Thursday, March 27, 2008

No way to combat terrorism

The British government have some dangerous bedfellows in their attempt to prevent violent extremism

Should government be picking winners within Muslim communities in order to combat the threat of violent jihadism? And does it work - any more than the corporatist strategy of picking winners among big enterprises succeeded in the 1970s? This approach is a key strand of the Government's new national security strategy, launched last week. The flagship programme for delivering it is the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund (PVE), amounting to 45 million pounds over three years. It was created after the 7/7 bombings, reflecting Tony Blair's belief that the Muslim Council of Britain had not done enough to fight the extremists.

Blair and Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, contended that local authorities, police and communities were best positioned to identify those grassroots Muslim groups who could challenge advocates of violent Islamism.

But key local authorities are now in revolt. According to the Local Government Chronicle, many councils are refusing to adopt a target to "build resilience to violent extremism" for fear of damaging community relations. Their Muslim constituents are said not to like PVE because they think the programme stigmatises them. And non-Muslims are said to resent the fact that Muslim groups seem to be benefiting.

A more serious point is whether local government is able to choose appropriate Muslim partners. Yes, municipalities enjoy on-the-ground expertise. But what kind of grassroots expertise? Can they really discriminate between different varieties of Islamism? If even MI5 finds difficulty drawing the line, what hope for aldermanic worthies?

Earlier this year Paul Goodman, the Shadow Communities Minister, pressed Ms Kelly's successor, Hazel Blears, to confirm that money was not falling into the hands of extremists. Blears could not supply that reassurance, though she is the least blameworthy figure in all this. More than any other Cabinet minister, she "gets" radical Islamism. But it is infernally difficult, even for her, to monitor which groups are worthy recipients and which aren't. It was symptomatic that it took her department six months to answer Goodman's previous inquiries on where the funds were going. And even if they are not going to unworthy causes, are these schemes effective?

The list of grant recipients is strange. Even Conservative councils are not very rigorous in choosing partners. For example the Channel 4 Dispatches programme exposed hate preaching at the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham. A preacher, Abu Usama, urged that homosexuals be thrown from mountains. Yet the Green Lane mosque is one of the partnership organisations approved by Birmingham City Council. Indeed, the Green Lane mosque is also a well-established interlocutor of the West Midlands Police. West Midlands Police still aver that men such as Abu Usama enjoy the "street cred" to stop radicalised young Muslim men from tipping over into violent jihadism.

Kensington & Chelsea Council has turned to the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre to deliver a "parental empowerment programme" that aims "to foster modern, inclusive and Islamically sound relationships between parents and children. Parenting techniques are imparted and discussed from an Islamic and wider social perspective by a trained Muslim NHS psychotherapist."

Why is it the duty of a council to "foster Islamically sound relationships between parents and children"? Who defines what is "Islamically sound"? How does picking a Muslim psychotherapist - apparently on sectarian grounds - help to prevent violent extremism?

Likewise, Westminster City Council relies on the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre (which is not even in the city) to organise a "young people's leadership and debate programme" on foreign policy. Why should Tory councils turn to them, of all people? The centre's name appeared in a statement on the website of Hizb-ut-Tahrir asserting that "the Muslim community in Britain has unequivocally denounced acts of terrorism. However, the right of people anywhere in the world to resist invasion and occupation is legitimate". The statement also denounced the proscription of Hizb-ut-Tahrir - a key objective of David Cameron.

Such partnerships are reflective of the greatest weakness in PVE - and of much the Government's "contest" strategy for combating terrorism. As its name suggests, it is largely about countering violent extremism. It isn't necessarily about countering non-violent extremism.

The interplay between violent and non-violent radicalisation lay at the heart of Mr Cameron's remarkable recent address to the Community Security Trust. Cameron believes that it is not enough simply to be against jihadism on these shores. He is deeply disturbed by the sectarianism of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and associates such as the Cordoba Foundation - which receive PVE funds.

It's as if the Government responded to a violent insurgency from the neo-Nazi terrorists of Combat 18 by turning to Nick Griffin of the BNP, on the ground that he enjoys nationalist "cred" with alienated skinheads. After all, Mr Griffin is non-violent and believes that whites should participate in the political process. Perhaps he might stop bombs from going off. But what price would he exact for it - and what kind of society would we then be living in?


Still plenty of sound values in Louisiana

Not much like California or Britain

Dot Brown's first-graders at East Beauregard Elementary stand a little taller and speak a little louder now as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. Brown said that's because her students are starting to understand what it means to serve in the military. The children have been corresponding via e-mails, and even "snail-mail," with Sgt. Joey Bartz, the father of one of Brown's students, Maili, since November. Bartz is attached to an Army medic unit serving in Iraq.

