Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Leader Denied Entry to Japan

August 27, 2015

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Leader Denied Entry to Japan

Volunteer Karen Hagen of Norway was Detained and Denied Entry into the Country; Sea Shepherd Considers the Refusal to be an Attempt by Japan to Hide the Brutal Slaughter of Dolphins Documented in Taiji by the Cove Guardians

File photo: Cove Guardian volunteer Karen Hagen in Taiji, Japan. Photo: Sea ShepherdFile photo: Cove Guardian volunteer Karen Hagen in Taiji, Japan. Photo: Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd veteran crewmember Karen Hagen of Norway has been denied entry into Japan to document the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales in Taiji as Ground Leader of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Henkaku (Operation Metamorphosis) campaign.



On Thursday, Aug. 27 (Japan time), Hagen was detained by Japanese Immigration upon arrival in Fukuoka, Japan by ferry from Busan, South Korea. After being interrogated for two hours and held for more than six hours, she was refused entry into the country and deported to South Korea. She is currently headed to Melbourne, Australia where she will be volunteering aboard the Sea Shepherd vessel, Steve Irwin. Hagen, a 20-year-old kindergarten teacher and a Sea Shepherd volunteer of two years who arrived in Japan following months in Honduras leading volunteers of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Jairo Sea Turtle Defense Campaign, was set to lead the season’s first international team of Cove Guardian volunteers.

While detained, she was escorted at all times, even into the ladies restroom, by four men in suits, presumably police officers. Hagen’s passport was taken and she was refused a phone call unless she identified the person she was calling and made the call on speaker phone in the presence of a Japanese translator.

Initially, Immigration officials stated that entry was being denied because Hagen had a tourist visa and was not in the country for tourism. Upon being asked why taking photos did not qualify as tourism, officials changed their reason, stating that she did not have a return flight home. When Hagen showed her return ferry ticket, they then stated that last year she wrote that she would be staying in Japan for two weeks but stayed for two and a half months. She then pointed out that she had extended her stay, which is legal, and at that time no further reasons were given as to why she was being denied.

This is not the first time a Sea Shepherd volunteer has been refused entry to Japan; several returning Cove Guardians were detained and sent home upon their arrival to the country last season. In December 2014, then Senior Cove Guardian Campaign Leader Melissa Sehgal was interrogated for nearly nine hours and detained for 24 hours before being escorted onto a flight out of Japan. No reason has been given for the denials, but Japan has claimed that the volunteers arriving with tourist visas are not tourists.

Sea Shepherd believes that these refusals are desperate attempts by Japan to hide the bloodshed that turns the waters of Taiji’s now infamous cove red with the blood of dolphins and pilot whales, and evidence that Japan knows Sea Shepherd has been effective in exposing these atrocities to the world.

“Karen Hagen, like all of our Cove Guardian crew, traveled to Japan to peacefully document and expose the brutal drive hunt in Taiji within the boundaries of Japanese law. Though carried out by a handful of hunters, this massacre of ocean wildlife brings shame to the entire nation of Japan. As Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson, has said, our volunteers are ‘armed’ with the world’s most powerful weapon – the camera,” said Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, David Hance. “The 2015-2016 hunt season marks Sea Shepherd’s sixth consecutive year in Taiji, and our promise to the dolphins remains the same: we will not stop until the slaughter ends. We will have a strong presence at the cove once again – Karen has been denied entry, but that will not stop us. Another ground leader will follow.”

