The Arab League, Apple Pie and Indigestion

The Arab League, Apple Pie and Indigestion

By David Singer

Jordan’s King Abdullah is at it again, repeating the mantra of the Arab League, of which Jordan is a foundational member:

“The principal problem in the region is the Palestinian issue and, if it is not solved, it will be impossible to solve other problems.”  [Jerusalem Post 2 March 2007]

Palestine comprised an area of about 120000 square kilometers, which has now been divided into two sovereign States – Israel (22000 square kilometers) and Jordan (92000 square kilometers) – plus an area of 6000 square kilometers called the West Bank and Gaza in which statehood still remains undeclared.
The Arab League has called for full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank and Israel’s acceptance of an independent Arab State there with East Jerusalem as its capital.
This means

(i) the expulsion of some 400000 Jews presently living in the West Bank who have lived there for all or part of the last 40 years.
(ii) the perpetual abandonment by Jews of all claims to reconstitute their national home in the West Bank as conferred on them by the League of Nations and confirmed by the United Nations.
(iii) The severance of the Jews from their biblical heartland where they lived as an independent nation long before any Arabs came to the area as foreign conquerors and occupiers seven centuries after the birth of Jesus.

The Arab League has shown no indication of any readiness to abandon this “all or nothing approach” by agreeing to the Jews retaining and living in a portion of this disputed territory whilst the remainder and its Arab residents becomes part of Jordan, as it was between 1948 and 1967.
A second Arab State in Palestine, which has been propounded for the last 15 years, is as ridiculous as suggesting a second Jewish State in Palestine.
Two peoples need two States not three.
Whilst the Arab League persists with this intransigent attitude there is indeed a problem, but one solely of the Arab League’s choosing.
The Arab League presently is made up of 22 member States covering almost 14 million square kilometers in which almost 320 million Arabs reside.
It is ridiculous and completely false to continually advocate that a dispute over 6000 square kilometers housing 3 million Arabs must first be settled before all the other problems in the region can be resolved.
Yet this is precisely what the Arab League has sold to the Quartet – America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union. – and they have swallowed it hook line and sinker
Besotted by this tale that could have come from the Arabian Nights, the Quartet has thrown billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours in aid and diplomatic maneuvering in trying to solve this problem. They have not gotten the disputants to even move off the starting block.
Meanwhile the Arab League has allowed far more serious bushfires to rage out of control in some of its’ own member States, conflicts that threaten to eventually consume the Arab League itself.
In fact some League members such as Syria are actively helping to fan the fires by providing arms, money and safe transit for terrorists to bring down the governments of other member states where life is anything but pleasant.
The League’s biggest problem involves a non Arab state – Iran – as it seeks leadership of the Islamic world through the supremacy of Shia Islam as the dominant Islamic religion over Sunni Islam , the religion of the majority of the Arabs.
This is the clash of ideologies that must first take place before militant Islam can hope to achieve its aim of making Islam the world’s dominant religion.
Islam can only have one leader not two to achieve this objective. Will that leader be Shia or Sunni?
The Arab League’s failure to prevent Iran interfering in the affairs of Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq has given Iran and the Shiites easy entrée into the Arab World and put the Arab League’s very future existence under serious threat.
The white ants are on the march and the Arab edifice is in danger of total collapse.
Perhaps it is time for the Quartet to tell the Arab League to start solving the problems affecting their own member States such as Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Somalia and Sudan, where the lives of 100 million people are at risk every day and where the sight of Moslem blowing up Moslem and mosque after mosque being bombed is unbelievable
The Quartet should also put the Palestinian question on the backburner and focus their attention, effort and political clout (if any is left) on the real and pressing issues outlined above.
Creating another Arab State on 6000 square kilometers of land when you already have 22 Arab States on 14 million square kilometers of land reminds me of the glutton who was given 99.5% of the apple pie but still was not satisfied and demanded the rest.
He ended up with severe indigestion.
[The writer acknowledges Wikipedia as the source for the statistics appearing in this article]
David Singer is an Australian lawyer and convenor of Jordan is Palestine International, an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor states to the Mandate for Palestine.

Page Printed from: at March 06, 2007 – 11:47:03 AM EST

Warming to Failure

Warming to Failure

By J.R. Dunn

A certifiable paranoiac would have a high old time tracing out the patterns behind the global warming campaign of the past month. The effort has the feel of something long planned, well scripted, and worked out to the final detail. It’s hard to avoid thoughts of conspiracy when contemplating the activities of the Greens.

