Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Racist Brits awaiting free speech verdict in California

Amongst the many wabs, a couple of chinitos, and I'm sure more than a couple of gabachos currently in custody at the Santa Ana Jail are British nationals Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle. They haven't committed any crime in the United States but have nevertheless languished under the watchful eye of SanTana immigration guards for almost two years in a fascinating case involving free speech, international jurisdiction, Holocaust denial, and an American media that just doesn't give a damn about those topics.

Sheppard runs The Heretical Press, an online repository of far-right essays, photos, and just plain bizarre entries (don't they realize R. Crumb is being satirical when he publishes a comic titled "When the Niggers Take Over America"?), to which Whittle contributes. According to British reports, authorities raided Sheppard's flat in 2004 after a copy of his Tales of the Holohoax were found inside a synagogue. After discovering the contents of The Heretical, they arrested Sheppard and Whittle for distributing hate speech online.

If that's not Orwellian enough for you, refry this: Sheppard and Whittle claimed that British courts had no jurisdiction over The Heretical and its materials since its servers hum along in Torrance. But the Brits don't care.

Prosecutors didn't agree with their excuse, and convicted the two in January for publishing racist material online--the first conviction of its kind in the history of the United Kingdom. "People in this country are entitled to be racist and they are entitled to hold unpleasant points of view, but what they are not entitled to do is publish or distribute written material which is insulting, threatening or abusive and is intended to stir up racial hatred or is likely to do so," a prosecutor told the Yorkshire Post. "If this sort of material is made generally available on the internet or by pushing it through people's doors indiscriminately, it is likely that racial hatred will be stirred up in some people who are exposed to it - the young, the impressionable, the gullible, and so on."

British courts had to convict Sheppard and Whittle in absentia, however. In July 2007, the two skipped bail and made their way to LAX, where they promptly turned themselves over to authorities and asked for political asylum, claiming the British government was harrassing them for their "satire." Immigration officials hauled them to the Santa Ana Jail, which has a contract to help out the government with immigrant detainees. Read their case for asylum here.

"This is a test case for the US on whether the American court will protect anti-semites and those that incite the hate that leads to anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim violence, or whether it respects a British court decision and sends these people back for sentence," a Parliament member told the Post.

The fates of the Heretical Two is in the hands of Immigration Judge Rose Collantes Peters, who has a past of thumbing her nose at British courts. In 2004, she went against the wishes of the American government and ruled that la migra couldn't deport Sean O'Cealleagh, a bartender at O'Malley's in Seal Beach, for having been convicted in England for his role in the murder of two British soldiers during a 1988 Irish Republican Army funeral. This past Tuesday, Peters heard final arguments in the case of the Heretical Two, with Sheppard and Whittle acting as their own attorneys because the attorney originally recommended to them by Mark Weber of the Holocaust-denying Newport Beach-based Institute for Historical Review dropped out after not getting paid enough cash (according to The Heretical Press home page). Peters is expected to deliver her verdict within 30 days.

The saga of Sheppard and Whittle has drawn nary a press report in the United States, even though it involves all sorts of free-speech questions. But the Heretical Two have become far-right cause célebres, earning support from the aforementioned IHR, David Duke, and other types of trash.

Then again, supporters of the Heretical Two make this interesting point:

The question is not whether you like Sheppard and Whittle, or agree with their writings, or the other material posted on the Heretical site. It is, quite simply, whether you are prepared to help ensure the effective representation of two men seeking to set a vital precedent for genuine asylum seekers from oppressive, liberticidal regimes, seeking refuge in the world's last true free speech zone.


“Moderate Islam, Radical Islam”, and in Between

A year ago the first case of “bulldozer terrorism” unfolded in Jerusalem. This atrocity was carried out by a young Palestinian Muslim of East Jerusalem. He worked in Israel, lived there comfortably with his family and had no apparent quarrel with authorities. Thus, he would have been considered representative of “moderate Islam”. When this young Palestinian suddenly went on a rampage with his bulldozer, overturning buses hitting cars and passers-by, and as a consequence was gunned down by police and alert civilians, the media rushed to describe him as a representative of “radical Islam”. The use of a bulldozer as a weapon of terror was repeated twice more over the past year, with observers wondering what had turned Muslim quietism into Muslim terrorism. After three similar events, the families of these new terrorists set up large sheds sporting Hamas and Hizbullah banners outside their homes. This was in order to accommodate the large Muslim crowds who came, not with “condolences” but rather with “congratulations” for the “martyrdom” of their sons, Outpourings of jubilation in the Palestinian street for this carnage reflected the attitudes which had triggered it in the first place.

