Five Eyes spying 1

US intelligence agencies cannot legally spy on Americans. So they get foreign allied spy agencies to do it for them. Which means they spy on Americans.

Five countries form the “Echelon” global surveillance system: the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – the “Five Eyes” of Western international espionage.

When something they have done leaks out and becomes a public scandal, they spread the blame wider and more thinly by including other agencies, such as those of Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and France.

When the British were first accused of helping the NSA and CIA spy on Donald Trump and his associates, by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News, they angrily denied it.

But they did it.

It’s a squalid story about a real international conspiracy, launched by the Obama administration, to concoct a monstrous lie about Donald Trump; that he was in league with the Russian government. It is a lie that the Democratic Party is still using to cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the Trump presidency.

From the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, using as its main source the leftist Guardian newspaper:

The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.

This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “then president-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect”. 

President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, has also been vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.

President Trump stressed the pervasive “extent” of this Obama political “wiretapping” to Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in an Oval Office interview on April 11 (aired April 12).  “Me and so many other people” surveilled, Trump said. He explained again that he had picked up the “wire tapped” terminology straight from the headline of The New York Times (of January 20) …

Now we’re learning that GCHQ did wiretap Trump for a year before the election. “Trump” is, of course, shorthand for Trump associates and possibly Trump himself directly, depending on context. But GCHQ is trying to put a positive spin on what it admits would be illegal spying on US citizens if done by US agencies.

The Guardian’s sources claim a heroic role for the British GCHQ as a courageous “whistleblower” in warning US agencies to “watch out” about Trump and Russia — but carefully avoiding mention of the US’s NSA, which must be protected at all costs as part of the NSA-GCHQ spy-on-each-other’s-citizens “wiretap shell game”. …

These sources virtually admit the mutual “wiretap shell game” by inadvertently mentioning the Trump-Russia data was originally passed on to the US by GCHQ as part of a “routine exchange” of intelligence. The use of this term, “exchange”, suggests what we had previously reported — the shell-game “exchange” between the NSA and GCHQ where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all. 

Past British Prime Ministers have been implicated in various scandals involving wiretaps.  Some have involved the “Echelon” global surveillance system set up by the NSA with its counterparts in the other “Five Eyes” nations — UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Any one of these countries is able to circumvent domestic laws against spying on their own citizens by asking another Echelon member country to do it for them. This is precisely the “wiretap shell game” used by the Obama administration to have British GCHQ spy on Trump, as outlined by Judge Napolitano and his sources.

To avoid unraveling the longstanding Five Eyes spying “wiretap shell game”, the GCHQ had to pretend they “routinely” came across this Trump-Russia wiretap data “by chance”, unprompted by requests from US. agencies (such as the NSA or CIA) or by Obama officials, working outside normal NSA chain of command on Signals Intelligence or SIGINT (as Judge Napolitano reported on March 14).

So the heroic British GCHQ comes to the rescue with conveniently “accidental” (our word) captures of wiretap communications between Trump people and sinister-sounding “Russian intelligence agents”, with the wiretaps sent here to help out the US agencies. We are supposed to believe the US agencies and the Obama White House just passively received this bombshell wiretap data from GCHQ, no questions asked, for over a year from late 2015 to early 2017. (The Guardian has no end date for the surveillance, such as the November 8 election, and indicates continued surveillance into the Trump transition, with the FBI “throwing more resources” into the investigation then.)

Did Obama officials ever say, “Wait! Stop sending us this material, it may be illegal!” It does not appear so. Hence, the questions that have to be asked by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are:

  • Were there requests for more wiretap data on Trump and his team?
  • Were there requests for more complete transcripts, or even voice recordings?

This “alerting” of the US on Trump-Russia communications was needed, according to the Guardian and its US and UK intelligence sources, because the US agencies were “asleep” or “untrained,” or were legally prohibited from “examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants”. But to the GCHQ, America is a “foreign” nation and evidently they think they are free to spy on Americans “without warrants”.

Previous reporting has said that an interagency task force of six US intelligence agencies was set up to investigate the alleged Trump-connected names supposedly discovered in “incidental collection” of digital wiretap surveillance of Russian communications. The six agencies are said to consist of the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department financial crimes unit.

Until now, no one has known who in the Obama administration set up the task force, who directs it, what its operating directives state, what its activities have entailed, and who it is really accountable to.

