February 28, 2006

Singh Along


From Reuters: India-US nuke deal – its all on President Bush says PM Manmohan Singh.

India plans to list nuclear reactors that generate about 65 percent of atomic power as civilian to help clinch a landmark deal with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.

Singh's comments came days ahead of President George W. Bush's visit to the country during which the two leaders are hoping to close tough negotiations on the controversial deal which aims to help India meet its soaring energy needs. ...

The United States insists a plan to separate India's civilian and military nuclear programs, on which the deal hinges, must be credible and transparent to prevent proliferation.

Singh said India would also not accept international safeguards on its experimental fast-breeder reactor program. Fast breeders use spent fuel from existing reactors to produce plutonium which can be used for both generating power and making bombs.

From Christian Science Monitor: What Bush wants in India.

President Bush and his policymakers like to stress how much 9/11 has changed America's foreign-policy objectives, but one goal the terror attacks did not alter is to build a stronger partnership with the world's largest democracy, India. ...

When Mr. Bush arrives in India Wednesday, he will emphasize that same theme - one he has sounded since he was a governor running for president in 2000. At the top of the agenda are a controversial US-India nuclear-power agreement, proposed last summer when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington; security and economic ties; and India's relations with Pakistan, a country Bush will visit briefly on Saturday. ...

[T]he proposed US-India civilian nuclear deal -- under which the US would share nuclear technology and fuel with India in exchange for India opening its civilian nuclear plants to international inspection -- suggests the kind of tension that is likely to roil the relationship in the future. The Bush administration sees the agreement as a way to reward India for "good nuclear behavior." The deal would also steer a booming economy away from fossil fuels, the White House says.

Robert Tracinski at TIA Daily has been providing excellent coverage of the importance of U.S.-India relations. Yesterday he recommeded the article below because it captures the effect of what he calls "America's import-export trade in the ultimate resource -- that is, the benefits brought to both countries by Indian immigration to the US."

From The New York Times: US-India Warmth Follows Indian-American Successes .

These issues are of intense interest to Americans of Indian origin, who are the country's fastest-growing ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, whose data shows they are far better educated and wealthier than the average U.S. citizen. ...

According to figures compiled from census data by the U.S.-India Political Action Committee, Indian-Americans own 15 percent of Silicon Valley start-up firms, constitute 10 percent to 12 percent of U.S. medical doctors and control about 40 percent of the American hotel sector.

One in 10 Americans of Indian origin are millionaires, while the $60,093 median income of Indian-American families in 2000 was far above the U.S. average of $38,885. They post similarly striking educational statistics.

UPDATE I -- March 1: More on the topic from Robert Tracinski in today's TIA Daily (which I would highly recommend reading daily even if TIA wasn't a client of ours):

The intellectual confusion of the Bush administration's policy toward India's nuclear program is rubbing off on commentators in the press, including the Washington Post's David Ignatius [see "Good Nukes, Bad Nukes"], who defends President Bush's approach, while describing it as contradictory and hypocritical -- but in a good way.

The reason is that Ignatius accepts the same contradiction as Bush. He wants to be able to say that there is a fundamental difference between free nations and dictatorship, that free nations with weapons do not pose a threat, while dictatorships have no right to knives and clubs, much less nuclear weapons.

At the same time, like Bush, Ignatius wants to embrace the whole apparatus of international "non-proliferation" agreements and the whole structure of the United Nations -- all of which is based on moral neutrality between free nations and dictatorships. Rather than identifying these two clashing premises and resolving the contradiction, he rationalizes it as an unavoidable "strategic hypocrisy."

UPDATE II: From FoxNews Bush Arrives in India Seeking Agreement on Nuclear Pact.

President Bush arrived in India on Wednesday as talks on a landmark U.S.-Indian nuclear pact were down to the wire and tens of thousands of Indians rallied across the country to protest his visit.

Protesters in New Delhi chanted "Death to Bush," while Muslims in the southern city of Hyderabad held a mock funeral for the American president.

The nuclear pact is touted as the cornerstone of an emerging strategic partnership between the two countries after nearly a half-century of Cold War estrangement. But negotiators have struggled to settle differences over how to separate India's tightly entwined civilian and military atomic programs.

Posted by Forkum at 04:19 PM

February 27, 2006

Muqtada al-Sadr


From AP: Analysis: Iraq Crisis Propells al-Sadr.

The bombing and bloodshed that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war have propelled anti-American firebrand Muqtada al-Sadr to the forefront of Iraqi politics. The young Shiite cleric who twice defied America in 2004 now has emerged as a major threat to U.S. plans for Iraq.

Al-Sadr had already managed to carve out a strong position in Iraqi politics. His followers won 30 of the 275 parliament seats in the December elections, and his support enabled Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to win the nomination of the Shiite bloc for a second term as prime minister.

But the outbreak of Shiite-Sunni violence presented al-Sadr with an opportunity that he was quick the exploit. An increase in al-Sadr's stature is an ominous development for the United States given his opposition to U.S. influence, his links to radical groups and regimes in the Middle East and his militia that undermines state authority. ...

Just as important, al-Sadr's vision for Iraq is markedly different from that of the United States or the Westernized politicians such as ex-Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that the United States has tacitly supported.

Areas under the control of al-Sadr's militia provide insights into what an Iraq run by the Sadrists may look like. In Basra, al-Sadr's militiamen have reportedly bombed stores suspected of selling liquor or permissive entertainment material, according to residents.

They routinely berate women whose appearance they deem immodest.

More alarming are al-Sadr's links to some of the most radical elements in the Middle East, including the clerical regime in Iran and the hardline government in Syria, both of whom welcomed on visits this month.

On his visit to Syria, al-Sadr praised Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections.

"I hope it is the beginning of an Islamic awakening and that it will be the start ... of Islam's triumph in other Islamic countries," he said.

Some of our past cartoons featuring al-Sadr:
Iran's Proxy War
From Home to Grave
Sensitive War
For al-Sadr?

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

UPDATE -- March 2: Zeyad at Healing Iraq notes that the television network Al-Iraqiya is now referring to al-Sadr as 'His Eminence, Sayyid Muqtada Al-Sadr, may Allah preserve his glory,'.

Posted by Forkum at 08:05 PM

February 26, 2006

Sects and Violence


From FoxNews: Attacks Kill 29 in Iraq as Curfew Lifts.

Violence killed at least 29 people Sunday, including three American soldiers, and mortar fire rumbled through the heart of Baghdad after sundown despite stringent security measures imposed after an explosion of sectarian violence.

A ban on driving in Baghdad and its suburbs helped prevent major attacks during daylight Sunday, but after nightfall explosions thundered through the city as mortar shells slammed into a Shiite quarter in southwestern Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 53, police said. ...

