Saturday, May 31, 2008

Die Another Day, Part 1

Staring into the Batcomputer, the large figure pondered the events from earlier in the evening, recalling his dinner date with Vicki.

"Really, Bruce, I just don't buy it."

Vicki had been looking at the television above the bar. At the bar, a short distance from the television, Sasha sat, looking back in the general direction of Vicki. Sasha was, after all, a bodyguard with Wayne Enterprises Corporate Security, and was there to protect Vicki's date, Bruce Wayne.

For her part, Vicki had made eye contact with Sasha early on in the evening, and nodded a silent greeting. Since then, she rarely glanced in Sasha's direction, and only when something interesting was on the television. At the moment, though, she was fixated on the TV, and Bruce Wayne had to turn around to see what she was looking at.

"Buy what?" Bruce Wayne made eye contact with Sasha, smiled, and then turned back to Vicki.

"That story about Gotham Towers collapsing due to fire," Vicki answered, turning back to look at her companion.

Bruce Wayne paused, studying Vicki. It was in this very restaurant, on a date with Vicki, that he had first received a cat-themed riddle. He and Alfred now believed the cat-themed riddles were from someone they called Catwoman; the original riddles they agreed were from someone they called the Riddler. The riddles from the Riddler had lead the investigation toward likely motives for the attack on the Gotham Trade Center, which caused the collapse of the Gotham Towers as well as a third skyscraper, leaving thousands dead and the Gotham Trade Center in ruins. However, the riddles from Catwoman seemed to address corruption in Gotham's law enforcement agencies, mainly in the Gotham Bureau of Investigation, which prevented Gotham's lawmen from disrupting the attack during the planning stages.

The investigation had come a long way since then, however.

Wayne frowned, thinking about what Dr. Sandra Villanova, another lady-friend of his, had told him about organized crime. She had talked about the Asian Deep State, and had mentioned an umbrella organization known in the underworld only as "The Demon".

A man Wayne had met in Asia, Henri Ducard, had appeared in Gotham City, and may have been the assassin sent to kill Carmine Falcone. Falcone survived only because Batman had crashed his party and saved his life; of course, Falcone still does not know this, and likely believes the Batman was working with the ninja that had infiltrated his party on Halloween. Regardless of what Falcone knew or believed, Batman had proven to be such a persistent and serious nuisance to Falcone's underworld empire that Falcone had a ten-million-dollar contract out on Batman's head. Falcone, whose name kept coming up on the periphery of the investigation, and corrupt elements in the GBI, who had likely enabled the attacks by stopping anyone from preventing them, were connected; more evidence of this connection could include the fact that at least two GBI agents seemed determined to kill Batman and collect the ten-million-dollar reward. In fact, they had set more than one ambush for Batman, and one of the ambushes had almost been successful.

"Bruce, are you listening to me?" Vicki was agitated. Bruce Wayne could be a good friend, but he didn't really seem to be paying attention; although he and Vicki were just friends, and Bruce had not made any pass at Vicki ever, he still had a reputation as a bit of a playboy, and a shallow one at that. She knew he was deeper than what many people thought, but she also knew he could be easily distracted when there were beautiful women around, and indeed, there were a couple in the restaurant tonight.

"Sure... sorry, guess I wasn't." Bruce looked at her. "Whenever I think about the collapse of the Gotham Towers, I can't help but think about the people who died there. Some of them jumped to their deaths to escape the fire; others died several floors above the fire when the buildings collapsed." He paused. "It kind of reminds me of what happened to my parents," he added quietly.

"I'm sorry, Bruce, it didn't even occur to me...." Vicki's voice trailed off.

"It's alright, Vicki. What were you saying?"

"Well," she leaned across the table, lowering her voice, "they try to tell us that fires caused the collapse of the Gotham Towers. But," she looked around, "when has a fire ever caused the collapse of a skyscraper?" She leaned back in her chair. "When they are designing those buildings, they know a fire is not just a possibility. Sooner or later, there will be a fire, and, sooner or later, there will be a big one. It's an eventuality. They design those buildings to survive even catastrophic fires. The Gotham Towers were – what? – some thirty years old? I just don't buy it that fires brought them down." She leaned closer, again. "I heard that several of Gotham's firefighters who were on the scene reported explosions in each tower, right before it collapsed."

Wayne sipped his wine. It was the same story Edward Nygma had told him.

"You know, Bruce, I think the government is covering something up."

"But why?"

"That I don't know." Vicki looked down at her silverware on the dinner table. "But that commission that investigated the events of that day..." she began, then looked up. "What a joke! They left out the most important evidence." Vicki paused. "It's like they all agreed that certain things would not get looked into. No one was held accountable for anything. If the buildings collapsed due to fire, how come there haven't been changes in the fire code? Unless the buildings weren't built to code, in which case, why haven't we heard anything about that?"

Vicki stopped, looking at her wine glass, swirling the wine inside it.

"The very day it happened, they were already calling it 'the Crime of the Century' – who investigates crimes in Gotham City? Isn't it the Gotham Bureau of Investigation? Aren't they the best? Don't they always get their man? But, who investigated the collapse of the Gotham Towers? Some safety board that nobody ever heard of. No evidence, no trials, nothing – just this endless 'War on Crime'. I don't buy it. Bruce, why has no one been held accountable? No trials, where the government has to prove in court how the towers came down. No real investigation, just this safety board and this ridiculous commission. Why?"

Beyond all that Vicki was saying, Bruce Wayne was aware that an incredible number of stock trades had been pushed through the computers in the stock brokerages located in the Gotham Towers during the attack. He was also aware of suspicious stock trades where people benefitted from the events of the day; a few fairly obviously, with short-term gains, but some less obviously, with longer-term gains worth a great deal of money.

Why, indeed, Wayne wondered, had there never been a real, criminal investigation? Aladdin was pronounced guilty, and Gotham's law enforcement was trying to bring him in, though they never seemed to get close to him. Why, indeed?



They were standing on the outskirts of the village. In a daily ritual, a ritual as old as time itself in this part of the world, people who live beyond the village were arriving with their products and wares to sell them, and to buy the things they need to take them home.

It was difficult to judge age. In a land that seemed timeless, the people seemed just as timeless. But the old man who approached looked like he could easily be eighty years old.

The two men stood, and gazed out at the fields among which the dirt road wound. Far out in the fields there were simple structures – homes for the people who worked in the fields. Beyond the fields there were patches of woods.

Up above, the sky was clear and blue; a beautiful day was beginning. It would be warm, perhaps even hot, but this early in the morning, it was still cool. The fields were still shrouded in mist, mixed with smoke from the open fires over which the people were cooking their breakfasts inside the structures where they lived. He smiled at the thought of this foreign "smog".

The old man approached, and looked at the two men standing on the side of the road. The one was familiar to him, but the other one was relatively new in the village. The old man had heard of him, that he had come from a far away place called Gotham City to be a disciple of the master.



"Some people think Batman is the greatest danger to Gotham City," Alfred began. "Reading this report, I am inclined to consider that they might be right."

Bruce Wayne looked up from the Batcomputer.

"Batman's intervention in the situation led to an absolute disaster – only a tremendous amount of revision of the story could lead someone to think otherwise."

Alfred looked at Wayne through his bifocals.

"The situation was resolved with a minimal amount of violence, Alfred," Wayne answered, looking back down at the Batcomputer.

"The use of fuel-air explosives in a hostage environment can hardly be considered a minimal amount of violence, sir," Alfred responded. "Three quarters of the hostages died, and the criminals who were holding them escaped."



The old man stopped in front of the stranger and looked at him. The stranger towered above, tall and muscular. The old man smiled, and with animated gestures, began to speak.

The stranger smiled back, as the master translated the old man's words.

"He says there was a tree on the side of the road. No one knew how old the tree was; it had been there as long as anyone could remember. The tree was very deformed, twisted and gnarled. Under it sat a man. The man had a hunched back and a club foot. His chin rested on his chest, and his hands were deformed, as well. The man was every bit as twisted as the tree under which he sat."

The tall man glanced at the master, listening to the story, and wondering why the old man suddenly decided to share it with someone he had never met.

"Behind the tree were other trees, tall and straight; in front of the man was a road that led from the village to the fields, and along the road walked the men from the village, going out to their day's work in the fields. Many of them felt sorry for the man who sat under the tree, and offered him food. Little by little, the crippled man accumulated enough food for the entire day. The smile on his face was more than enough payment for what he received, as everyone was happy to share with him."

The old man looked up at this stranger in the village, confident he was a new friend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Saleema

We begin with a story from a Christian website. The story is undated, but the events described began in 1997. Here is Saleema!, by Tom White:

Saleema grew up in a Christian family in Pakistan. To her, faith in Jesus Christ is a part of everyday life and often comes with great costs. Saleema knows the dangers of sharing her faith in the Muslim stronghold of Pakistan, but like thousands of other Christians, that does not prevent her from being a living witness of her Lord and Savior.

Last year, Saleema gave a bible to a friend of hers who was also a Muslim. This Muslim friend was so impressed by what she read that she immediately fell in love with Christ. She longed to know more about Jesus, and on Good Friday, she found the courage to attend a Chritsian church.

It was on this day that Saleema's friend heard, for the first time, of the crucifixion, the atonement, and the resurrection of Jesus. She had read about Jesus in the Koran, but the Islamic Holy Book failed to mention his crucifixion and atonement for sin. That morning before returning home she gave her life to Jesus Christ.

Her parents were very disturbed by the news. According to Islamic law, their daughter was guilty of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed. Saleema's friend was beaten, kicked and tortured by her parents. However, she would not deny Christ. In fact, the more she suffered for Jesus, the more she loved Him.

Her parents continued the persecution and decided it would be best to give their daughter in marriage to a Muslim man. It was at this time that Saleema's friend had no choice but to leave her home and go into hiding.

When the girl's parents discovered that she was missing, they immediately went to Saleema's home believing that she was guilty of hiding their daughter. They demanded to know her whereabouts. Saleema told them that she did not know where their daughter was and that her family had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Saleema, along with her parents, was picked by the Islamic authorities and interrogated for three days. They were beaten, starved, and continually questioned. As part of the torture, Saleema was forced to stand on the tips of her toes for over twelve hours. Each time she came down from this excruciating position, a stick came across her back. Saleema was eventually handed over to the police.

Saleema's pastor was also arrested and placed in the cell with her. The guards removed the prisoner's clothing and attempted to force Saleema and her pastor to commit adultery. When they refused, they were again beaten. The pastor's son was also arrested, hung upside down in a tree, and nearly beaten to death.

Every day and every night Saleema was tortured. Her tormentors inflicted unspeakable wounds both physically and emotionally. Saleema is an attractive young woman, and she was repeatedly violated.

Three weeks after Saleema was handed over to the police, the young Muslim girl who had turned her life over to Jesus, was discovered hiding in a woman's shelter. Her Muslim parents brought her back to her village where she was publicly executed. She was only a Christian for a few months when she learned the meaning of being "faithful unto death."

Saleema has since been charged with the girl's death. The judge found her guilty on two counts, 1> for proselytizing a Muslim girl, and 2> causing the events leading up to the girl's execution. Saleema now faces murder charges, and if found guilty under blasphemy law 295c, will herself be executed.

This tragic story is all too common in Muslim nations like Pakistan, where our family in Christ, our brothers and sisters, are beaten, tortured and even killed for their faith. It is for Saleema and so many others like her, that The Voice of the Martyrs exist. Your brothers and sisters need your prayers. They need your encouragement. They need to know that they are not forgotten, and that we will do everything in our power to help them.


