Mark Steyn takes note of a recent new Obama Administration cabinet department priority.
I opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security on the basic Thatcherite principle that if you create a government bureaucracy in order to deal with a problem you’ll never be rid of the problem. But I underestimated the creativity of our rulers: The DHS was set up because 19 Muslims flew planes into skyscrapers and killed thousands of people. Thirteen years later, the head of the DHS thinks his department’s priority should be to “give voice to the plight of Muslims” who have the misfortune to live in America.
The National Post has a story describing some interesting possibilities for residents of Italy and the rest of Southern Europe.
Islamic State of Iraq & Al-Sham jihadists are planning to take over Libya as a â€œgatewayâ€ to wage war across southern Europe, according to letters written by supporters of the terrorist group.
They hope to flood the North African state with militiamen from Syria and Iraq, who will sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on human-trafficking ships, according to plans seen by Quilliam, the British anti-extremist group.
The fighters would then run amok in southern European cities and also try to attack shipping.
The document is written by a propagandist for ISIS, who uses the alias Abu Arhim al-Libim. He is believed to be an important online recruiter for the terror group in Libya, where security has collapsed after the revolution that unseated Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The group has already established Libyan-based cells, who on Sunday released a video showing a mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian guest workers.
Graeme Wood has an excellent, must-read article in the Atlantic, describing clearly the religious ideology underlying ISIS, and identifying this movement as yet another outbreak of apocalyptic Mahdism.
Without a caliphate, for example, individual vigilantes are not obliged to amputate the hands of thieves they catch in the act. But create a caliphate, and this law, along with a huge body of other jurisprudence, suddenly awakens. In theory, all Muslims are obliged to immigrate to the territory where the caliph is applying these laws. …
The caliph is required to implement Sharia. Any deviation will compel those who have pledged allegiance to inform the caliph in private of his error and, in extreme cases, to excommunicate and replace him if he persists. (â€œI have been plagued with this great matter, plagued with this responsibility, and it is a heavy responsibility,â€ Baghdadi said in his sermon.) In return, the caliph commands obedienceâ€”and those who persist in supporting non-Muslim governments, after being duly warned and educated about their sin, are considered apostates.
[A sympathiser] said Sharia has been misunderstood because of its incomplete application by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, which does behead murderers and cut off thievesâ€™ hands. â€œThe problem,â€ he explained, â€œis that when places like Saudi Arabia just implement the penal code, and donâ€™t provide the social and economic justice of the Shariaâ€”the whole packageâ€”they simply engender hatred toward the Sharia.â€ That whole package, he said, would include free housing, food, and clothing for all, though of course anyone who wished to enrich himself with work could do so. …
For certain true believersâ€”the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battlesâ€”visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need. Of the Islamic State supporters I met, Musa Cerantonio, the Australian, expressed the deepest interest in the apocalypse and how the remaining days of the Islamic Stateâ€”and the worldâ€”might look. Parts of that prediction are original to him, and do not yet have the status of doctrine. But other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic Stateâ€™s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islamâ€™s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.
The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiqâ€™s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Romeâ€™s Waterloo or its Antietam.
â€œDabiq is basically all farmland,â€ one Islamic State supporter recently tweeted. â€œYou could imagine large battles taking place there.â€ The Islamic Stateâ€™s propagandists drool with anticipation of this event, and constantly imply that it will come soon. The stateâ€™s magazine quotes Zarqawi as saying, â€œThe spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify â€¦ until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.â€ A recent propaganda video shows clips from Hollywood war movies set in medieval timesâ€”perhaps because many of the prophecies specify that the armies will be on horseback or carrying ancient weapons.
Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. …
The Prophetic narration that foretells the Dabiq battle refers to the enemy as Rome. Who â€œRomeâ€ is, now that the pope has no army, remains a matter of debate. But Cerantonio makes a case that Rome meant the Eastern Roman empire, which had its capital in what is now Istanbul. We should think of Rome as the Republic of Turkeyâ€”the same republic that ended the last self-identified caliphate, 90 years ago. Other Islamic State sources suggest that Rome might mean any infidel army, and the Americans will do nicely. …
Some observers have called for escalation, including several predictable voices from the interventionist right (Max Boot, Frederick Kagan), who have urged the deployment of tens of thousands of American soldiers. These calls should not be dismissed too quickly: an avowedly genocidal organization is on its potential victimsâ€™ front lawn, and it is committing daily atrocities in the territory it already controls.
One way to un-cast the Islamic Stateâ€™s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Alâ€‘Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding. Former pledges could of course continue to attack the West and behead their enemies, as freelancers. But the propaganda value of the caliphate would disappear, and with it the supposed religious duty to immigrate and serve it. If the United States were to invade, the Islamic Stateâ€™s obsession with battle at Dabiq suggests that it might send vast resources there, as if in a conventional battle. If the state musters at Dabiq in full force, only to be routed, it might never recover.
The obvious answer is for the United States to do to the contemporary “mad mullahs” the same thing Victorian Britain used to do to earlier specimens. As Hillaire Belloc noted long ago:
Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.
Our “Maxim gun” advantage is far greater than Kitchener’s at Omdurman. The carnage on the Muslim side will be more appalling. But Islam, as Churchill noted, is to men as hydrophobia is to dogs, and outbreaks of demented Islamic fanaticism have to be put down with blood every so many decades.
Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey â€” including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Itâ€™s an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. Itâ€™s also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerbergâ€™s free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebookâ€™s record doesnâ€™t entirely back it up.
