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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, April 03, 2006


Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made an unannounced visit to Iraq today in order to send an unusually public message to the political factions that have stalemated the formation of a new government. Both bluntly told the press that they want to press for a unity government now, not two months from now, in order to end the political vacuum that has Iraqis losing patience with their national assembly:

The top U.S. and British diplomats told Iraqi leaders on Sunday they cannot afford to "leave a political vacuum" and must work quickly to form a new unified government.

The surprise visit by Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw highlighted the allies' growing impatience with the Iraqis' failure to set up a governing coalition nearly four months after elections.

Rice told reporters she and Straw conveyed the same message to each of the leaders they saw: that each must do his own job in resolving the political stalemate and do it quickly.

"Whatever role that is, it's time to play it because the Iraqi people are losing patience," Rice said. "What is more, your international allies want to see this get done because you can't continue to leave a political vacuum."

One of those leaders, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, said Rice and Straw made clear "there is a sense of urgency to form this new Iraqi national unity government" and that "there is a sense of impatience back in Washington and London about the delay."

That's about as blunt a message as one will see delivered by Western diplomats, especially in a region with this much volatility. It shows that the Bush and Blair administrations have come to the end of their patience with the eleventh-hour style of negotiations that the Iraqis have used for the past year when consolidating the elections into a functioning executive. The longer it takes to form a government, the more opportunity that fringe groups and radical militias have to cause mischief and mayhem.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to this transition may shortly be removed from the calculations. Prior to Rice and Straw arriving in Baghdad, Reuters reported that Shi'ite support for Ibrahim al-Jafaari had disintegrated, with voices calling for his resignation:

Leaders of Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Alliance bloc called publicly for the first time yesterday for Ibrahim al-Jaafari to step down as prime minister to break weeks of deadlock over a national-unity government.

The move against Mr. al-Jaafari, declared publicly by one leader and echoed, anonymously, by others, came as parties held their latest round of talks on a grand coalition with Kurds and Sunnis.

Kurds and Sunnis remain adamant in their rejection of Mr. al-Jaafari.

The majority Shi'ite coalition could not get the two-thirds necessary to retain Jafaari in the executive post, and his continued insistence on holding onto his office had created all sorts of tensions and obstacles in the latest talks over forming the government. The US officially took no position on Jafaari, but it is clear from the high-stakes visit from both Rice and Straw that the Western coalition wants the talks to move beyond Jafaari. It is no mere academic exercise for the two nations, as the violence threatens our soldiers as well as our resolve to see Iraq through to victory.

The real message that Rice and Straw brought to the Iraqi leadership may not be known in detail for some time. I suspect it was a reminder that the only thing standing between the democrats in Iraq and the Ba'athist remnants and al-Qaeda terrorists is Anglo-American resolve. The leaders of the assembly spend that unwisely on their dithering and their petty rivalries rather than uniting as democrats to face down tyranny and build their nation anew. One hopes that the Sunnis and the Shi'ites in particular have listened well, and that they propose leadership that can unite the factions rather than perpetuating the discord. With Jafaari getting tossed under the bus by his own parties, that appears to finally be under way.  Sunday, April 2, 2006




Iran has announced another new weapons system: Iran Claims to Have Test-Fired Missile That Can Destroy Warships.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran announced its second major new missile test within days, saying Sunday it has successfully fired a high-speed torpedo capable of destroying huge warships and submarines.

The tests came during war games that Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have been holding in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea since Friday at a time of increased tensions with the United States over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian-made torpedo — called the “Hoot,” or “whale” — has a speed of 223 miles per hour, said Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy.

That would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world’s known fastest, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Hoot was based on the Shkval.


In an interview with China’s Xinhua news wire, Palestinian “Minister of Foreign Affairs” Mahmoud al-Zahar shares his dream: the destruction of Israel. (Hat tip: Blogspirator.)

The senior official also defended Hamas’ ultimate goal of destroying Israel and founding an Islamic state.

