Friday, September 17, 2021

Now our side is doing the protest songs, and the establishment (read: Facebook) is banning them - Monica Showalter

 

by Monica Showalter

What to make of Facebook shutting down a mere song protesting the Afghanistan war?

Facebook has shut down advertising for a new song by John Ondrasik, called "Got Blood on My Hands," about Joe Biden's disastrous pullout from Afghanistan.  They did it on the typical spurious grounds of "violation of terms of service."  The song denounces Biden's abandonment of thousands of Americans and allies behind enemy lines, the needless deaths of thirteen service members, all the best of the best, and names names of the culprits in the fiasco.

Boy, is this a cold, angry song.  And a very good one.  Listen:

 

According to the Washington Free Beacon:

Facebook blocked an ad that promoted a song critical of President Joe Biden's botched Afghanistan withdrawal, raising questions about how it applies its advertising rules.

The social media giant twice prohibited Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik from purchasing an ad to promote his new single "Blood On My Hands." Facebook claimed the song, which slams the Biden administration for abandoning hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies, "violated their policy on either politics or social issues." The song singles out Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

Facebook's advertising policies state that "Ads must not contain content that exploits crises or controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes." But the company frequently allows political ads on its platform. A cursory review shows Facebook hosted multiple ads from Black Lives Matter and leftist organization Demand Justice promoting abortion and calling for checks on police. A Wall Street Journal report found that Facebook maintains a list of almost six million public figures who are exempted from content moderation regulations.

Facebook just being Facebook, right?  Social media, after all, have banned the president of the United States.  We know they've done far worse.

But the banning of a mere song they don't like is pretty creepy stuff.  After all, it's a mere song.  Flip the channel if you don't like it, right?  Not these guys.  For many reasons, it's more significant than it looks.  

The compressed, understated emotion, combined with bitter, acid words and minor profanity, packs a punch, for starters.  It's a good song, and that seems to be important.  Ondrasik's song, bitterly protesting Joe Biden's dishonorable, disastrous Afghanistan pullout and the needless deaths of thirteen service members, is one in a classic genre of protest songs, comparable to those that marked the Vietnam War era and the dawn of the Civil Rights era.  Rolling Stone has a good list of such protest songs, with listenable videos, as does the Discogs blog.

Think "Ohio," by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, about the killing of Kent State student protesters by National Guardsmen.  Think "Blowin' in the Wind," by Bob Dylan, coolly denouncing the Vietnam War.  Think "For What It's Worth," by Buffalo Springfield, originally an anti-curfew song, which also became an anti–Vietnam War anthem.  Think "Eve of Destruction," by Barry McGuire, about the Cuban Missile Crisis, which also became an anti–Vietnam War song.  Think "Fortunate Son," by Creedence Clearwater Revival, on the elites' draft deferments and the working class sent to the trenches.

On the Civil Rights front, which is also important (more about this later), think "Strange Fruit," by Billie Holiday, a coolly bitter song about lynching that was actually censored by corporate interests in 1939, but also was viewed as the launching song of the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. 

All good songs, and memorable.  You remember good songs in a way you cannot always remember masses of crowds protesting with signs.

It's also impossible to listen to protest songs or feel them resonate without feeling the cultural context of everything else going on:

In each case, a corrupt, rotten establishment, set in its ways, comfortable in its power, was protested by angry youths and many beyond youth, in such songs, triggering a broader countercultural movement.

"Don't trust anyone over thirty."  "Reject the propaganda you learn in school."  "Don't trust the government."  "Never talk to the FBI."  Add to this the "Free Speech Movement" of U.C. Berkeley protesters such as Bettina Aptheker and Mario Savio in the early 1960s, which rapidly became the "Filthy Speech Movement," and the panorama comes back.

Those people at the time were largely leftists, of course, protesting Democrat policies and practices that got us mired into the Vietnam War and the Jim Crow regimen.  (The Civil Rights era was actually led by Republicans.)  The filthy-speechers were largely Marxists, and some were literally communists, such as Aptheker, daugher of Communist Party USA éminence grise Herbert Aptheker.  But as Eric Hoffer has noted, in the matter of mass movements (see The True Believer, published in 1951) it doesn't matter — deadly nightshades and tomatoes are in the same plant family, but one is poisonous, and one is not, he explained.  It's the same with mass and cultural movements.  And every last one of them has memorable songs.

Now there's a hell of a counterculture building in the era of doddering Joe Biden, a senile fool whose ideas are all old and failed and driving the U.S. to ruin, propelling a reaction from the young, often led by the right, but not exclusively so.

Think "F--- Joe Biden!" being chanted by college kids at stadium games.  Think vaxx and lockdown skepticism, with Democrats' worst nightmare now forming — Black Lives Matter protesters uniting with MAGA-supporters to protest vaccine mandates.  It's happening.  Afghanistan is the crowning glory of this rotted, lifeless but mailed-fist establishment, which listens to no one.  The result is a protest song, along with an amazingly crazed reaction to ban it from the corrupt and powerful establishment.

There are startling parallels to this leftist urge to ban, of all things, songs, and we have seen it in other parts of the world — recall that Putin banned "Pussy Riot," whose "music" was execrable and who specialized in interrupting worshipers at mass in Russia, a sure-to-be loathed practice anywhere it's tried.  Bad music and disgusting tactics ensured that their movement never took off and now they remain a distant memory.

One cultural movement led by a song, though, does have legs and is comparable — in Cuba.  Ondrasik's song runs roughly parallel to this contemporary song, "Patria y Vida," released in Cuba by Cuban and Miami Cuban musicians, which unleashed Cuba's ongoing popular revolt in the streets:

The ruling Castroite oligarchy shut that song down, beat and jailed anyone listening to it, and it only got more popular.  You can go on Amazon.com or Etsy or other places and buy t-shirts and stickers with that song's name.  The song itself, with its reggaeton rhythms, is beautiful, a great song to listen to, yet, fascinatingly, it uses gangsta rap–like appropriations by the black singers in the video, underlining to the Castroites that they are challenging them as a lily-white Castroite elite, and not surprisingly, the elites are reacting badly.  Unlike Pussy Riot's screechings, this song is clearly viewed as threat to the far-left Castroite establishment just as Ondrasik's "Got Blood On My Hands" is viewed as a threat by the lords of Facebook, who have close ties to the ruling Democrats and have been known to take orders from them.

They've gotten away with it, and the Ondrasik song, like the Cuban one, is going to get more popular.  Look to songs like this to proliferate in the soggy, stagnant, long, long Biden three years to come ahead of us, led by a senile dotard with no hopes for improvement. 