Just this December, Facebook agreed to censor the page of Russiaâ€™s leading Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, at the request of Russian Internet regulators. (It is a sign, the Postâ€™s Michael Birnbaum wrote from Moscow, of â€œnew limits on Facebookâ€™s ability to serve as a platform for political opposition movements.â€) Critics have previously accused the site of taking down pages tied to dissidents in Syria and China; the International Campaign for Tibet is currently circulating a petition against alleged Facebook censorship, which has been signed more than 20,000 times.
While Facebook doesnâ€™t technically operate in China, it has made several recent overtures to Chinese politicians and Internet regulators â€” overtures that signal, if tacitly, an interest in bringing a (highly censored) Facebook to Chinaâ€™s 648 million Internet-users.
Our friends at Mossad’s mouthpiece, DEBKAfile, report:
In the three days since the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the French authorities have rounded up 900 individuals across France on suspicion of involvement in Islamic terror. The detentions on an unprecedented scale for France continues.
“If there was a distinctive modern style in torture, it was French modern: the field telephone magneto adapted with alligator clips, usually conjoined with water torture…”
The security forces of the French Republic have been historically unconstrained by the kind of sentimental humanitarianism which has so conspicuously afflicted counter-terrorist interrogation efforts by US Intelligence. The French have traditionally wired up the interrogation subject to a field telephone and happily turned the crank until he talked.
One wonder if they have 900 field phones available these days.
Theodore Dalrymple responds to one of the most prominent editorial advocates of poltroonery in the face of Islamic threats and intimidation.
It took less than four hours for an associate editor of the Financial Times, Tony Barber, to post a piece on the website of his august publication blaming the journalists and cartoonists of the satirical French magazine (and the two policemen as well?) for their own deaths. Here is what he originally wrote and posted, though he later edited out the final clause:
[Charlie Hebdo] has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims . . . [This] is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo . . . which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.
According to this perverted logic, if the relatives of the 12 murdered men were now to storm into the offices of the Financial Times and shoot 12 staff members because of the considerable provocation offered by Tony Barber, it will prove only that Barber had just been stupid.
There is, of course, a relevant difference between the two cases: when he wrote his disgraceful little article, Barber knew perfectly well that the relatives of the murdered men would not behave in this fashion, and that therefore he was not â€œjust being stupid.â€ Hence, he equates prudence with cowardice, a sure way to encourage (though not perhaps to provoke, in his sense of the word) more such attacks.
Richard Littlejohn, in the Daily Mail, points out how Islamicists are successfully exploiting the liberal establishment’s Pavlovian cringe in the direction of any alleged victim group to step-by-step move back the limits of free speech.
Islam is just one of the New Establishmentâ€™s favoured client groups. Exciting â€˜hate crimeâ€™ laws have been invented to grant them special privileges and punish their critics.
So mad mullahs in Midlands madrassas can call for homosexuals to be stoned to death. But a Christian preacher who objects to gay marriage can expect to be arrested and given a criminal record.
We have also created a â€˜victimâ€™ culture, which allows minority groups to justify any kind of bad behaviour on the grounds that they are being oppressed.
You didnâ€™t have to look far yesterday to find allegedly â€˜respectedâ€™ voices prepared to blame the staff of Charlie Hebdo for bringing the wrath of the Islamists down on themselves. They shouldnâ€™t have been so â€˜provocativeâ€™.
Sky News gave house-room to one of the Islamist apologists from central casting who â€” while condemning the Paris massacre, natch â€” then went on to claim that Muslims in Britain were treated like blacks in Thirties America.
Oh, for heavenâ€™s sake.
Weâ€™re celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta, which may not have mentioned free speech specifically but laid the foundations for the liberties we are supposed to enjoy today – the idea that no one is above the law and we should be spared the excesses of an overbearing state.
Yet free speech is being eroded in the name of â€˜celebrating diversityâ€™ and the overbearing state is on the march, often under the guise of keeping us â€˜safeâ€™.
Free speech is being eroded in the name of â€˜celebrating diversityâ€™
You may not like to hear this, but the Paris massacre is another victory for the terrorists. Ever since 9/11, the State has seized upon â€˜securityâ€™ as an excuse to accrue more powers and impede our liberty.
This is much bigger than the current argument about free speech, even though in a truly democratic society the right to take offence must co-exist with the right to cause offence.
Thereâ€™s talk about a â€˜war on terrorâ€™ when really we should be discussing the war on Western civilisation being waged by medieval madmen in the name of Islam.
The politicians posture and say the men of violence canâ€™t win. But they are winning – in Africa, in the Middle East, in Pakistan.
They have set their sights on extending their bloodthirsty caliphate throughout Europe and even though they have no prospect of immediate triumph, theyâ€™re in it for the long run.
In return, the West wrings its hands and offers knee-jerk assurances that this butchery is nothing to do with Islam.
Every time thereâ€™s another atrocity, the authorities cede more ground to the terrorists. After 9/11 it was by criminalising airline passengers. After the recent Toronto parliament killings, it was relocating guardsmen behind the gates.
In the Seventies, the State responded to IRA bombings by removing all the litter bins from railway stations. Most of them have never been put back.
After Paris, who knows what theyâ€™ll come up with. But, rest assured, theyâ€™ll think of something. This is how freedom dies. Little by little, piece by piece.
Today, thereâ€™s outrage and introspection, just as there has been in the wake of every other major terrorist incident.
After a week or two, it will all be forgotten and we can get back to squabbling about Ched Evans or which party is to blame for Mr Bert Jonesâ€™s lumbago operation being cancelled.
Meanwhile, our enemies bide their time and another notch of the ratchet moves inexorably in their favour.