Sunni and Shiite religious leaders have also called for unity and an end to attacks on each other's mosques.

UPDATE -- Feb. 27: From FoxNews: Sunnis Said Ready to End Boycott of Talks.

Sunni Arabs are ready to end their boycott of talks to form a new government if rival Shiites return mosques seized in last week's sectarian attacks and meet other unspecified demands, a top Sunni figure said Monday. ...

Although sectarian violence has receded since the attacks last week, tensions remain high between majority Shiites and the minority Sunnis. Shiites dominate ranks of the government security forces and most of the insurgents are Sunnis.

Posted by Forkum at 04:53 PM

February 23, 2006

Peace, Love & Genocide


Earlier this month after Hamas' election victories, CNN reported: Jimmy Carter: Give Hamas a chance.

Hamas deserves to be recognized by the international community, and despite the group's militant history, there is a chance the soon-to-be Palestinian leaders could turn away from violence, former President Jimmy Carter said ...

With Israel, America and Britain cutting off or threatening to cut off funds to the Palestinian government this week, Carter is defending the people who voted Hamas into power: Don't Punish the Palestinians.

Hamas has a long, bloody history of terrorism against Israelis, and Hamas has stated explicitly that their goal is to destroy Israel, a free Jewish state. From the Hamas charter:

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious... The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised...

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: 'The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him...'

None of this is news to the Palestinians who elected Hamas. And despite now being on the international stage, Hamas has not relented. In the news:

-- A Hamas Web site (see cached version) features an animated graphic of the Star of David being destroyed by a nuclear-like blast;

-- ABC News reported that Hamas would not recognize Israel;

-- And CNN reported that Hamas would not disarm.

[Hamas leader Khaled] indicated the possibility of a Palestinian army in the wake of the historic elections that swept his party into power this week.

At the same time, he stood by the militant group's longstanding refusal to disarm.

This is who Carter would like to "give a chance."

(Most links via Little Green Footballs.)

UPDATE -- Feb. 26: From LGF: The Hamas Big Lie and Hundreds of Millions to Hamas.

Posted by Forkum at 02:27 PM

February 22, 2006

Blood for Oil


This cartoon is originally from May 2003 and is one of over 450 cartoons in our book Black & White World II.

From FoxNews: Saudis join Egypt in support for Hamas.

Saudi Arabia will continue supporting the Palestinian Authority despite the election of a government led by the Islamic militant group Hamas -- because it does not want to punish ordinary Palestinians, the kingdom's foreign minister said Wednesday.

He made the announcement after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is on a tour of the Middle East. She is trying to persuade Arab nations to increase pressure on Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Posted by Forkum at 09:54 PM

February 21, 2006



At Slate.com earlier this month, Christopher Hitchens made some good points in Cartoon Debate: The case for mocking religion. (via Bill Keough on HBL List)

[T]here is a strong case for saying that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and those who have reprinted its efforts out of solidarity, are affirming the right to criticize not merely Islam but religion in general. And the Bush administration has no business at all expressing an opinion on that. If it is to say anything, it is constitutionally obliged to uphold the right and no more. ...

I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species. ...

The question of "offensiveness" is easy to decide. First: Suppose that we all agreed to comport ourselves in order to avoid offending the believers? How could we ever be sure that we had taken enough precautions? On Saturday, I appeared on CNN, which was so terrified of reprisal that it "pixilated" the very cartoons that its viewers needed to see. And this ignoble fear in Atlanta, Ga., arose because of an illustration in a small Scandinavian newspaper of which nobody had ever heard before! Is it not clear, then, that those who are determined to be "offended" will discover a provocation somewhere? We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt.

And here's Hitchens' latest: Stand up for Denmark! Why are we not defending our ally? (via Michelle Malkin)

The silky ones may be more of a problem in the long term than the flagrantly vicious and crazy ones. Within a short while -- this is a warning -- the shady term "Islamophobia" is going to be smuggled through our customs. Anyone accused of it will be politely but firmly instructed to shut up, and to forfeit the constitutional right to criticize religion. By definition, anyone accused in this way will also be implicitly guilty. Thus the "soft" censorship will triumph, not from any merit in its argument, but from its association with the "hard" censorship that we have seen being imposed over the past weeks. A report ($$) in the New York Times of Feb. 13 was as carefully neutral as could be but nonetheless conveyed the sense of menace. "American Muslim leaders," we were told, are more canny. They have "managed to build effective organizations and achieve greater integration, acceptance and economic success than their brethren in Europe have. They portray the cartoons as a part of a wave of global Islamophobia and have encouraged Muslim groups in Europe to use the same term." In other words, they are leveraging worldwide Islamic violence to drop a discreet message into the American discourse.

In the name of parody, we've taken quite a few liberties with other people's cartoons. To give credit where credit is due ... The cartoon above features four of the original Danish Mohammed cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten. The artists are (left to right): Claus Seidel, Rasmus Sand Høyer, Peder Bundgaard, and Kurt Westergaard. For all the Danish Mohammed cartoons, see Mohammed Cartoons.com.

The cartoon pigs are (left to right): Olivia by Ian Falconer, Miss Piggy by Jim Henson, Porky Pig by Bob Clampett (Warner Bros.), and Piglet by A. A. Milne and Disney.

To see where cartoon pigs were targeted by Islamists, see Perils Before Swine.

And here are all of our other cartoons relating to the Cartoon Jihad:

Image Problem
A Right to Blasphemy
Western Dhimmitude
Must-See TV

UPDATE I -- Feb. 22: A strong reaction to this cartoon at Wired Opinion: Save Piglet.

What really elicited a visceral reaction from me, though, was not the cartoonists' point, which has its merits and its failings, but simply the presence of Piglet, a cherished character from my childhood, in a cartoon that contains violent religious fantatics and the inflammatory objects of their outrage.

And in that sense, the cartoon is an artistic success. Though I maintain that [tempered, nonviolent] Muslim umbrage over the Muhammed cartoons is justifiable while outrage over Piglet calendars isn't, the cartoonists, in presenting these images together, powerfully illustrate the point that violent outrage over free expression of any sort is a grave threat to liberal societies. The presence of harmless characters from my childhood make more stark the contrast between cultures of tolerance and cultures of indignant intolerance.

UPDATE II: Thanks to Rodrigo Girão for added details in the credits.

UPDATE III -- Feb. 26: Toonophobia is spreading into new territory. From MEMRI: Film Seminar on Iranian TV: Tom and Jerry - A Jewish Conspiracy to Improve the Image of Mice, because Jews Were Termed "Dirty Mice" in Europe. (via Tim Sumner and LGF).