But the Guardian is now reporting that it was CIA Director John Brennan who initiated, in about August 2016, what clearly seems to be an illegal domestic investigation of the Trump political campaign, which would be prohibited by the CIA charter.

Reportedly “Brennan used [British] GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major interagency investigation.” The infamous fake “Trump dossier” is apparently dragged in too.

You can read the “dossier” here. It’s a pile of ludicrous bilge.

Brennan then proceeded to give highly classified “urgent” briefings to individual members of the Congressional “Gang of Eight”. Beginning on about August 25, with then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on that date, CIA chief Brennan claimed that the Russian email hackings of the Democratic National Committee were designed to help Trump win the election, according to The New York Times. [!] These partisan briefings represent the politicization of the CIA under Obama, and are of dubious legality.

In September 2016, this anti-Trump intelligence task force changed the previous “incidental” collection to outright direct targeting of Trump people so that their communications with Russia were “actively monitored”, not merely retrieved retroactively in digital archives with names having to be laboriously “unmasked”. …

Unmasking is unnecessary if one starts with the specific names of Trump personnel first, and then flags them for future surveillance, going forward in time. In that case, the “actively monitored” and flagged Trump names automatically trigger alerts in the NSA-GCHQ computers whenever the names turn up. These wiretap reports would then have been submitted to Obama officials at the level of national security adviser Susan Rice and CIA director Brennan, and perhaps to Obama himself.

Interestingly, the Guardian’s sources carefully try to avoid implicating or involving the NSA in GCHQ’s allegedly unprompted reporting on intercepted wiretap data on Trump associates. It’s the “shell game” again with the NSA and GCHQ covering for each other.

Instead, the Guardian’s anonymous intelligence sources say that then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan passed on a top secret “director level” report on Trump-Russia in “summer 2016” to CIA Director John Brennan, rather than to the NSA. However, if GCHQ was using NSA’s digital wiretap facilities to “routinely” spy on Trump people, then the NSA would be implicated by the very arrangement used. …

The unexpected sudden resignation of GCHQ director Hannigan, announced on January 23, makes him the potential villain and scapegoat. …

In an unprecedented BBC interview on April 5, Hannigan fired a parting shot at the Judge Napolitano and White House reports of his GCHQ’s spying on Trump. Hannigan snidely dismissed the reports, saying,

We get crazy conspiracy theories thrown at us every day. We ignore most of them. On this occasion it was so crazy that we felt we should say so and we have said it’s a ridiculous suggestion.

The Guardian’s report refutes Hannigan, barely a week after he left office, possibly with official connivance or approval. But why is Hannigan being thrown under the bus so soon? Is it fear of the impending findings of US Congressional and official investigations exposing GCHQ?

Now that Trump is president, the British have some urgent repairs to make.

Such reports in the British press on highly sensitive intelligence matters surely must have been quietly cleared by the British government as a first fallback position on GCHQ spying on [now President] Trump. Otherwise the Guardian would be in deep trouble under the UK’s Official Secrets Act and its D-Notice procedure to suppress or censor news stories on secret intelligence matters.

Finally, the British also seem to be trying to spread the blame around to a laundry list of other countries allegedly passing on intelligence about Trump-Russia contacts—Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Dutch and the French DGSE.

Still, no “smoking gun” has ever been found in any of this wiretap material, for it would already have been leaked like Lt. Gen. Flynn’s fairly benign conversations with the Russian ambassador that got him fired.

Despite the sensational news from The Washington Post that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to wiretap ex-Trump adviser Carter Page, which may even still be in effect, his “Russian contacts” also seem to be completely ordinary and routine. Page is so confident of his innocence that he has been going on various television news programs to talk openly about his work on Russia, supplying Russian contacts with some of his New York University classroom materials.

To be sure, a certain large percentage of these kinds of business meetings with Russians will turn out to be with undercover Russian intelligence officers —  unbeknown to the Western business and academic people meeting them. The media portray them as suspicious. But this kind of Russian spy game has always been going on since the Cold War and is nothing new.

The FISA warrant, rather than proving any malfeasance by Carter Page — again no “smoking gun” — only adds to the evidence that what President Trump said from the start was true: that Trump and his associates were under electronic surveillance.

What do the wiretaps on Trump actually say? The media don’t want to know if the NSA-GCHQ wiretaps actually exonerate President Trump.