File photo: A bottlenose dolphin struggles in the cove during a violent captive selection. Photo: Sea ShepherdFile photo: A bottlenose dolphin struggles in the cove during a violent captive selection.
Photo: Sea Shepherd
More Sea Shepherd volunteers will soon be arriving in Japan to stand watch along the cove, as Sea Shepherd has done each year since 2010 when Operation Infinite Patience was officially launched, creating a continuous presence of Cove Guardians throughout the hunt season.
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the Taiji slaughter and its inextricable link to the global captive trade that fuels demand for wild-caught dolphins and whales, Sea Shepherd has reimagined its Dolphin Defense Campaign, now named Operation Henkaku, and will have a stronger focus this year on raising crucial awareness of the captive industry’s role in the drive hunt. Sea Shepherd believes the profitable trade of live cetaceans for captivity is the true economic reason behind the hunt, and that the sale of dolphin meat for human consumption alone could not sustain the hunt. Just one trained captive dolphin can be sold by the hunters in Taiji for $250,000 USD. Sea Shepherd has long emphasized that the most effective way that individuals can oppose the slaughter is to stop patronizing aquariums, marine parks, and swim-with-dolphin facilities that hold whales and dolphins captive.

Each year from Sept. until March, entire family units, or pods, of dolphins and small whales at a time are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Banger poles are struck against the side of the hunting boats to create a “wall of sound,” disorienting the sound-sensitive marine mammals and making it nearly impossible for them to escape the drive. Once netted within the shallow waters of the cove, their fate is sealed and the members of these frightened pods will face either imprisonment in captivity or brutal slaughter before the eyes of their families. Killers and trainers work side-by-side to select the “prettiest” dolphins and whales for captivity, those without visible scars. The others are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their backs, just behind the blowhole, to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family members – others may die slowly as they are tethered and dragged to the butcherhouse, where the once living and free cetaceans are butchered and processed into meat. These inhumane killings are a blemish upon Japan, whose government refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these self-aware, beloved and imperiled animals.


Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are the only group on the ground in Taiji daily throughout the six-month hunt season each year, ensuring that no cetacean is captured or slaughtered unseen by the world. “Because we serve as the eyes of the international community at the cove, it is important that we have volunteers on the ground throughout the season. Sea Shepherd is encouraging our supporters around the world to stand with us in Taiji. Those who would like to volunteer to be a Cove Guardian should contact us at groundcrew@seashepherd.org to express their interest,” said Hance. “The dolphins need you now.”


Quebec Law Would Stifle Criticism of Radical Islam


Intelligence services warn France is facing a 9/11-style attack or a missile strike on a passenger jet as the Islamist terror threat grows

Intelligence services warn France is facing a 9/11-style attack or a missile strike on a passenger jet as the Islamist terror threat grows

  • Security forces are preparing for civil unrest after a series of terror attacks
  • France's equivalent of MI5 warns of a possible atrocity on the scale of 9/11 
  • Another source claims passenger jet could be targeted by anti-tank missile
  • The army has made plans to wrest back control of jihadi breeding grounds
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France is braced for a 9/11-style attack or a missile strike on a passenger plane, intelligence sources claimed today.

Security forces and the army are reportedly readying for more violence on a far larger scale after a series of terror attacks in the country.

President François Hollande has also warned of the inevitable threat by Islamist insurgents after a jihadi gunman was thwarted while storming a high-speed train on Friday.
French security security services have warned that France be targeted with a 9/11-style attack or a strike on a passenger jet with a surface-to-air missile (like the one above) after a series of terror attacks in the country
French security security services have warned that France be targeted with a 9/11-style attack or a strike on a passenger jet with a surface-to-air missile (like the one above) after a series of terror attacks in the country

Agents of the DGSI, France's equivalent of MI5, said the country could be targeted by an attack on the scale of the Twin Towers atrocity in 2001.

A source told the Le Canard Enchaîné newspaper that there were fears of 'an upcoming 11 September à la Française where intelligence services are mere spectators'.
Another intelligence source warned a passenger jet could be targeted by a surface-to-air missile.

They told The Daily Telegraph: 'Airlines have been warned of a possible attack on a plane with an anti-tank missile. But pilots are unsure how to take evasive action.'
Suspect: Ayoub El-Khazzani (above), 26, has denied accusations that he was trying to carry out a terrorist attack on Friday. The prosecutor dismissed his robbery story as a 'complete fantasy'
Suspect: Ayoub El-Khazzani (above), 26, has denied accusations that he was trying to carry out a terrorist attack on Friday. The prosecutor dismissed his robbery story as a 'complete fantasy'
Three Americans and British businessmen Chris Norman then stepped in to overpower the attacker (above)
Three Americans and British businessmen Chris Norman then stepped in to overpower the attacker (above)

The army has made plans to wrest back control of districts where there are 'a lot of alienated and angry fourth-generation immigrant kids' and weapons are easily available, the source said.

