Friday, July 8, 2016

Austria Throws Out Its Presidential Election and May Throw Out Jihadists, Too - Michele Antaki

by Michele Antaki

Mr. Hofner’s election would carry huge symbolism and could create a domino effect for other anti-establishment movements currently surging across Europe.

Europeans are revolting against their transnational elites, with Austria now throwing out its presidential election that cheated the nationalist candidate of victory.  Friday last week took Austria through a roller-coaster of emotional news -- alarming, then exhilarating or depressing, depending on one’s perspective.

It was first announced that Akhmed Chatayev, the Chechen Istanbul airport terror suspect, had been given asylum in Austria since 2003, then an Austrian passport that allowed him free travel within Europe and beyond. Yet, at the same time, he was on Russia's wanted list.  In multiple incidents that took place in various countries between 2003 and 2015, Chatayev was caught with explosives and ammunitions, or photos of victims killed in a blast. Astonishingly, he would either be acquitted, or released on ‘humanitarian’ grounds. Just once, he served a brief one-year jail sentence in a Swedish prison.

Russia repeatedly demanded his extradition, to no avail. The European Court of Human Rights and Amnesty International advocated twice on his behalf, fearing he would face torture. It is only when Chatayev entered Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015, that he was finally placed on the terror list of both the US and UN.

Chatayev’s case was by no means an isolated one. Austria had for years been a hub for global jihad -- a “de facto base for Islamist extremists from southeastern Europe, a place to radicalize, recruit, raise and hide funds, thanks to Austria’s permissive laws and weak enforcement mechanisms.”

But a corner was turned with the 2014 serial arrests of nine Chechens who were legally present in the country as refugees and asylum seekers, planning to wage jihad with ISIS in Syria.

One also remembers the media sensation stirred in the same year by the “Jihad poster girls,” two blue-eyed Austrian teenagers of Bosnian heritage who had run off to Syria to marry jihadists, after undergoing sudden radicalization.

Austria could no longer look the other way, with terror getting so close to home. Its domestic intelligence agency BVT pointed a direct finger at the Western Balkans in its annual report for 2013 issued in 2014: “The Western Balkans have special relevance for Austria’s security, due to the growth of Islamism in the former Yugoslavian Republics, especially in Bosnia-Hercegovina”.

In this context, John R. Schindler’s remarkable book “Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad” offers fascinating insights into the Bosnia war, and the Vienna connection -- the important role it played on the jihad trail.

The disastrous international handling of the Balkans problem in the 1990s contributed to the creation of a jihad hotbed in the heart of Europe. The author, a former NSA agent and top Balkan expert, details the manipulation used to “sell” the Bosnian story to gullible Americans and Western Europeans. The civil war was presented
“not as a struggle between three warring factions, all of which were fighting for their ethnic and religious interests and frequently used unpleasant methods to do so, but rather as the stand of a democratic and multicultural Bosnian state against barbarian hordes of murderous Christians. Few bothered to ask the crucial question if Sarajevo’s claims were actually true.” (p.89)
The wishful thinking of Western liberals fueled heated rhetoric, lacking in any historical perspective. This, argues the author, happened amidst a complete media blackout, if not downright obfuscation.  Schindler points out the responsibility of a Clinton administration’s favorite, academician John Esposito of Georgetown University (p.93-4). “The chattering class managed to overlook facts so obvious that, to paraphrase Orwell, you had to be an intellectual not to notice them.” (p.19)

This collective blindness allowed Bin Laden’s mujahidin to flock to Bosnia, where they were funded by corrupt financiers. “The supposedly secular and democratic forces fighting on behalf of Bosnia’s Muslims came to include large numbers of imported Islamists.” (p.147). According to Schindler, the Clinton administration, in covert alliances with radical regimes, supplied Bosnia’s and al-Qaida’s mujahidin with millions of dollars in weapons.

Funds going to Sarajevo were funneled through the Vienna circuit. Dr. Fatih al-Hasanayn, a Sudanese doctor with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood who had spent most of his life in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Vienna, was the biggest financier of the Bosnian jihad through his Vienna-based Third World Relief Agency. The TWRA channeled the funds, guns and men sent by various Islamist players who were lining up to fill the void that the impending demise of Communism would leave in the region. Every week, this medical doctor drove from Vienna to Zagreb with suitcases of $3 to 5 millions of cash, stowed in the trunk of his car bearing Sudanese diplomatic tags, to hand them over to Sarajevo’s representatives.  His diplomatic credentials were courtesy of his close friend, leader of the Khartoum regime, and he also had a Bosnian diplomatic passport given by another friend, Alija Izetbegović, the Bosnian President. At the end of the war, it was discovered that $2,5 billion in Islamic aid had been laundered by TWRA. (from p.147)

On the same Friday that the news broke about Chatayev, Austria's Constitutional Court overturned the results of last May's Presidential election and ordered a complete re-run for next September. This unprecedented move, motivated by massive irregularities, may well secure the populist candidate the margin he lost to his Leftist adversary after the counting of some 700,000 postal ballots.