More on the story can be found in a March, 1999, piece entitled Pakistani Teen Still in Legal Trouble:

28 March 1999 (Newsroom)--A Pakistani teenager arrested for helping to convert her Muslim friend to Christianity remains in legal jeopardy but is not dead or about to be executed, as some reports spread via the Internet assert. She and her pastor both were tortured while in police custody, however, Pakistani human rights groups claim, and her friend is dead.

Saleema (likely a pseudonym to protect her security) is accused of the crime of "converting a Muslim." According to International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington, D.C.-based rights group, Saleema has not appeared at several scheduled court hearings. ICC President Steven Snyder believes that is either out of concern for her safety or because her advocates want to draw more attention to the case.

"We feel her case could be resolved," Snyder says. "Our concern is that there may be some Christians manipulating Saleema to maintain this as a high profile case in order to keep attention on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan."

The events leading to Saleema's arrest began in 1997 in the city of Sheikhupura in Punjab province when the then-17-year-old gave her friend, Raheela Khanam, a Bible. Saleema apparently had a part in the 18-year-old Muslim girl's conversion to Christianity. Under Islamic law, or Shari'a, converting from Islam to another faith--called apostasy--is punishable by death. Though the Pakistani civil code does not apply the death penalty to apostasy, Shari'a is often enforced by private citizens, who consider it their duty as a Muslim. On July 8, 1997, the local newspaper reported that Raheela was shot to death by her brother Altaf Khanam, who then turned himself in to police.

Sources in Pakistan connected to Advocates International, a Virginia-based Christian legal agency, say that shortly before her death Raheela had sought refuge at the home of her pastor, Arthur Salim, but was turned away. The pastor, according to ICC, is from Wandalla Junction, a community in the Shadara section of Lahore. ICC sources say that Altaf Khanam illegally detained Salim for two days, accusing him and his son Robin of kidnapping Raheela. On June 23, 1997, Khanam turned over the pastor to police. A day later, police jailed Robin as well.

Salim reportedly made a written compromise with the Khanam family that allowed him to be released with his son on July 4, 1997. While in custody, Salim told members of two Lahore-based human rights groups that he had been tortured by police. In response, the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance, and Settlement (CLAAS) filed a petition in Lahore High Court on June 17, 1999. CLAAS and the group Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported that when they visited Salim in jail he could not stand up due to the severity of the torture. But the pastor denied the charge when called before the court on June 30, 1997 and the case was dismissed. A few days after Salim's release, Raheela was murdered.

According to some accounts, the Khanam family pressed murder charges against Saleema because of her role in the conversion. ICC's Snyder questions that. "We have not seen any evidence that there was a murder charge brought by the family," he says.

Nevertheless, authorities took Saleema into custody at Sheikhupura jail shortly after Raheela's murder. On July 14, 1997, members of CLAAS visited Saleema at the jail. She told the rights group that police severely beat her with her clothes off, using a leather belt and hose pipes. She accused police of raping her and burning sensitive parts of her body with a hot iron rod and cigarette butts.

In its 1997 report on human rights in Pakistan, the U.S. State Department reported similar cases. A study of Lahore newspapers from January to July 1997 by the Commission of Inquiry for Women found 52 cases of violence or torture of women while in police custody, the State Department said.

Saleema was released on bail Aug. 7, 1997, facing the charge of converting a Muslim. According to Snyder, a guilty verdict would be punishable by no more than two years in prison.

Though Saleema did not make a required February 15 court appearance, sources say that negotiations are under way to drop charges against her. Legally, her prospects are good, according to a spokesman for an agency involved in the case that requests anonymity due its sensitive nature. "The way the case is going it doesn't look like the court will convict her," the spokesman said. "We are encouraging people not to call Pakistani authorities (on Saleema's behalf). There have been literally thousands of calls to Pakistani embassies, which has created bumps in the road."

Advocates International confirmed in a statement that Saleema so far has not been convicted of any crime and therefore is not in imminent danger of execution. The agency says it got involved because of queries from a number of Christians who had heard various versions of the story through the Internet. "We went to our own sources in Pakistan," says Wallace Cheney, Advocates director of international programs. "Our biggest concern is that if somebody is about to be executed we want to know and help, but we also are concerned about people embellishing a story."

Several sources point out, however, that in Pakistan people who have been acquitted of religion-related crimes have been killed by private citizens after leaving the court.


A couple months later, a short update at a Christian website appeared informing us that Saleema was acquitted:

In June 1997 the young Pakistani girl Raheela came to Christ through the influence of her 17-year-old friend, Saleema. Saleema and her pastor, Salim, were detained and beaten.

When Raheela's brother, Altaf, murdered her on 8 July 1997 for apostasy and for refusing to marry a Muslim man, Saleema was blamed and arrested again. In jail she was beaten, burned, raped, and received permanent and disfiguring injuries.

On 7 August 1997 Saleema was released on bail. In late April of this year the court acquitted Saleema. But Saleema's life and the lives of all those who have nurtured her are still in danger from Muslim extremists who won't accept the court's verdict. Pastor Salim and his family have already fled their homeland.


Of course, that is not the end of the line for one accused of converting a Muslim.

From Pakistani women unite against victimisation, Wednesday, April 6, 2005:

In a landmark move for human rights, Pakistani women protested peacefully on the streets of Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar against the victimization of Christian women on International Women's Day (March 8). According to Christian human rights activist Shahbaz Bhatti, "Subjugation of Christian and minority women is common in the Muslim social strata; they are harassed, tortured, raped and forcefully converted to Islam.

In a landmark move for human rights, Pakistani women protested peacefully on the streets of Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar against the victimization of Christian women on International Women's Day (March 8). According to Christian human rights activist Shahbaz Bhatti, "Subjugation of Christian and minority women is common in the Muslim social strata; they are harassed, tortured, raped and forcefully converted to Islam.

"Since the enforcement of sharia laws, thousands of women have been unjustly involved with the criminal justice system and subjected to sexual assault, torture and illegal confinement. Social attitudes, cultural practices and religious precepts in Pakistan have allowed violence against women, and the law has failed to provide safeguard against violence or to promote attitude conducive to the women's enjoyment of their fundamental rights.

"Minority women are victimized, harassed, tortured, raped, abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, due to their Christian faith. Those who commit these crimes (extremist elements and perpetrators) consider it to be part of jihad (Holy War) and give a cover of religion to their crimes."


"No compulsion in religion" - brought to you by the Religion of Peace.

Genesis, Part 18

We continue our review of the rise to power of the Taliban, as seen through US Government cable traffic.

Here we review another cable from a series of declassified documents from the American Embassy in Islamabad to the US Secretary of State's office in Washington, DC.



This is a cable dated 18 Oct 95; Subject: PAKISTAN AFGHAN POLICY: ANYONE BUT RABBANI/MASOOD - EVEN THE TALIBAN.



Note that the abbreviation used below, GOP, refers to the Government of Pakistan.



1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.

2. SUMMARY: DURING AN OCTOBER 17 CALL BY CHARGE AND POLOFF, PAK AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN QAZI HUMAYUN EXPLAINED THAT IN THE WAKE OF LAST MONTH'S SACKING OF THE PAK EMBASSY IN KABUL, GOP AFGHAN POLICY HAS BEEN INCREASINGLY DRIVEN BY INTENSE DOMESTIC OPPOSITION TO THE KABUL GOVERNMENT. THUS PAKISTAN NOW FINDS ITSELF IN THE UNCOMFORTABLE POSITION OF BACKING THE TALIBAN. HUMAYUN OPINED THAT IN MANY WAYS A TALIBAN GOVERNMENT IN KABUL WOULD BE EVEN WORSE THAN THE PRESENT ONE, ADDING THAT A STATE UNDER SUCH ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP WOULD NOT MAKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR. [redacted] HE SAID HE WAS NOT OPTIMISTIC ON PROSPECTS FOR AN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE AGAINST KABUL -- "THE TALIBAN STILL THINK THEY CAN GO IT ALONE AND ARE NOT SERIOUSLY PURSUING AN ALLIANCE." [redacted] HUMAYUN PLANS "SOON" TO OPEN A "LOW KEY PRESENCE" IN JALALABAD, A STEP THAT COULD FUEL CREATION OF A PARALLEL GOVERNMENT THERE SHOULD THE BATTLE FOR KABUL REMAIN A STALEMATE. END SUMMARY


Interesting how it worked out - Pakistan found itself somewhat compelled to support a group which it had helped set up, but which was already getting out of control.





3. IN A WIDE-RANGING CONVERSATION OCTOBER 17 WITH CHARGE AND POLOFF, PAKISTAN AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN QAZI HUMAYUN [redacted] AS HUMAYUN PUT IT, THE GOP POLICY AIM HAD BEEN TO MAINTAIN TIES WITH ALL THE FACTIONS, INCLUDING RABBANI/MASOOD. AS EVIDENCE, HE CITED THE TOUR OF AFGHANISTAN THIS SUMMER BY FOREIGN MINISTER ASEFF ALI, WHICH INCLUDED A STOP IN KABUL. HOWEVER, FOLLOWING THE SEPTEMBER 6 AFGHAN GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED TRASHING OF THE PAK EMBASSY IN KABUL (DURING WHICH HUMAYUN WAS SEVERELY BEATEN), PAK POLICY INCREASINGLY HAS BEEN DRIVEN BY INTENSE DOMESTIC OPPOSITION TO THE KABUL GOVERNMENT. [redacted extensively]


Perhaps for my American readers, it is worth recalling American attitudes toward Iran following the sacking of the US embassy in Tehran in the early days of Khomeini's regime, for comparison with likely Pakistani attitudes regarding Afghanistan in the wake of the September, 1995, sacking of Pakistan's embassy in Kabul.



4. HE EXPLAINED THAT A TALIBAN-LED GOVERNMENT IN KABUL COULD BE EVEN WORSE THAN THE PRESENT SITUATION. THINKING ALOUD, HUMAYUN MUSED THAT A TALIBAN GOVERNMENT WOULD BE REPUGNANT NOT ONLY TO THE PAK GOVERNMENT (WHICH HE DESCRIBED AS "MODERN AND TOLERANT"), BUT ALSO TO MOST PAKISTANIS WHO DO NOT SHARE THE TALIBAN'S "OBSCURANTIST" VIEWS, ESPECIALLY REGARDING THE ROLE OF WOMEN. HUMAYUN OPINED THAT HAVING SUCH A STATE AS A NEIGHBOR WOULD NOT BE IN PAKISTAN'S INTERESTS. [redacted extensively


Was Humayan here being candid - did he not know of Pakistani involvement with the Taliban?

Or, did he know about it, but already see that the situation was spinning out of control?

Or, was he being deceitful, covering up his government's role?

While much of Pakistan is fairly modern and cosmopolitan, there are vast groups of people in Pakistan who are far more conservative; there are other groups that are extremist. And, certain elements in the military have long had extensive ties with these groups.

5. ASSESSING ONGOING EFFORTS IN PESHAWAR AND JALALABAD BY THE AFGHAN OPPOSITION FACTIONS TO ACHIEVE A MILITARY AND/OR POLITICAL ALLIANCE, HUMAYUN OBSERVED THAT PROSPECTS FOR ACHIEVING A COALITION ANY TIME SOON ARE NOT BRIGHT. HE SAID THE CURRENT TALKS ARE MORE FORM THAN SUBSTANCE AS THE TALIBAN STILL THINK THEY CAN GO IT ALONE IN DEFEATING RABBANI/MASOOD AND THUS HAVE NO INCENTIVE FOR CUTTING A DEAL WITH DOSTAM OR THE SUPREME COORDINATING COUNCIL.


