As the West goes grey 1

Colonel Richard Kemp, formerly Commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, deplores the abandonment by the Western world of the values that made it strong and great, and explains why he admires and defends Israel. (We have a difference of opinion with him over the expression “Judeo-Christian values”, but heartily agree with everything else he says.)

An unserious president in serious times 19

In this short video, Ezra Levant demonstrates how dangerously silly is this president of the United States.

Civil liberties versus national security 5

The Washington Post reports:

Senators left Capitol Hill early Saturday morning without taking action to extend or replace a controversial surveillance program set to expire at month’s end, paralyzed by a debate over the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.

Our tentative answer to the dilemma: As there’s an administration in power that believes government should control our lives, we would vote for civil liberties over national security; if there were an administration that knows it’s first duty is to protect our freedom, we would trust it not to overstep the mark, so we would vote for national security.

And yet …

Trouble is,  even if we were so lucky as to get a reasonably trustworthy administration, it could all too easily be replaced by another statist gang such as we have at present.

Readers are invited to give their own views on this difficult conundrum.

Posted under Commentary, government, Law, Leftism, liberty, Terrorism, Totalitarianism, tyranny, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 23, 2015

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Now will the Islamic State destroy Palmyra? 1

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The ancient theatre of Palmyra

This is from GOPUSA:

The historic city of Palmyra has fallen almost entirely under the control of Islamic State, after forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, collapsed under a seven-day siege that has left the magnificent ruins there exposed to near-certain destruction by the terror group.

Not so much a “terror group” – terrifyingly savage though it is – as an Islamic army on the warpath for conquest, subjugation, destruction and loot.

The ancient city, once a Silk Road hub and one of the cultural centres of the ancient world that occupies mythological status in Syria, is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins of antiquity, including the Temple of Bel, built in the first century.

Isis considers the preservation of such historical ruins a form of idolatry and has destroyed temples and historic artefacts, as well as ancient Assyrian sites in Nineveh in Iraq, after conquering the province in a lightning offensive last year.

The group has profited from looting historic treasures, in addition to scoring propaganda victories by the wanton destruction of archaeological sites, and Palmyra is likely to face a similar fate now. …

Experts say the group benefits from its destruction of cultural heritage because it shows the militants can act with impunity and exposes the impotence of the international community in the face of the provocations.

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Valley of the Tombs: The Royal Necropolis of Ancient Thebes was located south-west of Palmyra in an area called the Valley of the Tombs. This image shows an underground burial chamber for three wealthy brothers

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Commentary, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, News, Syria, Terrorism, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 23, 2015

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Liberation theology: the marriage of Christianity and Marxism 2

“Liberation theology” is the child of the incestuous marriage of Christianity and its secular offspring, Marxism.

Reports from the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis is warming to it – a volte-face of Papal policy towards it ever since its birth in South America in the middle of the last century. This report comes from the left-leaning Guardian:

For decades, Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest, was treated with suspicion and even contempt by the Vatican’s hierarchy, which saw him as a dangerous Marxist firebrand who used faith as an instrument of revolution. …

Which is exactly what he was and what he did.

But when the 86-year-old Peruvian arrives in Rome this week as a key speaker at a Vatican event, he will be welcomed as a guest, in a striking show of how Pope Francis – the first Latin American pontiff – has brought tenets of this sometimes controversial movement to the fore of his church, particularly in his pronouncements against the blight of poverty and the dangers of capitalism.

He has not noticed that only capitalism raises people by the million from poverty.

In its height in the late 1960s and 1970s, liberation theology– a distinctly Latin American movement – preached that it was not enough for the church to simply empathise and care for the poor. Instead, believers said, the church needed to be a vehicle to push for fundamental political and structural changes that would eradicate poverty, even – some believed – if it meant supporting armed struggle against oppressors.

In Nicaragua, priests inspired by liberation theology took an active part in the 1979 Sandinista revolution against Anastasio Somoza’s rightwing dictatorship. The philosophy also influenced leftist rebels in Mexico and Colombia, where one of the main guerrilla factions was led for nearly 30 years by a defrocked Spanish priest, Manuel Pérez. …

“He [the present Pope] was very critical of the liberal Marxist version of liberation theology,” said Austen Ivereigh, who has written a biography of Pope Francis. “At that time, you had leftwing movements in Latin America but in fact these were middle-class movements, which he believed used the poor as instruments. He had a phrase he used – that they were for the people but never with them.”

But since his election as pontiff in 2013, Pope Francis’s insistence that the church be “for the poor”, and his pointed criticisms of capitalism and consumerism have gone a long way to rehabilitate the liberation theology movement and incorporate it within the church. Experts point, too, to Francis’s decision to name Oscar Romero, the iconic Salvadoran archbishop who was assassinated by rightwing death squads in 1980, as a martyr as another sign of the resurgence in liberation theology…

The Vatican itself has not formally embraced liberation theology. Even xc himself has denied that his appointment as prefect by Pope Francis – which was seen in some circles as a triumph of liberation theology because of Müller’s relationship with Gutiérrez – represented the “opening of a new chapter” following the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict.

Liberation theology was invented, named, and funded by the KGB, according to one of its defecting agents. Damien Thompson reports – and comments with some skepticism which we do not share – in the (UK) Spectator:

The respected Catholic News Agency has published an interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former general in Romania’s secret police who was one of the Eastern Bloc’s highest-ranking defectors in the 1970s. In it, he says that the Soviet Union – and the KGB in particular – created liberation theology, the quasi-Marxist movement that flourished in Latin America from the 1960s to the 1990s and is still a powerful influence on the Catholic Left.

The interview provides fresh evidence of the infiltration of liberation theology by Russia – a subject Catholic liberals would much rather not discuss, just as they don’t want to know about the heavy Soviet investment in CND (the British campaign for nuclear disarmament). …

I don’t believe that the KGB ‘created’ a movement as complex as liberation theology and I’m far from convinced that its name was dreamt up in the Lubyanka.