Mr Van der Bellen, a former Communist turned Green, then Independent, is strongly pro-EU and has spoken of his dream of a border-free "United States of Europe." This term was first coined in the 1920s by another Austrian, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, a globalist and miscegenation ideologue whose Pan-Europeans were expected, in time, to "in-breed" with African and Asian immigrants, and produce a "hybrid race."  He later got his plan adopted by the CIA, which saw potential in European integration to counter Soviet expansion during the Cold War.

But could this kind of European utopia, already questionable when it was first devised, and which does not appear to have had European nations’ best interests in mind, serve them better now in this era of global jihad?

Mr Hofer, on the other hand, had campaigned on an unabashedly “Austria first” platform, calling for stronger border defense and tough controls on immigration and asylum seekers. Only 20% of applicants were real refugees, he said -- others mere economic migrants lured by Austria’s generous welfare laws or jihadists posing as refugees. While his party did not necessarily want Austria to follow Britain out of the EU, Mr. Hofer said in an interview with the Oesterreich newspaper that “Austria should hold its own Auxit if the bloc failed within a year to refocus on its original role as an economic and trade alliance” and took further steps towards “a centralized union.”

Mr. Hofner’s election would carry huge symbolism and could create a domino effect for other anti-establishment movements currently surging across Europe.  As for Austria, she would come full circle, back from the debilitating Pan-European scenario conceived by one of her sons, to simply putting herself first.

Michele Antaki


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Internet Delenda Est: The Internet Must Be Destroyed - John Dietrich

by John Dietrich

The New Year's Eve sexual assault in Cologne, Germany incident revealed the elite's need to control the internet

We are living in revolutionary times.  Much of the responsibility for this social ferment is due to the revolution in communications.  This is the glasnost, or openness, that helped to bring down the Soviet Union.

At one time, an elite could have almost total control of the dissemination of information.  Millions of people could be intentionally starved to death without media attention.  For decades, three television networks and two major newspapers had a virtual monopoly on the news.

The internet has diminished the elite's exclusive control over the flow of information.  They will not tolerate this, and efforts are being made to control alternate sources of information.  The New Year's Eve sexual assault in Cologne, Germany incident revealed the elite's need to control the internet.

The events in Cologne and other European cities threatened Angela Merkel's and the EU's refugee policy.  It was not the events themselves, but public knowledge of these events that had to be prevented.

The initial press release from the Cologne police read: "A mood of exuberance – largely peaceful celebrations."  Yet one witness claimed, "Well seasoned police officers then confessed to me that they never saw something like this in their entire life. They called it a civil war like situation."  Apparently, the police were under pressure to deceive the public.  A police officer claims he was instructed by the Ministry of the Interior to rewrite his reports omitting to word "rape."

Accurate reporting of the events in Cologne by the media took four days.  This led the Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten to claim that the police were lying.  Information was leaked to the press, which led to an investigation to find the whistleblowers.  They face up to five years in prison.

The media has also been reluctant to report on crimes committed by refugees.  The ZDF (Zweiten Deutschen Fernsehens) apologized for not reporting on the attacks until four days after they occurred.  ZDF Editor in chief Ina-Maria Reize-Wildemann explained, "We don't want to inflame the situation and spread the bad mood. [The migrants] don't deserve it."

Prior to the Cologne incident, Angela Merkel was working to restrict the information available on the internet.  In September 2015, Merkel met with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg at a U.N. summit in New York.  On an open microphone, she asked him to curtail speech critical of "the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany."  Zuckerberg responded "We need to do some work."  Merkel asked, "Are you working on this?"  Zuckerberg replied, "Yeah."

Several organizations have been enlisted in the effort to control the free flow of "dangerous" information.  The European Commission announced a partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft in order to crack down on what it classifies as "illegal hate speech."  Facebook is working with the German publisher Bertelsmann to eliminate "racist" post from its site.  Twitter is working with the ADL, the Dangerous Speech Project, Feminist Frequency, GLAAD, Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa, and Hollaback.  The German government and Facebook were working with ex-Stasi agent Anetta Kahane.  The United Nations has also become involved: Liu Jieyi, Beijing's permanent representative to the U.N., said that institutions promoting "extremist ideologies" need to be "closed down."

The individuals and organizations partnering with internet companies have a set of values that do not reflect popular opinion.  This is illustrated by a statement by Ralf Jaeger, the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia: "What happens on the right-wing platforms and in chatrooms is at least as awful as the acts of those assaulting the women."

By proclaiming that their efforts are directed toward fighting terrorism, the elite have been able to enlist many conservatives.  However, their primary objective is to stifle criticism of Islam, homosexuality, climate change, abortion, and many other subjects on their agenda.  These all fall under the category of "hate speech."

There are numerous examples of governments intimidating critics of their policies.  A Scottish man was been arrested for "a series of alleged offensive online posts relating to Syrian refugees.  Police in the Netherlands have visited the homes of citizens who made posts deemed overly critical of the Dutch government's policies towards refugees.  Neil Phillips was arrested for comments made on his Facebook page.  He was released and informed he would not be prosecuted due to "insufficient evidence."  Ivar Mol was visited by Belgian police after he tweeted about "Muslim schoolchildren cheering" after a terrorist attack.