One of the advantages of the adversarial system in the courts is that advocates on the opposing side ideally get a fair chance — unlike the one-sided media with journalists who, at the rate of more than 90 percent, contributed to the Hillary Clinton campaign …

Questions not asked of Rice or other sources by the media include whether she or other Obama officials “flagged” the unmasked Trump team names for future NSA (or British GCHQ) automatic unmasking and delivery of transcripts and summary reports.

Did the Obama people regularize the “unmasking” so that routinely a new retroactive search was automatically ordered with automatic unmaskings? That would be another way to turn “incidental collection” into an effectively ongoing wiretap order. Did President Obama or Rice or others request actual sound recordings of Trump and others to review?

Did the Obama team “unmask” other presidential candidates and associates besides Trump, such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who visited Moscow in December 2015 and dined with Putin? Fox is reporting that Congressional investigators are now looking into whether other presidential candidates and Members of Congress were surveilled too. In 2014, CIA director Brennan was caught red-handed lying to the Senate about the CIA’s criminal hacking of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer system.

We are told that many, if not most, of these wiretaps and unmaskings of Trump people were not even wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way.

The evidence now indicates that the information was procured for partisan political purposes — to spy on the Trump opposition to Hillary Clinton using the full weight of the US government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by British GCHQ).

Scandalized? Prepare to be more so:

Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo is in a position to get to the bottom of this scandal. Yet, on April 13, 2017, in his first public speech as director, he seemed to indicate that the evidence being developed in connection with the CIA’s role in the illegal surveillance of President Trump was going to be ignored or brushed aside. It was a forceful, even strident, defense of the Agency.

“I inherited an Agency that has a real appreciation for the law and for the Constitution,” he claimed. “Despite fictional depictions meant to sell books or box-office tickets, we are not an untethered or rogue agency. So yes, while we have some truly awesome capabilities at our disposal, our officers do not operate in areas or against targets that are rightfully and legally off-limits to us.”

The evidence suggests the opposite. The CIA under Obama’s CIA Director Brennan was involved in illegal surveillance, using those “truly awesome capabilities” against political targets that should have been off-limits.

One of those targets was the President who appointed Pompeo as CIA director.

We need our intelligence agencies. But they have gone bad under bad leadership.

The end of national sovereignty 5

The EU – the European Union – is not a democracy. It has a parliament, and people are elected to it by the citizens of the member states, but it has no real power of decision. Members of the European Parliament talk there. Nobody listens. Not even their fellow MEPs.

Unelected bureaucrats decide what the 503 million people of Europe may do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say, and not do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say. In finicky detail. (See for example here and here.)

The bureaucrats compose the Commission. The president of the Commission is appointed by the Council and he appoints the other 27 members.

The Council is composed of the heads of the governments of the member states and the President of the Commission whom they have appointed.

The EU Commission – 28 unelected officials – exercises dictatorial power, and has dictated that Europe shall be terminated; and that slowly – over about three more generations – the continent will become part of the Ummah, the world unity of Muslims, governed by Sharia, Islam’s legal system inseparable from the religion. To this end, the EU is importing millions of Muslims (often under the courtesy name of “refugees”), who will have large families as multiple wives each bear many children.

The Commission’s writ does not officially run in Western countries outside the EU; but this momentous decision, a turning point in the history of mankind, is apparently approved of and being emulated by the political leadership of most Western states, notably Canada, Australia, and even the United States of America.

Or is there a conspiracy among all Western leaders to Islamize their world?

The Big Question is WHY? 

John Griffing writes at American Thinker:

Europe is on fire, in a social and financial crisis of its leaders’ own making. Its public places are now spectacles of the obscene, and its women are sexual objects for a predatory race of invaders. Its social systems are stretched to the breaking point by belligerent “refugees” who are devouring their host countries at will, while Europe’s leaders defend the invaders and blame their own citizens.

Western civilization is under attack, and rational citizens are at a loss to understand why their leaders are allowing the destruction of their societies.

Much has been written about the outrageous acts that have been committed by Muslim migrants, so we need not repeat them here. We can simply agree that the situation in Europe is disastrous, and it’s getting worse. And America is not far behind.

Western leaders are aiding and abetting this insanity with a consistency and single-mindedness of purpose that can only be explained in one way: they must think they have something to gain from the chaos created by this crisis.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the brazen ascendancy of Islam in the western world, and the deafening silence that permits its success?  Clearly, Western leaders think they can use Islam for their own ends, to consolidate their own power.

