Saturday, August 09, 2008


Understanding Shariah law is integral to understanding the dangers of Shariah-compliant finance. Shariah law is Islamic law dating back to the 7th century and is today the law of the land in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and the law under which the Taliban operates. Recent polls reveal that only 10-15% of Muslims worldwide want to live under this all-encompassing system of Islamic jurisprudence that covers all aspects of a Muslim's life including religious, social, political, and military obligations. However, with a current population of 1.5 billion Muslims, this translates to a huge pool of Jihadist recruits and supporters - a base of approximately 150 - 225 million Muslims.

Shariah law authorities, some of whom are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse and others have the power to dictate Shariah compliance as deemed by "scholarly consensus" on matters of finance, family, penal law, apostasy, and war. Examples of authoritarian Shariah law include: requirement of women to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms; beating of disobedient woman and girls; execution of homosexuals; engagement of polygamy and forced child marriages; the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape; honor killings of those, principally women, who have dishonored the family; death to apostate Muslims who chose to leave Islam; inferior status of non-Muslims, and capital punishment for those "slander Islam."


1. Italy: Executions on the rise in Iran and Saudi Arabia, says rights group
2. Marseilles: Man Breaks Wife's Nose For Lifting Veil in Heat Sent to Prison
3. Iran hangs 29 convicted criminals in Tehran
4. Iran: Sixteen Christian converts arrested
5. Saudi Arabia: Academic gets 600 lashes for 'phone relationship' with female pupil
6. Saudi bans sale of pet dogs and cats
7. Tyson drops Labor Day holiday for Eid al-Fitr
8. Man set on fire for marrying Muslim girl
9. Saudis to Christians: Get out!
10. Saudi judge held with drugs in Dubai
11. State Dept. 'going out of its way' to accommodate Muslims
12. AP IMPACT: Harsh justice under resurgent Taliban

13. Thai developers plan to issue Islamic property bonds
14. Centers fight for Islamic finance as oil boom
15. Shariah-compliant credit cards become more common
16. Australia: Police accuse Muslim charity of terrorist links
17. Boston Properties may buy more with Middle East partners
18. JP Morgan Islamic Unit Executive Arrested
19. First UK Halal/Shariah Car Insurance Launched
20. Judging Temasek's growing role in Merrill Lynch
21. Who is buying up Britain?
22. ETFS makes precious-metal trackers Shari'ah compliant
23. MasterCard Creates an Islamic, Shariah compliant Debit Card
24. Kuwait Triples Investment in Japan, Highlighting Sovereign Wealth Flight From U.S. Assets
25. Dubai firms buy 20% stake in Cirque du Soleil

1. New book by Andrew Bostom shows history of Muslim religious violence
2. UK Poll: Killing for religion is justified, say third of Muslim students
3. Exposing Terror Financing by Andrew Cochran
4. MPAC Tried to Block Testimony of Steven Emerson
5. Emerson Exposes Radical Ties of State Department Outreach Partners
6. UAC (United American Committee) confronts 'subway jihad' in New York City
7. You Still Can't Write About Muhammad By ASRA Q. NOMANI
8. European Muslims Debate: Should Gays Be Executed? By Bruce Bawer

Obama Versus McCain on the Economy

Jack Kemp

"It's a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." Those are the words of President John F. Kennedy in 1962. He went on to say, "The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus." What's more, in Kennedy's annual message to Congress, circa 1963, he said: "In today's economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction, even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit. ... Why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues."

Today, in this presidential debate over a 21st century economic growth agenda, it is ironic that John McCain is far closer to JFK policies than the presumptive Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Obama has proposed raising tax rates, raising tariffs and expanding government regulations, all of which, in the words of Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell, would plunge the United States into a big recession and further weaken the dollar.

McCain and Obama have now each proposed detailed economic policies, and the contrast between the two could not be more dramatic. We believe the overriding and dominant political question in this election is whose economic policies would be best for the future of our wobbly economy and our weak currency.

Unlike John Kennedy, Barack Obama has proposed not to cut tax rates, but to increase every single major federal tax, except for his "George McGovern-like" tax rebate of $1,000. Barack has proposed to increase individual income tax rates to 39.6 percent. He has proposed to increase capital gains taxes, from 15 percent to somewhere between 20 percent and 28 percent. Incredibly, he has proposed to more than double the tax rate on dividends, from 15 percent to 39.6 percent. He has proposed to increase payroll taxes on workers earning over $250,000 a year to 12.4 percent on income above that threshold and to restore the estate tax to the confiscatory rate of 55 percent. Ugh!

Amity Shlaes, author of "The Forgotten Man," a new history of the Great Depression, has argued that along with his protectionist policies on trade, Obama has proposed the exact same policy mix that led to the Depression of the 1930s. During the primaries, Obama railed against free trade, proposing even to renegotiate our free trade agreement with our two largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Inexplicably, he opposes the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, even though it primarily removes tariffs on U.S. exports into that country.

In sharp contrast to "Obamanomics," John McCain has pledged tax rate cuts to promote economic growth and strengthen the U.S. dollar.

As president, McCain has would reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, which is absolutely essential to making U.S. manufacturing more competitive in the global economy.

McCain has proposed immediate expensing for capital investment, which means that investment capital can be deducted in the year it is incurred, like all other business expenses, rather than spread over many years under arbitrary depreciation schedules. Making the Bush tax cuts permanent would leave the top individual income tax rate at 35 percent, and the capital gains and dividends tax rates at 15 percent, with a 15 percent rate on estates. John would also double the personal exemption for children and other dependents from $3,500 to $7,000 and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

John McCain understands that you cannot create more employees without creating more entrepreneurs and that the Obama war on capital formation poses a direct threat to our beleaguered financial institutions that now have to raise capital from sovereign wealth funds from Asia to the Middle East. Schemes to redistribute wealth don't hurt the rich, they only hurt the poor and the middle class who hope to get rich. You cannot get rich on wages alone -- you have to be able to earn, save, invest and reinvest.

On federal spending, the two could not be further apart, either.

Again in sharp contrast, McCain proposes to strictly limit overall spending, pledging to balance the budget by the end of his first term. He proposes a one-year freeze on all federal discretionary spending outside of defense and veterans benefits, and to limit overall federal spending growth to 2.4 percent, about one-third the annual increases since 2000.

On energy, their policies are also dramatically divergent. John McCain would expand domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production, both domestically and on the outer-continental shelf, which would unambiguously reduce the price of oil and natural gas. Obama, however, makes no pledge or promise to drill anywhere in order to reduce gas or oil prices.

McCain has also pledged a revival of nuclear power, which would also sharply increase energy supply. He would seek 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and 100 new plants over the long run. Obama says, "There is no future for expanded nuclear power without first addressing four key issues: public right to know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation."

Except for the badly confused carbon cap and trade plan, which McCain unfortunately shares with Obama, his economic program of cutting taxes, sharply restraining spending, balancing the budget, free trade and increased energy production are exactly what our economy needs right now. We believe John McCain's policies give us the best chance for a new economic boom in the 21st century, such as that we had in the 1960s under President Kennedy, and in the 1980s and 1990s under Presidents Reagan and Clinton.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Obama Supports Global Tax From United Nations

Christine O'Donnell
Friday, August 08, 2008

For an entire week, Americans watched as Senator Barack Obama took his act on the road, courting the European elitists and cowtowing to an endless array of foreign politicians. At this point it may be easy to take Obama’s “celebri-plomacy” lightly. Yet, his trip highlights a dangerous threat to America’s national sovereignty in the form of his globalist policies that will diminish America’s role in the world and outsource decisions of vital national interest to the United Nations. His Global Poverty Act, currently under consideration in Congress, is just one such policy. Despite its seemingly innocuous title, the Global Poverty Act would force America to adopt the U.N.’s “Millennium Development Goals” as official U.S. policy. This means outsourcing to the United Nations all important decisions concerning the use of U.S. foreign aid dollars. Not only that, but the fee for allowing the U.N. to play the “middle man” in our global war on poverty would be a tax of .7 percent of the U.S. Gross National Product. That’s right. Barack Obama and his liberal allies such as Senator Biden have signed on to a bill that would allow the U.N. to tax America (and Americans) an estimated $845 billion over the next 13 years. Obama’s plan represents perhaps the greatest affront to our national sovereignty since the War of 1812.

The Global Poverty Act dismisses the American ideals of a free-market economy and responsible government for a global bureaucracy that has already lost tens of millions in development funds to corruption. The measure demands virtually no accountability or reform from the impoverished and often oppressive nations who are the recipients of our charitable largess. Furthermore, the United Nations Development Program has become the favorite “rich uncle” of terrorist states and rogue regimes, accidentally funneling millions to North Korea’s illicit weapons programs and violating 95 U.S. export laws in the process.