The internet elite appears to have a Marcusian belief in "liberating tolerance" – that is, "intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left."  Zuckerberg has expressed his support for BlackLivesMatter in an internal memo chastising Facebook employees for defacing Black Lives Matter slogans on the company's internal "signature wall."

The censors at Twitter were apparently satisfied with an account called "Kill Donald Trump" for at least six months.  A tweet calling for the slaughter of Dresden civilians by feminist Mercedes Reichstein has not resulted in a police visit.

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, Algora Publishing, 2013.


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Warren’s Commission - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Like the current president, the self-proclaimed economic expert shows little understanding of the role open markets play in prosperity, as opposed to the socialist command economies of Eastern Europe, or basket cases such as Cuba

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has been showcasing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as a possible vice-president. Warren has been scoring points with fierce attacks on Donald Trump, but according to her self-profile, she’s a lot more than Hillary’s pet snapping turtle.

In Warren’s 2014  A Fighting Chance, she maintains that she is of Native American background, which The Atlantic and Washington Post, among others, disproved in 2012. In this book, Warren comes billed as an “expert on economic issues,” but the narrative raises some doubts.  Consider, for example, Warren’s views about the way people prosper in America.

Nobody in this country “got rich on his own,” she explains. Rather, “you moved goods on the roads the rest of us paid for” and used workers “the rest of us paid to educate.” You were safe in your factory “because of police and fire forces the rest of us paid for.” And so on, the same Big Brother view as the current President of the United States. Not much of that dynamic emerges in Warren’s personal story, which makes it clear that, from humble beginnings in Oklahoma, she rose to a prestigious Harvard professorship through intelligence and old fashioned hard work.

Like the current president, the self-proclaimed economic expert shows little understanding of the role open markets play in prosperity, as opposed to the socialist command economies of Eastern Europe, or basket cases such as Cuba. She ignores their dismal record and A Fighting Chance includes no index entry for Nobel winners Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, whose The Road to Serfdom was fully endorsed by John Maynard Keynes. On the other hand, the author also proclaims expertise in poverty.

If people are in financial distress, Warren blame their problems on the banking industry, here portrayed as the flywheel of capitalist greed and trickery. In her view, mortgage salesmen “went door to door, often targeting African American and Latino neighborhoods for their highest-cost, most deceptive products.” The author treads lightly on the government practice of leveraging banks to grant questionable loans on the basis of political correctness instead of financial soundness. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a major source of that practice, gets one mention in A Fighting Chance, conveniently buried in an endnote. 

As Warren sees it, the bankruptcy laws are tilted in favor of the rich and powerful. It has evidently escaped notice that overspending, wasteful and unaccountable cities such as Detroit, San Bernardino and Stockton can also go bankrupt. The economic expert seems unaware that the federal government has been ringing up considerable debt but crunches no numbers in the vicinity of $20 trillion or beyond. She does not explain how, exactly, she would deal with this fathomless debt.

Warren was the force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a brand new federal agency, created during a recession. Like its backer, this agency assumes that all people are literally helpless in the face of the powerful and manipulative lending industry already regulated by other agencies. In Warren’s world, nobody of their own free will lives beyond their means, buys things they don’t need, and rings up thousands in credit-card debt.

Over the past two generations, the economic expert writes,  “many Americans had come to believe that government service was synonymous with bureaucracy and complacency.” She blames this on Ronald Reagan’s dismissive comments, not on examples of government waste, fraud and abuse often exposed on C-SPAN, such as the EPA’s John Beale, who claimed to work for the CIA and ripped off taxpayers for nearly $1 million.

In Warren’s world, all government agencies are always competent and benign. So no surprise that the author avoids the IRS targeting scandal, the one, as the president said, with “not a smidgen of corruption.”

A Fighting Chance makes it clear that, like the current president, Elizabeth Warren is shrink-wrapped in statist superstition. Perhaps for that reason, she draws strong support in the old-line, establishment media. So on the very slim chance that the FBI indicts Hillary Clinton, the Massachusetts senator may have more than a fighting chance to get what she really wants.

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Film Industry.


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Antwerp: Magnet for Muslim Terrorists - Emerson Vermaat

by Emerson Vermaat

Large Jewish community of the city lives in fear.

Not only Brussels, but Antwerp too, is a significant terrorism hub in Belgium. By January 2016 there were about 440 Belgian jihadists in Syria and Iraq, and most of them were young Muslims from the suburbs of Brussels and Antwerp.

It was in Antwerp in March 2010 that Fouad Belkacem, a Belgian radical Muslim of Moroccan descent, established "Sharia4Belgium." The group was actively involved in recruiting young Belgian Muslims for the jihad in Syria and Iraq. A Belgian court in Antwerp ruled in February 2015 that "Sharia4Belgium" was a dangerous terrorist organization and that Belkacem and his followers were responsible for sending dozens of young men to Syria. Belkacem, an arrogant and intolerant man, got a 12-years prison sentence.