'The prospect of radicalisation is increasingly likely,' they added. 

'We're dealing with highly-organised networks of militant Islamists embarked on a campaign of violence and determined to intensify it.'

Some of these drug-infested suburbs are near the main Paris airport at Roissy, raising fears a plane could be targeted as it was taking off or landing.  

It is also believed that a number of rocket-propelled grenades and missiles were smuggled into the country after the fall of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.
Heroes: Four train passengers (l-r) British businessman Chris Norman, US student Anthony Sadler, US Airman Spencer Stone and US National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos pose with French President Francoise Hollade after been awarded France's highest honour for bravery for tackling a gunman on a high-speed train
Heroes: Four train passengers (l-r) British businessman Chris Norman, US student Anthony Sadler, US Airman Spencer Stone and US National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos pose with French President Francoise Hollade after been awarded France's highest honour for bravery for tackling a gunman on a high-speed train

France has admitted to sending 'light weapons' to Libyan rebels in 2011 and French media claim heavier weaponry like European-made Milan anti-tank ballistics were also delivered. 

The warnings come after Moroccan gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani was overpowered by three Americans and a British grandfather while trying to launch an attack on an Amsterdam to Paris train last week. 

Earlier this week, it emerged that Khazzani had watched a video of 'Islamic preaching' which encouraged 'violent acts' shortly before he was foiled.

Paris' most senior prosecutor Francois Molins also dismissed Ayoub El-Khazzani claims that he had planned to carry out a robbery after finding some guns and ammunition as a 'complete fantasy'.

The suspected jihadi terrorist was 'well prepared' and carrying 270 rounds of ammunition and a bottle of petrol, the prosecutor said at a news conference. 

Holidaymaking family escape horrifying attack by migrants who launched SEVEN-FOOT metal scaffolding pole at their car as they drove through Calais on their way home to Britain

Holidaymaking family escape horrifying attack by migrants who launched SEVEN-FOOT metal scaffolding pole at their car as they drove through Calais on their way home to Britain

  • EXCLUSIVE: Marius Mihaescu was approaching border at 30mph
  • Travelling with wife and daughter, 4, when 'terrifying' attack took place
  • Giant iron pole smashed through front light and embedded in car's body
  • Construction worker Marius says his family are lucky to be alive and insists someone will die soon if security isn't improved at 'chaotic Calais' 


A family driving back to Britain from their holiday in France were almost killed when migrants launched a seven-foot scaffolding pole into the front of their car as they travelled through Calais at 30mph.

Marius Mihaescu was travelling with his wife Cristina and their four-year-old daughter Sara when their car was targeted as they approached UK Border Patrol on the French side of the Channel.

The heavy iron pole was thrown over a fence directly into their path, smashing through a light and jamming itself in the body of the car.
Marius Mihaescu was travelling with his wife Cristina and their four-year-old daughter Sara when a heavy iron pole was thrown over a fence into the front of their car (pictured)
Marius Mihaescu was travelling with his wife Cristina and their four-year-old daughter Sara when a heavy iron pole was thrown over a fence into the front of their car (pictured)

It was tossed from under the cover of darkness, as the family of three approached the ferry entrance at Calais shortly before 11pm.

Miraculously, all escaped uninjured, with Marius managing to stay in control of the Peugeot. 

However, the construction worker is adamant that had he been a fraction of a second quicker, the huge metal beam would have smashed through the windscreen of his car, killing any number of them.
He reported the incident to French border officials who told him they were surprised as it was 'usually stones' hurtled at cars.

