Terrorist knife attack in Nice, France kills three, with one decapitated

October 29, 2020 • 5:43 am

This really is breaking news: the New York Times says two people were killed, while CNN says three, with one woman decapitated. The attack took place in a Church, the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, and has all the earmarks of being a terrorist attack. It comes hard on the heels of the recent decapitation of Samuel Paty, which led the Macron government to begin cracking down on radical Islam, including instituting procedures to ensure that imams don’t preach hatred. It could be reasonably argued that that kind of incitement to violence, which leads to attacks like this one and the last, does not constitute protected free speech but France doesn’t have the First Amendment anyway.

From the NYT:

An assailant with a knife killed at least two people on Thursday morning at a church in the southern French city of Nice, according to local officials who said it appeared to be a terrorist attack.

The assault comes as the country is still shaken by the beheading of a teacher in a Paris suburb this month by a young Muslim man after the teacher showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said in a statement posted to Twitter shortly after the attack that he was on the scene with the police and that a suspect had been arrested. He later said at least two people were killed and one seriously injured.

. . . The attack took place at the Notre-Dame de L’Assomption basilica, and the local authorities did not immediately release details about the victims or the circumstances. The police warned residents to stay away from the area around the church as a “very serious” event was underway and controlled explosives were being used. They also urged residents to remain calm.

Videos posted to social media showed lines of people filing out of the area around the church as police evacuated the scene.

In 2016, Nice was also the site of one of France’s worst terrorist attacks, when a man plowed a 19-ton refrigeration truck into crowds that had gathered on the city’s main seaside promenade to watch fireworks, killing 86.

And the NYT has an unfortunate headline on its front-page leader:

Update: Among those excusing the terrorist, and blaming this on the French, is the Prime Minister of Malaysia, for crying out loud. PM Mohamed is angry and you can see that in the thread (this is #12):

Brave man attacks London terrorist with a narwhal tusk!

November 29, 2019 • 6:52 pm

Well, I’m not sure if the London attacker can be described as a “terrorist”, but it’s a reasonable guess given that he was known to police, was wearing a fake suicide vest, and was wearing an electronic monitor when he killed two people and injured three. The monitor was because the killer was on parole for “terrorism related offenses.” The killer was finally killed by police gunfire.

At any rate, the Guardian and several other sources (e.g., here and here) report that a lot of brave people went for the guy, but the most unusual of these heroes used a NARWHAL TUSK as a weapon. As the Guardian reports,

One of the bystanders who helped restrain the attacker was armed with a five-foot narwhal tusk. Amy Coop, a writer and director who was in Fishmongers’ Hall when the attack occurred, said the man took the tusk from the wall.

Here’s the tweet reporting it, and I’ve put a photo below:

PROOF: The tusker in action (another person attacked the killer with a fire extinguisher):

This must be the first time that a killer was taken down with the help of bits from a marine mammal.

h/t: Winnie

Hero dog in al-Baghdadi chase finally named

October 29, 2019 • 9:00 am

Up to now, the Belgian Malinois hero dog who chased Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi down the tunnel has not been named. In fact, on the CBS News I just watched in my cabin, the dog was still anonymous. I was concerned about its fate as it was apparently wounded when al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest (taking three of his kids with him), but the dog is going to be okay.

And, mirabile dictu, the dog has been named, and her name is CONAN. In fact, Conan has her own Wikipedia entry already. Here’s a bit of it, along with her picture.

President Donald Trump posted the declassified picture of Conan on Twitter and called her a “wonderful dog” in the tweet. The name was classified at the time, but it was revealed as Conan to Newsweek.

Meet Conan:

These dogs are apparently very good at recognizing scents, and the Wikipedia article on the breed says that one named Cairo took part in the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. They’re also used to guard the White House and track down poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

The tweet below gives some amazing facts about these military dogs, including the fact that they can parachute into battle sites wearing goggles, infrared cameras, and waterproof gear.