On June 25, 2016, Belgian Federal Police arrested 38-year-old Saïd M'Nari in the Antwerp suburb of Borgerhout. M’Nari was Belkacem’s right-hand man and left for Syria in May 2013, where he reportedly joined the notorious terror group Al-Nusra, which is linked to Al-Qaeda. The Flemish Arabist Pieter Van Ostaeyen claims, however, that it is quite possible that M’Nari joined the so-called “Islamic State in Syria and Iraq” (ISIS or IS). "We don’t know which group he belonged to,” Van Ostaeyen told a Dutch radio reporter.

What is certain, however, is that M’Nari’s close friend, Hicham Chaib, is now fighting in the ranks of ISIS. Hicham Chaib is from the problematic Antwerp suburb of Borgerhout and became Belkacem’s “bodyguard.” He traveled to Syria in March 2013. The Antwerp court sentenced Chaib in absentia on February 11, 2015 to 15 years in prison.

Shortly after the ISIS-sponsored terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016, Chaib, a war criminal, appeared in an ISIS video showing the execution of an ISIS opponent by him. He also announced in Flemish that there would be more terror attacks. “Just like you are bombing us, we will retaliate by killing you. Your women will be made widows and your children will be orphans. ... We are not scared, but you are. You have been humiliated.”

M’Nari was sentenced by the court to twelve years in jail, but he was also in Syria at the time. He managed to slip into Belgium at the end of 2015, possibly via the Netherlands. Although he was on the terrorism watch list, no one in Belgium and Holland noticed that he was no longer in Syria but had somehow returned to Europe. He must have used a forged passport and had probably pretended to be a refugee. He would not have been the first terrorist returnee from Syria to do so.

On September 29, 2014, the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported on page 7 (print version only) that nine jihadists from Antwerp and Vilvoorde (another terrorism hotbed, just 24 miles from Antwerp) had died in Syria. They were Noureddine Abouallal, Mohamed Bali, Ahmed Dihaj, Yassine el Karouni, Feisal Yamoun, Saïd el Morabit, Nabil Azaraf (Vilvoorde), Houssien el Ouassaki (Vilvoorde) and Tarik Taketloune (Vilvoorde). Tarik Taketloune was only 20 years old.

On Thursday May 26, 2016, two years after the deadly terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgian police rounded up a Belgian Moroccan terror cell in Antwerp. The Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen reported that these very young jihadists – still teenagers –  planned a terrorist attack on the city’s Central Station. They also wanted to kill Filip Dewinter, the outspoken leader of the Flemish Interest (“Vlaams Belang”) Party, known for his critical views on immigration, multiculturalism and Islam. Dewinter lives in Antwerp.

One of the terror cell members planned to go to Dewinter’s office and shoot him to death. The youngest of the eight arrested terror cell members was 16-years-old Mohamed E.A. who lives in the suburb of Borgerhout and is regarded as the leader of the group. Police found USB sticks in his bedroom showing gruesome videos of beheadings. Another prominent member of the group, 17-year-old Faissal A., who also lives in Borgerhout, tried to travel to Syria in December 2015, but was intercepted in Turkey before he was able to cross the Turkish Syrian border. The Belgian newspapers Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen reported that the “teenage terrorists” were secretly communicating with Hicham Chaib, who now lives in Raqqa, the so-called “capital” of ISIS. Belgian anti-terrorism experts warn that ISIS is actively and successfully recruiting young Muslims in Brussels, Vilvoorde and Antwerp.

After terrorist attacks on Jews in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Copenhagen, Toulouse, Paris and Brussels, the large Jewish community of Antwerp fears that ISIS terrorists could also strike in their city. Het Laatste Nieuws reported already in September 2014 that “an ISIS-jihadist from Antwerp” threatened to carry out terrorist attacks in the city. “Even the Jews who live there, are not safe,” he said. He also said that Bart De Wever, the Mayor of Antwerp, “is rightly afraid of terrorist attacks.” “There is a fair chance that these attacks will occur, because every action causes a reaction.”

These fanatical and anti-Semitic Muslim extremists excel at diabolical evil – copycatting is their expertise. Knife attacks, entering restaurants and killing innocents with assault weapons, blowing themselves up as suicide bombers – it is a worldwide phenomenon by now. And these ruthless killers invariably invoke the name of their Islamic deity, as they shout, “Allahu Akhbar.”

I am not a follower of Carl Gustav Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist who died in 1961. However, sometimes Jung did make interesting observations on the human mind’s attraction to evil. Back in 1945 – shortly after the Second World War, that is, – Jung wrote the remarkable article “After the Catastrophe.” “The sight of evil kindles evil in the soul,” Jung observed. “Was not Plato aware,” Jung asks, “that the sight of ugliness produces something ugly in the soul?” “When evil breaks at any point into the order of things,” he wrote, something “of the abysmal darkness of our world has broken in on us, poisoning the very air we breathe and befouling the pure water with the stale, nauseating taste of blood.”

This applied to Hitler, the Nazis and their murderous SS. But it also applies to all those Muslims who, inspired and sanctioned by their Islamic texts, believe that they go straight to paradise when they participate in mass killings.