Ondrasik's song is a classic countercultural protest song against that, kicking off a broader movement, punctuated by leftist censorship (unlike in the 1960s, when there was remarkably little), which can only mean that the establishment is threatened.  Look for more songs, videos, movies, guerrilla art, and graffiti to accompany them, plus new kinds of protest not seen in the past.  It's coming.

Image: Screen shot from John Ondrasik video via shareable YouTube.

 

Monica Showalter

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/09/now_our_side_is_doing_the_protest_songs_and_the_corrupt_establishment_read_facebook_is_banning_them.html

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Why Arabs Do Not Trust the Biden Administration - Khaled Abu Toameh

 

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Iran-backed Houthis appear to be be telling themselves: If the US is so weak and has no problem betraying its allies and friends, perhaps this is the right time to step up the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

  • The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies.

  • The Iran-backed Houthis appear to be be telling themselves: If the US is so weak and has no problem betraying its allies and friends, perhaps this is the right time to step up the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

  • The past few days have witnessed a significant escalation in the attacks of the Houthi militia in Yemen against civilian areas in Saudi Arabia.

  • [T]he Biden administration had already sent another message to Iran and its proxies when it removed the Houthi militia from the list of terrorist organizations.

  • "[T]here is no indication that the Houthis will stop their aggressive policy aimed at imposing a fait accompli [Iranian control] on the Arab Peninsula," which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the southern portions of Iraq and Jordan." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, veteran Lebanese journalist and political analyst, Al-Araby.co.uk, September 3, 2021.

  • "Iran... is working to perpetuate a reality in Yemen that resembles the reality of Hamas's control of the Gaza Strip since 2007." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, Al-Araby.co.uk, September 3, 2021.

  • Yemeni journalist Zakaria Al-Kamali expressed fear of what he called "the Afghanization of Yemen." — Al-Araby.co.uk, September 7, 2021.

  • What the Arabs find most disturbing is that the Biden administration has failed to take a tough stance against the increased Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia. So far, the Biden administration has responded to the attacks by issuing laconic statements describing the drone and missile attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia as "unacceptable."

  • Iran... is leveraging the weakness and confusion in the Biden administration to extend its control more widely.

The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies. Pictured: Shrapnel-riddled glass at Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport, damaged in a drone attack launched by the Houthis from Yemen, which wounded eight people on August 31, 2021. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty Images)

Is there a connection between the hasty and disorganized US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the increased attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen?

Many Arabs political analysts and writers are convinced that the Biden administration's flawed handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, which resulted in the Taliban takeover of the whole country, has emboldened various extremist Islamic groups, including the Houthis, who are now threatening Washington's Arab friends and allies.

The Houthis have been fighting the Saudi-led coalition-backed government in Yemen since 2015.

The main concern for the Arabs is that the "humiliating" manner in which the US ended its presence in Afghanistan has sent a message to Iran and its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis -- that the Americans are not only weak, but that they cannot be trusted to support or defend their allies.

The Iran-backed Houthis appear to be telling themselves: If the US is so weak and has no problem betraying its allies and friends, perhaps this is the right time to step up the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The past few days have witnessed a significant escalation in the attacks of the Houthi militia in Yemen against civilian areas in Saudi Arabia.

The destinations included oil facilities inside Saudi Arabia. On September 5, the Saudis announced that they intercepted a ballistic missile and armed drones that were fired by the Houthis in Yemen at the oil-rich Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, home to significant oil infrastructure. Two children were injured.

A few days earlier, the Houthi terrorists carried out a drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport, injuring eight people and damaging aircraft. The airport has been targeted on several occasions in the past. In 2019, at least 20 people were injured in a similar drone attack on the airport.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council (AIMC) denounced "in the strongest terms" the repeated terrorist acts carried out by the Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia. According to Al Ahram:

"In a statement issued Sunday [Sept. 5], the AIMC's General Secretariat stressed the need to hold accountable perpetrators of these terrorist acts and heinous war crimes.

"The Council renewed absolute support for all measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to preserve its lands, facilities and the safety of its citizens and residents."

"The scenes of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan carried many messages to the Iranian regime," said Saudi writer Fahd Deepaji.

"The withdrawal of the US troops reinforced the hypotheses and possibilities of Iran's renewed expansion to complete a project initiated by the administration of former US President Barack Obama to enable political Islam to rule the region".

Deepaji pointed out that the Biden administration had already sent another message to Iran and its proxies when it removed the Houthi militia from the list of terrorist organizations.

"This negligent handling by the US and the West made the Houthis falsely present themselves to the world as a strong party... The Houthi effort escalated and became bolder after the recent events in Afghanistan and the US defeat there. Now the US administration has an opportunity to show that its understanding of Yemen was wrong by declaring that it will not allow armed terrorist militias to impose a fait accompli on Yemeni soil...

"[N]o one in the world understands the terrorist Houthi mentality as does the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has warned and continues to warn of its danger. The terrorism of Iran's proxies is one and indivisible, and the weakness and blindness of the West has not changed towards the Houthi militia and the Iranian regime."

Veteran Lebanese journalist and political analyst Kheirallah Kheirallah wondered whether the US, after withdrawing from Afghanistan, will continue to play the role of a bystander "at a time when there is no indication that the Houthis will stop their aggressive policy aimed at imposing a fait accompli [Iranian rule] on the Arabian Peninsula," which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the southern portions of Iraq and Jordan.

Kheriallah believes that the US will not be able to do anything against the Houthi threat unless it takes into account that Iran is determined to use Yemen as a main card in imposing its conditions on the Biden administration. "Iran sees a new opportunity to advance in Yemen and consolidate its presence there," he added.

"At this particular stage, there is an opportunity for the US administration to act and show that its understanding of Yemen is better than its understanding of Afghanistan, and that it will not allow Iran to impose a fait accompli in Yemen. There is no doubt that the Yemeni situation is extremely complex and that there is an unparalleled human tragedy in this impoverished country. This should not prevent the US from adopting a new, clearer and more understandable approach to what is at stake in Yemen, an approach that shows that Afghanistan's defeat does not mean a paralysis of US foreign policy or surrender to Iran, which is working to perpetuate a reality in Yemen that resembles the reality of Hamas's control of the Gaza Strip since 2007."

The Houthi militia was among the first Islamist groups to welcome the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the US "defeat." The militia indicated that it has been inspired by the Taliban's alleged victory.

Commenting on the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban, Mohammed Abdul Salam, a spokesman for the Houthi militia, wrote:

"Every occupation has an end. America is now reaping failure after 20 years of occupying Afghanistan, so do the countries of aggression consider this?"

