Friday, May 13, 2005

Muslim Sensibilities, Part 2

A wave of anti-American protests is sweeping across Afghanistan, apparently predicated on a report in Newsweek that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, deliberately desecrated a copy of the Koran by tearing pages from it and flushing them down a toilet. Over several days of rioting, at least nine Afghanis have been killed.
Police officers are reported to be among four dead in Ghazni province, 150km south-west of the capital, Kabul, after security forces clashed with protesters.

Interior ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told the BBC that some of the demonstrators involved in the Ghazni protest were armed with AK 47s and handguns.

"They tried to attack the governor's house and office", he said, "and fired on police and afghan army troops."

Another three people were killed in the north-eastern province of Badakhshan after police opened fire on what reports described as a large group of protesters who were shouting "Death to America!".

"It's like a tsunami, anything can happen. It's difficult to predict," provincial police chief Shah Jahan Noori told Reuters news agency, adding that demonstrators had fired on aid agency offices.

Security sources say one person was killed in the city of Gardez south-east of Kabul and another protester shot in the north-western town of Qal-e-now.

US forces are reported to have gone to the aid of a UN compound in Gardez when it was besieged by demonstrators.

Reaction to the Newsweek report has come from outside Afghanistan as well.

The Saudi government has voiced "deep indignation" at the reported desecration, while the Pakistani foreign minister said that if reports from Guantanamo are true, those responsible should be severely punished.

Pakistan's powerful opposition Islamic coalition called for protests after Friday prayers but in the main cities only small crowds turned out.

So let's get this right, a single report in an American news magazine, denied, incidentally, by the Pentagon, prompts violent rallies and riots in Afghanistan, whose people the US liberated from the opressive and theocratic Taliban, and harsh condemnation from other Muslim governments. However, when nearly 3,000 American civilians were mass murdered by Islamic extremists, Muslims danced in the streets or quietly expressed satisfaction. There were no anti-al Qaeda rallies or riots denouncing the 9/11 hijackers, who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam. Indeed, throughout the Muslim world, Osama bin Ladin's face appeared on supportive t-shirts almost in a manner befitting a rock star. This is how Muslims behave. They will tolerate the most vile, barbaric behavior of their own people against "infidels" (read: anyone other than their own brand of Islam), but throw hysterical, childish fits of violence on the mere rumor that any non-Muslims has done something they don't like. To make matters worse, the US government practically falls over itself to mollify them.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has promised prompt action if allegations of desecration of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp prove to be true.

The last time Christian churches were bombed in Pakistan or Indonesia, did Europeans and Americans rage in the streets crying for Muslim blood? Of course not. After 9/11, were Muslims in the US killed wholesale in the streets? No. Were there even riots of angry Americans demanding such? No. Yet the mildest rumor of offense is sanction for Muslims to run riot like demented savages baying for blood and spilling it where ever they please. President Bush has told us that Islam is a "religion of peace." The evidence, mounting in piles of bodies bags every day, strongly says otherwise. So long as the West tolerates this double standard of behavior, Muslims will continue to act like savage children. Only when the West responds, harshly and with devastating force to Muslim intimidation and violence, will Muslims have an incentive to change their behavior.

Common Sense in Holland

After decades of open door immigration, the Dutch were jolted from their politically correct slumber by the horrific murder of Theo van Gogh last November. Since then, the formerly uber-tolerant Dutch have realized that slain politician Pim Fortuyn's politically incorrect warnings were correct and that mass immigration from non-Western nations has threatened the unique cultural identity of their nation. Now the Dutch seem to be willing to take more serious measures to protect the culture from outside invasion. (Source: "Dutch row over proposal to ban Caribbean youngsters," by Frederic Bichon, Agence France Presse, May 12, 2005; see similar article here)
A new plan by the Dutch government to control an influx of young people from the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean, who as Dutch citizens have a right to live in the mother country, has caused heated political debate.

The plans, which have outraged political leaders in the small Caribbean island territory, are expected to be announced by the government on Friday, but were leaked in advance to the media.

Under the proposal, young people aged between 16 and 24 arriving from the Antilles could be deported if they had neither found a job nor signed up for studies three months after their arrival.

'We can't go on like this,' said the tough-talking minister for immigration and integration, Rita Verdonk, commenting on reports that young people from the Antilles cause social problems in The Netherlands.

She announced harsh measures 'for youngsters that think that when they get off the plane scooters and mobile phones will be waiting for them'.

'For people who have a job or want to study here there will be no problems,' she added.

Verdonk announced in 2004 that she would deport some 26,000 failed asylum seekers, including many who had lived in the Netherlands for more than five years.

Under the new plans, young Antillians who had neither jobs nor courses of study, and also any who had served jail sentences, would be subject to deportation despite their Dutch nationality.