“I dreams of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it,” he said. “I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (including Israel).”

This dream will become real one day. I’m certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land,” said al-Zahar.

However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state...  Sunday, April 2, 2006


Borders isn’t the only bookseller to cave in to Islamist intimidation. Last month Cathy Seipp reported another preemptive surrender, motivated by leftist ideology, at one of the birthplaces of the free speech movement: The fascists of free speech.

A FRIEND OF MINE took his young daughter to visit the famous City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, explaining to her that the place is important because years ago it sold books no other store would — even, perhaps especially, books whose ideas many people found offensive.

So, although my friend is no fan of Ward Churchill, the faux Indian and discredited professor who notoriously called 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns,” he didn’t really mind seeing piles of Churchill’s books prominently displayed on a table as he walked in.

However, it did occur to him that perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci’s new book, “The Force of Reason,” might finally be available, and that because Fallaci’s militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people, a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

“No,” snapped the clerk. “We don’t carry books by fascists.”


From MEMRI TV, here’s a mind-altering show from Kuwait’s Al-Rai TV, featuring an Egyptian Islamic expert discussing the finer points of female genital mutilation.

Interviewer: So what about the girl’s opinion?

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: What do you mean?

Interviewer: What if she says: I don’t want to be circumcised. What happens then?

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: If a girl says she doesn’t want it, she’s free. No problem.

Interviewer: Is this what happens in reality?

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: I have no relation to reality. I am talking about how things should be.

Interviewer: You are a religious sheik, from Al-Azahar University. You cannot say you have no relation to reality.

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: Reality is a mistake, we must rectify it.


In Egypt we have four and a half million spinsters. The definition of a spinster is a woman who has reached 30, without ever receiving a marriage proposal. We have a spinster problem in the Arab world, and the last thing we want is for them to be sexually aroused. Circumcision of the girls who need it makes them chaste, dignified, and pure.  Saturday, April 1, 2006




Canadian jihad, eh? From the Globe and Mail, with thanks to Sr. Soph:

A Montreal resident was picked by al-Qaeda plotters to be a pilot in a second wave of suicide hijackings to follow the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because he was a Canadian citizen, a deposition filed at the U.S. trial of terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui alleges.

Abderraouf Jdey, a Montrealer of Tunisian origin who is now a fugitive, obtained his Canadian citizenship in 1995. He was selected along with Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen, because they had passports from Western countries, since al-Qaeda planners expected tighter security after Sept. 11, the court document says.

“Al Qaeda wanted the second wave operatives to carry French, Canadian, Malaysian, or Indonesian passports instead of Middle Eastern passports,” the document says.  Sunday, April 2, 2006




By Chris Muir




UPI reported yesterday (via Power Line News) that the Democrats are "hunting through" the last three defense appropriations bills in search of a "scandal." The always-charming Democrats are looking for funding requests made by former Congressman Randy Cunningham, hoping to tie them to appropriations that were ultimately made. Cunningham, of course, is serving time in a federal penitentiary after admitting that he took bribes from defense contractors. One wonders, though: if any funding requests he made were inappropriate and can only be explained by the fact that he was on the take, why did so many other Congressmen of both parties vote for them?

If the Democrats really want to find a scandal relating to defense appropriations, they should look closer to home. They used their filibuster of the FY 2006 Defense Department appropriations bill to strip out of the bill significant provisions relating to border security and emergency preparedness that enjoyed majority support. These include:


$1 billion: New grant program dedicated solely to providing state and local governments with interoperable communications equipment so states can prepare in advance for a disaster like Katrina or terrorist attack


$1 billion: Grant program dedicated to preparing state and local governments for disasters of all sorts: natural disasters like Katrina, terrorist attacks, or pandemic events

-- Allows public health departments to gear up for avian flu outbreak or biological attack

-- Enables states and cities to work on issues identified in Katrina like evacuation routes and housing and care of refugees.