There is perhaps a great deal of truth to this statement. Historically, there have always been personalities and tribal considerations in Afghanistan's politics. Afghans were fairly united against the Soviet invasion during the jihad, but in the absence of a perceived external enemy, there has seldom been unity.

Here, the two poles of unity we see (kind of) forming are one among the people against the lawlessness and chaos, and another against the Taliban among the various factions maneuvering for power.



[Paragraph 6 redacted in its entirety.]

[Paragraph 7 redacted in its entirety.]

8. ASSESSING THE SITUATION IN HERAT CITY, HE NOTED THAT THE PAK CONSUL GENERAL THERE HAS REPORTED THE CITY CALM. ECHOING SENTIMENTS VOICED ON OCTOBER 16 BY AN AMCIT WITH OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN AFGHANISTAN, HUMAYUN SAID THE TALIBAN HAD BEEN HEAVY-HANDED IN HERAT, ESPECIALLY CLOSING DOWN SCHOOLS AND THEN RE-OPENING THEM FOR BOYS ONLY AND IN PREVENTING WOMEN FROM WORKING IN OFFICES (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF HEALTH CARE). HE IS HOPEFUL THAT THE NEW TALIBAN GOVERNOR EHSA NULLAH WILL BE MORE SENSITIVE IN DEALING WITH THE HERATIS. HE SAID THE GOVERNOR HAS ALREADY AGREED TO RECONSIDER THESE TOUGH TALIBAN MEASURES, THOUGH WITHOUT DEFINING A TIMETABLE.


Was Humayun, if aware of Pakistan's role in the rise of the Taliban, starting to realize that a monster had been created?

9. HUMAYUN SAID THAT "IN A COUPLE OF DAYS" HE PLANS TO GO TO JALALABAD TO "OPEN A SMALL, LOW-KEY PRESENCE." HE OFFERED NO FURTHER DETAILS. MEANWHILE, PAK RELATIONS WITH KABUL TOOK A FURTHER TURN FOR THE WORSE ON OCT 17 WITH THE GOP EXPULSION OF ANOTHER BATCH OF AFGHAN DIPLOMATES, INCLUDING THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES, WHO JOIN AMBASSADOR KHALILI AND SEVERAL OTHER AFGHAN DIPLOMATS WHO WERE PNG'ED ON OCT 8.


I am not sure why the diplomats were expelled. Presumably it was related to Afghan government complicity in the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul. If relations had been going that bad - no wonder Islamabad wanted to get rid of the Kabul government?



10. COMMENT: [Comment redacted in its entirety.] HOLZMAN

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Genesis, Part 17

We continue our review of the rise to power of the Taliban, as seen through US Government cable traffic.



Here we review another cable from a series of declassified documents from the American Embassy in Islamabad to the US Secretary of State's office in Washington, DC.



This is a cable dated 13 Oct 95: Subject: A/S RAPHER'S OCTOBER 4 MEETING WITH ASSEF ALL ON AFGHANISTAN.

Note that the abbreviation below, GOP, refers to the Government of Pakistan.



1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.

2. SUMMARY: FOREIGN MINISTER ASSEF ALL TOLD SA A/S RAPHEL THAT MISTAKES BY THE KABUL AUTHORITIES AND ISMAEL KHAN, NOT ACTIONS BY PAKISTAN, WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FALL OF HERAT. HE THOUGHT THAT MASOOD WAS DESPERATE BECAUSE THE RUSSIAN AIRBRIDGE TO KABUL HAD BEEN CUT BY THE TALIBAN AND THAT IRAN WAS FRENZIED OVER THE FALL OF HERAT AND MIGHT "DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL". ALL MAINTAINED THE TALIBAN DID NOT NEED GOP SUPPORT BECAUSE OF ITS EXTENSIVE SUPPORT FROM PASHTUNS WITHIN THE COUNTRY; HE ADMITTED THAT PAKISTAN WAS TRYING TO COORDINATE THE OPPOSITION. [redacted extensively] END SUMMARY.


In Genesis, Part 15 and Genesis, Part 16, we reviewed a cable wherein we found a description of a Taliban that was well-funded, with military units that were disciplined, supported by airpower, and with public affairs savvy among the people of occupied Herat. In short, the Taliban troops conducted themselves better than most professional national armies, going so far as to pay for (not requisition on credit?) all provisions bought among Heratis, accepting no gifts.

We were left wondering where religious students from the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan got this degree of sophistication - and this kind of cash.

3. PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER ASSEF ALL, ALONG WITH PAKISTANI EMBASSY PERSONNEL INCLUDING AMB. LODHI AND MILATT BRIG. JAVED, MET INFORMALLY TO DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN WITH SOUTH ASIA A/S ROBIN RAPHEL AND SA/PAB DIRECTOR (NOTETAKER) JUST FOLLOWING ALL'S MEETING WITH SECDEF PERRY (REF A) ON SAFETY OF HOSTAGES IN KASHMIR

4. BEFORE TURNING TO AFGHANISTAN, RAPHEL RAISED THE ISSUE OF THE HOSTAGES IN KASHMIR, REITERATING THAT THE GOP SHOULD CEASE RELYING ON ACCUSATIONS OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA COMPLICITY WHICH WERE NOT CREDIBLE. SHE URGED PAKISTAN TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE INDIAN AUTHORITIES ACROSS THE LINE OF CONTROL IF IT APPEARED THAT THE KIDNAPPERS WERE TRYING TO CROSS INTO PAKISTAN WITH THE HOSTAGES TO AVOID THE HOSTAGES BEING KILLED IN A CROSSFIRE. ALL STATED THAT HE DOUBTED THE KIDNAPPERS WOULD TRY TO ENTER PAKISTAN.


Pakistani officials, and the inevitable crisis with India....

Makes you pause and consider if the rise of the Taliban wasn't also a result of Pakistani concerns about India, and a desire for strategic depth vis-a-vis New Dehli. Indeed, some historical works maintain this to be the case.



ACCUSATIONS OF PAKISTANI REPONSIBILITY FOR HERAT

5. ALL DISMISSED OUT OF HAND THE ACCUSATION BY INDIA, IRAN AND MASOOD THAT PAKISTAN CONTROLLED THE TALIBAN AND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FALL OF HERAT. ALL STATED THAT MISTAKES MADE BY ISMAEL KHAN AND THE KABUL AUTHORITIES WERE BEHIND THE SUDDEN FALL OF HERAT TO THE TALIBAN. KABUL HAD SENT IN PANJSHERI TAJIKS TO FIGHT THE TALIBAN WHICH WAS GREATLY RESENTED BY HERATIS. BY MAKING IT A TAJIK VS PASHTUN FIGHT, THE PASHTUNS FOUGHT ALL THE HARDER. MOREOVER, IN TRYING TO PUSH THE TALIBAN BACK TO KANDAHAR, ISMAEL KHAN CREATED AN UNSUITABLE LINE OF SUPPLY WHICH COLLAPSED WHEN DOSTAM OPENED A FRONT NORTHEAST OF HERAT IN BADGHIS PROVINSE. FOLLOWING ISMAEL KHAN'S FORCES ATTEMPT TO LOOT GERESHK, THE FIGHT WITH THE TALIBAN BECAME A ROUT.


We saw in Part 15 and Part 16 how Ismail Khan's forces were basically poorly commanded in the fighting around Herat; so, there is a great deal of truth to the Pakistani position, as outlined above.

But, for the reasons we mentioned above - reasons addressed in Part 15 and Part 16 - we have ample reason to suspect that Pakistani military personnel may have been involved, at the very least in advisory and technical support capacities.





MASOOD AND IRAN DESPERATE

6. HE CLAIMED THAT MASOOD WAS DESPERATE DUE TO THE CUTTING OF THE RUSSIAN AIRBRIDGE TO KABUL THAT RESULTED FROM THE TALIBAN'S CAPTURE OF A RUSSIAN PLANELOAD OF "32 TONS OF AMMUNITION" BOUND FOR KABUL. ACCORDING TO ALL, THE PLANE WAS THE 41ST RUSSIAN FLIGHT IN RECENT MONTHS. HE CONTINUED THAT IRAN WAS FRENZIED OVER THE FALL OF HERAT AND WAS ADVISING ALL OPPOSING FACTIONS TO ALLY WITH RABBANI IN ORDER TO SECURE A LANDROUTE FOR PROVISIONS TO KABUL. HE OPINED THAT IRAN MIGHT "DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL" IN ADDITION TO BACKING ROUTED FORCES OF ISMAEL KHAN [redacted] HE TOOK THE CANCELLATION OF THE IRANIAN ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF'S VISIT TO MALAYSIA AND SUBSEQUENT TRAVEL TO MESHED AS AN OMINOUS SIGN OF MILITARY PREPARATIONS AGAINST HERAT. HE COMMENTED THAT OBVIOUS INVOLVEMENT OF IRAN WOULD UNITE ALL AFGHANS AGAINST IRAN. [redacted]


It seems both Iran and Russia agreed that Taliban domination of Afghanistan was undesireable. Furthermore, a comment indicated that Afghans would unite in the face of a foreign invasion - by Iran - of Afghanistan.

I wonder how Afghans would feel if they knew that the Taliban takeover of their country was a foriegn invasion by proxy - perhaps a disguised takeover by Pakistan's military-religious nexus?

In the following section, the expression TALL BAN is encountered, which presumably is a misprint and refers to the Taliban. Note also that it is numbered "V." instead of "7." as we would expect.



v. ALL DID NOT DENY THAT PAKISTAN HAD SIGNIFICANT CONTACT WITH AND GAVE SOME SUPPORT TO THE TALIBAN. HOWEVER, HE SAID THAT LITTLE OUTSIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT WAS NECESSARY AS THE TALL BAN HAD WIDESPREAD SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE PASHTUN AREAS OF AFGHANISTAN. HE ASSERTED THAT MOST OF THE TALIBAN'S MONETARY SUPPORT CAME FROM KANDAHARI TRADERS WHO STAND TO LOSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TRADE WHEN THE LANDROUTES OUT OF AFGHANISTAN ARE CLOSED BY FIGHTING OR SUBJECT TO RUINOUS "TAXES" BY LOCAL COMMANDERS. ALL SAID IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO INFLUENCE THE TALIBAN AND THAT PAKISTAN HAD TRIED TO "BRING THE TALIBAN FROM THE 14TH TO THE 20TH CENTURY" IN HERAT WHERE THEIR FUNDAMENTALIST STREAK WAS ALREADY ALIENATING THE MORE SOPHISTICATED HERATIS. HE MAINTAINED THAT PAKISTAN HAD ALSO SPOKEN WITH THE TALIBAN IN KANDAHAR ABOUT THE CAPTURED RUSSIAN AIRCREW. WHILE ALL PERSONALLY TOOK CREDIT FOR GETTING BETTER TREATMENT FOR THE CREW, HE SAID THAT THE TALL BAN WERE HARDHEADED WHEN IT CAME TO RELEASING THEM.


Kandahari traders? Funding the Taliban? With what excess capital? Trade had been severely crippled prior to the arrival on the scene of the Taliban, who opened the roads in that part of Afghanistan, clearing them of highwaymen.