You might ask how this abomination has quietly made its way through Congress with barely a mention on mainstream media or by our representatives in Washington. The Global Poverty Act began in the U.S. House with only 84 co-sponsors and was quietly passed by a voice vote by Democrats and some well-meaning Republicans who did not know what was in the bill. Now, Obama has “taken the football” and launched a continuous effort to ram the bill through the Senate with the help of his new foreign policy lap dog, Senator Joe Biden (In the interest of full-disclosure, I should note that I am currently the Republican running against Joe Biden for the U.S. Senate in Delaware).

Senator Biden rushed the bill through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with another voice vote and without any hearings. The Senate voted against the bill in February 2008, but now Obama, Biden and their liberal cohorts lay in wait to slip the bill past the American people by rolling it into another larger spending package like the so-called “Coburn Omnibus.”

If we are not vigilant and allow Democrats in the Senate to sneak the “Global Poverty Tax” past the voters, we will sacrifice our national sovereignty and set the dangerous precedent of allowing the United Nations to tax Americans. Our “reward” for our benevolence will be a bureaucracy that provides little accountability and no measurable returns on our hefty global investment.

Without an insistence on serious economic and government reforms and accountability for every dollar spent, the U.S. will continue to spend hundreds of billions attempting to treat the symptoms of global poverty while at the same time feeding the disease. Reform and accountability are key to insuring that our investment in the fight against global poverty produces immediate and measurable results while providing freedom and long-term economic reform that give individuals the tools to lift themselves out of poverty and partake in the benefits of a free-market economy.

Throwing more money at the problem is not the answer. Handing over the job to an organization renowned for its incompetence is a recipe for disaster. Our greatest export is our unique system of government and the ingenuity it fosters. Economic assistance coupled with measurable reform provides a pathway to prosperity and a petri dish for burgeoning economic opportunity—not just for developing nations but also for the U.S. We have only to look at our $17.5 billion in annual exports to India’s growing middle class to see the long-term benefits of promoting government and economic reform both through responsible development aid and private sector partnerships.

America as a nation is at a critical time in her history. For 200 years, the United States has been a beacon of freedom and prosperity for the world. If we subjugate our leadership role to the U.N. and outsource our responsibilities to the United Nations’ Development Program, we will leave global prosperity and freedom to chance, crush the American economy with an $845 billion tax and fail all people throughout the world who aspire to all that we have achieved.

The Global Poverty Act is the first battle in what is no-doubt a far-reaching liberal assault on our sovereignty, our prosperity and our role as the leader of the free world. Obama, Biden and other globalist Democrats want to turn the United States into a nation of followers, but I still believe that America has a unique role as a defender of the oppressed and an example to every person with the capacity to dream of a better life. If we shirk our responsibility now, we will lose our national soul and the free world will pay the price for our passing the buck.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Female Land of Israel Activist Freed After 4 Months

Hillel Fendel

Rivka Meirchik, arrested during a violent eviction from a Jewish neighborhood in Samaria, was freed on Wednesday after spending four months in jail. The 29-year-old woman, a resident of Kiryat Ata near Haifa, was arrested during one of the violent evictions of the Shvut Ami startup neighborhood, near Shilo, over four months ago. Like others before her, she refused to recognize the authority of a Jewish court system in the Land of Israel that itself refuses to recognize Jewish rights to the Land.

Meirchik therefore did not post a bond guaranteeing her presence at future court sessions, nor did she cooperate in any way with the legal system.

The court system responded in kind, refusing to release her from prison, refusing at least once to set a future court date, and occasionally holding her in solitary confinement without visitation and phone rights.

Nearly a month ago, Kfar Saba Magistrates Court Judge Clara Rejenino handed down the verdict: Guilty of trespassing and of attacking - biting - the policeman who arrested her.

After 3 Months, Judge Takes 1 Month to Write 2-Month Sentence
Inexplicably, says Attorney Aviad Visouly, who represented Meirchik for parts of the legal proceedings, the judge took nearly a full month to write the sentence - "despite knowing that Rivka had already been in prison for three months, and that the sentence was only two months!"

Visouly told IsraelNationalNews that Meirchik can, if she wants, demand compensation for wrongful imprisonment for the two extra months she sat in prison. He added that had she been found innocent, she would not have been able to demand this.

No Restrictions on Return to Yesha
Public Defender Attorney Aliza Kashkash-Uzeri, who also represented Meirchik, said the judge issued no punishment for the trespassing clause. In other similar cases, the defendants have been restricted from returning for various periods to areas of Judea and Samaria.

Visouly said that Meirchik's rights were continually violated, in that she was not brought to court often enough, and because the Supreme Court did not act quickly enough to accept his appeal regarding wrongful imprisonment.

Meirchik followed the pattern set by previous arrestees in the struggle for the Land of Israel - most notably mother-of-ten Ettie Medad, whose husband Shmuel Medad heads the Honenu Legal Rights Organization. Ettie spent 25 days in prison in 2005. In addition, teenager Tzviya Sariel spent nearly four months in prison this year, and several ulpana yeshiva high school girls were imprisoned for a month shortly before that. All were arrested while engaging in pro-Land of Israel activities.

None of the above agreed to recognize the courts' right to try them on charges related to supporting the Land of Israel, and they were ultimately freed from prison after their cases were widely publicized.

Jerusalem-based Human Rights activist Irving Gendelman sharply criticized the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court for its handling of the Meirchik case. He noted that the "Judge sent Rivka Meirchik to jail for another month deeming her refusal to cooperate with the Police 'an idealogical crime.' This represents a most bizarre statement absent of any legal or judicial authority but rather a statement lacking judicial acumen frought with political overtones."

In a letter to the Minister of Justice, Gendelman added, "This cruel and unusual punishment before any indictment may have been brought about because she refused to cooperate with the police. Again, it is apparent that the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court judges are ill-equipped to understand a basic concept embedded in democratic societies: namely, the right against self incrimination. If there is an allegation of a commission of a crime, it is for the prosecution to bring all evidence against the alleged offender. The alleged offender does not have to cooperate in the process."

Sleepwalking into Islamisation

There are forces in this beautiful world that are bringing about changes destined to be dangerous for Western civilization. It is not always possible to see what is happening in one's immediate environment; it takes a view into another 'neighborhood to open one's eyes.

Melanie Phillips, British journalist and author, drives the point home. She is well aware that many in her native land, Britain, do not understand the seriousness of the situation; they believe that by allowing for a 'double track' to develop there everything will be o.k. They do not understand that the 'other track' has its own agenda - the eventual elimination of everything else and a complete takeover. Why does the West not understand this? The demands may be subtle, the steps may be small, and the results not immediately obvious! It is not worth quibbling over seemingly small 'requests'; it is easier to 'compromise' .

Really? Maybe it is time to recognize that the 'double tracks' are not compatible; we are talking 'waltz' and the others are talking 'salsa'......two very distinctly different 'dances'.

Now, transpose the situation into the U.S. and accept that the very same thing is happening there also. Too often, warnings of this are designated as 'fear-mongering' by those who don't want to face reality. One has only to read some of their literature or go into their websites to see that those forces are determined to achieve their goals - the takeover of democracies, the destruction of the freedoms that we take for granted only to replace it with sharia - strict Islamic law. When will we wake up?

Following is a sobering article by Melanie Phillips:

July 8, 2008
Sleepwalking into Islamisation
by Melanie Phillips

Daily Mail, 8 July 2008

Three years after the London Tube and bus bombings, it is alarming beyond measure to record that Britain is even now sleepwalking into Islamisation. Some people will think this is mere hyperbole. However, that’s the problem. Britain still doesn’t grasp that it is facing a pincer attack from both terrorism and cultural infiltration and usurpation.

The former is understood; the latter is generally not acknowledged or is even denied, and those who call attention to it are pilloried as either ‘ Islamophobes’ or alarmists who have taken up residence on Planet Paranoia.

Certainly, the police and security service have been foiling plot after plot and are bringing to court a steady stream of Islamist radicals –an improvement without doubt from three years ago. And so, particularly within the British elite, people think that things are broadly under control.

They fail to realise that the attempt to take over our culture is even more deadly to this society than terrorism. They are simply blind to the ruthless way in which the Islamists are exploiting our chronic muddle of well-meaning tolerance and political correctness (backed up by the threat of more violence) to put Islam on a special — indeed, unique — footing within Britain.

As a result, the steady Islamisation of British public life is either being ignored or even tacitly encouraged by a political, security and judicial establishment that is failing to identify the stealthy and mind-bending game that is being played.

The official counter-radicalisation programme illustrates the problem. The Government wants to tackle radicalisation within Britain’s Muslim community by winning hearts and minds within that community. Its strategy is based on isolating the extremists and encouraging the moderates.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t understand what Muslim extremism is. Believing that Islamic terrorism is motivated by an ideology which has ‘hijacked’ and distorted Islam, it will not acknowledge the extremism within mainstream Islam itself.

The reason so many older British Muslims are traditionally moderate is that they were brought up in the Asian subcontinent under a tamed form of Islam, deriving from centuries of colonial rule, which glossed over much of the teaching of the religion.

The Government believes that Islamic radicalism can be countered by teaching authentic Islam to Muslims. But since Islamic radicalism is based upon those very authentic religious precepts, this will undoubtedly have the effect of radicalising people who otherwise would never have thought in this way.