Not that it’s necessary to believe any such thing. (In analyzing cases like this, I apply Dunn’s First Law: With enough idiots, you don’t need a conspiracy.) It’s part of the natural order — birds flock, insects swarm, and Greens campaign. But the actual point is, whether carefully-hatched scheme, herd instinct, or sheer accident, it’s clear at this juncture that the effort has failed.
Let’s take a closer look at those patterns. First we have the release of the International Panel on Climate Change “report” (still referred to that way throughout the legacy media, despite the fact that the actual report isn’t due out for several months yet). This was followed by weeks of mounting hysteria in every possible media outlet, culminating in Al Gore’s Norma Desmond moment at the Oscars. Then at last, the universal sigh of relief as the climate program telling us exactly what we need to do to save ourselves was presented to the UN by 18 (count ‘em, 18 — all mainstream, too!) scientists.
The big report you never heard about
What’s that? You didn’t catch that last part? Neither did anybody else. (Notice that the link leads to the Voice of America, the only site where I could find a complete report, and not the New York Times or Washington Post) And that’s an odd thing. The entire effort was obviously building up to the revelation of What Must Be Done, to be delivered in tones of thunder to a world agonized to the breaking point. Instead it comes across as the standard piece of useless UN paper – of the type dealing with fisheries policy in the Maldives or primary schooling in Slovakia.
But this particular report went effectively uncovered, unmentioned, and ignored – an awfully strange response to the solution to the most terrifying threat in human history. Clearly, something went wrong. If the campaign had been a success, it would have been covered, all right – as much as the IPCC summary and then some. Al would have been at the UN. So would Hillary, Chuck, and Nancy, more than likely. There would have been speeches, and plenty of them. Parked SUV’s would have been trashed all around Manhattan. Somebody would have pointed out that Turtle Bay would in short order be twenty, or forty, or sixty feet underwater.
None of that happened – the unveiling of the grand solution was a complete washout. (And what was the solution? Umm… carbon taxes and… I forget.) With a failure as abject as this, there’s no simple means of recovery. The entire effort to sell anthropogenic global warming will have to be redone from scratch. Look for another buildup when the actual IPCC report is released sometime this Spring. It’s a good thing they can’t do the Academy Awards all over again.
Three major factors are responsible for the Green’s failure:
                        * The weather

                        * Al Gore

                        * Science
Bad timing: a seasonal obsession
The weather is the key factor, the one that rendered it impossible to push the warming thesis as an accomplished fact. The IPCC report was released during the first days of the worst six weeks of weather in several decades. While the UN, Al, and the media jabbered about how hot it was getting, the rest of the northern hemisphere was digging out of blizzards, enduring colder temperatures than any in recent memory (this was the worst run of continuous low temperatures I have seen personally since the infamous “ice age winter” of 1975), and in some cases simply trying to live through it. Europe was hit by killer blizzards, one of which shut down all of southeastern England. Japan, China, and Korea suffered bone-chilling readings. Cambodia was treated to temperatures of an unthinkable 40 degrees Fahrenheit, prompting the distribution of blankets to the poor. The central and northern U.S. went through weeks of below-freezing temperatures, (two and half weeks here in western PA), with much of the rest of the country enduring less than normal levels. Excessive snow, often reaching blizzard heights, added to everyone’s pleasure. Some are still going fighting their way through it – on March 1, Governor Culver declared all of Iowa a disaster area            after an extra foot of snow fell in one 24-hour period.
The result was a general popular tacit dismissal of “global warming” talk as elitist nonsense, something to occupy the time of people who don’t have to dig out their sidewalks, free their cars, or rescue stranded travelers.
Of course, weather is not climate – but the distinction is irrelevant, as far as public attitudes are concerned. And as has been pointed out here previously, there is a direct correlation to global warming as a scientific proposition. The most plausible warming models predict that the bulk of temperature rises will occur during the winter in high latitudes. After thirty-odd years of uninterrupted warming, we should be seeing some sign of this, and not a return to bitter mid-70s winters. This is a case where the public mind is correct even when it’s wrong.
The possibility of something like this could have been foreseen. February, after all, is the generally the coldest month of the year. Could it be that the IPCC release was arranged by a UN bureaucrat from a tropical country, one not all that familiar with northern weather patterns? Whatever the case, the lesson to draw from this is: don’t put out your global warming material in mid-winter in the Northern Hemisphere industrialized countries.
Al Gore