A far more likely explanation is that the Taliban were being funded by the Saudis, who likely approved of their "conservative" form of Islam.

PAKISTAN TRIES TO COORDINATE OPPOSITION

8. ALL SAID THAT THE GOP HAS CONTACTS WITH ALL THE MAJOR OPPONENTS OF RABBANI AND MASOOD AND HAS ENCOURAGED COOPERATION AMONG THEM. WHILE INDICATING THAT MILITARY COOPERATION APPEARED SUCCESSFUL, THERE WAS LITTLE PROGRESS IN POLITICAL COOPERATION GIVEN THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FACTIONS AND THE LOOSE LEADERSHIP AND INTERNAL DIVISIONS INSIDE THE TALIBAN. HE STATED THAT THE MAIN PAKISTANI MESSAGE TO THE OPPOSITION WAS TO UNITE AGAINST THE KABUL REGIME, BUT NOT TO ATTACK KABUL AS THE HUMAN COST WOULD SIMPLY BE TOO GREAT. ALL HOPED THAT ISOLATING KABUL WOULD LEAD TO RABBANI RESIGNING AS HE PROMISED MESTIRI IN MARCH, 1995. HIS REPLY TO QUERIES ABOUT MASOOD AND HIS FORCES WAS MORE EQUIVOCAL, THOUGH HE OPINED THAT FEELING AGAINST PANSHERIS IN KABUL WAS HARDENING AND THAT MASOOD COULD PARTICIPATE IN FUTURE GOVERNMENTS IF HE QUIT KABUL.


It seems Islamabad did not like the Rabbani government; only the Taliban seemed able to replace it.





RETURN OF THE KING

[Paragraph 9 redacted in its entirety.]

THE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES AND SAUDI ARABIA

10. [redacted extensively] RAPHEL REITERATED THAT US POLICY WAS TO BACK THE UN SPECIAL MISSION. WHILE WE COULD SUPPORT EFFORTS THAT WERE AIMED AT FURTHERING THE UN SPECIAL MISSION, OUR POLICY WAS NOT TO ENDORSE ANY FACTIONS, INDIVIDUAL OR MOVEMENT IN THE AFGHAN STRUGGLE. NOR SHOULD THERE BE ANY ILLUSIONS ABOUT THE USG PROVIDING FUNDS OUTSIDE OF THOSE CHANNELED THROUGH THE UN ITSELF. [redacted extensively]

[Paragraph 11 redacted in its entirety.] CHRISTOPHER


I would sure like to know what had been redacted out of this part of the cable - especially the part about Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pride of Lions, Part 10

Continuing with the series Pride of Lions, we now look at the last part of The Gina Khan Interview - Part Two:

Q: But you still rose up above all this negative pressure?

It wasn't until after divorce and after 9/11 that I decided I wasn't mad. I wasn't an apostle or a kafir or Islamophobe. Islamistophobic perhaps! I pulled my children out from the Islamists' bubble of influence for good. I decided to get to know my enemy - get to see what was behind the Islamist ideologies that had hurt me and were hurting so many others so much.


It is important to realize that Gina Khan is a Muslim.

With that in mind, it is amazing that the "nutters" and extremists in the Islamic community, together with their useful dupes among us infidels, have things so skewed that it would occur to a Muslim woman to consider the term "Islamophobe" in connection to her own feelings.

This is testimony to both how upside-down society is, and how intelligent and courageous Gina Khan is.

I realised that to understand Jihadists I had to understand the roots of Jihadist history myself - not depend on the books or translations I was being subjected to. I started to read the Quran, study my religion and Islamic history. My reading helped promote my respect for democracy, as well as the values and principles of this great country, Britain, which is my home and my motherland too.


Education - honest education, a search for the truth.

This is something that the Islamofascists (or any other kind of fascist or communist) cannot effectively deal with, so they must silence it.

The "silence of the lambs"?

And, to top it off, this is coming from a woman.

Just like when Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld refuses to back down to Sheikh bin Mahfouz. Just like when Sibel Edmonds refuses to be gagged in silence. Just like when Kristen Breitweiser essentially twisted the government's arm, and got a 9/11 Commission (such as it was - but that's another story).

Let's hear it for the ladies!

As a lone mother I learnt a lot about myself and who I am. The Sharia law was designed with the 'family' framework in mind. The lone mother isn't in the Islamic conscience; Islamists claim 'there are no lone mothers in Muslim communities'. Of course there are. The more reason why lone mothers need to protect their children from being indoctrinated or recruited into Jihadism.


More jihadist lies - and Gina Khan is the truth-detector, here.

So far I had been de-humanised as a Muslim woman. I thought about converting to another faith or renouncing the religion I was born into, but no, I realised I was a Muslim. To convert - that would be pointless. Just because I think Osama Bin Laden is wrong doesn't mean that I should change my religion - the Islamists are wrong too.

Q: Now you are at peace even if the Islamists are not?

My identity isn't in conflict with itself anymore. I'm a British Asian and we are a proud breed apart - but very much part of Britain.

To be a Muslim you have to adhere to the 5 pillars of Islam - that in itself is a struggle and it's a spiritual, personal struggle. Jihad - an unofficial pillar devised by early Muslims - is not a compulsory pillar as the Islamists would have you believe. The meaning of Jihad is complex in the Arabic language but for the Arabs Jihad means Holy War, not a yoga experience as many apologists in Islam claim.

Modern Jihadists have twisted verses using the Quran's historical edicts. I'm still on a journey to discover the truth. I am a secular Muslim. I live in a secular country where we had freedom to practice our faith, and freedom to have no faith, where I have learnt to respect people from all religions and races, regardless of their gender or sexuality. As the humanist I now know myself to be, I have faith in myself, faith in the Almighty and faith that modern secular Muslims - the silent majority - will emerge and stand up to counter doomsday Jihadism. We just have to.


My one concern - did the modern jihadists in fact twist the verses? Or, are they getting back to the original intent of the verses - an intent that most peace-loving people who are Muslims naturally drifted away from?

An email tipster sent me a link to the following: Muslim gangs 'are taking control of prison' by Jamie Doward, Sunday May 25 2008:

Prison officers at one of Britain's maximum security jails are losing control to Muslim gangs, according to a confidential report obtained by The Observer. An internal review of Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire warns that staff believe a 'serious incident is imminent' as several wings become dominated by Muslim prisoners.

The report, written by the Prison Service's Directorate of High Security, says there is an 'ongoing theme of fear and instability' among staff at Whitemoor, where just under a third of the 500 prisoners are Muslim.

It claims: 'There was much talk around the establishment about "the Muslims". Some staff perceived the situation at Whitemoor had resulted in Muslim prisoners becoming more of a gang than a religious group. The sheer numbers, coupled with a lack of awareness among staff, appeared to be engendering fear and handing control to the prisoners.' The situation has become so acute that white prisoners are routinely warned about the Muslim gangs by staff on arrival.


Islamophobia and prejudice? Or, wisdom, based on experience?

The report says that apprehension about Muslim prisoners has potentially damaging consequences and is in danger of 'leading to hostility and Islamophobia'. It serves to highlight the growing concern about extremist activity in the UK's jails. The Home Office is concerned that young male prisoners are being radicalised by Muslim gangs and that the prison system is becoming a recruiting ground for al-Qaeda sympathisers. Similar problems have been experienced at Belmarsh prison in London and Frankland in Durham. A number of high-profile al-Qaeda sympathisers at Frankland have been moved as a result of increased tensions within the jail.


And, it's not just Muslims who are being radicalized in the prison system.

Infidels are being recruited - converted not to some "Religion of Peace", but to an ideology of terrorism and armed conquest. What better place to recruit than among violent elements who have already rejected the rules of the society they live in?

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said she was alarmed at the report's findings. 'The difficulties of running a high-security prison such as Whitemoor cannot be underestimated, but much of what this internal report uncovers is extremely disturbing,' she said. 'It is vital that the problems uncovered at Whitemoor are addressed as a matter of urgency.'

The report was commissioned partly as a response to the deaths of five prisoners at the jail within 12 months. Muslim prisoner support groups have also complained that Muslims are suffering harassment from staff. Recently a number of Whitemoor staff have been suspended on unrelated corruption charges.

The tense stand-off between staff and prisoners is causing problems, the report warns. 'Staff appeared reluctant to challenge inappropriate behaviour, in particular among BME [black and ethnic minority] prisoners for fear of doing the wrong thing,' the report states. 'This was leading to a general feeling of a lack of control and shifting the power dynamic towards prisoners.' It adds: 'A wing itself felt particularly unstable with a general lack of confidence among staff.'


"[R]eluctant to challenge inappropriate behaviour" - "for fear of doing the wrong thing" - and the result is "shifting the power dynamic towards prisoners."

Multiculturalism and leftist liberalism in a nutshell: "A wing itself felt particularly unstable with a general lack of confidence among staff."

The emergence of gang culture in Whitemoor has alarmed some prisoners. The team that compiled the report found that over the Christmas period the segregation unit was full as inmates sought refuge from the gangs over debt problems and drugs.

Henry Bellingham, the Conservatives' shadow justice minister, who has raised concerns about the running of Whitemoor in parliament, said he welcomed the report. 'However, I'm very concerned about some of the findings,' he added. 'They point to a systematic breakdown in the chain of command. It's in everyone's interests that these problems are sorted out soon. Whitemoor holds some of the most dangerous prisoners in the country.'


It's not "a systemic breakdown in the chain of command" - it's the direction society is moving in.

In recent months the Prison Service has unveiled a series of initiatives to combat extremism in the UK's jails through the supervision and monitoring of imams and better training for staff. 'It is vital that prison staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to ensure they have the confidence to identify and challenge behaviour that is of concern,' said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice. 'A programme of work is planned at Whitemoor to increase mutual understanding between staff and prisoners, including a development day for staff on the Muslim faith, focus groups in which staff and ethnic minority prisoners will discuss prison community issues, and diversity events.


Sounds like another strong dose of the disease.

What they need is someone with the guts to say: "These are the rules, they apply to everyone, and violations will be punished without exception."

'The prison will continue to work closely with the Prison Service's Extremism Unit and the police to monitor and assess issues around extremism, and work will be undertaken to examine the management of gangs and terrorist prisoners within the prison.'


Whatever.

We conclude this post by looking at the first excerpt from The Gina Khan Interview - Part Three:

Q: What do you of the think of the 7/7, 21/7 and Glasgow bombers?

When I watched 3000 people die within 30 minutes on 11th September 2001, I was horrified and the first thought that came into my mind was, "My God, they have started the war".

For me, after reading the anti west, anti American flyers and posters in the 90s, watching the rise of a backward Islam, it came as no surprise that America was attacked. In fact I thought it would be Britain first. At the time I was unaware that the same ideology, network and strategic planning that the Jihadists and their mentors were implementing was international.

I had already imagined a suicide bomber walking into a British night club or shopping centre planning to commit mass murder in the name of Islam. I was always taught your life belongs to God, He alone knows when your time is up so to take your own life a huge sin.

My Mum used to teach me as a kid that to stamp and kill an ant is a sin, all living creatures belong to God. Such simple, meaningful teachings of the Prophet and God's wisdom kept my faith going.

These men on 9/11, 7/7 and 21/7 believed they are the soldiers of Islam. Amazing. They lived in the 21st century with the mindset of the 7th century. They are fools.