It is often claimed that the strict interpretation of Islam with its concomitant abuses, is only the purvey of “fanatic”, “radical”, “fundamentalist”, or “Islamist” Muslims. This is quantified at some 15% of the 1.5 billion world Muslims, as if it is a different faith, embracing different principles from those followed by the majority of rank-and-file Muslims.

In fact, we are talking about the same creed upholding Shari’a law to various degrees. Those who do not follow it to the letter, are not in fact, adepts of an alternative “moderate Islam”, the one described as the “religion of peace”, to distinguish it from the faith of aggressive “extremists”. The truth of the matter is that there is no moderate Islam though there are certainly many truly moderate Muslims who have broken away from the bloody road of Islamic Shari’a. These are usually the Muslims who have conveniently moved to the West, able from a safe distance, to criticise the phenomenon of the Islamikaze” bombers of Westerners and Israelis, the culture of death cultivated in many Islamic lands and indeed the unbridled anti-Semitic calumnies that are rife in their own culture. But they have yet to produce an alternate doctrine and worldview to rival official Islam or posit a creed and a set of rules to attract Muslims to relinquish Shari’a and embrace another way. If they did, they would no longer be Muslims according to Islam.

Moderate Muslims often accuse the radicals, of having “hijacked” Islam or “distorted or misinterpreted its “real” meaning. On the contrary, these radicals are, in fact, Muslims behaving in strict accordance with Shari’a, . The standards of the radicals, like the Jihad war or the strict implementation of the shar’ia, are those that prevail in the Islamic world. There are no accepted yardsticks for “moderate” Islam. One only has to watch the mass demonstrations in the streets of Gaza, Quetta, Casablanca, Durban and Jakarta, or in the Muslim neighborhoods of Paris, London, Marseille, Amsterdam, Sydney and Toronto, to realise how alive, universal and popular are the Muslim slogans and rampages, among Muslim masses of men, women, children, including lay leaders and clerics. Are they all “Islamists”? No, they are simply Muslims, and the common denominator which unites them in their hatred of the West and the Jews, is Islam, standard Islam, as justified by the Shari’a, as promoted by their Imams.

There will always be moderate and courageous Muslim individuals trying to save the honor of Islam, by raising their voices against the abuses perpetrated in the name of their faith. However the mainstream world of Islam, including westernized and modern professionals and intellectuals, will also always be there to glorify the killings of westerners and Jews, to write or broadcast, with exhilaration, about the Islamikaze, and to distribute sweets in the streets to “celebrate” the death of Americans or Israelis.

The non Muslim champions arguing for the spurious distinction between the so-called “islamist” minority and the “peaceful” Muslim majority, have become trapped by their reluctance to condemn Islam lest they be accused of Islamophobia or racism (as if Islam were a race). They explain to us that Islam has never been anti-Semitic, proof of their ignorance of Islamic sources, arguing that the current dislike of Jews is no more than a case of Judeophobia. It is a Judeophobia which has no historical roots, being rather a modern, circumstantial and fleeting phenomenon which does not warrant anxiety. If anti-Semitism is reduced to Judeophobia, it becomes a junior counterpart of Islamophobia, and a lesser evil than anti-Semitism, and therefore less objectionable. It is thus more “acceptable”, on par with “Islamophobia”, as a modern phenomenon in Western society. Generally speaking, they simplistically argue: “how can Muslims, or at least Arabs, themselves Semites, be Anti-Semitic?

It is a war of words, which has been engineered to obfuscate the substance and increase the currency of Muslim terminology, while at the same time depriving the Jews and their supporters of their traditional arsenal in the battle against anti-Semitism. Can anyone explain how the Qur’anic condemnation of Jews as “descendants of pigs and monkeys”, preached universally and routinely to Muslims (not Islamists) by their clerics in both the Islamic world and Europe, is “Judeophobic” and not “anti-Semitic”? Is this hallowed Qur’anic reference, eternal as the Word of Allah, a circumstantial and fleeting pronouncement? To say so would be a blasphemy. It is taught by Muslim clerics, as a matter of course, in such “moderate” and “pro-Western” countries as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as a continuation of the traditional way of demonizing and de-humanizing the Jews in order to facilitate their annihilation. What further evidence is needed to prove that it is a blatant expression of anti-Semitism?