The second factor is something vaster and more certain than mere weather or climate: Al Gore’s arrogance.
It can’t be said that Al didn’t deserve what he got. The revelation that his Nashville mansion uses more electricity each month than the last twelve Olympics (he must have felt right at home among all those spotlights on Oscar night) has struck his halo of Green rectitude a serious blow. Later revelations that his explanation was bogus may well have shattered it. (He claimed to be making up for all that power usage by purchasing carbon offsets

The problem is that they were being purchased from Generation Investment Management — chairman, Albert Gore, Jr. In other words, Al was paying Al for the privilege of wasting electricity. It’s as if Gandhi had been  photographed inside his ashram wearing spats and a waistcoat and sipping Boodles gin. From now on all the little gestures – riding in the hybrid limo, having the private jet pilot sign the carbon offset certificate, and for all we know, touring the North American continent in a solar-powered blimp – are going to look just the slightest bit hollow.
Gore can’t help this. He was born to make the wrong move at the absolute worst time. Any doubts about that are erased by two even more recent incidents: sneaking his party past security at Nashville airport (“It’s okay, they know me here…”), and, as Iowa was being shut down by the worst blizzards since the retreat of the glaciers, giving his customary warming Jeremiad to a crowd in Oklahoma only a few hundred miles south.
What this means is that the Greens will have to cultivate a new messiah. Gore’s campaign will continue, and media inertia being what it is (don’t you feel sorry for all those people predicting his run for the presidency in ‘08?) he’ll get plenty of coverage. But his effectiveness as a spokesman for the Green cause is nil. Al Gore has once again become what he was after his post-2000 election tantrum — a joke. And while there are second acts in American lives, pushing for a third is really tempting the fates. 
The Science

The final element is science – namely, its lack of respect for anybody’s opinion, even that of its own most mainstream elements. “The debate is over” was supposed to be one of those catchphrases that enters common usage and sweeps all resistance before it, like “Women don’t lie” or “We want change”. But even as the warming campaign was unfolding, we were given a clear demonstration that science never produces final answers. Over the past month, two scientific challenges to the warming thesis were made public, one of them speculative, the other damning.
The speculative aspect is provided by a theory advanced by Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark of the Center for Sun-Climate Research. Svensmark’s theory is complex, but can be summarized easily enough. It is based on the observation that cosmic rays assist in cloud formation by encouraging condensation. A rise in solar activity strengthens the sun’s magnetic field, which shields the inner solar system from cosmic rays. Cloud formation drops slightly but significantly, lowering the earth’s albedo – its reflectivity – resulting in increased temperatures.
Solar activity is currently at all-time high, with the intensity of incoming cosmic rays correspondingly low. Have rising temperatures been a mere coincidence? Svensmark doesn’t think so, and has convinced one of Britain’s premier science writers, Nigel Calder, to collaborate with him on a book, The Chilling Stars, not yet published in the U.S.
The other challenge was embodied in an op-ed by NASA climate scientist Roy W. Spencer in the New York Post. Not your average scientific journal, it’s true, but it’s been along time since this was merely a scientific question. Spencer points out a glaring omission in nearly all climatology dealing with warming: a complete neglect of the phenomenon of precipitation. Spencer explains that  precipitation lowers atmospheric temperature, with effects on the climate in general that remain unknown.  The lack of consideration of precipitation in the global warming model is a gross error, on the level of putting the wrong lenses on the Hubble Telescope or confusing metric and English measurements while constructing the lost Mars probe.
How much is overall temperature lowered by precipitation? We don’t know. Has the level and frequency of precipitation increased? We don’t know that either. Precipitation is probably the least understood element of climate. We don’t even know the total amount of precipitation in the world. A clearer indictment of warming “science” is impossible to make.
Svensmark’s theory remains to be tested, and the data concerning the effects of precipitation need to be collated and analyzed. But their implications cannot be ignored. The fact that two such major elements, one cosmic, one prosaic, have been overlooked undercuts the warming thesis completely. The warming theorist’s obsession with carbon dioxide buildup – only one factor in an infinitely complex system – has blinded them to everything else. They’re in the position of a pack of hounds so intent on the rabbit that they missed the cliff edge right in front of them.      
It’s heartening to see that the Greens, whether technical, political, or media, have retained their basic ineptness. They’re such cookie-cutter true believers that they really can’t grasp how they can go wrong or why anyone wouldn’t listen to them. As a result they begin their push in the middle of winter, choose the current prince of the also-rans as their champion (such individuals, who include figures such as Wendell Wilkie and Hubert Humphrey, can often go on to make serious and valuable contributions. But not this time.), and ignore the fact that science marches on without regard to anybody’s agenda.
The campaign will continue. We’ll be hearing about global warming until the glaciers return, the same way we occasionally still hear a few frightened voices crying about overpopulation, in a world where population collapse is the challenge. The Greens may pass some taxes, get some cosmetic programs pushed through, but the idea of a Green millennium, of some kind of apocalyptic phase-change resulting in a global environmentalist state, is something we can forget about.