The proposals are expected to be adopted by the government Friday but will still have get the okay from the Dutch parliament.
Though restricting immigration from The Dutch Antilles, which is technically an independent territory of the Netherlands is made more legally complex by the fact that residents of the islands hold Dutch passports, the Dutch government said it felt it stood on firm legal grounds. Naturally, local leaders in the Dutch Antilles expressed anger at the plan, but the Dutch government has excellent reasons for restricting immigration from its former Carribean possessions.
The immigration and integration ministry estimates that about half of Antillians under 25 year of age do not have a job and one in nine is a criminal against one in forty for the general population.
The Dutch left is, of course, outraged. However, with ethnic tensions rising fast in Holland - where native Dutch may soon be a minority in several major cities - the plan is expected to receive approval from parliament. Holland has awakened from its multicultural acid trip to find itself mired the reality of squalor and violence brought about by mass immigration. Whether the country can reverse course and restore itself remains an open question, not merely for the Dutch, but for all of Europe.

Muslim Sensibilities

Muslim advocacy groups are quick to pounce on anyone suggesting a link between Islam and terrorism or violence, or anyone who questions the compatibility of Islamic culture with Western values. Those who dare raise such questions are denounced as racists. Governments who decide to restrict immigration from Muslim nations - usually after a rash of Islamic violence, i.e.. the Netherlands - are similiarly accused of "Islamophobia." Of course, not every government wants to restrict immigration from the Islamic world. Under its current socialist regime, Spain has declared that it will not restrict immigration and will continue to welcome immigrants - legal and illegal - from the Islamic world. If the Spanish want a good example of what they are letting into their country with this policy, they need only look to a recent incident in the Canary Islands.
A 16-year-old boy was beheaded by another youth at a centre for immigrants in the Canary Islands.

The Moroccan boy was killed last night at the centre in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, which is popular with expats and holidaymakers.

The savage killing took place after an argument between ten young Moroccan youths.

The cause of the argument has not been established by authorities who are investigating the crime.
The Spanish courts have moved quickly to stop any more details of the ghoulish crime from reaching the ears of the Spanish public - lest they draw politically incorrect conclusions about the behavior of Muslim immigrants. Recall that beheading is the killing tactic of choice amongst most Islamists.
The weapon which was used to hack off the boy's head has been seized by police, who refused to reveal any more details after a judge imposed an order to stop banning details being disclosed to the media.

But authorities at the centre insisted regular checks were made on the youngsters who were detained at the centre to stop them bringing in weapons.

It is thought the killer must have hidden the weapon and smuggled it into the centre.

It would also indicate that the killer had planned the crime beforehand and it was not simply an instantaneous killing.

Police sources, quoted by the local newspaper 'La Provincia' said it may have been an argument over drug-trafficking.

One minor has been arrested for the murder and was being questioned by police.
With hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Morrocco and the Middle East currently flooding into Spain, the Spanish have quite the bright future to look forward to over the next several decades.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Washington's Non-Terror Alert

What did Islamist terrorists learn from today's panicked evacuation of the US Capitol and White House after a tiny private aircraft penetrated restricted air space over the Capital District?
1. That the US cowers in terror of another attack, a decidedly un-superpowerlike posture for the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation.

2. US security is so lousy that an unidentified aircraft will be permitted to come within three miles (less than two minutes flying time) of the nation's most important political centers without being stopped.
Today's event had nothing to do with Islamist terror and everything to do with incompetent flying and too-lenient enforcement of the restricted air space. But it was the best public relations gain for Islamist terrorist in three years. Every tourist in Washington learned this afternoon that America is a country under siege from Islamists -- a country that cannot protect even its own political inner sanctum. That is the impression they will take home with them, especially the foreign tourists. Worse, the terrorists now know that, even though the US can quickly scramble warplanes, those planes will not fire on the target until it is already over the capital district and almost on top of the White House. This is no way to enforce "restricted airspace" and no way to run a superpower.

Of course, the US would have little to fear if it controlled its borders and designed its immigration policy to benefit the nation and not the immigrants ... but no one in Washington seems interested in sensible policies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More Evidence of the Decline of UK Public Schools

The same sort of intellectual rot and declining discipline that ruined American public schools has now spread throughout Britain's public school system, with the inevitable result that classrooms are in disorder and students are falling behind. According to a new study, public school students in Britain increasingly find themselves unable to compete with privately educated students in more challenging subjects. More worryingly, the study discovered that public schools often dissuaded students from even attempting more difficult subjects.

[The study] found that state school pupils were increasingly turning away - or being encouraged to turn away - from hard A-levels such as maths, chemistry, physics and modern languages and instead taking easier subjects such as media studies, art, design and technology, business studies and psychology.

The result was that independent school pupils, who accounted for only 15 per cent of the total number of A-level candidates, were achieving a disproportionate share of A grades in the hardest subjects: 60 per cent in modern languages, 48 per cent in chemistry and 46 per cent in physics and maths.

