Thursday, December 23, 2004

CNN: New Zealand is a haven for terrorists 

Amazing that the local media have tried to bury this story, yet it comes up on CNN: the Director of the SIS has publicly announced that there are jihadis operating in New Zealand.

Releasing Zaoui, and signing a ridiculous "non-aggression pact" with South East Asia were symbolic of what has happened to this country. Not only have we run down our armed forces to near uselessness, we seem to be unwilling to realise the threats facing the world: even our supposedly peaceful corner of it.

We feel safe to morally preen and sneer while the Aussies and Americans actually fight. We are seen as a soft touch: lacking the wherewithal, the will, and most importantly the moral clarity to see jihad for what it is, and to fight back.

Where is the opposition?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What Habib wants from Santa... 

Yes, I'm Jewish, and am incredibly scathing on those Jews who have Xmas trees and give Xmas presents, and even those Jews who elevate Hannukah presents to Xmas-like proportions; BUT, I am prepared to bend just this once if anyone would buy me this.

A close election? Nah... 

For all the commentary saying that America is a "deeply divided country", this is a pretty good answer.

On the other hand, once you account for relative population, things look a little different.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Squat or sit? 

The news in Aotearoa turned a little scatological today:
Nine of the Asian-style toilets will be installed in the main library as part of an overhaul of the facilities. The remaining 40-or-so toilets in the library on the corner of Princes and Alfred streets will be the usual sitting variety.

University spokesman Bill Williams said the squats were being trialled and, if successful, the university aimed to swap about 10 per cent of its 1400 toilets on the Auckland City campus.

The residents of talkback land were, of course, incensed: "when you come to ear country, yoi doi thungs ear wye", "ween un Roim, you doi ez the Roimans".

Despite a cultural inability to understand the working of these toilets, I don't really see problem with installing them per se. I don't believe in socially-engineered assimilation.

I am no fan of multiculturalism, partly because it involves more social engineering, and partly because western (especially Anglosphere) culture is so patently superior to other varieties on offer.

But I don't think the odd squat toilet damages this. The main focus should be on those who, by aggressive proselytisation, or violence, aim to effect change on western populations against their will. The Taiwanese and Filipinos who want to go to the toilet squatting are not putting this in danger.

What does is the university's current policy of recruiting students from the Wahhabi heartland of Saudia Arabia and the Gulf.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Religious tolerance leads to crazy PC intolerance 

Her Majesty's government is trying to push a new law through Parliament: it would create a ban on "incitement to religious hatred". This offence would replace the crime of blasphemous libel, which has essentially become a dead letter.

The bill has one real purpose: to protect Islam from verbal attack. The proposer of the law, Lord Avebury, says as much in his speech in the House of Lords. The thinking is that other minority groups, such as Jews and Sikhs (for whom religion and ethnicity are combined) have protection under existing racial vilification law, but Muslims (a mighty Ummah made up of Asians, Africans, Arabs and others) are not protected.

This thinking is, of course, feeble. It makes some sense to prohibit vilification on the grounds of factors that people have no control over, such as race, national heritage or disability. But to ban criticism of certain religions (or political ideologies) -- things over which the individual has choice and freedom -- is ridiculous.

I am a religious Jew -- but I would never dream of imposing a situation where Judaism would be above the law and protected by the coercive arms of the state. Such laws are reminiscent of medieval Europe: where an infallible and omnipotent church stifled the search for truth.

People must be free to criticise religions just as they are to criticise political movements, artistic tastes, or anything else they don't like.

This law is an encroachment on the ultimate freedom -- that of thought and expression.

Very few people in Britain have had the courage to stand up against this monstrous attack on liberty. One of them was Rowan Atkinson, of Mr Bean and Blackadder fame. He complains that some of his most famous comedy routines (remember his "I am Satan, but you can call me Toby" skit?) would potentially be illegal under the new law. Of course, don't expect to see any prosecutions for attacking Christianity.

Charles Moore, former editor of the Telegraph, puts it another way, in a wonderful article. The Quran records how Mohammed became betrothed to his favourite wife, Aïsha, when she was six -- and consummated the marriage when she was nine (she was plucked away from playing on a swing to fulfil her marital obligations with the Prophet - PBUH). This is a straight reading from the Quran and the most trustworthy of hadith, those of Bukhari (see here for more).