They had their shot, and they have blown it. The past few weeks could serve well as a textbook example of how not to influence public opinion. In time (and it can’t be soon enough), global warming will take its place in the museum of folly alongside overpopulation, nuclear winter, and the coming ice age. There aren’t any spotlights there, and they don’t give out prizes either.

To My Fellow Muslims: We Are Our Own Enemies

To My Fellow Muslims: We Are Our Own Enemies
By Khaleel Mohammed
Ottawa Citizen | March 6, 2007

Whenever I criticize some aspects of traditional and contemporary Islam in public, the reactions are boringly uniform. The leaders of national Islamic organizations come out with harsh denunciations of my views, while individuals within the community write to congratulate me. Some do question my motives, advising that my harsh words might add to rampant Islamophobia.My answer is always the same: I do what I do because I see myself, especially in my role as a scholar, as being so commanded by my God, “O you who believe, be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives” (Koran 4:135).

When the Feb. 6 edition of the Citizen put my comments on its front page, the reaction was predictable. It was no less different when in March 2004, at a conference in Montreal, I made the statement that many mosques preach anti-Jewish and anti-Christian rhetoric. I was, the leaders of some Muslim organizations declared, destroying the bridges of rapprochement that had been built between communities. On these occasions I point to translations of the very first chapter of the Koran that have interpolations that preach hatred against Jews and Christians. I can quote exegete after exegete. The truth cannot be overcome.

I write not only as an academic scholar of religion, but also in my role as a father, troubled by the pervasive anti-Jewish, anti-western teachings that I know exist in some mosques. Just a few summers before the Montreal conference, I had re-established contact with one of my sons after a rather acrimonious divorce. I had last seen him when he was but five years old, and now, here he was, 14 years old, trying to show me, his learned dad, that he too could joke the way I do: “How do you kill a Jew, dad? — You throw a quarter on the highway!”

I knew that neither his mother nor stepfather would express these ideas, and I probed further. I learned that his teacher at a licensed private school in Edmonton had given him that piece of wisdom. It is true that this may have been an isolated incident — but my interactions with children at large, and with parents too, indicate a similar Muslim view of the religious other.

Even now, in blogs among my fellow Guyanese, a people who have always been known for their pluralism and liberal “calypso” Islam, the discussion often leads to the condemnation of the religious other. Certainly, in Judaism, Christianity and other religions, there are groups that similarly offend. But at least in those religions, we don’t see an institutional defence of hate.

My statements to the Citizen about the backwardness of my faith community were meant to prod my co-religionists into thinking about themselves and their harsh views of the other. I don’t deny for a minute that as a body of people, Muslims in Canada are among the most sophisticated citizens, the holders of degrees and some of the most demandingly intellectual professions. That, however, does not erase the pervasive religious illiteracy that, like a malignant cancer, threatens to destroy the entire corpus of what was once, and still can remain, a great religion.

Scholar Scott Appleby of Notre Dame describes “religious illiteracy” as the low-level or virtual absence of moral reflection and basic theological knowledge among faith followers that could lead to violence against perceived threats. In Islam, this is particularly applicable.

The evidence is blindingly clear: Throughout the world, Muslim intellectuals are punished for daring to criticize. Muhammad Said al-Ashmawy in Egypt is under house arrest for his own protection; Abdel Karim Soroush is beaten in Iran for daring to raise the voice of inquiry, Mahmoud Taha is killed in Sudan. Scholars Rifat Hassan, Fatima Mernissi, Abdallah an-Na’im, Mohammed Arkoun and Amina Wadud are all vilified by the imams for asking Muslims to use their intellects.

Some claim that trained imams are like priests and rabbis. This is certainly a possibility — and in Bosnia and Turkey, I do know that imams are trained. But the fact is that most imams in Canada are not trained. The fact is, too, that even trained imams base their worldview on medieval constructs of Islamic law that are not only obviously backward, but also downright threatening to national security.