-- Funds allocated based on threat and risk with amount guaranteed to each state -- .55% is the minimum (at least $5 million per state).


$1.1 billion: Major infrastructure improvements to allow the United States to control its border.

Using the filibuster to block reasonable efforts to prepare for emergencies and better control our borders seems pretty scandalous to me. Is it maybe time for some changes in the Senate rules?  Sunday, April 2, 2006




ABC producer John Green whose "loose-keyed" email was discussed here earlier under the "Myth of Impartiality" has been suspended by the network for a month, according to Howard Kurtz. I wrote then that Green's coming out of the closet as a Bush hater was a good thing because his (and most media honchos') vaunted impartiality was a fake anyway and should be revealed to the public. Deep down, ABC must agree because a month's suspension isn't much.

Interestingly, there is another leaked email involved in the suspension - cited in the Kurtz article - about which I had known nothing. In this one, Green wrote Madeleine Albright has "Jew shame." Albright, as many know, suddenly "acknowledged" her Jewish roots, as Kurtz puts it, in 1997 after they were discovered by Washington Post writer Michael Dobbs in the midst of researching a book. I could have told Dobbs years before, if he had asked me. Albright is a dead ringer for my grandmother. As for Green's email on the subject, I would count it as trivial, hardly a firing, or even a suspending, offense. More likely it was thrown in for its "equal opportunity" content (Albright being a Dem).  Sunday, April 2, 2006


I can't think of a politician less sincere and less comprehensible than Wesley Clark. I can't accuse him of being a flip-flopper, however, because I neve have a clue of what he is saying - other than the ever-fungible "other guys bad, me good." Today he brought his self-promotional blather to the Democrat's weekly address. Who would want to watch or listen? Not me or anyone else with something better to do (in my case reading the gardening section of the Seattle Times).

But... there is a good side... a very good side.

By promoting this soporific character the Democrats are beginning to ackowledge the importance of a strong defense and, more importantly, that something really must be done about Islamic facism other than beefing up the Bakersfield police force. This is for the best because, in the grand tradition of you-touch-you-own-it, the Democrats may wind up in the White House the next time around and we don't want it occupied by a Howard Dean clone. I'd even prefer Wesley Clark to that (if push came to the proverbial shove)... not that that's about to happen.... but you know what I mean.  Saturday, April 1, 2006




France has ground to a halt with its recent strikes over the government's attempt to invigorate the jobs market by allowing employers to termnate younger workers who do not succeed in their jobs, easing job-security regulations for the first two years of their employment. Sadly and predictably, the very people this program intends on helping have responded by threatening revolution, rioting and destroying property while protesting the administration that had the temerity to attempt to treat them as responsible adults. While these events threaten to kill what's left of the French economy, the culture has once again sunk to targeting Jews as the traditional center of European anti-Semitism rises once again.

The student protests have gone on for weeks, following on the heels of Muslim riots that saw thousands of cars burnt and mobs rampaging through their ghettoes. Everything that Jacques Chirac and his cabinet tries appears to backfire, including a televised offer for a compromise on the new labor law:

FRANCE is heading for even greater unrest after furious trade union and student leaders vowed to intensify their protests yesterday, following president Jacques Chirac's refusal to withdraw his government's youth labour law.

Despite Chirac's gamble in going on TV to win a compromise and end image-damaging riots in Paris, union and student leaders stayed firm in their intention to hold another mass protest on Tuesday, when more than two million demonstrators are expected to take to the streets. ...

The president's decision to try to please everyone - by compromising between saving his loyal lieutenant and chosen successor, prime minister Dominique de Villepin, who wanted the law applied promptly and in full, and millions of protesters, who are demanding it be scrapped before any compromise can be discussed - has ended up pleasing no one. It now threatens to plunge him and his centre-right government into an even greater crisis, overshadowing his last months in power and potentially sinking the presidential ambitions of his protégé.

