Wednesday, July 27, 2016

27-Jul-16: Pope "decries" what the Islamist terrorists do - disconnects it from religion

The church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where the priest's throat
was slit by a pair of young Islamists yesterday [Image Source]
Via Wall Street Journal today, this depressing reaffirmation of the confusion at the highest levels over terror and those doing it that keeps counter-terrorism so relatively ineffectual...
Pope Francis Says ‘World Is at War,’ Decries Terrorist Attack on French Church | As he arrives for visit to Poland, pontiff says conflicts inspired by economic, political interests | FRANCIS X. ROCCA | Updated July 27, 2016 11:22 a.m. ET | ...Pope Francis added that the current violence was over economic and political interests rather than religion. “There is war for money,” he said. “There is war for natural resources. There is war for the domination of peoples. Some might think I am speaking of religious war. No. All religions want peace; it is other people who want war.”
Decrying, compared with the alternatives, can be a good thing. But it's not a counter-terror strategy. It will do precisely zero to save lives in the face of murder-minded zealots, many of them shiftless young men freshly admitted to a mostly-unprepared Europe.

Europe is at a loss to formulate strategies for fending off the jihadists. And its security resources have for years already [link] been close to exhaustion.

Pope Francis arrives in Poland today [Image Source]
The WSJ piece refers to yesterday's Islamist terror murder of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, whose throat was slashed by a couple of Islamist teens while he was celebrating Mass at a church in a small town in Normandy, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. One of them is a known French jihadist Adel Kermiche, who was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag.

The murderous attack, says the WSJ reporter
broke the pattern of Islamist terrorist strikes in Europe, which have till now been limited to secular targets. Islamic State identified the two assailants, who were killed by police, as its “soldiers.” [Wall Street Journal, today]
Limited to secular targets? How about "07-Jun-15: In France, arrests in wake of an intended Islamist terror assault on a Paris church" and what about the many Jewish targets that have been threatened and attacked and the Jews who have lost their lives in jihadist attacks inside synagogues in France? And in Turkey? In Norway? In Denmark? In the UK?

27-Jul-16: The Hamas terrorists who murdered Rabbi Miki Mark are located and forcibly retired

In the PA-controlled village of Surif this morning, the body of a
terrorist gunman is removed by IDF soldiers [Image Source]
Violent riots erupted in the PA-controlled village of Surif, north of Hebron, early this morning (Wednesday) as a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police operation trapped the four-person terror cell that murdered Rabbi Michael Mark, the executive director of the Otniel Hesder Yeshiva, on July 1 [link] and seriously injured his wife and children. The victims of that attack were traveling in a car that came under murderous gunfire on Route 60 ["01-Jul-16: The drive-by shooting near Otniel"].

Times of Israel reports that the members of the Hamas-aligned terror cell
opened fire at the Israeli troops from inside the house in which he was hiding, and the IDF responded by firing several anti-tank missiles... The IDF then used a bulldozer to knock down most of the building, and when the troops finally entered the destroyed home they found Fakih dead inside...
One of the cell members, Muhammad al-Fakih, 29, died and three others were taken into custody, unharmed. According to Reuters this morning
Islamist group Hamas identified the man killed in the raid as Mohammad al-Fakih and it said he was a member of its armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades
The Ma'an News Agency version follows the customary template, starting with the title of the piece: "Palestinian accused of Hebron shooting killed after Israeli forces bombard house":
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that five Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated bullets during clashes in Surif. [IDF Spokesperson Avichai Edre'i] confirmed that a Palestinian woman sustained minor wounds during the military attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment, adding that a Kalashnikov machine gun and a grenade were found in the house. Locals said Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from Surif during the raid, identified as Ahmad Ibrahim al-Hur, Diyaa Khalid Ghneimat, and Muhammad Ali al-Heeh, the owner of the demolished house in which Faqih was hiding. Al-Heeh’s mother was also detained... Faqih himself was from the village of Dura in southern Hebron. [Ma'an, July 28, 2016]
The Arabic edition of the Ma'an story, again following the customary approach of one version for the Arabic speakers, a specifically different and carefully sanitized one for foreigners, says
The [Israeli] army claimed to find gun-type rifles and grenades next to the martyr... ["Martyrdom of a citizen after bombing and besieging of a home in Surif", Ma'an Arabic, July 28, 2016]
A martyr al-Fakih assuredly is becoming as we write these lines. Hamas, which de facto controls large swathes of the nominally Fatah/PA towns and villages of the mis-named "West Bank" (a name given to it for the first time by the Jordanian occupation forces who conquered it militarily in the course of the 1947-49 War of Independence in which the most of the Arab world sought to destroy the nascent state of Israel), is active now preparing for a showcase funeral and demonstrations of rage and power. These, as always, are intended not only as a token of how far away peace is, but to show that the PA - with all its foreign aid, its police and its European-supplied limousines for insiders - actually takes a back seat to the Hamas organizers on the ground.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

26-Jul-16: Arab-on-Israeli stabbing is foiled at Qalandiya

After the April 28, 2016 attack at the same location [Image Source]
A stabbing attack on Israeli security personnel was thwarted this afternoon at the Qalandiya Crossing controlling a heavily-traveled road connecting Jerusalem and Ramallah where the Palestinian Authority administration is based. Qalandiya, the site of many previous Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks [link] on which we have reported, is
the largest and most frequented passageway for Palestinian laborers from the Ramallah area to cross into Jerusalem, with lines flowing in a relatively orderly manner. [Times of Israel, May 17, 2016]
It's the same site as the April attack we mentioned here ["28-Apr-16: Terror-by-knifing attack foiled at Qalandiya; assailant, again, is a child"].