The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) was set up to put into effect the Government’s aim of ensuring moderation in the mosques. This was always unlikely, given that members of Islamist groupings were on the steering committee. Although MINAB’s chairman, Manazir Ahsan, presents himself as a reformer, he is the director of the Islamic Foundation, which follows the writings of Maulana Maududi — who preached an end to the sovereignty and supremacy of unbelievers who should be made to live in a state of subordination to Islam.

Similarly, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, the Government’s chief adviser on Islamic Studies, is a senior member of the Islamic Foundation. A report he wrote for the Government last year, Islam at Universities in England, which was publicly welcomed by the Prime Minister, urged that among other special privileges for Muslims, they should be allowed to teach Islamic subjects in British universities and that non-Muslims should be banned from doing so.

In any event, the universities are steadily being Islamised, with academic objectivity in the teaching of Islam and Middle East studies being set aside in favour of indoctrination and propaganda.

A report by Professor Anthony Glees due to be published in the autumn will argue that extremist ideas are being spread by Islamic study centres linked to British universities and backed by multimillion-pound donations from Saudi Arabia and Muslim organisations.

He says: ‘Britain’s universities will have to generate two national cultures: one non-Muslim and largely secular, the other Muslim. We will have two identities, two sets of allegiance and two legal and political systems. This must, by the Government’s own logic, hugely increase the risk of terrorism.’

Even more terrifying is the increasing Islamisation of the police. It has been reported that up to eight police officers and civilian staff working in the Metropolitan Police and other forces are suspected of links to extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, with some even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan. One suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq.

No less disturbing is the fact that the police are intentionally bringing Islamists into the force in the utterly misguided belief (shared by many in the security service) that they can help counter Islamic radicalism.

Commander Robert Lambert, who until this year ran the Metropolitan Police Muslim Contact Unit, observed that terrorism could not be fought by contact with moderate Muslims but through partnerships with Salafists (Sunni extremists who believe in Islamic supremacy over the secular state) — one of whom was actually an officer in his own police department.

Commander Lambert believed that this would enable the police to understand the way extremists thought before they committed any acts of terror.

But it surely goes without saying that an officer who is committed to the overthrow of the West, and its replacement by an Islamic society poses a security risk of the first order. For a police counter-terrorism specialist to be promoting this situation beggars belief.

Deeply alarmed sources have furthermore told me that, in the overriding concern by police forces to hire more ethnic minority officers, they have junked vetting criteria — particularly when it comes to hiring Police Community Support Officers, who after two years can become fully fledged police officers with no further vetting required. The result, say these sources, is that the security of police operations is potentially compromised.

Moreover, there have been disturbing examples of the police protecting Islamic extremism. In 2007, the Channel Four Dispatches programme uncovered evidence of incitement to murder of homosexuals, the killing of British soldiers and hatred of ‘unbelievers’ going on below the official radar in ostensibly respectable British mosques.

But instead of prosecuting such fanatics, the West Midlands Police first tried to prosecute the programme makers and then accused them of selective editing and distortion and undermining community cohesion — a libel for which the police and the Crown Prosecution Service were subsequently forced to apologise.

A report by the Centre for Social Cohesion on honour killings and similar violence revealed that several women’s groups, particularly in the Midlands and northern England, say they are often reluctant to go to the police with women who have run away from home to escape violence, because they cannot trust Asian police officers not to betray the girls to their abusing families.

In February, Christian evangelists Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham were handing out Bible extracts in Alum Rock, Birmingham. They were stopped by a Muslim Police Community Support Officer, threatened with arrest if they carried on preaching in ‘a Muslim area’, and warned that they might get beaten up if they came back.

What on earth is happening when, in the heart of England, a British police support officer, employed by the British state to enforce the law of England, aggressively prevents Christians from preaching the established faith of England on the grounds that this is now a ‘hate crime’?

When the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Britain was developing Muslim nogo areas, he was denounced as Islamophobic.

The Establishment queued up to say they didn’t recognise the Britain he was describing. But British public life is progressively being Islamised, with Muslim radicals in areas with large concentrations of Muslims increasingly intimidating non-Muslims.

After a vicar in East London, Canon Michael Ainsworth, was beaten up by three Muslims in his own churchyard in March, it was revealed that there had been many attacks on churches in the area by such youths, who on one occasion shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque.’

Yet last month, one of the youths in the Ainsworth attack walked free after a judge accepted his claim that the attack was not religiously motivated.

Sharia law is steadily encroaching into British institutions. Last week, Lord Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said it could play a role in some parts of the legal system. This followed comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury who declared that Muslim families should be able to choose between English and Islamic law in marital and family issues.

But the fact is that Britain is already developing a parallel sharia jurisdiction in such matters, with a blind eye being turned to such practices as forced marriage, cousin marriage, female genital mutilation and polygamy; indeed, welfare benefits are now given to the multiple wives of Muslim men.

Meanwhile, the courts still appear to be bending over backwards to appease Muslim radicalism. Last month, a judge freed from prison Abu Qatada, the most important Al Qaeda operative in Europe and the lynchpin of numerous European terror attacks, who was being held pending deportation to Jordan to stand trial.

His release on bail — into a kind of house arrest — followed an Appeal Court ruling that he could not be deported to Jordan because any prosecution there might have been obtained as a result of a witness being tortured — a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Why do the British authorities appear to go out of their way to thwart efforts to fight and defeat jihadi terror? While Islamists are being appeased, the Christian church is being discriminated against. The Bishop of Rochester said that the decline of Christian values was destroying Britishness and had created a ‘moral vacuum’ which radical Islam was filling

In reply to this cri de coeur from a civilisation under siege, Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, maintained it was right that more money and effort was spent on Islam than Christianity because of the threat from extremism and homegrown terrorism.

But Islamism will be repulsed only if Britain once again regains the confidence of its own culture, heritage and traditions. And these are based on Christianity.

Ms Blears’s lamentable comment graphically illustrates the problem. While the ordinary people of Britain are increasingly aghast at the way their country is being transformed by Islamism, the political, judicial, security and intellectual elites are busy denying the nature of the danger and making it far, far worse through a combination of extreme ignorance, arrogance and sheer funk.

The Islamists launched their jihad against the West because they perceived it was so weak and confused it would not possess the wherewithal to defend itself. When it comes to Britain, they never spoke a truer word.

This is an abridged version of a new foreword to an updated edition of ‘Londonistan‘
by Melanie Phillips, published in the UK by Gibson Square.

He Is Who He Is

Tony Blankley

It's getting tricky to know how to refer to he who presumes to be the next president. It was made clear several months ago that mentioning his middle name is a forbidden act. (Pass out more eggshells.) Then, having nothing honorable to say, Obama warned his followers last week that Sen. McCain would try to scare voters by pointing to Obama's "funny name" and the fact that "he doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills." Now, putting aside for the moment the racial component of His warning, what are we to make of the "funny name" reference? Many people have "funny" names. Some people think my last name -- being very close in spelling to the adverbial form for the absence of content -- is funny. Certainly, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's name is funny. Many on the left have had great fun with President Bush's last name. But we all have found our names perfectly serviceable and would expect people to call us by the names by which we identify ourselves.

But He has made it clear that the mere use of His name would be freighted with coded innuendoes of something too horrible to say straightforwardly. One has to go back to Exodus 3:13-14 to find such strict instructions concerning the use of a name. Moses explained: "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I Am has sent me to you.'"

So perhaps we can call Him, for short, Sen. I Am (full code name: I Am who you have been waiting for).

Another aspect of the now-infamous dollar-bill incident that has gone unmentioned is Sen. I Am's choice of the dollar-bill reference itself. He could have just said He doesn't look like other presidents. Even that is a little too cute for the nasty little point He slyly was trying to make, but at least He would be identifying Himself merely with the universe of American presidents. But His overweening pride found such company too base and demeaning for Him. So He needed to include Himself in the grander company of George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Jefferson and perhaps Andy Jackson. (I doubt He had in mind Woodrow Wilson on the $100,000 bill or Grover Cleveland on the $1,000.)

Perhaps I shouldn't dwell on these matters, but the more I watch this man the more stunned I am at His overconfidence and towering pride. I have known a number of great and powerful men (and read biographies of many more), and they surely don't lack confidence or ego. But who among the great would have answered the question posed to the junior senator from Illinois a few weeks ago as He did? Asked whether He had any doubts, He said "never." Is He so foolish as to think He has the world figured out to the last detail, or is He so proud of His intelligence that He cannot confess to ever having any doubt? Either explanation renders His judgment of dubious presidential caliber.

Here is a man who talked almost contemptuously of Gen. Petraeus. Explaining His differences with the general, He said that His "job is to think about the national security interest as a whole; (the generals') job is just to get their job done (in Iraq)." Of course, right at the moment, the junior senator from Illinois doesn't yet have "His" job, while Gen. Petraeus, as confirmed Centcom commander, has direct responsibility for both Afghanistan and Iraq and everything in between and around them. But in the mind of Sen. I Am, He already is, while He thinks the man who is perhaps our greatest general in two generations is just another flunky carrying out routine orders. It is repulsive to see such a mentality in a man who would be president.