Far from quelling the revolt against his government's labour reforms, Chirac's televised announcement on Friday night that he was pushing ahead with the CPE, has drawn the wrath of trade union and student leaders and the socialist-led opposition.

Chirac has nowhere left to turn. His center-right coalition (which anywhere else would be considered significantly left) needs the support of the business community to maintain power, but it's apparently no longer enough. The Socialists want a stricter nanny state and, if history serves, nationalization of French industry to guarantee job rights. They have tapped into a national anger that comes from many sources but looks to one outlet for solutions, and that is the national government. While Chirac gives them reality, they demand fantasy, and only the most talented politicians can hold onto office in that kind of situation.

While the French continue to pursue this social upheaval, another element has taken increasing advantage of the unrest. The French call them casseurs or "smashers" -- people who delight in destruction for its own sake and who latch onto protests in order to sate their appetite for it. These vultures have developed into an emerging subculture and now operate quite openly in Paris:

They create primarily a law-and-order problem, evoking the rioting that gripped the troubled suburbs of French cities for weeks last autumn. Pumped up by news coverage, these youths boast of trying to steal mobile phones and money and vow to take revenge for the daily humiliation they say they endure from the police. ...

The police and independent analysts say that most of the vandalism and violence that has marred the protests has been by young men, largely immigrants or the children of immigrants, from tough, underprivileged suburbs, who roam in groups and have little else to keep them busy.

"In France, we always imagine violence to be political because of our revolutions, but this isn't the case," said Sebastian Roché, a political scientist who specialises in delinquency in the suburbs.

The casseurs are people who are apart from the political protests. Their movement is apolitical. It is about banal violence - thefts, muggings, aggression."

Now we're back to the immigrants, the same people who rioted earlier this year in protest of their economic stratification and inability to escape the ghettoes. However, the emergence of them as smashers show that the earlier riots had much less to do with the rigid French society's inability to allow them assimilation than with their own rejection of French culture. They want their own autonomy and an arachistic freedom to act out and break things without being held to account for it. The casseurs take digital videos and pictures with their cellphones and trade the clips as war trophies, according to The Scotsman's report.

And they're not just breaking things, either. The burgeoning immigrant population, primarily Muslim, has combined with historical French anti-Semitism, resulting in a toxic brew that now results in "honey traps" for Jewish men, traps that result in torture and murder according to the London Times:

THE pretty schoolgirl known as Yalda wore tight white trousers and thigh-high boots to the rendezvous. Her target, a young Jewish telephone salesman, quickly fell under her spell. He meekly followed her when she suggested a nightcap at her place.

It would be his last date.

The testimony of this 17-year-old femme fatale who happily offered herself as “bait” in the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, whose tortured body was found on wasteland, has shocked a country which is haunted by a painful history of anti-semitism. ...

The gang she worked for was known as “les Barbares”, the Barbarians, and included blacks, Arabs and whites from Portugal and France.

Barbarians seemed an appropriate name. The shocking cruelty inflicted on Halimi seemed to have little to do with efforts to extract money from his anguished family. It evoked the sadistic moral universe of A Clockwork Orange, the novel by Anthony Burgess, with a dose of anti-semitism thrown in.

Gangs like Les Barbares exploit young women (who apparently get raped by the gang and inducted into their number) in order to seduce Jewish men, ostensibly for ransom as the thugs fervently believe that Jews control all the money and will pay to get any Jewish man released from bondage. The leader of Les Barbares selected people as potential victims by noting the various shops that shut down for the Sabbath and punished girls who did not successfully trap Jews into returning home with them. However, as the torture and murder of Ilan Halimi showed, ransom is secondary to their primary thirst for sadistic torture and murder of Jews.

Even worse is the reaction of the French to these atrocities. Halimi was kept in a basement for three weeks, tortured with acid and cigarettes. Neighbors -- at least thirty of them -- heard his screams and knew what was going on, and not one of them lifted a finger to notify police or to help Halimi escape.