But Pacepa … makes detailed claims that the Soviets kick-started, funded and moulded liberation theology … He cites as one of his sources Aleksandr Sakharovsky, the Russian agent who set up Romania’s secret police agency. Pacepa describes him as his ‘de facto boss’ in the 1950s. Sakharovsky later became head of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB.

Here are the key quotes from the interview:

The birth of Liberation Theology was the intent of a 1960 super-secret “Party-State Dezinformatsiya Programme” approved by Aleksandr Shelepin, the chairman of the KGB, and by Politburo member Aleksey Kirichenko, who coordinated the Communist Party’s international policies. This programme demanded that the KGB take secret control of the World Council of Churches (WCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, and use it as cover for converting Liberation Theology into a South American revolutionary tool

The KGB began by building an intermediate international religious organization called the Christian Peace Conference (CPC), which was headquartered in Prague. Its main task was to bring the KGB-created Liberation Theology into the real world.

The new Christian Peace Conference was managed by the KGB and was subordinated to the venerable World Peace Council, another KGB creation, founded in 1949 and by then also headquartered in Prague …

During my years at the top of the Soviet bloc intelligence community I managed the Romanian operations of the World Peace Council (WPC). It was as purely KGB as it gets. Most of the WPC’s employees were undercover Soviet bloc intelligence officers … Even the money for the WPC budget came from Moscow, delivered by the KGB in the form of laundered cash dollars to hide their Soviet origin. In 1989, when the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, the WPC publicly admitted that 90 per cent of its money came from the KGB.

And now the bit that will really wind up Catholic liberals:

I [Pacepa] was not involved in the creation of Liberation Theology per se. From Sakharovsky I learned, however, that in 1968 the KGB-created Christian Peace Conference, supported by the world-wide World Peace Council, was able to manoeuvre a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin, Colombia. The Conference’s official task was to ameliorate poverty. Its undeclared goal was to recognise a new religious movement …

True to the chief pretense of each parent, the priests of both the South American Church and the Kremlin claimed that the intention of liberation theology was to stand with the poor and oppressed. Its theologians declared that the cause of all poverty and oppression is capitalism, and Christians must work to replace capitalism with socialism.

The man whom Pope Francis is now welcoming to the Vatican, Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru, wrote in his book A Theology of Liberation: “The goal is not only better living conditions, a radical change if structures, a social revolution; it is much more: the continuous creation, never ending, of a new way to be a man. A permanent cultural revolution.” Gutierrez struggles manfully through some 300 pages to reconcile the Christian idea of salvation of the individual soul and its reward in heavenly bliss,  with the Marxist insistence on collective salvation through revolution and the reward of an egalitarian society on this earth. He does not succeed. Whether he is aware of it or not, the Christian idea is totally overwhelmed and replaced by the Marxist idea. Liberation theology takes more after one parent than the other.

Liberation theology allowed the numerous leftist revolutionary organizations that arose in the last century in South  and Central America (Argentina, Peru, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatamala, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Venezuela, Bolivia)*to claim religious vindication, and carried the blessings of the revolutionary priests when they – the terrorists -went about their savage business of murder.

Pope Francis’s understanding that the South American liberation movements were “middle class”, was not unfounded. Intellectuals – priests and writers – not only inspired them, but led them. Three bibles of the liberation theology movement are:

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire
  • For the Liberation of Brazil, by Carlos Marighela
  • Love in Practice: The Gospel in Solentiname, by Ernesto Cardenal

The most enlightening descriptions of what actually happened in a central American country when terrorist insurrectionists, inspired by liberation theology, clashed with a government and its military, are to be found in Sweet Waist of America: Journeys Around Guatamala, by Anthony Daniels. Although the author is uncompromising in his condemnation of the rebels and their methods, he also indicts the government and its forces. Both sides committed atrocities.

 

*** A list of the “guerrilla movements” in these countries can be found here.

The terrifying army of the black flag 4

A review of a book on ISIS at Commentary, by Michael J. Totten, is full of interest. It explains some of the Byzantine intricacies of Arab, middle eastern, and Islamic politics.

The book is titled ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. It’s written by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan.

The review begins with two sentences with which we emphatically agree. We wish that all who report on ISIS would take note of them.

ISIS isn’t a terrorist organization. It’s a transnational army of terror.

And a very formidable army it is in its size and its armor.

The CIA claims it has as many as 31,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, thinks the number may be as high as 200,000. When ISIS fighters conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul last year, they stole enough materiel to supply three fighting divisions, including up-armored American Humvees, T-55 tanks, mobile Chinese artillery pieces, Soviet anti-aircraft guns, and American-made Stinger missile systems. ISIS controls a swath of territory the size of Great Britain and is expanding into Libya and Yemen.

The book relates the history ISIS. The midwife of its birth was Bashar Assad, the president of Syria.

ISIS began its life as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. The Bush administration saw Arab democracy as the solution to the Middle East’s woes, and Syria’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad didn’t want to be the next Saddam. Assad waged a proxy war to convince Washington that participatory politics in the region would be perilous. Weiss and Hassan quote former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi, who says candidly that “[Assad] started to work with the mujahideen.” He dispatched Syria’s homegrown jihadists to fight American occupation forces [in Iraq], and most of those jihadists would sign up with AQI. Assad pulled off a win-win scheme, purging Syria of potential enemies while teaching both the American government and citizenry a lesson they still haven’t forgotten: Occupying and democratizing an Arab land is a far messier and bloodier business than most in the West are willing to stomach.

It worked so well in Iraq that Assad would eventually replicate it inside his own country. When the uprising against him began in 2011, he framed the conflict as one between his secular regime and Islamist terrorists, even when the only serious movement against him consisted of nonviolent protests for reform and democracy. Few in the West bought Assad’s line at the time, so he then facilitated an Islamist terrorist opposition. His loyalists like to present a choice: “Assad or we burn the country.” And they are not kidding.

