Saturday, May 13, 2017

Global hacking for ransom hits 99 countries - debkaFile

by debkaFile

Some 75,000 victims, including Britain, Spain, Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan, suffer computer disruptions from unknown cyber extortionists demanding $300 to $600 to restore access.

Nearly 100 countries were struck Friday, May 12, by cyber extortionists believed to be using a tool stolen from the US NSA to infect the computers of some 75,000 victims, mainly in Britain, Spain, Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. In the biggest global ransom cyberassault known to date, unknown hackers tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files. They demanded ransom payments of $300 to $600 to restore access – some victims paid up in the digital bitcoin currency.

In April, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers reportedly stole the tool from the NSA but it may have spread to other hackers.

The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain where dozens of hospitals and clinics had to turn away patients.  In Russia, they targeted the Home Ministry and many police stations across the country.

Only a small number of US-headquartered organizations were hit because the hackers appear to have begun the campaign by targeting organizations in Europe, said Vikram Thakur, research manager with security software maker Symantec. By the time they turned their attention to the United States spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious. The US Homeland Department offered to share information with domestic and foreign partners.

Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of "WannaCry" that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Spanish authorities confirmed the ransomware is spreading through the vulnerability, called "EternalBlue," and advised people to use an updated Microsoft patch issued in March.

Kaspersky Lab says that although the WannaCry ransomware can infect computers even without the vulnerability, EternalBlue is "the most significant factor" in the global outbreak. It has a 'hunter' module, which seeks out PCs on internal networks. "So, for example, if your laptop is infected and you went to a coffee shop, it would spread to PCs at the coffee shop. From there, to other companies."

"This is one of the largest global ransomware attacks the cyber community has ever seen," said Rich Barger, director of threat research with Splunk, one of the firms that linked WannaCry to the NSA.



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The UN's Obsession against Israel - Pierre Rehov

by Pierre Rehov

The mandate of UNRWA was for one year. Seventy years later, the organization, now a lavish UN jobs program, continues to function within the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, with an annual budget close to one billion dollars.

  • Israel is thus the only country on the planet to benefit from the doubtful privilege of being scrutinized on the least of its actions, through an agenda decided by its enemies.
  • There is also no need to go back to 1976, to remember the infamous UN Resolution 3379, "Zionism is a form of Racism," under the Secretary-Generalship of a former Nazi, Kurt Waldheim, a week after Uganda's brutal Idi Amin received a triumphant reception at the UN headquarters.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met once again on March 20 to debate "Agenda Item 7," a mandatory subject of debate since June 2006, the only one whose goal is systematically to condemn the Israeli democracy for crimes the existence of which remain to be proven.

The agenda, officially designed to assess the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, in the light of the reports submitted by Fatah, the PLO and various NGOs, is part of a wider campaign, carried out by countries such as Libya, Algeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen. Israel is thus the only country on the planet to benefit from the doubtful privilege of being scrutinized on the least of its actions, through an agenda decided by its enemies.

If it were only a question of expressing this obsession, born out of an old habit for the Arab-Muslim dictatorships to turn the Hebrew state into their scapegoat, responsible for all the misfortunes plaguing their societies, Agenda Item 7 would be a mere oddity, especially since the session is regularly boycotted by a majority of Western countries, and systematically by the United States.

Unfortunately, this Israelphobia has been spreading throughout the United Nations. In 1948, when Israel, after being officially recognized as a sovereign state by virtually all Western democracies, had just repelled the genocidal aggression of five neighboring countries, and hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing the oppression of Arab dictatorships, the UN gave birth to UNRWA, an organization designed to help Palestinian refugees exclusively. This was despite there already being a program for refugees at the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The mandate of UNRWA was for one year. Seventy years later, the organization, now a lavish UN jobs program, continues to function within the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, with an annual budget close to one billion dollars. Part of that covers salaries and pension funds for 25,000 to 27,000 employees (including many members of Hamas); schools in which the descendants of descendants of "refugees", in suburbs or villages called "camps", are inaccurately told that Tel Aviv and Haifa had belonged to them and should be returned to them, and where the myth of an impossible "right of return" continues to hold new generations of Palestinians hostage and inciting hatred of Israel and Jews.

As Said Aburish, one of Yasser Arafat's biographers and a former adviser to Saddam Hussein, told this author:
"In order to conserve UNRWA rations, Palestinians had become accustomed to bury their dead at night, so that no one died in the camps except when it was possible to accuse Israel of it. As a result, the refugee figures have always been distorted, with the passive complicity of UNRWA, as its annual budget depends on the number of souls for which they are responsible."
It is no secret that, in fewer than 70 years, the UN has condemned Israel more often than all the countries of the world combined, including those guilty of slavery, mass executions, genocide -- every human rights abuse imaginable -- to the extent that it has almost became a joke.

It is worth recalling that between 1981 and 1986, when Israel had set up a social program to rehabilitate Arab refugees based in Gaza, the only response from the UN, under pressure from Fatah Chairman Yasser Arafat, was to condemn the Hebrew State for its initiative, concluding each of its resolutions by this distressing order: "Return the refugees to the camps".

There is also no need to go back to 1975, to remember the infamous UN Resolution 3379, "Zionism is a form of Racism," under the Secretary-Generalship of a former Nazi, Kurt Waldheim, a week after Uganda's brutal Idi Amin received a triumphant reception at the UN headquarters.

Under Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, a former Nazi, the United Nations in 1975 passed the infamous Resolution 3379, "Zionism is a form of Racism". (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is enough, however, to refer to the General Assembly of December 21, 2016 to find that Israel, once again, was condemned 20 times while all the tragic events on the planet, massacres in Syria, the North Korean threats, the Crimean crisis and the ill-treatment of women and minorities in both Iran and Saudi Arabia were penalized almost reluctantly by a tiny half dozen resolutions.