Emerson Vermaat


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Turkey: Victim of Its Own Enthusiasm for Jihad - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

  • "Infidels who were enemies of Islam thought they buried Islam in the depths of history when they abolished the caliphate on March 3, 1924 ... We are shouting out that we will re-establish the caliphate, here, right next to the parliament." — Mahmut Kar, media bureau chief of Hizb ut-Tahrir Turkey.
  • "The magazine [Dabiq] creates propaganda for [ISIS]. It has an open address. Why does no one raid its offices?" — Opposition MP Turkey's Parliament.
The government big guns in Ankara just shrugged it off when on June 5, 2015, only two days before general elections in the country, homegrown jihadist militants for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syia (ISIS, or ISIL or IS) detonated bombs, killing four people and injuring over 100, at a pro-Kurdish political rally.

Again, when IS, on July 20, 2015, bombed a meeting of pro-Kurdish peace activists in a small town on Turkey's Syrian border, killing 33 people and injuring over 100, the government behaved as if it had never happened. After all, a bunch of "wild boys" from the ranks of jihad -- which the ruling party in Ankara not-so-secretly aspires to -- were killing the common enemy: Kurds.

Then when IS jihadists, in October, killed over 100 people in the heart of Ankara, while targeting, once again, a public rally of pro-peace activists (including many Kurds), the Turkish government put the blame on "a cocktail of terror groups" -- meaning the attack may have been a product of Islamists, far-leftist and Kurdish militants. "IS, Kurdish or far-leftist militants could have carried out the bombing," the prime minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoglu, said. It was the worst single terror attack in Turkey's history, and the Ankara government was too demure even to name the perpetrators. An indictment against 36 suspects, completed nearly nine months after the attack, identified all defendants as Islamic State members. So there was no "cocktail of terror." It was just the jihadists.

In the last year, there had been further jihadist acts of terror, targeting Turks and foreign tourists, but with relatively few casualties up to now. At an Istanbul airport, however, a mysterious explosion, which the authorities hastily attempted to cover up, was probably the precursor of the latest mega-attack in Istanbul. The management at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport said on Dec. 23, 2015 that: "There was an explosion at the apron and investigation regarding its cause is progressing ... Fights have resumed." That unidentified explosion consisted of three or four mortars fired at a passenger plane parked at the apron. The attack killed one unfortunate cleaner.

The incident was quickly "disappeared" from the public memory. One person dying in a mysterious explosion was too minor for a collective Turkish memory that had grown used to casualties coming in the dozens. It was, in fact, a powerful message from the terrorists: We will target your lifeline -- air traffic.

Every year about 60 million travelers pass through Istanbul's main airport, Ataturk. Turkey is now building an even bigger airport that will host 150 million passengers a year. Completing the mission from December's "minor and unresolved" attack at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport, the terrorists visited Ataturk Airport on June 28, killing at least 45 and injuring hundreds of people.

Travelers are shown fleeing, trying to escape the terrorists attacking Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, June 28, 2016. (Image source: ABC video screenshot)

Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said that it was "probably" an attack by IS. Days later, the suicide bombers were identified as jihadists of Central Asian origin.

In a state of perpetual denial, Turkey's Islamist rulers are still too bashful to admit any linkage between political Islam and violence. Ironically, their denial exposes their country to the risk of even more Islamic terror. Worse, the political Islam they fuel in their own country is growing millions of potential jihadists at home. In November, a Pew Research Center study found that 27% of Turks (more than 20 million) did not have an unfavorable opinion of IS -- compared to, say, 16% in the Palestinian territories.

In March, only three months before the latest jihadist attack in Istanbul, thousands of supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir -- a global Islamist group, viewed by Russia and Kazakhstan as a terrorist group but that defines itself as a political organization aiming to "lead the ummah" [Islamic community] to the re-establishment of the caliphate and rule with sharia law -- gathered at a public sports hall in Ankara, courtesy of the Turkish government, to discuss the re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate. In his speech, Mahmut Kar, the media bureau chief of Hizb-ut Tahrir Turkey said:
"Infidels who were enemies of Islam thought they buried Islam in the depths of history when they abolished the caliphate on March 3, 1924 ... We are hopeful, enthusiastic and happy. Some 92 years later... we are shouting out that we will re-establish the caliphate, here, right next to the parliament."
It was not a coincidence that an opposition MP on July 1 took the speaker's point at the Turkish parliament, showed a copy of a magazine, Dabiq, largely viewed as IS's press organ, to an audience and said: "This is [IS's] official magazine. It is published in Turkey. Its fifth issue is out now. The magazine creates propaganda for [IS]. It has an open address. Why does no one raid its offices?"

That question will probably remain unanswered.

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Can the Palestinians Hold Free and Fair Elections? - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The decision to hold the municipal elections was announced at a time when the West Bank is witnessing increasing lawlessness among Palestinians, and Palestinian Authority security forces seem to be losing control.

  • Even as Hamas continues to resist Fatah demands to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip, Hamas representatives could easily win elections in several West Bank cities and villages, especially in the Hebron area, where the Islamist movement is considered more popular than the Fatah faction. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah have yet to recover from their recent defeat by Hamas at Bir Zeit University's student council election in April.
  • Holding elections without Hamas's participation, will risk further consolidating the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- and reinforcing the reality that the Palestinians already have two separate mini-states.
  • The current mayhem plaguing West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps will not help in holding any free and fair elections.