All of us have our shortcomings, of course. But there is none so dangerous both to a man and to those for whom he has responsibility than the sin of pride. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great recognized that pride breeds all the other sins and is therefore the most serious offense. St. Thomas Aquinas reaffirmed that pride is rebellion against the very authority of God.

Let me quote a private e-mail correspondent, who states the case better than I could: "Pride indeed is the cardinal vice -- it swings open the door to most of the other theological vices, and undermines the classical virtues of prudence, courage and justice. It thrives, not on what one has, but on what others do not have. And even when one has diligently practiced the most admirable virtues, there always lurks the danger that at some moment one will look in the mirror and say: 'Oh my! What a wonderful person I am!' Thus does the vice lunge from its hiding-place."

For a man, his personality is his destiny. If he becomes president, his flaws become the nation's dangers. The voters must judge carefully both the personalities and the ideas of those who would be president.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Why are Palestinian refugees different from all other refugees?

David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
New York
August 6, 2008

Why indeed?

Tragically, there have been countless refugees in the annals of history.

Many have fled political persecution, religious harassment, racial or ethnic targeting, or gender or sexual discrimination.

It’s happened in just about every era. In the twentieth century alone, tens of millions of refugees, if not more, were compelled to find new homes—victims of world wars, border adjustments, population transfers, political demagoguery, and social pathologies.

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne codified the population exchange of Greeks and Turks, totaling more than 1.5 million people. Ancestral=2 0homes were wiped out on both sides.

Massive numbers of Hindus and Muslims were moved to accommodate the partition of the sub-continent into two independent nations—India and Pakistan.

Refugees by the millions, unable to return to their countries, were created as a result of the twelve-year Third Reich.

Czechs, East Germans, Hungarians, Poles, and Romanians fled the suffocation of Soviet-led tyranny whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The exodus from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam after the victory of Communist and rebel forces was massive.

Refugee flows from Africa’s civil and tribal wars, as well as its dictatorships, have been constant.

Yemenis were expelled from Saudi Arabia by the hundreds of thousands during the first Gulf War due to Yemen’s support for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Countless Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims fled, or were expelled, due to Serbian aggression.

And this is just the tip of the refugee iceberg.

In fact, I don’t have to look very far to understand the unending refugee crises of our times—or the trauma they have created.

My mother and her family fled oppressive Bolshevik rule and Soviet anti-Semitism in 1929, among the last to leave before the exit gates sealed shut. They arrived in Paris and had to start over again—new language, new culture, new everything. Eleven years later, they were on the road again, this time courtesy of the Nazis and their French collabo rators. They were on the run for eighteen months before they were among the very few to make it to the United States. Once more, new language, new culture, new everything.

My father’s story was similar. From Germany to Austria, thanks to Hitler, and a new start. From Austria to France, again thanks to Hitler, and another new start. And, after the war, from shattered Europe to the United States and a third new start. He, too, found his footing and moved on.

And my wife and her family, whose roots in Libya predated the Arab conquest and occupation—yes, conquest and occupation—by centuries, were ousted from the country in 1967. Of course, they had an alternative. They could have stayed and been killed by the rampaging mobs looking for Jews. They, like other refugees, had to start anew in Italy.

Yet, rather than wallow in victimization, allow themselves to be exploited by unscrupulous leaders, or become consumed by hatred and revenge, they established new lives, grateful to their adopted lands for making it possible.

The same was the case with the Indochinese refugees with whom I worked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the couple that my wife and I sponsored to come to the U.S. And with the Soviet and East European refugees I worked with for several years just before.

At the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) counted 11.4 million refugees in its jurisdiction, with the largest populations being from Afgh anistan, Iraq, Colombia, Sudan, and Somalia. Over five decades, UNHCR estimates that it has assisted 50 million refugees “to help restart their lives.” Refugees are defined as those with “a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion….”

And yet, of all the world’s refugees, one group—the Palestinians—are treated entirely differently from all others.

Indeed, the 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly does not apply to Palestinians, who fall within the purview of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

There is no equivalent UN body for any other refugee group in the world.

The definition of a refugee under the UNRWA mandate is also unique. It covers all descendants, without generational limitation, of those deemed refugees in 1948. This helps explain why its caseload has nearly quintupled since 1950.

Unlike UNHCR, UNRWA does not seek to resettle Palestinian refugees, but rather provides social services while, in effect, keeping them in perpetual limbo.

And despite the crocodile tears shed by Arab countries, many of which today are awash in petrodollars, about the plight of their Palestinian brethren, they have been among the most miserly donors to UNRWA. They callously assert that it is not their responsibility to care for refugees created by the decisions of others. The top six donors to UNRWA this year are the U.S. and European governments, with miniscule amounts donated by a few Arab nations and nothing by others.

By the way, I should hasten to clarify that only those Palestinians who are seen as victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict are given this special treatment.

In 1991, when Kuwait summarily threw out an estimated 400,000 Palestinians for their alleged support of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War, there wasn’t a peep from the international community. Arab violations of Arabs’ human rights are viewed differently, if they’re noticed at all.

And in countries like Lebanon, with a large Palestinian refugee population under UNRWA auspices, the government has long imposed restrictions on the Palestinian right to work in many professions and trades. But there has never been an outcry.

So, we are confronted by an unprecedented situation.

Palestinians are not the world’s first refugee population, but they may be the first to lament their perpetual refugee status while resisting any effort to resolve it.

Think about it. In 1947, the UN offered a two-state solution to address two competing national claims. The Jews accepted it; the Arabs rejected it. Or in UN-speak, the “proposed Arab State failed to materialize.” Had it been otherwise, two states might have emerged, and with any luck, learned to live side by side. To this day, that two-state concept remains the most feasible outcome.< br>
Instead, the Arab side went to war. Has there been any war that didn’t produce refugees? Yet the Arab world blames Israel for the refugees from a war it ignited.

Meanwhile, that same Arab-Israeli conflict produced a greater number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who resettled elsewhere with little fanfare.

Then, by design, the Palestinian refugees were kept in camps, as wards of the international community, to serve as permanent reminders of the impermanence of their situation. Taught to focus their hatred on Israel, rather than to hold their own leaders accountable for using them as pawns, they have been denied opportunities for new lives.

Even now, three years after Israel totally withdrew from Gaza, astonishingly, nearly 500,000 Palestinians continue to live in UNRWA refugee camps there. Why?

While the Palestinians are among the world’s largest per capita aid recipients, as British official Kim Howells has noted, much of that aid has been siphoned off to line the pockets of corrupt Palestinian officials—who then turn around and seek more aid for their allegedly neglected people.

It’s the same absurd logic that Hamas deploys when it decries energy shortages while shelling the Israeli power plants that provide electricity to Gaza.

The whole process is abetted by an elaborate and well-funded UN apparatus, encompassing more than just UNRWA, created by the majority of member states to support the Palestinian cause. It goes without saying that Darfuris, Kurds, Tibetans, and others who believe they have suffered from injustice and occupation have no comparable UN bodies to advance their cause.

This is not to say that Palestinians have had easy lives. They haven’t. It is to say that their leaders, with the complicity of many in the international community, have pulled off one of the most successful spin jobs in history. Rather than settle the refugees—just like untold others—they have shamelessly exploited the refugees instead.

Therein lies the irreducible tragedy of a decades-long conflict.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dreams From My Farmer

If Obama is a reformer, why doesn’t he vote like one?

By David Freddoso

When conservatives complain about the Obamalovefest all around, it’s not all a reaction to the messianism. The more down-to-earth complaint is that mainstream-media organs have uncritically bought a key idea promoted by Obama’s well-crafted media campaign: that he is a reformer, a positive agent of change who reaches across partisan divides and bucks parochial interests for the common good. This idea is a great lie, and there is a long record to prove it in Springfield and in Chicago. Obama has a similar record in Washington, where the bearer of the “new politics” is a consistent supporter of the same old corrupt, bipartisan systemic arrangements that have dominated the federal government for decades.

In The Audacity of Hope, Obama worries about the ugly image that Americans project to the world in the area of trade. We demand, he writes, that “developing countries eliminate trade barriers that protect them from competition, even as we steadfastly protect our own constituencies from exports that could help lift poor countries out of poverty.”

This laudable concern did not prevent him from voting for the farm bill, whose entire purpose was to “protect our own constituencies from exports that could help lift poor countries out of poverty.” By supporting the bill, Obama was voting to increase subsidies for American crops that make other nations’ crops uncompetitive (additionally, the majority of the money goes to commercial farms with an average net worth of nearly $2 million).. His vote increased the price support that causes Americans to pay double the world price for sugar. He also helped keep in place tariffs and import limits against certain crops from developing countries — especially against sugar from developing countries like Brazil and the Caribbean nations.

