UK columnist Melanie Phillips presents here the damning case against former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman, the Obama Administration’s nominee for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, or the gatekeeper on the intelligence that will cross the President’s desk.
Legislation aiming to protect American authors and publishers from so-called ‘libel tourism’ is back in play in the new Congress. The initiative was sparked by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s refusal to acknowledge a British libel judgment obtained against her by Saudi financier Khalid bin Mafouz for her 2003 book, Funding Evil, How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It.
Very bad news out of today’s Germany: if you want to demonstrate while screaming ‘Death to the Jews,’ that’s fine. If you want to hang an Israeli flag in your bedroom window on a street where such a demonstration is passing, the police will come in and rip it down - and classify you as ‘anti-German’ or ‘extremist’. As Clemens Heni puts it here:
For many years we heared accusations that President Bush was a fearmongerer, manipulating public anxieties so that he could commit the United States to unwanted wars while destroying civil liberties. Well, Bush was an amateur compared to President Obama and his handling of the stimulus bill.
MEMRI summarizes here a dispute that erupted when liberal Syrian poet Adonis, who lives in Paris, last October gave a lecture at the National Library of Algeria and an interview to an Algerian newspaper. Among other things, Adonis called for the separation of religion and state, and criticized the lack of women’s rights.
Palestinian Media Watch carries here a number of reports from Palestinian media sources about Hamas hijacking food and medical supplies sent in by the international community. The first story is in fact corrorborated by UNRWA, the UN Palestinian refugee agency. (Thanks to Smooth Stone.)
In response to the deteriorating economic conditions, people are rioting in a number of European countries. Earlier there were troubles in Central Europe and the Balkans, linked in part to the disruptions in Russian natural gas deliveries. Late last month unrest, in the form of a general strike, spread to France. What’s interesting is that, so far, nothing comparable has occurred here.
As a companion move to his Al-Arabiya interview, President Obama has sent a letter to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), apparently saying that he has full confidence the United States can work together with the OIC. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.) A few points:
The fortunes of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) appear to be taking a nosedive - finally. FBI policy toward CAIR had been murky; on the one hand, it named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case (the Holy Land Foundation was convicted last November of funding Hamas). On the other, local FBI offices used CAIR as an important conduit to the ‘moderate’ Muslim community.
For more excellent analysis of President Obama’s Al-Arabiya interview, read Charles Krauthammer’s column here. In particular, he disputes Obama’s characterization of U.S. policy as lacking interest in and respect for the Muslim world. As Krauthammer says:
What with President Obama’s attack on Rush Limbaugh and the stirrings on Capitol Hill to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, I have a question. If the Fairness Doctrine is reinstated, wouldn’t that imply that MSNBC, CNN and all the others would have to give equal time to conservative viewpoints? Why would only talk radio be affected?
Fouad Ajami, a well-known Mideast expert, interprets Obama’s TV interview on Al-Arabiya as confirming that the United States will return to its long-standing policy of getting along with Mideast dictators. “Where Mr. Bush had seen the connection between the autocratic ways in Muslim lands and the culture of terror that infected the young foot soldiers of radicalism, Mr. Obama seems ready to split the difference with their rulers. His embrace of the ‘peace process’ is a return to the sterile diplomacy of the Clinton years, with its belief that the terror is rooted in the grievances of the Palestinians.”
Analyst Caroline Glick reports that last week the Israel Defense Forces ordered all Israeli media outlets to obscure the faces of soldiers and commanders who fought in the Gaza campaign. Why? To keep British citizens from suing them for alleged war crimes.
Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State yesterday, and most likely Timothy Geitner and Eric Holder will be confirmed as Secretary of Treasury and Attorney General, respectively, in the near future. So, along with Bob Gates at Defense, the senior cabinet positions in the Obama Administration will be filled.
Clemens Heni, a post-doctoral fellow at Yale, writes here (scroll down for the English text) about a sermon preached by Rick Warren in April 2005 in which Warren praised Hitler Youth. In that sermon he also lauded the ability of Lenin and Mao to mobilize large numbers of people. Warren says that a similar mobilization, or revolution, is needed to fill today’s sense of spiritual emptiness.