As Weiss and Hassan detail, Assad opened the jails and let Islamist prisoners free as part of an ostensible “reform” process, but he kept democracy activists in their cages. He knew perfectly well that those he let loose would cut a burning and bleeding gash across the country, casting him as the only thing standing between the rest of us and the abyss. …

ISIS is a terrible force; as terrible as any in history or fiction.

The first thing ISIS does when conquering a new city or town is set up the grisly machinery for medieval punishments in town squares. “Letting black-clad terrorists run around a provincial capital,” Weiss and Hassan write, “crucifying and beheading people, made for great propaganda.” It was all Assad could do to ensure the Obama administration wouldn’t pursue a policy of regime-change as it had in Libya and as the previous administration had in Iraq. …

Had Assad been forced into exile or dragged from his palace before the Arab Spring soured, Syria might look strikingly different today. Weiss and Hassan cite an International Republican Institute survey of Syrian public opinion in 2012 that found 76 percent of the country favored one kind of democratic transition or another. But Assad guarantees that bullets rather than ballots will decide political outcomes, and millions would rather flee to squalid refugee camps abroad than get caught between the anvil of Syria’s totalitarian state and the hammer of ISIS. …

ISIS’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, loved beheading hapless victims on camera as much as the new leadership does, and his grisly behavior earned him the nickname “Sheikh of the Slaughterers”. He hated no one on earth — not even Americans — more than he hated Shia Muslims who, in his view, were beneath even Sunni Muslim apostates. …

Abu Bakr Naji, one of ISIS’s intellectual architects, published a book online outlining its strategy and vision: The Management of Savagery. It is used today as a manual not only in Syria and Iraq but also by al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. “Jihad,” he writes, “is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening [people], and massacring.”

The authors make a compelling case that ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a would-be Saddam Hussein in religious garb…. Like Zarqawi before him, [he] is even more genocidal than Iraq’s former strongman. Al-Baghdadi has “so far demonstrated nothing short of annihilationist intention …” …

Annihilationist, that is, first and foremost of the Shi’a, who are “marked only for death”.

[But] Syrians and Iraqis aren’t the only ones threatened by all this, of course. ISIS aspires to wage its exterminationist war beyond the Middle East, not only in the United States but also in Europe. “We will raid you thereafter,” it boasts in its online magazine, Dabiq, “and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the Permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us.”

And that, since ISIS became the enemy of Assad – the despot who brought it into the world – puts the US and Europe “tacitly on the side of Assad”. And as Assad is kept in power by Iran, they are also tacitly on the side of Iran and “their joint Lebanese proxy Hezbollah”.

It is a state of affairs that the Iranian rulers delight in.

Tehran can hardly contain itself. “One of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism,” Weiss and Hassan write, “now presents itself as the last line of defense against terrorism.”

[But] the idea that a state sponsor of terrorism could ever be a reliable partner against international terrorism is ludicrous. “Whatever Washington’s intentions,” Weiss and Hassan write, “its perceived alliance of convenience with the murderous regimes of Syria and Iran is keeping Sunnis who loathe or fear ISIS from participating in another grassroots effort to expel the terrorists from their midst.”

ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate and has so far recruited thousands of members from Europe. “What draws people to ISIS,” the authors write, “could easily bring them to any number of cults or totalitarian movements, even those ideologically contradictory to Salafist jihadism.” Indeed, its ranks are swollen with tribal sectarians, thrill seekers, former “socialist infidels”, foreign losers looking for meaning and community, and psychopaths pining for butchery. Many find the execution videos of “Jihadi John” — a modern version of what 19th-century Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane called propaganda of the deed — darkly compelling. For the most dangerous ISIS recruits, what the rest of us see as bad press is seductive.

Many, however, are painfully naive. Savvy ISIS recruiters do an outstanding job convincing the gullible that its notoriety is unjustified. “Don’t hear about us,” they say. “Hear from us.” Weiss and Hassan dig up comments from some of ISIS’s obtuse fans in online Western forums who have bought the sales pitch: “Does the Islamic State sell hair gel and Nutella in Raqqa?” “Should I bring an iPad to let Mom and Dad know that I arrived safely in caliphate?”

The foolish recruits are more likely to become victims themselves than to victimize others — in March, ISIS forced a 12-year-old boy to execute an Israeli Arab man for trying to flee — but ISIS will continue to attract newcomers as long as it’s permitted to thrive. And thrive it will until it faces a more determined resistance force and as long as radical Sunni Muslims around the world feel galvanized by the perceived American-Iranian axis against them.

As the authors say in their book’s stark conclusion, “the army of terror will be with us indefinitely”. 

The Bolsheviks: bourgeois fascist utopians 1

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Today we re-discovered a 2012 essay, by the economist Steven Plaut, on the Bolsheviks who took power so disastrously in Russia in 1917.

The essay is titled: Just What Was Fundamentally Wrong with Bolshevism?

We choose these passages to quote, but the whole thing needs to be read here.

As great believers in Marxist theology, [the Bolsheviks] advocated the imposition by the “proletariat” of urban workers of “its” will upon the country, including upon the agricultural laborers who constituted the bulk of the population.  Even if the Bolshevik party could seriously be thought to represent the urban “proletariat,” they would still have constituted a movement representing only a very small portion of Russian society.  

The Bolsheviks represented a movement seeking to impose the interests of this minority “class” over the interests of the bulk of Russian society (and later over non-Russian populations in the Soviet empire).