Times of Israel, quoting a police statement today, reports that
a Palestinian woman, roughly 18 years old from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Aqab, approached the checkpoint and walked into the inspection area for cars. She then ran at security guards “who told her to stop multiple times,” When the woman ignored their warning, the guards shot at her legs, the statement said. The woman was lightly injured and Magen David Adom paramedics treated her at the scene. A police bomb disposal expert was called in to check the woman’s bag, and found a knife inside.
She was recorded screaming at the Israelis shortly before she was stopped in a video that is circulating on social media [an Arabic source here via YouTube]. Arabs began rioting at the site soon afterwards.

A photo of the inside of the attacker's handbag, showing a kitchen-knife, is doing the rounds of the social media [here for instance].

Monday, July 25, 2016

25-Jul-16: More on Tutu, Barghouti, terror, peace and prizes

Nobel Peace Prize laureate,
Bishop Desmond Tutu [Image Source]
A Pakistani website today published an op ed lauding Marwan Barghouti, providing us (we're guessing this was not their intention) with an opportunity to share our feelings concerning the man and those who seek to aggrandize him.

The article is entitled simply "Marwan Barghouti". We had not heard of the author before; his name is Abbas Hasan and his self-description is sparse: "an engineer and a cricket fan who works in the Middle East".

Here's our comment.
It's helpful to see acolytes of Barghouti highlighting, as this piece does, the emphatically *anti-peace* stance of the convicted and imprisoned murderer. Our attention was drawn to this article because of our tracking the efforts of Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace laureate himself, in shilling for Barghouti to get the same prize. In his public statements, Mr Tutu repeatedly speaks of Barghouti as an agent for peace. But as this fine article makes clear, Barghouti totally rejects peace in the Arab vs Israel wars as this quote makes clear:-
The role and mission of the Palestinian authority should be reassessed so that its main mission must be in supporting and assisting a comprehensive resistance, which necessitates the immediate termination of security coordination and cooperation with Israel as this only reinforces occupation and is a tremendous detriment to the Palestinian people. We must stop betting on the illusion of peace negotiations”.
It's a valuable service to the cause of peace (in which most Israelis, us among them, believe passionately) that Abbas Hasan has done. Sincere thanks to him.
In case you missed our recent commentary on the odious and fundamentally dishonest efforts by Bishop Desmond Tutu to have the murderer Barghouti awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it's posted at "09-Jun-16: The convicted killer, the churchman, the prize". We hope you will click and read it.

We have felt the need to speak out against Mr. Tutu several times in the past, the first time some nine years ago [link]. At that time, the learned churchman said he was "in despair" over the savagery being visited on one another in Gaza by the forces of Fatah and Hamas - actually a blood-soaked struggle for control of the Gaza Strip that was resoundingly won by the side (i.e. Hamas) that managed to be more effective at hacking, shooting and beating to death and hurling from high building more of its brethren than the other (i.e. Fatah).

But not totally in despair at the Arab-on-Arab carnage for, as Tutu noted, 
"When you are oppressed, it is so very easy to turn on yourselves..." [June 2007 Source]
Forgive us, Bishop, but we find that view racist, irrational and frankly nauseating. As we wrote all those years back:
And so easy, too, to blow up innocent women, children, men, schools, hospitals, restaurants. So easy. And to have church leaders slobber their sympathy all over your poor oppressed heads. The only thing more appalling about what the Palestinian Arabs have done to themselves is the unforgivable forgiveness, the incomprehensible understanding emanating from such ill-informed, theologically-addled, hand-wringing, high-profile individuals as the pious church-man quoted above. Without him and the many others like him, the devastation and misery of the Pal-Arabs could have ended decades ago.
It hasn't ended, as we all know. And as Tutu's campaigning for a prize to be given to Barghouti demonstrates, his ill-informed hand-wringing and irrational urge to forgive remains unaffected by any knowledge he might have acquired - but clearly has not - in the intervening years. 

25-Jul-16: German tentacles: An explosion in a wine bar and deepening concern about 'asylum seekers'

A bag outside the wine bar in Ansbach gets inspected  by
security - long after the explosion [Image Source]
Germans, no matter where on the political spectrum their views fit, must be wondering where the next violent headlines in their country are going to come from.

This morning (Monday), the country is waking up to what seems to be a terror attack on a drinking spot in the town of Ansbach, the capital of the administrative region of Middle Franconia in the German state of Bavaria and home to about 40,000. It happens also to be where the United States 12th Combat Aviation Brigade ("Wings of Victory”) has its base.

An open-air music festival was being held in the town, but was immediately canceled by local authorities. Thousands of patrons were evacuated by police in the wake of the assault. German radio speaks this morning of 12 people injured, three of them seriously. The human bomb is dead.