Abdul Salam's threat was directed mainly toward Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a coalition of nine countries to stop the Houthis from taking control over Yemen. The message that the Houthi spokesman is sending: Our Iranian-backed terrorist group will follow the example of Afghanistan and defeat America's friends, specifically the Saudis.

Another Houthi official, Abdul-Malek Al-Ejri, reminded the Saudi-led coalition of the US fate in Afghanistan:

"Countries of aggression [members of the Saudi-led coalition] have two options in Yemen: either they leave by agreement, as America did in Afghanistan, or with no honor, as in Vietnam."

Yemeni journalist Zakaria Al-Kamali expressed fear of what he called "the Afghanization of Yemen."

"It is certain that the Houthis will import more experiences of the Afghan chaos and begin to implement them in the Yemeni territories," Al-Kamali cautioned, adding that it was obvious that the Houthi leaders are "jealous of the Taliban's security achievement in Afghanistan."

"The Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia fall under the category of war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Emirati writer Mohammed Khalfan Al-Sawafi, who also believes that the Iranian-backed militia is seeking to copy the Afghanistan model.

"They [the Houthis] aim to serve ideological and political goals of the Iranian regime. The terrorist Houthi militia is not different from other armed factions loyal to the Iranian regime in the region, such as the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon, or the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. All of these proxies practice the most heinous crimes and violations against civilians, whether in Iraq, Syria or Yemen. The logic of the Houthis and Iran is only understood in the context of their hostility to humanity. They are trying to pressure the Arab coalition forces and the entire international community by targeting civilians, including children, in order for the Iranian regime to try to impose its vision on the region."

What the Arabs find most disturbing is that the Biden administration has failed to take a tough stance against the increased Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia. So far, the Biden administration has responded to the attacks by issuing laconic statements describing the drone and missile attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia as "unacceptable."

Iran, the Houthis and the Taliban must be laughing uncontrollably as they watch the Biden administration blunder the situation in Afghanistan and Yemen. At stake here is not only the credibility of the US, but the security and stability of America's Arab allies and friends who have been left alone to face Iran -- which is leveraging the weakness and confusion in the Biden administration to extend its control more widely.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

 

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17734/biden-arabs-trust

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California’s Audit-Proof Scheme to Steal Elections - Lloyd Billingsley

 

by Lloyd Billingsley

When voter fraud is institutionalized.

 


“California media called the recall election minutes after polls closed at 8:00pm Tuesday evening announcing that Gov. Gavin Newsom had defeated the recall,” the California Globe reports. In reality, Democrat mouthpieces such as the Sacramento Bee were touting Newsom’s “victory” days before the election took place.  With the final tally still weeks away, Californians might wonder how that is possible. One thing they might consider is the Remote Accessible Vote by Mail system.

RAVBM allows Californians to “vote independently and privately in the comfort of their own home” by printing their own ballots and mailing them in, even with their own envelope. RAVBM was developed for the 2020 election, when similar tactics carried the day for one of the biggest scams in state history.

In 2004, Democrat insider Robert Klein launched Proposition 71 seeking $3 billion in bond money for embryonic stem cell research. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backed the measure, and the high-profile campaign featured actors Michael J. Fox and the late Christopher Reeve promising life-saving cures for a host of afflictions including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

According to Klein, the cures and therapies would generate significant royalties for the state. Trouble was, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state agency created by the ballot measure, turned out to be the California Institute for the Redistribution of Money.

In 2013, a report by the Institute of Medicine found that CIRM directed a full 91 percent of research funding to institutions with representatives on its governing board. In similar style, the CIRM board overruled the Institute’s own scientific reviewers, who twice rejected a proposal to fund a for-profit company on whose behalf CIRM founder Robert Klein had lobbied.

By 2018, CIRM had spent most of the $3 billion but a ballpark figure for the number of FDA-approved cures and therapies was zero, so the promised financial windfall never materialized. Through the sponsoring agency Americans For Cures, CIRM bosses went back to the voters, this time for $5.5 billion. Signature gathering proved troublesome during a pandemic, and as the deadline approached, Don Reed, Americans for Cures vice president of public policy, began pushing for mail-in signatures.

“Your signatures might literally save CIRM, helping us put a $5.5 billion renewal bill on the ballot,” Reed wrote. “Its purpose is to fight chronic diseases, like COVID-19, the dread coronavirus—and so much more!!”

Reed provided a website with directions to print out 16 pages, including an “address block to fill out, with yourself as the signature collector, and then four (just four!) signatures from people in your county. Your next door neighbors, perhaps.” This was to be mailed into Melissa King, executive director of Americans for Cures. Secretary of state Alex Padilla ignored this blatant fraud and greenlighted the measure, Proposition 14, which prevailed 51-49 last November.

The printing of signature forms is a facsimile of  the Remote Accessible Vote by Mail system. In effect, RAVBM is premature ballot harvesting in the privacy of one’s home. That could eliminate the on-site irregularities of November, 2020, without the possibility of audit – not that the 2020 results have endured such a process.

As in 2020, ballots for the September 14 recall were mailed to every registered voter in the state, which includes at least one million illegals the DMV automatically registered to vote when they got driver’s licenses. Alex Padilla handled the “motor voter” program before Newsom tapped him for the Senate seat of Kamala Harris, when Joe Biden sniffed her out for his running mate.

Shirley Weber, San Diego Democrat, took over as secretary of state, and first tried to keep Larry Elder off the ballot, claiming that he failed to file the proper forms etc. Elder sued and won, and that gave the black conservative a boost in the polls. Newsom’s handlers didn’t like it.

“I have my own operation working,” crowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the San Francisco Democrat is also “making calls to defeat the recall of our governor.” Newsom was once Pelosi’s nephew by marriage, but the governor’s connections are far more extensive.

Gavin Newsom’s grandfather was a crony of the first Gov. Brown and his son, Gov. Jerry Brown, appointed Newsom’s father to a judgeship. When he announced the state of emergency in March of 2020, Newsom hailed the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, and ever since he has ruled as virtual autocrat.

Newsom signed a $1 billion deal for masks with a Chinese company and hid the details even from fellow Democrats. Newsom locked down Californians while cavorting with colleagues sans mask at the upscale French Laundry. While many public schools remained shuttered, Newsom sent his own children to an upscale private school. And so on.

In California, where voter fraud has been institutionalized, Newsom can do that with impunity.

With midterms on the horizon, Democrats will be looking to expand print-your-own-ballot measures such as RAVBM across the country. Premature ballot harvesting does not bode well for the future of American democracy.

“Can you print out more than one ballot?” wondered Katy Grimes of the California Globe. “Did California invent an audit-proof way to steal elections?” People across the country have plenty to ponder going forward.