Marius said: 'We were approaching Border Control in complete darkness, driving at about 30mph, when all of a sudden the huge pole came flying over the fence, 
smashing into the front of the car.

'It made a massive bang and got jammed in beside the bonnet.

'I could see it sticking out but was too scared to stop so just kept driving, terrified what would happen next if we stopped.

It was tossed from under the cover of darkness, as the family of three approached the ferry entrance at Calais shortly before 11pm
It was tossed from under the cover of darkness, as the family of three approached the ferry entrance at Calais shortly before 11pm
Construction worker Marius is adamant that had he been a fraction of a second quicker, the huge metal beam would have smashed through the windscreen of his car, killing any number of them
Construction worker Marius is adamant that had he been a fraction of a second quicker, the huge metal beam would have smashed through the windscreen of his car, killing any number of them

'I couldn't believe what had happened. It was horrifying.'

The 43-year-old, who was returning home from holidaying in the south of France, kept driving until he reached the first line of border officials he could find.

They were French, and he explained what had happened.

To his shock, he claims they then told him they were surprised by the incident, as in previous attacks on passing cars the hidden perpetrators would usually only use stones.

'If they know that this kind of thing happens all the time, why is it allowed to continue,' questioned Marius.
To his shock, he claims they then told him they were surprised by the incident, as in previous attacks on passing cars the hidden perpetrators would usually use stones
To his shock, he claims they then told him they were surprised by the incident, as in previous attacks on passing cars the hidden perpetrators would usually use stones
The heavy iron pole was thrown over a fence directly into the path of their moving vehicle, smashing through a light and jamming itself in the body of the car
The heavy iron pole was thrown over a fence directly into the path of their moving vehicle, smashing through a light and jamming itself in the body of the car

US fight against ISIS edges toward $4 billion

US fight against ISIS edges toward $4 billion


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Getty Images
The cost of the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is approaching $4 billion, just over a year after the Pentagon began launching airstrikes against the terror group.

"As of Aug. 15, 2015, the total cost of operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014, is $3.7 billion and the average daily cost is $9.9 million for 373 days of operations,” said Defense spokesman Bill Urban, using the administration's preferred acronym for the group.
The updated figures were posted on Tuesday night.

In mid-July, the U.S. had surpassed the $3 billion mark in the fight against ISIS.

An updated breakdown of the total cost, released by the Pentagon, shows that the daily average cost of operations has increased slightly.

In the first few weeks of the campaign, when the U.S. began launching airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, the average daily cost was $5.6 million.

Since the airstrikes were expanded to Syria in mid-September 2014, the daily average cost of operations has increased to $10.5 million.

Half of the cost has gone toward airstrikes, according to the Pentagon. Just under a quarter of the money has been spent on weapons, with the rest spent on missions involving military carriers and other operations.

The cost of the ISIS fight crossed the $1 billion mark last December and the $2 billion mark in April.

Taliban capture key Helmand district of Musa Qala

Taliban capture key Helmand district of Musa Qala

  • 26 August 2015
  • From the section Asia
An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier prays on the rooftop of the Musa Qala District centre base in Helmand province
Image caption The base at Musa Qala was under the control of Afghan forces before Wednesday's attack
Taliban fighters have seized control of a strategically-important district headquarters in Afghanistan's Helmand province despite American air strikes.

Musa Qala, once a key Nato position, is the second town in northern Helmand to fall to the Taliban in recent weeks.

The group also captured Nawzad after intensifying attacks in the region.

Musa Qala saw some of the fiercest clashes between Western forces and the Taliban following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Three US air strikes on Saturday around Musa Qala reportedly killed up to 40 Taliban fighters but the militants regrouped to push Afghan ground forces back.

District governor Mohamad Sharif said he fled the district on Wednesday morning as the Taliban attacked.

"We left the district early in the morning because the Taliban were attacking from all sides," he told Reuters.

"We had asked for reinforcements for days but none arrived and this was what happened."
In southern Helmand, also on Wednesday, two Nato soldiers were killed when two men in Afghan military uniforms opened fire on a vehicle at a military base.
The nationalities of the victims are not known.