The Interior Minister of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, is willing to go on the record with his private speculation about the character of this explosion:
"My personal opinion is that, unfortunately I think, it is very obvious that there has been a real Islamist suicide attack here," Herrmann said early Monday. ["Bavaria bomb blast", RT, July 25, 2016]
The perpetrator is described as a "failed asylum seeker from Syria" [BBC, which in accordance with its guidelines calls this "an attack" but not "terror"] whose "asylum application was rejected last year for reasons that we don't know right at this minute" [Al Jazeera]. He is said by Reuters to have been "carrying a backpack filled with explosives and metal parts that would have been sufficient to kill more people", If they're right, we think the metal parts part of the account might be something of a give-away.

We think it's fair to wonder as well what sort of security was in place at that popular music festival where the man was denied entry for lack of a ticket but where, as it appears, no one checked what must have been a heavy bag on his back to see what use that might be to him. (Israel, this clearly wasn't.)

He won't be answering questions in his current situation. But the trail he left behind during a two year sojourn in Germany (including two attempts to take his own life and getting psychiatric help) en route to his final explosion places him firmly within that million to two million group of recent "asylum"-seeking "refugees" whose presence is reshaping not only Germany but all of Europe. To anyone watching, the influx is much less reported now than a year ago, but continues in full force: about 50,000 undocumented migrants entered Italy from Africa in May 2016 alone [source].

An effort, involving the payment of many millions of Euros to Turkey, was made four months ago but whatever expectations that created have now evaporated:
Under the notorious bargain struck with Ankara on March 18, all those who arrive on the Greek islands were meant to be detained, brought before an asylum tribunal and returned to Turkey in under a week. When the deal was struck, many warned it had pushed international laws governing asylum to their limit. Now, the Greek officials charged with interviewing and approving deportation seem to agree. Aid agencies protested that it violated international law by designating Turkey a “safe third country” for asylum seekers – a controversial premise given Turkey’s record of human rights abuses, reports that it has forcefully deported refugees to the countries they fled, and its only partial ratification of the Geneva Conventions. ["Tension rises among asylum seekers as EU deportation plan falters", Independent UK, March 2016]
Events in Turkey of the past ten days guarantee that efforts to designate it a "safe country" are on ice until further notice.

What we know at this point about the events of last night:
An explosion in the southern German city of Ansbach was a suicide attack, according to the region's interior minister. The bomber died in the blast. A device was exploded by a 27-year-old Syrian national outside a music festival. He had been denied entry into the event due to the lack of a ticket, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said during a news conference early Monday. Twelve people were injured. The man, who has not yet been named, stood around the festival entrance for a short period before he blew himself up. The music festival and surrounding area were evacuated. Authorities said the bomber had previously applied for asylum in Germany but had had his application rejected. He was also known to police in Ansbach for previous offenses. German media outlets reported that he had previously attempted suicide. Herrmann said his backpack contained screws and nails, an apparent attempt to inflict further damage. Officially this attack is not confirmed as terrorism, he said, but there are strong indications it may be. ["Suicide bomb rocks Ansbach, Germany", CNN, July 25, 2016]
A January 2016 Bloomberg report quotes the premier of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, expressing vigorous rejection of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward "refugees":
“You have to face the fact that the confusion surrounding the stream of refugees is being exploited to commit crimes,” Seehofer told reporters at Wildbad Kreuth in the Bavarian Alps. “I’m sticking with my demand for a change of refugee policy in all its facets in 2016.” ["Germany Saw 1.1 Million Migrants in 2015 as Debate Intensifies", Bloomberg, January 6, 2016]
It would be surprising to know that the debate he invokes is not growing more intensified this morning. Germans are probably not the only Europeans wondering how many other recently-admitted "asylum seeking" men from places where explosions, stabbings and shootings are rather more common than in Europe are currently getting psychiatric treatment to fight suicidal urges.

Also yesterday, a Syrian "refugee" of 21 - another "asylum-seeker" said to have been "known to the police and... charged in the past with assault" [WSJ] was arrested in the southwestern city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart after hacking to death a pregnant woman and wounding two people with a machete. He had "arrived in Germany by himself about 18 months ago" [AFP]. The Wall Street Journal notes that "More than 300,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in Germany since January 2015". It doesn't say how many of them are known to the police, or what the police know in general. (Or how sure any of the authorities are that this or that arrival is actually a Syrian.)

Add that and the wine bar bombing to these acts of terror on German soil in the past five days:
We're with the Europeans. There is much to fear.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

24-Jul-16: Sociopaths, savagery and the seductiveness of Palestinian Arab victimhood

Ben Ehrenreich [Source]
Over at the LA Review of Books, under the title "The Humiliation Machine'", they have a new review by Amy Wilentz of
The Way to the Spring, Ben Ehrenreich’s new book about the Palestinian struggle against the ongoing and seemingly endless Israeli occupation [that] is bound to be a highly controversial work. 
Ehrenreich has been promoting the violent and hateful Tamimi clan of Nabi Saleh, a village of about 550 people located a few kilometers north of Israel's capital, for years. It was the vehicle that enabled him to snag his biggest hit so far - a 2013 New York Times Magazine cover story about the place and its people. Long on romance and bravado and carefully phrased progressive-sounding rhetoric, that piece barely skims the deeply embedded bigotry and long record of acts of murder against Jews that are only too easy to see in the life of Nabi Saleh... if you look. 