 

Lloyd Billingsley

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/09/californias-audit-proof-scheme-steal-elections-lloyd-billingsley/

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The Taliban's Sharia Police are Back, and They're Mad - Robert Spencer

 

by Robert Spencer

Reestablishing an empire of fear.

 


When the Taliban distributed their list of members of their new government, Biden’s terminally naïve and deluded State Department handlers were not happy. State wonks issued a strongly-worded statement Tuesday scolding the jihadis: “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.” On what basis State’s “experts” have decided that what the Afghan people really deserve is a government that looks like Georgetown was not explained, but the statement went on to complain that the Taliban’s new government “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.” And not only that: the Taliban have dropped the Ministry for Women’s Affairs altogether, and replaced it with a feature of their first regime: the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

A Kabul resident explained what is likely coming: “People have stopped listening to loud music in public … fearing the past experiences from when the Taliban last ruled. I personally didn’t see any forced prayers. But there is fear in everyone’s minds.” According to the Washington Post, the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, there were “forces patrolling the streets, shutting down shops and markets at prayer time. They beat people caught listening to music and frowned upon dancing, kite-flying, and American-style haircuts. Squads of the ministry’s morality police punished those who disobeyed modesty codes, with beards too thin or ankles that showed. They banished girls from school and women from the workplace and the public eye. A woman could not venture outside without a male guardian.”

They call it the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, but what the Taliban are actually doing is reestablishing an empire of fear. This police force (which apparently entered the headquarters of an all-female orchestra and destroyed the instruments, because music is un-Islamic) doesn’t really have anything to do with authentic virtue at all. Virtue involves choosing to do what is good because it is good, out of love for God and/or a conviction that it is right, no matter what the cost may be involved in choosing it.

By contrast, in an empire of fear such as what the Taliban are setting up today, people don’t choose the good because it is good. They obey the dictates of those with the guns and the whips. They do so because they don’t dare step out of line, not out of an authentic understanding that the path of moral and ethical uprightness is preferable to the alternative, much less out of love for God, but because they are afraid of what would happen to them if they did depart from Islam’s vision of morality.

When people are unable to choose to do evil, their choosing of the good is merely a manifestation of fear and the power of coercion. Those who have no choice but to be good demonstrate nothing about whether their beliefs enable or inspire them to choose the good when they could just as easily not do so.

Muslims and non-Muslims often tell us that Muslims hate the West for its decadence, its immorality, its lasciviousness, which they contrast unfavorably with the supposed morality and uprightness of the Islamic world. Often this boils down to a Muslim critique of Western “freedom,” especially as the United States pursued disastrously bungled and failed military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ostensibly to bring Western-style freedom to those countries. In line with that, the former Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, once complained that “Australian law guarantees freedoms up to a crazy level.” He would likely have said the same about every Western country. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini once thundered: “Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors!” This is not and never can be actual virtue; it’s just coercion. Genuine freedom is an indispensable prerequisite for any cultivation of real virtue.

The Taliban’s Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is the centerpiece of their thuggish regime. Many foreign policy analysts in the West still nurse the fond hope that the Taliban is not popular among the Afghan people, and that they will throw it off and institute more just and humane leadership, or that the Taliban will moderate in order to court popular favor. These analysts don’t seem to realize that in a system based on coercion, popular approval is not required. The Taliban do not consider that they derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, but from Allah, and are determined to impose his law upon the Afghan people. The sooner the State wonks drop their naïve delusions and realize this, and consider its implications, the better off we’ll all be. But don’t be holding your breath.

Originally posted at PJ Media.

 

Robert Spencer

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/09/talibans-sharia-police-are-back-and-theyre-mad-robert-spencer/

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Yom Kippur attack on German synagogue averted by police - Reuters

 

by Reuters

Authorities received a "a very serious tip" that an attack on the synagogue in the town of Hagen could take place during the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur.

Police averted a possible Islamist attack on a synagogue in western Germany and arrested four people including a 16-year-old Syrian youth in connection with the threat, the regional interior minister said on Thursday.
 
Authorities had received a "a very serious and concrete tip" that an attack on the synagogue in the town of Hagen could take place during the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, the minister, Herbert Reul, said.
 
Officers tightened security around the building on Wednesday evening and searched it for bombs but found nothing dangerous, Reul, interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told a news conference.
 
He said the synagogue had called off its celebration of Yom Kippur, when observant Jews hold overnight vigils. The tip-off had included details of the timing of an attack, he added.
 
Earlier on Thursday, police in Hagen said they had arrested four people as a result of their investigation into the threat and had searched various buildings.
 
Reul said one of those detained was a 16-year-old from Hagen with Syrian roots.
 
Germany, still scarred by the Holocaust, has seen a rise in antisemitic violence in recent years, mostly carried out by the far-right.
 
In 2019, a right-wing extremist launched an armed attack on a synagogue in the eastern town of Halle, shooting dead two passers-by. Then, police faced criticism for being slow to attend the scene, though they eventually arrested the attacker, who is now serving a life sentence for the murders.

 

Reuters

Source: https://www.jpost.com/international/yom-kippur-attack-on-german-synagogue-averted-by-police-679593

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For Americans, fighting for Israel is an uphill battle - Noa Amouyal

 

by Noa Amouyal

Through grassroots efforts, IAC reaches out to community lay leaders so those who support Israel can have a safe space in the classroom, boardroom and beyond.

 

Pro-Israel advocates gather in Los Angeles at an IAC-organized rally in May which was part of the organization’s nationwide campaign supporting Israel.  (photo credit: IAC)
Pro-Israel advocates gather in Los Angeles at an IAC-organized rally in May which was part of the organization’s nationwide campaign supporting Israel.
(photo credit: IAC)
 
Shoham Nicolet (credit: IAC)
Shoham Nicolet (credit: IAC)

As a mother of twins in middle school, Israeli-American Council (IAC) Boston regional director Lital Carmel was dismayed but not surprised when one of their peers approached them and told them about perceived atrocities the IDF allegedly committed against the Palestinians. 
 
Armed by their mother with the knowledge to counter such remarks, the twins responded by describing how Israel acts in self-defense and its civilians are often targets of rockets fired from Gaza.
 
“You’re feeding off biased information,” the tween answered back. 
“And you are, too,” the twins responded.
 
Lital Carmel (credit: IAC) Lital Carmel (credit: IAC)
 
While it might seem shocking to hear of fifth graders delving into geopolitical debates during recess, these kinds of encounters are all too common, and the average age when these conversations occur is decreasing.
 
“This is our new reality,” Carmel said. “Kids growing up in Israel get this education, but when you live in America, if the parents don’t take the time to really do the work and go through the process, then their kids will get information from other sources that they don’t have control over.” 
 