And here’s one of the hero dogs parachuting from a plane. Imagine the training it takes to get a dog to do that—and tolerate it!


The ABC News video above says that Conan will get an invitation to the White House, as she should, but Trump will only use that to tout his own wonderfulness. If I were the President, I would feed Conan a lovely filet of beef rather than the McDonald’s hamburgers that guests often get in the White House.

Palestinians celebrate the stabbing murder of a yeshiva scholar, PA pays nearly a million bucks to pizza-bombing terrorists and their families

August 11, 2019 • 11:30 am
The actions I’ll describe in this post, taken by the Palestinian Authority and many Palestinians, are ignored by the Western press. I don’t know why, exactly, except that perhaps it doesn’t fit the liberal narrative of “Israel bad/Palestine good”. But I wish more people knew about them, because if Israel (or the U.S.) engaged in this kind of behavior, it would be trumpeted and shamed from the rooftops. When Palestinians commit these acts, they are quietly shelved in the newsroom.

The first is the mass celebration of many Palestinians that occurred when an Israeli citizen was murdered this week. This is normal behavior in Palestine, though I am sure not all Palestinians are so joyful.

In this case the Israeli was Dvir Sorek, an 18-year-old yeshiva scholar who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists last week. (He died of multiple stab wounds.) By all accounts he was a good soul, as the article from the Jerusalem Post below reports (click on screenshot).

Two suspects are in custody, one of them a Hamas activist.

From The Times of Israel:

Dvir Sorek, a yeshiva student enrolled in a program combining Torah study with military service, left his seminary in the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz Wednesday to head to Jerusalem to buy books — a gift for a teacher.

The 18-year-old, whose birthday is next week, never returned.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, his body was discovered on the side of a road leading into the settlement, riddled with stab wounds. He was not in uniform at the time of his death, the army said. Authorities were treating the killing as a terror attack.

“He was found clutching the books that he’d bought,” Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, the head of the Migdal Oz seminary Machanayim, said Thursday morning, as word of Sorek’s murder was met with shock and sadness by those who knew him.

“He was an amazing man, very sensitive, smart, modest, who fused wisdom and quiet… This is a man who at the beginning of the year saw an Arab walking around the area with a donkey that looked unwell, sick, so he offered to buy the donkey. He bought it, treated it, and sent it away,” Rabbi Sarel Rosenblatt, who taught Sorek, told Channel 12 news.

Now if you wanted to excuse his killing, you could say that Dvir was preparing to be in the Israeli Defense Forces, but I seriously doubt the killers knew that. After all, when he was stabbed he was dressed as he was below, with the sidelocks and yarmulke, not in uniform. How could he be distinguished from any religious Jew who wasn’t in that IDF program? (It goes without saying that I don’t adhere to the superstitions that Dvir was studying, but that makes no difference about the immorality of his murder and the shamefulness of celebrating it.)

At any rate, who would celebrate the stabbing death of a kid like this? You know who.

As is customary when an Israeli civilian is murdered, Palestinians handed out candy in celebration, and also set off fireworks. That’s just sick. But it happens all the time. Do people in the West know about this? I find these accounts only in the Israeli press—though I don’t look at all media. And if people do know about it, and also know that these celebrations don’t happen when Israelis kill a Palestinian civilian (that’s rare, but it has happened, and the criminal Israelis go to jail for murder), do they excuse it—or just overlook it? Celebrating murder like this is inexcusable and shameful: it’s the worst of human behavior:



Another form of inexcusable behavior is the well known “pay for slay” program of the Palestinian Authority (no, not Hamas), whereby those terrorists who kill Israelis, and either die as suicide bombers or are put in jail, receive large amounts of money from the PA, which goes to their families. (I believe that about 6% of the PA’s budget goes for these goulish emoluments.)