Ehrenreich plainly prefers not to look. He's a key player in sanitizing the Tamimi clan's blood-lust and race-based hatred of Jews.

We wrote an angry response when that heavily-marketed New York Times piece appeared ["17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"]. Here's how it started:
Friends have pointed us to this week’s NYT Magazine cover story, published today. It’s devoted to a Palestinian Arab village set in the hills a few kilometers north of where we live in Jerusalem. It's a place the author calls “spirited”, where “on warm summer evenings, life… could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone.” He says “a pilgrimage” to this magical place “has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s”.
How can a person not be captivated? 

But there is much wrong with the picture he conjures up. We know this because for years we have been tracking the media’s romance with the community called Nabi Saleh. Sitting here and looking over the online version of it, we are furious with anger about what the article says, and what the writer and his editors carefully avoid saying.
We wanted to be heard by the readers of the New York Times in a more direct manner at the time and tried. If you want to know how that went, we documented that too: "9-Aug-13: Protesting journalism of the amoral sort". 

And for a little more about actual life and real attitudes in the temporal Nabi Saleh, as distinct from the Pallywood fantasies of the talented Mr Ehrenreich, here's another of our past posts on that theme: "01-Sep-15: A tale of two villages: one devoted to non-violence, another that actually exists".

Ehrenreich's previous major push for the
"struggling" Tamimi clan's campaign
for bigger and more deadly murderous
attacks [New York Times]
It has to be said that Amy Wilentz's LARB review of Ehrenreich's paen to those village monsters includes some sharp insights. And if you're interested in answers to some of the questions she refreshingly poses but doesn't entirely untangle, help can be found in the fine work of the historian Petra Marquardt-Bigman, in particular her November 2015 essay in The Tower focusing on the Tamimi clan: "How a Family Became a Propaganda Machine".

We were struck, though, by how little Ms Wilentz has to say about the vicious, murder-oriented polemic that the Tamimi pack specialize in propagating. Most of their work-product is (naturally) in Arabic and intended for an Arabic-speaking audience, but some of it is easily accessible to English-speaking readers. 

So we sent the following to the LARB editors last night as a comment on the book review. They have just posted it below the Wilentz piece:
Here's some more "poetry of the desert" that Ehrenreich might have included but chose not to. It's some frank opinion-sharing by Nariman Tamimi, whose under-appreciated, explosive bigotry rarely makes it into English publications. 
We translated it from the Hebrew source in our blog last year. The context is important: it appeared at the same time as Amnesty International was spending a small fortune putting Tamimi's husband Bassem into the center of a US roadshow designed to further burnish his entirely bogus "heroism", a process Amnesty had begun a couple of years earlier and continues today, and which was accompanied by a round-the-clock effort to shield him and themselves from the fury of people who understand Tamimi's key role in murderous anti-Jew violence over the past decade.The voice quoted in this extract is that of his wife, Nariman Tamimi: Source: 11-Sep-15: How devoted to non-violence are the villagers of Nabi Saleh really? 
"Women and children have always been a part of the struggle in Nabi Saleh, as opposed to what has happened in Qadoum, Bil'in and Ni'lin. Here, it’s a cultural thing, something traditional and educational, and also the fact that everyone in our village belongs to the one family numbering about 500 people and in reality there’s no alternative..." One of the major Palestinian murderers who emerged from the village is Ahlam Tamimi who transported the perpetrator of the terror at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria. [Nariman again] "What she [Ahlam Tamimi] did was an integral part of the struggle. Everyone fights in the manner in which he believes. There is armed uprising, and there is popular uprising. I support every form of uprising... 
Ahlam Tamimi, described in inappropriately benign terms here and in Ehrenreich's celebration of the murderous culture of the denizens of Nabi Saleh, is the engineer of the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. She planned it, chose the site, delivered the bomb to the location, and repeatedly - since being set free in the Shalit deal of 2011 - celebrates (in the Arabic-language media) what she says it stands for. Ehrenreich ought to say why this still-young woman is a figure of adulation among the members of the Tamimi clan in Nabi Saleh: not despite the murders she executed but explicitly because of them.  
Nabi Saleh, setting aside the poetry and the pretentious, cultural allusions, has a rich tradition of anti-Jew murder. Failing to put this in the center of the review of Ehrenreich's agitprop is to be complicit in the incitement emanating from that wretched village daily.
Wilentz is thankfully less entranced by the romanticism of both Ehrenreich and his sociopathic subjects than the editors at the New York Times seem to be. She writes:
Because he stands with the Palestinians, Ehrenreich has been called brave and courageous, but as someone who has also tried to do this kind of work in the Middle East, I can say that for a certain type of reporter, it doesn’t take bravery — there is something very seductive about victims, and to follow the Palestinians is simply to follow a reporter’s instinct for a good story... ["The Humiliation Machine", Los Angeles Review of Books, July 22, 2016]
She's being way too generous. And we ought to mention, for those who don't already know, that there's a terribly painful reason we pay attention to what's said about Nabi Saleh and its Tamimis. (Incidentally almost everyone in the dusty town is called Tamimi, with Tamimis routinely marrying other Tamimis in a cultural practice common among Palestinian Arabs and with consequences well-known in Israel's paediatric hospital wards). 