In 2001 on the al Jazeera channel, Osama Bin Laden stated "We (meaning Jihadists) love death as much as you in America (or infidels) love life." Hence this has become the rhetoric Jihadists adhere to. They believe they are on a mission as martyrs for the revival of a Caliphate, they believe they are dying for their beliefs and their religion.

The Islamists lure the would-be suicide bombers into believing they will be rewarded with virgins, milk and honey and eternal life in heaven. The suicide bomber believes he is dying for the 'ummah'- another powerful myth. They believe they are on a mission to defeat the 'kafirs' and represent true Islam.

If you have ever studied Osama Bin Laden or even people like Moazzam Begg from Birmingham, you will observe that they use the Quran, certain verses related to the historical events of Jihad in the Quran and twist verses to suit their ideology.


Again, I question whether they are "twisting" Islamic texts - they seem to think it is everyone else who has twisted the texts.

And, it's not just an academic question; it has very practical applications in the UK's prison system - and elsewhere, for that matter.

Gina Khan is such a smart person, and she calls things as she sees them - and she seems to see them pretty accurately, too! It would be so interesting to hear her thoughts on this series of posts.

Anyway, stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as Pride of Lions continues.

Genesis, Part 16

We continue from Part 15 reviewing a September 18, 1995, USDOS cable about the rise of the Taliban.



THE TALIBAN ROLL IN
-------------------

7. [redacted] DESCRIBED THE TALIBAN OCCUPATION OF HERAT AS "EXTREMELY WELL-DISCIPLINED AND ORGANIZED." HE SAID THE FIRST ACTION OF THE TALIBAN WAS TO FAN OUT AND OCCUPY ALL THE GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY FACILITIES IN THE CITY AND TO SET UP CHECK POINTS. THEY THEN ISSUED A STATEMENT CALLING ON CITY RESIDENTS TO REMAIN CALM, ESTABLISHED A NIGHT-TIME CURFEW, AND BANNED VEHICULAR TRAFFIC ON THE HERAT-KANDAHAR ROAD FOR THREE DAYS. THE TALIBAN INSTALLED TRUSTED MEMBERS OF THEIR MOVEMENT IN THE TOP POSITIONS IN PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL ADMINISTRATION, BUT DID NOT REPLACE ANY OF THE HERATI OFFICIALS, INSTEAD CREATING "SENIOR ADVISOR" SLOTS FOR THOSE DISPLACED. THE JAILS WERE OPENED AND ALL INMATES RELEASED, AND THE SALARIES OF PUBLIC SERVANTS WERE DOUBLED. [redacted] COMMENTED THAT THE FIRST PRIORITY OF THE TALIBAN SEEMED TO BE TO DISARM THE POPULACE AND TO MOVE THE LARGE AMOUNTS OF WEAPONRY CAPTURED FROM ISMAEL KHAN (INCLUDING HEAVY WEAPONS) TO KANDAHAR. THIS, HE CLAIMED, WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN THREE DAYS. [redacted] INDICATED THAT HE HAD NOT SEEN MANY AIRCRAFT AT THE HERAT AIRPORT, SUGGESTING THAT THE TALIBAN HAD EITHER MOVED THEM TO KANDAHAR OR, MORE LIKELY, THAT THE AIRPLANES HAD BEEN FLOWN TO BAGHRAM OR KABUL. HE ADDED THAT, AFTER A FEW DAYS, THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT HAD RE-OPENED CLOSED WHEN THE TALIBAN FIRST SEIZED HERAT AND THAT THE TURKMENISTAN BORDER ALSO WAS OPEN AT TORGHUNDI.


The conduct of Khan's troops, described in Paragraph 5 in Part 15, is about what we might expect of Afghan irregulars under a warlord. Undoubtedly competent with their weapons and courageous in battle, yet lacking higher-level organization, logistics and tactical-operational planning, they acted like a warlord's army.

In sharp contrast, these religious students showed remarkable organization, including public affairs savvy. I think it's fair to say that most of the world's regular national armies aren't that good.

But, the Pakistani armed forces certainly are.



HERE TO STAY?
-------------

8. [redacted] CHARACTERIZED THE TALIBAN TROOPS IN HERAT (HE ESTIMATED THEIR NUMBER AT BETWEEN 3,000-4,000) AS EXTREMELY WELL-BEHAVED. THE TALIBAN APPEARED TO HAVE PLENTY OF MONEY, AND INSISTED ON PAYING FOR ALL THEIR PURCHASES -- WHICH WERE NOT LAVISH, MOSTLY GRAPES, WATERMELONS AND BREAD. THEY POLITELY REFUSED OFFERS OF HOSPITALITY FROM THE HERATI MERCHANTS, SAYING THEY HAD ORDERS TO TAKE ONLY WHAT THEY PAID FOR. [redacted] NOTED THAT THE TALIBAN DID NOT ACT AS "OCCUPIERS" BUT BEHAVED IN A MODEST BUT DIGNIFIED FASHION. "THEY DON'T EVEL LOOK AT YOU OR CAUSE ANY PROBLEM," HE MARVELLED. [redacted] SUGGESTED THAT PART OF THE TALIBAN DISCIPLINE DERIVED FROM DRACONIAN JUSTICE IMPOSED BY THEIR LEADERS. HE RELATED THAT HE SAW ONE TALIB CAUGHT OPENING THE DESK DRAWER OF THE BANK GOVERNOR (UNDER THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT THE OFFICE WAS THAT OF ISMAEL KHAN BECAUSE "THERE WERE SO MANY PICTURES OF ISMAEL KHAN ON THE WALL"). WHEN CHALLENGED BY A SUPERIOR, THE HAPLESS TALIB EXPLAINED THAT HE THOUGHT THERE MIGHT BE USEFUL PAPERS IN THE DRAWER. APPARENTLY HIS BOSS FOUND THIS EXCUSE UNCONVINCING, FOR HE PROCEEDED TO ADMINISTER A SEVERE BEATING -- IN THE PRESENCE OF 10-15 HERATIS -- TO THE MAN. TALIBAN TROOPS WHO FIRED OFF ROCKETS IN CELEBRATION OF THE MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT KABUL HAD BEEN CAPTURED WERE ROUNDED UP AND JAILED, [redacted] SAID. SO SENSITIVE WERE THE TALIBAN TO ISSUES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, HE ADDED, THAT WHEN SOME HERATIS WORRIED THAT SOME OF THE HIZB-I-ISLAMI (GULBUDDIN) COMMANDERS AND FORMER COMMUNIST MILITIAMEN IN THE TALIBAN RANKS COULD RESULT IN LOOTING AND OTHER MISBEHAVIOR, THE TALIBAN LEADERSHIP IMMEDIATELY MOVED THEM OUTSIDE THE CITY.


"THE TALIBAN APPEARED TO HAVE PLENTY OF MONEY" - where did a bunch of religious students, from madrassahs along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, get "plenty of money"?

Recall from Part 7: "7. ALL VISITORS TO KANDAHAR HAVE TOLD US THEY BELIEVE THAT THE TALIBAN MUST HAVE ACCESS TO CONSIDERABLE FUNDING." Paragraph 7 of the cable reviewed in Part 7 then goes on to list evidence supporting the idea that the Taliban were well-funded.

As you read the recent history of Afghanistan, the literature indicates that Pakistan was behind the rise of the Taliban. At least initially, though, the US had given this Pakistani operation the nod. And, reports have it that the Saudis bankrolled it; furthermore, Osama bin Laden's people were involved in the Taliban's conquest of Afghanistan, stiffening Taliban forces against their battle-hardened opponents.

It all makes sense, if Sheikh bin Laden was just one Saudi front-man (from whatever faction), and if the Kingdom was bankrolling the Taliban.

9. [redacted] NOTED THAT THE STRICTNESS OF THE KANDAHARI TALIBAN DID NOT MESH WELL WITH THE RELATIVE LIBERALITY OF HERAT. GIRLS' SCHOOLS WERE CLOSED BY THE TALIBAN AND WOMEN TOLD THEY COULD NO LONGER WORK. A DELEGATION OF SENIOR HERATI ULEMA HAD PROTESTED THESE DECISIONS, WITH THE TALIBAN RESPONDING THAT THEY WOULD RE-EXAMINE THE MATTER ONCE THE SITUATION SETTLED DOWN. THE IMPOSITION OF SHARI'A LAW HAD NOT BEEN A MAJOR BONE OF CONTENTION, [redacted] NOTED, SINCE THE HERATIS "ALSO WANT CRIMINALS TO BE PUNISHED" HOWEVER, THE TALIBAN DID HAVE PROBLEMS IN HERAT WHICH WOULD GROW OVER TIME. MOST TALIBAN SPOKE PASHTU WHILE THE HERATIS SPOKE DARI (ALTHOUGH [redacted] SIAD THERE WERE QUITE A FEW TALIBAN WHO ONLY SPOKE URDU). MOHAMMED OMAR, THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE TALIBAN HAD ADDRESSED THE DENIZENS OF THE CITY FOLLOWING FRIDAY PRAYERS AT HERAT'S MAIN MOSQUE, BUT HAD FAILED TO IMPRESS THE CITYFOLK. "HE HAD NO CHARISMA, WAS CLEARLY UNEDUCATED, AND SPOKE HORRIBLE PASHTU," THE AMCIT SAID. "PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO BELIEVE THAT THE ORGANIZATION AND MONEY OF THE TALIBAN CAN ONLY HAVE COME FROM OUTSIDE," HE OBSERVED.




Religious students from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area who "only spoke Urdu" - more evidence of Pakistani involvement? Historical accounts repeatedly indicate that Pakistani troops were deployed into Afghanistan in support of the Taliban, and that Pakistani aircraft flew sorties inside Afghanistan.

And, this would make more sense than alternative explanations, especially in light of what we learned in Part 7 and Part 8 about the Taliban's proficiency with armored vehicles, artillery and aircraft.

10. ASKED ABOUT THE NEAR-TERM CHANCES OF THE TALIBAN AND THE HERATIS GETTING ALONG, [redacted] SAID THE PEOPLE OF HERAT WERE DISGUSTED WITH ISMAEL KHAN, AND MANY OPENLY CURSED AHMED SHAH MASOOD FOR CAUSING ALL THE PROBLEMS. A FEW HERATIS STILL FAVORED MASOOD, HE ALLOWED, BUT MOST WERE WILLING TO GIVE THE TALIBAN THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT FOR NOW. YET THE REAL REASON FOR SUPPORTING THE TALIBAN WAS THE BELIEF THAT THEY MAY SUCCEED IN RESTORING PEACE TO AFGHANISTAN, THE AMCIT CONTINUED. "MOST HERATIS THINK THE U.S., THE U.N. AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ARE BEHIND THE TALIBAN -- THEY THINK ZAHIR SHAH WILL RETURN ONCE THE TALIBAN TAKE KABUL." THIS IDEA, WHICH HELD OUT THE PROMISE OF PEACE, WAS VERY ATTRACTIVE, HE NOTED. "BUT IF THE HERATIS BECOME CONVINCED THAT PAKISTAN IS REALLY IN CONTROL OF THE TALIBAN, AND THAT NO LASTING PEACE WILL COME OF THE TALIBAN EFFORTS, THEN THE WAY WILL BE CLEAR FOR THE KABUL GOVERNMENT SYMPATHIZERS TO RETURN TO THE CITY."


Well, guess what, Heratis? We now know....

And, this explains why, in the aftermath of the US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime in late 2001, the Taliban retreated toward the Pakistani border. It wasn't just for home-madrassah-advantage; they were shortening their supply lines.