Nor is this gang the only one who engages in these kind of tactics. Others have murdered and tortured young men and women in an orgy of sadism that French authorities say began in 2000, at the time of the second Palestinian intifada. In one sense it provides an ironic twist, as the violence has driven Jews out of France in record numbers -- and into Israel. 3,300 emigrated last year, the highest number since 1970, as the French appear to do nothing to defend their Jewish citizens from this kind of depredation.

All of this shows that France has slid onto a precipice, pushed there by a seriously flawed immigration policy that never demanded assimilation from its immigrants or itself, as well as its ingrained political instability. We may be seeing a "perfect storm" that will rend France asunder, leaving the nuclear-armed nation up for grabs among its various and warring constituencies. Forget worrying about a civil war in Iraq -- we may soon have one on the streets of Paris, and at least once contingent will be thrilled for the opportunity to smash, break, torture, and murder to their blackhearted content.


The Washington Post wants to sound a cautionary note in their front-page report on the consequences of military action against Iran. Dana Priest writes that any attempt to eliminate Iran's nuclear capacity through military strikes would result in an eruption of terrorist attacks against Western assets, especially American and Israeli:

As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Iran would mount attacks against U.S. targets inside Iraq, where Iranian intelligence agents are already plentiful, predicted these experts. There is also a growing consensus that Iran's agents would target civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, they said. ...

The Iranian government views the Islamic Jihad, the name of Hezbollah's terrorist organization, "as an extension of their state. . . . operational teams could be deployed without a long period of preparation," said Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism.

Who doesn't already know this? And who doesn't already know that Iran has sponsored terrorist attacks on Americans for years, as well as funded most of the Islamist terror groups operating in the Middle East? None of this comes as a shock to anyone who has watched the news even occasionally for the last twenty years, and the notion that terrorists will retaliate if attacked is not a gigantic leap in tactical or strategic thought.

The question before the US and the West is not whether to take action if it means a retaliation through terrorist channels. That question harbors the seeds of appeasement and surrender. After all, if we are afraid to act in our own defense merely because terrorists might attack us even more as a result, we will have handed terrorists an overall victory -- and we will be forced to knuckle under to their demands to avoid the confrontation that might result in their retaliation.

Terrorism, right now, is a given thanks to the decades of precisely this kind of paralysis that preceded 9/11. What we need to decide is when to stop threats from forming into existential dangers, and Iran's nuclear program and missile technology combines to bring that point ever closer. Iran already supports the terrorism that Priest reports, in Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), the Palestinian territories (Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah's subsidiary), Syria, and elsewhere. Priest also warns about an American attack leading to an operational alliance with al-Qaeda, but that train has already arrived at the station, according to last year's State report on terrorism:

Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2004. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Iran continued to be unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida members it detained in 2003. Iran has refused to identify publicly these senior members in its custody on "security grounds." Iran has also resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its al-Qa’ida detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for interrogation and/ or trial. Iranian judiciary officials claimed to have tried and convicted some Iranian supporters of al-Qa’ida during 2004, but refused to provide details. Iran also continued to fail to control the activities of some al Qa’ida members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

During 2004, Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli terrorist activity, both rhetorically and operationally. Supreme Leader Khamenei praised Palestinian terrorist operations, and Iran provided Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups -- notably HAMAS, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command -- with funding, safe haven, training, and weapons. Iran provided an unmanned aerial vehicle that Lebanese Hizballah sent into Israeli airspace on November 7, 2004.

Iran pursued a variety of policies in Iraq during 2004, some of which appeared to be inconsistent with Iran’s stated objectives regarding stability in Iraq as well as those of the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) and the Coalition. Senior IIG officials have publicly expressed concern over Iranian interference in Iraq, and there were reports that Iran provided funding, safe transit, and arms to insurgent elements, including Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces.