The Palestinian Authority's recent decision to hold municipal elections on October 8 has sparked fear among Palestinians that the move will lead to even more security chaos and anarchy, especially in the West Bank. The word on the Palestinian street is that the elections will be anything but fair and free.

The decision to hold new elections was taken during a meeting of the Palestinian Authority (PA) government, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, on June 21 in Ramallah. The elections are slated to take place in 407 municipalities -- 382 in the West Bank and 25 in the Gaza Strip.

The last Palestinian local elections were held in 2012, but only in the West Bank. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, did not participate in those elections. The elections were supposed to be held in 2010, but were delayed for two years because of the continued power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, the ruling faction that dominates the PA in the West Bank.

Hamas has not yet announced its position on the October 8 municipal elections. The Islamic movement's leaders in the Gaza Strip said this week that they were still debating amongst themselves, and consulting with other Palestinian factions concerning the local elections.

In the past, Hamas justified its decision to boycott the elections by citing the Palestinian Authority's ongoing crackdown on Hamas supporters and representatives in the West Bank. This security crackdown, Hamas explained, guaranteed that the elections would not be held in a fair and free climate. "How can any Hamas representative run in the elections when the Palestinian Authority is arresting our men every day in the West Bank," complained a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip.

The mounting tensions between the two rival Palestinian parties and the continued PA crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank make it unlikely that the Islamist movement would agree to take part in the October 8 vote.

Following the Palestinian Authority government's announcement that the elections will be held in October, Hamas said that while it favors the idea, it still has many questions regarding the vote. Hamas spokesmen said that their representatives plan to hold further consultations with leaders of various Palestinian factions, including Fatah, "to ensure the success of the elections and to make sure that they constitute a first step towards ending, and not deepening, the crisis between Hamas and Fatah.

The decade-long dispute between Hamas and Fatah is alive and well. The latest attempt to end the war between the two parties, which took place in Qatar earlier this month, ended in complete failure. The two sides have since been trading allegations, holding each other responsible for the collapse of the "reconciliation" talks. The Palestinian public, meanwhile, appears to have lost confidence in both Fatah and Hamas, particularly in wake of previous failed efforts by the Saudis, Egyptians and Qataris to end the power struggle between the two rival parties.

Palestinian political analysts say that the gap between the two sides remains as wide as ever, given that Hamas continues to resist Fatah demands to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Hamas continues to demand that its employees in the Gaza Strip be added to the Palestinian Authority's payroll. Hamas's refusal to recognize the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO is also another stumbling block on the way to achieving "reconciliation" between the two sides. The PA insists that if Hamas wants to join a Palestinian unity government, it must honor all agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel, including the Oslo Accords.

Some Palestinians are convinced that Hamas is anyway not interested in holding new elections, because it does not want to see a democratic process take place in the Gaza Strip.

Ramzi Rabah, a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said that he would not be surprised at all if Hamas decides to boycott this year's elections. "Hamas has been hindering the elections for the past nine years," he charged.
"Hamas wants to corrupt the political and democratic process in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not interested in any elections. The local councils are there to serve the people. Hamas prefers appointments and control by force and this does not serve the interest of the Palestinians."
For the PA, the decision to hold new municipal elections is a gigantic gamble.

First, if Hamas does decide to participate in the election, its representatives could easily win in several Palestinian cities and villages, especially in the Hebron area in the southern West Bank, where Hamas has a wide following and is considered more popular than the Palestinian Authority and its Fatah faction. So the PA can only hope that Hamas will decide to avoid the vote. A defeat for Fatah in the municipal elections would have repercussions on future elections for the Palestinian parliament and presidency. The last thing that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah want is a repeat of the Hamas victory in the 2006 parliamentary election.

One man, one vote, one time? Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (also president of the Palestinian Authority) are pictured voting in the last election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, which took place in 2006.

Abbas and Fatah have yet to recover from their recent defeat by Hamas in the student council election at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, in April of this year. Hamas supporters won 25 of the student council seats, as opposed to 21 seats for Fatah. The remaining five seats went to other student groups that are also opposed to Fatah.

Second, the decision to hold the municipal elections was announced at a time when the West Bank is witnessing more and more lawlessness among Palestinians. It seems to some Palestinians that the Palestinian Authority security forces are losing control. Many are worried that the security free-for-all will only increase ahead of the elections, due to heated campaigns and rivalries between different clans and political factions.

The Palestinian territories are filled with weapons; most are being used to settle scores and in family feuds. In one recent violent incident, two Palestinian security officers were gunned down by unidentified assailants in Nablus on June 30. Hours earlier, in a melee that erupted in the town of Ya'bad in the northern West Bank, at least four Palestinians were killed and 15 wounded, seven of them seriously.

After the incidents, Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, admitted that the spread of weapons in the hands of too many Palestinians was helping to drive the security disaster in the West Bank.