The bill that Obama voted for even bars the U.S. government from purchasing crops in the poor nations where we are providing food aid. When President Bush vetoed the bill, demanding at least that this last provision be changed, Sen. Obama voted to override the veto.

Liberals and conservatives generally agree that direct farm subsidies, loans, and price supports are damaging, wasteful, and perhaps even morally wrong. These items enjoy bipartisan support only because a large number of legislators put parochial interests ahead of the common good. Barack Obama is one of them.

Nowhere is this truer than on the issue of ethanol subsidies, which act as a price support for American corn. It is a rare policy on which National Review’s editors agree with Paul Krugman, the liberal columnist at the New York Times. Krugman wrote about ethanol on his Times blog in February 2008: “Bad for the economy, bad for consumers, bad for the planet — what’s not to love?”

Whenever ethanol comes to the Senate floor, a coalition of liberal and conservative senators always rises up against it. Liberal Senator Charles Schumer argued correctly in 2005 on the Senate floor that his constituents in New York were being robbed by U.S. ethanol subsidies:

It hurts drivers and it hurts the free market. It is a boondoggle because it takes money out of the pockets of drivers and puts it into the pockets of the big ethanol producers. … It is so unfair to do this. It is wrong to do this…[T]o put a few pennies — and that is all it will be — in the pocket of the family farmer, we charge drivers around the country billions of dollars.

Schumer was here attacking Sen. Obama’s policy. Obama, as a corn-state senator and a presidential aspirant, has had both parochial and presidential interests in mind — Iowa interests, to be specific — when he champions the waste of taxpayers’ money on ethanol subsidies. The same day Schumer made that argument, Obama voted for ethanol (twice) and then closed his land deal with Tony Rezko. Not only does he vote for ethanol subsidies and mandates, without which no one would buy or sell ethanol at all — but his energy plan would outlaw new cars that can’t run on high-ethanol blends (including most cars sold today).

When Obama came to Washington in January 2005, ethanol already enjoyed a special income-tax credit, protective tariffs, occasional ad hoc federal subsidies, and a bevy of statewide subsidies for production, processing, and dispensing. Since then, the subsidies have ballooned, and Obama is pushing for more.

In The Audacity of Hope Obama brags about how he inserted a new and additional ethanol subsidy into a 2006 tax bill. He gushes over ethanol as the next big thing:

The bottom line is that fuel-efficient cars and alternative fuels like E85, a fuel formulated with 85 percent ethanol, represent the future of the auto industry. It is a future American car companies can attain if we start making some tough choices now. …

Weeks after being sworn in, Obama traveled back to Illinois for a stop at the ethanol plant of Aventine Renewable Energy, where he endorsed the federal ethanol mandate that has since gone into effect. Current law requires the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol by 2015. According to an Associated Press account of the event, “Obama said boosting the nation’s ethanol output is a ‘no-brainer’. … ”

Indeed, it is a “no-brainer,” but not in the sense Obama meant it.

In 2008, ethanol’s ravages started to make headlines — this “green fuel” was contributing to record-high food prices and causing food riots in the developing world. It was exhausting water supplies, driving up gasoline prices, and exacerbating smog. Environmentalists, who almost universally oppose ethanol, even complained that its production process is driving up emissions from coal (Mark Clayton, “Carbon cloud over a green fuel,” Christian Science Monitor, March 23, 2006).

More importantly, ethanol makes no substantive contribution to American energy independence. Given the energy content of ethanol, together with the fact that the process of making ethanol has a net 25 percent energy output, America’s enormous 6.5 billion-gallon ethanol production in 2007 created the net-energy equivalent of just 2.2 days’ worth of American gasoline consumption.

In exchange for that minuscule output, federal and state governments provide between $6.3 billion and $8.7 billion in annual direct and indirect subsidies, according to a 2006 study by Doug Koplow the environmentalist group Earth Track. The ethanol industry receives more in subsidies each year than it spends buying corn. When our government subsidized corn-ethanol production in 2007, it was like spending ten dollars to create a gallon of gasoline, and doing it 853 million times.

Think of it this way: If you could turn gold into lead, would you do it? Obama would — as long as he can use your money to do it.

— David Freddoso is a National Review Online staff reporter and author of The Case Against Barack Obama.

Coping with the Challenge of Iran

Featuring Shaul Mofaz and Nicholas Burns
August 5, 2008

On August 1, 2008, Shaul Mofaz, deputy prime minister and transportation minister of Israel, and Nicholas Burns, who until recently was undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, addressed a special policy forum at The Washington Institute. Mr. Mofaz and Ambassador Burns, who both led the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue focusing on Iran, spoke about the challenges caused by Iran and its nuclear program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.SHAUL MOFAZ
Iran's nuclear program is geared toward attaining military weapons capability -- something that constitutes an existential threat to the state of Israel. With such ability, Iran not only could attack Israel directly, it could also increase financial and material support under its nuclear umbrella for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah, as well as for Syria. Iran has already provided Hizballah with long-range missiles that can hit most Israeli territory, and one day, Iran could also use this power against the United States and Europe.

In the next year and a half, there will be a new reality in the region. From Israel's point of view, an Iranian nuclear breakthrough is unacceptable. No enrichment should take place anywhere on Iranian soil, and at present, it is estimated that Iran will be capable of enriching low-grade uranium in 2009, and will be able to do so at military levels by 2010.

Iran's main strategy is to buy time, and so far, it is succeeding. Time is a decisive element in changing the picture and removing the Iranian threat. Based on Tehran's past actions, most anticipate that Iran will turn down the recent offer made by the Europeans and the United States at the Geneva meeting, and will choose instead to wait out the end of the current U.S. administration. The window of opportunity to influence Iran is becoming smaller, and is about to close. It is a race against time, and Iran is winning.

A strategic approach, therefore, is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. Several conclusions were reached during the July meeting of the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue, one being that the world must present a united front against Iran. This includes international compliance with imposing financial sanctions on Iran, as well as barring the trade in conventional weapons with the regime.

Diplomacy should to be the primary method for halting Iran's nuclear program. In order for diplomacy to succeed, pressure on Iran's weaknesses must be drastically increased. Diplomacy, however, has its limits. The primary duty of Israel, like all states, is to protect the lives of its citizens; therefore, all options are on the table. If Israeli, U.S., or European intelligence gets proof that Iran has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons technology, then Israel will respond in a manner reflecting the existential threat posed by such a weapon. Israel takes Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad's statements regarding its destruction seriously. Israel cannot risk another Holocaust.

Israel also understands that its quarrel is with the current Iranian regime, not with the Iranian people. Only thirty years ago, Israel had excellent diplomatic relations with Iran, including extensive security cooperation. The current regime is not only hostile toward Israel, but also toward the rest of the world.

The Middle East is becoming the world's most important region, and is increasingly the focus of U.S. foreign policy. Current issues include fighting the war in Iraq, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and preventing Hizballah and Syria from undermining democracy in Lebanon. In addition, the United States is concerned with the oil trade and its improving relations with moderate Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Over time, however, Iran has become the regional focus.

Iran is the most difficult and complex challenge in the Middle East today. It is a primary supporter of regional terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic Jihad, and it also funds the Shiite militant groups fighting U.S. forces in Iraq. Evidence also suggests that it has connections to the Taliban. U.S. policy should be geared toward preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capability, preferably through negotiations and by working with the UN Security Council.

The United States ought to pursue three initiatives to deal with Iran: tougher sanctions, more diplomacy, and developing a bilateral relationship. Although the United States and Europe have been maintaining strict sanctions on Iran, the trade void is being filled by other nations, particularly Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. In order for sanctions to be successful, these nations need to participate fully, especially since financial sanctions are necessary for diplomacy to work.

Now is the time for diplomacy, not war. Based on the evaluations of Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency, we have reason to believe there is still time for diplomacy. Diplomacy requires the parties to be tough-minded and creative. U.S. representation at the recent Geneva meeting was a positive step, and Condoleezza Rice should be lauded for breaking with twenty-eight years of American conventional wisdom when she advised negotiating with Iran. That diplomatic opening is still there, and it would be folly to give it up now. All options must be kept on the table in order to force Tehran to respond to international objections. At this point, however, war with Iran is neither inevitable nor desirable.

A significant difficulty with Iran is that the relationship between Washington and Tehran, unlike Pyongyang and Havana, has been completely nonexistent. The United States has not had any permanent media correspondents, businessmen, or diplomats in the country since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. As a result, the two countries know nothing about each other. Another difficulty is the history of grievances between the two, such as the Mossadeq coup and the Iranian hostage crisis. In order to develop relations, however, both need to stop focusing on this legacy of bitterness and look forward to the future.

The situation may change when Iran holds presidential elections in 2009, because the country is not a political monolith. Although Ayatollah Ali Khamenei exercises a great deal of control, there are still relative differences between him, Ahmadinezhad, Ali Larijani (speaker of the Iranian parliament), and other influential Iranians, such as former presidents Ali Akbar Rafsanjani and Muhammad Khatami.