On a recent Thursday, the students wrote letters to "Mr. Joey," chatting about everything from classroom assignments to dinosaurs. They also made shamrocks to send him for St. Patrick's Day. "Green is Mr. Joey's favorite color," Brown reminded the students.

It takes about a week for the correspondence flow to go full circle. Brown said students are on constant vigil listening for the "ping" - the noise the class computer makes when an e-mail arrives. "Oh, they can't wait," she said.

Bartz personalizes messages for each of the children. He lists their names and has something personal to say to each of them. When the children send Bartz messages, they write about a sibling or what they had to eat that day. But sometimes the talk becomes more serious, Brown said. "Sometimes they'll tell him things like, 'My papa died' - he's kind of like their Dear Abby," she said. The children ask Bartz about what he eats, where he sleeps and about his job in the Army. In return, Bartz, who is studying to be a teacher, quizzes them about history and math. "He'll ask them things like who was the first president and what is 1,000 plus 1,000," Brown said.

The children also have running jokes with Bartz - ones that only they understand. In their e-mails and letters, students refer to Baghdad as "Baghdaddy," and sometimes call Bartz "Mr. Fancy Pants." "And he plays right along with it," Brown said. "He said that his friends get a kick out of some of the things they say. They have kids, too, and understand."

Brown said it's just chitchat to most, but it means so much more to the class. She said when students learned Bartz would be moving camps and would not be able to write for a while, they were "heartbroken." And when Bartz's correspondence was threatened by a problem with his computer's power cord, the children brainstormed ways to repair it.

Students have also sent Bartz care packages, some filled with candy and colored artwork. Once, when they sent Bartz a pillowcase they made for him, he sent a message back that he had "never slept better."

Brown said she believes the correspondence has also helped Maili deal with her father's absence. "It's funny - sometimes she slips and calls him 'Mr. Joey,'" Brown said. Brown said she thinks it has also helped her class bond. "It has brought them closer," she said.

The students are working to craft a book about a hero in which Bartz is featured as the main character. However, most have never actually met him, and he is not scheduled to return home until November, when the children will have moved on to the second grade and new teachers. Until then, the class will continue doing their duty by offering an unending stream of love, admiration, friendship and support for "Mr. Joey." "I hope he will be able to come to the school when he gets home and meet the students," Brown said. "They would love it."


Nihilism, drugs and Canadian culture

One senses that the Canadians who matter, that is the ruling and sycophantic classes, see our country as some sort of Utopian gateway where no past shall enter. "The future is now!" they proclaim, with the appropriate amount of uncertainty given that one man's Utopia is another man's Dystopia. This is all well and good because Utopia by definition is exclusive rather than inclusive. After all, we wouldn't want "those people" to be part of Canada now would we? They belong to the past - we must keep them there. We must ignore them and rewrite our history to exclude them. We must create a new paradigm where uncommon sentiment replaces common sense and facts are never inconvenient; where indeed the word "fact" has been redefined to mean "feelings" and "intuition" and the ultimate accolade of peer review is, "we feel the same way you do".

The most obvious problem with putting beans in your ears and singing nursery rhymes is that it is indicative of a failure of maturity. Wanting world peace may be a decent sentiment but there is nothing noble about sacrificing your life and the lives of your family and neighbors on the altar of political correctness rooted in a lack of moral courage and a refusal to take effective action. Singing "Koombya" with Romeo Dallaire in Rwanda didn't prevent the genocide and the only school shootings ever prevented by teachers or guidance counselors were when people willing to accept adult responsibility were armed with handguns rather than 911 on speed dial.

You don't have to be Christian or Jewish to know that evil exists, but it helps. When you are faced with evil and it is about to destroy you or someone under your protection there can be no shades of gray. For a relativist pan Gia atheist spiritualist absolute evil does not exist, unless in the guise of holocaust deniers or Danish cartoon publishers or pro-family anti-abortionists or pro gun self defense absolute rightists. When you think about it, is it any wonder people who encourage killing the innocent pre- or near born and won't call it murder; that won't condone the execution of mass or serial murderers let alone those guilty of treason; cannot protect themselves or their children in the real world?

People who are out of touch with reality are not necessarily insane. What is insane is putting these people in charge of dealing with reality. We have to stop pretending public safety can be handled by confidence artists and Canada Council grants. That's how we got "self esteem is more important than accomplishment" and "gun free zones". People who deal in words, acrylics and urine soaked crucifixes are not the best people to ask about self defense. Mention guns and their eyes light up with all the works of art they can create with confiscated heirlooms.