Another point raised in the follow-up coverage to my interview was that an imam might be fired for preaching something wrong. My question is, how is the flock going to know when the imam is wrong? After all, he is the leader, the supposed exegete, the scholar who may have suddenly been imbued with Islamic scholarship by some miracle because he happens to be a medical doctor.

Islamic law was developed largely from the eighth through the 10th centuries, a period when the Muslim polity in the Middle East was at the zenith of its power. In such a situation, the Muslim was the superior to everyone else, and the law was to empower him. Islam was there to rule, not to talk about co-existence in terms of equality.

In the medieval mind the non-Muslim had few rights, and specious argumentation could be used to even further reduce those rights. Contemporary Muslim colleges still use the same texts to function in modern society, hence the backwardness of the average imam, trained or not.

Is this the sophisticated group that — but for the efforts of good people like Tarek Fateh — wanted to have Shariah in Canada? Is this the group that, in Montreal, relegated women to pray in the basement of a mosque? Is this the group that still produces some followers who, when asked “Are you Canadian?” respond, “No, I am a Muslim.”

And herein lies the problem of cultural identity. There is no one Islam. The Guyanese Muslim is different from the Bosnian Muslim who is different from the Pakistani Muslim who is different from the Saudi Muslim etc. To talk about Canadian culture as being inherently un-Islamic is to create an imagined geography that, at least, creates disharmony and, at worst, threatens subversion.

Muslim apologists point out that Arabs are only about 20 per cent of the Muslim world community. That means that — at best — the ratio of people who can read the Koran in its original language is one in every five. And even for those who do speak Arabic, the Koran, from the 10th century onwards, has ceased to speak for itself. Instead, a Muslim scholar will quote the Koran and define his citation by saying, “Tabari explains it thus …” or “Zamakhshari explains it thus …” In both cases of reference, the exegetes are medieval men.

The Koran harshly admonishes against tyranny and oppression. Islam’s holy text uses many Biblical motifs to illustrate its message, among them, the example of Moses and Pharaoh. Sometimes the Guyanese in me comes out when I see the horrible condition of my fellow Muslims, and I want to sing out, “Let my people go!” And then I look around and realize that Pharaoh is one of us — in the form of leaders and pervasive ignorance that have usurped the place of reason.

I say this not as an outsider, but as an observant Muslim, buoyed in my confrontational view by the Koranic advice: “God will not change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (Koran 13:11).”

In such a state of affairs, it would seem that there is a need for jihad — not against outsiders, but against ourselves.

Clarence Thomas: I Hate the Media

 Clarence Thomas: I Hate the Media

Sunday, March 4, 2007 8:54 p.m. EST

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is no fan of the news media.

“One of the reasons I don’t do media interviews is, in the past, the media often has its own script,” he said in an interview with Business Week magazine. “The media, unfortunately, have been universally untrustworthy because they have their own notions of what I should think or I should do.”

Thomas has been particularly upset by stories of how he ended up at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. According to the Los Angeles Times, Thomas says the common wisdom is that he was recruited for the school in 1968 as part of an affirmative action effort.

“That was the creation of the politicians, the people with a lot of mouth and nothing to say, and your industry,” Thomas told Business Week. “Everything becomes affirmative action.”

The real story, Thomas says, is that a nun suggested Holy Cross to him.

“That’s how I wound up there,” he said. “Your industry [the news media] has suggested that we were all recruited. That’s a lie. Really, it’s a lie. I don’t mean a mistake. It’s a lie.

“That thing that has astounded me over the years is that there has been such an effort to roll that class into people’s notion of affirmative action,” he continued. “You hear this junk. It’s just not consistent with what really happened.”

Ann Coulter Fires Back at Critics Over John Edwards ‘Faggot’ Barb

Ann Coulter Fires Back at Critics Over John Edwards ‘Faggot’ Barb

Tuesday , March 06, 2007
Ann Coulter fired back at critics who demanded the conservative columnist apologize for comments she made during a speech in which she referred to Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as a “faggot.”

“‘Faggot isn’t offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays,” Coulter said on “Hannity and Colmes” Monday night. “It’s a schoolyard taunt meaning ‘wuss,’ and unless you’re telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person.”

Coulter came under fire after delivering a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

VIDEO: Ann Coulter Fires Back at Critics

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,'” Coulter said.