Iranians have been equivocating, even though reasonable proposals have been on the table for two years. The United States backed Russia's proposal that Iran be provided with nuclear power plants and fuel, thereby invalidating the claim that the world wants to deny Iran atomic energy. The Iranians need to answer the questions being asked about its nuclear program by the international community. At the present, the ball is in Iran's court.

This rapporteur's summary was prepared by Lauren Cohen.

View this PolicyWatch and enjoy streaming audio of this event on our website at

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Iraqi WMD Mystery Solved

Jamie Glazov
Thursday, March 02, 2006 (first posting)

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ryan Mauro, who spoke at the recent 2006 International Intelligence Summit on
Iraq. He is the 19-year old author of Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq and founder of He was originally hired at age 16 as a geopolitical analyst for Tactical Defense Concepts. He is also a volunteer analyst and researcher for the Northeast Intelligence Network and the Reform Party of Syria and believed to be the youngest hired geopolitical analyst in the country. Glazov: The recent Intelligence Summit released 12 hours of audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his key officials discussing their WMD programs from the mid-1990s onwards. What do you make of the significance of these tapes? How do they square with your claim in your book that Russia helped move Iraqi WMD into Syria?

Mauro: The tapes are extremely significant in that they prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that as of the year 2000, Saddam Hussein had a secret plasma program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, or "special bombs" as he calls them. The Duelfer Report previously concluded that this type of enrichment program ended in the 1980s, but here we have Saddam and his top advisors discussing using a power plant in the area of Basra for the program. The scientists involved in the program are not known to the UN, leaving Western intelligence clueless.

On the tapes, you hear Saddam discussing the assistance of Russia and Brazil in dealing with the United Nations. He laughs off inspections, as his son-in-law who later defects, Hussein Kamil, reports how as late as 1995 their chemical and biological programs were being hidden from the world. They also discuss keeping the ingredients for these weapons separate, so that should they be found, they will be looked at as innocent dual-use items. They were not destroyed in 1991 as the Duelfer Report concludes. There are even indications on the tapes that Iraq may have had a role in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

My book was the first to make the claim that Russia was involved in moving Iraq's WMDs to Syria. After all the nay saying and criticizing I received for it, testimony at the Summit confirmed that this was true.

Glazov: What exactly is the evidence that Iraq moved its WMD into Syria?

Mauro: It has been confirmed across the board that 18-wheelers were seen going into Syria before the war, crossing the border soon after Iraqi intelligence replaced the border guards and cleared nearby areas for their passage. There are also eyewitness reports of the trucks going into Syria, and eyewitness reports of their burial in Lebanon.

The trucks with the weapons were tracked to three locations in Syria and Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, currently controlled by the Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah. Sources I've spoken with that have seen satellite photos of the movements confirm that the WMD in Syria are at military bases, while the ones in Lebanon are buried. A fourth site in Syria, the al-Safir WMD and missile site, should also be looked at. From spring to summer 2002, there was a lot of construction here involving the expansion of underground complexes.

We have tremendous testimony as well, by General Georges Sada, the former second-in-command of Saddam's Air Force that 56 flights took place on converted Iraqi Airways planes in the summer of 2002 to transport weapons, along with a ground shipment. He claims to know the pilots involved. A second Iraqi general, Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, in an interview I published, confirmed in detail the movement of WMD into Syria saying that discussion on such a move went back to the 1980s. He claims his sources for this include Iraqi scientists and others in the regime that were very close to him even after he defected. He confirmed to me that Russian vehicles, including ones equipped to handle hazardous materials, were used. Reports of WMD being moved out of Iraq to Syria go back to 1997, and it is believed by many that weapons were moved in and out of Iraq using Syria routinely since the mid-1990s.

The Italian media also reported that their intelligence services had information indicating that in January and February of 2003, Iraqi CDs full of formulas and research work along with tubes of anthrax and botulinum toxin were sent off to Syria. By the end of February, Iraqi WMD expertise was already in Syria including a top nuclear physicist.

An Iraqi scientist also led Coalition forces to hidden stockpiles of precursor chemicals that could be used to make chemical and biological weapons. The scientist said some facilities and weapons were destroyed, and the rest were sent to Syria. Syrian defectors are also claiming that Syria is where the weapons are, along with Representative Curt Weldon's source in his new book. The Prime Minister of Albania even stated that based on information he has which is not available to the media, he cannot rule out such a transfer.

There is also a report that an Iraqi medium-range al-Hussein missile on a truck moved into Syria, and in the early stages of the war, was spotted briefly coming into Iraq, operating its radar overnight, and returning to Syria. Most reports about the transfer indicate missiles were included in the transfers.

Glazov: Why do you think Russia was involved?

Mauro: In my book, “Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq,” I detail Russian involvement in Iraq’s WMD programs and intelligence services. Inspectors have described the Russians employed on UN inspection teams as being very paranoid, with some even suspecting the Russians helped the Iraqis thwart inspections. I believe that as more documents are translated we will find this to be true.

My immediate suspicions that the Russians were involved in cleansing operations began back in early 2003, after I learned about how two Soviet generals had arrived in Iraq and been awarded with medals. Igor Maltsev, known as a leading expert in air-defense, and Vladislav Achalov, an expert in rapid-reaction forces, were accompanied by Yevgeny Primakov, a long-time friend of Saddam Hussein from his days as the head of the Soviet foreign intelligence service and later, prime minister. This occurred as I simultaneously received the first reports of WMD going to Syria, leading me to speculate on such a connection. I became convinced when Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former chief of Communist Romania’s intelligence service, and highest ranking Communist intelligence officer to ever defect, wrote about a plan the Soviet Union had entitled “Sarindar,” or “Operation Emergency Exit.”

The plan was drawn up after the Soviet Union decided to use its rogue state allies, specifically Libya and Iraq, to sponsor terrorism. The Soviets would help them make WMD in return, believing that would prevent Western retaliation. The head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, told Pacepa that Russian advisors ran these countries intelligence services. Primakov was the central figure in dealing with Iraq, Pacepa said, and pointed to his presence in Iraq in the months before the war.

“Sarindar” was drawn up first for Libya, and then expanded to include Iraq, with the aim of stripping the rogue state of evidence of WMD activity and especially Russian involvement in illegal programs. The operation also “would frustrate the West by not giving them anything they could make propaganda with,” said Pacepa. The plan went so far as to involve an offensive propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting politicians making the accusations against Russia’s allies.

From that, I became convinced. Then later on, John Shaw, the former deputy undersecretary for defense for international technology, reported to the media that Russian Spetsnaz units moved Iraqi WMD into Syria and Lebanon. He said that U.S. intelligence knew the names of the units involved. The Washington Times had other Pentagon officials report that Russian Special Forces helped Iraq perform counter-intelligence operations to thwart the West from knowing what was going on.

We must also consider the huge Russian involvement in the Oil-For-Food Scandal. So Russia’s relationship with Iraq was beneficial for them on multiple levels, including financially.

Glazov: Do we have the details of the Russian involvement?

Mauro: At the Intelligence Summit, Shaw revealed even more detail I was unaware of. Shaw discussed how two Russian ships left the Umm Qasr port in the months before the war and went to the Indian Ocean, carrying materials that he believes included WMD from southern Iraq. He also said his contacts told him of barrels containing hazardous materials being moved to a hospital basement in Beirut, Lebanon.

Shaw discussed that Achalov and Maltsev had visited Baghdad at least twenty times in the previous six years. The final planning meeting before their last trip to Baghdad took place in Baku and was chaired by the Russian Minister of Emergency Situations.

Shaw said that much of the information came from a source close to the head of Ukraine’s intelligence service, who was thankful to the United States for securing the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

Glazov: What has been the intelligence community's reaction to the allegation of Russian involvement?

Mauro: Shaw said that often this information was dismissed as Israeli disinformation. Although I’m sure it happened to him on a much larger scale, I can confirm this happened. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought this up with experts in the field who dismissed it as Israeli garbage, or a fantasy of “Russophobes” and conspiracy theorists. “The Cold War is over” was said to me on several occasions, bringing the debate to a close. I can only hope that deep inside the community they know about all this and are acting upon it in a secretive way.

Glazov: So if all this evidence is credible, why wouldn't the Bush Administration take advantage of this information?

Mauro: There are multiple ideas out there. I tend to believe that the foreign policy implications of these revelations explain the Administration’s silence. The politicians don’t want to feel obliged to take strong action against Syria, and certainly don’t want to offend Russia. On several issues, Russian cooperation is a great asset if it can be achieved. There’s a debate as to whether Russia ever really helps us. Every country we seem to have problems with has close ties to Russia. It’s likely part of their strategic plan to counter American dominance. Yes, they’re pressuring Iran through negotiations, but Russia is closely tied to the Iranian regime, so one must ask in light of these revelations, is Russia simply “cooperating” as part of a game to buy time for her allies? Or does Russia genuinely want Iran to end its nuclear program?

Glazov: Why do you think Duelfer missed all this?