The cops are not much better, at least in Canada. They want the money and the empire that come with "growing market share". The thin blue line of old helped citizens preserve their basic human rights to life, liberty and property. The new reality is a protection racket. The fat blue line dreams of a police state that is already beyond the wildest fantasies of Hitler and Stalin. Why in the name of common sense would we want to create more laws and hire more police? We tried that before and it didn't work then either.

Rita Mae Brown said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results". Let's stop the insanity. Let's forget Utopia for a minute. Let's take the joint out of our mouth, the needle out of our arm and turn off the television set. Let's stop chattering like monkeys. Let's get calm and centered and clear. Let's look evil in the face and not avert our eyes.

The first place we need to recognize evil is in ourselves. For most people the greatest evil they will find in their own soul is cowardice. Not only can they not act heroically but they actively deny others the ability to act heroically. This position denies both the existence of evil and just as importantly the existence of heroism. This is the practical application of nihilism and this is the great malaise of Canada. If morality does not exist or is relative then I cannot be held responsible for being a coward. But to make sure I am not revealed as a coward by the actions of others, I must prevent others from behaving heroically even if by so doing I seal my own doom. See? I told you this was easier for Christians and Jews. If you lack a moral foundation your brain must be ready to explode with antipathy and lack of understanding.

If you are a "person of morality" you know that actual evil exists and further that it must be confronted. The Talmud advises you to smite evil. Jesus advises that a sword is a good thing to have. Even Gandhi and the Dalai Lama have advocated shooting back as a good and reasonable and just response to enemy incoming. Those who were paying attention, especially Jews, learned the lesson of the Warsaw Ghetto - the Holocaust in microcosm. Those who did not are doomed to be forever asking the next Gamil Gharbi if they might be excused from class as a conscientious objector.

What is the most important weapon you can have if you are under attack in oh, a school shooting for example? Did you say a gun? Wrong. That is the second most important weapon you will need. A cell phone with 911 on speed dial? Probably won't save any lives, but if it makes you feel like a hero to call for a cleanup on aisle 9.. If you said the most important weapon against evil is a sense of morality then you get to draw your gun and cap the devil. If you are morally challenged what the hell are you doing with our children? You should be painting murals in a government office or something like that. You certainly shouldn't be passing on your ineffective life skills to our kids. Just because you have the luxury of calling a janitor when a kid pukes in class doesn't mean you get to pass the buck when that same kid's life is in danger.

Do you know what really pisses off the morally ambivalent? The possibility that their students might be equipped to deal with the situation. American College kids are often old enough to serve in the armed forces or as cops. They may be in the ROTC or the National Guard. They may be Olympic shooters or competent club level competitors. They may even have concealed carry permits that kick in when they cross the border. In Canada, most teachers would say, "I don't care about your skills, your training, I don't like guns and I lack your skills and training and if I am going to die then so are you!" How do I know this? I'll show you.

In Israel in the 1970's Palestinian terrorists thought they had found a good gig. "Where will you always find the most vulnerable in society?' they asked themselves. "In schools!" they answered in unison. Rebecca and Wendy and the mayor of Toronto hadn't invented gun free zones yet, so the Palestinians couldn't use the politically correct term, but they recognized reality when they saw it. They shot up a few remote schools killing students, teachers and the odd grief counselor. Israeli parents thought this was a bad thing and wonder of wonders, the school boards thought so too. They didn't waste their time and energy holding candle light vigils for the media, hoping the terrorists would recognize the plaintive tones of "Koombya" as a reaching out in understanding. They recognized evil, they decided to stand up to it, they got guns and they showed up.

Terrorists aren't as stupid as you would think people who become human bombs might be. Every time they tried whacking a school that was armed the terrorists were the ones who got whacked. The terrorists thought this was terribly unfair, but they stopped attacking schools. They tried attacking supermarkets, cafes, busses and soon every time a terrorist whipped out his gun or the trigger on the dynamite stuck up his ass some civilian whipped out a pistol and shot him. Just to make sure, the next passing soldier or cop would pump a few shots into the downed terrorists head. Cleanup on aisle 9. In Israel life goes on and do you know what? There is less crime and less whining about crime in Israel than there is in Toronto or Montreal.