There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults -- Tom and Jerry. ...

Some say that this creation by Walt Disney will be remembered forever. The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse.

Never mind that Tom and Jerry was the work of animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

UPDATE IV -- Feb. 28: Still more toonophobia; from Khaleej Times: Arab League chief says cartoons part of anti-Islam battle. (via LGF).

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa on Monday considered the Prophet Mohammed’s cartoons as part of a “battle against Islam” rather than a symptom of conflict among civilizations, and urged Arab parliamentarians to put pressure on the United Nations to come up with a “strict” solution to this problem. ...

Speakers during the opening session lashed out at those who stood behind the cartoons and questioned the validity of arguments that they were published under the principle of freedom of expression. ...

Statement of a UN legislation that bans offences to prophets was high on the agenda of the two-day APU meeting.

Posted by Forkum at 07:42 PM

February 20, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Because of the Mohammed cartoons, Muslims demonstrated at the Danish consulate in New York this weekend. One protester's sign included threats against four individuals who had "insulted" Islam, among them Ayaan Hirsi Ali. To see why she has earned "Allah's wrath" and our praise, read the articles below which I am reposting from last week. (Photo via Little Green Footballs)

From Reuters: Dutch MP says necessary to criticise Islam.

A Dutch politician and self-styled Muslim dissident urged Europeans to stand firm on Thursday in an international crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying it was "necessary and urgent" to criticise Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali praised newspapers in many countries which have printed the cartoons, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, but said others had held back for fear of criticising what she called "intolerant aspects of Islam".

"Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law," she told a news conference organised by her publisher during a visit to Berlin.

"It's necessary and it's urgent to criticise Islam. It is urgent to criticise the teachings of Mohammad."

Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and brought up as a Muslim, has received frequent death threats for her criticism of Islam, including in a controversial film called "Submission" for which she wrote the script.

Its director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Dutch-born Islamist militant in 2004, and a note threatening Hirsi Ali was pinned to his chest with a knife.

"Many Muslims are peaceful people; not all are fanatics. As far as I am concerned they have every right to be faithful to their convictions. But within Islam exists a hard-line Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and wants to destroy them," the Dutch liberal member of parliament said.

She heaped shame on editors and politicians who had argued it was insensitive or irresponsible to reproduce the Mohammad cartoons, including one showing him with a bomb in his turban.

From Speigel magazine: 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam'.

SPIEGEL: But Muslims, like any religious community, should also be able to protect themselves against slander and insult.

HIRSI ALI: That's exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

Posted by Forkum at 10:19 PM

February 19, 2006

Port Holes


From FoxNews: Chertoff Defends UAE Port Deal.

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff is defending the Bush administration's review of an international shipping deal two days after one company in the Port of Miami sued to prevent an Arab-owned firm from taking over port operations. ...

Chertoff on Sunday said the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, had carefully reviewed the Dubai Ports World purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which runs commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff told ABC's "This Week." ...

DP World is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, a loose federation of seven emirates on the Saudi Arabian peninsula. The State Department calls the UAE an ally in the War on Terror, but critics note that the Arab nation had ties to the terrorists prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and one terrorist, Marwan al-Shehhi, was born in that country.

Opponents of the deal also argue that the FBI found that the UAE's banking system filtered much of the money used for the operational planning before the Sept. 11 attacks, and many of the hijackers traveled to the United States through the UAE. On top of that, the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.

Michelle Malkin has a round-up of reactions.

UPDATE -- Feb. 22: This controversy continues to brew. Excellent coverage at Michelle Malkin and InstaPundit. I still think the primary issue is that the port deal is with a government-owned company. I'd be concerned if the American government were taking over some non-military enterprise in America much less a government from the Middle East.

Posted by Forkum at 08:52 PM

February 16, 2006



Last week we noted CNN's latest excuse for not showing images of the Danish Mohammed cartoons:

"CNN is not showing the negative caricatures of the likeness of Prophet Mohammed because the network believes its role is to cover the events surrounding the publication of the cartoons while not unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy itself."

Keep in mind, as Michelle Malkin noted, that one or two of the cartoons are not "negative" in any way -- they are simply tame cartoon portraits (see all the of cartoons here). CNN refused to show even these, despite their specific disclaimer about "negative caricatures."

Yesterday, this story ran on CNN with an image: More images of abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Apparently CNN's excuse for the Mohammed cartoons was not a matter of principle. If the new Abu Ghraib photos are newsworthy images relating to a controversial subject, then so are the Mohammed cartoons, if only the cartoons that do not editorialize about Mohammed. Obviously CNN has a double standard at work, one that clearly favors Islamic religious sensibilities, or perhaps fears them.

UPDATE I -- Feb. 17: Blackfive has Abu Ghraib photos of a different kind, and Jawa Report has prisoner abuse photos that aren't being shown in mainstream media.

UPDATE II -- Feb. 18: CNN won't show the Mohammed cartoons, but would they show anti-Semitic cartoons? Gateway Pundit has another example of CNN's Despicable Double Standard.

Posted by Forkum at 04:40 PM

February 15, 2006

Reined In


From CNN: Tech giants-lawmakers debate censorship.

Four U.S. tech giants faced withering questioning at a congressional hearing Wednesday, with lawmakers accusing them of helping China suppress dissent in return for access to a booming Internet market.

Representatives from Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Google Inc. defended themselves before a House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee.

A Google official acknowledged that figuring out China's Internet market "has been a difficult exercise." ...

... Yahoo's Michael Callahan said his company was "very distressed" at having to comply with Chinese law.

Google's Elliot Schrage said his company's decision to censor its Chinese search engine was "not something we did enthusiastically, or something we're proud of at all. ... We have begun a path that we believe will ultimately benefit our users in China."

Republican Rep. Jim Leach suggested that Google had apparently acted "as a functionary of the Chinese government."

"This is astonishing," Leach said.

Lantos, who as a teenager was placed in a Hungarian fascist forced-labor camp, angrily and repeatedly asked whether Yahoo had been in contact with the family of Shi Tao, a journalist critics say Yahoo helped police identify and convict after he criticized human rights abuses in China.

Yahoo's representative eventually said that while Yahoo condemned what happened to Shi, it had not contacted his family.

A New York Times article today indicates that perhaps the tide is turning against censorship in China: Beijing Censors Taken to Task in Party Circles . (via TIA Daily)

A dozen former Communist Party officials and senior scholars, including a onetime secretary to Mao, a party propaganda chief and the retired bosses of some of the country's most powerful newspapers, have denounced the recent closing of a prominent news journal, helping to fuel a growing backlash against censorship.