Key strategic position

Musa Qala was once a Taliban stronghold and centre of the country's opium trade, but the defection of a local Taliban commander, Mullah Salaam, helped turn the tide in favour of Western forces.
The town was recaptured in December 2007 after fierce fighting between the Taliban and Nato and Afghan forces and became a vital strategic position.

UK forces led the counter-insurgency operations in Helmand during the protracted conflict with the Taliban and lost more than 400 soldiers there in the process.

Now the Taliban have recaptured the key parts of the province, in the first summer fighting season since foreign troops formally stepped back from combat roles in the country.

Violence has increased sharply across Afghanistan since most foreign forces withdrew in December, leaving only a small contingent of about 12,000 Nato troops to train Afghan forces.


The Taliban have extended their influence in Helmand into isolated towns in the north of the province, where Afghan security forces are vulnerable to attack.


France jihadi’s brother: He’s not terrorist, “We are Muslims. We respect people.”


France jihadi’s brother: He’s not terrorist, “We are Muslims. We respect people.”



Ayoub-El-Khazzani
The Express reported that “a Spanish anti-terrorist official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed El Khazzani had lived in Spain until last year, moved to France then traveled to Syria where he is believed to have trained with ISIS before returning to France.” And he viewed a jihad video shortly before the attack.

So while everyone knows that it’s inconceivable that a Muslim would carry out a terror attack, since they “respect people” and all that, there is good reason to doubt what El Khazzani’s brother says here.
“Suspect no terrorist, kin say,” The Associated Press, August 27, 2015:
PARIS — The Moroccan suspect in a foiled attack on a high-speed train in France is facing terrorism charges over what authorities say was a plan to unleash carnage among hundreds of passengers — but his family defended him Wednesday, saying he was in a desperate situation.
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed Wednesday that Ayoub El-Khazzani was charged overnight. El-Khazzani, 26, was overpowered by at least five passengers, including three Americans and a Briton, after trying to attack the train with a small arsenal. Mark Moogalian, a French-American who tried to seize an assault rifle from him, is hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
El-Khazzani has denied having terrorism plans, saying he stumbled on a bag of weapons and decided to use them to rob passengers.
His older brother, Imran, reached by French radio network RMC, also said the younger man had no links with terrorism.
“I swear to you before God that my brother has nothing to do with a terrorist. We are Muslims. We respect people,” the brother said. “He could have gone crazy. His life was without a doubt difficult. He didn’t have much money.”
His father, Mohamed, said Ayoub’s job in France ended after about a month and a half and he believed his son acted out of a need for money.
“If he had nothing to eat, he doubtless wanted to commit a theft,” his father told BFM television network.
But Paris prosecutor Francois Molins has said Ayoub El-Khazzani watched a jihadist video on his cellphone moments before the attack and that — although he claimed to be homeless — he bought a first-class ticket. Molins said the suspect’s explanations became increasingly incoherent until he stopped speaking altogether to investigators.
Among the terrorism charges he faces are multiple counts of attempted murder, possession of weapons, and conspiracy….




Monty Python to the rescue against Western Islamic scholars

Monty Python to the rescue against Western Islamic scholars


To the rescue 530x399 DID MUHAMMAD REALLY EXIST, OR IS HE A MYTH? Western scholars have taken upon themselves to disprove what 1.5 billion people believe, which is that their prophet was flesh and blood. This is a strange, self-defeating trend in Islamic scholarship, and such odd conclusions have been drawn from this work that the only way to deal with it properly is to bring Monty Python into the discussion.

This new scholarship speculates that Muhammad may have been a myth created by Arabs to give an Arab face to a religion that evolved far away from Western Arabia as an offshoot of Christian sect that rejected the divinity of Jesus. These scholars attempt to put the cart before the horse: Arab followers of this sect conquered wide swathes of territory, then conspired to justify their violent, expansionist practices by creating the character of a warlord founder who communed with the divine and preached the violent imposition of their true religion of God.