A top Fatah official said that the pandemonium in the West Bank signaled the growing weakness of the Palestinian Authority. "How can we talk about free and fair elections when everyone is carrying a pistol and a rifle?" he asked. "The situation has become very dangerous."

Third, Fatah itself is facing severe infighting. Ghassan Shaka'a, the former mayor of Nablus who belongs to one of the city's largest and most influential clans, has accused Fatah members of trying to prevent him from running again in the October elections. Shaka'a's allegations came shortly after unidentified gunmen fired several shots at his home in Nablus. He said that the attempt on his life was in the context of internecine fighting within Fatah. Shaka'a, who is also a senior PLO official, said that the shooting attack on his home would not deter him from running for mayor once again.

The not-so-simmering tensions in Fatah are likely to explode in the weeks before the October elections, as disgruntled young members of the faction say they are considering running as independent candidates. This situation would be a serious challenge to Fatah's official candidates in the election and pave the way for deepening divisions between the old guard and young guard. That is precisely how Hamas won the parliamentary elections in 2006: Fatah members ran as independent candidates, playing directly into the hands of Hamas, which ran as a bloc.

Fourth, by holding the elections without Hamas's participation, the Palestinian Authority will risk further consolidating the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- and reinforcing the reality that the Palestinians already have two separate mini states. "It is inappropriate to hold elections before ending the tragic state of division (between the West Bank and Gaza Strip)," said Nash'at al-Aqtash, who teaches political science at Bir Zeit University. "This will only solidify and legitimize the division."

Noting that no candidate would any dare run as a Hamas representative in the West Bank elections, al-Aqtash also pointed out that Fatah was suffering from divisions that could have "catastrophic repercussions" on its performance. "There are various Fatah groups and camps -- some that support President Abbas and others that support (ousted Fatah official) Mohamed Dahlan," he explained. "Then there are other Fatah groups that are acting independently."

Perhaps, say some Palestinians, this mess, which is the fault of the Palestinian Authority regime, will force its leaders to indefinitely postpone the elections. Regardless of the particular outcome, the PA's dispute with Hamas is only headed towards further escalation. And clearly, the current mayhem plaguing the West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps will not help in holding any free and fair elections -- not for municipalities, parliament or the presidency.

Finally, even if the Palestinian Authority beats the odds and its own history and does hold the elections, the Palestinian street is convinced that its leaders will in any event steal the vote and install their loyalists. What else, they say, would a proper mafia do?
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

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


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PA media teaches kids:‘Jews do Satan's work on earth’ - Shoshana Miskin Perez

by Shoshana Miskin Perez

Fatah TV cartoon ‘educates’ children on how Jews are agents of ‘Satan’, who do evil and try to kill Mohammed.

PA cartoon teaches children that Jews do the work of Satan
PA cartoon teaches children that Jews do the work of Satan
The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s official Fatah TV broadcasted an inciting cartoon series for children in honor of Ramadan, according to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

The cartoon teaches young kids that Jews are the helpers of several devils or "satans" who spread evil in the world. Satans, the program explains, are scheming to destroy Muhammad so they use the Jews in order to fight their battle.

It depicts Satan 1 and Satan 2 being upset that the Jewish tribes left Medina without fighting, and therefore allowing Mohammed, their opponent, to win. One of the Satanas devises a plan to fill the Jews’ hearts with “burning hate and loathing of Mohammed and his supporters” so that they will battle Mohammed in an attempt to regain their prestige.

The cartoon then illustrated how Mohammed prepared to protect himself, despite already having a treaty with the Jews because, “since when do Jews keep their treaties?”

While the PA continually claims that their conflict with Israel is purely territorial, their religious ideology proclaims that Jews are agents of the Satans who do evil on earth.

According to PMW, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, recently emphasized that the PA ideology must view the conflict with Israel as a conflict with Satan.

"The conflict here in Palestine between us and the criminal occupation and its criminal ‎leaders… We are not inventing anything new here. This is a conflict ‎between two entities, good and evil, between two projects: Allah's project vs. Satan's ‎project,” said Al-Habbash on official PA TV.

Shoshana Miskin Perez


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Abbas' holiday attack on the Quartet - Ruthie Blum

by Ruthie Blum

With all the foreign money that has been earmarked for its development, the PA should have been Singapore by now. Instead, its best-known commodity is "martyrdom."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas marked Eid al-Fitr -- the end of Ramadan -- by making a ritual pilgrimage on Wednesday to a very holy site among his people: the grave of former PLO chief Yasser Arafat.

It was a fitting occasion for the PA leader to pay respects to his predecessor, a mass murderer whose greatest achievement was persuading the world that he had changed his stripes. Though Arafat's vision all along was to annihilate the Jewish state in stages -- which caused his internal rivals to consider him too moderate -- the West took his acquiescence to negotiate and sign the Oslo Accords to be a turning point.

Between the signing of Oslo I in 1993 on the White House lawn and Oslo II at Taba in 1995, the archterrorist was even awarded a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in 1994. 

At the Camp David summit in 2000, aimed at actually achieving the "peace" for which he had won the most prestigious global award, Arafat first blew up the talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently launched a five-year suicide bombing war against innocent Israelis.