The Bolsheviks … claimed to represent “the working class” of urban workers, but never considered it necessary to allow those same members of the “proletariat” a say in what they themselves considered their “class interests” to be.  The communist party leaders claimed to represent the proletariat automatically, supernaturally, by dint of their having studied Marx and Engels.  Under their theology they could automatically divine from the dusty 80 year old writings of Marx what served the interests of the Russian “working class,” without having to ask any actual workers, and in most cases without having to engage in actual work.  Party leaders, led by Lenin and Trotsky, lived bourgeois lives even in the most difficult days of the Russian Civil War, often living in luxurious royal apartments inside the Kremlin (which had been the royal residence before the Revolution).  Soviet leaders were attended by large numbers of servants, and Trotsky himself never went anywhere during the Civil War without both his large flock of servants and a 35-member military band.   Bolshevik leaders (Trotsky in particular) generally had never done a day of honest labor in their lives in any factory or farm; their entire “careers” consisting of political activism.

The Bolsheviks believed that they could divine the answers to what the “workers” collectively needed in much the same way that Church clergy could conjure up the agenda of God, by reading the holy scriptures.   And like other manifestations of theology, the Bolsheviks tended to bicker and break up into small factions over minor questions of belief.  Like in the Church, the factionalism was suppressed by means of the proclamation of official dogma approved by the party’s Pope.  It was the beginning of the thought police system, later perfected by Mao.

In the case of communists, these scriptures meant Marx and Engels, and later Lenin.  The problem of course was that Marx and Engels never spelled out the nitty gritty details of what “workers” would need, and basically had no understanding whatsoever of economics.  They can hardly be excused for this ignorance on grounds of writing before the advent of modern economic understanding, because it was already well on the course of development at that time.

As just one example of the problem, should the price of shoes in a “workers’ state” be high in order to benefit shoe workers producing shoes, or low to benefit workers who are consumers?  And if the representatives of the proletariat cannot make up their minds about the price of shoes, then how the Devil can they decide what constitutes “worker interest” in thousands of other dilemmas.  Asking the workers themselves what they wanted was quickly ruled out by the Bolsheviks as a counter-revolutionary nonstarter.

The solution of the early Soviet regime was essentially to suppress and terrorize urban workers, not just the peasants. …

In fact, the “alienation” of the “urban workers” by the party had occurred even earlier.  The Bolshevik coup and the storming of the Winter Palace were uprisings of the “working class” only in party mythology.  The bulk of those rising up in support of the Bolsheviks were soldiers in the Czarist or Kerenski armies, who supported the party because of the promise by Lenin to surrender to the Central powers and end all fighting and mobilization of troops.

The Bolshevik banner may have featured the hammer of the urban worker with the sickle of the peasant, but at the time of the Revolution it was little more than a party of disgruntled soldiers and sailors, most from rural background, reluctant to be sent back to the World War I front to defend Russia.  Their opportunistic support for the Bolsheviks largely vanished in thin air as soon as the party tried to mobilize them and send them out to fight the “whites” during the civil war.  Trotsky was forced to recruit ex-czarist officers to serve as commanders in the Red Army.

The main groups of soldiers supporting the party with enthusiasm were non-Russians desiring the end of Russian domination over their native lands, like the brigades of Latvian riflemen who served as Lenin’s praetorian guards.  By 1921, the same Kronstadt sailors who had been critical in bringing the Bolsheviks to power in 1917 were shooting them and organizing a massive mutiny, brutally suppressed by the communists.  The suppression of the rebellion led Whittaker Chambers to label bolshevism a form of fascism  

Bolshevik thinking in the early days carried strong features of theology.  The Bolsheviks believed that if they were to follow the precepts of Marx to the letter, and pronounce the correct incantations, then magic would take place and socialist revolutions would spring up all over the world like adorable leprechauns.  This voodoo Marxism eventually led to the rise of Stalin and totalitarian “socialism in one country”.  And an ice pick in the skull of Trotsky.

Most Bolshevik leaders had no skills or experience in government administration, management, business, or anything else.  Their only claim to legitimacy was their assertion that they understood the needs of the “proletariat”.  Trotsky believed in command control and central “planning” of the economy until his last breath, and he was hardly alone.  Within days of seizing power in their coup d’etat, the Bolshevik leaders were seeking to impose their “dictatorship of the proletariat”, by which they meant the dictatorship of those party officials, more often than not from middle class backgrounds, claiming to represent the proletariat.  The Russian economy imploded under their rule.  Output of Russian factories and mines in 1921 was only a seventh of what it had been under the Czar in 1913.

Their understanding of foreign powers and diplomacy was even more pathetic than their ignorance of economics, and was also dominated by belief in magic.  During the first years of the Soviet regime, its leaders quite seriously expected communist revolutions to break out all over Europe.  And they were truly surprised when none did, except pathetic attempts – quickly suppressed – to install bolshevism in Germany and Hungary.

Part of their problem was that Marx and Engels were themselves wrong with regard to just about everything.  They were wrong, first and foremost, with regard to the claim that there exists some sort of monolithic “working class” with some sort of uniform set of “class interests.”   Urban workers share no common interest, as the above example involving shoe prices illustrates.   Urban workers indeed were a “class” with a common interest only in the most tautological sense, only in the sense that all those assigned to any “class” would favor increases in the incomes and wealth for all members of that “class.”   By the same token, people with curly hair constitute a “class,” because any proposal to raise incomes for all those with curls would be supported by them.   But regarding any other issue that would arise, the curly headed would have no common interest.  Ditto for urban workers.  And in the exact same sense, there is no capitalist class.  An assembly of the “capitalist class” would similarly be incapable of agreeing over whether shoe prices should be high or low.

And just why were urban “workers” even considered to be politically superior to everyone else in society?  Marx, Engels and the Soviet leadership had great difficulty conceiving of anyone doing productive work unless they were making “things”.  And heavy “things” were more valuable, important, and productive than light “things”.  Certainly producing services was not understood by them as productive labor, explaining why the quality of services of all sorts in the Soviet block remained abysmal all the way down to the fall of communism.

But just what was a “worker”?   Do not bankers and teachers and dentists and engineers and pharmacists work?   In many cases, they work longer hours than factory workers.  Marx and Engels had insisted that urban factory workers must seize political control of society, and they must do so by means of a dictatorship by the party claiming to speak in their name.  In any case, Marx and Engels were pretty sure that peasants did not really provide important “work”.  After all, they just produce food.  So they need not really be part of any revolutionary regime.