Words were created to transmit conventionally agreed upon meanings. If each actor chose to lend to his words a different significance or accuse others of “distorting” their meaning, then we would no longer be able to call a spade a spade or communicate at all. Anti-Semitism is the millennial irrational hatred of the Jews, and it has been so called since modern research first focused on this sinister issue in the 19th Century. No amount of masking, manipulation of words and creation of parallels to dilute this terminology, can succeed, exactly as no coupling of the unique term “Holocaust” with the Armenian or Darfurian genocides (incidentally both perpetrated by Muslims), can blunt the poignancy of the Jewish Holocaust or rob it of its uniqueness.

No wonder, then, that the most frequent manifestation of anti-Semitism in Europe, these days, and among Muslims and their anti-Semitic allies everywhere , is Holocaust denial. The devaluation of the meaning of the word “Holocaust” by its deniers has been further distorted through its generic use to describe all sorts of massacres. Appallingly, in today's world, the hated Jew cannot even claim to have acceded to the ”honor” of being one of its victims.


Surviving in a post-American world

By Caroline B. Glick

Like it or not, the United States of America is no longer the world's policeman. This was the message of Barack Obama's presidential journey to Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iraq this past week.

Somewhere between apologizing for American history — both distant and recent; genuflecting before the unelected, bigoted king of Saudi Arabia; announcing that he will slash the US's nuclear arsenal, scrap much of America's missile defense programs and emasculate the US Navy; leaving Japan to face North Korea and China alone; telling the Czechs, Poles and their fellow former Soviet colonies, "Don't worry, be happy," as he leaves them to Moscow's tender mercies; humiliating Iraq's leaders while kowtowing to Iran; preparing for an open confrontation with Israel; and thanking Islam for its great contribution to American history, President Obama made clear to the world's aggressors that America will not be confronting them for the foreseeable future.

Whether they are aggressors like Russia, proliferators like North Korea, terror exporters like nuclear-armed Pakistan or would-be genocidal-terror-supporting nuclear states like Iran, today, under the new administration, none of them has any reason to fear Washington.

This news is music to the ears of the American Left and their friends in Europe. Obama's supporters like billionaire George Soros couldn't be more excited at the self-induced demise of the American superpower. CNN's former (anti-)Israel bureau chief Walter Rodgers wrote ecstatically in the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, "America's... superpower status, is being downgraded as rapidly as its economy."

The pro-Obama US and European media are so pleased with America's abdication of power that they took the rare step of applauding Obama at his press conference in London. Indeed, the media's enthusiasm for Obama appeared to grow with each presidential statement of contrition for America's past uses of force, each savage attack he leveled against his predecessor George W. Bush, each swipe he took at Israel, and each statement of gratitude for the blessings of Islam he uttered.

But while the media couldn't get enough of the new US leader, America's most stable allies worldwide began a desperate search for a reset button that would cause the administration to take back its abandonment of America's role as the protector of the free world.

Tokyo was distraught by the administration's reaction to North Korea's three-stage ballistic missile test. Japan recognized the betrayal inherent in Defense Secretary Robert Gates's announcement ahead Pyongyang's newest provocation that the US would only shoot the missile down if it targeted US territory. In one sentence, uttered not in secret consultations, but declared to the world on CNN, Gates abrogated America's strategic commitment to Japan's defense.

India, for its part, is concerned by Obama's repeated assertions that its refusal to transfer control over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir provinces to Pakistan inspires Pakistani terror against India. It is equally distressed at the Obama administration's refusal to make ending Pakistan's support for jihadist terror groups attacking India a central component of its strategy for contending with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In general, Indian officials have expressed deep concern over the Obama administration's apparent lack of regard for India as an ally and a significant strategic counterweight to China.

Then there is Iraq. During his brief visit to Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, Obama didn't even pretend that he would ensure that Iraqi democracy and freedom is secured before US forces are withdrawn next year. The most supportive statement he could muster came during his conversation with Turkish students in Istanbul earlier in the day. There he said, "I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out, that we do so in a careful enough way that we don't see a complete collapse into violence."