Baby carriages outside the devastated Sbarro pizzeria, minutes
after the Tamimi woman had fled the scene [Getty Images]
We do that because the engineer of the 2001 massacre at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem is a woman called Tamimi. Her husband, who also happens to be her cousin, is another Tamimi. They are a pair of convicted and exultant murderers of Jews. 

He was raised in Nabi Saleh, and she says she has blood ties to almost everyone there, and reputedly lived there very briefly after she made aliyah from her homeland of Jordan in the late 1990's. 

Today the woman is the town's pin-up girl in the literal sense - they adore her there and all the barbaric hatred, bigotry and blood-shed she stands for.  If Nabi Saleh had a municipal symbol, it would probably be the grotesque smile on her face.

This Tamimi couple, both of them convicted murderers of Jews who were serving multiple life sentences in Israeli prisons after being convicted, live perfectly freely today in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, having both been released in the catastrophic Shalit Deal in 2011. 

Life has been awfully good. She has no money problems, having been a recipient of the notorious (and ongoing) Palestinian Authority Rewards for Terror payments scheme [background: "08-Jul-16: Violence, terror, cash and the PA Rewards for Terror Scheme: Congress takes a look"]. Today. she's a full-time propagandist for the Islamists of Hamas. She burnishes her fame on that platform with an active social media presence that includes FacebookTwitter and YouTube and she travels and does well-publicized personal appearances throughout the Arab world. Indeed she is one of the most widely-recognized, very public faces of the savage Islamist bigotry of Hamas and the Moslem Brotherhood. 

And not only in the Middle East: she has her own heavily-promoted Hamas-branded weekly television program (in English, "Breezes of the Free") that's beamed each weekend via satellite and streaming internet video to television screens of Arabic-speaking households on every continent. 

This Tamimi woman also the murderer of our fifteen year old daughter Malki and of 14 other innocent patrons of that pizzeria. She can barely stop boasting about the role she played and the disappointment she felt that she had not managed to murder even more Jews. Especially Jewish children. [Some evidence: "04-Feb-15: The stunningly different fates of two terrorists in Jordan and what they reveal about how the war against terror is going"] 

Her life's work, on constant public display, is devoted to encouraging additional acts of blood-curdling savagery. 

Analyzing Amnesty's culpability at The Tablet
The role of Amnesty International in the marketing of a Tamimi-centric view of terrorism-as-liberation has gotten much less attention in the media than it deserves. How any progressive-minded can be aware of that role and still send the occasional support check to Amnesty is totally baffling to us. Withholding support is one sure-fire way of getting its management to stop ignoring the criticism they have drawn from people like us - and ignoring is most assuredly what the Amnesty clique have been doing. 

Click here for a couple of dozen articles we have written in the past two years about Amnesty's odious promotion of Bassem Tamimi, a propagandist to whom Goebbels would surely have raised his hat. And if your time is short, please read just one of our posts that captures the essence of the others - this one for instance: "07-Sep-15: Peace, human rights, the sheer joy of killing people". Or this: "06-Nov-15: What Amnesty hath wrought: The elevation of the terror-minded Tamimis".

This has all worked out well for Ben Ehrenreich, who can be expected to return soon to the well for more public attention as the impresario of the little village in the hills. Did anyone ever say terrorism doesn't pay?

24-Jul-16: In Germany, a gunman with Iranian citizenship kills 9

Heavy armed security as patrons leave the mall in Munich on
Friday evening [Image Source
Yet another mass-killing of innocent victims in a public European space. Nine dead, 27 injured as of this hour, and ten more critically injured according to BBC. And once more, rapid-fire near-certainty by the local authorities - at least to judge by news reports - that this latest mass-casualty shooting assault, this time by a teen with dual German and Iranian citizenship, has nothing whatever to do with plots or planning or Islamist groups.

This is from Reuters:
World | Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:41pm EDT Related: WORLD | Munich gunman fixated on mass killing, had no Islamist ties | MUNICH | BY JOERN POLTZ AND KARIN STROHECKER | 
A German-Iranian teenager who shot dead nine people in Munich was a deranged lone gunman obsessed with mass killings who drew no inspiration from Islamist militancy, police said on Saturday. The 18-year-old, born and raised locally, opened fire near a busy shopping mall on Friday evening, triggering a lockdown in the Bavarian state capital. Seven of his victims were themselves teenagers, who police said he may have lured to their deaths via a hacked Facebook account on what was the fifth anniversary of twin attacks by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik that killed 77 people. The Munich shooting, in which a further 27 people were wounded, some seriously, was the third act of violence against civilians in Western Europe - and the second in southern Germany - in eight days. Bavarian state crime office president Robert Heimberger said the gunman, who German media named as Ali David Sonboly, was carrying more than 300 bullets in his backpack and pistol when he shot himself. Munich police witnessed the suicide at 8:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT), the police force said on Saturday.  
Following a police search of the attacker's room, where a book on teenage shooting sprees was discovered, Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae all but ruled out an Islamist militant link to the attack. "Based on the searches, there are no indications whatsoever that there is a connection to Islamic State" or to the issue of refugees, he told a news conference. "Documents on shooting sprees were found, so the perpetrator obviously researched this subject intensively."
At the Independent UK, they quote the police saying
there are no indications the gunman had links with Isis, identifying the attack as a "classic shooting rampage" and not terrorism... Police said the victims killed in the massacre included teenagers, with children among the 16 people injured. Video uploaded to social media purportedly shows the attacker shouting "I am German" and "I was born here" after an onlooker shouts xenophobic remarks to him during the attack.
AFP reports the shooter was "quiet [and] helpful... calm and shy... a good person" but also "a bullied teen" who "had been an admirer of another German teenager who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009". And "a shy boy" who "laughed like a normal person".