The list of the injustices done to the Jewish state by an organization supposed to preserve peace in the world, which De Gaulle scornfully called "le machin", "the thingy," is so long that it would take several volumes of an encyclopedia to expose them.

None, however, has made as much noise or provoked as much rejection on the international scene as that enacted by UNESCO on October 26, 2016, followed by a similar text on April 29, 2017, the very day Israel was celebrating its 69th year of independence.

Submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, this text, ratified by the automatic Arab majority, and benefiting from the abstention of almost all the European countries, including France, offered a new and surprising rewriting of history by denying any connection between Judaism and Jerusalem's Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, described in each paragraph by only their Arab names, the Haram Al Sharif and the Al Buraq wall. The counter-factualness of this resolution, led the new Secretary-General of UNESCO, Antonio Guterres, to contradict it, by a declaration that the Palestinian Authority withdraw it, together with issuing an apology.

Although it may seem outrageous systematically to target the Hebrew state, the UN framework enables it. First, there is the composition of preponderance of anti-democratic members of the United Nations, as well as the challenges posed by the terrorist hammer and the oil anvil.

On the other hand, why should UNESCO, whose prescribed function is precisely the preservation of history and the preservation of peace, participate in a farce whose conclusion, strictly speaking, would be that Jesus chased the merchants of the "Esplanade of the mosques" six centuries before the birth of Islam?

As for the religious context, Jerusalem -- especially the Old City and the Temple Mount -- are sacred places for the three monotheisms. When they were in the possession of Jordan, which had illegally seized them in 1948 until the Israelis liberated them in 1967, all the Jews were driven from the Jordanian-controlled part of the city; their property and belongings taken, and their holy sites desecrated.

In the dissenting opinion of Dr. Yussuf Natshe, in charge of the Waqf, the Muslim organization in charge of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, and Sheikh Omar Awadallah Kiswani, director of the Al Aqsa mosque, these places are not to be shared: "They have belonged to Islam from all eternity, as God and UNESCO have wished." (Remarks collected by the author).

The goal of the Palestinians, supported by the Muslim world, would be to give the name of the Al Aqsa mosque to the whole Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount) so that access to it would definitely be forbidden for any non-Muslims, as are Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

In this case, why did France become an accomplice, by abstaining on the votes of October 26, 2016, and followed by a similar text on April 29, 2017.

It was part of a broader program. The American president at the time, Barack Hussein Obama, had recalibrated the US stance in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. At the heart of Obama's credo, the famous Israeli "settlements" seemed to symbolize only absolute evil, while international terrorism, including Palestinian terror, could, under no circumstances, possibly emanate from the excesses of a religion described as one of love and peace.

This position, rational or not, may also have been considered by many a way of gradually disengaging the United States from a moribund peace process after its umpteenth failure in 2014, under the leadership of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

French President François Hollande's government may well have thought that the vote was a great opportunity to put France back on the front line of international diplomacy by plunging daggers into the knot of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Hence the plan for an international conference convened in Paris (but from which the main stakeholders, Israel and the Palestinians, would be excluded. (One has to wonder what the French would have said if other countries had gathered, without including the French, to discuss the future of Paris.)

Arab policy, as instituted by De Gaulle in 1967 and followed by successive French governments, was not a matter of leaving the Jewish state alive, albeit officially still called Israel. In terms of security, France had to support its conference by appealing to the countries on which it imagined its energy supply depended, disregarding the small fact that the Arabs had to sell the oil rather than drink it.

The new US administration of President Donald J. Trump, however, with US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, rebalanced the American position again, and, by extension, those taken by Europe and France, in a conflict which has for too long been suffering from double standards such as those mentioned above.

Why, indeed, would the Palestinians make the slightest concession, if it were enough for the international community to hand them a state, cost-free, on a platter?

In the opinion of Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist and political analyst:
"The Palestinian Authority is like an opposition party. It is enough for it to criticize and accuse Israel, it has nothing else to do or to prove, to receive all the support and all the money it needs. And while France and Europe offer medals to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under its dictatorship. "
Unfortunately, on April 29, at the UNESCO, France abstained again.

It is now time for France and the European Union to recognize that if they want to keep the glimmer of credibility they still have as participants to any peace process, they should cease demonizing Israel at the same time as they accept all demands, including the use of terrorism, threats of terrorism and payments for terrorism from Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority -- all delivered with the approval of an organization, the UN, which Palestinians have long ago swallowed up.

It is high time that such a toxic organization was defunded. Agencies deemed helpful, such as the World Health Organization, can be funded separately.
Pierre Rehov is a war reporter, documentary filmmaker and novelist. His latest film "Unveiling Jerusalem" directed for the Israel's Channel One television, will soon be available in English-speaking countries.

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Are Islamists Conducting a New Jihad against the West? - William DiPuccio

by William DiPuccio

A cursory reading of Sheikh bin Humaid's essay should forever silence any fantasies regarding traditional Islam's peaceful disposition toward the non-Muslim world.