Hearing Obama's statements, and watching him and his advisers make daily declarations of friendship to Iran's mullahs, Iraqi leaders are considering their options for surviving the rapidly approaching storm.

Then there is Europe. Although Obama received enthusiastic applause from his audience in Prague when he announced his intention to destroy the US's nuclear arsenal, drastically scale back its missile defense programs and forge a new alliance with Russia, his words were anything but music to the ears of the leaders of former Soviet satellites threatened by Russia. The Czech, Polish, Georgian and Ukrainian governments were quick to recognize that Obama's strong desire to curry favor with the Kremlin and weaken his own country will imperil their ability to withstand Russian aggression.

It is not a coincidence, for instance, that the day Obama returned to Washington, Georgia's Moscow-sponsored opposition announced its plan to launch massive protests in Tblisi to force the ouster of pro-Western, anti-Russian Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. And as for Russia, like Iran, which responded to Obama's latest ode to the mullahs by opening a nuclear fuel plant and announcing it has 7,000 advanced centrifuges in operation, so Moscow reacted to Obama's fig leaf with a machine gun, announcing its refusal to support sanctions against North Korea and repeating its false claim that Iran's nuclear program is nonaggressive.

Finally there is Israel. If Obama's assertions that Israel must support the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, his declarations of support for the so-called Saudi "peace plan," which requires Israel to commit national suicide in exchange for "peace" with the Arab world, and his continuous and increasingly frantic appeals for Iran to "engage" his administration weren't enough to show Israel that Obama is sacrificing the US's alliance with the Jewish state in a bid to appease the Arabs and Iran, on Tuesday Vice President Joseph Biden made this policy explicit.

When Biden told CNN that Israel would be "ill-advised" to attack Iran's nuclear installations, he made clear that from the administration's perspective, an Israeli strike that prevents Iran from becoming a nuclear power is less acceptable than a nuclear-armed Iran. That is, the Obama administration prefers to see Iran become a nuclear power than to see Israel secure its very existence.

AMERICA'S BETRAYAL of its democratic allies makes each of them more vulnerable to aggression at the hands of their enemies — enemies the Obama administration is now actively attempting to appease. And as the US strengthens their adversaries at their expense, these spurned democracies must consider their options for surviving as free societies in this new, threatening, post-American environment.

For the most part, America's scorned allies lack the ability to defeat their enemies on their own. India cannot easily defeat nuclear-armed Pakistan, which itself is fragmenting into disparate anti-Indian nuclear-wielding Islamist and Islamist-supporting factions.

Japan today cannot face North Korea — which acts as a Chinese proxy — on its own without risking a confrontation with China. Russia's invasion of Georgia last August showed clearly that its former republics and satellites have no way of escaping Moscow's grip alone. This week's Arab League conference at Doha demonstrated to Iraq's leaders that their Arab brethren are incapable and unwilling to confront Iran.

And the Obama administration's intense efforts to woo Iran coupled with its plan to slash the US's missile defense programs — including those in which Israel participates — and reportedly pressure Israel to dismantle its own purported nuclear arsenal — make clear that Israel today stands alone against Iran.

THE RISKS that the newly inaugurated post-American world pose for America's threatened friends are clear. But viable opportunities for survival do exist, and Israel can and must play a central role in developing them. Specifically, Israel must move swiftly to develop active strategic alliances with Japan, Iraq, Poland, and the Czech Republic and it must expand its alliance with India.

With Israel's technological capabilities, its intelligence and military expertise, it can play a vital role in shoring up these countries' capacities to contain the rogue states that threaten them. And by containing the likes of Russia, North Korea and Pakistan, they will make it easier for Israel to contain Iran even in the face of US support for the mullahs.

The possibilities for strategic cooperation between and among all of these states and Israel run the gamut from intelligence sharing to military training, to missile defense, naval development, satellite collaboration, to nuclear cooperation. In addition, of course, expanded economic ties between and among these states can aid each of them in the struggle to stay afloat during the current global economic crisis.

Although far from risk free, these opportunities are realistic because they are founded on stable, shared interests. This is the case despite the fact that none of these potential alliances will likely amount to increased support for Israel in international forums. Dependent as they are on Arab oil, these potential allies cannot be expected to vote with Israel in the UN General Assembly. But this should not concern Jerusalem.