In Montreal when Gamil Gharbi asked the males to leave the room they went without protest. No United Airlines Flight 93 - "Let's Roll!" here. I guess if Flight 93 had been Air Canada it would have hit the White House. But I digress, other than to emphasize that there were no heroes in the room. After the executions started and Montreal's finest had been alerted there were still no heroes outside the building. I'll bet that if one of those women who knew she was going to die had one of the guns sitting unused in a cowardly cop's holster outside it would have made all the difference. And you know what? Those males who left would really feel like shit, knowing that a woman saved a lot of asses that day. Instead of Heroic Empowerment rising on its haunches to tell the tale of hope, we gave birth to the Great Canadian Victim Industry, where all whine the catechism, "woe was us, and we could do nothing, for we were cowards." I think I'll flagellate until my hand grows hairy and I need glasses; but I won't learn from my mistakes because I am still a coward.

One big difference, of course, is that in Israel the terrorists have no redeeming attributes and if they die that is a good thing. Gamil Gharbi was as lacking in redeeming qualities as any Canadian terrorist could ever be. He was a male with a gun. He couldn't get a date if his acne depended on it. Canadianize him by using his French name, Marc Lepine so we don't offend the Arabs; make Canadians think it was the lovable boy next door who went off the deep end; we really need to blame this on the gun because if we don't we will all be exposed as moral cowards.

On the streets of Canada terrorists are not the problem, it is the gang bangers. In Toronto they keep the populace supplied with dope. Your average urbanite knows that even if she doesn't do drugs some of her good friends or those she works with do drugs and "marijuana isn't really a drug so I don't even know where you're coming from".

You are so full of it dear. Students smoke dope. Teachers smoke dope. Parents smoke dope. Bureaucrats smoke dope. Cops smoke dope. Dope is illegal and Al Capone is dead. These days it's not Italians whacking each other on the streets of Chicago, its Jamaicans whacking each other on the streets of Toronto. Or Vietnamese whacking each other on the streets of Edmonton. Or East Indians (sorry, "South Asians") whacking each other in Vancouver or Chinese Triads in Richmond or Canadian Indian (that would be "Native" or "First Nation") gangs on the prairies. Canada is a nation of stoners. It is also a nation of gangs. Every ethnic group has its gangs - the joy and fruit of multiculturalism. How can we lock up or shoot back when it threatens our supply of High? When we would be locking up or shooting our neighbors? I've got a bad case of the warm fuzzies. I need a vegan granola bar and a Perrier.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Morality. If you have it you know what you have to do. If you don't have it then whatever happens is just a cost of doing business in your nihilistic world. But don't worry - there are government programs for you. And grief counselors. You can have my share - I don't need them. And when you're ready to play in the real world get your ass over to the nearest Fish & Game club. There are millions of us in Canada who have both a sense of morality and guns. We can help.


Australia's self-inflicted African problem

POLICE are advising the Immigration Department for the first time about how and where to settle troubled African refugees. Senior Victorian police have urged the department to settle Sudanese families in country towns such as Mildura and Sale, away from suburban Melbourne where young African men are being caught up in street crime. The Australian understands that police first appealed to immigration officials last year following a spike in criminal activity among young Sudanese men, while Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon was attempting to play down the problem. Sudanese gang violence escalated last September, with the fatal bashing of 19-year-old Liep Gony near Noble Park railway station, in Melbourne's east.

Police advised against settling Sudanese in "dysfunctional areas" such as housing commission flats in Melbourne's north and east, and a growing number of the 15,000-member state community are now living in Mildura, Sale and Wonthaggi. African Think Tank chairman Berhan Ahmed yesterday praised the rural settlement, saying it would help the Sudanese integrate, find work and avoid drugs, alcohol and street crime. "The influence of drugs and alcohol will not be there [You're kidding!], and it will be much easier for kids and refugee families to adjust in rural areas," he said.

Dr Ahmed - a Melbourne University senior research fellow studying refugees living in rural Victoria and their city counterparts - said young Africans living in the country were more likely to perform better at school and get work. While it was difficult to resettle refugees who were already living in Melbourne, he said the Brumby Government could offer them better housing and jobs to encourage them to move. "You entice them by giving them opportunities," he said.

Victoria Police's multicultural liaison officer, Joseph Herrech said helping Sudanese refugees to settle in Melbourne was a challenge for immigration officials and police. He said grouping the Sudanese together at times led to crime-related problems, and separating them often exacerbated their emotional hardship. "We've recommended to Immigration that they be spread out slightly more," he said.

Other police recommendations to the immigration department include developing better pre-departure programs for humanitarian refugees to educate them more about Australian culture, the judicial process and the law-enforcement agencies. Police sources have told The Australian that gangs involving Sudanese men, including African Power and the Bloods and Crips - inspired by the Los Angeles-based crime groups - have grown in numbers and become more of a concern in the suburbs of Collingwood and Carlton.

Former immigration minister Kevin Andrews decided to cut back the African refugee intake last year amid fears they were not "settling and adjusting" into Australian life.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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