  • "But, as regards the reward and blessing, there is one deed which is very great in comparison to all the acts of worship and all the good deed­[s] -- and that is Jihad!" — Saudi publisher's prefatory note, Jihad in the Qu'ran and Sunnah by Sheikh 'Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid.
  • The rewards of Paradise are also promised to the observant Muslim, but the highest grades of Paradise, of which there are 100, are reserved only for those who perform jihad.
  • Jihad is, by all appearances, first and foremost an act of religious devotion and only secondarily an act of economic and political rebellion.
About four decades have passed since Sheikh 'Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid (1908-1981), ex-Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, published his lengthy, impassioned, essay on jihad.[1] This essay, still available on the Internet, is the only one that Saudi religious scholars chose to include with the Noble Quran -- a modern, nine volume, English translation of the Quran, which includes ancient commentary.[2]

A cursory reading of Sheikh bin Humaid's essay should forever silence any fantasies regarding traditional Islam's peaceful disposition toward the non-Muslim world.[3] As the Saudi publisher says in his prefatory note:
"But, as regards the reward and blessing, there is one deed which is very great in comparison to all the acts of worship and all the good deed­[s] -- and that is Jihad!"
The publisher continues:
"Never before such an article was seen, describing Jihad in its true colours­ -- so heart evoking and encouraging!... We are publishing this article and recommend every Muslim not only to read it himself but to offer every other Muslim brother within his read."
To be clear, Sheikh bin Humaid defines "jihad" as "holy fighting in Allah's Cause." This is not, in other words, the "lesser jihad," or "spiritual struggle," that some Muslim apologists cite, possibly to obfuscate the primary historical usage of the word. Jihad is war fought with "the heart," "the hand (weapons, etc.)," and "the tongue" (2).

Why Do Muslims Take Up Arms?

According to Sheikh bin Humaid, Allah sent Muhammad to fight against the mushrikun of Mecca -- the "polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad" (2). Muhammad patiently invited the Meccans to Islam for 13 years, warning them of Allah's judgement. But they refused the invitation.

This refusal, by itself, was not the justification for jihad. Allah's mercy was not yet exhausted. Sheikh bin Humaid tells us, in storied detail, that Muhammad and his followers were oppressed and persecuted by the Meccans. They were "imprisoned, made to suffer from hunger and thirst and by being beaten (in a horrible manner)" (3). Moreover, Muhammad himself was physically accosted more than once.[4]

The portrayal of cruelty on the part of the Meccans is enough to evoke sufficient anger in the reader, setting the stage for retaliation and jihad. At first Allah permitted the Muslims to defend themselves, but jihad was not obligatory. Allah can certainly defend the Muslims without fighting, according to the Sheikh, "but Allah wants from His worshippers obedience with all their efforts" (4). Consequently, he calls them to jihad as an act of obedience and devotion, not simply as an act of self-defense. This appears to be the birth of the Islamic doctrine of war.

Who is the Enemy of Islam?

Bin Humaid views jihad as a perpetual war that is to be waged against the world until submission to Islam is secured. The time for patience is over; the time for judgment has come. He cites the famous "verse of the sword":
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled." (Quran 9:29, Sahih International)
Bin Humaid tells us that Allah ordered the Muslims
"to discard (all) the obligations (covenants, etc.) and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Mushrikun as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (a tax levied on the non-Muslims who do not embrace Islam and are under the protection of an Islamic government) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued" (4).
Peace with pagans, Jews, and Christians is not an option as long as they resist Muslim rule. And, as long as the Muslims were capable of fighting, says Sheikh bin Humaid, they "were not permitted to abandon 'the fighting' against them... and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period" (4).

What is the Reward for Jihad?

Muslims, according to the Qur'an, disliked the call to jihad at first, but Allah insisted upon it:
"Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it maybe that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know" (2:216): (5).
Jihad, then, was not a fabrication of Muhammad; it was, we are told, a direct command from Allah himself.

According to Bin Humaid, Muslim resistance to jihad soon turned to a love for the fight. The motivation, in this case, is the reward, which far exceeds the hardships of fighting. These warriors (Mujahidin) "fight against the enemies of Allah in order that the worship should be all for Allah... and that the Word of Allah... should be superior" (5).

This alone, he tells us, should be sufficient compensation for the warrior, but Allah goes farther. "He will forgive your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow and pleasant dwellings in Gardens of Eternity" (6).

Allah, says the Sheikh, also assists the Muslims in their battles against the enemies to give them victory. Although not specifically mentioned in the essay, Muslims find a celebrated example of this divine intervention in Islam's first major conflict, the Battle of Badr. In it, a relatively small army of Muslims defeated the well-equipped Meccan army. This was acclaimed as a certain sign of divine favor.

Sheikh bin Humaid spends several pages (6-10) discussing the superiority of the mujahidin (the warriors) over every other ministry and occupation in Islam, including those who maintain the mosque. The "believers who fight in Allah's Cause (mujahidin) are far superior in grades before Him" (7).

He describes the rewards of Paradise that await them (although he never mentions the fabled virgins). The rewards of Paradise are also promised to observant Muslims, but the highest grades of Paradise, of which there are 100, are reserved only for those who perform jihad (8).

Sheikh bin Humaid places virtually no emphasis on the spoils of war as a reward (see 16). Yet, we know from the many battles chronicled in the hadith, that booty was a major motivation for some of Muhammad's men.[5] Sheikh bin Humaid's idealism seems intended to appeal to the "true believer," and to the purest and most exalted motives to which devout Muslims aspire.

Is Jihad an Act of Worship?

Jihad, according to Sheikh bin Humaid, is spiritual warfare as well as armed conflict. The Quran says (4:76): "Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (Satan etc.)." By battling the friends of Satan, Muslims are, according to him, protecting the weak and rescuing the oppressed from this evil (10). They are fighting to bring mankind "from the darkness into the light," from idolatry to the worship of Allah alone, and "from the injustices of the religions to the justice of Islam" (17).