On August 9, 2001, Palestinian terrorists perpetrated a suicide bombing on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. It was a bad one: 15 civilians were killed, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and 130 people were wounded. These were just people out to enjoy a pizza.  Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility; 8 terrorists were found responsible, including the bombmaker, the guy who blew himself up along with everyone else, and Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who scouted the location. (She was let go in an exchange of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, many of them convicted terrorists who committed more terrorism after their release, in return for a single Israeli soldier!)

Tamimi and all the others got their “pay for slay” money, of course, and on the anniversary this year, the total amount paid to the perpetrators of the attack was calculated by Palestinian Media Watch (click on screenshot below). It’s nearly a million dollars now, and continues to grow.

Tamimi now lives in Jordan, and since one American (a pregnant woman) was killed in the attack, she was charged by the U.S. in 2013 with using a weapon of mass destructions to kill Americans outside the U.S. But since Jordan has no extradition treaty with the U.S. for terrorists (although they do for other lawbreakers), she can’t be brought to the U.S. for trial. She shows no remorse for the slaughter, and in fact hosts a television show in Jordan that spreads hatred of Israel and the Jews.

Such is the behavior of the Palestinian Authority (considered the lesser of two evils when compared to Hamas!) vis-à-vis the murder of Israeli civilians. Can anyone defend “pay for slay”? Because the whole purpose of the program is to incite the murder of civilians and to create “martyrs.” If you know your family will be taken care of if you’re killed or imprisoned in a terrorist attack, you’re more likely to commit one.  A more inhumane program I cannot imagine.

The victims and the terrorists, along with the dosh paid to the latter by the Palestinian Authority (from the PMW page):


Disbelief about belief: why secular academics have trouble believing that jihadis are motivated by religion

May 3, 2019 • 1:00 pm

My friend and colleague Maarten Boudry, a Belgian philosopher (my only philosophy paper was coauthored with him) has a new, short piece published in the New English Review about why academics like Robert Pape and similar apologists have such trouble understanding that religious terrorists really can be motivated by religion (click on screenshot).  (Our earlier paper was on a related topic: why religious people don’t see their faith statements as mere fictional imaginings—as the author we were criticizing had maintained—but often do think that their reality statements do correspond to reality.)

For some reason,  many academics, as I noted recently when writing about Sam Harris’s reissued podcast, aren’t willing to accept religious ideology or belief as a motivation for bad actions. Not only Pape, but also Karen Armstrong and Reza Aslan come to mind. My own view was simply that religion is uniquely off limits as something to criticize. Even atheists who have what Dan Dennett calls “belief in belief” (the idea that religion, while not credible for the writer, is still useful for society), try to exculpate religion from doing bad stuff.  I realized this when I faced pushback for having written Faith Versus Fact, which I saw as trenchant but not over-the-top criticism of religion. Some of the criticism dealt not with my claims, but could be seen only as stemming from anger that I had taken a few steaks from the sacred cow of faith.

But Maarten goes beyond that in his piece (quotes below).

I’m not going to reprise all the ideas and people Maarten cites for promoting the idea that terrorism has no religious roots, nor his arguments against their claims. Suffice it to say that I think he makes an intriguing case. What I want to highlight is why Maarten thinks that this has to go beyond mere “political correctness” about Islam, or the special treatment of Muslims as a form of “soft bigotry.”  Here’s his view:

Why do some academics have so much trouble taking religious motivations seriously? Many people, Jason Walters included, would point to political correctness about Islam. Most academics, especially in the humanities, have a progressive, leftist orientation. For them, Islam is the religion of an oppressed non-white minority, and criticism of the latter is suspect. Blaming Islam for violence and hatred is something to be avoided at all costs. Many academics in the humanities regard it as their duty to counterbalance the shift to the right in politics and public opinion. If minorities are being stigmatized, academics must push back. If certain politicians start talking about “Islamic terrorism”, academics should act as a counterweight. Moreover, academic specialization has led to the formation of ideological enclaves, in which researchers have laid down their own rules and end up talking mostly to like-minded colleagues.