Mauro: In my speech, I said that Duelfer’s conclusion that Iraq disarmed in 1991 as based on:

A) The failure to find WMD stockpiles. This is easily explained by their movement to Syria. I should also mention that there are Pentagon reports and testimony of several people that point to numerous problems in how the ISG operated and was put together, thus hampering the search.

B) The lack of documentation on the programs after 1991. Yet, in the same report, Duelfer says that much of the widespread looting was a cover for Iraqi intelligence to destroy documentation and loot weapons sites. Even the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission told the Security Council in the summer of 2004 that satellite imagery showed the Iraqis dismantling suspected weapons sites before, during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Destroyed material and metal was then shipped throughout Europe and the Middle East at a rate of 1,000 tons of metal per month. Dismantled missiles and related components, they said, had already been discovered in several countries—some with UN inspection tags still on them.

It is also likely documents were moved outside of Iraq. The Russian ambassador to Baghdad, Vladimir Titorenko, got together a convoy carrying Russian staff from the embassy and headed to Syria, and suddenly got fired upon by American forces. Titorenko and his three closest intelligence officers flew directly to Moscow after escaping, and used the same flight to return immediately to Damascus. There are widespread reports, even in the Russian press, that sensitive intelligence documents were in the convoy.

C) The lack of testimony from detainees. Duelfer relies upon the interviewing process—the same process he harshly criticizes as deeply flawed—to reach his conclusion. The detainees are afraid to talk out of fear for retribution, their testimony being used against them in war crimes trials, and simply because there’s no incentive. I could go into deeper detail as to some of the criticisms of the process. We also know many, many regime figures and scientists are in Syria and to a lesser degree, Iran.

It was easy for Iraq to move people around. Most of the regime figures were in Syria, including Saddam’s sons, until American pressure hit a breaking point and they were expelled in the later part of spring 2003. As the war commenced, 23 of Iraq’s 60 diplomatic posts were still operating, including in Amman, Moscow, Damascus, Beirut, Minsk and Tehran. It is possible that personnel are in Belarus as well. Many Iraqi regime figures that were captured [had] Syrian and Belarusian (and often, Libyan) passports. There were reports that people escaped from Syria to Belarus and Libya. Limousines usually used by the Baath Party were seen entering Syria, and then flew aboard a military transport to Libya.

Regarding Belarus, another very close ally of Russia, there was an incident on March 29, 2003. A chartered cargo flight took off from Saddam International Airport when the air space was closed and flew to Minsk. Originally, some suspected it [was] Saddam or his sons were aboard as only the highest officials could get clearance.

Glazov: Mr. Mauro thank you for joining us again.

Mauro: Thank you for having me.

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Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at

Revisiting Res 1701 otherwise known as Livni’s fiasco

Ted Belman

Jpost has an editorial Lebanon tipping-point? in which it reviews the deteriating situation in Lebanon. I thought I would review how Livni sold Res 1701 to Israelis just as Olmert “sold” Israelis that the Lebanon War II was a success.

The Lebanese Cabinet just approved a policy statement that observers say is a green light for Hizbullah’s armed operations against Israel. It is now to come before Parliament for approval. It is ironic that it is being passed almost to the day two years after Resolution 1701 was passed. It thereby ends the Livni’s hope, speculation or prayer that somehow 1701 would make a difference. When Foreign Minister Livni addressed the Cabinet in Israel just after it was passed she couched her embrace of it with these words.

- “resolution is good for Israel and, if implemented,”

- “I am aware of the fact that not every resolution is implemented. I am aware of the difficulties, and despite all this I say with complete confidence that the Security Council resolution is good for Israel.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “It is important to state that, from the beginning, when we understood that, in fact, these goals had to be achieved by political means, and because it was obvious to us that the entire international community understood the cause of the recent incidents and that it was necessary to implement Resolution 1559, we ourselves acted to initiate the procedures and resolutions that would promote the goals we had set ourselves.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “and assuming that it is implemented - compared with the situation that existed before, could create a dramatic change in southern Lebanon.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “Even in the last hours before passage of the resolution, we wanted to ensure that this embargo would be enforceable and substantive, preventing the transfer of arms from these countries to Hizbullah, in fact, to anyone other than the Lebanese army. Now the embargo is part of the UN resolution and the terms and formulation of this article are acceptable to Israel and express our opinion - a proper embargo.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “And it is important to say that, one way or the other, responsibility has been imposed on the Lebanese government to ensure that arms do not enter in order to prevent the rearming of Hizbullah.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “The question has been asked about whether everything is now dependent on decisions or requests from the Lebanese government with regard to the international forces, … From our standpoint, any entire process that involves placing power in the hands of the Lebanese government so that it can enforce its sovereignty is a positive one which, of course, creates a genuine change in the situation in Lebanon.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “It is also clear that the entire process is intended to lead, in the end, to the disarming of Hizbullah, not just to the Lebanese army moving southward, not just to an embargo, but to a process completed by the disarmament of Hizbullah, as was required from the start in the previous resolutions, but today we are also creating the way to enforce this process at a practical level.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “regarding the international force - should it become apparent that the forces that were decided upon are not adequate, the resolution opens the way that will allow for improving the mandate and creating a proper force so that it will be more effective, with a broader mandate than this one. This is already determined in the resolution.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “Israel, of course demanded that the kidnapped soldiers be returned to their families as this was and still is our goal. This statement now appears in the Security Council resolution. True, it appears in the preamble, which is referred to as the “declarative section,” but the soldiers are mentioned as the cause of the dispute for which the citizens of Israel and some of the citizens of Lebanon have paid dearly and which created the urgent need to deal with the factors that led to the current crisis, including releasing the kidnapped Israeli soldiers unconditionally.” TOTAL FAILURE

- “In my estimation, especially due to the events of the past month, the international community as well as the Lebanese government understands that Israel will no longer accept a situation whereby a terrorist organization sits on its border and fires Katyushas at Israeli citizens or, alternatively, attacks Israeli soldiers whenever it wants to. So as I stated earlier, in comparing the political situation on the day before and the chance that this resolution will change the situation in Lebanon, with the goals we set for ourselves here two days after the beginning of the conflict and what we hope to achieve following termination of the military operation, without addressing the question of when and how it will end, we have attained most of the goals in the Israeli initiative which, in effect, we placed as the first draft on the table of the international community.”





I didn’t intersperse comments here other than highlighting certain words that convey the message.

Before and after the resolution was passed, I wrote the following

The ceasefire resolution doesn’t require anyone to disarm Hezbollah
August 14, 2006
The UN resolution doesn’t contain any obligation to disarm Hezbollah. What are 30,000 soldiers for? Window dressing to sell the resolution.

A “Robust International Force” is a Crock
August 7, 2006
A strong independent, international fighting force in Lebanon will never happen, and drafters of the resolution know it.

No ceasefire is better than a bad ceasefire
August 5, 2006
The prosecution of his war by Olmert’s left-leaning government has been a disaster, based on its overwhelming desire to avoid another occupation.

How can anyone want Livni to be Prime Minister?

Anti-Obama Bloggers Say They Were Silenced

ANNA PHILLIPS, Special to the Sun | August 5, 2008

Web loggers who are campaigning against Senator Obama's presidential run are accusing Google and Obama supporters of silencing them after their Web logs were marked as spam and their accounts temporarily frozen.

On Thursday, hours after publishing a post about an online petition demanding that Mr. Obama publicly produce his birth certificate, an associate professor of business administration at Brooklyn College, Mitchell Langbert, found that he could no longer access his Web log.

Google's Blogger hosting service had suspended "Mitchell Langbert's Blog," which Mr. Langbert describes as "two-thirds academic stuff I'm working on and one-third politics," until it could verify the Web log was not a "spam blog," or a site designed solely to increase the page views of associated Web sites A day later Google lifted the block on the account, but the incident and earlier Web log freezes in late June have led Mr. Langbert and other anti-Obama bloggers to accuse the Illinois senator's supporters of intentionally identifying their blog addresses to Google as spam blogs. They also say the company has reflexively suspended the sites.

"These tech-savvy smart alecks have figured out that if you report a blog you don't like, you can do some damage to a person," Mr. Langbert said.

A spokesman for Google, Adam Kovacevich, said in a statement that an overzealous antispam filter was responsible for the blocks.

"We believe this was caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the 'Just Say No Deal' network of blogs, which in turn caused our system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam," he said. "We have restored posting rights to the affected blogs, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression."

Several of the blogs that were blocked, including and, are part of the "Just Say No Deal" network of anti-Obama blogs. But Mr. Langbert's blog is not, leading him to conclude that Obama supporters had targeted him.

On her right-leaning blog "Atlas Shrugs," Pamela Geller keeps a list of blogs that Google has temporarily blocked. "The blockings do come in waves," she said. "The last wave was this past week, and now it got very quiet."

Some writers have had their blogs unblocked, while others have moved them to WordPress, a rival blog host.

"I don't think" Google has "malicious intentions at all, it's just that spammers can literally overrun a service if you're not careful, so their defenses have become overzealous," a spokesman for WordPress, Matthew Mullenweg, said in an e-mail.