A public letter issued by the prominent figures, dated Feb. 2 but circulated to journalists in Beijing on Tuesday, appeared to add momentum to a campaign by a few outspoken editors against micromanagement, personnel shuffles and an ever-expanding blacklist of banned topics imposed on China's newspapers, magazines, television stations and Web sites by the party's secretive Propaganda Department.

The letter criticized the department's order on Jan. 24 to shut down Freezing Point, a popular journal of news and opinion, as an example of "malignant management" and an "abuse of power" that violates China's constitutional guarantee of free speech.

The letter did not address Beijing's pressure on Web portals and search engines.

That issue gained attention abroad after Microsoft and Google acknowledged helping the government filter information and Yahoo was accused of providing information from its e-mail accounts that was used to jail dissident writers. The issue will be the subject of Congressional hearings in Washington on Wednesday.

In addition to shutting down Freezing Point, a weekly supplement to China Youth Daily, since late last year, officials responsible for managing the news media have replaced editors of three other publications that developed reputations for breaking news or exploring sensitive political and social issues.

The interventions amounted to the most extensive exertion of press control since President Hu Jintao assumed power three years ago.

But propaganda officials are also facing rare public challenges to their legal authority to take such actions, including a short strike and string of resignations at one newspaper and defiant open letters from two editors elsewhere who had been singled out for censure. Those protests have suggested that some people in China's increasingly market-driven media industry no longer fear the consequences of violating the party line.

The authors of the letter predicted that the country would have difficulty countering the recent surge of social unrest in the countryside unless it allowed the news media more leeway to expose problems that lead to violent protests.

"At the turning point in our history from a totalitarian to a constitutional system, depriving the public of freedom of speech will bring disaster for our social and political transition and give rise to group confrontation and social unrest," the letter said. "Experience has proved that allowing a free flow of ideas can improve stability and alleviate social problems."

Our recent cartoon about Google: A Yen to Censor.

UPDATE I -- Feb. 16: More on censoring internet dissent from Committees of Correspondence.

UPDATE II -- Feb. 17: Gus Van Horn has more: A Chinese Hero.

Posted by Forkum at 04:35 PM

February 14, 2006

Anders Fogh Rasmussen


From The New York Times: Dane Sees Greed and Politics in the Crisis. (via TIA Daily)

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that attempts by European companies in the Middle East to disassociate themselves from Denmark or Danish products were "disgraceful."

At the same time, Mr. Rasmussen tried to shield the Bush administration and some of Denmark's partners in NATO from accusations that they had been tardy and overcautious in coming to Denmark's defense in the crisis, which he attributed more to attempts by Iran and Syria to cause diversions in the Middle East than to a few satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. ...

Mr. Rasmussen did not refer to a particular business organization or country. But his response came in reply to a question referring to attempts in the Arab world by companies associated with Nestlé, the Swiss food giant, and Carrefour, the French retailer, to distance themselves from Denmark. Danish industry estimates it has lost more than $55 million in sales in the Middle East since the furor began a week ago. ...

Mr. Rasmussen reiterated that there would be no Danish apology for the cartoons. He brushed aside any suggestion that Denmark's policies requiring immigrants to accommodate themselves to Danish tradition were at fault, and asserted, "We are on the right track." More broadly, he said, "I see a very clear tendency that other European countries will go in our direction." ...

"Denmark is a liberal country," he said. "We do believe in individual liberty and freedom. People can live according to their own customs. However, I think we have to insist on respecting our core values, including freedom of expression, gender equality for women and men, and a clear distinction between politics and religion."


You can still help to counter the boycott by buying Danish products. A list of products and information available at the Buy Danish Web site.

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

UPDATE -- Feb. 15: Martin Lindeskog is collecting Danish recipes for an upcoming Carnival of the Recipes.

Posted by Forkum at 10:24 PM

February 13, 2006



From Robert Tracinski in today's TIA Daily comes a must-read analysis of the Mohammed cartoon controversy: Publish or Perish: The Lessons of the Cartoon Jihad

The central issue of the "cartoon jihad" -- the Muslim riots and death threats against a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed -- is obvious. The issue is freedom of speech: whether our freedom to think, write, and draw is to be subjugated to the "religious sensitivities" of anyone who threatens us with force.

That is why it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist.

This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship—especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads "Behead those who insult Islam." What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out.

The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can't single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we're all united in defying the fanatics.

That's what it means to show "solidarity" by re-publishing the cartoons. The message we need to send is: if you want to kill anyone who publishes those cartoons, or anyone who makes cartoons of Mohammed, then you're going to have to kill us all. If you make war on one independent mind, you're making war on all of us. And we'll fight back.

Also, the following excellent editorials from the Ayn Rand Institute were added in updates to previous cartoons, but I'm reposting them here: The Twilight of Freedom of Speech by Onkar Ghate; and "Muslim Opinion" Be Damned by Alex Epstein.

(The Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed can be seen at MohammedCartoons.com. Our other related cartoons are: Image Problem, A Right to Blasphemy, Western Dhimmitude, and Must-See TV.)

Posted by Forkum at 05:51 PM

February 12, 2006

Sitting Duck


We have another cartoon in the works about the ongoing Mohammed Cartoon Jihad but couldn't resist taking this quick shot (so to speak).

From FoxNews: Cheney Accidentally Shoots Hunter in Texas.

Late night comedy stars are probably planning a slew of new jokes after news broke Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a hunting buddy.

Harry Whittington, 78, was hunting quail with Cheney on Armstrong Ranch in south Texas when Cheney sprayed his friend with birdshot. Bird shot disperses a spray of small pellets rather than a single larger shotgun round. ...

Roll Call Executive Editor and FOX News contributor Mort Kondracke said since Whittington wasn't hurt badly, it's unlikely much damage would be done to Cheney's reputation as a politician or a hunter. He added that Americans are likely to be deluged with late-night jokes in the coming days.

"This will just play into 'Dick Cheney is a meanie kind of guy, but we didn't know that he shot people too.' That sort of thing, but all fun and games," Kondracke said.

Posted by Forkum at 07:45 PM

February 09, 2006

Must-See TV


This is what we need to see more of from others (via Reuters): Dutch MP says necessary to criticise Islam. (via DhimmiWatch and Tom Pechinski)

A Dutch politician and self-styled Muslim dissident urged Europeans to stand firm on Thursday in an international crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying it was "necessary and urgent" to criticise Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali praised newspapers in many countries which have printed the cartoons, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, but said others had held back for fear of criticising what she called "intolerant aspects of Islam".

"Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law," she told a news conference organised by her publisher during a visit to Berlin.