At the same time, the gap in performance between independent and state schools was widening.

Over the past four years, the proportion of A-levels taken by fee-paying pupils had risen to 23 per cent, and the proportion of A grades they achieved to 40 per cent.

Apart from modern languages and the sciences, the subjects in which independent school pupils achieved the most disproportionate share of A grades were music, history, English and economics.

The decline of public education in Britain (or America, for that matter) is a matter for extreme concern because of the very large percentage of the population dependent on it. As in most developed countries, the overwhelming majority of school children in Britain attend public schools. A decline in the quality of public education thus affects the majority of the population and will produce long-lasting future damage to the British economy as poorly-educated students graduate and enter the workforce. UK leaders often cite the need for skilled workers as an excuse for immigration. If native-born British students aren't entering the sciences or skilled professions, then thedeficit of skilled British labor and scientists will only get worse in the future. Given the importance of science and high technology workers to a modern economy, this represents a recipe for economic decline.

"These figures are extremely worrying," said the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which conducted the study.

"They go a long way to explaining why many of the best universities are finding it hard to increase state school entries despite extensive access programmes and an overall improvement in grades.

"It seems that university departments in science, maths and languages are increasingly dependent on independent schools for their survival.

"If nothing is done to reverse these trends, whole subject areas [and the university places and careers that go with them] will, to an uncomfortable extent, become the preserve of those lucky enough to be educated in the independent sector."

Jonathan Shephard, the general secretary of the ISC, urged the Government to "pick up the phone" and act on the independent sector's offer of help in raising state school standards and increasing social mobility.

"There is a reservoir of untapped and undeveloped talent, particularly among children from disadvantaged backgrounds," he said.

At present, the focus of partnership activities between independent and state schools was on facilities. "But independent schools have a lot more to offer than playing fields," Mr Shephard said.

"A serious commitment by the Government to working with schools in the independent sector could see 'virtual academies' in sciences and languages set up so that state school pupils could benefit from the experience of independent school teachers."

The best thing the UK government could do to reverse this situation would be to restore order and discipline to the classroom. Student "rights" must be subordinated to the power of the teacher and administrator, as they are in private schools, and misbehaving students should be expelled. Only when order has been restored can the curriculum be reorganized to promote improved performance and more challenging subject matter.

Monday, May 09, 2005

America's Security Boondoggle

The US has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on faulty high-tech screening equipment to combat possible terrorist attacks.

The troublesome devices include explosives detectors triggered by Yorkshire puddings and nuclear weapons monitors which are set off by bananas.

Since the September 2001 attacks, £2.4 billion (almost $5 billion) has been spent on equipment to monitor airports, ports, mail sorting offices and border posts. But most of the money has been wasted, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The laundry list of malfunctioning devices is pitiful. US government officials would be shamed into resignation - if they had any shame to begin with.

The authorities are now spending billions more to buy new equipment or modify earlier purchases. Among the problems were radiation detectors unable to differentiate between nuclear weapons, cat litter or bananas.

Some chemical weapons monitors went off 36 hours after an attack, while mail screening systems picked up anthrax traces but nothing else. "Everyone was standing in line with their silver bullets to make us more secure after September 11," said Col Randall Larsen, a former government adviser. "We bought a lot of stuff off the shelf that wasn't effective."

In one case, airport authorities bought 1,300 screening machines, each costing more than £500,000 (more than $1 million), to detect explosives by assessing the density of objects.

But many objects, from shampoo bottles to Yorkshire puddings, have similar densities to explosives, triggering the alarm in up to a third of all luggage.

Unfazed by this incredible boondoggle, US government officials tried desperately to put a positive spin on their malfeasance.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said even poorly functioning devices provided some deterrence to terrorists.

Christopher Cox, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives homeland security committee, said that after the terrorist attacks, the government showed its commitment by spending more money as rapidly as possible.

He said: "That brought us what we might expect, which is some expensive mistakes."

Rep. Cox should resign in disgrace. Better still, voters in his district should demand he step down and mount a recall effort, if possible. The same applies for the every Representative on the laughably named Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Cox and his colleauges on Capitol Hill have utterly failed the American people, as has the White House. On September 11, 2001, the US was viciously attacked by highly organizaed Islamic fanatics from the Middle East. The US government knew of this building threat for decades and calmly tolerated escalating attacks on Americans and US interests abroad with nary a response. Despite overwhelming intelligence of Islamist desire to strike in the US, and several actual terrorist attacks by Islamists on US soil - including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center - the US government failed to take the action to apprehend or exterminate the terrorists abroad. Worse still, it failed to take the absolute simplest action possible to prevent 9/11 -- deny the Islamist access to the US. In the aftermath of the 1993 attack on the WTC, immigration from the Middle East should have been virtually cut off. Visas for tourism, business travel and education should have been radically restricted and those granted such visas should have been carefully screened and monitored. Preventing Islamist terrorists from entering the US in the first place is the best and most sensible means of preventing a terrorist attack. It is also the least expensive and doesn't require any new technology.