Moore says that he doesn't think it is appropriate to call Mohammed a paedophile, as this western concept doesn't fit when talking about 7th Century Arab culture. Nonetheless, one might do so, and be justified. This may soon be illegal in Britain.

He interprets Blunkett as saying that it would be illegal to say that Islam is a threat. Is this sane? Is it not patently obvious now that there is a threat to Western countries, Britain among them -- the Metropolitan police have just thwarted a "Madrid style attack". These attacks are not being carried out by vegans, Inuit, or croquet players. They are being carried out by Muslims, in the name of Islam, and supported by a huge number of Muslim clerics and leaders.

Making it illegal to call the threat by its name is not only a disgusting attack on liberty, but it represents reacting to a deadly threat by wishing it away and forbidding anyone to mention it.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

America -- **** yeah! 

I have just returned from seeing the funniest film of 2004. Matt Stone and Trey Parker (of South Park fame) have created a Thunderbirds-style spoof of a Jerry Bruckheimer action movie.

"Team America: Global Police" are an American anti-terrorist force that track down and kill baddies, while blithely ignoring such things as international law and the sovereignty of other naitons.

There are many targets of satire, on both the left and the right: American paranoia about terrorism, and ignorance of foreign countries (every location in the film bears a title such as "Panama, Central America: 1500 miles south of the real America").

But the main target is that clique of Hollywood leftists who oppose America's fight against terrorism. The Film Actors' Guild (humorous acronym), led by Alec Baldwin, and with all the usual suspects (Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofalo and a hilarious suicide-bombing Michael Moore) combine to try and stop Team America.

The film had me struggling to breathe with laughter. It is a triumph against cloying political correctness (Kim Jong-Il's musical solo will make your jaw drop); I love the way it pierces the moral preening of the entertainment elites -- their pretension to a deep wisdom on current affairs that is no more than fashionable received opinion, their assumption that the public care about their political views.
Most of all, it is a feat of free speech. I can't believe uber-PC New Zealand even allowed this film to be shown. Maybe that is a good sign.

Best line in the film: Sean Penn interviewed on TV about his opinion on Team America --
Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up it was a happy place. They had flowering meadows and rainbow skies and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

UPDATE: The Sean Penn dialogue (among others) is available on the web! Go to the Team America website, click on "clips", and then "movie clips".

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Zaoui and the left: an odd couple? 

There's a good article at venerable Commentary magazine by Joshua Kurlantzick detailing how many of the leftist elites are actively supporting Islamist groups that stand against everything the left ostensibly supports (gender equality, gay rights, reproductive choice, artistic freedom, free speech, I could go on and on...).

In New Zealand, we have the Zaoui gang. Last night, they crowded into a mosque in Ponsonby to celebrate his birthday. A couple of weeks back, they held a concert in a pub in his honour. The whole leftist establishment, from musicians like Dave Dobbyn to Finlay MacDonald of the Listener attend these things.

A pub of all places. The FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) that Zaoui represented are hardly enthusiastic about outlets that sell alcohol... The Said Qutb-influenced FIS would ban women from working outside the house -- fascinating that Deborah Manning, Zaoui's lawyer, doesn't seem to care about this.

David Farrar summarises the SIS case against Zaoui:
* attempted to destroy a false South African passport
* possible "casing" video included many places not obvious tourist sites
* visited mosque in Hanoi frequented by Algerian diplomats despite claiming to fear contact with Algerian regime
* doubts over veracity of an answer he gave
* twice declined refugee status in Belgium
* convicted in Belgium in 1996 of being a leader and instigator of a criminal association
* illegally left Belgium and illegally entered Switzerland in 1997
* undertook activities in Switzerland which the Swiss government saw as endangering Switzerland's domestic and external security
* expelled from Switzerland to Burkina Faso in 1998
* convicted in absentia in France in 2001 of participation in a criminal group with a view to preparing terrorist acts

The New Zealand Herald, in an uncharaceristically good piece of investigative journalism, revealed some hard-to-dispute terrorist links here. It is known that he acted as a link between the political FIS and the ghastly violent GIA. For a short summary of the GIA's oeuvre:

Frequent attacks against civilians and government workers. Since 1992, the GIA has conducted a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres, sometimes wiping out entire villages in its area of operation, although the group’s dwindling numbers have caused a decrease in the number of attacks. Since announcing its campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in 1993, the GIA has killed more than 100 expatriate men and women—mostly Europeans—in the country. The group uses assassinations and bombings, including car bombs, and it is known to favor kidnapping victims. The GIA highjacked an Air France flight to Algiers in December 1994. In 2002, a French court sentenced two GIA members to life in prison for conducting a series of bombings in France in 1995.