Jihad, bin Humaid tells us, is also connected deeply to prayer and fasting -- all three of which are ordained by Allah. "All the Muslim religious scholars unanimously agree" that it is superior to non-obligatory prayer, as well as to the Hajj (the required pilgrimage to Mecca) and the Umra (a voluntary pilgrimage to Mecca) (11).

The Prophet Muhammad's lofty aspiration for Jihad is captured in this hadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari (2797). "I would love to be martyred in Allah's Cause, and then come back to life, and then be martyred, and then come back to life again, and then be martyred, and then come back to life again, and then be martyred" (11).

"Anyone", said Muhammad, "whose both feet get covered with dust in Allah's Cause will not be touched by the Hell-fire" (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2811) (16). This quest for martyrdom was echoed by the Fort Hood killer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Two years before he killed 13 people in 2009, he told an audience of his fellow Army doctors, "We love death more than you love life!"[6]

What are the Punishments for Refusing to Participate in Jihad?

If the rewards of jihad are great, then so, it seems, are the punishments for able-bodied Muslim men who refuse to participate, or who withdraw. According to Sheikh bin Humaid:
"Allah (swt) disapproved of those who abandoned Jihad (i.e. they did not go for Jihad) and attributed to them hypocrisy and disease in their hearts, and threatened (all) those who remain behind from Jihad and sit (at home) with horrible punishment" (12).
Punishment, says the Sheikh, is not limited to temporal justice: "whosoever turns his back to the unbelievers on the field of battle...has drawn upon himself the wrath from Allah. And his abode is Hell, worst indeed is that destination!" (Quran 8:16) (16). In the event that the Muslim people "march not forth," and forsake their duty to jihad, Allah has threatened to replace them with another people (12).

The severity of punishment for those who forsake jihad has been graphically demonstrated by ISIS during the last few years. ISIS cruelly executed dozens of their own soldiers who fled the battlefield. News reports indicate that these fighters were either burned alive, gassed, beheaded, or buried alive. [7]

How is Jihad Carried Out?

The call to jihad requires the support of the entire Muslim Ummah or people. It involves the transformation of a religious community into a military machine. Sheikh bin Humaid states:
"And you will not find any organization past or present, religious or non-religious...(ordering) the whole nation to march forth and mobilize all of them into active military service as a single row for Jihad in Allah's Cause so as to make superior the Word of you will find in the Islamic Religion and its teachings" (13).[8]
The jihad must be fought with "true bravery," faith, and utter confidence (of which the author cites numerous historical examples). Allah assisted the prophet and his fighters, "with victory" and "helped them with angels and... cast terror into the hearts of their enemies" (16). Against those who disbelieve, jihadists are instructed to "smite at their necks[9] till you have killed and wounded many of them." If the enemy does not capitulate, captives may be ransomed, or freed without ransom, "according to what benefits Islam" (14).

Mercifully, women, children, and the elderly, should not be killed in battle (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:52, 257) (16). Although this rule of engagement was generally followed by Muslim armies on the battlefield, it does not prevent Muslims from engaging in mass destruction (such as setting fire to habitations, using catapults or bombs) that may entail the death of innocents.[10] Muhammad, moreover, appears not to have spared his personal enemies, regardless of age or sex, according to the historical traditions.[11]

Why did 20th Century Islam Forsake Jihad?

Having set before his readers the high calling of jihad, Sheikh bin Humaid turns his attention to the plight of 20th century Islam. The success of jihad has always depended on the ability of Muslims to maintain a pure faith. This entails the fear of one's own sins, and the fear of disobedience to Allah. Muslims are victorious, despite their small numbers, because, according to bin Humaid, their enemies disobeyed Allah. Should the Muslims fail in this one point, they will be overpowered by their enemies (18).

By Allah's might, bin Humaid continues, the Muslims became "the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind" -- enjoining true monotheism and forbidding polytheism. But today they "are leading a life of the one who knows not any Prophet, nor believes in any Divine Message or Divine Revelation,[12] nor expects any reckoning nor is afraid of the Hereafter." They have, in some ways, he laments, reverted to the pre-Islamic ignorance of Arabian polytheists (19).

In response, Allah has sent them trials through the imposition of Western civilization and Soviet communism (this was written before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991). "So their land," says the Sheikh, "became 'a free wealth' with no protector." Fulfilling Muhammad's prophecy, Allah has removed fear from the hearts of those who hate Islam, while casting a love for this world and a hatred of death into the hearts of Muslims.[13] Allah has covered the Muslims in humiliation for cheating one another, abandoning their nomadic lifestyle to indulge their own comforts,[14] and deserting their call to jihad (19).

Having fallen so far, Muslims, he adds, have added yet another sin to their apostasy: They have asked for help from their enemies, and asked unbelievers to protect them, "begging them; turning towards them, expecting good from them" (19). Sheikh bin Humaid does not link this charge to any specific historical events. He was probably referring to numerous Saudi-American ventures including oil exploration in the 1930s, the permanent establishment of U.S. air bases in Saudi Arabia near the end of the WWII, and the military protection the U.S. has afforded Saudi Arabia since the 1940s.

Despite maintaining an outward appearance of Islamic religion and culture, Muslims, he says, have "become mean, despised before Allah." They have immersed themselves in luxury, the worship of wealth, and a love for this world. They have succumbed to their enemies without so much as raising a hand. They have abandoned Islamic law (sharia) in favor of man-made laws which are in conflict with Allah's judgement (19-20).

There is, in the Sheikh's exhortation, a complete absence of the usual refrains against Western imperialism and economic oppression that we are accustomed to hearing today. With some notable exceptions, Muslims have not suffered economically under Western influence; rather they have thrived, especially those who live in the oil-rich Gulf states. The guilt for abandoning their religion is the result of indulgence rather than want or oppression.

