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Today’s press contains some useful, but mostly timid, reactions to the Sydney riots by a significant proportion of the Muslim community living there. One half of my letter sent to The Australian was published: the full text is below.

As far as I can see, the only other commentator to raise the question of tightening/changing immigration policy is Andrew Bolt. His article is also below. Astonishingly, Greg Sheridan says we must maintain a non-discriminatory immigration policy: yet we already have a policy involving the checking of immigrants by ASIO (although that policy has almost certainly been moderated because the refugee intake forced ASIO to delegate some checking to the Department of Immigration).

Of course, immigration policy is not the only policy that needs changing. A not insignificant proportion of Australia’s 400,000 Muslims are born here and, along with the immigrants now resident, there is a need to “educate” them about Western values. Some programs apparently already exist but much more “interventionism” is needed.

More worrying than the defects in our won policies is the confusion and defects in US policy and the attempts to cover up the real cause of the attacks on US embassies and consulates around much of the world. Articles below deal with this failure. Note in particular that Mark Steyn claims a cover up on the death of the US Ambassador in Libya, whose body, he says, was dragged along the streets and photoed.

Des Moore

Talking Point, The Australian, 17 Sept 2012

Riots do nothing to promote religion of peace

[square bracketted sections omitted by editor]

[The hostile demonstrations in Sydney against any criticism of the Muslim religion and seeking punishment of critics, and the police raid on an alleged terrorist group of Muslims in Melbourne, are wake-up calls which confirm total intolerance exists by a small group of extremists practising that religion.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has reportedly rightly called for the revocation of the visa of the visiting member of a group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is outlawed in some overseas countries and should be here too. Other action should be taken to reduce the risk of destructive activity by such groups, which Australia has so far escaped thanks partly to luck, as ASIO head Irvine has indicated.]

One policy in urgent need of attention is a tightening of the checking of immigrants, particularly the 30 per cent of net arrivals coming from countries where the main religion is Islam. That is not to suggest a banning of Muslim immigrants. But we surely need to reject immigrant applications from those judged as activists.

Additional action is needed to minimise the risk of home-grown terrorism by increasing existing programs designed to educate Muslim groups in the virtues of Western societies.

Des Moore, South Yarra Vic

Keep their hate out of our country

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, September 17, 2012

THE problem isn't us. It isn't even some YouTube clip posted by a filmmaker no one has heard of.

No, the problem is them.

Islamists. Extremists desperate to take offence. Bigots who use violence to frighten us into giving up our free speech.

I mean not just the people setting the Middle East ablaze, but the hundreds of Muslims who in Sydney on Saturday staged a violent riot, allegedly over a video that insults Islam. Enough.

May I ask: who let in these people who now demand the right to say who may speak and who must tremble?

Who let in those who bashed police, flew the black flag of jihad and Hamas, and had even children hold up signs exhorting, "Behead all those who insult the Prophet"?

Who welcomed these people who chanted praise of Osama bin Laden, whose terrorists killed Australians in Bali, New York and Washington?

Reality check. This protest was not caused by a YouTube clip

If this comes from opening our doors, then shut them. If this comes from multiculturalism, then scrap it.

If this is the fruit of our tolerance, let's try intolerance.

Let's debate whether we must restrict Muslim immigration until we better integrate those here already.

But already we hear the same old voices telling us the fault for the riot lies with the rest of us for being racist.

Hear them tell us to understand the anger, and do more to appease it.

They warn us, just for starters, to remove from the internet not the scores of propaganda videos of jihadists beheading Jews, Christians and journalists but one that merely makes Mohammed seem silly.

Reality check. This protest was not caused by a YouTube clip.

If Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists were to attack police and demand beheadings every time we found something horrible on the internet, this country would be a war zone.

No, it's the wanting to take offence - and to threaten, attack and censor - that is the feature of these latest riots from Tunis to Sydney.

Take the most violent of those alleged "protests" - the attack on September 11 on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed US ambassador Chris Stevens and three staff.

That, too, was sold in the media as rioting over an anti-Islamic film made in the US by an Israeli Jew.

In fact, that "film" was made by a Coptic Christian originally from Egypt, and so far exists only as a YouTube clip of cartoonish quality.

Moreover, the Libyan "protest" has been claimed by al-Qaida as revenge for the killing of the group's deputy leader, with an al-Qaida-linked militia attacking the consulate with machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. The video was just an excuse.

