IT PRIDES itself on being the beating liberal heart of Europe, but the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh has convinced many in the Netherlands that the nation’s legendary tolerance has now reached its limit.
Van Gogh’s execution last Tuesday, which has been linked to Islamic extremists, has brought calls for a crackdown on fundamentalists and renegade preachers that would previously have been unthinkable.
Once liberal commentators now want Muslim hardliners to be thrown out of the country, even if they have Dutch passports, and greater surveillance of the wider Islamic community.
The leading liberal Amsterdam broadsheet, The Telegraaf, has led the charge with a hard-hitting editorial that would never previously have been published.
A New York lawyer facing charges of supporting terrorism told a federal jury that she viewed violence as essential to dismantling institutions that perpetuate "sexism and racism."later:
As a federal prosecutor questioned her statements and support for a "people's revolution," Lynne Stewart, 65, testified that her lifelong philosophy included fighting "entrenched ferocious capitalism that is in this country today."
"I believe that entrenched institutions will not be changed except by violence," Stewart said. "I believe in the politics that lead to violence being exerted by people on their own behalf to effectuate change."
Stewart cited the American Revolution and the struggle to end slavery as such examples but emphasized that she did not support terrorism, saying, "I do not believe in civilian deaths or wanton massacres."
Federal prosecutors presented Stewart's statements in an effort to show that Stewart sought to aid a militant group. If convicted, she could face a 40-year sentence.
The case centers on her role in delivering a communique from her client, blind cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him in 1995 of seditious conspiracy in a plot to blow up New York bridges, tunnels and landmarks.
That communication, expressing the sheik's disapproval of a cease-fire between the Islamic Group and the Egyptian government, is at the heart of the government's case.
At times, Stewart sparred with Dember over terminology. She took issue with his suggestion that by signing an agreement to the prison rules she had agreed with their intent. She said she viewed it as necessary to gaining access to her client. When Dember showed the jury a copy of the agreement specifying restrictions over mail, she said she understood the term to mean envelopes delivered by the Postal Service.Lock these two lovebirds up together and throw away the key.
Dember asked Stewart to explain her motivation for continuing to visit Rahman in a Minnesota prison after he had exhausted his appeals.
"I think that our legal system reacts differently to people who are paid attention to," she said. "I think the worst thing is the way it treats people who are nobody."
ZDF Editor-in-Chief Brender (ZDF is one of the two German public tv channels):Us Americans, what have we done to you? Uh... for one thing, you're not Nazis anymore. Sorry about the brusqueness...
The groaning about the outcome of the US election is deafening. Had George W. Bush stood for election in Europe, he would have been blown out of office with drums and trumpets.... Four more years with this man! You Americans, what have you done to us? More brusqueness, more going it alone, more wars? The groaning is deafening.
For the Islamofascists, who for months have held sway in the headlines with car bombs, kidnappings and beheadings, these will not be good days. Or nights. That's guaranteed.Read it all.
Events in and around Fallujah are tumbling down swiftly, chaotically, right now. It is difficult to sort out what is actually happening, but as all of us, at our computers or our televisions around the world, watch this battle unfolding, here are some miscellaneous points about technique and technology that will "marginalize" the terrorist forces.
The coming days promise to be ugly, confused, rife with rumors. There will be mistakes on the part of Coalition forces -- some possibly costly in casualties. And despite the ascendancy of American battlefield technology, the depths of the Islamic radicals' treachery may still hold surprises. But the "Islamic Republic of Fallujah" is now drowning appropriately enough in its own blood.
GRINNING suicide bombers are attacking Black Watch soldiers in Iraq, it was revealed last night....
Their broad smiles are designed to fool troops into thinking they are harmless, said Army chiefs.
The senior source added that in both attacks "the bombers drove slowly and were very relaxed and assured. How they could commit such a cold blooded act in that manner is hard to comprehend."well, I can guess. The British attitude to this nonsense is heartening:
On Sunday the group put a video of the attack on a website, claiming to show rebels stamping on body parts.That's the spirit!