Washington's failure to take this simple, preventative step allowed Islamists to travel to the US, survey targets, organize vast fundraising apparatus amongst American Muslims, and establish networks of sympathizers in the US. Meanwhile, the US government, rendered brain dead by the intellectual poison of multiculturalism, declined to investigate the suspicious behavior of some Muslims for fear of appearing "racist."

If the US government wants to prevent another massive Islamist terrorist attack on the US, the most effect action it can take is to stop Islamists from entering the US. That means refusing entry to people coming from the Middle East and to Muslims coming from Europe (home to many radical Islamists). The northern and southern US borders should be secured. No need for high-technology here either; thousands of well-armed agents on foot or horseback, in planes, helicopters or jeeps will do very nicely. This will, of course, raise a hewn cry from the Islamist advocacy organizations and pressure groups in the US who will scream racism, intolerance and discrimination. To this, Washington must answer: too bad. Protecting the lives of American citizens must take precedence over the feelings of certain religious or ethnic groups, especially those from which those who are waging war on the US come.

But Washington - both Congress and the White House - refuses to restrict entry to the US. The Bush administration even tried to revive the accelerated visa program with Saudi Arabia (from which 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came) within months of the attacks. The borders remain porous and unprotected, while US intelligence officials warn that Islamist terrorists are virtually certain to cross the US-Mexico border to enter the US. The only thing Washington has does is to create new layers of bureacracy (requiring billions in taxpayer funding) and spend billions of dollars on worthless technology manufactured by corporations whose lobbyists loiter in the halls of Congress, plying congressmen with campaign contributions and free dinners, vacations and promises of future jobs. It leaves one to wonder whether the US government really wants to prevent another attack, or secretly hopes for one.

Tsunami Aid Yet to Reach Hardest-Hit

The terrible death toll from last December's Indian Ocean tsunami provoked an outpouring of compassion from the developed world. Billions of dollars were pledged by governments, aid organizations and private individuals worldwide to help the people of affect region recover from the tragedy and rebuild their lives. Predictably, however, in the hardest hit area, most of the aid has yet to reach the victims of the tsunami's destruction.
The Indonesian official co-ordinating the recovery of tsunami-hit Aceh has said reconstruction there has hardly begun, five months after the disaster.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said he was shocked at how little had been done for almost 600,000 survivors who lost their homes on 26 December 2004.

He said Indonesia had been too slow to set up the agency he heads, and that $5bn in aid had not yet been dispersed.

Mr Mangkusubroto said bureaucracy might delay the money for four more months.

The progress of reconstruction efforts in Aceh are underwhelming at best. Who's to blame? Not surprisingly, both the international governments dispensing the aid and the Indonesian government receiving it.

"Roads? There are no roads being built. Bridges? There are no bridges being built. Harbours? There are no harbours being built," [Mr Mangkusubroto] said.

He said part of the problem was that foreign governments were waiting for his agency to be up and running before handing out the billions of dollars they had pledged.

Defenders of the aid effort say they are doing their best in the face of overwhelming suffering. They say they need to move with deliberation to avoid misdirected or duplicated assistance.

The BBC's Tim Johnston in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, says Mr Mangkusubroto's comments echo the increasing frustration of many Acehnese at what they feel is the relatively slow pace of reconstruction.

More than 165,00 people died or are assumed dead in Aceh, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. A further 600,000 were left homeless.

In total, some $10bn has been pledged for relief and reconstruction for the countries around the Indian Ocean, and the bulk of that money is expected to go to Indonesia, the hardest-hit country.

Complicating the reconstruction of Aceh is an separatist insurgency that aims to break Aceh way from the rest of Indonesia. The conflict between the insurgents and the Indonesian government has been simmering for some years with occasional bloody outbreaks. In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, Jakarta was hesitant to permit foreign aid workers to enter Aceh, claiming it couldn't guarantee their safety because of the insurgency, though more likely afraid the international press would get a good idea of what's been going on it Aceh. The insurgency against the national government is likely a major part of the reason for the extremely slow pace of reconstruction. Jakarta may simply have little sympathy for the residents of a rebellious province.

"There is no sense of urgency," [Mr Mangkusubroto] said.

Mr Mangkusubroto, who has just visited Aceh, said the situation there was "shocking".

"There is not enough food for the kids... at least there should be some food."

He said the key to the problem was co-ordination, and he promised to provide the needed direction.

And he pledged to take a tough stand towards anyone in his agency found misusing funds, saying they would be subject to double penalties under Indonesian law, including prison terms.