Of course, about this time, Musharraf made very vocal statements that it was time for Pakistan to cut ties with groups like the Taliban. Assuming he was sincere, it is safe to say there was still a great deal of inertia in Pakistan's support for the Taliban; and, perhaps not everybody in Pakistan's officialdom wanted to join Musharraf on this new sheet of music. Regardless, six and a half years later, the Taliban are still operating in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.



COMMENT:
--------

11. [redacted] OBSERVATIONS STRIKE US AS ACCURATE, AS IS HIS SENSE THAT THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF HERAT IS MORE POLITICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL THAN MILITARY. EVENTUALLY, THE TALIBAN ARE LIKELY TO ALIENATE THE HERATIS, BUT FOR NOW THERE APEARS TO BE LITTLE SUPPORT FOR THE RETURN OF THE OLD REGIME -- A FACTOR LIKELY TO COMPLICATE ANY EFFORTS BY THE KABUL GOVERNMENT TO TRY TO RETAKE THE WESTERN PROVINCES. END COMMENT. HOLZMAN

Monday, May 26, 2008

Genesis, Part 15

We continue reviewing declassified State Department cables addressing the rise of the Taliban. This is a September 18, 1995, cable from the US Embassy in Islamabad to the US Secretary of State's office.







This information is based on the report of an American citizen (AMCIT) who witnessed the events described.

1. CONFIDENTIAL -- ENTIRE TEXT.

2. SUMMARY: AM AMCIT WHO WITNESSED THE FALL OF HERAT AND ITS AFTERMATH SAYS ISMAEL KHAN LOST THROUGH A COMBINATION OF POLITICAL AND MILITARY INEPTITUDE. THE TALIBAN, BY CONTRAST, WERE EXTREMELY WELL ORGANIZED, WELL-FINANCED, AND EXHIBITED STRONG DISCIPLINE. DESPITE VERY REAL CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC DIFFERENCES, THE THREE TO FOUR THOUSAND TALIBAN TROOPS IN HERAT ARE ENGAGED IN AN EFFORT TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF ITS CITIZENS, DOUBLING SALARIES OF PUBLIC SERVANTS AND PAYING FOR WHAT THEY TAKE; NOT ACTING AS OCCUPIERS AT ALL. THE CITY IS PEACEFUL AND HERATIS APPEAR CONTENT, FOR NOW, TO GIVE THE TALIBAN THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT -- IN PART BECAUSE THEY ARE SEEN AS BETTER THAN THE DISCREDITED ISMAEL KHAN REGIME, AND BECAUSE MANY HERATIS HOPE THE TALIBAN WILL RESTORE PEACE TO AFGHANISTAN, VIA ZAHIR SHAH. HOW SUCCESSFUL THE KABUL GOVERNMENT WILL BE IN EFFORTS TO RE-TAKE THE WESTERN PROVINCES WILL DEPEND IN LARGE MEASURE ON WHETHER THE HERATIS COME TO SEE THE TALIBAN AS TRUE NATIONALIST LIBERATORS OR ANOTHER PAKISTANI-BACKED GROUP COMPETING FOR CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN. FOR NOW, AT LEAST, THE JURY IS STILL OUT. END SUMMARY.




3. POLOFF MET SEPTEMBER 17 WITH [redacted] (PROTECT), WHO RETURNED FROM HERAT SEPTEMBER 16 (ON THE FIRST U.N. FLIGHT SINCE THE TALIBAN TAKE-OVER) HAVING WITNESSED THE TALIBAN OCCUPATION OF THAT CITY AND ITS AFTERMATH. [redacted] WELL-EDUCATED AND ARTICULATE, [redacted] IT A CREDIBLE INTERLOCUTOR WHO IS VERY WELL INFORMED ABOUT POLITICAL EVENTS IN HERAT.




ISMAEL KHAN LOST THE SUPPORT OF HIS COMMANDERS
----------------------------------------------

4. [redacted] BEGAN BY NOTING THAT THE FALL OF HERAT HAD MORE TO DO WITH ISMAEL KHAN'S LOSS OF SUPPORT AMONG HIS COMMANDERS THAN ANY PARTICULAR FIGHTING PROWESS BY THE TALIBAN. A KEY FACTOR, HE SAID, WAS THE UNWILLINGNESS OF THE HERAT GOVERNOR'S TOP LIEUTENANTS TO COMMIT THEMSELVES AND THEIR TROOPS TO FIGHTING THE TALIBAN -- PARTICULARLY ONCE IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THE TALIBAN WERE WINNING. AT GIRISHK, ISMAEL KHAN'S FORCES LARGELY HAD CONSISTED OF PASHTUN COMMANDERS (AMIR, LALAI, KHAN MOHAMMED, GHAFFAR AKHUNDZADA AND OTHERS) AND MASOOD'S PANJSHIRI TAJIKS. [redacted] SAID THE MOST FAMOUS OF ISMAEL KHAN'S LOCAL COMMANDERS, ALIENATED FROM THE GOVERNOR BY HIS INCREASINGLY CAPRICIOUS BEHAVIOR (ALMOST RANDOM PROMOTING AND DEMOTING OF HIS CHIEFTAINS, "IDIOTIC" POLITICAL PRONOUNCEMENTS, CONTINUED VERBAL BATTLES WITH AHMED SHAH MASOOD, ETC.) STAYED IN HERAT, NOT AT THE FRONT.




CLOBBERED AT GIRISHK
--------------------

5. QUOTING "PEOPLE FROM MY VILLAGE WHO WERE AT THE FRONT," [redacted] SAID ISMAEL KHAN'S FORCES, EMBOLDENED BY THEIR SUCCESS IN PUSHING THE TALIBAN BACK FROM DELARUM TO GIRISHK, HAD POURED INTO THE LATTER IN SEARCH OF LOOT. OVER-CONFIDENCE, POOR ORGANIZATION, AND THE RAPIDITY OF THE ADVANCE ALL LED ISMAEL KHAN TO IGNORE LOGISTICS AND TACTICS -- NO DEFENSIVE LINES WERE ESTABLISHED, AND COMMAND AND CONTROL WAS NON-EXISTENT. AS LARGE NUMBERS OF TROOPS FLOODED INTO GIRISHK, A PRO-ISMAEL KAHN NIFA COMMANDER WAS BRIBED BY THE TALIBAN INTO LETTING ENEMY FORCES COME IN BEHIND ISMAEL KHAN'S ARMY, THEREBY CUTTING THEM OFF INSIDE THE CITY. IN THE ENSUING CONFLICT, HUNDREDS OF ISMAEL KHAN'S TROOPS WERE KILLED, AND HUNDREDS MORE CAPTURED. THE REMAINING HERAT FORCES FLED IN DISARRAY. ACCORDING TO ONE TANK DRIVER [redacted] SPOKE WITH, THE DEMORALIZATION OF ISMAEL KHAN'S TROOPS WAS SO COMPLETE, THAT COMMANDERS ORDERED THEIR MEN TO PULL BACK AND NOT RESIST THE TALIBAN. "WE COULD HAVE FOUGHT THE TALIBAN," [redacted] REPORTED THE TANKER AS SAYING, "BUT OUR COMMANDERS TOLD US TO PULL BACK, SINCE THERE WAS NO POINT IN DYING FOR ISMAEL KHAN AND THE TALIBAN SEEMED INVINCIBLE." FURTHER CONTRIBUTING TO THE SENSE OF HOPELESSNESS ON THE PART OF THE HERATIS WAS THE REPEATED AERIAL BOMBING OF HERAT AIRPORT AND SEVERAL OTHER MILITARY TARGETS IN THE CITY.


As we mentioned in Part 7, these religious students seemed to know quite a bit about running an air force. Perhaps these madrassahs provide a more thorough education than we have perhaps been told? Or, were Pakistani military personnel, and perhaps even Pakistani military units, operating in support of the Taliban?





CHAOS REIGNS
------------

6. [redacted] OBSERVED THAT HERAT CITY ITSELF BECAME VERY TENSE FOLLOWING THE NEWS OF THE DEFEAT AT GIRISHK. "WE HAD THOUGHT ISMAEL KHAN WOULD BE IN KANDAHAR CITY THE NEXT DAY, AND THEN LEARNED HE WAS RETREATING BACK TOWARDS HERAT," HE NOTED. AS ISMAEL KHAN WAS PUSHED BACK, CONFUSION AND RUMOR SWEPT THE CITY, WITH HERAT RADIO AND TELEVISION BROADCASTING CHILLING PICTURES OF ISMAEL KHAN AND HIS TOP COMMANDERS KISSING THE KORAN AND EMBRACING EACH OTHER BEFORE HEADING OUT TO DO BATTLE FOR THE STRATEGIC SHINDAND AIR BASE. THE ARRIVAL OF A "RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE" FROM KABUL TO TRY TO ORGANIZE DEFENSES AND PATCH UP POLITICAL SQUABBLES ONLY ADDED TO THE CHAOS, [redacted] NOTED. "BUT SHINDAND FELL BEFORE ISMAEL KHAN COULD ORGANIZE ITS DEFENSE," HE STATED. AT THAT POINT, THE AMCIT COMMENTED, THINGS BEGAN MOVING VERY RAPIDLY. THE NIGHT OF THE FALL OF HERAT, ISMAEL KHAN EMPTIED OUT THE LOCAL BANK, AND DEPARTED ALONG WITH 1,000 OF HIS TROOPS AND SOME OF HIS HEAVY WEAPONS TO IRAN. "THAT ISMAEL KHAN AND HIS TOP COMMANDERS, INCLUDING AZIMI AND ALLAHUDDING, ABANDONED THE HERATIS IS SOMETHING THE LOCAL PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET -- THESE LEADERS ARE NOW FINISHED POLITICALLY," [redacted] STATED, "AND THEY WILL NEED A LOT OF TIME BEFORE THEY CAN ORGANIZE A COUNTER-ATTACK FROM IRAN." [redacted] ADDED THAT ONLY IF THE TALIBAN ALIENATED THE PEOPLE WOULD AN ISMAEL KHAN/ALLAHUDDIN/GENERAL AZIMI OPERATION HAVE ANY CHANCE OF SUCCESS.


These predictions of Ismail Khan's political demise due to his abandonment of Herat ultimately didn't wash; as we saw in Part 13, he became Minister of Energy after the Taliban were expelled in the aftermath of 9/11.



We shall finish reviewing this cable in Part 16.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pride of Lions, Part 9

In Part 8, we looked at how Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups are coordinating their efforts to target France for unrest. We also considered in Part 5 and Part 6 how France may be moving in the direction of a civil war.

In Part 7, we looked at how British mosques serve as a forum for the spread of hatred and calls for violence among radical elements of the Islamic community against infidel cultures.

It is not just Muslims being radicalized by some elements within their mosques; as we also saw in Part 6, there is a deliberate effort on the part of Islamic terrorists to recruit "lily whites", who are people with no prior connection to Islam or to terrorism, for conversion to Islam and deployment as terrorists in the jihad against the infidel world.

Now we consider Salmond backs plans for Islamic faith school by Murdo MacLeod, Political Correspondent, May 18, 2008:

SCOTLAND'S first state-funded Islamic school could get the go-ahead within months after First Minister Alex Salmond declared he was "sympathetic" towards the controversial move.

Campaigners are planning to submit a detailed proposal for the faith school to Glasgow City Council within two months and officials last night confirmed they would consult on the proposal.

But former Scottish education minister Sam Galbraith condemned the move as a "retrograde step", arguing that it would be bad for the Muslim community by hindering integration.