Black Watch Sgt Barry Robertson, 34, said last night: "It's disgusting and cowardly. This video shows them up for the animals they are.
"It has just hardened our resolve. Things like that make you want to go out and get the job done even more.
"If they want to put suicide bombs out like that, OK, but we'll still beat them.
"We are the British Army and it's not going to stop us one little bit."
A group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has posted an Internet video of a suicide car bombing which killed three British troops in Iraq.For this guy to do that, you know Abu Suleiman didn't do that out of the goodness of his heart. He was instructed to. They were taping it and they didn't need the bad publicity.
The tape showed a dark-coloured car driving down a road and then slowing down, allowing several other vehicles to pass, before it blew up in apparent footage of Thursday's attack.
Plumes of black smoke rose as the man behind the camera, who was taping from a distance, shouted "God is greatest". A script on the video identified the bomber as Abu Suleiman and said he had waited for civilian cars to pass before blowing up his car.
What ever the tactical reasons for taking the hospital it also has to have a strategic value as well.Go read his front page too.
The insurgents have no safe place to to take their wounded for refuge. No place to store the bodies of their dead. This has to take a toll on morale.
The insurgents may have to kill their own wounded for security/mobility reasons. This cannot be a morale booster either.
Any one taken to the hospital now will cost the insurgents irreplaceable manpower. Both the wounded and the stretcher bearers.
Iran appeared yesterday to have reached a tentative deal with Britain, France and Germany that would avert the threat of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear programme....
The provisional agreement, hammered out during two days of talks in Paris, has still to be approved by Teheran's clerical leadership as well as by the European governments.
Under the deal Iran would freeze all nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities until it has reached a final agreement over economic, technological and security incentives.In other words, this means basically that their nuclear program will continue undergroud, and that the Europeans will reward Iran's nuclear brinksmanship with money (economic guarantees), nuclear fuel and technicians (technical guarantees) and a promise the mean Americans won't invade them (security guarantees).
As part of a final agreement Teheran would abandon any nuclear activities considered to have the potential to be "weapons-related'', diplomats said.
"The discussions were protracted and very difficult, but we reached provisional agreement on a range of issues designed to build mutual confidence and keep measures in place that both sides can develop," a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Democratic strategist James Carville said yesterday that the Democratic Party's losses last Tuesday were no fluke, and that they need to rethink exactly who they are and provide something more than a litany of policy proposals.He can't seem to come up with a compelling narrative, though he floats an idea:
"The underlying problem here is, there is no call to arms that the Democratic Party is making to the country," said Mr. Carville, the architect of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign win. "We've got to reassess ourselves. We've got to be born again."
Democrats are debating what went right and what went wrong in last Tuesday's election, in which President Bush won re-election over Sen. John Kerry, and Democrats also lost seats in both the House and Senate. Some have said there is no need for soul-searching, and blamed the losses on a difficult election-year map or a poor candidate at the top of the ticket.
During the Democratic National Convention this summer in Boston, when Mr. Bush trailed in the polls, Mr. Carville said, "It would be the greatest political achievement of my lifetime" if he came back to beat Mr. Kerry.
But yesterday, Mr. Carville said not only was it a great comeback, but coupled with the 2002 congressional-election losses, it shows it's time for Democrats to engage in a major re-examination.
"We can deny this crap, but I'm out of the denial. I'm about reality here," Mr. Carville told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "We are an opposition party, and as of right now, not a particularly effective one. You can't deny reality here."
He said the party is desperately in need of a compelling narrative to tell voters, rather than the "litany of issues" the party stands for now.
One possibility, he said, was to embrace a reform-oriented, anti-Washington agenda. That would require the ability of members of Congress to reject pork projects for their districts and stake the party's fortunes on fiscal discipline.Yeah, right.