This line of inquiry is only made possible by ignoring the vast body of the original literature of Islam, which these scholars happily do in order to make their case. Their arguments are built on loose soil and turn largely on the fact there was little mentioned of Muhammad outside of Islam’s canonical literature for a generation or two after his death; crude period coins that seem to display a mix of Islamic and Christian symbols; that it is a fact that the Koran was compiled and edited after Muhammad’s death and contains oddities that raise the question of insertions of apocryphal material; confusions about the meaning of Koran verses caused by the primitive way Arabic was written in 7th century Arabia compared to the more complete orthography of later times; and other arcane arguments.

These ideas were given space in an article by Steve Chambers published in American Thinker on May 11. Chambers was critical of the recent Muhammad cartoon contest held in Garland, Texas, that was attacked by a couple of Muslim fanatics. This event motivated Chambers to write an article about this new line of Western scholarship in order to promote it as an alternative to confrontational art. In his view, the publicizing of cartoons of Muhammad was a mistake because the violent reaction it brought about was predictable, and it did “nothing substantial to undermine the ideology of radical Islam that plagues the earth.”

Instead, he offered the idea of pairing intellectuals with moderate Muslims and media bigwigs to debate the questions about Muhammad’s historicity in seminars and panel discussions. Jim Lehrer could even be called in to moderate, he suggested. Calling into question the foundations of Islam by questioning if Muhammad ever existed would somehow pull the rug out from under the extremists. As rebels without a cause, they would have to lay down their arms. Islam would settle down into respectable, peaceful patterns like all other religions, and we would live from then on free of terrorists because they would no longer be able to justify their terrorism. How could they if Muhammad never existed?

A Muslim horde hellbent on conquest approaches a castle defended by knights.
A Muslim horde hellbent on conquest approaches a castle defended by knights.

This is where Monty Python comes into the discussion. This team knew how to cut to the heart of the matter with skits that could say it better than an avalanche of books and articles. So what would Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and the other members of the Monte Python crew have to say about this new scholarship and the idea that it could be used to tame Islam? Perhaps they would come up with a skit along the lines of Monte Python and the Holy Grail, something like the following:


It would begin atop the battlements of a castle with worried knights peering into the distance as a Muslim horde prepares for a siege. The occupants of the castle are distressed. Some are even crapping in their pants, but the valiant knights come up with a solution. A group of them prance out of the gate, banging coconut shells together to make it sound like they are actually riding steeds of war.

Banging coconut shells together to imitate the clacking of hooves, a band of knights prance out of the castle toward the enemy lines.
Banging coconut shells together to imitate the clacking of hooves, a band of knights prance out of the castle toward the enemy lines.

They caper up to the enemy line and halt in front of burly cutthroats who are mounted on powerful war horses. Sir Oliver, the leader of the knights, looks up at the barbarians and says, “Dear Sirs, we have come to you with a proposal. From our extensive studies in areas outside of your literature, we have uncovered evidence that the man you hold to be the creator of your religion might actually be a mythical character, and this is something that all of us, knights in shining armor and unwashed Muslim hordes both, should give due consideration to and discuss in a setting that is more conducive to discussion than this. Think about this Dear Sirs: Much of the Koran makes no sense unless you strip the diacritical marks from it the way it is currently written in your language, but if you do so you find that you are reading Syriac, not Arabic. And so you then see that the Koran may have actually been translated into Arabic from another language, which suggests that it was composed outside of your land, and therefore it can be argued the story of Muhammad in Mecca and Medina was created to make it seem like it was of Arab origin.”

Their leader, Sir Oliver, proposes holding panel discussions with the invaders moderated by Sir James Lehrer to debate the latest scholarly evidence that Muhammad never existed.
Their leader, Sir Oliver, proposes holding panel discussions with the invaders moderated by Sir James Lehrer to debate the latest scholarly evidence that Muhammad never existed.