And this from a United Arab Emirates news report tonight:
He was born a Shiite and his parents think he may have converted to Christianity at some point, but what really fascinated Ali David Sonboly was mass killers. On Friday, the 18-year-old became one himself when he gunned down nine people in a shopping centre in Munich. The police who raided Sonboly’s home in Munich found nothing to indicate any interest in extremist causes but much evidence of an obsession with mass killers. In his bedroom they found a stash of books and documents about so-called "spree shootings" and including a German translation of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters. Written in 2010 by Dr Peter Langman, the book examines the phenomenon of teenage murderers with particular reference to the Virginia Tech and Columbine school massacres in the United States. Sonboly also admired the 17-year-old German who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009... 
Did he shout "Allahu Akbar" as he fired at his unarmed victims? Yes, according to this report.

Friday, July 22, 2016

22-Jul-16: Heavy-handed Swedish efforts to silence an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism

In "Watching the Moon at Night", Clara Rojas, freed from FARC 
captivity in Colombia describes her years of suffering at the hands 
of the terrorists
A really fine piece of documentary cinema made by acclaimed Swedish filmmakers Bo Persson and Joanna Helander was recently screened in the European Parliament. Prior to that it had been shown in the Swedish parliament, at a prestigious list of international film festivals and in front of selected private audiences in the United States and Europe.

Called "Watching the Moon at Night", the 90-minute-long documentary addresses in a lyrical and insightful way the intertwined issues of terrorism and antisemitism. (There's a trailer here.)

We don't do this often but 
we are asking readers (for the second time) to please sign an important and meaningful petition that relates to what is being done to the film and its authore. You can read more and sign on the GoPetitions site. We blogged about it in previous posts: "13-Jan-15: Terrorism: watching its victims, trying to understand their experiences" and "28-Mar-16: Upcoming premiere screenings (NYC, Washington) of an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism".
We know from the directors that the project was inspired by some of the world's most eminent authorities in those two fields. They included Walter Laqueur, and the late André Glucksmann and the late Robert S. Wistrich

What distinguishes it from similar-seeming undertakings is the sensitive and enlightening role it gives to the voices of the victims. They (and we are in it) speak, in apolitical terms, of awful personal experiences of terror in a variety of places including Algeria, Spain, France, Moscow, Israel, New York, Colombia, Munich, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

This film began as a co-production of the producers Kino Koszyk HBFilm i Väst, a regional Swedish film fund; and Sveriges Television with important support from the Swedish Film Institute.

Subsequently, Sveriges Television officials shockingly refused to allow it to be screened on TV in its home country. Several reports in the mainstream Swedish and Danish media in the wake of that decision refer to political correctness and to a concern about a backlash (for showing a television documenary!) from certain corners.

Prominent Swedish commentators have called for this awful decision to be reversed. In these fraught and dangerous times, terrorism and antisemitism threaten the institutions of democracy everywhere. Attempting to hide this reality and distorting the public debate is the worst way to confront these threats when we should instead stand up for human rights and European values.

From "Watching the Moon at Night"
We are joining the call by distinguished Scandinavians and a growing circle of concerned Europeans to require the management of Sveriges Television to reverse its gagging of this important film, and to immediately schedule it for the widest possible television exposure in Sweden.

The silencing of this fine film (full disclosure: as mentioned above, we play a small role in it, testifying to our experience) is an outrageous abuse of bureaucratic power, an act of thuggery dictated by unspoken and shameful motivations.

There's a petition calling for the film to be shown in Sweden and drawing attention to the politically-aligned decision to silence the voice of the film's makers. If you did not already respond to our earlier request, please now go to the GoPetitions site and sign.

And please help us get the word out. (We are working on a longer piece. Hopefully we will get it out soon.)

22-Jul-16: Who says the BBC never calls terror terror?

Currently appearing on the BBC website (if it has changed by the time
you click, here's the archived version)
Regular readers of this blog, and of the much-more focused and excellent BBC Watch, will be aware of the infuriating and ultimately dangerous practice at the BBC to (a) Never use the word terror outside of quotation marks and (b) To use it when it suits the editors.

Then there's another option: (c) To change their minds once or twice on a single day depending on... well, in truth, we don't know on what such editorial swings depend.

But they certainly happen. We watched it and then described it in "22-Mar-16: At the BBC, they're challenged by terror in quite revealing ways" when the BBC decision-makers couldn't quite determine whether their news consumers could be entrusted with knowing that terror played a role in the Brussels Airport terror massacre.

(In the end, they decided that it did not, then that it did, and eventually, later the same day, that it did not. We documented the silliness here.)