As a nonpartisan pro-Israel organization, IAC strives to provide Israeli-Americans and Jewish-Americans with tools so that when they find themselves in the midst of such a dialogue, they can speak openly and confidently. 
 
Through grassroots efforts, IAC reaches out to community lay leaders so those who support Israel can have a safe space in the classroom, boardroom and beyond.
 
“We believe in the notion of force multipliers. We start from a very young age – middle school, high school, and college students – and our approach is that there is no one single organization that can address everyone’s unique needs. So what makes the IAC special... is that we work through and empower the community,” Shoham Nicolet, the organization’s co-founder and CEO, told The Jerusalem Post.
 
That message of unification has become all too relevant these days in the wake of increasing antisemitism in the United States. Just last month, the FBI revealed that 57.5% of religious-based hate crimes are targeted toward Jews. But one does not need to look to statistics to see the cold hard truth that was laid bare during Israel’s most recent operation in Gaza.
 
From anti-Israel protests to thugs physically attacking Jews on the streets of New York, LA and Boston, anti-Jewish sentiment felt like the rule and not the exception.
 
IAC is seeing the ramifications of this development on an individual level within certain communities. 
 
“I think what we’ve been seeing in the last two years is a normalization of antisemitism. We were used to seeing it on the radical Right and Left, and suddenly, especially in the past two years, we’ve been seeing more in the mainstream,” Nicolet said.
 
“In the context of what’s going on, we see more parents moving their kids from private schools to public ones. Jews are feeling less secure on a physical level. I just spoke to teenagers asking them how they feel, and they said it was the first time they felt their non-Jewish friends have been hostile to them,” he added.
 
This shift is especially jarring for IAC members who are Israeli and are used to living as a majority and not a protected minority. 
 
IAC helps them bridge this gap through a variety of programs and behind-the-scenes activism work. An example of its programming is School Watch and Connectivism, which address anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist sentiment. Connectivism is an interactive study session series where teens and adults can learn how to become pro-Israel activists through understanding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, biased teaching about Israel in US curricula, and creating an Israel-positive space on college campuses.
 
Meanwhile, School Watch gives parents and kids a platform to file a complaint if they experience something they deem to be antisemitic in classrooms.
 
But, of course, there’s a fine line between what’s hateful and what’s ignorant, and Carmel – who helped launch both initiatives – is well-aware of the tightrope IAC must walk when advocating for their participants.
 
“We actually come across this dilemma on a weekly basis,” she said. “I would say there’s a very fine line.
 
“For example, we had a school where a student wrote an essay about the legitimacy of a Palestinian state, and the parents felt uncomfortable with that.
 
“We said, ‘Listen, this is exactly what schools are for. This is freedom of speech. So let’s give your kid the tools to form their own opinion about what was brought to them.’
 
“There’s a very fine line between the kids and the teachers. So if a teacher writes on the board, ‘End colonization – Free Palestine,’ then this is not okay. If a kid writes it, we address it differently.” 
 
WHILE THESE initiatives are effective on a person-to-person level, IAC also operates on a larger scale and utilizes extensive partnerships to do so. 
 
Along with dozens of New York area Jewish community organizations, IAC held a massive rally at Ground Zero in May, in light of the wave of antisemitic attacks. The rally was followed by similar events in major cities across the country.
 
Ground Zero, a sacred spot for any New Yorker, was chosen as it is a reminder of when America was directly threatened. 
 
“I think that the choice to do it in a location where the nation’s freedom was under attack was a proper decision,” Nicolet asserted. “The World Trade Center site is a powerful symbol of America’s resilience and resolve against hatred and terrorism, just as the people of Israel stand strong in the face of terrorism and hate,” said Nicolet. 
 
Carmel encourages the community to learn from the success of that rally and how working together is the path toward not only surviving in the Diaspora but thriving.
 
Yom Kippur this year happens to fall only a few days after the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
 
“As a community, we need to take this time to think about how we can create more partnerships and coalitions so we speak with one voice, a voice that’s unapologetic and proud of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish state – however imperfect it is,” she said. “Yom Kippur is a very personal day and we all think about it differently. [But I encourage people to understand that] the challenges are much bigger and will only get bigger.”
 
“Antisemites were always here. They were here when they said they wanted to send us to the ovens, and they’re here now drawing swastikas on synagogues. Now [antisemitism] is greater maybe because of social media, but we should be focused on finding the right solutions and understanding that the IAC can’t do it alone,” Nicolet added. “Let’s focus on fighting them instead of fighting each other.”

 

Noa Amouyal

Source: https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/for-americans-fighting-for-israel-is-an-uphill-battle-679530

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Nikki Haley on Gen. Milley's phone calls: 'You have the back of your president,' not China - Chris Hindenach

 

by Chris Hindenach

Haley tells 'America's Newsroom' Milley has a lot of questions to answer

Haley: 'Everybody's suspicious’ of Gen. Milley after report of calls to China

Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, says it’s ‘very dangerous’ that ‘there were multiple members of the administration that thought they knew better than the president.’

Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said on "America’s Newsroom" Thursday Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has a lot of questions to answer at a Sept. 28 Senate hearing.

"You don't have the back of the Chinese, you have the back of your president," said Haley, reacting to reports Milley called Chinese officials at the end of the Trump administration 

Haley said during her time in the Trump administration she observed that "there were multiple members of the administration that thought they knew better than the president."

TRUMP ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY MILLER SAYS HE ‘DID NOT’ AUTHORIZE MILLEY CHINA CALLS, SAYS HE SHOULD RESIGN

"That's a very dangerous thing," Haley said.

The former South Carolina governor pointed out that although it is not unusual for countries like China and Russia to call, the question lies with why Trump would have been left out of the loop.

"There is only one president at a time," Haley said. "And for you to go and have the call with the Chinese, there's nothing wrong with that. For you not to tell the president that you had that call with the Chinese and for him not to be aware, that's the problem."

 

Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election through Inauguration Day, said that he "did not and would not ever authorize" Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to have "secret" calls with his Chinese counterpart, describing the allegations as a "disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination," and calling on him to resign "immediately."

Haley noted that it would have been wise to double-check with the commander-in-chief first if Mark Esper, the former United States Secretary of Defense, asked Milley to have serious discussions with the Chinese. 

He "should have had a conversation with the president and said, 'we have intel that the Chinese are worried we're going to start some sort of war action. We're going to give them a call. This is what we're thinking. Are you OK with that?'" Haley said.