"It's necessary and it's urgent to criticise Islam. It is urgent to criticise the teachings of Mohammad."

Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and brought up as a Muslim, has received frequent death threats for her criticism of Islam, including in a controversial film called "Submission" for which she wrote the script.

Its director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Dutch-born Islamist militant in 2004, and a note threatening Hirsi Ali was pinned to his chest with a knife.

"Many Muslims are peaceful people; not all are fanatics. As far as I am concerned they have every right to be faithful to their convictions. But within Islam exists a hard-line Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and wants to destroy them," the Dutch liberal member of parliament said.

She heaped shame on editors and politicians who had argued it was insensitive or irresponsible to reproduce the Mohammad cartoons, including one showing him with a bomb in his turban.

Meanwhile, from the Telegraph: 100,000 Muslims to vent anger in London at cartoon protest.

A mass demonstration of 100,000 Muslims will take place in London next weekend as anger continues over publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Muslim Action Committee, an umbrella group which claims to represent more than a million Muslims, said it would do as much as it could to prevent the ugly scenes seen last week when protesters carried placards issuing death threats and one man dressed as a suicide bomber.

But they said they needed to "channel" growing anger felt by communities across Britain that Muslims were being persecuted and made to feel like "second class citizens".

And from Christian Science Monitor: American Muslims Split on Cartoons. (both links via Little Green Footballs)

Muhammed Zahny is upset -- and not about the cold wind that is keeping customers away from his store on Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue.

"If I lose money, I don't care," says Mr. Zahny, who owns "Islamic Fashions." "But if I lose respect, then I have nothing left."

Zahny, originally from Egypt, says the recent republication of Danish newspaper cartoons depicting Muhammad, the messenger of Islam, as a terrorist is a sign of great disrespect for Muslims that's caused him pain. "There is no joke to be made about prophet Muhammad," he says.

But other American Muslims say their fellow adherents are overreacting. "When can we begin a civilized conversation, instead of this undignified and sometimes violent answer to what was quite simply an insult?" a member of the Progressive Muslim Union asked on an online forum.

The two sides illustrate the diversity of American Muslim opinion about the simmering global controversy. But they also dramatize a larger divide within the community about Islam's attitude about free expression. Many of America's estimated 2 to 3 million Muslims are angry, but instead of throwing stones, they are calling for American-style protests, such as boycotts of Danish products like cheese and yogurt.

Still, some fear that the violent demonstrations against the cartoons in Arab and European countries could spread here.

(The Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed can be seen at MohammedCartoons.com. Our other related cartoons are: Image Problem, A Right to Blasphemy and Western Dhimmitude.)

UPDATE I: From the Ayn Rand Institute: "Muslim Opinion" Be Damned by Alex Epstein.

As Muslim groups express outrage and issue death threats over cartoons depicting Mohammad, many Western leaders are responding, not with condemnations of the death threats, but with condemnations of the cartoons--and of the newspapers that published them.

This is the latest example of the apologies and hand-wringing that occur anytime there is any widespread display of Muslim anger. To listen to most of our foreign-policy commentators, the biggest problem facing America today is the fact that many Muslims are mad at us. ...

So-called Muslim opinion is not the unanimous and just consensus that its seekers pretend. It is the irrational and unjust opinion of the world's worst Muslims: Islamists and their legions of "moderate" supporters and sympathizers. These people oppose us not because of any legitimate grievances against America, but because they are steeped in a fundamentalist interpretation of their religion -- one that views America's freedom, prosperity, and pursuit of worldly pleasures as the height of depravity. They do not seek respect for the rights of the individual (Muslim or non-Muslim), they seek a world in which the rights of all are sacrificed to the dictates of Islam.

The proper response to Islamists and their supporters is to identify them as our ideological and political enemies -- and dispense justice accordingly. In the case of our militant enemies, we must kill or demoralize them -- especially those regimes that support terrorism and fuel the Islamist movement; as for the rest, we must politically ignore them and intellectually discredit them, while proudly arguing for the superiority of Americanism. Such a policy would make us safe, expose Islamic anti-Americanism as irrational and immoral, and embolden the better Muslims to support our ideals and emulate our ways.

UPDATE II -- Feb. 12: From the Washtington Post: Curse of the Moderates by Charles Krauthammer. (via TIA Daily)

A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West.

UPDATE III -- Feb. 14: More observations on "moderate Muslims" from Rule of Reason blog: Islam makes 'Freedom of Speech' the new Ground Zero by Ed Cline.

The reader also wondered about the "more secular Muslims living and working in capitalistic Western countries" who "probably fall into a non-fundamentalist category." These are the very same "silent" Muslims who let the killers "misrepresent" their creed. They are silent either from fear of retaliation or because they agree with the killers but are too timid to say it outloud. Their brothers in Paterson, New Jersey and in Brooklyn danced in the streets and passed out candy when the WTC was attacked, celebrating the event with the same gleeful fervor as their brothers in the Arab countries.

If one wanted to witness a grotesque instance of men celebrating the destruction of the good because it is good, the "Arab street" here and abroad provided it on 9/11. One needn't be a fundamentalist to be a mute follower or silent sanctioner.

Posted by Forkum at 05:29 PM

February 08, 2006



From CBS News: Holocaust Cartoon Contest In Iran.

A prominent Iranian newspaper says it is going to hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West will apply the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide against Jews as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. ...

The newspaper said Tuesday the contest would be launched on Feb. 13 and would be co-convened by itself and the House of Caricatures, a Tehran exhibition center for cartoons. Both the paper and the cartoon center are owned by the Tehran Municipality, which is dominated by allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is well known for his opposition to Israel.

Last year Ahmadinejad provoked outcries when he said on separate occasions that Israel should be "wiped out" and the Holocaust was a "myth."

The above cartoon will be our entry into the contest.

Also in the news, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called the Danish cartoon controversy a "Zionist conspiracy" and said that the violence against the Danish embassy in Tehran was "justified and even holy" (see Regime Change Iran).

(The Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed can be seen at MohammedCartoons.com. Our other related cartoons are: Image Problem, A Right to Blasphemy and Western Dhimmitude. We're being flooded with traffic searching for the cartoons, which is why I keep posting this note.)

UPDATE I: Martin Lindeskog has other news about Holocaust denial, including this from the Chicago Tribune: Northwestern University professor backs denial of Holocaust by Iran chief

UPDATE II -- Feb. 9: Here's another entry, by Captain Danger.

Posted by Forkum at 05:35 PM

February 07, 2006

Western Dhimmitude


NOTE: The Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed can be seen at MohammedCartoons.com. Our other related cartoons are: Image Problem and A Right to Blasphemy.