Whether their motivations are globalist, nationalist, pro-Islam, or merely megalomaniacal, they all seem to hold one belief in common: the belief that they can control Muslim migration to create the chaos necessary to justify their predetermined solutions. …

But they are dangerously underestimating those they presume to use as pawns. …

Islam is now controlling most of Europe, either actively, or passively, due to the absence of any response from local governing authorities – a curious void of law and order. …

Unless Europeans and Americans rise up now to reverse this trend, one of two things will occur. Either those in power will succeed in using this crisis to advance their aims and fundamentally transform their societies, or, more likely, Islam will become dominant in the West past the point of no return.

If those two occurrences are distinguishable from each other.

“The Moors” have come home. The Muslim horde hastily imported into Europe over the cries and screams of voters are living up to the archetypes people in the West have come to fear, especially when cartoons result in lynch-mobs, and when a woman clothed according to western custom is mercilessly raped by “migrants”. …

A majority of Muslims living in Britain say they want full Sharia law, a separate Muslim police force, and death for anyone who speaks against Mohammed.  The same survey revealed a majority percentage also favor terrorist attacks against Britain and the United States.  51 percent of American Muslims also say they want Shariah and the US government to become Islamic.

The Netherlands openly advocates placing Shariah – the desert law which commands death for adulterers, death for gambling, death for leaving the faith (or having no faith), and death for homosexuals – on the ballot.

German courts are already enforcing Shariah when requested, and the impetus for this golden nugget originated in Nuremburg.

France has over 751 “no-go zones”, i.e. areas of land ruled by Islamic law and totally unrecognizable as French.

And where French law is not enforced, the police being afraid to enter them.

This was verified again after the recent French attacks.

The British already have actual Shariah courts in operation all over the United Kingdom.  These “courts” are chaired by a man who thinks amputation for petty crimes is a great idea, something he wants to “offer British society”.

Americans and Europeans need to stop acting surprised when Muslims behave like Muslims.  They are acting according to what the Qur’an says to do. It’s there in plain sight for anyone to read. And its ultimate aim is conquest and complete domination of any other culture but Islam. …

Not only is history repeating, but it is repeating on a crash timetable, and with the perverse backing of the host countries destined to be remade in the image of Islamic hegemony.

Why would any true German, Frenchman or Briton cooperate in their own organized destruction if there were not some goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable and more distant governments that make such decisions?

It would only be logical to deduce that French leaders, German leaders and British leaders have determined that there is an acceptable cost to property and lives if the chaos resulting from the indiscriminate welcoming of new migrant hoards can be directed towards an unspoken goal.  This is not out of left field.  Angela Merkel calling her own people “neo-Nazis” and turning water cannons on her own citizens is indicative.

Amazingly, this mindset is evident in every recent action to open the borders of Europe and America to their new visitors.

Controlled chaos is the desired result.

We underestimate the depravity of Western leaders if we think the lives of American and European citizens mean anything more to them than plot points in a narrative, one leading inevitably to the end of national sovereignty.

There’s chaos all right, but where’s the control?

What is that “goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable governments”? 

Is it something beyond the destruction of their own nations? Of their continent? Of Western civilization?

Is it some earthly paradise that can only arise out of submission to Islam and Sharia law?

A vision that they alone – the political deciders and dictators who will  not explain their plan – can see?

Is that hellish path the only way to it?

If so, it would be good to be told what it is, and how it will come about, and when.

Or else there is no answer at all to WHY.   

South Africa: a failure of power 14

South Africa, though saved some twenty years ago from the injustices of apartheid, is going steadily downhill.

We quote a letter from James E. Martins, teacher and lecturer:

What a fortnight it has been! Really, living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment.We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Infuriating. Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union …

Trade is suffering severely. I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.

We are all  expected to be technologically savvy in the midst of such a crisis. At school, there is constant talk of greater use of smartboards, computer avatars, etc., etc. With the country’s electricity supplies at risk, it might be more sensible if we all polished our “chalk and talk” — and not a bad thing, either! (Nothing is superior to a teacher with personality and passion!) Still, it is maddening to live on “this isthmus of a middle state” between First World and disintegrating Third World. To give a rather trivial example, I do not know whether to complain to the local Post Office or simply to grind my teeth and wait: I have a host of orders from Amazon.UK  that have not arrived yet. Perhaps I should be patient. After all, I received a couple of Christmas cards a week ago. Africa!