Peasant reluctance to deliver food products to the urban “masses” without getting paid was “counter-revolutionary” and could be resolved by starving them to death, terrorizing them, and locking them up in non-productive collective farms.  There food production would prove too low even to feed the peasants themselves, let alone export food to the cities. …

At least in the early stages of the “Revolution”, [the Bolsheviks] were truly captivated by utopian delusions.  The problem of all utopians is that they advocate systems and ideas that can only work with imaginary idyllic humans, but never with real human beings.  When they discover that real human beings refuse to knuckle under and behave according to utopian expectations, the utopianists respond with violent rage.  The greatest strength of capitalism is that it actually works with real human beings, people who are lazy, base, narcissistic, self-indulgent, foul-smelling, mean-spirited, and unsophisticated.  Capitalism does not require idyllic fictional humans in order for it to work.

The most violent terrorists and oppressors of others have always been the utopians.  The French Revolution turned violent and the guillotine was introduced to attempt to terrorize actual humans into behaving according to the expectations of the utopianists.  The leaders of the Soviet Revolution were no slower or more squeamish in following the same route.

What Hillary and Obama did to Libya 1

Ben Shapiro writes at Breitbart:

On Sunday [April 19, 2015] a migrant ship from Libya carrying 950 people sank in the Mediterranean … The reports of the sunken migrant ship came on the heels of a story just days before that 15 Muslims had thrown 12 Christians overboard on a migrant voyage from Libya.

The problem of migration from Libya springs from the chaos that has filled that country in the wake of the US-led Western invasion of the country – a policy championed first and foremost by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Ably assisted, we like to point out, by her two fellow round-the-cauldron witches. One was Samantha Power, then Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and First Advocate of Pity, whose doctrine is that the US must intervene wherever she directs it to protect her selected underdogs (only). The second was Susan Rice, then US Ambassador to the UN and Liar-in-Chief for the Obama administration. The Weaving of the Spells was as always overseen from a distance by the Queen of the Witches who reigns in the White House: President-Whisperer Valerie Jarrett.

Clinton pushed regime change in Libya, and pushed it hard. In February 2011, an uprising against then-dictator Muammar Qaddafi broke out; President Obama quickly pushed for sanctions, and the United Nations voted for a no-fly zone above the country. In March, ABC News reported that Obama had signed a presidential finding to send covert aid to the Libyan rebels. In September 2011, Obama called for Qaddafi’s forces to surrender. In October 2011, Hillary visited Tripoli and pledged millions to the Libyan opposition, gushing, “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.” Two days later, Qaddafi was sodomized with a knife and then killed; Hillary was caught on camera crowing and laughing, “We came, we saw, he died!”

The Libyan opposition, as it turns out, was honeycombed with terrorists, who promptly threw the country into total chaos. …

Hillary knew about the relationship between terrorist groups and the Libyan opposition and had no plan for what came next – an amazing fact given her own 2008 critique of President Bush’s Iraq invasion along the same lines.

According to The Washington Times:

U.S. intelligence did not support the story that Mrs. Clinton used to sell the war in Libya, mainly that there was an imminent danger of a genocide to be carried out by the Gadhaafi regime. The intelligence community, in fact, had come to the opposite conclusion: that Gadhafi would not risk world outrage by killing civilians en masse even as he tried to crush the rebellion in his country … The Pentagon and a key Democrat so distrusted Mrs. Clinton’s decision-making on Libya that they opened their own secret diplomatic conversations with the Gadhafi regime, going round the State Department.

Obama and Hillary, of course, never bothered to get Congressional authorization for offensive military action in Libya. Then, after terrorists took over the country, they refused security requests from Ambassador Chris Stevens for the American annex in Benghazi, [a failure] ending in the murder of four Americans, including the ambassador, by the terrorists we had helped take over the country.

After Qaddafi’s ouster, the country has turned into a haven for terrorists, from Al Qaeda to ISIS. Instead of facing up to Western responsibility for the chaos in Libya, however … President Obama stood by and said nothing.

Which is precisely what you would expect. Every aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, as helped along by Hillary Clinton, has ended with innocent bodies in its wake. Those floating in the Mediterranean today are no exception. 

The same writer, on the same subject, reports and comments in an article at Truth Revolt:

Headless bodies lie in the sand. Above those corpses stand the black-clad minions of ISIS, outlined against the coastline of Libya. This is the second video in three months depicting Islamic terrorists cutting the heads off of Christian captives.

Bodies float in the Mediterranean Sea, face down. Twelve Christian bodies, thrown from a rubber boat by 15 Muslims. Their launch point: Libya.

Approximately 700 more bodies float face down in the Mediterranean, victims of a smuggling operation gone wrong when their rickety craft sunk as it made its way to Italy. Its source location: Libya.

Four American bodies in Benghazi, Libya.

These are the wages of Hillary Clinton’s war.

In June 2006, as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., prepared a run for president, she stated that President George W. Bush had “rushed to war” in Iraq. A few months later, Hillary spoke of her opposition to Bush’s surge in Iraq, stating that it was a “losing strategy.” Iraq, a war for which Hillary voted, had been conducted on the back of flawed intelligence estimates and without a clear plan.

Five years later, Secretary of State Clinton rushed to war … manufacturing evidence to do so, and with no plan whatsoever for victory. According to The Washington Times, Clinton “was the moving force inside the Obama administration to encourage US military intervention to unseat [dictator Moammar Gadhafi] in Libya”. Clinton claimed that if the West did not intervene in Libya, Gadhafi would pursue a genocide against his enemies; in March 2011, she imagined a scenario in which “Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled. …” That genocide never materialized, nor did the best intelligence estimates support that argument.

Not only that: Hillary also ignored all available evidence suggesting that the Libyan opposition was honeycombed with terrorists.