Rule of thumb: it almost never suits the editors and has not suited them for years, to use the word terror when describing any act of savagery, no matter how transparently jihadist in nature, when such acts are directed at Israelis. Check it out.

Knowing this, and understanding how much double-talk and hypocrisy lie behind it, take a look at this morning's BBC report from Brazil and the events we ourselves mentioned yesterday ["21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus"]. The screen shot above show how that BBC item is currently headlined.

Click to see how very seriously the BBC
takes its own editorial guidelines - on paper
What's obviously going on is that, while BBC editorial guidelines are one thing, the decisions taken by the editors at the BBC on a given day are frequently another. 

We tried to lay out our view of those double-standards (we're being polite) in this post: "06-Jan-16: Perceptions and realities at the BBC". It includes a revealing (though discouraging) list of our earlier comments on this important issue, all of them addressing the BBC and its terror strategy from a critical perspective.

There's also the disturbing way the BBC pays what we consider to be self-evidently inadequate attention to the frequency and nature of terror attacks (whatever the BBC chooses to call them) against Israelis compared with its comprehensive and often up-close coverage of Israeli actions against the Arab side after those terror attacks happen, 


Over at BBC Watch, they address this very matter on a monthly basis via a statistical review, and in March 2016 provided this summary chart ["Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel"]:
From BBC Watch
As you mull over BBC's editorial practices, think of its standing as a publicly-funded (to the tune of an unparalleled billions of dollars each year), globe-straddling radio/TV/web/print colossus with a mission
to ensure that the BBC gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news, other information, and analysis of current events and ideas.
Yep: Accurate and impartial, and it's clear that many people buy that. '

But closer inspection, and some informed knowledge of what goes on in Israel, and a person realizes this is how ideology-driven journalism works. All those well-rounded vowels, the pompous self-justifications and the serious-sounding guidelines don't change that. 

We can take comfort from the fact that today's BBC headline doesn't read "Violent extremism arrests in Brazil".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

21-Jul-16: Lone wolf truck-ramming murderer transforms - yet again - into a far more lethal figure

The weapon in the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, France
[Image Source]
What we know, or were told we know, or thought or suspected we knew turns out - almost as we watch - to be very different. And what's different makes it much, much more threatening. (For background: "15-Jul-16: The terrorist vehicle-ramming murders in France: what the media see and won't see"] Above all, this was not, in any sense, an attack by a truck.

From Associated Press tonight:
The truck driver who killed 84 people on a Nice beachfront had accomplices and appears to have been plotting his attack for months, the Paris prosecutor said on Thursday. Prosecutor Francois Molins said five suspects currently in custody are facing preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in the July 14 attack in the southern French city. Molins' office, which oversees terrorism investigations, opened a judicial inquiry Thursday into a battery of charges... The suspects are four men — two Franco-Tunisians, a Tunisian and an Albanian — and one woman of dual French-Albanian nationality, Molins said. The driver was a Tunisian man who had been living in Nice for several years. People close to Bouhlel said he had shown no signs of radicalization until very recently. But Molins said information from Bouhlel's phone showed searches and photos that suggested he could have been preparing an attack as far back as 2015.
Almost no aspect of what was suggested about the attacker in the hours and first days after the incredibly lethal assault by truck-ramming has remained in its original shape. This will not prevent the very same thing from happening next time there is a terrorist attack in which, as far as the naked eye can see, is done by an individual. He or she will be a lone wolf for media and government policy purposes until the facts make that theory impossible to sustain.

We, the civilized side, are not winning this ongoing war yet.

21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus

In Rio, Brazilian security forces do their work a week ago [Image Source]
Ready, set...

Yesterday, a news report from the country hosting the upcoming Olympic Games that get started on August 5 ["Brazil Not Underestimating Olympic Terror Threat, Says Minister", Voice of America, July 20, 2016] quoted its sports minister saying that Brazil
was not underestimating the threat of terrorism and was taking all necessary measures ahead of next month's games in Rio de Janeiro... "The government has adopted all the measures recommended by inter-national security protocols... The government is absolutely convinced that the Games will be safe." ...Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper he is more concerned about violence and street crime, problems that affect Rio on a daily basis. "Crime is more of a worry than terrorism and that is why we are reinforcing patrols," he said. Brazil plans to deploy about 85,000 soldiers, police and other security personnel during the Olympics — over twice the size of the security force in London for the 2012 Games.
Twenty-fours later, and things already look a little different compared with the plan. Reuters reported this evening (Thursday) that its security officials had
arrested 10 people on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to a group supporting Islamic State (IS) and preparing acts of terrorism during next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, [the same] Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes said. The loosely organized group were all Brazilian citizens and in contact via internet messaging groups such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but did not know each other personally, the minister said. The group did not have direct contact with IS though some of its members had made "pro forma" declarations of allegiance to the militant Islamist group, the minister said. He did not elaborate. "Those involved participated in an online group denominated 'the defenders of Sharia' and were planning to acquire weapons to commit crimes in Brazil and even overseas," Moraes told a news conference... The minister said the leader of the group was based in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, with others spread in nine Brazilian states. [Reuters, July 21, 2016]
Other reports say the Brazilian jihadists call themselves "Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil" and propagate ISIS materials in the Arabic, English and Portuguese languages. And according to a report today on the Foreign Desk News website, Israelis are among the jihadists' targets:
In a list published on social media, jihadis are advised to target American, British, French and Israeli athletes with the notion that “One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else in sha Allah.” “Your chance to take part in the global Jihad is here! Your chance to be a martyr is here!” the jihadis said, citing the easy process of obtaining visas for travel to Brazil as well as the wide availability of guns in “crime-ridden slums.” Israeli athletes are further singled out. “From amongst the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen amongst the Muslims,” they state. [Foreign Desk News, today]
Just two days before Thursday's arrests, a noted counter-terrorism authority in the US, SITE Intelligence Group, issued a report referring to calls by the Brazilian jihadists for "lone wolf" attackers to launch assaults on specific Olympic sites and via specific weapons.