MILLEY SPOKESMAN DEFENDS CALLS WITH CHINA AS 'VITAL' TO 'AVOIDING UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OR CONFLICT'

"There are more questions than there are answers. I think we need to get answers to that. Look, everybody's suspicious of Milley when we already look at what happened in Afghanistan."

Former acting Secretary of Defense Miller went on to reference the allegations, which are included in the book "Peril," co-written by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that Milley made two secret phone calls, both to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army. 

The book alleges that the phone calls took place prior to the 2020 presidential election, on Oct. 30, 2020, and then two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, on Jan. 8, 2021.  

Fox News spoke with multiple individuals who were in the room during the two phone calls Milley had with Li. The calls, in October, were coordinated with then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s office. 

"They were not secret," a U.S. official told Fox News about the calls, which took place over video teleconference. 

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 

 

Chris Hindenach

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/media/nikki-haley-mark-milley-china-calls

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China's Belt and Road Initiative: Bad News for Human Rights - Judith Bergman

 

by Judith Bergman

Scant regard for human rights is presumably -- one of the reasons why China prefers to deal with autocratic regimes.

  • Findings about BRI's negative impact on human rights in Cambodia and Guinea raise the much wider issue of how China's Belt and Road Initiative affects human rights worldwide. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, around 139 countries -- more than half the countries in the world -- have now joined BRI.

  • China has also invested in multiple large-scale BRI projects in Iran, which has reportedly been leasing out its territorial waters in the Persian Gulf to Chinese industrial ships for more than a decade. This arrangement has led to a situation... where Chinese fishing vessels are "illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf" while "Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores".

  • Such a compromise of locals' food-and-income security is a measure of China's influence in the country -- and a practice coupled with the Iranian government's disregard for the living conditions of its own citizens. Scant regard for human rights is presumably also one of the reasons why China prefers to deal with autocratic regimes.

A new report has found that one of China's Belt and Road Initiative projects in Cambodia -- a hydroelectric dam known as the Lower Sesan 2, completed in 2018 -- resulted in severe human rights violations. The project displaced nearly 5,000 mainly indigenous people and ethnic minorities. Pictured: The Lower Sesan 2 dam. (Photo by Ly Lay/AFP via Getty Images)

A new report, "Underwater: Human Rights Impacts of a China Belt and Road Project in Cambodia," has found that one of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Cambodia -- a hydroelectric dam known as the Lower Sesan 2, completed in 2018 -- resulted in severe human rights violations. The project displaced nearly 5,000 mainly indigenous people and ethnic minorities, who had lived in villages along the Sesan and Srepok Rivers for generations, earning a living from fishing and agriculture. The project, the report estimates, negatively affected the lives of tens of thousands of other locals, who depend on fishing in the rivers for food and income. The project compromised locals' food security, and their losses were either inadequately compensated or not compensated at all. The Lower Sesan 2 is just one out of seven BRI hydroelectric projects in Cambodia.

In April 2020, serious concerns were also raised about mass displacement from the construction of the Souapiti Dam in Guinea. The construction of the dam reportedly "devastated the livelihoods and food security of thousands of people."

Findings about BRI's negative impact on human rights in Cambodia and Guinea raise the much wider issue of how China's Belt and Road Initiative affects human rights worldwide. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, around 139 countries -- more than half the countries in the world -- have now joined BRI.

China launched the Belt and Road Initiative -- the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt," and sea-based "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" -- in 2013. The BRI has massively extended China's presence in Central and South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America through an enormous network of roads, railways, tunnels, dams, airports, ports, energy pipelines, power plants and telecommunications networks. Underpinning the initiative, the "digital glue", as it has been called, is China's "Digital Silk Road" -- the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System -- a global navigation system created by the People's Liberation Army to rival the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS). BRI is "an initiative to create a China-centred political and economic bloc, one that will reshape the global order", in the words of Professor Anne-Marie Brady. The project holds such importance for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that the CCP incorporated the BRI into its constitution in 2017.

It is hardly surprising that China's massively expanding presence, particularly in countries that already have dismal or poor human rights records, can cause the human rights of those unfortunate enough to get in the way of a BRI project to deteriorate even further. Cambodia, where the hydroelectric dam caused mass displacement, is a country with significant human rights issues. These, in 2020, included torture, arbitrary detention, the absence of judicial independence, and arbitrary interference in the private lives of citizens, including pervasive electronic media surveillance, and government corruption, according to the US State Department's country report.

In Cambodia, no one, whether from the Cambodian government or the Chinese companies involved in building the dam, came to consult with the communities affected by the dam, and pressure was applied to locals to agree to preset terms. Given China's disregard for human rights, such behavior is likely to be the rule, whenever corrupt and undemocratic local government power, coupled with China's massive infrastructural investments in the form of BRI, bear down on powerless individuals across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Iran, where China has also invested in multiple large-scale BRI projects, is another example of such disregard for the rights of locals. Iran has reportedly been leasing out its territorial waters in the Persian Gulf to Chinese industrial ships for more than a decade. This arrangement has led to a situation, according to Iranian reform media, where Chinese fishing vessels are "illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf" while "Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores". Such a compromise of locals' food-and-income security is a measure of China's influence in the country -- and a practice coupled with the Iranian government's disregard for the living conditions of its own citizens.

Scant regard for human rights is presumably also one of the reasons why China prefers to deal with autocratic regimes. "China", a report in early 2021 by risk the consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft concluded, "is pivoting towards more autocratic regimes that represent greater stability for its supply lines than democracies that are, or may become, hostile to Beijing".

 

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17735/china-belt-road-human-rights

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UK: Record Number of Migrants Crossing English Channel - Soeren Kern

 

by Soeren Kern

"They want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally. There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled." — Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart.

  • More than 14,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in around 600 small boats so far in 2021, surpassing the 8,713 arrivals (in 650 boats) during all of 2020, according to Migration Watch, which notes that the actual number of arrivals is probably far higher than what has been recorded in official statistics. Since the beginning of 2021, not a single migrant has been deported to the safe European countries they traveled through.

  • "The incentives are skewed so that they encourage, rather than discourage, illegal (and dangerous) trips that often lead to asylum abuse." — Migration Watch UK.

  • "They want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally. There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled." — Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart.

  • "Both traffickers and migrants know that 'no civilized country can allow people to drown at sea'; this is why people get on overcrowded vessels. 'And this is why Britain is about to be plunged into a similar crisis to the one Italy faced three years ago, albeit on a reduced scale.'" — British news magazine, The Week, quoting James Forsyth in The Times.

  • "Instead of the United Kingdom being able to choose the children and families most in need, illegal immigration instead allows those who pay people smugglers, or who are strong, to push their way to the front of the queue.... Our legal system needs reform. It is open to abuse." — Immigration Control Minister Chris Philip.