The only thing that should concern Jerusalem today is how to weaken Iran both directly by attacking its nuclear installations, and indirectly by weakening its international partners in Moscow, Pyongyang, Islamabad and beyond in the absence of US support. If Japan is able to contain North Korea and so limit Pyongyang's freedom to proliferate its nuclear weapons and missiles to Iran and Syria and beyond, Israel is better off. So, too, Israel is better off if Russia is contained by democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe. These nations in turn are better off if Iran is contained and prevented from threatening them both directly and indirectly through its strategic partners in North Korea, Syria and Russia, and its terror affiliates in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. For the past 16 years, successive Israeli governments have wrongly believed that politics trump strategic interests. The notion that informed Israel's decision-makers — not unlike the notion that now informs the Obama administration — was that Israel's strategic interests would be secured as a consequence of its efforts to appease its enemies by weakening itself. Appreciative of Israel's sacrifices for peace, the nations of the world — and particularly the US, the Arabs and Europe — would come to Israel's defense in its hour of need. Now that the hour of need has arrived, Israel's political strategy for securing itself has been exposed as a complete fiasco.

The good news is that no doubt sooner rather than later, Obama's similarly disastrous bid to denude the US of its military power under the naive assumption that it will be able to use its new stature as a morally pure strategic weakling to win its enemies over to its side will fail spectacularly and America's foreign policy will revert to strategic rationality.

But to survive the current period of American strategic madness, Israel and the US's other unwanted allies must build alliances with one another — covertly if need be — to contain their adversaries in the absence of America. If they do so successfully, then the damage to global security induced by Obama's emasculation of his country will be limited. If on the other hand, they fail, then America's eventual return to its senses will likely come too late for its allies — if not for America itself.


Australian Federal government wants under-fives taught to be politically correct

BABIES, toddlers and preschoolers across the country are set to become political activists under controversial new Federal Government guidelines. The April 2009 draft Early Years Learning Framework wants teachers to make under-fives:

* Contribute in a meaningful way to reconciliation, including flying the Aboriginal flag and inviting elders to give talks.

* Use "social inclusion puppets" and "persona dolls" to explore exclusion and ethical issues.

* Challenge and resist bias and discrimination.

* Take action in unfair situations and learn to act when injustice occurs.

* Assess and act on power dynamics as they get older.

The political emphasis of the guidelines has divided early learning experts. Some, such as leading Melbourne educational consultant Kathy Walker, have questioned the merits of such issues being "rammed down the throats" of two, three and four-year olds. "Although I welcome the emphasis on play-based learning, there is an air of political correctness about the document overall," she said.

Others, such as Kindergarten Parents Victoria CEO Meredith Carter, believe it is merely an attempt to "include and welcome all families to join in preschool and kinder". "It's not as if children will be harmed for life by this focus on difference and commonality," she said.

Under the $700,000 new approach to early childhood education, the goal will be to "promote children's civic participation and nurture socially responsible citizens for a future world," a Federal Government February 2009 briefing paper states. "The early childhood years are a time when children are developing understandings of community and citizenship and learning about democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizens," it says.

There is also a strong emphasis on caring for the environment and reconciliation. The briefing paper notes that "such a society values Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as a core part of the nation's history, present and future" and stresses this as a key tenet of early childhood education.

Less controversially, the guidelines also focus strongly on play-based learning, the importance of communication and language, the role of the family in children's lives, and social and emotional development.

But psychologist, author and speaker Evelyn Field questioned the need for role modelling using puppets and dolls, instead preferring teachers "keep it simple through encouraging children to play together".

Melbourne clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller agreed the emphasis should be on children playing and learning through play. "If we overwhelm children with a sense of broader issues, we could make them anxious and confused," he said.

Welcoming the guidelines, Association for Children with a Disability CEO Elizabeth McGarry said the key was not to highlight negative differences between children, but positively promote diversity.

Community Childcare executive director Barbara Romeril also welcomed the focus on equity and getting children to challenge discrimination and disadvantage. "Children are already dealing with these issues," she said.

If adopted, the Department of Education guidelines would cover all kinders, childcare centres and other early childhood settings, and would provide the basis for the education and care of all Australian preschoolers.

The guidelines have just been tested in 29 settings, including a range of childcare centres. Online consultation is still taking place. They are due to be implemented in July.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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