She ignored Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Commander for Europe, who admitted “flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah.” Al-Qaida backed the Libyan uprising. There was a reason that neither Hillary nor President Obama risked going to Congress for approval of the Libyan adventure: they would have been rejected. …

Hillary’s war ended with terrorist chaos in Libya: a full-scale terror takeover of regions of the country including Benghazi, the exile of the legitimate government, a massive refugee crisis growing day-by-day amidst the upheaval. That refugee crisis has grown significantly worse since Hillary’s war.

As Vox.com, a leftist outlet, points out, 1,600 migrants “have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.” Why? Again, according to Vox.com, when Moammar Gadhafi “ruled Libya, his government had an agreement with Italy to try to intercept and turn back ships leaving for Europe. … And in the utter chaos that’s engulfed Libya over the past few years, there’s no government entity really capable of patrolling the Mediterranean.”

Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy has promoted chaos around the world. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in her signal foreign policy legacy, the collapsed state of Libya.

 And Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Obama lied and claimed that his illegal Libyan War was necessary to stop a genocide. There was no genocide, at least until Obama achieved his regime change goals and put Jihadists from Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Libya.

Ironically the very Jihadists on whose behalf Obama was waging an illegal war from the air were Arabs targeting and murdering his fellow Africans.

“Reports for many months have stated that Libyan rebels have been killing and persecuting black Africans in Libya once areas came under their control.  The number of reports highlighting this continues to grow and many images have been shown which show Africans being mutilated and having their bodies abused and mocked by non-black African Libyans. …

So much for Black lives mattering.

On the road between Misrata and Tawergha, rebel slogans like “the brigade for purging slaves, black skin” have supplanted pro-Gadhafi scrawl.

And as with every Obama accomplishment, the situation just keeps getting worse and worse.

One 17-year-old Eritrean named Brahane spoke of his ordeal at the hands of militias and gangs, who he said killed dozens of fellow migrants. “The traffickers took drugs and were always high,” he said. “I saw them spray people with petrol and set fire to them. …

While the media has done its best to wipe away a little factual tidbit, in his speech to Americans, Obama claimed that Benghazi was facing genocide.

If we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It’s a lie. It’s a lie that Republicans have miserably failed to call Obama on. But Obama’s actions certainly made it true.

Benghazi did suffer a massacre … of Americans.

Daniel Greenfield writes again at Front Page:

Hundreds of people just died because of Obama and Hillary’s illegal Libyan war.

In particular he is alluding to the hundreds drowned in the Mediterranean, including the Christians who were pushed into the water by Muslims.

The Libyan War was based on a lie about genocide that is turning out to be real as ISIS beheads African Christians captured in Libya, as migrants claw their way abroad boats out of Libya, killing each other along the way, as a civil war between the legal government and the Muslim Brotherhood drags on.

The strange thing about left-wing wars is that we don’t talk about them. … The left has done its best to turn Benghazi into a contemptuous meme and the murder of four Americans into a joke. …

Libya was never paradise, but Obama opted for regime change, while lying about it, and then took no responsibility for the consequences.

The CIA backed Jihadist rebels, allowed Qatar, a state sponsor of terror, to smuggle weapons to terrorists  right past NATO, then it made a futile effort to get them back.

Obama did not have a plan for Libya except to let the terrorists win. And the terrorists have won.

Instead of ending the civil war, Obama perpetuated it. Libya is fragmented between a coalition of Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood Jihadists and what is left of the elected government. …

The administration criticized Egypt for carrying out air strikes against Jihadists who beheaded Coptic Christians,  and [Libyan] General Haftar for trying to fight the same Islamic terrorists who murdered four Americans in Benghazi, even though they’re doing what we should be.

The costs of Obama’s Libyan adventure have been high. They include an Al Qaeda franchise nearly capturing Mali and the resulting French intervention. They include the murder of Africans and Christians in Libya. They include an ongoing civil war that shows no signs of ending. And a number of Americans killed along the way … 

And yet, … this is the war that never existed. Obama and his people refused to call it a war. The media, which would never have reported on the troubles in Iraq without linking it to the war, doesn’t call it a war or mention that we might have had something to do with what’s going on.

Type in “Iraq War” and you’ll get plenty of results, but Obama’s Libyan bombing campaign is obscurely buried inside the country’s civil war, a development as odd as sandwiching the Iraq War within the Shiite uprising and the ISIS aftermath. And yet there’s a consistent pattern to these cover-ups. [Bill] Clinton’s own bombing campaign in Yugoslavia was likewise buried within a civil war.

And was surely the most unnecessary war that America has ever fought.

But unlike Yugoslavia, Libya isn’t going away. It’s only getting bloodier. Like Iraq, where the media perpetuated the myth of a successful withdrawal until the genocide began, Libya keeps getting worse.

And sooner or later we’re going to have to talk about it.

Unlike Iraq, there is no one else to blame. And Hillary Clinton can’t shrug it off as Obama’s doing. Not when she was an aggressive champion of intervention.

The false claim of genocide which was used to justify a no-fly zone that served as a cover for regime change came from Hillary Clinton.

The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all opposed the war. In a reversal of the usual clichés about warmongers, the Pentagon was highly skeptical and attempted to negotiate a truce with Libya.

Hillary’s State Department rejected a peace venture by the military and forced a war.

For any Republican administration, the fact that an armchair warrior Secretary of State with presidential ambitions had illegally started a war over the objections of the military would be the ultimate story.

Instead it’s the Hillary story that cannot be told.

And yet it would be nice, if in between gushing over her highly scheduled visits to major brand name eateries and photogenic meetings with her own party’s staffers passed off as ordinary folks, someone in the media would ask Hillary why she wanted this war and what it was meant to accomplish.

But no such questions will be asked and no answers will be forthcoming.

The same media that incessantly manufactured Iraq War scandals seems utterly uninterested in the admission of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, a Clinton loyalist, that the administration had lied … to the American people and that its real goal had been regime change.