CNN continues to add a caveat to its coverage of the Cartoon Jihad: "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam." You can see the admission at the end of this story: More deaths as anti-cartoon riots spread.

Some on the left appear to be taking a "blame the victims" approach best exemplified by Antonia Zerbisias in Hate behind right-wing blogburst.

In issuing their fatwa on the Muslims who are calling for the heads of people whose mightiest weapon is the pen, the North American pyjamahadeen have gone too far, using the incident as another reason to bash Muslims and sow further divisions between what are already "clashing civilizations."

In other words, let's not go "too far" and openly criticize those who would kill us for exercising our freedom to criticize Islam -- we'll only make it worse! Yeah, right. And let's make western woman wear burqas so they won't provoke rapists. This is not about "bashing Muslims" -- it's about highlighting why we're in a war. Zerbisias seems to have forgotten that thousands of us have already been murdered by Islamic fundamentalists. We're way past "further divisions."

As Glenn Reynolds noted: "You'd expect lefties like Zerbisias to side with people like [Instapundit commenter] McDowell, and [Iraqi Muslim blogger] Zeyad, over a bunch of sexist, homophobic theocrats -- but that would require that they side with America, too. Which is right out." (Michelle Malkin also responded.)

Daniel Pipes has a must-read editorial on the subject: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism.

The key issue at stake in the battle over the twelve Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad is this: Will the West stand up for its customs and mores, including freedom of speech, or will Muslims impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately, there is no compromise: Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.

Pipes rightly notes where America shamefully forfeited the first battles for our freedom to criticize Islam:

In 1989, Salman Rushdie came under a death edict from Ayatollah Khomeini for satirizing Muhammad in his magical-realist novel, The Satanic Verses. Rather than stand up for the novelist's life, President George H.W. Bush equated The Satanic Verses and the death edict, calling both "offensive." The then secretary of state, James A. Baker III, termed the edict merely "regrettable."

Even worse, in 1997 when an Israeli woman distributed a poster of Muhammad as a pig, the American government shamefully abandoned its protection of free speech. On behalf of President Bill Clinton, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called the woman in question "either sick or … evil" and stated that "She deserves to be put on trial for these outrageous attacks on Islam." The State Department endorses a criminal trial for protected speech?

Meanwhile, AP reported yesterday that Danish Companies Hurt by Muslim Boycott.

The boycott of Danish goods called by Islamic countries to protest the publication of Prophet Muhammad caricatures is costing Danish businesses millions of kroner (more than a million euros, dollars) a day, analysts and companies said.


You can still help to counter the boycott by buying Danish products. A list of products and information available at the Buy Danish Web site.

Also yesterday, Jeff Jacoby noted that We are all Danes now.

That anything so mild could trigger a reaction so crazed -- riots, death threats, kidnappings, flag-burnings -- speaks volumes about the chasm that separates the values of the civilized world from those in too much of the Islamic world. Freedom of the press, the marketplace of ideas, the right to skewer sacred cows, the ability to disagree with what you say while firmly defending your right to say it: Militant Islam knows none of this. And if the jihadis get their way, it will be swept aside everywhere by the censorship and intolerance of sharia. ...

Across the continent, nearly two dozen other newspapers have joined in defending that principle. While Islamist clerics proclaim an "international day of anger" or declare that "the war has begun," leading publications in Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have reprinted the Danish cartoons. But there has been no comparable show of backbone in America, where (as of Friday [Feb. 3]) only the New York Sun has had the fortitude to the run some of the drawings.

Malkin notes that a couple of additional U.S. newspapers have since reprinted some of the cartoons.

We added this to an update yesterday, but it deserves reposting. From Speigel magazine: 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam', an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. (via Free Thoughts)

SPIEGEL: But Muslims, like any religious community, should also be able to protect themselves against slander and insult.

HIRSI ALI: That's exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.

For more coverage, check out Small Wars Journal.

UPDATE I: Some anti-dhimmitude in NYC: NY Press Kills Cartoons; Staff Walks Out. (via InstaPundit and Tom Pechinski)

New York Press Editor-in-Chief Harry Siegel emails, on behalf of the editorial staff:

New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group—consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editorJonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

We have no desire to be free speech martyrs, but it would have been nakedly hypocritical to avoid the same cartoons we'd criticized others for not running, cartoons that however absurdly have inspired arson, kidnapping and murder and forced cartoonists in at least two continents to go into hiding.

Our hats are off to them.

And, I forgot to mention earlier that one of three cartoons added to the orginal twelve has been exposed as a fraud. See NeanderNews (who credits "The Celtic Semite" for the lead): Danish Imams Busted!

UPDATE II: Why is it important to publish the Danish cartoons? Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, a bureau chief of the German newsweekly Die Zeit, explains why in The Washington Post: Tolerance Toward Intolerance. (via TIA Daily)

News people make judgments about taste all the time. We do not show sexually explicit pictures or body parts after a terrorist attack. We try to keep racism and anti-Semitism out of the paper. Freedom of the press comes with a responsibility.

But the criteria change when material that is seen as offensive becomes newsworthy. That's why we saw bodies falling out of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. That's why we saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib. On such issues we print what we usually wouldn't. The very nature of the discourse is to find parameters of what is culturally acceptable. How many times have we seen Janet Jackson's breast in the course of a discussion of the limits of family entertainment? How many times have we printed material that Jews might consider offensive in an attempt to define the extent of anti-Semitism? It seems odd that most U.S. papers patronize their readers by withholding cartoons that the whole world talks about. To publish does not mean to endorse. Context matters. ...

In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others. The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe's supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules.

UPDATE III -- Feb. 7:
Editor & Publisher: Publish or Not? Muhammed Cartoons Still Vexing U.S. Editors
Michell Malkin: CNN's New Stupid Excuse and Video: Alan Dershowitz Gets It. Transcript excerpt:

DERSHOWITZ: ..I was informed yesterday that Time magazine was seriously considering publishing the cartoons. That would take an act of courage.

CNN has shown no courage. It claims it won't publish the cartoons because they're offensive. But they have published previous cartoons that are offensive. The fact is, they're frightened. The fact is, that this kind of religious and intellectual terrorism is working. It is persuading journalists who would otherwise cover this story with the cartoons to back away--not on ideological reasons or not for reasons of protecting or preserving integrity or anything of that kind, but out of physical and economic fear. This is economic, physical terrorism directed at journalists and it is working. They have succeeded in the United States. They have failed in parts of Europe, but they have succeeded in the United States.