The violent demonstrations at the US embassy in Cairo that same day may seem more easily portrayed as a "protest".

Yet the US Government had no involvement with the video, and even disowned it.

Moreover, the radical Muslim Brotherhood that now forms Egypt's Government issued tweets and statements whipping up anger against the video and the US, and praising in Arabic the protests.

Since then, other extremists have murdered US soldiers in Afghanistan, burned a German embassy in Khartoum, stormed a US embassy compound in Yemen and torched a KFC outlet in Lebanon.

The targets seem irrelevant, and the YouTube video a pretext.

Some Sydney protesters confessed they hadn't seen it. So, no. These protests aren't understandable reaction to Americans or Jews giving offence.

They are the work of Muslim extremists determined to take it, and to jump at any chance to make us submit to their dictates.

The video is irrelevant. This violence is all.

An act of war, not a movie protest

Mark Steyn

So, on a highly symbolic date, mobs storm American diplomatic facilities and drag the corpse of a U.S. ambassador through the streets. Then the president flies to Vegas for a fundraiser. No, no, a novelist would say; that's too pat, too neat in its symbolic contrast. Make it Cleveland, or Des Moines.

The president is surrounded by delirious fanbois and fangurls screaming "We love you," too drunk on his celebrity to understand that this is the first photo-op in the aftermath of a national humiliation. No, no, a filmmaker would say; too crass, too blunt.

Make them sober, middle-aged Midwesterners, shocked at first, but then quiet and respectful.
The president is too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that a government that spends more money than any government in the history of the planet has ver spent can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private wide-bodied jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion.

So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt:"And obviously our hearts are broken..." Yeah, it's totally obvious.

And he's even more drunk on his celebrity than the fanbois, so in his slapdashery he winds up comparing the sacrifice of a diplomat lynched by a pack of savages with the enthusiasm of his own campaign bobbysoxers. No, no, says the Broadway director; that's too crude, too ham-fisted. How about the crowd is cheering and distracted, but he's the president, heunderstands the gravity of the hour, and he's the greatest orator of his generation, so he's thought about what he's going to say, and it takes a few moment but his words are so moving that they still the cheers of the fanbois, and at the end there's complete silence and a few muffled sobs, and even in party-town they understand the sacrifice and loss of their compatriots on the other side of the world.

But no, that would be an utterly fantastical America. In the real America, the president is too busy to attend the security briefing on the morning after a national debacle, but he does have time to do Letterman and appear on a hip-hop radio show hosted by "The Pimp With A Limp."

In the real State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo is guarded by Marines with no ammunition, but they do enjoy the soft-power muscle of a Foreign Service officer, one Lloyd Schwartz, tweeting frenziedly into cyberspace (including a whole chain directed at my own Twitter handle, for some reason) about how America deplores insensitive people who are so insensitively insensitive that they don't respectfully respect all religions equally respectfully and sensitively, even as the raging mob is pouring through the gates.

When it comes to a flailing, blundering superpower, I am generally wary of ascribing to malevolence what is more often sheer stupidity and incompetence. For example, we're told that, because the consulate in Benghazi was designated as an "interim facility," it did not warrant the level of security and protection that, say, an embassy in Scandinavia would have.

This seems all too plausible - that security decisions are made not by individual human judgment but according to whichever rule-book sub- clause at the Federal Agency of Bureaucratic Facilities Regulation it happens to fall under. However, the very next day the embassy in Yemen, which is a permanent facility, was also overrun, as was the embassy in Tunisia the day after.

Look, these are tough crowds, as the president might say at Caesar's Palace.

But we spend more money on these joints than anybody else, and they're as easy to overrun as the Belgian Consulate.

As I say, I'm inclined to be generous, and put some of this down to the natural torpor and ineptitude of government. But Hillary Clinton and Gen.Martin Dempsey are guilty of something worse, in the Secretary of State's weirdly obsessive remarks about an obscure film supposedly disrespectful of Mohammed and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' telephone call to a private citizen, asking him if he could please ease up on the old Islamophobia.

Forget the free-speech arguments. In this case, as Secretary Clinton and Gen. Dempsey well know, the film has even less to do with anything than did the Danish cartoons or the schoolteacher's teddy bear or any of the other innumerable grievances of Islam. The 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars: that's not a spontaneous movie protest; that's an act of war, and better planned and executed than the dying superpower's response to it. Secretary Clinton and Gen. Dempsey are, to put it mildly, misleading the American people when they suggest otherwise.