Sir Oliver flashes a winning smile and finishes by saying, “My dear friends, what I propose is that you join us in a forum, in panel discussions, to talk about these highly interesting matters. I am certain we could enlist Sir James Lehrer to serve as moderator. Come, join us in this. We can learn so much from one another.” Grunts come from the horsemen. They glance at one another. When their leader draws his sword, they all draw their swords. It is unlikely Steve Chambers would want to be there, or Gerd Puin, Karl Heinz Ohlig, Christoph Luxenberg and other new trend scholars he mentions in his article.


Aside from the weakness of the scholarly arguments, there are two major problems with this line of academic inquiry. The first is that for it to work it must dismiss the vast body of Islamic literature as collections of contradictory and dubious legends and therefore of little value for establishing the historicity of Muhammad. There is indeed a lot of nonsense that bulks up the original materials, but the literature is like a vast tapestry, and if you step back enough to get a good look, the nonsense and contradictions get absorbed into the background and you can clearly see the picture.

It is not possible to invent someone like Muhammad because along with him you would have to invent the epic cast of cronies and enemies who stand out in the original literature as believable, three-dimensional people. Take Ali, for instance. Do these scholars question Ali’s existence? In the literature, he is the first cousin of Muhammad who grew up in his household, later conquered Persia, and became the fourth successor to the throne of Islam. These scholars would have to deny his existence because if they do not, they have the thorny problem of explaining his sermons, letters, and sayings that were later published in an 800-page book, The Peak of Eloquence, in which he frequently quotes Muhammad or alludes to him. Were these fictions, inventions of a later period?

Debate results are in.  “So I’ll just wait here then?”
Debate results are in. “So I’ll just wait here then?”

They would also have to deny Iran’s history, a history of Ali’s blitzkrieg conquest of Persia in A.D. 644. The Iranians certainly do not doubt his existence.

 
What about Muhammad’s child wife Aisha? According to the literature, he died when she was 18 years old, and she died 46 years later after providing early Muslim interviewers with 2,210 traditions about Muhammad. Was she an invention too? Were the stories she told of her relations with Muhammad and her memories of what he had to say fabrications? If Aisha and Ali are fictions, then a host of characters — friends and enemies of Muhammad — would have to be inventions as well: Umar, Abu Bakr, Uthman, Zubayr, Zayd, Khalid, Abu Sufyan, Hind, Yazid, Muawiya, and hundreds more.

What is remarkable about the foundational literature of Islam are the extraordinary measures the early Islamic scholars took to vet the anecdotes they collected about Muhammad. Bukhari (810-870),
whose collection is considered one of the most reliable, was said to have compiled 300,000 traditions, yet he only certified 7,563 as authentic. These scholars vetted their materials by scrutinizing the chain of people who narrated them, starting with the person who originated the story. Part of their methodology was to rank each of the narrators according to their personal qualities such as reliability of memory, reputation for integrity and piety, and other factors that included their degree of closeness to Muhammad and his companions. Certainly a lot of nonsense filtered through anyway, but it is ludicrous to dismiss this entire body of work as fabrication because of the nonsense or contradictions that can be found in it.

The second problem with this line of inquiry, certainly the more serious, is that it is the equivalent of disarmament in the middle of a war. To turn Muhammad into a myth is to throw away a potent weapon to use against Islam. Islam is at war with everything that is not Islam. It has been at war for the last 1400 years, and it is now gearing up for another phase of violent expansion — now with the aim of global domination. How do people defend themselves against it? Do they turn to someone like Barack Hussein Obama? People have to take up their own defense, and within the original literature of Islam is the perfect weapon: the truth about Muhammad. All people have to do it to grab this powerful weapon and do something with it.

As found in the literature, the image that emerges of Muhammad is grotesque. His is the story of an exceedingly sick and vile man who committed almost every crime imaginable as he forced his cult on people. This is potent stuff, particularly if people who understand the need for defense against Islam get up enough gumption to turn these facts about him — as found in the original literature — into film. Films, from docudramas to full-length feature films, are powerful in their ability to quickly disseminate ideas and influence large numbers of people. That is what it will take for an effective defense against Islam, large numbers of informed people.