...When the burning down of embassies and the fear of fatwas and physical and economic retaliation are what determines the policy, it means that the terrorists have won. And the United States and other European countries have a policy: Never give in to terrorism. Well, they're now giving in to terrorism by not publishing these cartoons--not because they're offensive, they publish plenty of offensive cartoons, but because they are frightened and because they lack the courage to confront this kind of terrorist threat.

UPDATE IV: Under the headline "Publish or Perish," TIA Daily's Robert Tracinski recommended a Washington Times editorial by Tony Blankley: Cartoons, but not the funnies. As Tracinski put it: "Blankley explains why it is vital to republish those cartoons, as a form of defiance against the fear and submission demanded by Muslims." Excerpt:

Those who argue for republication of the Danish cartoons are not 'instigating' a clash of civilization. Nor are they pouring gasoline on a fire. Rather, they are defending against the already declared and engaged radical Islamist clash against the Christian, secular, Jewish, Hindu, Chinese world, by expressing solidarity with the firemen. In this case the firemen, perhaps surprisingly to some, are the European press. French socialist newspapers, the BBC, and other major secular European media stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a right-wing Danish newspaper against what they correctly see is an unyielding demand by radical Islam that Europe begin to start living under sharia law. The American media is proud of its alleged tradition of speaking truth to power and reporting without fear or favor.... But in truth, it doesn't take much courage to criticize a president or corporation or Catholic priest or labor-union boss in America.

UPDATE V -- Feb. 9: From the Ayn Rand Institute: The Twilight of Freedom of Speech by Onkar Ghate.

In the face of the intimidation and murder of European authors, film makers and politicians by Islamic militants, a few European newspapers have the courage to defend their freedom of speech: they publish twelve cartoons to test whether it's still possible to criticize Islam. They discover it isn't. Muslims riot, burn embassies, and demand the censorship and death of infidels. The Danish cartoonists go into hiding; if they weren't afraid to speak before, they are now.

How do our leaders respond? Do they declare that an individual's freedom of speech is inviolable, no matter who screams offense at his ideas? No. Do they defend our right to life and pledge to hunt down anyone, anywhere, who abets the murder of a Westerner for having had the effrontery to speak? No--as they did not when the fatwa against Rushdie was issued or his translators were attacked and murdered.

Instead, the U.S. government announces that although free speech is important, the government shares "the offense that Muslims have taken at these images," and even hints that it is disrespectful to publish them.

Why does a Muslim have a moral right to his dogmas, but we don't to our rational principles? Why, when journalists uphold free speech and Muslims respond with death threats, does the State Department single out the journalists for moral censure? Why the vicious double standard? Why admonish the good to mollify evil?

The answer lies in the West's conception of morality.

UPDATE VI -- Feb. 10: From Washtington Times: Cartoon Rage by Diana West. (via Michelle Malkin)

This is the lesson of Cartoon Rage 2006, a cultural nuke set off by an Islamic chain reaction to those 12 cartoons of Muhammad appearing in a Danish newspaper. We have watched the Muslim meltdown with shocked attention, but there is little recognition that its poisonous fallout is fear. Fear in the State Department, which, like Islam, called the cartoons unacceptable. Fear in Whitehall, which did the same. Fear in the Vatican, which did the same. And fear in the media, which have failed, with few, few exceptions, to reprint or show the images. With only a small roll of brave journals, mainly in Europe, to salute, we have seen the proud Western tradition of a free press bow its head and submit to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Posted by Forkum at 04:48 PM

February 06, 2006

Mohamed ElBaradei


From FoxNews: Iran to Nuke Watchdog: Remove Surveillance.

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment by the end of next week, the U.N. watchdog agency said Monday.

Iran's demands came two days after the IAEA reported Tehran to the Security Council over its disputed atomic program. The council has the power to impose economic and political sanctions.

In a confidential report to the IAEA's 35-member board, agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran also announced a sharp reduction in the number and kind of inspections IAEA experts will be allowed, effective immediately.

The report was dated Monday and made available to The Associated Press.

The moves were expected. Iranian officials had repeatedly warned they would stop honoring the so-called "Additional Protocol" to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — an agreement giving IAEA inspectors greater inspecting authority — if the IAEA board referred their country to the Security Council.

Here are some of our past cartoon featuring ElBaradei:
En Garde
Mullah Pet

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.

Posted by Forkum at 11:38 PM

February 05, 2006

A Right to Blasphemy


NOTE: To those coming to this site looking for the Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, you can see them at Human Events (and MohammedCartoons.com). Our own Mohammed cartoon is here: Image Problem.

The above cartoon was partly inspired by this Reuters photo from London (more must-see photos at Michelle Malkin):


The cartoon's title comes from a comment by the German daily Die Welt, which reprinted the Danish cartoons and proclaimed its right to blasphemy.

In the news this weekend:

FoxNews: Violence Spreads Over Muhammad Caricatures

Thousands of Muslims rampaged Sunday in Beirut, setting fire to the Danish Embassy, burning Danish flags and lobbing stones at a Maronite Catholic church as violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad spread from neighboring Syria. ...

Protesters also took to the streets by the thousands elsewhere in the Muslim world, a day after demonstrators in Syria charged security barriers outside the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus and sent the buildings up in flames. ...

Syria blamed Denmark for the protests, criticizing the Scandinavian nation for refusing to apologize for the caricatures of Islam's holiest figure.

"(Denmark's) government was able to avoid reaching this point ... simply through an apology" as requested by Arab and Muslim diplomats, state-run daily Al-Thawra said in an editorial Sunday.

"It is unjustifiable under any kind of personal freedoms to allow a person or a group to insult the beliefs of millions of Muslims," the paper said. ...

In the Afghan city of Mihtarlam, some 3,000 demonstrators burned a Danish flag and demanded that the editors at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten be prosecuted for blasphemy, Gov. Sher Mohammed Safi said.

Reuters: Militant groups in Iraq urge attacks over cartoons

In an Internet statement, the Islamic Army of Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for killing foreign hostages, urged militants to kidnap Danes and "cut them into as many pieces as the number of newspapers that printed the cartoons".

"The Islamic Army in Iraq also declares that all countries whose newspapers printed the insulting and disgraceful pictures are legitimate targets and our response will be ... tremendous."

AFP: Editor arrested in Jordan over prophet cartoons

A Jordanian tabloid editor has been arrested after his newspaper published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, while an investigation was launched into a second weekly newspaper that also printed the cartoons, a judicial source said.

The Jordanian newspapers came under fire after being the only Arab-based publications to reprint the caricatures, which have sparked protests and anger in the Muslim world.

Times Online: Danish cartoonists fear for their lives

TWELVE Danish cartoonists whose pictures sparked such outcry have gone into hiding under round-the-clock protection, fearing for their lives.