However, I do not think that this explanation is sufficient, as many political leaders themselves—such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—have had a hard time taking the religious motivations of terrorists seriously (indeed, this may even have contributed to Donald Trump’s unlikely victory). I would therefore like to propose another hypothesis. Most academics have grown up in a thoroughly secularized environment, in which religion played either no role at all, or only a very insignificant one. If they were acquainted with God at all, it was a touchy-feely version that had gone through the “washing machine of the Enlightenment”—as the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn called it—in which God was nothing more than an impersonal abstraction, or a metaphor for the goodness of human beings. Religious faith was primarily an intimate and personal affair, completely divorced from politics. Because of their indifference to religious faith, these godless Westerners have great difficulty imagining what it means to believe in a concrete personal God, the kind of deity who revealed himself in an infallible Holy Book, and who demands concrete actions and commitment from its believers, on pain of eternal hellfire. Not only do they themselves not believe in such a God, but they cannot imagine that others really believe in one either, let alone that their lives could revolve around that faith. This phenomenon, which I have previously called “disbelief about belief,” is especially strong in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, with its bizarre delusions about the impending End Times and the pleasure garden with 72 virgins. For these ‘disbelievers about belief’, it is tempting to look for other motives behind religious violence that make more sense from a secular perspective, such as frustrations about exclusion and discrimination, or the struggle to dislodge a foreign occupier. I admit that I felt a certain trepidation myself when I sat down to write a critical commentary for Behavioral and Brain Sciences about Harvey Whitehouse’s theory. It feels strange to be writing about the “blood of martyrs” and the “gates of paradise” in a serious academic journal. It all sounds so ludicrous and bizarre that you wonder: Does anyone really believe this stuff? In fact, Harvey Whitehouse has made his disbelief about belief quite explicit inrecent interview. For him, the thesis about extreme self-sacrifice is part and parcel of his broader take on religion. Religion is not about a “set of propositions” or a “rational understanding of nature” at all, but about “building cohesion” in a social group. For all these reasons, Whitehouse dislikes “new atheists” such as Richard Dawkins who “offend people by attacking their identities.”

I think there is something to this, although I don’t see why political leaders, especially those on the Left like Clinton and Obama, are immune from “political correctness” towards Islam. Yes, blaming terrorism on Islam has been done more often by Right-wing politicians like Trump, but excusing of religion for terrorism by politicians on “pc” grounds is indeed common.

In other words, I think Maarten’s explanation is correct to some extent, for without personal experience of really believing deeply in the invidious truth claims of religion, it’s hard to fathom that other people might really believe them. (This is what my paper with Maarten was about). But I think the “political correctness” view also plays a huge role in denying religion a place among causes of terrorism. You be the judge.

Even if you don’t agree fully with Maarten’s new hypothesis, the piece is still very useful in reviewing how pervasive is the denial of any malfeasance promoted by religion.

Sam Harris on ISIS: Why they hate us and why they fight us

April 29, 2019 • 3:00 pm

Here’s a just reissued “Waking Up” podcast from Sam Harris, discussing whether Islamist fighters, like those in ISIS, really believe what they say they do, and whether religion is really responsible—at least in large part—for their acts. We all know the “religion denialists” about Islamic terrorism: ostrich people like Robert Pape, Karen Armstrong, and Reza Aslan, who assert that the terrorism has purely political causes, is due to the disaffection of young men, and/or is the fault of the West. Anything but Islam, they say. (These folks remind me of those accommodationists who try to exculpate religion as the main cause of creationism.) In this episode Sam maintains that religion really is a major cause of Muslim terrorism, and he reads from an issue of the ISIS magazine Dabiq in which the organization explains “Why we hate you and why we fight you.” (Answer: It’s Islam, Jake.)

I wrote about the Dabiq article three years ago, but for some reason that magazine has gone offline. (Could it be because ISIS has come down a lot since then?) Nevertheless, the article is archived here, and I recommend that you read it. It’s not long, and says exactly what Sam says it does. Then listen to the podcast if you’re so inclined: Sam has a number of things to add to what the jihadists wrote. Unless you think ISIS was lying in this article, you’ll find it most enlightening.