The slur caused a firestorm of controversy over the weekend and earned condemnation from both the right and the left. Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean demanded that the “Godless” author apologize for her “hate-filled and bigoted” remarks. The Edwards camp tried to capitalize on the hullabaloo by asking supporters to donate $100,000 in “Coulter Cash” to “show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire.”

Republican presidential hopefuls Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani publicly denounced the remarks.

Coulter called the whole controversy another example of the mainstream media’s “speech totalitarianism” and says she sees no reason to apologize for a joking comment that was taken out of context.

Follow the horserace for the presidency in’s You Decide 2008 Center.

“What I was saying right there was for conservatives to not let the mainstream media describe us as anti gay and oppose Mitt Romney’s policies for being pro-gay,” Coulter said.

Coulter didn’t spare the GOP hopefuls, either.

“Apparently our top three Republican nominees aren’t that smart,” Coulter said. “And by the way, if they’re going to start apologizing for everything I say, they better keep that statement handy cause there’s going to be a lot more in the next year.”


China’s spies ‘very aggressive’ threat to U.S.

China’s spies ‘very aggressive’ threat to U.S.

By Bill Gertz
Published March 6, 2007

China’s intelligence services are among the most aggressive at spying on the United States, followed by Cuban, Russian and Iranian spy agencies, according to the U.S. government’s top counterintelligence coordinator.
    “These services are eating our lunch,” Joel F. Brenner, the new head of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, said in his first interview since being named to the counterspy post in August.
    Mr. Brenner, a former inspector general at the National Security Agency, told The Washington Times that the U.S. remains the No. 1 target of “virtually every significant espionage service on the face of the Earth.”
    China’s intelligence activities have been “very aggressive” at acquiring U.S. advanced technology, often before it is fully developed here. “The technology bleed to China, among others, is a very serious problem,” he said, noting that the FBI is improving its efforts to identify and protect sensitive technology.
    Beijing also succeeded in penetrating, and thus frustrating, U.S. intelligence against China through Katrina Leung, a Los Angeles businesswoman who was a long-time FBI informant secretly loyal to Beijing, Mr. Brenner said.
    Mr. Brenner’s office, known as NCIX, is working on a new presidential strategy for counterintelligence. The goal of the office is to provide strategic direction aimed at bolstering counterintelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and Pentagon counterspy units.
    Another key priority is using counterintelligence techniques, such as turning foreign agents or recruiting supporters, against terrorist groups.
    “Hezbollah or al Qaeda don’t do a terrorist operation without doing an intelligence operation first,” Mr. Brenner said. “They are very thorough and capable in the way they do their advance surveillance and reconnoitering. We’ve got to get better at that aspect of supporting counterterrorism, and that is one of our core missions here in this office.”
    Additionally, the NCIX is pressing counterspies to do more to stop computer-based intelligence-gathering, something he called a growing threat.
    “You can now, from the comfort of your own home or office, exfiltrate information electronically from somebody else’s computer around the world without the expense and risk of trying to grow a spy,” Mr. Brenner said.
    “We’ve got to start addressing that in a big way,” he said. “Network vulnerability is a huge issue, and it’s an issue in the private as well as a public sector.”
    Mr. Brenner also said he is trying to recruit more-capable people to join counterintelligence services.
    “You can’t leave counterintelligence to the fanatics and paranoiacs,” he said. “We really need our best people, and so training and education and supporting national security studies is something we’re paying a lot of attention to.”
    He also plans to speed up damage assessments, or lessons learned, after spy cases and to conduct aggressive follow-up to make sure recommended changes are implemented.
    Currently, the NCIX is conducting a damage assessment of the Leung spy case, examining how Leung secretly spied for China by sexually entrapping two of the FBI’s most senior counterspies, FBI agents James J. Smith and Bill Cleveland.
    The Leung case was a “very serious espionage case,” Mr. Brenner said, a view that contrasts with that of FBI officials who have sought to play down the spy case, saying it was mainly about improper sexual relations between the FBI informant and her handlers. Leung, through her lawyers, has denied spying for China.
    Mr. Brenner said China, however, was in fact running Leung as their agent. “That was an intelligence operation, and it was a very successful intelligence operation,” he said. “It was a classic honey trap” — spy jargon for sexual entrapment.
    Leung was initially charged in 2003 with spying for China, but the charges were dropped and she eventually pleaded guilty in 2005 to minor charges: making false statements and filing a false tax return. Smith also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.
    In addition to China, Cuba’s intelligence services continue to pose a major intelligence threat, as do spies from Russia and Iran, Mr. Brenner said, noting that Cuban intelligence remains a “a very professional service.”
    “They were trained by the KGB, and now they’re training the Venezuelans,” he said.
    Russia’s intelligence service remains “very aggressive” against the United States, and “the Iranians also have a mature and capable service,” he said. All “are running significant operations against us.”
    Overall, the problem of stopping foreign spies is daunting, both due to the number of spies and as a result of problems among U.S. agencies charged with stopping them, namely the FBI, domestically, and the CIA, overseas. Mr. Brenner said he is trying to reform counterintelligence as the mission manager within the office of the director of national intelligence.
    Various counterspy agencies, from the Defense Department to the FBI and CIA, have regarded counterintelligence “as an intramural sport.”
    “We’re trying to turn the [counterintelligence] community into a community in reality as well as in name,” he said.
    “Americans are going to wake up one day and realize that the place in the world we have come to take for granted isn’t ours by some God-given right. We have to defend it,” he said. 

