Never embarrass Vladimir Putin

March 6, 2015
"I won"

“Leave no witnesses”

Because you won’t get a second chance:

Russian secret services may have executed the troops suspected of shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, say sources involved in the investigation of the crash over eastern Ukraine.

The Dutch-led probe is leaning towards a conclusion that a BUK missile fired from rebel-held territory downed the Boeing 777, killing all 298 on board.

And it is highly likely the aircraft was shot out of the sky by Russian military personnel, according to a report by the Netherlands’ state broadcaster NOS, citing anonymous sources in the police and the group of investigators working on the probe into the plane’s loss.

‘My sources believe that these people might have changed their identities or even been executed by Russian secret service in order to hide everything,’ said Dutch journalist Robert Bas.

(…)

And they’re taking “active measures” to make sure they know what the investigators know:

Sources close to the investigation also complain they are under siege from persistent attempts by Russian secret services to hack their computer system and plant spyware software on their smartphones, reported NOS.

Phones and laptops used by investigators in Ukraine had to be ‘destroyed’ subsequently because they were infected with spyware, it was claimed.

Even home communications devices of police officers on the investigation were removed because they were ‘contaminated’, it was alleged.

Well, what else would you expect from a country run by an ex-KGB colonel who thinks the fall of the USSR is the great geopolitical catastrophe of the age?

This report shows again that, to use a baseball analogy, we’re dealing with a foe who plays hardball, while our leaders aren’t even playing softball. They’re playing Tee-ball.

Only this game has no “mercy rule.”

 

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Nightmare in Norway: at least 92 dead, and the question of religion

July 23, 2011

How awful for them:

Norwegian police said Saturday that the death toll from Friday’s attacks has risen to 92 and confirmed that they have arrested a suspect whom they described as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

In a news conference Saturday morning in Oslo, police confirmed that they had arrested Anders Behring Breivik, 32, on suspicion of orchestrating both the Oslo bombing and the youth-camp shooting rampage and had begun searching two apartments that he owns.

Breivik reportedly owns four properties including a farm on the outskirts of Oslo, allegedly to enable him to store legally a large amount of fertilizer.

Police would not comment on whether he acted alone but said no other arrests have been made. They said Breivik had no criminal record.

They would not speculate on his motives, but said, based own his own Twitter and Facebook accounts, he appeared to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

Police say he was arrested by security forces at the Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya after the shootings. They said 84 people were killed on the island. At least seven were killed in the Oslo bombing.

Police Chief Oystein Maeland told reporters that they could not confirm the number of victims would stop at 92, adding that the attack had reached “catastrophic dimensions.”

He said officers were still “looking in the water around the island for more victims.”

It appears Breivik stalked the island for an hour-and-a-half, shooting the teens wherever he found them. The survivor accounts in the rest of the article are just horrifying. And there’s something dreadfully wrong with Norwegian law if the worst he can face is only 21 years in prison.

The issue of “why” remains unresolved and it likely won’t be settled for weeks, though it bears resemblances to both the attack on the Murragh Building in Oklahoma City for its anti-government angle and the massacre of children that occurred at Columbine and Dunblane.

The role of religion as motive is obviously going to play a role, however. Yesterday I hypothesized that this might have been an act of jihad — inspired by Islam. I wasn’t alone in my speculation, as the pattern of the attack fit previous jihadist operations: near-simultaneous attacks aimed at mass casualties (Bali, London, Madrid), the focus on children (Beslan), and a history of Islamic terror threats against Norway, including threats to kill government officials. Violent jihad is central to Islam. And lest anyone say that, even if this were an act of jihad, Islam wouldn’t permit the killing of innocent children, let me point out that Muhammad himself defined “innocent child” differently than we.

Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is. If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”

In other words, for Breivik to do what he did here or, more locally, for a Christian to gun down an abortionist, he necessarily acts against his religion. Not so with the jihadist, and I can see another false equivalence being created that needs to be pushed back against for the sake of moral and intellectual clarity and truth.

And the core truth at this time is that Breivik, regardless of whatever reason he did this, is an immensely evil human being, and that our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian nation in this awful time.

LINKS: More from Power Line and Hot Air, and ST. Also The Anchoress (thanks for the link!).

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Honoring mass-murderers

April 11, 2011

You can tell a lot about what a society values by noting whom they choose to honor and glorify. In America, we revere important political figures such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln for their devotion to the nation and their wise leadership. We admire star athletes for their physical prowess and heroic cops and firefighters for risking their lives to save others. And, of course, we praise the citizen-soldiers of our all-volunteer military for sacrificing personal gain to defend us from vicious enemies. All these examples and others show what we as a people deem laudable.