Click on the screenshot to hear the podcast.

h/t: Fred

Heather Hastie on the New Zealand massacre

April 2, 2019 • 9:00 am

Posting will be almost nonexistent from me for the next two days, as today’s a working day (I give a science seminar) and then I go to Ghent tomorrow for sightseeing and visiting friends.

I’ve said a few words about the massacre of 50 Muslim New Zealanders at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, expressing my outrage about the murder, sympathy for the victims, approbation for the NZ government’s cracking down on private ownership of weapons, and recounting the ridiculous incident in which an NYU student accosted Chelsea Clinton, blaming her for creating a climate of “Islamophobia” that caused the massacre.

Beyond that I have little to say that hasn’t been said by others. But I looked forward to my friend Heather Hastie’s take on the situation, as she’s a Kiwi and would have her own unique take. She’s just published her post on the issue on her site Heather’s Homilies:The Christchurch Massacre“. I’ll let you read her views, but will note that she takes issue, on free-speech grounds, with Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s request that the killer’s “manifesto” not be published. I agree with Heather here, for exposing hatred is the best way to disinfect it, and I see the advantages of that outweighing the small possibility that others could read it and commit copycat crimes.

Like me, Heather is proud of the Prime Minister’s attempt to unify the country and to express support for the Muslim community. But wearing the hijab, as both Ardern and some women news anchors did to express solidarity, is in Heather’s view (and mine) view a bit extreme. As Heather says,

Prime Minister Ardern wore a hijab on all occasions she went to a mosque. It is no surprise to me that she did that. It fits perfectly with her character. There’s a strong tendency towards being Woke there.

Personally, it’s not something I would have done. I’ve written several posts relating to my opposition to the hijab, including by Muslim women:

World Hijab Day
Islam and Women’s Clothing
Egypt 1958: Mockery of the Idea of Compulsory Hijab

For me, the hijab is a sign of the subjugation of women. It is supposedly a part of a woman guarding her modesty, but quite apart from anything else, who decides what’s modest?  It implies men are incapable of stopping themselves from making unwelcome sexual advances towards a woman unless she covers herself. Further, it makes it her responsibility if a man makes unwelcome sexual advances towards her.

It’s a sign that women are second-class citizens in Islam. To me, it’s also just as insulting to men as to women; what kind of man is so incapable of controlling himself that women need to hide their bodies from him?

I understand the wish to express support the Muslim community. It’s a feeling I share deeply. But surely simply making the effort to attend one or more of the many services does that? Wearing a symbol of the suppression of women is a step too far in my opinion.

Finally, Heather approves of the upcoming changes (and there will be changes) in NZ’s gun laws. I share this sentiment, too. But go over to her site and read the take of a thoughtful Kiwi, one who doesn’t like the misogynistic tenets of Islam but has a deep compassion for the Muslim community.


Palestinians distribute more sweets to celebrate the slaughter of Israelis

March 20, 2019 • 1:30 pm

As is normal in Gaza and the West Bank, when Israelis are killed—be they civilians or soldiers—the locals hand out sweets to celebrate. And those exhibitions of odious largesse are photographed and publicized by Palestinian media.

On March 17, an attack by an unknown terrorist killed two Israelis (a soldier and a rabbi) as well as seriously wounding one.  Here are some photos from MEMRI taken from a Palestinian news video (go here to see the video) of this disgusting celebration of slaughter.

I asked Malgorzata, “Why don’t the Western media pay any attention to these disgusting displays?” Her response:

The only answer to this is what Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian dissident who now lives in the West wrote: “The only conclusion one can come to is that Europe would evidently still like to kill the Jews and is happy to support those wishing to kill them.”

Note that although the Western press ignores this (the distribution of sweets occurs after every killing of Jews by terrorists), these videos and photos are proudly posted by Palestinian state media. They are happy about the murders and proud to show the pictures.