What the Post warns about in today's entry is already reality. What we need to determine is if we have the will to confront it and stop it. Iran has provided most of the funding of Islamist terrorism since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah and put the Islamists in power in Teheran. Now they almost have their hands on nuclear weapons, a point which may put them beyond our reach. The real question isn't whether Iran might step up its attacks after we eliminate this nuclear capacity -- it's whether we will ever be able to stop Iranian terrorist activity at all once the mullahs have the bomb.

The window is closing. That's the real story.  Sunday, April 2, 2006




Support for Jaafari within the UIA appears to be crumbling; The Battle for Baghdad is in full swing.

By Bill Roggio

The support for Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the current Prime Minister and candidate to lead the newly elected Iraqi government, is waning. Reuters reports a large majority of the United Iraqi Alliance no longer backs his candidacy, and a member of the UIA has publicly spoken out against Jaafari:

"I call on Jaafari to take a courageous step and set a fine example by stepping down," Kasim Daoud, a senior member of the independent group within the Alliance, told Reuters...

"Daoud's call is supported by at least 60 percent of Alliance members of parliament," another senior Alliance official from another group within the bloc told Reuters. "We need another 24 hours before starting the battle" to pressure Jaafari into resigning, he added

Jaafari has been given one last chance by the UIA to convince the outside parties to approve of his candidacy; "Alliance officials said the seven key groups inside the bloc, known to diplomats as the G7, met on Thursday and Friday and decided by four to three to give Jaafari days to persuade Kurds, Sunnis and secular leaders to rally behind him or quit."

It is interesting the call to oust Jaafari was led by a UIA faction other than SCIRI. This reinforces the point that opposition to Jaafari is not just led by SCIRI, and allows SCIRI to remain the silent power broker in the process. SCIRI's candidate, Aadil Abdul Mahdi, will now rise in further prominence, as he is the preferred candidate of the secular Shiites, Kurds and Sunni factions outside the UIA.

While the pressure continues against Jaafari and by default Muqtada al-Sadr, the United States reiterates the demand to disband the militias. An 'anonymous senior U.S. military official' stated the Iraqi government must reign in the militias; "When you are putting a government together you cannot have extra armed groups out there... The government is going to have to get a policy to deal with this. It's something that has to be a clear cut policy."

The strike against Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in the Hayy Ur neighborhood last Sunday was certainly the opening salvo of the campaign to bring the militias to heel. Richard Hernandez illustrates the political and military strategies of the Iraqi government and Coalition verses the insurgency. The Battle for Baghdad is moving forward, and the election of a unity government will go a long way in subverting the power and political plans of al-Qaeda, the insurgency and Sadr.  Saturday, April 1, 2006





See update below regarding the lines in the cartoon.

The jihad over the Danish Mohammed cartoons continues, and the West appears to be losing the battle for free speech:

From Middle East Times: Muslim gang forces Paris cafe to censor cartoon show. (via Dhimmi Watch and Tom Pechinski)

A gang of young Muslims wielding iron rods has forced a Paris cafe to censor an exhibition of cartoons ridiculing religion, the owners of the establishment said on Friday.

Some 50 drawings by well-known French cartoonists were installed in the Mer a Boire cafe in the working-class Belleville neighborhood of northeast Paris, as part of an avowedly atheist show entitled, "Neither god nor god".

The collection targeted all religions - including Islam - but there were no representations of the Prophet Mohammed such as sparked the recent crisis between the West and the Islamic world, according to Marianne who is one of the cafe's three owners. ...

Refusing to dismantle the exhibition, the owners have placed white sheets of paper inscribed with the word 'censored' over the cartoons that were targeted by the gang.

"To take down the cartoons would have been a surrender. But on the other hand we cannot expose ourselves to this kind of violence. This way you can still see the pictures if you lift the paper," said Marianne. ...