With some notable exceptions, Muslims have not suffered economically under Western influence; rather they have thrived, especially those who live in the oil-rich Gulf states. Pictured above: The skyline of Dubai. (Image by Francois Nel/Getty Images for XCAT)

In his final appeal, Sheikh bin Humaid exclaims that it is "absolutely obligatory" for the Muslim people, and especially for Islamic scholars, to obey Allah, settle their differences, invite Muslims and non-Muslims alike to Islam, "publish its good aspects," and instruct the people in the laws and wisdom of Islam, "as did Muslim nobles of early days." Failure to do so is an invitation to Divine judgement (20-21).

The New Jihad

Since Sheikh bin Humaid penned this essay, evidently between 1974 and 1981, we have seen a resurgence of traditional faith in much of the Muslim world. With that renewal has come, predictably, an increase in violence as Muslims subdue unbelievers and seemingly attempt to purify their own ranks by punishing and killing apostates. Whether Sheikh bin Humaid would have approved of the brutality of ISIS and the use of suicide bombers is open for debate. But we can be certain that he would have lauded the willingness of many Muslims to spread the message of Islam and sacrifice their lives for the cause.

The new jihad is not primarily a reaction to Western economic oppression, as if more wealth in the hands of the many would arrest the problem.[15] To view this in neo-Marxist terms as an economic class struggle would be misleading. Muslim countries, as noted above, have largely prospered under Western influence and some have invited the protection of Western powers.[16] Rather, the new jihad evolves naturally from traditional Islamic doctrine which seeks to emulate Muhammad and his historical successors. Jihad is, by all appearances first and foremost an act of religious devotion, and only secondarily an act of economic and political rebellion.

Whereas Western nations generally seek peace and view it as a corollary to prosperity and the development of a high culture, Muslim traditionalists such as Sheikh bin Humaid believe that jihad is indicative of a vigorous and pure Islamic faith. Peace, according to him, can only be achieved when unbelief is subdued or vanquished from the earth. An Islam at perpetual war with the unbelieving world is the highest aspiration of faith and obedience. By contrast, the peace, prosperity, and culture so prized by the West has corrupted traditional Islam from within, posing a threat to its existence. This, evidently, is why the new call to jihad against the West has become more urgent for Islamists than ever.
William DiPuccio holds a Ph.D. in religious studies and has authored numerous articles and essays on both religion and science. He has also worked and taught in both fields. You can find his blog, Science Et Cetera, at

[1] "Jihad in the Qur'aan and Sunnah". Numbers in parenthesis refer to the page numbers in this online version. In quoting the work I have followed the corrected spelling of the print version which is appended to the Noble Quran, cited below. The English renderings in either case are often awkward.
[2] "The Call to Jihad (Holy Fighting for Allah's Cause) in the Quran," Interpretation of the Meaning of the Noble Quran (Ryadh: Darussalam Publishers, 2000), 9:459-477. This is the official Saudi translation of the Quran and represents the Salafi (sometimes called, Wahhabi) form of Islam. The essay, however, is conspicuously absent from the more popular one-volume version, perhaps to conceal from non-Muslims the violent intentions of traditional Islamic doctrine.
[3] Not all Muslim's follow the traditional teachings, of course, especially those who live in the West. Muslims who insist on following traditional theology and law in all of its details are often referred to as Islamists. Their intent is to bring about submission to Islam worldwide, and implement sharia law in every nation. See "What Do the Terrorists Want? [A Caliphate and Shari'a]" by Daniel Pipes, July 26, 2005.
[4] Most historians believe that the Muslims were, indeed, persecuted at first. However, the extent of the persecution may have been exaggerated in order to justify later violence against the Meccans.
[5] See Muhammad at Medina, by W. Montgomery Watt (Oxford Press, 1956), 145-146.
[6] "We love death more than you love life!," National Post, April 6, 2011.
[7] See,,,
[8] The English translation is very awkward here, and I have omitted some words in an attempt to render it more intelligible.
[9] Decapitation has always been the preferred method of execution among Muslims. The severed heads, especially of important persons, are regarded as the trophies of victory and are often displayed after the battle.
[10] See discussion in, Hedaya, by Shaikh Burhanu 'd-din 'Ali, trans. Charles Hamilton (London: T. Bensley, 1791), 2:145-146 and A Dictionary of Islam, by T.P. Hughes (London: W.H. Allen, 1885), "Jihad."
[11] See examples in The Life of Muhammad, by Ibn Ishaq, trans. A. Guillaume (Oxford University Press, 1955), 665, 676 (women); Life of Muhammad, 551 and Bukhari 52:256 (children); Life of Muhammad, 675 and Bukhari 19:173 (elderly).
[12] The earlier, online version says "Divine Inspiration."
[13] The source is not cited, but it is probably Abu Dawud 4297.
[14] The English text says, "and followed the tails of the cows (i.e. indulged in agriculture and became contented with it)"
[15] See, for example, "State Department spokeswoman claims jobs are key to defeating ISIS," and "Kerry: 'Root Cause of Terrorism' Is Poverty"
[16] Occupation of Muslim lands is often considered an incitement, especially in the dispute over a Palestinian state. But even here, the religious dimensions of the problem (e.g., refusing to recognize any Jewish right to the land, inhibiting Muslims from living under an Islamic government, etc.) shape the political and economic conflict.