  • "First it was a few, then hundreds, and now 1,000 in a day, the French just waving them through with a cheery 'Bon Voyage.' If the French won't stop the small boats then we need to by turning them back, making returns and taking firm control of our borders." — Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover.

The British government is struggling to stop illegal migrants attempting to cross the English Channel on small boats — partly because of its need for cooperation from France. British authorities have repeatedly accused their French counterparts of not doing enough to stop small boats from leaving French territorial waters. Pictured: Illegal migrants walk ashore on the beach at Dungeness, England on September 7, 2021. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nearly a thousand migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have attempted to cross the English Channel on small boats in just one day to illegally get into the United Kingdom. The record-breaking surge in illegal crossings is being facilitated by warm weather and calm seas.

The British government is struggling to stop the crossings — partly because of its need for cooperation from France. British authorities have repeatedly accused their French counterparts of not doing enough to stop small boats from leaving French territorial waters.

Although the UK has pledged to pay France tens of millions of pounds to stop migrants crossing the Channel, French naval vessels are accused of escorting small boats into British waters.

French officials counter that the UK has not done enough to reduce the incentives that act as a magnet for migrants: not only are newcomers showered with generous social welfare benefits, but the UK's decision to scrap national identity cards, combined with its sizeable shadow economy, makes it easy for illegal immigrants to find work.

On September 6, 785 migrants entered the UK illegally after crossing the English Channel, according to official statistics compiled by Migration Watch UK, a British think tank. It was the second-highest number of daily arrivals since a record-breaking 828 migrants reached the UK on August 21. The previous daily record was 482 migrants who crossed the Channel on August 4, according to the BBC. A record-breaking 3,510 migrants reached the UK by boat in July 2021.

More than 14,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in around 600 small boats so far in 2021, surpassing the 8,713 arrivals (in 650 boats) during all of 2020, according to Migration Watch, which notes that the actual number of arrivals is probably far higher than what has been recorded in official statistics. Since the beginning of 2021, not a single migrant has been deported back to the safe European countries they traveled through, according to Migration Watch, which stated:

"The number of people crossing continues to rise even after nearly £200 million of taxpayers' money was paid to France since September 2014 to tackle illegal immigration (see media report). This is hardly value for money.

"The government is also spending around £400 million of taxpayers' money each year on 'free' accommodation for more than 60,000 asylum seekers and failed claimants over the next decade (total of £4 billion in the ten years from mid-2019 – see National Audit Office summary). The number of people housed has tripled since 2012 when it was around 20,000....

"Nearly 10,000 people have been housed in nearly 100 hotels across the country in what is known as 'initial accommodation' set aside for people just after they claim asylum but are awaiting an allocation of more long-term housing (for more read this piece).

"This despite the fact that, as Home Office sources admitted recently, housing migrants in hotels creates a 'pull factor.'

"The incentives are skewed so that they encourage, rather than discourage, illegal (and dangerous) trips that often lead to asylum abuse (also see this Home Office page telling people what they will get if they claim asylum).

"Payments and the offer of free housing for those eligible while an asylum claim is being processed (and for thousands of failed claimants) may serve to encourage people to attempt the dangerous and needless journey.

"98% of those arriving claim asylum once landed, says the Home Office, even though they are traveling from a safe country from which protection is not required. However, 81% have been found by the authorities not to have a credible claim here in the UK. The asylum route should be reserved only for the truly needy."

The UK's Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O'Mahoney, explained:

"This unacceptable rise in dangerous crossings is being driven by criminal gangs and a surge in illegal migration across Europe.

"We're determined to target the criminals at every level, so far, we have secured nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 10,000 migrant attempts.

"But there is more to do. The government's New Plan for Immigration is the only credible way to fix the broken asylum system, breaking the business model of criminal gangs and welcoming people through safe and legal routes."

The United Kingdom appears to be pursuing a two-pronged strategy to curb the migrant flow: negotiating a bilateral deal with France and reforming the UK's asylum system.

Anglo-French Border Deal

In November 2020, Home Secretary Priti Patel agreed to pay France £28 million (€33 million; $40 million) to stop illegal Channel crossings. As part of the deal, France doubled the number of officers patrolling French beaches, which resulted in a significant decline in illegal crossings. As French interceptions increased, however, people traffickers moved their operations farther north along hundreds of kilometers of the French coast.

In July 2021, Patel agreed to pay France another £54 million (€63 million; $75 million) to increase police patrols along the northern coast of France. The deal called for increasing the use aerial surveillance, including drones, and for drawing up a long-term plan for a technological "smart border" to prevent crossings.

On July 21, addressing the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Patel revealed that 60% of illegal arrivals have come from Belgium and that migrants who have travelled across Continental Europe are amassing "along the entire French coastline," not just in Calais, the closest point on the European mainland to England.

On September 7, Patel threatened to withhold millions of pounds in promised payments to France due to the low numbers of migrants being intercepted before they reach British waters. "It's payment by results and we've not yet seen those results," she said. "The money is conditional." Patel demanded that France stop three in four crossings by the end September. She also threatened to return boats carrying migrants in the Channel back into French waters.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin replied that Patel's proposal is contrary to maritime law and accused her of blackmail:

"France will not accept practices contrary to the Law of the Sea, nor financial blackmail. Britain's commitment must be kept. I made this clear to my counterpart."

Pierre-Henri Dumont, France's MP for Calais, claimed that the French coast is too big to secure:

"We have too many kilometers of shore to monitor. The French coast is difficult to monitor because they [migrants] can hide in a lot of places. There are a lot of roads, woods and trees. Even if you are monitoring 100 percent of a small or large part of the French coast, the smugglers will find a place to cross somewhere else.

"If it's not Calais it will be Normandy, and if it's not Normandy it will be Belgium. If they're not going to Belgium they can go to the Netherlands."

Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart has said Britain's "black market economy" and "cushy benefits system" were responsible for drawing migrants to her town. She said:

"They want to go to England because they can expect better conditions on arrival there than anywhere else in Europe or even internationally. There are no ID cards. They can easily find work outside the formal economy, which is not really controlled.

"Calais is a hostage to the British. The migrants come here to get to Britain. The situation here is barely manageable. The UK border should be moved from Calais to the English side of the Channel because we're not here to do their jobs."

Tory MP Tim Loughton accused French authorities of failing to honor their part of the deal:

"The French having a different interpretation [of maritime law] is the French giving you an excuse for not doing what they are not only able to do under international law but actually obliged to do under international law.