Abbas never enjoyed the kind of popularity at home and abroad in which Arafat basked. But he is made of the same cloth, in spite of sporting a suit and tie, rather than a keffiyeh and phony medal-studded army fatigues. 

It should have come as no surprise, then, when the PA leader took the occasion of the Muslim holiday and the site of Arafat's burial to blast the report, released last Friday by the Middle East Quartet, calling on Israel and the Palestinians "to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations."

Incensed that the Quartet -- comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia -- had the gall to include the PA in its recommendations rather than single out Israel for wrongdoing, Abbas called on the U.N. Security Council to intervene and reject the document.

The 10 recommendations in question are as follows: 

1. Both sides should work to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint and refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric. 

2. Both sides should take all necessary steps to prevent violence and protect the lives and property of all civilians, including through continuing security coordination and strengthening the capacity, capability and authority of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. 

3. The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism. 

4. Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use and denying Palestinian development. 

5. Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture and natural resources, along with significantly easing Palestinian movement restrictions, can be made while respecting Israel's legitimate security needs. 

6. The Palestinian leadership should continue their efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance, and develop a sustainable economy. Israel should take all necessary steps to enable this process, in line with the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee recommendations. 

7. All sides must continue to respect the cease-fire in Gaza, and the illicit arms buildup and militant activities must be terminated.

8. Israel should accelerate the lifting of movement and access restrictions to and from Gaza, with due consideration of its need to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. 

9. Gaza and the West Bank should be reunified under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian authority on the basis of the PLO platform and Quartet principles and the rule of law, including control over all armed personnel and weapons in accordance with existing agreements. 

10. Both parties should foster a climate of tolerance, including through increasing interaction and cooperation in a variety of fields -- economic, professional, educational, cultural -- that strengthen the foundations for peace and countering extremism.

That Abbas is furious about these recommendations, which put Israel on equal footing with its aggressor, is yet further proof, if any were needed, of his total belligerence. Laughably, the report calls for the PA leadership to "strengthen" its efforts to combat terrorism -- as though it ever engaged in such an endeavor. If he were alive to read such a clause, Arafat would have been chuckling all the way to the bank to pocket the billions poured into Palestinian "institution-building." Abbas can't even manage to do this with a smile.

It is crucial to stress the timing of the release of the Quartet's "findings" -- a day after 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel from Kiryat Arba was butchered in her bed as she slept, and on the same day that a father of 10 from Otniel, Rabbi Michael Mark, was killed in a shooting attack on his car. But these are just two of hundreds of incidents of Palestinian terrorist attacks that have rocked the Jewish state since Rosh Hashanah last September.

Abbas not only welcomed each and every one of the bloodthirsty stabbing, car-ramming, Molotov-cocktail-hurling assaults on innocent Israelis -- he encouraged and rewarded them.

It is due to the Oslo Accords that his mentor, Arafat, signed -- and which only Israel upheld -- that he controls a de facto state in Judea and Samaria. With all the foreign money that has been earmarked for its development, the PA should have been Singapore by now. Instead, its best-known commodity is "martyrdom."

No reports or recommendations can alter that fact.

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.


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Kippah-clad beatboxers wow the judges on 'America's Got Talent' - Amy Spiro

by Amy Spiro

Two Orthodox yeshiva students from Manhattan, take the stage on the last episode of the audition rounds.

jewish beatboxers
Ilan Swartz-Brownstein (left) and Josh Leviton perform on 'America's Got Talent'. (photo credit:COURTESY NBC)
It's safe to say Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, Howie Mandell and Mel B don't see a lot of tzitzit (Jewish prayer shawls) in their roles as judges on the 11th season of America's Got Talent.

But that all changed in the episode of the eclectic TV talent competition that aired Tuesday night. Ilan Swartz-Brownstein and Josh Leviton, two Orthodox yeshiva students from Manhattan, took to the stage on the last episode of the audition rounds with their white shirts, black pants, black velvet kippot and tzitzit swinging.

The pair sported an unlikely look for their performance: beatboxing to Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass." But the verdict? Unanimous: all four judges voted the duo through to the next round.

(Orthodox Jewish beatboxers )

"How did you two meet?" Mandell asked them before they started performing.

"We were both in Israel at the same time, and we met at the Western Wall, which is the holiest place in the Jewish tradition," said Swartz-Brownstein, who is a student at Yeshiva University. The pair also perform locally in and around New York City; Leviton is known as "The Orthobox" and Swartz-Brownstein goes by "The Aleph Bass." They even performed together in Jerusalem last year.

Leviton has sang with the popular Jewish a cappella group The Maccabeats - including at the White House last Hanukka. Swartz-Brownstein is a member of the YU group the Y-Studs, and dressed up as a giant blue dreidel in a holiday music video last year that was even featured on Time Magazine's website.

What's next for the duo? The judges' four nods mean they head to the next round for the "judges' cuts." If they make it through that, live episodes of the show begin airing in the US on July 26th.

America's Got Talent airs across the United States on Tuesday nights on NBC. More than 10 million viewers regularly tune in to the popular show.

Amy Spiro


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