One can understand why they might do this, given the fiasco in Libya.

The men who organized this attack knew the ambassador would be at the consulate in Benghazi rather than at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. How did that happen?

They knew when he had been moved from the consulate to a "safe house," and switched their attentions accordingly. How did that happen? The United States government lost track of its ambassador for 10 hours. How did that happen?

Perhaps, when they've investigated Mitt Romney's press release for another three or four weeks, the court eunuchs of the American media might like to look into some of these fascinating questions, instead of leaving the only interesting reporting on an American story to the foreign press.

For whatever reason, Secretary Clinton chose to double down on misleading the American people. "Libyans carried Chris' body to the hospital," said Mrs. Clinton. That's one way of putting it. The photographs at the Arab TV network al-Mayadeen show Chris Stevens' body being dragged through the streets, while the locals take souvenir photographs on their cellphones. A man in a red striped shirt photographs the dead-eyed ambassador from above; another immediately behind his head moves the splayed arm and holds is cellphone camera an inch from the ambassador's nose.

Some years ago, I had occasion to assist in moving the body of a dead man: We did not stop to take photographs en route. Even allowing for cultural differences, this looks less like "carrying Chris' body to the hospital" and more like barbarians gleefully feasting on the spoils of savagery.

In a rare appearance on a non-showbiz outlet, President Obama, winging it on Telemundo, told his host that Egypt was neither an ally nor an enemy. I can understand why it can be difficult to figure out, but here's an easy way to tell: Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of Islam, said some years ago that America risked being seen as harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. At the Benghazi consulate, the looters stole "sensitive" papers revealing the names of Libyans who've cooperated with the United States. Oh, well. As the president would say, obviously our hearts are with you.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the local doctor who fingered bin Laden to the Americans sits in jail. In other words, while America's clod vice- president staggers around, pimping limply that only Obama had the guts to take the toughest decision anyone's ever had to take, the poor schlub who actually did have the guts, who actually took the tough decision in a part of the world where taking tough decisions can get you killed, languishes in a cell because Washington would not lift a finger to help him.

Like I said, no novelist would contrast Chris Stevens on the streets of Benghazi and Barack Obama on stage in Vegas. Too crude, too telling, too devastating.

Morsi's failure to show leadership

John Lyons, Analysis, The Australian, September 15, 2012

THE new Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, has failed his first big test.

At the very time that the world's most populous Arab nation desperately needs steadiness and leadership, Morsi has added instability.

With protests in his country growing and roaming mobs looking for trouble, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government has urged Egyptians to take to the streets.

Peacefully, the government added. But anyone who has spent any time in Egypt in the past two years knows that a large crowd on the streets often leads to violence.

One hundred people may gather to protest peacefully but it only takes one in the crowd to throw rocks and it can turn into a riot.

Egypt is teetering on the brink of chaos. For three days security forces have battled mobs trying to storm, for a second time, the US embassy.

Morsi should have condemned the first attack on the US embassy this week, in which the US flag was torn down, and the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed ambassador Christopher Stevens.

For two days he said nothing. He then condemned the offensive movie made by a shadowy man in California which insults the Prophet Mohammed but did not condemn the resultant violence.

The response from Barack Obama was fascinating.

"I don't think we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," the US President said. "They are a new government that is trying to find its way."

Egypt has long been Washington's strongest ally in the Arab world.

Either Obama was trying to punish Morsi for his weak response to the attack on the US embassy or it was a blunder.

US officials have tried to play down Obama's comments.

" 'Ally' is a legal term of art," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. "We don't have a mutual defence treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies."

This was an absurd comment. The US trains and bankrolls the Egyptian military, giving it $US1.3 billion ($1.23bn) a year.

The protests in Egypt, as elsewhere in the Arab world, began following news of the anti-Islam video.

Hardline Salafists started the protests, but others have joined in, from rabble-rousing football supporters to bored young men.

The reason the Muslim Brotherhood's call for mass protests is irresponsible is that among Egypt's 82 million people, there are seething frustrations and dangerous forces.

First, most of the youth who drove last year's ousting of Hosni Mubarak feel alienated by the Muslim Brotherhood government.

Second, a sensitive fault line exists between the majority Muslim population and the 10 per cent Christian Copt population - these tensions can quickly turn deadly.