Global warming labeled a ‘scam’

Global warming labeled a ‘scam’

By Al Webb
Published March 6, 2007

LONDON — With a packet of claims that are almost certain to defy conventional wisdom, a television documentary to be aired in Britain this week condemns man-made global warming as a myth that has become “the biggest scam of modern times.”
    The program titled “The Great Global Warming Scandal” and set for screening by TV Channel 4 on Thursday dismisses claims that high levels of greenhouse gases generated by human activity causes climate change. Instead, the program suggests that the sun itself is the real culprit.
    The documentary, directed by filmmaker Martin Durkin, is at odds with scientific opinion as outlined in a United Nations report in February, which blames mankind for global warming.
    In his program, Mr. Durkin rejects the concept of man-made climate change, calling it “a lie … the biggest scam of modern times.”
    The truth, he says, is that global warming “is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians and the media.”
    Channel 4 says that the program features “an impressive roll-call of experts,” including nine professors, who are experts in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, biogeography and paleoclimatology.
    It also says the experts come from prestigious institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Danish National Space Center and universities and other schools in London, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Alabama, Virginia and Winnipeg, Canada.
    “It’s very rare that a film changes history,” says Martin Durkin, “but I think this is a turning point, and in five years the idea that the greenhouse effect is the main reason behind global warming will be seen as total bunk,” he says.
    His program collides sharply with the premise outlined in former Vice President Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which presents a bleak picture of how a buildup in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide affects the global climate, with potentially disastrous consequences.
    “Al Gore might have won an Oscar,” says Mr. Durkin, in a preview of the documentary, “but the film is very misleading, and he has got the relationship between [carbon dioxide] and climate change the wrong way around.”
    One of the filmmaker’s experts, paleontologist professor Ian Clark of the University of Ottawa, says that global warming could be caused by increased activity on the sun, such as massive eruptions, and that ice-core samples from Antarctica show that, in fact, warmer periods in Earth’s history have come about 800 years before rises in carbon dioxide levels.
    Mr. Clark’s findings appear to contradict the work of other scientists, who have used similar ice-core samples to illustrate that raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have accompanied the various global warming periods.
    “The fact is that [carbon dioxide] has no proven link to global temperatures,” says Mr. Durkin. “Solar activity is far more likely to be the culprit.”
    Scientists in the Channel 4 documentary cite what they claim is another discrepancy involving conventional research, saying that most of the recent global warming occurred before 1940, after which temperatures around the world fell for four decades.
    Mr. Durkin’s skeptical specialists view this as a flaw in the official view, because the worldwide economic boom that followed the end of World War II produced more carbon dioxide, and therefore should have meant a rise in global temperatures — something he says did not happen.
    “The Great Global Warming Swindle” also questions an assertion by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, published last month, that it was backed by some 2,500 of the world’s leading scientists.
    Another of Mr. Durkin’s professors, Paul Reiter of Paris’ Pasteur Institute, an expert in malaria, calls the U.N. report a “sham” because, he says, it included the names of scientists — including his own — who disagreed with the report and who resigned from the panel.
    “That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed,” he says. “It’s not true.”
    Mr. Reiter says his name was removed only after he threatened legal action against the panel. The report itself, he adds, was finalized by government appointees.
    Yet another expert in the Durkin documentary, Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, is more circumspect.
    “The [climate] system is too complex to say exactly what the effect of cutting back on [carbon dioxide] production would be or, indeed, of continuing to produce [carbon dioxide].”
    “The greenhouse effect theory worried me from the start,” Mr. Stott says, “because you can’t say that just one factor can have this effect.”
    “At the moment, there is almost a McCarthyism movement in science where the greenhouse effect is like a puritanical religion, and this is dangerous,” he says.