All I can add is this: Imagine what the reaction in the West would be if Israeli citizens passed out celebratory sweets every time a Palestinian was killed.  I am pretty sure that would appear in places like the New York Times.

Palestinian “pay for slay”, an odious practice ignored by the Western press

February 4, 2019 • 1:15 pm

You already know that it galls me when people extol the “oppressed” Palestinians—whose government has refused generous Israeli offers of peace time after time—and decry the “war crimes” committed against them by Israel. They never mention, of course, the three big war crimes regularly committed by Palestinians, which are far more odious than the accusations of “occupation” which are arguably questionable.

Palestinian war crimes. 1.) combatants don’t wear uniforms, something required by international law. 2.) Palestinians deliberately target Israeli civilians, also banned by international law. 3.) And Palestinian fighters hide behind civilians or fire rockets from within civilian areas, also prohibited by international law.

But one of the most odious and reprehensible acts that the Palestinian government commits towards Israel is to pay terrorists for killing Israelis, often civilians. If the terrorist dies as a “martyr”, his or her family gets money—often a substantial sum. This is called “pay for slay,” and is highlighted in the video below. That video also shows the disgusting anti-Semitic depictions of Jews on Palestinian state media (something repeated throughout the Arab world), things that the Woke Left also ignores when going after Israel.

There have been odious acts of murder by Israelis, too,like Baruch Goldstein‘s 1994 murder of 29 Palestinians, and the 2014 kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian boy by three Israelis. Goldstein was beaten to death on the spot. The Israelis were given long prison sentences, not rewarded, and that alone shows the moral difference between the Palestinian and Israeli governments.

It takes a special kind of brainwashed hatred to make a mother experience joy when her son kills himself along with a bunch of Jewish civilians, or to make a small kid hate Jews so much.

Do note the words of Mahmoud Abbas in this video; he’s the President for Life (apparently) of the state of Palestine and head of the Palestinian Authority:

How much do you get for killing a Jewish civilian or soldier (in the latter case, a violation of international law if the killer isn’t uniformed)? You can read about “pay for slay” here and here. From the first source:

In the Palestinian Authority’s 2018 budget, funding levels for “pay-for-slay” programs and the Palestinian Authority’s social welfare programs are disclosed. Terror payment programs include salaries to prisoners set at nearly $150 million. Allocations to those killed or injured in “wars” with Israel is budgeted at over $180 million, together more than $330 million overall — consuming over 7 percent of the annual Palestinian budget. These payments go to approximately 10,500 imprisoned and released prisoners and some 37,500 families of martyrs and injured. In contrast, the entire 2018 budget for the Palestinian Athority’s social welfare system is about $214 million dollars, and supports 118,000 households: a much larger group subsisting on a much smaller budget.

Enshrined in Palestinian law, imprisoned terrorist payments are almost entirely dependent on length of incarceration, and not on personal financial circumstances. Prisoners receive 1,400-12,000 shekels, paid monthly [$1 US = 3.6 shekels], regardless of any need-based qualifications. Families of those killed perpetuating terror attacks receive 6,000 shekels immediately, then a minimum of 1,400 shekels monthly, for life.

True social welfare recipients, in contrast, are only eligible based on need, and they do not get automatic payments. Once approved, they receive benefits of only 250-600 shekels per month, paid quarterly. The maximum welfare payment is 57 percent less than the minimum pay-for-slay salary.

From the second source (Palestinian Media Watch), we get a list of the money paid by the Palestinian Authority to those in jail for terrorism. (Families get additional payments; see below.)

Using information obtained from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), PMW has calculated that the Palestinian Authority paid at least 230 million shekels in salary payments to terrorist prisoners in 2018.

For example, based on the information provided by the IPS that appears in the 2 left hand columns in the chart below (“time served” and “number of prisoners”) and the PA’s own terrorist prisoner pay scale (“salary” column), PMW has calculated that in the month of January 2018 alone the PA paid almost 20 million shekels in salaries to the terrorist prisoners.