By the way, it is estimated that, in Soweto, people owe R2 billion in unpaid rates for services – i.e. electricity. The ANC will never call such offenders to account for they – or their votes, rather – guarantee the ANC’s retention of power.

I attended an Advanced Programme English Conference this weekend, and had to endure everyone swooning over a YouTube snippet of a speech by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the “danger of a single reading”. This is the new catchphrase of the trendy Left. She sneered inevitably at white stereotyping of blacks – while unashamedly doing the reverse! – and made cheap gibes at John Locke. I had to button my indignant lips, but, in my own address, I did make an impassioned plea for accurate reading, not simply fashionable ones. Sadly, I fear that many of my colleagues did not realize my words were a criticism of the rapturously received anti-white diatribe. Adichie mocked whites who believe that Africa is a bloodsoaked mess in which helpless people await redemption by white imperialists.

Africa is a bloodsoaked mess. And there may be people who “await redemption by white imperialists”. But if so, they wait in vain.

Posted under Africa, Australia, Commentary, corruption, education, Literature, Race, South Africa by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 15, 2015

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The glamor of evil 4

With his usual perception and wit, Mark Steyn writes:

The Islamic State [IS] released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human. …

Even by the standards of his usual rote cookie-cutter shoulder-to-shoulder shtick that follows every ISIS beheading of western captives, the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh:

Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.

The lack of passion – the bloodlessness – of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it. …

Given the general halfheartedness of Obama’s “coalition”, King Abdullah [of Jordan] could have been forgiven for also deciding to head for the exit.

Yet he understood the necessity of action. Obama, by contrast … does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. …

Obama cannot react to atrocities committed by jihadis because he is emotionally (we cannot say intellectually, because unlike his Democratic fans we do not think he has much of an intellect), on their side; which means that, whether he realizes it or not, he is on the side of evil.

Mark Steyn clearly sees that IS is evil. He goes on to consider why it is that tens of thousands of volunteers go eagerly to join its army and help it carry out its atrocities.

You’ll recall Hannah Arendt’s tired and misleading coinage “the banality of evil”, derived from her observation of Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.

We explain when and why she said it, and why it is misleading, in our post The cultivation of evil, the sickness of  Europe, July 20, 2010.

Mark Steyn quotes an earlier article of his:

Hitler felt obliged to be somewhat coy about just how final the final solution was. As Eichmann testified at his trial, when typing up the minutes of the Wannsee conference, “How shall I put it? Certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me.” Even the Nazis were reluctant to spell it out.

The Germans didn’t have social media, but they had newsreels, and Hitler knew enough not to make genocide available to Pathé or “The March of Time”. He had considerations both domestic and foreign. Pre-Wannsee, in Poland and elsewhere, German troops had been ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners in cold blood, and their commanders reported back to Berlin that too many soldiers had found it sickening and demoralizing. So the purpose of “the final solution” was to make mass murder painless, at least for the perpetrators – more bureaucratic, removed, bloodless.

As for foreign considerations, Germany expected to be treated as a civilized power by its enemies, and that would not have been possible had they been boasting about genocide.

Seventy years on, the Islamic State has slipped free of even these minimal constraints. They advertize their barbarism to the world, because what’s the downside? Let’s say the guys who burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh are one day captured by Americans. They can look forward to a decade or two of a soft, pampering sojourn in the US justice system, represented by an A-list dream-team that’ll string things along until the administration figures it’ll cut its losses and ship them to Qatar in exchange for some worthless deserter.

As for the upside, “the banality of evil” may have its appeal for lower-middle-class Teuton bureaucrats, but the glamor of evil is a far more potent and universal brand. The Islamic State has come up with the ultimate social-media campaign: evil goes viral! At some level German conscripts needed to believe they were honorable soldiers in an honorable cause, no different from the British or Americans. But ISIS volunteers are signing up explicitly for the war crimes. The Islamic State burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh alive not only to kill him but to inspire the thousands of ISIS fanbois around the globe. 

For many of its beneficiaries, modern western life is bland, undemanding and vaguely unsatisfying. Some seek a greater cause, and turn to climate change or LGBTQWERTY rights. But others want something with a little more red meat to it. Jihad is primal in a way that the stodgy multiculti relativist mush peddled by Obama isn’t. And what the Islamic State is offering is Jihad 2.0, cranking up the blood-lust and rape and sex slavery and head-chopping and depravity in ways that make Osama-era al-Qaeda look like a bunch of pantywaists.