"We always have human review before turning off an active blog," he said. "People invest so much time into their blogs, to treat it with anything less than the utmost respect is criminal.".

Hamas says exile of Fatah clan "a cear message"

Refugee Fatah-loyalists who fled Hamas persecution in Gaza transferred to hands of Palestinian Authority in West Bank on Monday as Hamas boasts it has toppled last Fatah stronghold in Strip. 'We've sent a clear message to all concerned,' Hamas spokesman says

Efrat Weiss
Israel News

Three buses carrying 87 Palestinians who fled Hamas persecution in Gaza arrived in the West Bank city of Jericho on Monday evening, following an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. in the day it was reported that the group would be transported to Ramallah. Military officials said the change of venue to Jericho is due to an internal Palestinian disagreement. The PA however insists Israel dictated the change.

In Jericho preparations were underway to welcome the members of the Hilles clan, who fled Gaza over the weekend after violent altercations with the ruling Hamas movement. In all, 11 people were killed and dozens wounded Saturday during a Hamas raid on the clan. About two dozen wounded were taken for treatment in Israeli hospitals and the rest were kept in army custody.

A special encampment has been prepared for the clan by the PA. Save for one senior Fatah official, Ahmed Hilles, and a small number of additional operatives who will continue on to Ramallah – all of the refugees will remain in Jericho until a permanent solution can be found for them.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak reversed a decision made a day earlier to send the men back to Gaza. After consulting with Palestinian leaders, Barak decided the men who escaped into Israel Saturday would be permitted to cross through Israeli territory to the Fatah-controlled West Bank, according to a statement from Barak's office.

After the Hilles men escaped from Gaza, Abbas first asked Israel to send them back home. Abbas apparently wanted his forces to retain a presence in Gaza despite the danger of reprisals from Hamas, and feared a precedent that could spark a mass flight of Fatah supporters from the territory.

Palestinian officials said Abbas changed his mind when an initial group of 32 of the clansmen were sent back into Gaza on Sunday, only to be immediately arrested by Hamas. A statement from Barak's office Monday, however, said it was Israel that stopped sending them back when it ''received information that they were being arrested by Hamas and that their lives were in immediate danger.''

''Barak ordered an immediate re-evaluation of the situation and direct discussions with Palestinian officials in order to convince them to allow the refugees entry (to the West Bank) instead,'' the statement said.

Hamas: We uprooted last Fatah stronghold

Islam Shahwan, spokesman for Hamas police, said in an interview that the weekend raid - the bloodiest Hamas-Fatah fighting since the Gaza takeover - sent a "clear message to all concerned."

"We do believe this was the last stronghold in Gaza," he said, referring to potential Hamas opponents among the territory's myriad clans. "This stronghold had to be uprooted."

Shahwan said that more than 100 Hilles men had been detained and that Hamas forces seized a large weapons stockpile, including mortars, assault rifles, land mines and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

In a small sign of defiance, a group of Hilles children went outdoors wrapped in yellow Fatah flags, saying they hoped the sight would annoy Hamas troops patrolling the neighborhood on foot and in pickup trucks.

Fatah: Sign of Hamas' desperation

Sufian Abu Zaydeh, a Gaza native and former Palestinian Cabinet minister from Fatah, said the forced exile of the Fatah supporters was a sign of Gaza's desperation.

"When a man stands between two choices: to be killed by his people or to be arrested by his enemy, and he reaches a conclusion that it is better to be arrested by his enemy, it shows you how cruel the situation is in Gaza," he told Israel's Army Radio.

In the Shijaiyeh district, the weekend fighting left some of the clan members' homes in shambles.

Residents showed reporters two homes they claimed were ransacked by Hamas police.

Shahwan, the Hamas police spokesman, said complaints of theft would be investigated. He argued that outsiders could have come in to steal from the homes during the chaos of fighting.

Hani Busbus, a political analyst in Gaza, said Fatah cannot be written off completely in the Gaza Strip.

"There's still around 30 to 40 percent of Gazans who support Fatah," he said. "On the ground, Fatah will be smaller: It doesn't have it's security strongholds, a military wing, and it doesn't have any activities or institutions. But ideologically, the movement is still here."

Ali Waked and the Associated Press contributed to this story

Israeli Olympic athete kicks boys buy keeps kosher

Israeli Taekwondo delegate to Beijing, native of Ramallah-adjacent settlement Bat-El Gaterer keeps Shabbat, settles for kosher instant food, staying focused on her mission to take home Olympic medal

Moriah Zeltser Volshtein
Israel Jewish Scene

In between their Taekwondo matches, the opponents take a breather and fill up on a protein bar that will keep their energy level high for the next confrontation. Having no time to sit down for a proper nutritious meal, this serves as their only source of energy. But while her opponents munch on their bar, Bat-El Gaterer, the only Taekwondo delegate to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, adds hot water to her kosher instant noodle cup made in Israel It’s not that Gaterer has a poor taste in food. It’s just that it’s so hard to find a kosher protein bar, and if it means she has to make do with a cup of instant noodles full of MSG, than that’s what it’ll be. That’s how it goes when you’re the only religious contestant in the entire Israeli Olympic delegation.

Gaterer’s coach, Noa Shmida, wished to clarify what may seem to the average reader as a curious jest: “Athletes keep a very strict dietary regime, which is even more critical when the type of sport requires measuring and calculations of muscular mass.

"Bat-El arrives at the competitions after having consumed junk food such as those instant foods, which have an affect. As someone who is in charge of her nutrition, I regret that she cannot consume healthy food – but she has her own faith and will not compromise.

“However, she has not only succeeded in her field and made it into the Olympic Games, but is the only representative of that field (Taekwondo) from Israel. That’s a huge accomplishment.”

Gaterer’s uncompromising nature reaches far beyond kosher matters. Her coach recalled a Taekwondo competition held in Belgium for which the Israeli delegation scraped to find a single hotel room close to where competition was held so that Gaterer wouldn’t have to walk all the way there on Shabbat.

But she still got out of bed at four in the morning for fear she wouldn’t wake up on time, only to realize she had turned off her cell phone and had no clue what time it was. She couldn’t take the elevator or leave the room because both required operating electrical devices on Shabbat. So she sat in her room waiting for he coach Shmida to pick her up. Though she had slept only three hours, she fought in five rounds and took the third prize.

On Taekwondo and boys
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art primarily based on footwork. In its competitive version, it is a kicking match awarding one point for kicking the rival in the stomach and two points for hitting him in the head. After three rounds of two-minutes each, the one accumulating the highest point score is the winner. Eight years ago, Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is the second time Israel sends a Taekwondo delegate.

Twenty-year-old Gaterer grew up at the Kochav Yaakov settlement not far from the West Bank city of Ramallah. At the age of nine, she registered for a street fighting class and her coach suggested she focus on footwork. Recognizing her potential, he referred her to the Achi-yehuda Dojang club and its team in Jerusalem. Gaterer began learning Taekwondo when she was 12 and hasn’t stopped kicking since. While studying at the girls’ seminary in Ofra, she also started training with Israel's national team.

“Everyone at seminary accepted it (Taekwondo practice) and supported me,” said the Olympic delegate.

And they didn’t have a problem with you practicing with boys and wearing pants on TV?

“The only reason for practicing with boys is the simple fact that there are more of them on the team.”

But isn’t it problematic for you in terms of “negiah” (banned physical contact with the opposite sex)?

“No. It’s a kicking match. I don’t see it as problematic.”

Gaterer wins World Championship Bronze Medal (photo: Michel Madar)

What about practice or competitions held on Saturday?

“There’s no practice on Saturday. And my Olympic matches don’t fall on Saturdays. We checked it.”

But if they were holding Saturday competitions, would you have given up on Beijing?

“I compete on Saturdays,” Gaterer answered frankly. “I don’t see a contradiction. I don’t drive to the competitions, they’re no a monetary prizes, the referees are gentiles. The only issue is food and I bring hot (instant) cups because there’s no kosher food.”

Unique character

Geterer’s coach admitted religious observance makes it hard for religious athletes to get ahead. “But despite the obstacles, Bat-El manages to reach the highest levels. Her advantages make up for the disadvantages religion poses. Because she is so unspoiled and believes in herself, and due to her unique character, she succeeds and wins – even if she had to walk a few good kilometers to get to the match.”

Gaterer failed her first attempt to qualify for the Olympic Games. She sought to reach one of the first places in the Taekwondo World Championship, but only came in fifth. Later on she made up for it by taking the Bronze Medal at the Taekwondo European Championship – and a ticket to China. She hopes to further surprise her fans in the Olympic Games.

Could you imagine representing Israel in the Olympic Games?

“I didn’t even dream of it, but when I started training I got to like the idea. Not to mention the fact that I once thought of becoming a pilot or an astronaut.”

What are your chances to win a medal?

“I hope for the best.”

Does practicing Taekwondo changed you or are you just as observant as before?

“I am just as religious as I was before.”

And you never contemplated quitting it (religion) for career’s sake?

“Never. At first it was really hard to incorporate the two, but I did it.”