An editorial at Investor’s Business Daily deals with the same subject, with similar indignation:

As refugees flood the Mediterranean, Europe is in a crisis. But the issue is not about how many lifeboats to send; it’s the failed state of Libya. Why isn’t Hillary Clinton, the architect of U.S. Libya policy, answering questions?

The European Union is being hit with a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions as another boat loaded with emigres capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday. Nearly all of its 900 passengers drowned …

The Mediterranean, now known as “a cemetery without graves,” will be crossed by some 500,000 refugees this year, up from about 220,000 last year.

At the same time, a second round of beheadings of Christians by Islamic State terrorists on Libya’s beaches over the weekend drives the point home: Terrorists are on the rise, and a strong base of their operations is in Libya, a failed state that was taken over by a vile menagerie of pirates, slavers and smugglers in the rubble of the toppled Gadhafi regime.

Who’s responsible here? None other than Hillary Clinton, who served as President Obama’s secretary of state during the overthrow of the longtime dictatorship of Muammar Gadhafi in 2011.

And that raises again the valid questions on what really happened in Libya.

At that time, the U.S. was partnering with Europe, chiefly France, in a supposedly easy operation to get rid of the annoying dictator and then watch what the alliance thought would be the flourishing of democracy. It was called “leading from behind.”

The U.S. withdrew support from Gadhafi — who, by the way, had voluntarily renounced his nuclear program in the interest of preserving himself — only to be waylaid by mobs and killed.

Instead of democracy, what flourished was barbarism with absolutely no state emerging from what had been a largely tribal society.

The brazen murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, showed what was ahead for the country …

Who let that happen? And who was it who allowed their killers to get away with it with no fear of being hunted down and brought to justice? One suspect sipped on a strawberry frappe in a fancy hotel while being interviewed by the New York Times. He was at ease because he knew nobody was looking for him.

Weapons go unguarded and fall into the hands of terrorists. Islamic radicals destroy ancient cultural treasures [in Mali]. An even more menacing element takes advantage of the U.S. failure to support Egypt by attacking the country on its western flank …

A disaster this complete is the result of foreign policy incompetence on an untold scale, and demands answers from the policymakers behind it. But instead of calling on Clinton to answer questions, the press gives her a pass, and the Obama administration watched approvingly as she destroyed a gigantic cache of emails that might have shed light on what kind of trouble she was opening the country to during her service as secretary of state.

The only point on which we disagree is IBD’s putting it all down to the “incompetence” of Obama and Hillary. Not that we think First Witch Hillary is competent. Hell no!

Our contention is that North Africa and the Middle East are in flames, millions of people are suffering horrible deaths or enslavement or are scattering over sea and land, and worse is yet to come when Iran gets its nukes, because Obama wants the Islamic jihad to triumph.

All that has happened is the result of Obama’s policy, not his mistakes. 

Hillary – cold and ruthless and hypocritical – was cluelessly one of his tools. But that fact, far from exonerating her, shows all the more plainly that she is unfit for any government office, let alone the highest in the land.

Bill, Hill, and the Muslim Brotherhood 1

President Sisi of Egypt is taking measures to suppress and destroy the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). We hope he succeeds. It’s an evil organization.

Of fifty-one MB members recently brought to trial in an Egyptian court, fourteen have been sentenced to death and thirty-seven to life imprisonment.

Among the thirty-seven is a man named Gehad El-Haddad.

Being the son of an MB bigwig, he was appointed to important positions in the organization. He was Senior Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Brotherhood’s grossly mis-titled political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, and when its leader, Mohamed Morsi, was running for the presidency of Egypt, El-Haddad was the Party’s official spolesperson and “media strategist”.

He was also employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation from 2007 to 2012. He established the Foundation’s office in Egypt, from which he ran its “Clinton Climate Initiative”.   

Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch reports and comments (see here and here):

Gehad’s father, Dr. Essam El-Haddad, chairs the Arabian Group For Development (AGD) which is where Gehad served as a consultant. The ADG lists among its most “significant and trusted clients ” Islamic Relief, an arm of the Global Muslim Brotherhood … controlled by Hamas in the Palestinian Territories. …

The  leadership of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood views its entry into politics as only a stage in furtherance of its ultimate goals of Islamic government, both on an Egyptian and global basis. 

Gehad El-Haddad is not the only individual employed by the Clinton family whose relationship to the Global Muslim Brotherhood should raise concerns. … long-time aid to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, was working, among other side jobs, as a consultant to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation while still employed by the US State Department.

In 2012 … a group of House representatives sent letters to five federal agencies demanding investigations into … infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many of these ties center on the Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMM) edited by Human Abedin’s mother Saleha M. Abedin … and which has Brotherhood supporter and Saudi-funded Georgetown professor John Esposito on its advisory board. Huma Abedin was listed by the IMM Journal as an Assistant Editor from 1996 until 2008, a time period during which she was working for Hillary Clinton in various capacities including as a White House intern in 1996. 

The IMM itself was founded by Syed Z. Abedin, Huma’s father, and has been described as having had  “the quiet but active support” of Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, then General Secretary of the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL), established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and, to date, the League has been strongly associated with the Brotherhood. …

In addition, as of 2010, Huma Abedin’s brother Hasan Abedin was an officer of the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies, chaired by Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef. In addition to his role as the former Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Naseef is an officer of the  International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief  (IICDR) … and has also been associated with other UK Islamist organizations … Until 2006, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi also served as an Oxford Centre Trustee. The Oxford Centre has been listed as a UK affiliate of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi religious organization close to the global Muslim Brotherhood that is believed to have helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India.

It should be noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest donors to the [formerly named] William J. Clinton Foundation. 

So if Hillary Clinton were (reason forfend!) to become president, many a purchased favor will be called in. US foreign policy will be determined by the size of the donations to the Clintons’ “charity box”.

Though of course – Saudis etc. be warned – Clintons don’t necessarily fulfill the promises they make, even to their donors.