"Because two crimes are being committed by the occupants of those boats: one is trying to enter the UK illegally and the second is paying money to organized crime. Both of which provide grounds for those boats to be intercepted, the occupants apprehended in as safe a way as possible and returned to France. You are getting fobbed off [tricked] with excuses."

Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for Thanet South in Kent, said that sending boats back to France would be a "high-octane" measure:

"We need to up the stakes and consider immediate removal back to France of all who arrive via this illegal route and disregard diplomatic niceties.

"This, above all else, would show, and rapidly, that the route does not work and the migrants would simply not waste their money in trying it."

Lee Anderson, the Conservative MP for Ashfield, added:

"We should drop these illegal immigrants off on a French beach and send the French government a bill for the cost of the journey."

French authorities counter that they will not take back migrants from the UK — which has lost the legal right to return refugees to other EU nations because of Brexit.

The British news magazine, The Week, quoting James Forsyth in The Times, noted that French and British interests are "not aligned" on this question:

"France, which had 92,000 asylum applications last year to the UK's 27,000, is not particularly worried about people leaving its soil. The fact is that the Channel crossings are 'almost impossible to halt.' Both traffickers and migrants know that 'no civilized country can allow people to drown at sea'; this is why people get on overcrowded vessels. 'And this is why Britain is about to be plunged into a similar crisis to the one Italy faced three years ago, albeit on a reduced scale.'"

Immigration Reform

Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to make the illegal crossings "unviable" by reforming UK immigration policy. On July 6, she introduced new asylum legislation — the Nationality and Borders Bill — that aims to deter illegal entry into the UK by cracking down on people traffickers and by making it easier to deport people who are in the country illegally.

The main provisions include:

  • new and tougher criminal penalties for those attempting to enter the UK illegally by raising the punishment for illegal entry to four years in prison (up from six months previously), and by introducing life sentences for people smugglers.
  • provide Border Force with additional powers to stop and divert vessels suspected of carrying illegal migrants to the UK and, subject to agreement with the relevant country such as France, return them to where their sea journey to the UK began.
  • increase the penalty for migrants who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order to five years in prison (up from six months previously).
  • introduce expedited processes to allow rapid removal of those in the country illegally.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, in a statement to Parliament, said:

"The British people have had enough of open borders and uncontrolled migration. Enough of a failed asylum system that costs the taxpayer over a billion pounds a year. Enough of dinghies arriving illegally on our shores, directed by organized crime gangs.

"Enough of people drowning on these dangerous, illegal, and unnecessary journeys. Enough of people being trafficked and sold into modern slavery. Enough of economic migrants pretending to be genuine refugees.

"Enough of adults pretending to be children to claim asylum. Enough of people trying to gain entry illegally, ahead of those who play by the rules. Enough of foreign criminals – including murderers and rapists – who abuse our laws and then game the system so we can't remove them.

"The British people have had enough of being told none of these issues matter – enough of being told it is racist to even think about addressing public concerns and seeking to fix this failed system.

"The British people have repeatedly voted to take back control of our borders. They finally have a government that is listening to them. Our priorities are the people's priorities.

"For the first time in decades we will determine who comes in and out of our country.

Immigration Control Minister Chris Philip added:

"The UK will always play its part for those in genuine need. But we will choose who deserves our help.

"Illegal immigration undermines that choice. Instead of the United Kingdom being able to choose the children and families most in need, illegal immigration instead allows those who pay people smugglers, or who are strong, to push their way to the front of the queue.

"There is no worse example of that than the small boats crossing the English Channel. Around 80% are young single men who have paid people smugglers to cheat the system. They are not fleeing war. France is not a war zone. Belgium is not a war zone and nor is Germany. These are safe European countries with well-functioning asylum systems. These journeys are dangerous and totally unnecessary, and they push to one side those in greatest need, including women and children.

"Our legal system needs reform. It is open to abuse. People make repeated human rights, asylum and modern slavery claims, often strung out over many years, in an effort to avoid removal. But very often they are later found to be without merit. For example, in 2017, 83% of those last-minute claims raised in detention to frustrate removal were later found to be without merit....

"This bill also has measures on age assessment. We are the only European country not to use scientific age assessments. Recent evaluations in Kent concerning 92 people claiming to be children later found that around half in fact were not. There are very obvious and serious safeguarding issues if men that are 23 years old successfully pretend to be under 18 and then get housed or are educated with 16-year-old girls and we cannot tolerate that."

The central weakness of the bill is that deportations will be dependent on the willingness of France and other EU countries to accept the return of migrants.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has demanded that the French "stiffen their sinews" to prevent more migrants reaching the UK:

"A large number of people want to come to this country, and we are doing everything we can to encourage the French to do the necessary and impede their passage."

Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover, called for emergency laws to give UK Border Force powers to turn back boats carrying migrants:

"First it was a few, then hundreds, and now 1,000 in a day, the French just waving them through with a cheery 'Bon Voyage.' If the French won't stop the small boats then we need to by turning them back, making returns and taking firm control of our borders."

British commentator Melanie Philips concluded that the illegal immigration problem will not be stopped until British leaders drum up the courage to implement "draconian" measures:

"Trying to get the French to stop this traffic is to duck the real problem. The reason so many migrants want to come to Britain is that it has made itself the most attractive destination in the world for such people. That's because migrants correctly perceive it to be a soft touch. They know that Britain's slavish adherence to human rights laws makes it so difficult to deport them that there's every chance they won't be sent away but will be able to melt into the country and receive accommodation and welfare services.

"To end this farce, therefore, Britain has to remove all those incentives. It has to send such migrants away from Britain for the processing of their asylum claims — to cruise liners in the North Sea, to the Isle of Man, the Falklands, wherever; deport them to the first country to which they fled; or fly them straight back to France. Anyone without proper documentation should be made to realize they will never be entitled to British citizenship or to access Britain's health, housing or welfare services.

"To do anything like this, however, would not only provoke a storm of accusations of racism, cruelty, inhumanity and so forth. It would also be prohibited by the courts. To enact the draconian measures needed to stop this illegal migrant traffic, Britain would have to leave the European Convention on Human Rights and maybe also the Refugee Convention — which it is deeply unwilling to do.

"As for changing Britain's interpretation of maritime law, this in the same league as the not infrequently floated idea of rewriting human rights law. Well, the British government can rewrite its interpretation of international law to its heart's content; but the inconvenient fact remains that, while the UK is party to the relevant treaties and conventions, it remains bound by them.

"If Britain cannot accept the terms of those treaties and conventions, it must leave them. Otherwise it will just have to take what follows and lump it. But Boris Johnson cannot admit this; nor will he take the action that is necessary, because that would take courage and leadership and that's all Just Too Difficult."

 

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17754/britain-migrants-english-channel
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