) et le Conseil national des asiatiques de France (Cnaf).

Mais ils ne font pas l'unanimité. Zhao, membre de l'association des Jeunes chinois de France (AJCF), estime qu'il n'y a « pas encore de vrai leader », et refuse par principe les instances liées à des partis politiques comme c'est le cas du Craaf, dont le fondateur, Chenva Tieu, vient d'être nommé secrétaire national de l'UMP aux affaires étrangères en charge de l'Asie.

Les associations sont par ailleurs souvent soupçonnées d'entretenir un lien plus ou moins lâche avec le régime chinois. Leurs représentants ont la réputation d'avoir chèrement acheté leur fonction et de s'en servir comme carte de visite en Chine. Richard Béraha analyse :

« Les Chinois n'ont en quelque sorte pas “tué le père”. En Chine, travail et famille sont liés, et la piété filiale, très importante, implique aussi bien le respect de la famille que de la hiérarchie. Résultat, le réseau social est la principale ressource et il est difficile de s'en affranchir complètement. »

C'est d'autant plus vrai quand on fait du commerce avec la Chine et que pays monte en puissance. Mais les jeunes de la deuxième génération, et notamment ceux de l'AJCF qui ont grandi en France, veulent que les choses changent.

Désireux de s'affranchir des tutelles, ils se considèrent d'abord comme Français vivant en France, et entendent participer davantage à la vie civique.


One more time:

"The large-scale presence of Muslims in the West has created a situation, for both the indigenous non-Muslims, and for non-Muslim immigrants,  that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without such a large-scale Muslim presence."



Posted on 06/29/2011 9:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
After A Decade Of Americans In Afghanistan: "They Cannot Live Without Foreigners"

From The New York Times:

Attack at Kabul Hotel Deflates Security Hopes in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nazir Amini, an Afghan visiting from his home in Germany, had just returned from the buffet with a bowl of ice cream when two men with an AK-47 rifle and a machine gun started shooting guests around the pool at the Intercontinental Hotel, one of the capital’s most fortified buildings.

Women and children screamed. Chairs tipped backward. Food slid onto the lawn as people started to run. Mr. Amini said he saw police officers running, too, tightly gripping their own AK-47s as they raced away from the gunmen.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you shoot? Shoot!’ ” he recalled. “But they just said, ‘Get away from them.’ And we all ran together.”

Six hours later, at least 21 people were dead, including the nine suicide bombers who managed to penetrate several rings of security on Tuesday night to carry out the attack. The assault has shaken public confidence in the ability of Afghan forces, especially the police, to assume responsibility for security, even here in the capital.

The scene painted by Mr. Amini and several other guests at the hotel vividly demonstrated the challenges facing the Afghan government as it prepares to defend its country without NATO troops after 2014. Last week, President Obama announced that the American military had inflicted enough damage on the insurgency to allow him to begin withdrawing some troops. This week is supposed to be the beginning of the transition to Afghan control, with Kabul, one of the country’s safest cities, scheduled to be among the first places to carry out the transfer.

We talk about the transition to Afghan security, but the Afghan forces are not ready to take over their security and their country,” said Maulavi Mohammadullah Rusgi, chairman of the Takhar provincial council in northern Afghanistan, who was having dinner at the hotel with friends when the attack commenced. Three of his friends were killed.

“The security forces cannot even protect a few people inside the hotel,” he said. “How can they protect the whole country?”

The assault ended only after NATO helicopters joined the battle, killing three of the insurgents on the hotel’s roof. Still, NATO officials took a more sanguine view of the performance of the Afghan police, saying that they had fought well, once they had their forces arrayed at the scene. “They acquitted themselves pretty well — it could have been a whole lot worse,” said a Western official. [whistling in the dark]

But for the hotel guests, many of whom jumped over the perimeter walls, plunged into irrigation ditches or cowered in closets to escape the attackers, the police response was not only slow, but also cowardly. Several witnesses said police officers ran away or refused to shoot.

Guests milling outside the hotel on Wednesday morning said that without the assistance of the NATO forces, the mayhem would have gone on much longer.

“The main question in Kabul, and on the cusp of transition, is, Are they ready?” said another Western official here, referring to the police. “The Intercontinental attack introduces doubt, and if the transition is supposed to be based on the security conditions, then the conditions haven’t been met.”