. . . Finally, it should be stressed, that these PMW calculations refer only to the PA payments to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners, and do not include the PA payments to the families of dead terrorists, the “Martyrs.” The PA budget for the terrorist “Martyrs” is listed under the same budget category as the wounded and those civilians who have been killed but were not involved in terror. The 2018 PA budget allocated 687 million shekels for all these. Under Israeli law, the amount the PA spent on the terrorist “Martyrs” and wounded involved in terror must also be deducted from the money Israel collects and transfers to the PA. At this point, PMW does not have a comprehensive report on the amounts paid by the PA to the families of the terrorist Martyrs or to the wounded terrorists.

(The figures are in Israeli New Shekels, with $1 US being about 3.6 shekels.)

If you’re going to impugn these sources—and remember that Western liberal media doesn’t talk about this stuff—then show why the figures are wrong. But there’s simply no questioning, since the Palestinian government admita it, that terrorists or their families (in the case of “martyrs”) reap substantial benefits from attacking and killing Israelis. You can explain to me why that’s justified.

It is infuriating to see the Left, much of the West, and the United Nations demonize Israel, with the UN passing resolution after resolution against it, while completely ignoring the transgressions of Palestine and Palestine’s clear violations of international law. It makes no sense unless you bring in the notion of anti-semitism.

h/t: Malgorzata

Saudi Crown prince likely to have ordered Khashoggi’s murder; DPRK continues developing nukes

November 17, 2018 • 10:30 am

Both the Washington Post and the New York Times (screenshots below) report that, despite vehement denials of the Saudi government, not only did Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman know about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but actually ordered the killing. (The Post reported it first.)

The data is inferential, but strong enough to convince the CIA. It includes this:

1.) The inference that this could not have happened without bin Salman’s orders

2.) The CIA’s interception of a call from the “kill team” to the Crown Prince’s aide, reporting that “saying “tell your boss” that the mission was accomplished.”

3.)  Calls by Prince Mohammed himself exploring ways to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

4.)  And, from the Post:

. . . a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.

It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

Read more at the screenshots:

In a breathtakingly cynical move, the Saudi government itself has charged 11 people with killing Khashoggi, with five of them facing capital punishment.  If these people are imprisoned or executed, it will be a deliberate sacrifice of people who did what they were told in order to save the reputation of the Crown Prince.  The data given above are enough to convince me that Prince Mohammed had a big role in the killing, as they have convinced the CIA, which has strong confidence that this was done on Mohammed’s orders.

Now a decent democratic government, like ours is supposed to be, would denounce this in the strongest terms possible and immediately impose severe sanctions on Saudi Arabia. They cannot be allowed to kill people in other countries for the crime of journalism. But Trump is the “President”, and I doubt that anything will happen.

On another note, it’s pretty clear now that despite Trump (and Kim Jong-un’s) assurance after the Singapore summit that North Korea would “denuclearize” its country, the DPRK is still developing nukes. As the New York Times reported five days ago:

North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.

“We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

After the June summit I predicted that nothing would change, and that the DPRK would continue developing nukes. That doesn’t make me a star prognosticator, though, as any fool who knows the DPRK could see that. One of the main ways North Korea’s leaders keep the populace content (besides terrorizing them) is to assure them that the U.S. is set to annihilate their country. They simply cannot afford to give up their nuclear program. Trump continues to lie about this despite the fact that his own intelligence agencies contradict him.

I don’t think there’s much danger that even a nuke-armed DPRK would launch a unilateral attack on South Korea or the US, as that would ensure their own destruction. But what this does do is further oppress that nation’s people through both external sanctions and the diversion of government money into weapons), and lead to an arms race that could be stopped. But Kim Jong-un loves his power too much and hates his people almost as much. I cannot believe that the man thinks he’s helping his country.