"Putting on this type of show in this place was not in the least a provocation. Unless you think that freedom of expression in itself is a provocation," the cartoonist Charb told Le Parisien newspaper.

From AP: Borders, Walden Won't Carry Magazine.

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

The magazine, published by the Council for Secular Humanism in suburban Amherst, includes four of the drawings that originally appeared in a Danish newspaper in September, including one depicting Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse.

From Western Standard: Western Standard sued from publishing cartoons.

Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It’s been ten years since I’ve graduated from law school, and I’ve never seen a more frivolous, vexatious, infantile suit than this.

But that's the point — this complaint is not about beating us in the law. Freedom of speech is still in our constitution; we’ll win in the end. It’s a nuisance suit, designed to grind us down, cost us money, and serve as a warning to other, more timid media.

From American Chronicle: Danish Muslims Sue Newspaper Over Drawings.

A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the carricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, two weeks after Denmark's top prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, saying the drawings that sparked a firestorm in the Muslim world did not violate laws against racism or blasphemy.

Michael Christiani Havemann, a lawyer representing the Muslim groups, said lawsuit sought $16,100 in damages from Jyllands-Posten Editor in Chief Carsten Juste and Culture Editor Flemming Rose, who supervised the cartoon project.

'We're seeking judgment for both the text and the drawings which were gratuitously defamatory and injurious,' Havemann said.

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: NYU Surrenders to the Heckler’s Veto in Mohammed Cartoon Dispute.

In violation of its own policies, New York University (NYU) is refusing to allow a student group to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammed at a public event tonight. Even though the purpose of the event is to show and discuss the cartoons, an administrator has suddenly ordered the students either not to display them or to exclude 150 off-campus guests from attending. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is urging NYU’s president to reverse course and stand up for freedom of speech.

More on this event at Atlas Shrugs, The Volokh Conspiracy and NoodleFood.

Two good commentaries on the Cartoon Jihad :

From The Ayn Rand Institute: The Fear to Speak Comes to America's Shores by Onkar Ghate.

In the face of such outrages, we must demand that the U.S. government reverse its disgraceful stand and fulfill is obligation to protect our right to free speech.

Freedom of speech means the right to express one's ideas without danger of physical coercion from anyone. This freedom includes the right to make movies, write books, draw pictures, voice political opinions--and satirize religion. This right flows from the right to think: the right to observe, to follow the evidence, to reach the conclusions you judge the facts warrant--and then to convey your thoughts to others.

In a free society, anyone angered by someone else's ideas has a simple and powerful recourse: don't buy his books, watch his movies, or read his newspapers. If one judges his ideas dangerous, argue against them. The purveyor of evil ideas is no threat to those who remain free to counter them with rational ones.

But the moment someone decides to answer those he finds offensive with a knife or a homemade explosive, not an argument, he removes himself from civilized society.

And from Rule of Reason blog: The Ruses of Domestic Islamic 'Rage' Against Freedom of Speech by Edward Cline.

The slippery slope of censorship and "responsible" public policy, also known as self-censorship. Someone please correct me, but I believe that Ayn Rand once remarked that at the rate the West is deteriorating, it will not end with a bang, but with a burp. The foregoing instances of submission to Islamic threats and pressure are warnings and guarantees of more to come.

If you have not already noticed it, endorsement of the display of the Danish cartoons -- indeed, any expression of criticism about Islam -- is steadily being equated with racism, hatred, and discrimination.

(Many of these links via Little Green Footballs and Instapundit.)

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who notified us about the cartoon being messed up. We did that effect intentionally for a little April Fools Day fun. Such fun is becoming a tradition for us; here's what we did in 2004 and 2005. This year's joke kept evolving as we developed it and ended up somewhat playing into the cartoon's point. That is, the cartoon kind of looks like it might have been censored or hacked because of its content, which some readers suspected. The post itself is serious, and we recommend all the links. Nonetheless, Happy April Fools Day, everyone.  Saturday, April 1, 2006



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