In other parts of the terrorism-focused social media, an article from two years ago asserts that Brazil had become “an operational hub for Iran and Islamic terrorism” already then, offering safe haven for Islamic extremist groups.

A Wall Street Journal report today says
the arrests are certain to elevate concerns about the possibility of a terrorist attack in Rio, which is expected to attract 500,000 tourists and athletes, and raise additional questions over Brazil’s security preparations.
Telegraph UK says the Brazilians have formed an Integrated Anti-Terrorism Centre (called CIANT) for the Games. It works with the security agencies of the US, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Paraguay and Argentina. Officers at CIANT, headquartered in the capital, Brasília, "are monitoring Rio 24 hours a day. Among the areas covered are hotels where Olympic officials and VIPs will stay, Games venues and training sites". Four days ago, the general coordinator for public security at the Games, said
there was no identified threat of a terror attack against Brazil but said the level of alert had been raised since the Bastille Day attack in Nice. “Today, in the absence of a concrete threat to Brazil, we are on yellow alert, which is characterised by increased attention and the level of response in relation to everyday life,” he said. “This can develop into an orange or red alert according to any specific threat that is identified in relation to Brazil.” [Source]
It appears now that the light changed this morning.

21-Jul-16: Palestinian Arab ass being saved, once more, by concerned Israelis

Image Source: Screen shot
Thanks to Aussie Dave over at Israellycool, we just watched a brief video clip that, on its face, is about Israeli police confiscating Palestinian Arab property. It originates with Corey Gil-Shuster, who interviews subjects for his Ask an Israeli/Ask a Palestinian video project and who came across the Hebrew-only source on an Israeli channel for animal lovers.

In dry terms, it's a clip filmed recently by someone from Israel Police that graphically shows the mistreatment of a neglected, very badly-lacerated donkey. And the frightened, angry, frustrated boy in charge of the animal. And the animal being saved from a slow and awful death through the intervention of grown-ups wearing Star of David symbols on their uniforms.

Dave quotes Corey noting the significance of what's being shown, beyond the cruelty and the animal, and touching on truths that are central to the generations-long Arab/Israel conflict. Paraphrasing Corey,
  • An Arab child of 11 from the West Bank, despatched into Israel on his own to work illegally, almost certainly by his hard-scrabble family. He could have been hurt or killed. And it's certainly illegal to do this to a child of his age.
  • Indications, based on what we see the child do once the police move, that he gets beaten at home and will likely be beaten some more for losing the donkey to the Zionists.
  • And "this video will end up being edited to show that Israelis steal donkeys from Palestinian children".
Dave adds that "it shows the compassion of the Israeli police officers towards this illegal entrant into Israel, even though he has abused a donkey and is not cooperating with them". He's of course right. He could have also mentioned their admirable patience and forbearance.



But there's also this aspect:

Deeply cynical, and very often life-threatening, abuse of Palestinian Arab children is not only a well-documented reality. It's also one of these perplexing sides of the conflict that causes human rights bodies  - the sort we would otherwise expect to scream to the heavens in protest - to lose their voices and stare off into the distance, humming.

Palestinian Arab children, whether they are having their heads filled with life-changing hatred and often-lethal bigotry by an education system run by UNRWA, or whether being incited by their despotic president to go out into the fields and onto the streets and (literally) kill Jews and die for the "purity" of their "homeland" - in other words, when they are being weaponized - are egregiously ignored by the likes UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalUNESCOChild Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development and others.

The self-incriminating silence of the thriving multi-billion dollar children's rights industry on what's being done to the Palestinian Arab children by their own ruling clique is an articulate expression of their priorities and of the ideology motivating many of the prime movers of those charities and NGOs. It's a scandal that ought to get more attention than, say, a plagiarized paragraph in a politician's wife's speech. But it gets close to none.

In an age of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, they certainly can't say they don't know. They have decided to not care, not intervene and not do what their donors want them to do. Instead, they align themselves with the sadly familiar narrative that preposterously ascribes "Palestinian suffering" to "occupation" (as the British House of Lords, in a report it withdrew this week after a single day's exposure, does and did) Since it's children's lives being ruined, we're entitled to feel and express fury. It surprises us to see that so few other people get that. 

There's something about advocacy for the Palestinian Arabs that makes smart people stupid, empathetic people cruel and philanthropy-minded Westerners witless.

[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Palestyński osioł, palestyńskie dziecko, izraelska policja") including the video clip - all by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her once again, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]