The cartoonists, many of whom had reservations about the pictures, have been shocked by how the affair has escalated into a global “clash of civilisations”. They have since tried, unsuccessfully, to stop them being reprinted.

One voice of sanity comes from Ibn Warraq, described by Spiegel magazine as a Muslim dissident: Democracy in a Cartoon (via Jihad Watch)

The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom -- freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize. ...

[Immigrants] should be taught about the centuries of struggle that resulted in the freedoms that they and everyone else for that matter, cherish, enjoy, and avail themselves of; of the individuals and groups who fought for these freedoms and who are despised and forgotten today; the freedoms that the much of the rest of world envies, admires and tries to emulate. When the Chinese students cried and died for democracy in Tiananmen Square (in 1989), they brought with them not representations of Confucius or Buddha but a model of the Statue of Liberty.


Michelle Malkin also has more on the campaign to counter the Muslim nations' boycott of Danish products: DON'T FORGET: BUY DANISH!.

(All emphasis added. Some links found via Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin, both of whom have many related links and updates.)

UPDATE I -- Feb. 6: From Chicago Sun-Times: 'Sensitivity' can have brutal consequences by Mark Steyn.

One day, years from now, as archaeologists sift through the ruins of an ancient civilization for clues to its downfall, they'll marvel at how easy it all was. You don't need to fly jets into skyscrapers and kill thousands of people. As a matter of fact, that's a bad strategy, because even the wimpiest state will feel obliged to respond. But if you frame the issue in terms of multicultural "sensitivity," the wimp state will bend over backward to give you everything you want -- including, eventually, the keys to those skyscrapers.

From Capitalism Magazine: Free Speech vs. Blasphemy by Edward Cline.

The pit felt at the bottom of many stomachs over this new demand of the Muslims is fear: fear of mindless retribution, of death and destruction. It causes those who feel it to shut up in the name of "respect" for Muslim beliefs. This is the true nature of the "respect" of major American news organizations, such as CBS, when it refused to show a single cartoon.

The pit felt at the bottom of other stomachs is resolve, of a determination to stand up now for the freedom to say what one thinks, with the knowledge that if the West capitulates to Muslim demands, it will have surrendered the key freedom that permits the fight for all the other freedoms. Many European newspapers have defied Muslim "sensibilities" and reprinted the cartoons.

And Martin Lindeskog has more links on topic.

UPDATE II: From the Telegraph: 'Cleric calls on Mohammed cartoonist to be executed.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical Muslim cleric, has said the cartoonist behind caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that have sparked outrage across the Arab world should be tried and executed under Islamic law. 

The cleric said Muslims in Britain were not allowed to kill people who insulted Islam because it was against the law of the country.

"We are not saying ourselves to go there and start to look to him and kill him, we are not talking about that. We are talking about Islamic rules. If anybody insults the prophet, he will have to take a punishment."

He said if countries refused to put people on trial for insulting Mohammed they must "face the consequences".

From CNN: Cartoon protests turn deadly.

Tens of thousands of Muslims around the world have staged new rounds of protests -- some resulting in deaths -- over published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. ...

Meanwhile in Paris, France Soir -- a newspaper that published the cartoons of Mohammed -- was evacuated for nearly three hours Monday after receiving a bomb threat.

UPDATE III: From Speigel magazine: 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam', an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. (via Free Thoughts)

SPIEGEL: But Muslims, like any religious community, should also be able to protect themselves against slander and insult.

HIRSI ALI: That's exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.

Posted by Forkum at 04:09 PM

February 02, 2006

Idle Worship


From CNN: 'Critical phase' in Iran standoff.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors ended their first session of talks on whether to delay reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council amid threats by the Islamic state that it would start enriching uranium if its nuclear activities were sent to the council.

"There is a disagreement among board members whether to report the Iranian issue now to the Security Council or at a later stage," IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday.

If the board agrees to the delay, it could help bolster the opportunity for negotiations to get Iran to halt its nuclear activities.

ElBaradei said all of the members agree that the Security Council should not take any action, namely impose any sanctions against Iran, until he presents his report on Iran's nuclear program to the board in March.

UPDATE I -- Feb. 3: From Reuters: IAEA delays vote to report Iran to UN Security Council.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog put off until Saturday a vote to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over concerns it is seeking atomic bombs, as European Union powers lobbied developing nations to back the measure.

Diplomats said a clear majority on the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board favored notifying the council on Iran but the EU held up the vote to try to hammer out a broad consensus with developing states without abstentions.

The delay arose from developing countries' attempts since Thursday to soften an EU-initiated resolution to report Iran after the Islamic Republic threatened to curb U.N. inspections of its atomic sites if sent to the Security Council.

UPDATE II -- Feb. 4: From FoxNews: Iran Promises Retaliation for Referral to U.N. Security Council.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog on Saturday reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council in a resolution expressing concern Tehran's nuclear program may not be "exclusively for peaceful purposes." Iran said it would retaliate immediately.

The landmark decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board sets the stage for future action by the top U.N. body, which has the authority to impose economic and political sanctions.

Still, any such moves were weeks if not months away. Two permanent council members, Russia and China, agreed to referral only on condition the council take no action before March.

Posted by Forkum at 05:52 PM

February 01, 2006

The Greenspan Standard


From the International Herald Tribune: As Greenspan leaves Fed, uncertainties loom for Bernanke.

Stepping down after 18 years as steward of the U.S. economy, Alan Greenspan left his successor a wide berth to set his own policy but also some major uncertainties about the future.

This is a cover illustration we recently created for The Intellectual Activist magazine. Here are some excerpts from the cover story by Robert Tracinski:

For two decades, Greenspan has reigned over the financial markets like the inscrutable god from some arcane Eastern religion, with his oracular pronouncements about "overheating" and "irrational exuberance" serving as portents to gauge the prospects for the next season's financial weather. ...

Under "the Greenspan standard," [in contrast to the gold standard Greenspan once advocated], what backs the value of money? What backs it is Alan Greenspan himself -- that is, the personal effort and abilities of a single man, whose talent at immersing himself in reams of economic statistics has been our primary safeguard against inflation for almost two decades. ...

A New York Times article summed up Greenspan's legacy with the headline, "The Doctrine Was Not to Have One." There is name for the doctrine of eschewing all doctrines: it is the philosophy of Pragmatism. This is the unofficial state religion in our nation's capital, and it is what seems to have replaced Ayn Rand's influence in Greenspan's later years. Ultimately, he accepted the premise that the economy must be managed by a governmental despot -- and set out simply to ensure that it was managed by a competent, benevolent despot.

Posted by Forkum at 09:45 PM