William DiPuccio holds a Ph.D. in religious studies and has authored numerous articles and essays on both religion and science. He has also worked and taught in both fields. You can find his blog, Science Et Cetera, at


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Iran continues to develop missile technology despite UN prohibitions - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

The Iranians are using the cover of their space program to perfect ICBMs that could be capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, informed Congress this week that Iran has continued to develop its long-range missile technology despite U.N. resolutions prohibiting the work.

The Iranians are using the cover of their space program to perfect ICBMs that could be capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Washington Free Beacon:
Iran's ballistic missile work, particularly its focus on ICBMs, runs counter to United Nations resolutions barring such activity, though it remains unclear if the Trump administration plans to pursue new sanctions on Iran.
Iran continues to perform key research and development on nuclear missile capabilities despite the landmark nuclear agreement with Western powers, according to the last U.S. intelligence assessments.
"Iran is pursuing capabilities to meet its nuclear energy and technology goals and to give it the capability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so" Coats wrote in his written testimony to the Senate intelligence committee.
U.S. officials are unsure if Iran will build nuclear weapons, but it is likely this intention would dictate Tehran's future adherence to the nuclear deal, which the administration of former President Barack Obama framed in such a way as to leave out the issue of ballistic missiles.
The United States assesses that Iran remains about a year away from a functional nuclear missile if it decides to build one in violation of the nuclear deal.
Iranian military leaders claim their missile work is unrelated to the nuclear agreement and permissible under it. The country's refusal to abandon this work has caused concern on Capitol Hill, as well as among U.S. national security insiders who view the work as related to Iran's aspirations for regional dominance.
The U.S. intelligence community maintains that Iran – which has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East – likely would use this technology to launch a nuclear weapon.
"We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them," according to Coats. "Iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East."
"Tehran's desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)," Coats wrote, referring to Iran's covert missile work. "Progress on Iran's space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies."
Presently, Iranian ICBMs are incapable of carrying a nuclear warhead due to limits in their payload capacity. The "satellites" they are launching into space are tiny and can't be boosted into a high enough Earth orbit to stay aloft for very long.

But the Iranians have been working steadily to improve the range and power of their missiles so that it's only a matter of time before they perfect a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to hit the U.S.

It is unfathomable why the Obama administration would seek to put limits – however inadequate – on the Iranian nuclear program while allowing the Iranians to go full bore in developing their ICBM technology. But little details like that don't matter when you're "making history," as President Obama wanted to do.

Rick Moran


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The Globalist Empire Strikes Back in France - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

The progressive elite breathes a sigh of relief.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Center.

The progressive global elite is breathing a sigh of relief after “centrist” newcomer to electoral politics, Emmanuel Macron, defeated Marine Le Pen to become the next president of France. After the shocks of last year’s Brexit and the election of populist Donald Trump as president, the rejection of populist, nationalist, and anti-EU parties in Austria, the Netherlands, and now the second most important EU country suggests the tide has turned. But the Eurocrats and Europhiles shouldn’t start popping champagne corks yet. Like all of Europe, France’s problems run deep.

Macron is the consummate establishment insider, with the youth, pleasing personality, and “hope and change” rhetoric of Barack Obama, who endorsed him because he represents, as Obama said, “the values that we care so much about.” He is the opposite of the fiery, true political outsider Le Pen, who is nearing 50 and focuses on the gloomy problems of immigration and terrorism, and has hard things to say about the EU and the Euro.

Macron also got lucky when his first-round opponent in the voting, center-conservative François Fillon, was weakened by a nepotism scandal. Macron’s other opponent, radical socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is too unhinged even for a basically socialist electorate. And the long demonization of Le Pen as an anti-Semitic Petainist throwback and an Islamophobic, racist fascist has made her a political pariah despite her basically socialist and redistributionist policies, and her promise to do something about the immigration and terrorism that so many French people find threatening.

Macron had another advantage: he put forth a seemingly reasonable program for curing France’s economic ills, which are critical: government spending at 57% of GDP, the highest in Europe; a retirement age of 62 and a 35-hour workweek; 3,500 pages of employment regulations; an unemployment rate of nearly 10% (double that for those under 25); a GDP growth rate barely over 1%; public debt at nearly 90% of GDP; an income tax rate topping out at 45%; nine million people living below the poverty line; and welfare spending at nearly 32% of GDP. Macron promises to tackle the job and growth-killing policies that have created these dismal numbers, but he’s unlikely to have a parliamentary coalition big enough to get such reforms through. Don’t forget, about a third of the French voters cast a “pox on both your houses” vote, either abstaining or casting a blank or spoiled “white ballot.” This suggests a fragile foundation for Macron’s future government.

And if he tries to follow through on his campaign promises, he will likely meet stiff resistance from critics of “neoliberalism,” the epithet in Europe for free-market capitalism. In March 2006, 2.7 million mostly young French people protested against a minor reform of employment law that would allow entry-level workers to be more easily let go. And that was when the president was Jacques Chirac, a socialist who decried “Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism,” Euro-speak for laissez-faire capitalism. Ten years later, socialist prime minister Manuel Valls faced nationwide riots and protests, some broken up with tear gas, over other employment reforms, which he had to get passed by invoking special powers and bypassing parliament. President Macron and his “neoliberal” reforms are unlikely to be any more successful, given the strength of Mélanchon’s support, the disaffection with Macron of a third of French voters, and the French people’s enduring love for their short work-week and generous subsidies.