Success breeds success. The success of evil breeds darker evil. And the glamorization of evil breeds ever more of those “recent Muslim converts” and “lone wolves” and “self-radicalized extremists” in the news. That’s a Big Idea – a bigger idea, indeed, than Communism or Nazism.

Islam, as we know, means “submission”. But Xtreme-Sports Hyper-Islam, blood-soaked and baying, is also wonderfully liberating, offering the chance for dull-witted, repressed young men to slip free of even the most basic societal restraints. And, when the charms of the open road in Headchoppistan wear thin, your British and Canadian and Australian and European welfare checks will still be waiting for you on the doormat back home. …

As the world burns, Obama, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever.

Mark Steyn reminds us that “civilization is a fragile and unnatural state of affairs”. Its would-be destroyers now, in the early twenty-first century, are: the environmentalists; the world-government advocates and all the rest of the collectivists, whatever they call themselves –  progressives or socialists or communists; and, above all, most dangerous, already destroying as much as they can of the heritage of civilization, and winning battle after battle, encountering no effective opposition – Islam.

Obama won’t name it, not even by using the polite form of its name that most politicians and commentators use, “Islamism”.

But be assured that against something or other, he is redoubling his vigilance.

Lashings of Allah 8

Horrible news from Gatestone by Valentina Colombo:

Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for a blog regarded by Saudi Arabia’s regime as insulting Islam.

The lashing was due to be carried out today, so we are assuming that it was, at least in part. So many lashes have been ordered, the torturer will probably need several sessions to complete his assignment. After which, of course, Reason itself will have learnt its lesson and never dare utter a word in Saudi Arabia again.

Badawi was condemned, according to Amnesty International, for having co-founded a website, “Saudi Arabian Liberals,” and for having written and published on it … as well as on Facebook and Twitter …

He criticized and made fun of Saudi institutions such as the Commission for the Promotion of Goodness and the Prohibition of Vice (also known as “the religious police”), the Saudi Grand Mufti, other Saudi ulema [religious scholars].

The long sentence of the Criminal Court of the district of Jeddah stated that he had undermined the “public order”.

In an interview published in August 2007 by the liberal website Afaaq, Badawi stated that “liberals in Saudi Arabia live between the anvil of State and the hammer of the religious police”.

He also said this:

My commitment is to the advancement of civil society in my country, to reject any repression in the name of religion, to promote liberal* enlightened Saudis whose primary objective is being active in civil society, a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.


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Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (left) and his lawyer Walid Abu al-Khayr

We can only hope that this intelligent and brave young man, a secularist and probably an atheist, survives his appalling ordeal, and his ten years in a notoriously hellish Arab prison.

It would be going too far to hope that his fate will persuade the political leaders of the Western world that Islam is a primitive savage cruel ideology rather than the “beautiful religion” they insistently tell us it is.

* We think and hope he means “liberal” in the true sense of the word: favoring freedom. Not in the contemporary American sense: not favoring freedom.

All aboard for Kerry’s mystery coalition 10

Secretary of State Kerry says 40 countries will be in coalition with the US in its war with IS/ISIS/ISIL.

Which states would those be?

According to CNN:

On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but … “it’s not appropriate to start announcing which nations will participate and what each will do.”

Because you see, fact is, apart from the US, nobody’s doin’ nothin’ nohow –  except make a few promises with their fingers crossed.

Australia says it will send up to eight combat aircraft, one airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one multirole tanker and transport aircraft. In case somebody over there knows how to use them. No troops.

Great Britain says it would seriously consider helping to arm Kurdish forces if Kurdish forces were to fight ISIS beyond their own borders.

Canada says it already sent sent some ammunition to somebody and will maybe send some advisers to somewhere in Iraq.

France declares that it has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. And, what is more, it has performed one or two humanitarian aid drops to refugees somewhere in the region. And more still –  it promises to do some bombing perhaps at some time. Somewhere.

The Netherlands says it will definitely try to stop would-be fighters leaving to go and help ISIS.

Turkey says, word of honor, it will cut the flow of money to ISIS and… and … has already begun to think about how to stop foreigners crossing its territory to join ISIS.

Jordan says it will provide intelligence.

Saudi Arabia says it will train fighters against ISIS if any present themselves for such training. Also, along with Qatar and Egypt, it will spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage imams to say really nasty things against the group.

Iran has said it will do absolutely nothing to help the US which, it says, is only fighting ISIS because it wants to dominate the region. (At present Iran is dominating much of the region.)