And finally, a deteriorating economy means many Egyptians are under extreme pressure.

Morsi failed this week because he continued to act as the head of the Muslim Brotherhood and not as the leader of one of the world's most volatile countries.

US in denial over embassy murders

Caroline B. Glick, The Australian, September 17, 2012

AS he suffocated to death at the US consulate in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, did ambassador Christopher Stevens understand why he and his fellow Americans were being murdered?

Stevens arrived in Benghazi at an early phase of US involvement in the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, a former US foe who had been neutered since 2004. But even then it was clear that the rebels with whom he worked included jihadist fighters associated with al-Qa'ida. Their significance became obvious when just after the regime fell in November last year, rebel forces hoisted the flag of al-Qa'ida over the courthouse in Benghazi.

Did Stevens understand what this meant? Perhaps. But his boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, certainly didn't. Following Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Clinton said, "Today, many Americans are asking - indeed, I asked myself - how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be."

Clinton then proclaimed with utter certainty there was nothing to be concerned about. "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she said.

Of course, what she failed to mention was that after the rebels felled Gaddafi's regime - with US support - they began imposing Islamic law over the country.

Clinton was not the only senior US official who didn't understand why Stevens and three other Americans were murdered or why the US consulate in Benghazi was reduced to a smouldering ruin.

The day after the murderous assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Mohammed negatively. Dempsey's belief that a third-rate riff on Mohammed supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.

It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained.

A word about the much mentioned film about Mohammed is in order. The film apparently was released about a year ago. It received little notice until last month when a Salafi television station in Egypt broadcast it to incite anti-American violence. If the film had never been created, they would have found another - equally ridiculous - pretext. And here we come to the nature of the attacks against America that occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks.

A cursory consideration of the events that are still taking place makes clear these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qa'ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The US's first official response to the assault on its embassy in Cairo came in the form of an embassy Twitter feed apologising to Muslims for the film.

The day before the attacks, al-Qa'ida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing in June of his second-in-command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan. Zawahiri asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya.

As for the attack in Libya, it apparently came as no surprise to some US officials on the ground. In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

The co-ordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. Yet Clinton and Dempsey could not fathom why the attack occurred.

Like Dempsey, the US media was swift to focus the blame for the attacks on the film.

By Wednesday afternoon the media shifted the focus of discussion on the still ongoing attacks from the film to an all-out assault on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his temerity in attacking as "disgraceful" the administration's initial apologetic response to the attacks on the embassies.

Following the September 11 attacks, the US congress formed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and charged it with determining the causes of the assault.

In the end, they claimed that the chief failure enabling the attacks was "one of imagination".

Unfortunately it wasn't that imagination failed America before September 11. It was that imagination reigned in America. And it still does. It's just the land of make-believe occupied by the US foreign policy elite has shifted.

Until September 11, 2001, the US foreign policy elite was of the opinion that the chief threat to US national security was the fact the US was a "hyperpower". That is, the chief threat to the US was the US itself.

After September 11, the US decided the main threat to the US was "terror". The perpetrators of terrorism were rarely mentioned, and when they were they were belittled as "marginal forces".

Then president George W. Bush imagined a world where the actual enemies of the US were marginal forces in Islam. He then determined - based on nothing - that the masses of the Muslim world from Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond were simply Jeffersonian democrats living under the jackboot.

If freed from tyranny, they would become liberal democrats nearly indistinguishable from regular Americans.

With President Barack Obama's inauguration, the imaginary world inhabited by the American foreign policy elite shifted again. Obama and his advisers agree that jihadist Islam is the predominant force in the Muslim world. But in their imaginary world, jihadist Islam is a good thing for America.

Hence, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is Obama's closest confidante in the Middle East despite his transformation of Turkey from a pro-Western secular republic into a pro-Iranian Islamic republic in which secularists are jailed without trial for years.

Hence Israel - the first target of jihadist Islam's bid for global supremacy - is a strategic burden rather than an ally to the US.

Hence the US abandoned its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the most strategically vital state in the Arab world.

Hence it supported a Libyan rebel force penetrated by al-Qa'ida.

Hence it is setting the stage for the reinstitution of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It is impossible to know the thoughts that crossed Stevens's mind as he lay dying in Benghazi. But what is clear enough is that as long as imagination reigns supreme, freedom will be imperiled.

Caroline B. Glick is the senior contributing editor of The Jerusalem Post where this article first appeared.

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