Do we want this guy in New Zealand? Does he deserve amnesty? Do we want to be seen as a haven for this kind of ideology? Funnily enough, those who should oppose it most are supporting it.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Cool stuff on MEMRI-TV 

MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) Do invaluable work translating Arab and Muslim media. They now have some excellent high resolution, subtitled videos that will make your hair stand on end.

British MP George Galloway, on an Egyptian TV show, out-Arabing the Arabs (clip 372):
The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires.

The accent is Scottish, but the message is a mix of Osama, Robert Fisk and Mohammed al Sahaf. Methinks the Right Honourable member for Glasgow Kelvin is overdoing the multicultural thing just a touch with the hellfire and the Arafatisms "Falluja is a Stalingrad".

Next is a delightful clip from Iranian children's TV, celebrating "Jerusalem Day". At a large rally, a presenter talks to a child (clip 365):

Reporter: Why did you come here?

Child: I came to say that I love them [the Palestinian children] with all my heart.

Reporter: Oh Muslim Palestinian child, you are so courageous, you are so brave. the stone that is thrown from your hand toward the godless enemies, the angles in heaven will crash it like bombs and missile on the enemies' heads.

Reporter: Dear viewers, the Palestinian children say: "Even if they take us all to the slaughterhouse, the door of Jihad and Intifada will not be closed."

Why did you come to take part in the parade?

Child: I came to say, "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." And I also have a piece to recite

Lovely. The problem with children's TV in the west is that there just aren't enough psycho flag-burning rallies with people screaming death chants.

Don't you love New Zealand's new-found special relationship with Iran?

The chasm between Australia and New Zealand yawns ever wider... 

Leaders of Asia-Pacific countries congregated in Vientiane, capital of Laos (pronounced "louse"), to discuss trade and diplomatic relationships.

Australia and New Zealand were represented by their respective prime ministers. They were supposed to form a united block, as two English-speaking, OECD nations, negotiating for their mutual interest.

South East Asian countries wanted Australia and New Zealand to sign a "non aggression pact". This involves a pledge not to interefere in the affairs of another ASEAN state, and not to threaten or use force.

Of course, New Zealand signed. A combination of our PC commitment to appearing to support 3rd world and non-western nations, shocking ignorance of the threat posed by Islamic fanatics in our region, and a craven willingness to do anything to secure a free trade agreement -- all combined in our accession to the pact.

Australia, of course, see it differently. Although it is a cliche, Bali was their 9/11. It was the day when it became obvious to the vast majority of Aussies that Islamofascism was a threat to their very existence.

If the government of the Phillipines or Thailand is unable to deal with the rebel problem in their country, or more to the point, if Indonesia and Malaysia begin to support movements such as Jema'ah Islamia, and this threatens the safety of Australia and Australians, they will take action -- treaty, or "international legitimacy" be damned.

And if there is no such threat, then there is no need for a non-aggression treaty.

New Zealand needs to snap out of its slumber. We should try and build the best trade and diplomatic relations with South East Asia we can, and improve mutual understanding.

But: there are nearly a quarter of a billion Muslims on Australia's doorstep. Many are angry and violent; one need only know of the restiveness in Molucca; the desire of so many to form a "caliphate" in Indochina; horrendously violent Islamist separatists in Thailand and the Phillipines; the growing Islamocentric racism in Malaysia. The prospect of a radical government taking hold in coming decades is significant. Helen Clark calls our region a "benign strategic environment". Like the Tui beer slogan: "yeah right". We need to be prepared to deal with reality.

Disarming our Air Force and Navy, and reducing our Army to a "force" only suitable for peace-keeping, is not sensible. This needs to be fixed as a national priority (a $5 billion government budget surplus would go a ways to fixing that).

This needs to be combined with a knowledge of who our real allies are: even if they are our foes on the cricket and footy pitches.

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