The utter failure of Christianity 41

The Pope has said something that has been interpreted as a probable reference to the on-going persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. He did it in the context of a speech recalling the genocide of Christian Armenians* by the Muslim state of Turkey a hundred years ago.

He said:

Today too, in fact, these conflicts at times degenerate into unjustifiable violence, stirred up by exploiting ethnic and religious differences.

That was it. That’s all. He added a suggestion that the heads of states and “International Organizations” might do something about it:

All who are Heads of State and of International Organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.**

Uncountable numbers of Christians have been killed in this century by Muslims. In Nigeria, the Muslim organization Boko Haram shoots, hacks, burns its victims to death, buries them alive, enslaves them, and scatters them, destitute, from their homes. The Muslims cut off the limbs of living babies or throw them on fires. (See our post with pictures here.)

In Iraq and Syria, Christians are victimized in just such savage ways by the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).

In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, and in Judea under the government of the Palestinian Authority – notably in Bethlehem, the putative birthplace of the Christian God – Christians are mercilessly oppressed. The numbers of Christians in Muslim lands continually dwindle as those survivors escape who can.

What is the Christian world doing about it? Nothing.

Are Christian leaders speaking out in angry protest? No, except for the remark made in passing by Pope Francis a few days ago. Maybe another Pope will talk about it more fully in another hundred years.

So what is the good of Christianity? If ever in its history it has been put to the test, it is now.

And it fails.

But it does not recognize its failure.

Recently we had a Christian visitor to this site who called himself/herself “LilySmith”. (I’ll use the pronouns “she” and “her” since it is a woman’s name.) She commented in defense of Christianity under our post A perfect match. She wrote this about what her Christian group is doing about the victimization of Christians by the Islamic State:

Governments, not individuals, are responsible for law enforcement and going to war. Christianity isn’t a government. Instead we are taught as individuals to overcome evil with good. In that vein, we support the work of Christian friends living in Iraq serving the people there in any way needed. We also support those helping Christians in the ME who are under stress right now.

What form does that “help” for the victims of “stress” take which she and her friends “support”? Food, clothing, shelter, a secure refuge? Or just sympathy? She did not say.

Nor did she say anything about wanting to see justice done. Nothing about stopping and punishing the perpetrators. That sort of thing is the concern of governments not Christians, she says.

Thinking like that is as true to Christianity as savage cruelty is true to Islam. Both are true to their holy texts.

Christianity does not speak of justice. It orders Christians to love and forgive the evil-doer. “Resist not evil,” it commands.

Christian websites which report the sufferings of Christians at the hands of Muslims, dwell on the brave endurance of the victims.

Here again we quote from the Pope’s speech from the Vatican, April 12, 2015, on the centenary anniversary of the Armenian genocide:

As Saint John Paul II said to you, “Your history of suffering and martyrdom is a precious pearl, of which the universal Church is proud …” .

… Saint Gregory of Narek, an extraordinary interpreter of the human soul, offers words which are prophetic for us: “I willingly blame myself with myriad accounts of all the incurable sins, from our first forefather through the end of his generations in all eternity, I charge myself with all these voluntarily.”  …

The Church thrives on suffering, on bloodshed, on agony. It invites persecution, and is thus a promoter of evil. And that makes it co-responsible for the atrocities Islam inflicts on Christians.

The Christians who are having their throats slit, their heads sawn off, their babies burnt alive, are martyrs, potential saints, and that is what matters; because Christianity is not a religion for the betterment of the life we live on this earth. Its concern is with an imaginary afterlife in an eternal heaven or hell.

So Christianity has not failed by its own lights.

But –

By every measure of reason, by the yardstick of accustomed morality and the norms of civilization, by the judgment of common-sense, by the test of whether it serves good and opposes evil, Christianity has failed utterly.  

 

* On the Armenian genocide, Dr. Ileana Johnson Pugh, writing at Canada Free Press, quotes Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who “published in 1918 his personal account of the Armenian genocide”. ( A Personal Account of the Armenian Genocide, Henry Morgenthau, Cosimo Classics, New York, 2010). We extract a small part of the passages she quotes which describe the atrocities committed by the Turks.

Throughout the Turkish Empire a systematic attempt was made to kill all able-bodied men, not only for the purpose of removing all males who might propagate a new generation of Armenians, but for the purpose of rendering the weaker part of the population an easy prey.

When thousands failed to turn in weapons, the Turks ransacked churches, desecrated altars, marched the naked men and women through the streets, letting them be whipped by angry Turkish mobs. Those imprisoned who did not manage to flee into the woods and caves were subjected to the “bastinado” torture, the beating of the soles of the feet until they burst and had to be amputated.

Crucifixion, pulling of fingernails, of hairs, of eyebrows, tearing of flesh with red-hot pincers, and then pouring hot oil into the wounds were some of the barbaric methods of torture drawn from the records of the Spanish Inquisition.

Torture was just the beginning of the Armenian atrocities. What was to come was the actual destruction of “an entire Armenian race” by deporting it to the south and southeastern part of the Ottoman Empire, the Syrian desert and the Mesopotamian valley. …

The deportations took place through the spring and summer of 1915. The entire Armenian population of villages were ordered to appear in the main square, sometimes with little time to prepare, their homes and possessions confiscated for “safekeeping” and then divided among Turks. Once the deported Armenians had traveled several hours, they were attacked and killed in secluded valleys by Turkish peasants with clubs, hammers, axes, scythes, spades, and saws.

Out of a population of two million Armenians, only about 500,000 Armenians survived the genocide.

(Later in the twentieth century, Turkey was admitted as a member of NATO.)

ileana041515

** When the Inquisition condemned a heretic to be burnt at the stake, the Catholic Church handed the victim over to the secular authorities whom it compelled to carry out the atrocious deed, so the Church might keep itself clean of the sin of killing. The term used by the Church for the handing-over was that he or she was “relaxed”.

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