Do the opinionmakers and leaders within the Muslim community want Muslims to integrate - or to dominate?

Scotland has around 43,000 Muslims, about 18,000 of them in Glasgow. While there are more than 100 Islamic schools south of the border, both private and state-supported, Scottish Muslims have so far failed to establish a faith school and some in the community question whether it is a good idea in an age of increased ethnic and religious tension.

Scotland has more than 400 publicly funded Roman Catholic schools as well as three state-supported Scottish Episcopalian schools and a publicly funded Jewish school.

A spokesman for Salmond said: "We are very much sympathetic to the idea. The First Minister is supportive. He thinks that faith schools are a good thing and they make a great contribution to Scotland. The issue is whether there is a sustainable demand for them.

"We would expect a local authority to react positively where there is a sustainable case."

After failing in a previous campaign, a group of Muslim community leaders in Glasgow is preparing a case for at least one school, which they will present in about two months' time. They are gathering names of families who they think will want to send their children to an Islamic school.

A spokesman for the campaign said: "We're working on things right now so that we can present a strong case to the authority – to show that we are united behind this and that there are enough of us so that the case is obviously sustainable."

Glasgow City Council said it would consider any reasonable plan that parents could come up with. A spokeswoman for council leader Stephen Purcell said: "Basically, if the parents come forward with a sustainable plan, both financially and educationally, we will consult on that plan."


We now consider some background regarding that Glasgow situation, reviewing Glasgow Opposes Muslim School, dated Sun., Oct. 29, 2006 / Shawal 7, 1427:

CAIRO — Senior education officials in the Scottish city of Glasgow oppose the establishment of a state-funded Islamic school though other faith communities in the second largest city in the country have their own, according to a secret memo made public on Sunday, October 29.

The document, obtained by the Scotland on Sunday newspaper under the Freedom of Information legislation, cites "serious concerns about an inclusive education for Muslims in the city beyond faith and the social isolation of Muslim children within the city."

It adds that senior officials at Glasgow City Council had written to the head of the authority's education committee, Margaret McCafferty, about their reservations.

"Why would we assume that a state-funded Muslim school would not see the same problems that the privately funded Iqra Academy in Glasgow experienced and was subsequently closed by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education?"

The academy was closed down in 2003 after inspectors had accused its administration of devoting too much time to Islamic subjects and maltreating girls.


A Muslim school that maltreated girls - imagine that!

We pause this article for a moment to look at the next segment of the The Gina Khan Interview - Part Two:

Q: Was your husband taken in by any Islamist teachings?

I had been a victim of domestic abuse and polygamy myself. The first time my husband slapped me after I questioned him he said "don't question my authority - in our religion you are not allowed. I'm your husband."

After divorce I made a promise to him that I would raise the issue of polygamy in the community and expose the consequences Muslim women silently endure, a woman would rather see her husband burn on a pyre than take on another wife. I stated that it wasn't him I was after. I was after the true kafirs - the extreme Islamists who advocate the practices that taught him that he could slap a woman across the face and take on another wife in the name of Islam. Backward practices must be erased. What happened in the 7th century or 18th century can't be continued in the 21st century. Women have a right to their full humanity as full human beings.

He wasn't a bad person; he had been forced into an arranged marriage with a cousin. Our children were ostracised from his family as a consequence of it not working out.

Polygamy destroys the soul of a woman. I knew polygamy wasn't beyond him. In any case our love story had ended. Polygamy and forced marriages destroy the lives of both men and women. Children often pay the price for broken homes and witness escalating domestic violence and oppression. The British Government hesitates in stamping it out - not wanting to instigate racial tensions; they should show some backbone because right now we are suffering.

Q: Surely local religious leaders step in and help women out, as would say a vicar or parish priest?

Not one mullah or leader of any mosque locally has ever done anything progressive for the emancipation of Muslim women, let alone help them out when they are divorced and lone mums. No one is addressing these issues seriously.

My children have been hit several times around the head in the local mosque and I was treated like an outcast - as if my stigma of being a lone mother was deserved. They wanted me to think that it was my entire fault - that I was mad not to have conformed to their ideologies. This hurt my kids - it felt like we were being punished.


"Not one mullah or leader of any mosque locally has ever done anything progressive for the emancipation of Muslim women, let alone help them out when they are divorced and lone mums."

"My children have been hit several times around the head in the local mosque".

We now continue with Glasgow Opposes Muslim School:

Although the letter, which carries the initials of Glasgow's director of education Ronnie O'Connor, is dated December 15 of last year, a source close to the council told the newspaper that the position of officials remains unchanged.


Keep in mind that that article was from October, 2006, so it refers to a letter from late 2005.

Muslims have been pressing for a state-funded Islamic school in Glasgow, which allows Roman Catholic and Jewish schools.

Education chiefs had for the past year met their calls with promises and sweet talk.

"Our education services will consult on the general principal of creating a Muslim school if a well developed proposal and widespread community support comes forward," Deputy Education Convener Gordon Matheson had said.

Misplaced

Muslim leaders in Scotland criticized officials for not coming public with their concerns.

"It's disappointing that they haven't raised these concerns with us up to now, the issue has always been one of proving the demand, which we are confident we can do," said Osama Saeed, the Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).


Not coming public with what concerns? That females might be "maltreated" in a Muslim school?

What would happen to any public official who might dare to suggest that? There would be cries of Islamophobia at least, if not calls for that official's death. I mean, just try drawing a cartoon about the Islamic community, and see what happens!

Opposition councilors also criticized officials for keeping their stance secret and failing to meet the needs of the Muslim minority in Scotland, estimated at some 50,000 people.

"It is wrong to keep these concerns hidden. They should be aired," said John Mason, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

"I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of telling the Muslim community that it is up to them to come up with a plan."

Saeed also dismissed the officials's concerns as misplaced.

"The concerns are completely misplaced, studies of pupils from Islamic schools in England have shown that they are more tolerant and open than those not in Islamic schools," he said.

A British government study published by the Independent newspaper on October 21 found that white students are less tolerant and are a barrier to integration than their Muslim peers.

Commissioned by the Home Office, the Lancaster University study found that nearly a third of white students believed one race was superior to another.


Sure - Islamic schools are more tolerant - more progressive, perhaps?

From Teacher accuses Islamic school of racism, by Alexandra Frean, Education Editor, dated April 15, 2008:

A former teacher at an Islamic school, who alleged that it taught an offensive and racist view of non-Muslims, has been awarded £70,000 by an employment tribunal after winning his case for unfair dismissal.

Colin Cook told the tribunal in Watford that pupils were taught from Arabic books that likened Jews and Christians to "monkeys" and "pigs" at The King Fahad Academy, which is funded and run by the Saudi Arabian Government.


Saudi support for a curriculum "that likened Jews and Christians to 'monkeys' and 'pigs'." Imagine that!

The tribunal ruled that Mr Cook, a British Muslim, was unfairly dismissed from his £36,000-a-year post at the school in Acton, West London, in December 2006 after blowing the whistle on systematic cheating at a GCSE exam.

The panel found that the school created a "smokescreen" to try to justify his dismissal after 18 years' unblemished service.

It awarded Mr Cook £58,800 in compensation for loss of earnings and £10,500 for injury to feelings. But it rejected his claim that the school discriminated against him on racial grounds.

Mr Cook told the hearing that after leaving the school another member of staff gave him extracts from an Arabic textbook, which encouraged students to believe that all religions other than Islam were worthless.

The books referred to "the repugnant characteristics of the Jews". Another passage said: "Those whom God has cursed and with whom he is angry, he has turned into monkeys and pigs. They worship Satan."

Mr Cook alleged that the books were spreading race hatred. "They should not be brought into this country and they should not be used in this country," he said.

The school denied ever teaching any form of racial hatred and insisted that the offending passages in the books were "misinterpreted" and were never used in class. But it later got rid of the books.


The Religion of Peace is always "misinterpreted" and "taken out of context".

The school was established in 1985, with the aim of providing a high-quality education acceptable to the Saudi and British authorities for the children of Saudi diplomats and other Muslim families in London.

Some of the children of the jailed extremist clerics Abu Hamza al-Masri and Abu Qatada are pupils at the school, which charges fees of up to £1,500 per year for day students.

Mr Cook alleged that in June 2006 staff wrongly allowed pupils to refer to heavily annotated course books during an English language GCSE exam.

The tribunal was told that when he suggested that the school might be trying to cover up his allegations, a senior colleague told him: "This is not England. It is Saudi Arabia."

Mr Cook then took his complaints direct to the Edexcel exam board.

Mr Cook of Feltham, West London, taught English as a second language at the school. Giving evidence to the tribunal, he said that some pupils "talked as if they did not live in London at all".


Complete with oppression of women?

Next stop - honor killings? (Oh, I'm sorry - it's the UK; "honour killings".)

What was that about "a 'retrograde step'"?

When he queried how Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada could be paying school fees when they were said to be on benefits, he was told to mind his own business.

He also claimed the school was seen as an extension of the Saudi Embassy rather than part of Britain, with Saudi teachers even enjoying diplomatic immunity.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - our ally in the War on Terror.

Mr Cook's solicitor, Lawrence Davies, said: "Safeguards under English law were thrown out of the window when Mr Cook was sacked.

"This school must learn that it is not the Saudi way or the highway. The tribunal has upheld justice and protected the whistle-blower."

The tribunal panel was not required to rule on Mr Cook's allegations about the school's curriculum. But in its judgment, it said it had considered Mr Cook to be a "truthful witness".

As he was a respected teacher, with an 18-year unblemished record, it ruled that the impact of his dismissal had been "nothing short of life-changing" for Mr Cook. He had received a "harsh punishment for doing what he thought was the right thing to do", it concluded.

Mr Cook said last night: "I have been accused by people at the school and outside the school of lies and distortion. The school inferred that I had endangered pupils with my allegations.

"The evidence speaks otherwise. I told the truth all along. Islam teaches peace and honesty. Hopefully, my accusers will now realise that I acted justly and for the good of the school."

No one at the school was available to comment.


"Islam teaches peace and honesty."

For someone like Gina Khan, perhaps Islam is a religion of peace that teaches these things.

But, for the elite of the Arabian peninsula, Islam has always been a vehicle for conquest and imperialism.

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as Pride of Lions continues.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pride of Lions, Part 8

In Part 7 we looked at the radicalization of the mosques in the United Kingdom to get an idea how ethnic groups get turned into jihadis. We now continue from Part 6 looking at the situation in France, reviewing France's Ramadan Uprising - a Ticking Bomb for Europe from November 7, 2005:

The violent riots spreading across France took several worrying directions Sunday night, Nov. 6, and Monday. The mostly Muslim gangs of youths began surging out of the immigrant suburbs to invade town centers; they fired their first gunshots at policemen; the number of torched cars peaked to 1,400; and disturbing new slogans were hurled, depicting Paris as "Baghdad-on-the Seine" and their campaign as the start of Europe's Ramadan Intifada.

A single slogan made a mockery of president Jacques Chirac's efforts of the last three years to distance France from President George W. Bush's Iraq war. Furthermore, the French government's helplessness in quelling the trouble is encouraging other European communities to follow suit - in Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Sweden, for starters.


The Israelis have been dealing with "intifadas" long enough to understand that the jihadists respect strength and consider cultural sensitivity to be bywords for weakness and indecisiveness, which they take as an invitation to press ahead with their violence.