Iraqi Kurdistan is willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if and when there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place – which there is not.

The remaining 30 – unnamed – participating countries are keeping information about their contributions each to itself. They’re not even telling Kerry. Why be so nosy? They deserve a little privacy, don’t they? It’s every state’s right.

US-Iran-Syria – the newest military alliance 2

Here is our Facebook condensation of a report by DebkaFile of events that are unlikely to be so much as mentioned by the US media.

They reveal an astonishing  degree of co-operation between the Iranian, Syrian and US governments. (But it’s possible Obama doesn’t know; he’ll only find out about it by “watching the news”.)

At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters including Americans and Europeans were killed Thursday, Sept. 4, in a Syrian air raid of the Al Qaeda-ISIS northern Syrian headquarters in the Gharbiya district of Raqqa. The raid caught a number of high Al Qaeda commanders and a large group of foreign adherents assembled at the facility.

A second group of high ISIS officers were killed or injured in another Syrian air raid over their base in Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. Top men of the Islamist terrorist group were holding meetings at both places Thursday to coordinate IS strike plans in Syria and Iraq.

For Syria, these plans center on the Deir a-Zor and Al Qaim areas, while in Iraq, they focus on targets in the east and center of the country.

They must be credited to top-quality US aerial surveillance over Syria and Iraq, but were undoubtedly made possible by the Obama administration’s deepening military and intelligence ties with Iran.

Many of the allies present at the two-day NATO Summit outside the Welsh town of Newport will not welcome these tidings – Britain, Germany and Australia, in particular. They deeply resent being displaced as America’s senior strategic partners by the Revolutionary Republic of Iran, after their long partnership with the US in fighting terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they will find it hard to argue with success.

On Aug. 31 US and Iranian special forces fighting together, broke the 100-day IS siege of the eastern Iraqi town of Amerli, 100 km from the Iranian border, to score a major victory in their first joint military ground action. Then, Wednesday, Sept. 3, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two lieutenants of the IS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi.

While President Obama has denied having a strategy for fighting ISIS, a working mechanism appears to have been put in place to support a trilateral military offensive against al Qaeda’s Islamist State. The successful attacks in the last 24 hours were apparently made possible by this mechanism: Iranian intelligence collected US surveillance data from the Americans and passed it on to Syria for action.

The world order is changing continually like patterns in a rapidly-turned kaleidoscope. 

More chaos than order.

A reckoning on Memorial Day 1

Robert Spencer writes at Jihad Watch:

It has already been a busy Memorial Day weekend. Stories reported at Jihad Watch over the last two days:

Saturday

Tunisia: Muslim screaming “The nation of Muhammad returns for vengeance” stabs Jew, is released

Sharia Egypt: Christian gets four years prison, $1400 fine for insulting Islam by drawing cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook

Somalia: Islamic jihadists murder at least 10 in jihad attack on parliament

Yemen: Islamic jihadists murder at least 27 people in raid on city

Pakistan: Islamic jihadists murder seven in three separate blasts

Thailand: Islamic jihadists murder three, injure 55 with series of blasts

Nigeria: Islamic jihadist murders two in bungled jihad/martyrdom suicide bombing

Iraq: Islamic jihadists murder seven people with car bomb at alcohol shop

Uganda: Churches step up security after threats from Islamic jihad group

Sunday

Australia: Jihad fundraiser and brother of convicted terrorist preaching in mosques

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad will continue until America is no more

Syria: Sharia enforcers disrupt wedding party, detain women for un-Islamic dress

Authorities suspect Islamic jihadists behind murder of four at Brussels Jewish Museum

Djibouti: Islamic jihadists murder three with bomb in restaurant filled with Western soldiers

Today

Nigeria: Islamic jihadists of Boko Haram murder 24 people in attack on crowded market

In the face of all this, the Pope calls a man who has just partnered with a jihad terror group vowed to the destruction of the Jewish State a “man of peace” … The President of the United States has said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”, even to the point of removing all mention of Islam and jihad from counter-terror training material, acceding to the demand of Muslim groups with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood — and thereby forbidding law enforcement agents from studying and understanding the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy us.