Sowing doubt was clearly the intent of the Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack. The difficulty the Afghan security forces faced in fending off the assault and in putting out the fire that destroyed half the roof of the building — the blaze took more than an hour to tame — gave the insurgents a propaganda victory, even if the death toll was relatively low compared with other spectacular attacks of recent years. The dead included a Spanish pilot and at least two Afghan police officers.

Mr. Rusgi, the provincial council official from Takhar, said that even after the shooting stopped at 5 a.m., the police were reluctant to enter the hotel, defying the orders of their commander, the police chief, Mohammed Ayoub Salangi.

“The police chief, Salangi, kept telling his people to march — to go, to go ahead into the hotel — but they didn’t go,” he said.

Mr. Rusgi and 11 friends were at dinner when the attack erupted.

“When the gunmen started shooting,” he recounted, “me and my friend Judge Abdul Hanan jumped into a ditch, and I silenced my cellphone to make sure the phone did not make noise so that the gunmen would not shoot us.

“Then Judge Abdul Hanan got out of the ditch and bullets were coming from every direction, and we heard his cellphone ringing, and I told another guy who was with me inside the ditch, ‘See, Judge Hanan is going to make problems for us, and the gunmen will find out we’re here if the cellphones keep ringing.’ ”

Ten minutes later, when the shooting abated, Mr. Rusgi climbed out of the ditch to ask Judge Hanan to turn off his phone. “Then I saw he was bowing toward the ground, and when I moved his head I saw blood all on his body, and he was shot in his chest and belly, and at the same time his cellphone was ringing and I think his family was trying to call him.”

Moments later Mr. Rusgi found two other friends, who had been shot in the head as they tried to hide behind a tree.

A spokesman for the Afghan National Directorate of Security, Lutfullah Mashal, said that there were “loopholes” and “negligence” in the hotel security. He suggested that the attackers might have been able to penetrate the well-fortified hotel, which sits atop a hill overlooking the capital, with help from guards at the compound or by disguising themselves as laborers, because part of the hotel is under renovation. Since the attack, the hotel has been closed, indefinitely.

The security lapses further weaken the public’s confidence that Afghan forces are ready to defend the country. Mr. Amini, who is a car dealer in Germany, was deeply pessimistic.

“Forty-five countries have troops here, but security is still fragile — you cannot serve dinner in one of the largest and most secure restaurants in Kabul,” he said.

“Now we are hearing about a security transition to Afghan forces,” he added. “If they give the security responsibility to the current government at 10:00 a.m., the government will collapse around 12 noon. They cannot live without foreigners.”

Posted on 06/29/2011 9:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
A Dance Interlude: Ginger Rogers Tap-Dancing (Roxie Hart)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 06/29/2011 9:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Magdi Allam Denounces The Favoring Of Islam And Muslims By Mayor Pisapia And Cardinal Tettamanzi

Giuliano Pisapia is a political figure -- the newly-elected mayor of Milan, with a standard Italian left -- defending terrorists etc. -- background. Dionigi. Tettamanzi is a Cardinal and the  Archbisop Emeritus of Millan who is also complacent about Muslims in Italy, and guilty of that simpering Christian goody-goodiness that used to drive  the implacably intelligent  Oriana Fallaci --an unyielding atheist -- crazy. .

Tettamanzi has just been  replaced, because of his age, by Cardinal Scola (formerly in Venice), who is now  the new Archbishop of Milan. What is worrisome is that Scola appears to be in the Pisapia-Tettamanzi line, a line denounced by Magdi Allam in a recent article in Il Giornale.  . 

Read that article, and the comments, in Il Giornale, here.

And perhaps Scola is in the same line. Cacciari, the Mayor of Venice, says -- admiringly  -- that Scola does want to make Muslims feel welcome, and is enthusiastic about "dialogue." At this point, anyone in the Western world who puts any trust in "dialogue" with Muslims -- a dialogue with the Muslim deaf, who are only trying to score points for Islam. That is what interfaith dialogue is for Muslims -- a way of inveigling innocent, ignorant, unwary fool-me-please Christians and Jews into helping to make the case for that deceptive "three abrahamic faiths" business, that "three great monotheisms" business, that conceal and obfuscate, and prevent disturbing truths from being attained.

Posted on 06/29/2011 8:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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