And one can question whether Macron’s heart will really be in getting France out of its dirigiste doldrums and fulfill his promise to cut government workers, lower the corporate tax rate, and reform employment laws to make it easier to hire and fire workers. A one-time investment banker and graduate of the two most elite universities in France, the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and the École nationale d’administration (ENA), he spent two years as Socialist François Hollande’s economic advisor. In addition, he’s a big fan of the centralized, top-down rule of the EU and it chronic democracy deficit, demanding sanctions on Hungary and Poland for violating EU “values” on immigration when the two countries defended their borders from the hordes of mostly male economic migrants and jihadists invited in by Angela Merkel. In short, an elite member of the establishment unlikely to be a champion of the free-market, regulatory reforms France desperately needs.

Worse yet, Macron’s position on Muslim immigration and home-grown terrorism is delusional. There has been a string of lethal terrorist attacks in France in the last few years. Three Jewish children slaughtered in Toulouse (2012), 12 dead in the Charlie Hebdo attack, four Jews killed in a Kosher grocery store, 130 killed in the Bataclan theater (2015), 86 people run-down by a truck in Nice, followed by the beheading of a priest (2016), and on the eve of the election the murder of one police officer and the serious wounding of two others. These are just the most spectacular attacks. For years now gangs of Muslim immigrants, many segregated in Muslim “mini-states,” routinely burn thousands of cars, riot and destroy property, and take over public spaces as the police mostly watch. No wonder that almost half of French polled believe more refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism, and in another poll 61% support a ban on Muslim immigration.

Yet Macron’s comments on Muslim immigrants and terrorism reflect the globalist elite’s chronic refusal to talk honestly about Islam and terror. Dr. Guy Millière of the University of Paris, writing for the Gatestone Institute,  has collected a catalogue of Macron’s myopic pronouncements: he claimed the French presence in Algeria was a “crime against humanity,” promised that France would be “open and welcoming” to immigration from the Arab world and North Africa, pledged to facilitate the construction of mosques in France, and said “French culture does not exist.”  And during the debate with Le Pen, he spoke of “social issues” as the key to understanding home-grown jihadist terror. In short, the same EU suicidal, we-are-the-world multiculturalist dogma that has covered the streets of France in blood, and that is undermining the national identities and liberal political orders of countries across Europe.

Macron’s embrace of the EU elite’s same transnational stateless idealism, suicidal multiculturalism, and technocratic arrogance is likely to feed rather than defang the populist parties, and continue to undermine the civilizational foundations of Europe and the national identities of its countries. And they will worsen France’s problems. Demography is not on France’s side, as the number of immigrants is increasing faster than the native-born French. Immigrants are also on average younger. Like other governments across Europe, the French continue to nurse the fantasy that young immigrants will replace the lost workers necessary for paying the taxes that support old-age entitlements. Muslim immigrants, however, are overrepresented in prisons, unemployment statistics, and welfare rolls. They form a large recruiting pool for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda, promising more attacks like those in Paris and Nice.

Finally, the French economy is on track for further dislocations caused by slow growth and high levels of unemployment. The expensive and extensive social welfare benefits will grow costlier, leading to more increases in the national debt and higher growth-killing taxes. Most important, the decline of faith and patriotism leaves many French without the will to defend their way of life against a jihadist foe that knows exactly what he believes is worth killing and dying for.

All these trends point to a coming social cataclysm that will either make the populist and nationalist parties more attractive, or lead to further Islamization that destroys French culture, as imagined in Michele Houellebecq’s dystopian novel Submission, a dark but plausible scenario outlining how France could end up a Muslim nation.

The transnational Western elites celebrating the defeat of the “fascist” and “racist” Marine Le Pen are whistling past the graveyard as they stroll to their rich, white enclaves where the costs of their idealism are never paid. Macron is unlikely to save the French economy, and certainly shows no evidence of understanding the threat of jihadist terror and creeping Islamization. A Wall Street Journal columnist called Le Pen’s welfare-state, anti-globalist economic proscriptions an “illusion,” and praised the “reformist” Macron and supporters because they “don’t peddle dangerous illusions.” But illusions about Islam and unassimilated Muslim immigrants of the sort Macron peddles are much more dangerous and deadly.
Macron is not “turning a new page” in French history, as he claimed in his victory speech. The failed statism and bankrupt internationalist idealism will remain unchanged and unreformed until events, the teacher of fools, forces a change.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Trump Goes On Offense - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

President says he was going to fire Comey no matter what.

President Trump went on the offensive yesterday against critics and conspiracy theorists who have been attacking him over his decision earlier this week to fire long-embattled FBI Director James Comey.

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday without warning, three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term, explaining in a letter that his employment was being terminated based on the recommendation of the Department of Justice. Both Republicans and Democrats have been furious with Comey in recent years because the unelected official inappropriately injected himself and the FBI into political matters.

As the firing of Comey sucked up all the media oxygen in America, Lester Holt of NBC News asked Trump in an interview about a meeting he had Monday with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein who wrote a memo recommending Comey be retired from his post.

“What I did is, I was going to fire Comey, my decision,” Trump said as he was interrupted by Holt. “I was going to fire Comey.”

Rosenstein “made a recommendation,” Trump said. “He’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.”

"He's a showboat, he's grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil," the president said of Comey. "You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that."

Asked if he was "angry with Mr. Comey because of his Russia investigation," Trump replied, "I just want somebody that's competent. I am a big fan of the FBI. I love the FBI."

Trump said he didn’t attempt to strong-arm Comey into dropping the FBI probe of the Trump campaign. "I want to find out if there was a problem in the election having to do with Russia."

"I actually asked him" if I was under investigation, Trump said, explaining that he spoke with Comey once over dinner and twice by telephone. "I said, if it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, 'You are not under investigation.'"

"I know I'm not under investigation," Trump said, adding he supports a probe into possible Russian interference in last year’s election. He said he wants the investigation to be done "absolutely properly" even though there was no "collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians" and “the Russians did not affect the vote."