And so on Memorial Day, we remember when we had leaders to defend us. We still have strong individuals who have vowed the defense of our nation, and for that we can be grateful, but they are being led by a political class so willfully ignorant of prevailing realities, and so deeply compromised, that they make misstep after misstep, endangering us all — while a likewise compromised media does everything it can to cover for them and defame those who sound the alarm about this problem. …

We remember that in our nation’s darkest days, there arose strong, rough men — the ones to whom Churchill referred when he noted that “we sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us”. For that we pause today to offer our gratitude [to them], and our hope that there still remains enough of them to see us through this present darkness.

Our resolve to remain free is iron; now all we need are some leaders with similar resolve.

We like that idea immensely. But we know there are many among us whose resolve to subjugate us to the will of over-mighty government, and even to the domination of savage Islam, is also iron.

Their idea of a desirable leader is Hillary Clinton. Judging by appearances and her record, the Benghazi disaster in particular, we would not describe her as a strong rough man ready to visit violence on those who would harm us. We dare to hope for someone stronger, rougher, masculine, and militant.

Bye-bye freedom 5

Free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.

So Mark Steyn writes.

In Australia, they’re trying to get rid of Section 18c, which is … [a] thought-crime law. … The Aussie campaign is not going well.”There is a danger that the Coalition resolve to repeal Section 18C will weaken further,” warns The Independent Australian, saying [to the Australian public) there’s an “urgent need to submit your views on 18C amendments by April 30th”. …

What’s going on? In the western world today, there are far more lobby groups for censorship – under polite euphemisms such as “diversity”, “human rights”, “hate speech” – than there are for freedom of expression. …

That’s the hard political arithmetic of defending free speech in western chancelleries today: There aren’t a lot of takers for it, and the opposition to it is very organized. A government minister with an eye to his press clippings has to believe in it an awful lot for it to be worth taking on.

[In Britain] on Saturday, Paul Weston of Liberty GB, a candidate in next month’s European elections, was speaking on the steps of Winchester Guildhall and quoting Winston Churchill on the matter of Muslims (from The River War, young Winston’s book on the Sudanese campaign).

Winston Churchill did not write favorably of Islam.*

[Paul Weston] was, in short order, arrested by half-a-dozen police officers, shoved in the back of a van and taken away to be charged  … with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” – in other words, he’s being charged explicitly for the content of that Churchill passage, and the penalty could be two years in jail.

This is remarkable, and not just because Islam is not a race, as its ever more numerous pasty Anglo-Saxon “reverts” will gladly tell you. For one thing, the police have effectively just criminalized Liberty GB’s political platform. There are words for regimes that use state power to criminalize their opponents and they’re not “mother of parliaments” or “land of hope and glory”.

More to the point, if Mr Weston is found guilty of a “racially aggravated crime” for reading Churchill’s words, then why is the publisher of the book not also guilty and liable to two years in jail? Why is Churchill himself not guilty? …

Civilized societies …  lose their liberties incrementally. …  Sir Winston’s River War will simply disappear from print, but so discreetly you won’t even notice it’s gone. Personally, while we’re criminalizing Churchill, I’m in favor of banning that “Fight on the beaches” speech, on the grounds that all that “we will never surrender” stuff is … increasingly risible. …

[In America] fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should be allowed to review political ads and candidates’ campaign comments for their accuracy and punish those that it decides are making false statements about other candidates. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% oppose such government oversight. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Or to put it another way: fewer than a third of those polled give a hoot about the First Amendment. …

Two generations of Americans have been raised in an educational milieu that thinks, to pluck a current example at random, that using the phrase “Man up!” ought to be banned. If you’ve been marinated in this world from kindergarten, why would you emerge into the adult world with any attachment to the value of freedom of speech?

As I say, free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.

*Here is the passage from Churchill’s book The River War that may not be read aloud in public in Britain:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

We hate to disagree with Winston Churchill on any point, and we love to quote this passage for most of what he says in it, but of course we cannot agree that “Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science”. Since the Enlightenment put a stop to the power of the Churches, science has been slowly burying Christianity – we’re happy to say.

The civilization of modern Europe is falling, “as fell the civilization of ancient Rome”.

Christianity brought down the night on the Roman Empire. Islam is doing the same to modern Europe. Churchill saw the danger. He did not foresee that it would start happening just a few decades after he led the West to victory over Islam’s twin and ally, Nazism.

The little country that could 1

There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.

Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.

Caroline Glick writes:

A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.

The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.

And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU  Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.

Well, we don’t.

… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.

The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.

Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.

What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …

Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.

Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.

When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …

Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.

Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”

Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.

Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.

Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …

Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.

Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.

At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”

And so we won’t, ever again.

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