Chirac, after lying low for 10 days, finally called an emergency security meeting in Paris Sunday, Nov. 6. He then promised arrests, trials and punishment for those who "sow violence or terror" across France. But politics as usual held him back from instituting tough measures or naming those responsible for the violence, let alone deploying the necessary forces. French police are still under orders not to open fire unless fired on first. No names have been released of ringleaders despite several hundred arrests.

Saturday, Nov. 5, as the disorders went into their second week, the French prosecutor-general Yves Bot said he had detected an organized hand and a strategy behind the riots. Witnesses reported vehicles without number-plates distributing petrol bombs. A fuel bomb factory was in fact discovered Sunday in Paris with 150 bottles and gallons of gasoline ready to distribute to the bands of arsonists. Also found there were masks to hide rioters’ faces. In Clichy-sour-Bois, where the accidental electrocution of two teenagers in flight from the police ignited the first protests, residents said: This is just the beginning.

There are plenty of indications that the riots are not simply spontaneous outbursts of frustration by disadvantaged youths of North and black African descent, but centrally organized mayhem, an "intifada" activated by Muslim networking.


It is one thing to have many of these thugs merely playing off the same sheet of music that they all keep hearing preached in their mosques, along the lines of what we touched on regarding the UK in Part 7. But, one wonders how much time these thugs spend in their local mosques. Well, here we are seeing that organizers of the intifada will bring Acme Instant Jihad kits, complete with Molotov cocktails, to the appropriate neighborhoods - all you need to supply for your intifada is the thugs!

The Chirac-de Villepan government, trying to live down interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy's provocative pledge to deal with what he called "scum," is not acknowledging this. Because they refuse to recognize the rampage for what it is, they are withholding the forces required to restore order and so letting the danger get out of hand. Police, firemen and paramedics are no match for a fast developing civil war. The army will have to be brought in at some point, preferably sooner rather than later. For a start, marksmen need to be posted to pinpoint the ringleaders and the bottle-bomb wielders targeting cars, schools, shops, warehouses and public buildings.

France's leaders, like the British and Dutch, are clinging to the hope that sympathetic dialogue with moderate Muslims will calm the street, despite all the evidence that radical, activist Muslims do not heed established Islamic authorities. On Nov. 6, the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, UOIF, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to seek "divine grace" by blindly attacking private and public property and urging meditation and calm.


First of all, perhaps the jihadists are heeding "established Islamic authorities" - just not the same ones the government recognizes.

But, there is another aspect to this, a more important point.

The following night, bands of marauding Muslim youths extended their areas of attack from outlying city districts to urban centers and started shooting at police officers.

The controlling hand, far from being legitimate Muslim authority, is beginning to emerge as the very organization that has for several years been recruiting young fighters in French Muslim ghettos fight al Qaeda’s wars against the West in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and other sectors.

On February 20, 2004, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile were first to reveal the extent of al Qaeda's penetration of West Europe. They turned up French intelligence statistics which estimated that "al Qaeda had recruited in France between 35,000 and 45,000 fighters and was organizing them in military-style units. They meet regularly for training in the use of weapons and explosives, combat tactics and indoctrination and are controlled from local and district command centers under the organization's national French command."

"In Germany, Al Qaeda’s numbers are estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 men."

Today, French counter-terror sources are willing to admit, albeit on the quiet and not for attribution, that those clandestine terrorist cells may well be at the bottom of the current riots. They note the history of the Palestinian uprising, which kicked off in 1987 with stones and petrol bombs, only to evolve into a suicidal terrorist war by the late nineties. They fear this process may be beginning - not just in France but in the rest of Europe too, that the covert nucleus of trained and indoctrinated Islamic terrorists al Qaeda buried inside Europe is being turned against the continent, starting in France.


We now consider more background related to the jihad in France, as we examine GSPC Joins al-Qaeda and France Becomes Top Enemy by Kathryn Haahr, dated September 26, 2006:

Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent September 11 threat to France, coupled with al-Qaeda's official integration with the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), is significant for two principal reasons. First, from al-Qaeda's perspective, it is a formal alliance with an "out-of-area" Islamist group to specifically engage in jihad against Europe and elsewhere. Secondly, the GSPC's merger with al-Qaeda formalizes the GSPC's participation in al-Qaeda terrorist-related activities against Western targets. This development brings the GSPC to the counter-terrorism debate in a different way than before. The GSPC-al-Qaeda integration portends increased opportunities for al-Qaeda to recruit European jihadists for ongoing terrorist operations in the West and the Middle East and signifies the potential for an increased operational tempo by the two organizations against French and Western targets.


This intifada in France is not an aberration, nor is it an isolated incident. The more important point mentioned above is this: the Islamic extremist snake has bitten into the House of War, declaring jihad on infidel and takfir alike - especially, as we have seen and will see again, on women - and refuses (perhaps is unable?) to retract its fangs.

Al-Qaeda's threat to France raises the stakes for French counter-terrorism officials, especially given al-Zawahiri's September 11 designation of France as "prey" in the global jihad (Le Figaro, September 14). It is not surprising that France is the target for future terrorist attacks: France remains the GSPC's preference for terrorist operations due to the legacy of the 1990s and the GIA's violent struggle against the Algerian government as well as its targeting of France (the GSPC is a splinter group of the GIA). Moreover, various French foreign and domestic policies have caused France to lose its "neutrality" and make it a target for terrorism: participation in Desert Storm; participation in the international force in Lebanon, which Islamist groups view as a joint U.S.-Israeli operation to protect Israel's position in the Middle East; and laws to regulate Islamic religious symbols in schools, such as headscarves. Al-Zawahiri said that the "blessed union" of al-Qaeda and the GSPC should "be a source of chagrin, frustration and sadness for the apostates [of the regime in Algeria], the treacherous sons of [former colonial power] France," and urged the group to become "a bone in the throat of the American and French crusaders" (Le Monde, September 18; Libération, September 19).


Do you recall from Part 6 how we keyed in on the connection to Algeria amongst the jihadists of the French intifada?

According to the French minister of the interior, France is under a "vigilance absolute," and the threat level was raised and will remain so indefinitely (Le Monde, September 18). Moreover, it is not insignificant that there is an active and large Muslim community in France. In February 2005, for example, the French domestic intelligence agency, Renseignements Généraux, estimated that there are about 5,000 sympathizers and militants in France part of the Salafi-Jihad, grouped around 500 hard-core individuals (Radio France Internationale, September). The French Ministries of Defense and Interior said that France will enact specific counter-terrorism actions to deal with the threat, but will design the policies to not intentionally "provoke the Islamists" (http://www.algerie-dz.com, September 19). According to a September 2005 report produced by the French Antiterrorist Coordination Unit, France was considered a prime target for terrorist groups inspired by Islamism, most notably from combatants from Maghreb countries trained to undergo terrorist operations by the GSPC (Le Figaro, September 19; El Watan, September 20). In 2005, the GSPC singled out France as its "enemy number one," and in August of the same year appealed to Muslims living in France to attack those officials linked to the Algerian regime living in France (Radio France Internationale, September 14).


There are many wonderful, decent people in the Islamic world. The problem is not Muslims; the problem is Islam, combined with the foreign support for extremism, which turns jihadists into proxies.

As you read Islamic texts and their calls for jihad, you begin to understand how the extremists have such an ample supply of ammunition in their ideological war to radicalize Islamic communities, and this, then, makes every Islamic community in the West a cause for concern - is it a place where extremist violence is propagated? - is it a ticking time bomb of violent intifada? "Moreover, it is not insignificant that there is an active and large Muslim community in France."

The key is the foreign support these communities receive - Saudi (and other) sponsorship of terrorism and militant extremism builds upon opportune passages in Islamic texts, and while some elements in the Middle East actively encourage the jihad, other elements in the Middle East - our "friends in the War on Terror" - wage a duplicitous proxy war for imperialistic conquest of infidel lands, while our own leaders are too foolish to see it, too corrupt to acknowledge it, or both (Obama, Bush, Cheney, McCain, Clinton - categorize them yourself).

Numerous terrorist operations in Europe planned by individuals identified as belonging to the GSPC indicate that the group has an agenda to expand its range of operations to new battlefronts where al-Qaeda has been active. In May, for example, it threatened to attack "American military bases in Mali and Niger," and planning for these operations was taking place "in Algeria and in Mauritania" (Terrorism Focus, May 17). The GSPC certainly calculated that a partnership with al-Qaeda would increase the GSPC's appeal to Algerians to continue fighting the Algerian government, which in turn would enhance the organization's continued existence. In addition, integrating with al-Qaeda elevates the GSPC into a new hierarchical international position, one that will increase its Salafi Islamist appeal to European Muslims. The GSPC has been an established actor in Europe's North African network of Salafi Islamists, which have supported jihadi activities in Algeria, Iraq and in Europe, and is active in recruiting from the North African and Muslim communities in European countries.

For al-Qaeda, partnering with an organization that has actively tried to overthrow an apostate government through terrorism lends a certain "state" legitimacy to al-Qaeda. The GSPC contributes to al-Qaeda's ongoing objective to significantly mobilize global Muslim support for its agenda, a development in which al-Qaeda has not completely succeeded. As al-Qaeda's operational capabilities around the world have diminished, a partnership with a Salafi Islamist group might provide al-Qaeda with more manpower and other resources, including access to possible targets in Europe and elsewhere. Due to the GSPC's network of recruitment cells throughout Europe—many of which have been disrupted and its members detained in recent years—al-Qaeda can conceivably draw upon new European Muslim recruits for jihad in Iraq, Europe and elsewhere.


Nice - a strategic partnership among terrorists. Osama bin Laden is certainly a businessman.

The integration of the two organizations was very calculated and should be taken seriously. The unique capabilities of each group—propaganda techniques, recruitment activities and technical means to conduct a variety of terrorist operations—are now doubled. Foremost, the GSPC specializes in attacks against military targets and its training of potential recruits for activity in Iraq would certainly be important in helping al-Qaeda find technically qualified commandos who understand the nature of attacking convoys, military quarters, etc. Moreover, the GSPC is known to train terrorist recruits from other countries in North Africa, notably Tunisians, Libyans, Moroccans and Mauritanians. A second consideration is assessing the impact of the merger: is al-Qaeda trying to strengthen itself by formalizing partnerships with selected Islamist groups, or is it an indication of a weakening organization that needs to rely on regional jihadi groups for personnel and materiel?

Consideration should be applied to what the merger means for al-Qaeda's evolving ideology, as well as its propaganda activities to continue to portray itself as the ideological leader of global Islamist movements. Similarly, command-and-control implications for al-Qaeda are important since the integration could give GSPC leadership figures the authority to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe as well as in other regions. A possible evolution of leadership authority could result in al-Qaeda remaining "in charge" of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, whereas the GSPC could be the head of all Europe and Africa operations. An additional factor is the implications for al-Qaeda and GSPC fundraising activities as it could result in an integration of networks that are devoted to financing terrorism operations.

The GSPC's new political agenda of international terrorism and integration into the worldwide jihad is one which supports al-Qaeda's view of a worldwide conflict between "true" Muslims and the "Zionist-crusader alliance," exactly the characteristic that the GSPC now attributes to France. Most importantly, the formal alliance portends strengthening Europe as a battleground, and likely will engender more sympathy for Iraq and other causes, potentially attracting more European Muslims to the global Salafi-Jihad.


The question now remains: does this Islamic extremist snake have the ability to swallow its prey, or will it instead die trying?

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as Pride of Lions continues.