So what does it tell us about Palestinian society that they choose to bestow honors on the man who helped murder a bunch of elderly Jews celebrating Passover?

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, visited the family of the terrorist Abbas Al-Sayid who planned the Passover suicide bombing in 2002. Thirty Israelis were killed in the terror attack, when a suicide bomber entered a hotel in Netanya and detonated his bomb during the Passover Seder dinner. Al-Sayid is serving 30 life sentences for planning this attack.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a list with the names, ages, and photos of Al-Sayid’s victims.

Via Big Peace, which has many other examples of Palestinian society honoring terrorist killers, including approval for the savages who slaughtered the Fogel family a few weeks ago.

PS: While I think the answer to my question is obvious, those interested in pursuing how Palestinian society has become a “fear society” would do well to read Sharansky’s “The Case for Democracy.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What people value: compare and contrast

March 17, 2011

Some of the most profound lessons are taught through irony, that striking contrast between what we would expect to happen in a sequence of events and what really does happen.  Last week, the Fogel family was nearly wiped out, parents and children —an infant!— slaughtered as they laid down for the evening by Muslim jihadists of the Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

Then, yesterday, a Palestinian woman rushes to the gates of the village where the Fogels’ relatives were sitting shiva and begged for help to save her baby. Did the Israelis, still in mourning for the dead and still angry over the atrocity, do the predictable thing and turn her away?

No, in fact:

Just as IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz arrived in Neve Tzuf to offer his condolences, a Palestinian cab raced towards the community’s entrance. In it, soldiers and paramedics discovered a Palestinian woman in her 20s in advanced stages of labor and facing a life-threatening situation: The umbilical cord was wrapped around the young baby girl’s neck, endangering both her and her mother.

The quick action of settler paramedics and IDF troops deployed in the area saved the mother’s and baby’s life, prompting great excitement and emotions at the site where residents are still mourning the brutal death of five local family members.

And so a people whose culture values life —“l’chaim!” “To life!”— rush to save the life of a mother and child, even though they come from their enemies and even though they themselves are still reeling from what happened.

Meanwhile, a people whose culture values death over life pass out sweets to celebrate the successful murder of a mother and her children.

Quite a contrast.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Follow up: how to react to libel?

January 18, 2011

A few days ago, I argued that Sarah Palin was right to respond to the blood libel hurled at her and at the Right in general, that it was not the usual criticisms one could ignore or “rise above.”

At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson agrees with me, but puts it much better and less heatedly than I:

Palin cannot just ignore the obvious libel against her.  That is the strategy pursued by the Bush administration in the face of false accusations that Bush “lied us into war.”  We saw how that strategy of silence worked.

There is not a shred of evidence to date that Loughner ever saw Palin’s electoral map, yet 56% of Democrats (and 35% of people overall) believe that the map was connected to the Tucson shooting.

This puts Palin in an impossible position, one faced by many people who are falsely accused.

If Palin does not defend herself vigorously, the silence is taken as acquiescence and an implicit admission of guilt.  If she does defend herself, she is criticized for making the issue about her and she further spreads the defamatory accusations (so-called “self-publication”).

(…)

Palin is correct to fight back forcefully against people for whom the truth about the Tucson shooting is just a set of inconvenient facts to be ignored for a false political narrative.

If Palin did not fight back, the slanderers and defamers surely would win.  The truth may not prevail here because of the strength of the Democratic message machine, but it is worth fighting for.

And if you’re not following Legal Insurrection, you really need to fix that oversight, now.


Of speeches and tweets: thoughts on yesterday

January 13, 2011

Yesterday saw the memorial service for the victims of Saturday’s mass-murder in Tucson. I didn’t watch, for reasons I gave elsewhere, but I did follow the commentary on Twitter while working on other things and that prompted some reflections, which I now inflict on you. (Hey! Where are you going?)

First, from almost all I could see, Obama did a good job last night in his speech: he said the right things, set the right tone (apparently in spite of his audience), and did what we’ve expected of our Chief of State to do at least since Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg — to speak for the nation in memorializing and honoring the dead. Regardless of his sincerity or cynicism (I saw speculations on both last night), he played his role well and deserves credit for that.

The other big speech was Sarah Palin’s. I wrote about it yesterday and stand by what I said: it was also a good address  from a potential president. That evening on Twitter I had an exchange with an acquaintance, a strong conservative and political junkie, who also liked her speech, but thought Obama had, as he put it, “lapped her,” that his performance had diminished hers, making her speech sound “off” in retrospect. He thought that having her speech on the same day as his had worked to her disadvantage.