Leftists and Democrats were outraged, as is their wont.

There would have been outrage no matter when Trump dropped the hammer on Comey. There would have been outrage if Trump kept Comey on as FBI chief. Leftist and Democrat outrage is a constant no matter what.

“The timing of Director Comey's dismissal to me and many committee members on both sides of the aisle is especially troubling," Sen. Mark Warner, (D-Va.) said at the outset of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday.

"He was leading an active counterintelligence investigation into any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or its representatives, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts to interfere in our election," he said.

Warner himself has (or had) investments in Russia. The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2012 that he held “stock in the Russian search engine Yandex worth at least $6.75 million.”

Democrat hypocrisy and duplicitousness about Comey are everywhere.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) put on an impressive show of – depending on your point of view – either compartmentalization or cognitive dissonance during an NBC News interview with Peter Alexander. “I do not necessarily support the president's decision,” she said, but if Hillary Clinton had become president she should have fired Comey in Waters’s view.

Trump tried to put his most adamant critics in their place yesterday by tweeting a video montage showing prominent Democrats expressing their opinions about Comey before he was fired. In the clip, they can be seen denouncing Comey, and in some cases calling on him to resign or be fired. But now that he’s been fired they are defending him because as head of the FBI he might have been useful given that he was convinced Russia acted to help Trump and hurt Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton during the election cycle.

So Democrats were against Comey before they were for him.

According to the video, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Oct. 30, 2016, “I am appalled at what Director Comey did.” Three days later, the New York senator said, “I do not have confidence in him any longer.”

But on Tuesday Schumer was indignant about Comey’s termination. The canning of Comey was part of “a deeply troubling pattern” from the Trump administration. He demanded a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the alleged ties between Trump’s associates and Russia.

In the video, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York urged then-President Obama to terminate Comey’s tenure. “The president ought to fire Comey immediately and he ought to initiate an investigation,” Nadler said Nov. 14, 2016.

But the day Comey was fired, Nadler was enraged:
The firing of FBI Director Comey by President Trump is a terrifying signal of this Administration’s continued abuse of power on so many levels.  The FBI Director was fired for one reason and one reason only – he appears to have been conducting a serious investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection with the Russians. Period. It is clear that the reasons given today for the firing of Director Comey are pretext, they are excuses, they are not true, they are lies. All other justifications offered by this Administration are a smokescreen.
Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said Jan. 13 of Comey: “He should pack his things and go.” “I don’t have confidence in this man to lead the FBI,” he said.

But on Wednesday all was forgiven. Johnson attacked Trump for firing Comey, characterizing it as part of the president’s continuing “assault on our Republic.”

“The abrupt and unwarranted firing of James Comey appears to be another impulsive act; but a deeper view may reveal a cold, calculated and self-serving attempt to derail ongoing investigations.”

Former vice presidential candidate and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said May 5, “I think [Comey’s letter] will go down as probably the lowest moment in the history of the FBI, probably next to the decision of J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King.”

Kaine was apparently referring to the Oct. 28, 2016 letter Comey sent congressional leaders about the email scandal of his running-mate, Hillary Clinton. In it he advised that new emails that “appear to be pertinent to the investigation” about whether Clinton or her staffers had mishandled classified information had surfaced.

After Comey was fired, Kaine said the firing was “outrageous.”

“I think this is a clear attempt by President Trump to thwart and block and undermine the investigation into collusion and ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, transition, and administration.”

Just last week, Clinton blamed Comey for her loss in the November election.

“I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off,” Clinton said.

The email investigation may soon be revisited. Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge said yesterday that a new FBI director may re-open the case. Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the case needs to be “reevaluated” because the wrong legal standard was applied.

The letter Trump sent Comey on Tuesday saying his services were no longer required at the FBI, referenced a Justice Department memo savaging Comey’s conduct of July 5, 2016.

On that day Comey acknowledged evidence was accumulating against then-candidate Hillary Clinton and described it at some length during a press conference. He also acknowledged the former secretary of state probably broke the law when she used hacker-friendly homebrew private email servers to conduct official business.

But after airing Clinton’s dirty laundry, Comey refused to do anything about her misconduct. Comey said Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified documents but there was no evidence of criminal intent. He made this statement even though the relevant national security statute does not actually require intent: mishandling intelligence, even inadvertently, is enough to land people with less pull than Hillary has, in hot water.

The next day then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed no charges would be laid against Hillary. Lynch had met clandestinely with former President Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport a week before.
Meanwhile, Georgetown Law professor Jonathan Turley, an honest leftist, attempted to inject reason into the ongoing witch hunt against Trump over alleged electoral collusion with Russia.

Trump may have created “a major credibility problem” by firing Comey, but with that said, the whole Trump-Russia saga is much ado about nothing.
First of all for many weeks, I've actually questioned the need for a special prosecutor because I'm not too sure what the crime is. No one has yet to explain to me what the core crime that would be investigated with regards to Russian influence. The crimes that have been mentioned are things like failure to disclose items with General [Mike] Flynn and that's hardly something that’s a major crime justifying a special counsel.
I think the way that the White House fired Comey and when more importantly does give greater justification for the appointment of a special counsel. There's a lot of people who were not convinced by what the Deputy Attorney General said were the reasons for Comey's termination.
I criticize many of those folks that are saying this had to be because the investigation's closing in on Trump. I don't see the crime, so I don't see how it's closing in on Trump.

There’s nothing there.

And the more that Democrats put all their eggs in the Russian scandal basket, the harder it will be for Americans to take them seriously after the hysteria subsides.

Matthew Vadum


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