Ahmadinejad’s Gambit

Ahmadinejad’s Gambit
By Robert Spencer | March 6, 2007

After Sunni-Shi’ite tensions have risen in Iraq and elsewhere (including even Dearborn, Michigan) for many months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Sunday. “Iran and Saudi Arabia,” said Ahmadinejad later in a statement, “are two great and powerful Islamic countries and accordingly have numerous mutual obligations and responsibilities in the Islamic world and Middle East.” King Abdullah concurred, saying: “Today, the Islamic world has many enemies who want to sow discord between the two countries, but our two nations are Muslims with a united belief and therefore enjoying good relations.” Relations may not be as good as all that. This meeting was Ahmadinejad’s first state visit to Riyadh, although he did visit Mecca in December 2005 for the infamous Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting at which the protests against the cartoons of Muhammad that ran in a Danish newspaper were planned. Ahmadinejad is following it up with a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, whose terror group is funded by Iran as well as by Saudi individuals.  

It is noteworthy that Mashaal would travel to Tehran after his Mecca summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas notably failed to calm tensions between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah party that constitutes Hamas’ chief rival. It is not the first time that Ahmadinejad has attempted to position himself as the leader of Sunnis as well as Shi’ite Muslims. Last summer, when Israeli armies moved into Lebanon, the President of Iran spoke as if he were already the recognized leader of the worldwide Islamic umma: “If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria,” he warned, “this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response.” Around the same time, he framed his genocidal hostility toward Israel in the same pan-Islamic terms: “The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilise to remove this problem.” And he warned the United States: “The waves of fury of Muslim nations will not be confined within the boundaries of the region, and the people who close their ears to the cries of the Palestinians and blindly support this regime will be responsible for the consequences.” 

As Ahmadinejad has taken upon himself to speak for the Islamic world and Muslim nations, and has pursued his nuclear program so energetically and defiantly, he has made the Saudis increasingly nervous. And with good reason: the Kingdom itself is home to a small but restive Shi’ite minority, and an increasingly confident Shi’ite majority is just north of the Kingdom in Iraq. The more they consider themselves within Ahmadinejad’s orbit, the more likely they will be to regard the Saudis with contempt. Iran/Saudi tensions go back a long way: Saudi Arabia supported Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in 1981, leading the Islamic Republic to call for the overthrow of the House of Saud. Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad’s trip to Riyadh indicates that he is also aware that it is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish anything of significance in the Islamic world without Saudi approval. After all, Saddam’s downfall began when his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 so alarmed the Saudis that, despite their having applauded his war with Iran, they withdrew their support and allowed American troops onto Saudi territory to fight him (thereby enraging Osama bin Laden, who considered that the sacred soil of Arabia had been defiled by infidel troops, in defiance of Muhammad’s dictum that Arabia should be home for Muslims only).  

Had Saddam not crossed the House of Saud, he might still be in power today. It seems that Ahmadinejad is determined not to make the same mistake. He journeyed to Riyadh to receive, if not the blessing of King Abdullah on his adventurism and jockeying for Islamic leadership, then at least a signal from the King that the Saudis would not resist him as long as he doesn’t interfere with their interests. However, at the same time, Iran’s former consul-general in Dubai, Adel Assadinia, charges that Iran has planted sleeper cells in the Gulf states to recruit Shi’ites and to sow civil strife, as well as to attack American interests, if the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran. In that event, reports the Telegraph, “such cells would be instructed to foment long-dormant sectarian grievances and attack the extensive American and European business interests in wealthy states such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Such a scenario would bring chaos to the Gulf, one of the few areas of the Middle East that remains prosperous and has largely pro-Western governments.” 

If Assadinia is telling the truth, Ahmadinejad’s trip to Saudi Arabia may have been his attempt to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. Assadinia says that the agents in the
Gulf states were instructed to “to tell the Europeans that
Iran wanted a good relationship with them, when in fact
Iran was involved in terrorism.” That could well have been the very same gambit Ahmadinejad was playing with King Abdullah, while continuing to work for a Shi’ite renaissance in the Islamic world. For Sunnis, as well as for Europeans, Israelis, and Americans, the results of this and Ahmadinejad’s other gambits could be nothing short of cataclysmic.