Perhaps; it will certainly figure in the 2012 calculus, at least for a while. In the end, though, I think that matters less than that Sarah Palin, like Barack Obama, did what she had to do and did it well. Since Saturday afternoon, she had been slagged mercilessly by a left-liberal press and online punditry that was determined to lay blame for the Tucson massacre on her and her “inflamed rhetoric,” in spite of all evidence and logic to the contrary. She responded with plain-spoken eloquence: criticizing those who insulted her and conservatives in general, defending vigorous and free political speech, and sympathizing with the victims.  Like Obama, she deserves credit.

Then there was the running Greek Chorus on Twitter, in which I noticed two strong trends.

First, when Obama actually does something right, there are some conservatives and libertarians who almost fall all over themselves to show how big-minded and generous they can be. Acknowledging a good speech is sufficient; drooling on one’s own shoes with something like “Thank you SIR!!” makes my eyes roll. It’s just a speech, people; I’ll freely grant he did a good job, but let’s wait to see what does in the days and months to come to live up to those words before we proclaim a new Era of Good Feelings.

Perhaps I’m just too crusty and cynical.

On the other hand, some people were absolutely out of line with snarky criticism of the event. The standout among those I saw was radio host Tammy Bruce. I usually like her opinions quite a bit, but her running commentary was just embarrassing and churlish. While I might agree with her (and to some degree, I do), this was not the time to hurl snark. It wasn’t just inappropriate, she beclowned herself. In fact, it was downright rude and classless, and she owes her audience some contrition. It was no better than the people in the audience who were treating the memorial like a pep rally.

Is it too much to ask people to act like adults?

when Obama does something right, there are some conservatives and libertarians who almost fall all over themselves to show how big-minded and generous they can be. Acknowledging a good speech is sufficient; drooling on one’s own shoes with something like “Thank you SIR!!” made my eyes roll. It’s just a speech, which I’ll grant is important to his role as Chief of State; but let’s wait to see what does before we lie down with the lambs.

Sarah Palin on the Tucson massacre: “America’s enduring strength” — Updated

January 12, 2011

Since Saturday’s horrific shootings in Tucson that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and 18 others dead and wounded, conservatives in America have been subjected to a vicious, almost Orwellian, campaign of slander and calumny from liberal and leftist politicians and pundits. Sarah Palin has been a particular target of this blood libel.

Governor Palin responded this morning in a video statement that, while forceful, is far more mature and responsible than almost anything coming from our so-called cultural elites:

(Click the image to go to the video.)

There’s a transcript at her Facebook page. While she is rightly critical of those who rushed to smear others in the hours after the event, I want to highlight another portion:

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House. It was a beautiful moment and more than simply “symbolic,” as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.

It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.

(Emphasis added)

That, my friends, is what a chief of state sounds like in a time of national trauma, and it stands as an irrefutable answer to those who accuse her of being shallow or criticize her as a lightweight for using social media. This housewife from Wasilla, this chill-billy with nothing more than a BA from the University of Idaho, apparently understands what her nation is about better than our political and cultural leaders in Washington and New York with all their Ivy League degrees. Unlike them, she gets it.

Today our actual Chief of State, President Obama, goes to Tucson to deliver an address to the nation. Let’s hope he shows he understands his country, too.

LINKS: ST weighs in. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is impressed with her response. So is Power Line. Moe Lane believes she has set a high bar for Obama. Charles Krauthammer: “Massacre, followed by libel.”

UPDATE: Sigh. How predictable. Now the reactionary Left (and some on the Right, who should know better) are going after Palin for her use of the phrase “blood libel.” Give me a break. While originally used to specifically refer to a horrid slander against Jews, the phrase has expanded in meaning to include any inflammatory slander inciting hatred of an entire group. On the contrary, it’s frequently used in our political shouting matches discourse. Only yesterday, Glenn Reynolds used it in the Wall St. Journal. Jim Geraghty has a broad and growing survey of its use by both the Right and the Left. Ed Morrissey in an update thinks Palin’s use the phrase was appropriate. So does William Jacobson. My friend Jeff Dunetz at Yid-With-Lid asks “What’s the problem?” Finally, Alan Dershowitz, whom only a fool would describe as a conservative or a Right-winger, issued this statement at Big Government:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

As far as I’m concerned, Governor Palin’s use of the phrase was apt, accurate, and powerful, which is why it’s driving the Left nuts.