It will never be polite conversation and collegial debate about whether or not Muhammad existed that will undermine radical Islam or halt the advance of the religion that enables it. What it will take is the kick in the gut that can come from movies that show this “prophet” send off hitmen to kill his critics, mass murder people who refused to join his religion, and scream “Kill! Kill! Kill!” as he and his followers attack the caravans, towns, villages, and camps of people who rejected him.


This is the ultimate weapon for defense against what Muhammad started, and these scholars want to throw it away.

A word of caution for such intellectuals. You should resist yielding to the temptation to bang coconut shells together and prance up to the enemy with offers to debate if Muhammad ever existed with them. It may be the last temptation you ever yield to.

A version of this article was first published by American Thinker. It may be reproduced in whole or in part provided the following attribution is given: F. W. Burleigh is the author of It’s All About Muhammad, a Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet. He blogs at www.itsallaboutmuhammad.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Iran to Receive Advanced Russian Air Defense by End of 2015

Iran to Receive Advanced Russian Air Defense by End of 2015



Wed, August 26, 2015
The Russian S-300 advanced air defense system
The Russian S-300 advanced air defense system
After long delays due to immense U.S. pressure, Iran will finally be equipped with an advanced "game-changing" Russian air defense system by the end of the year. Some military sources say it makes an aerial attack on Iranian nuclear sites "nearly impossible," raising the possibility of an Israeli strike before the system becomes operational.

I wrote in April that the S-300 system should be considered part of Iran's nuclear program and, therefore, part of any nuclear deal. The Daily Beast warned that it "could make U.S. attacks on Iran nearly impossible." The article quoted anonymous military sources including a senior Air Force commander who said it "essentially makes Iran attack-proof by Israel and almost any country" lacking fifth-generation aircraft.

Russia will ship four S-300 surface-to-air defense systems and the two countries are talking about a deal for advanced fighter jets. The original contract was signed in 2007 and was for five systems, but Russia cancelled the deal in 2010 due to international pressure.

 In April, Russian President Putin announced he would deliver the S-300 to Iran by the end of the year because of the interim nuclear agreement. Russia quieted the outcry with a reassuring statement from the Deputy Prime Minister that he did not believe "that it is a matter of the near future."

Well, it turns out that the statement wasn't a reversal of any kind. It was a word trick because the definition of "near future" is up for interpretation. Russia will in fact deliver the system by the end of the year—and it is a newer version (S-300V4) than the original ones (S-300PMU) that caused the panic.

The S-300V4 has a longer range of 250 miles (400 kilometers). Sputnik News reports that "military specialists estimate that the new system is 1.5-2.3 times more effective in its anti-missile defense capabilities" than the previous version.

The Pentagon is responding softly with spokesperson Peter Cook saying, "We have long expressed our concerns over reports on this possible sale…but this is something we have been tracking and in general, we are confident in our capabilities, even if that system is sold."

Some sources express confidence that the U.S. and Israel have the necessary counter-measures to overcome the S-300 but when it comes down to it, that's only an assumption. And the issue isn't whether the U.S. and Israel can theoretically still attack Iran. All Iran needs to do is make the potential mission so risky and costly that it deters action.

There's no better time for Iran to reach that benchmark than now. Before now, Israel could strike Iran before the S-300 becomes active. By signing the nuclear deal, Iran maximizes the international pressure on Israel not to strike—but if Israel doesn't strike and the S-300 becomes operational, the opportunity may be lost.

Iran now has the best of both worlds: If Israel strikes before the S-300 goes live, then Israel gets the blame for torpedoing the deal and "provoking" Iran into pursuing nuclear weapons. If Israel doesn't strike, then Iran can set up the S-300 and be in a stronger position to develop nukes once it's done reaping the benefits of the deal.

It's a good time to be a theocratic mullah in Tehran.  





Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.