Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Radical Parents, Despotic Children

From Bret Stephens, at WSJ, "Sooner or later, Orwellian methods on campus will lead to Orwellian outcomes":
“Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” was the title of a 1975 book by Midge Decter, which tried to make sense of how a generation of munificent parents raised that self-obsessed, politically spastic generation known as the Baby Boomers. The book was a case study in the tragedy of good intentions.

“We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling,” Miss Decter told the Boomers. “While you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices.”

Meager devices came to mind last week while reading the “Statement of Solidarity” from Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Newark, N.J., campus of Rutgers University. Solidarity with whom, or what? Well, Paris, but that was just for starters. Ms. Cantor also made a point of mentioning lives lost to terrorist attacks this year in Beirut and Kenya, and children “lost at sea seeking freedom,” and “lives lost that so mattered in Ferguson and Baltimore and on,” and “students facing racial harassment on campuses from Missouri to Ithaca and on.”

And this: “We see also around us the scarring consequences of decade after decade, group after group, strangers to each other, enemies even within the same land, separated by an architecture of segregation, an economy of inequality, a politics of polarization, a dogma of intolerance.”

It is an astonishing statement. Ms. Cantor, 63, is a well-known figure in academia, a former president of Syracuse University who won liberal acclaim by easing admissions standards in the name of diversity and inclusiveness. At publicly funded Rutgers she earns a base salary of $385,000, a point worth mentioning given her stated concern for inequality. The Newark Star-Ledger praised her as a “perfect fit” for the school on account of her “exceptional involvement in minority recruitment and town-gown relations.”

Yet this Stanford Ph.D. (in psychology) appears to be incapable of constructing a grammatical sentence or writing intelligible prose. All the rhetorical goo about the “architecture of segregation” and “dogma of intolerance” rests on deep layers of mental flab. She is a perfect representative of American academia. And American academia is, by and large, idiotic.

That’s why I’m not altogether sorry to see the wave of protests, demands, sit-ins and cave-ins sweeping university campuses from Dartmouth to Princeton to Brandeis to Yale. What destroys also exposes; what they are trashing was already trashy. It’s time for the rest of the country sit up and take notice...
Well, the rest of the country that includes grownups might sit up and take notice. Remember, there aren't too many grownups on college campuses these days. Indeed, the conservative students at Claremont McKenna showed a lot more maturity than the school's administration.

But keep reading, in any case.

Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo: Is World War Getting Closer? (VIDEO)

Last week a student asked me, in my American government class, whether the Paris attacks would bring on World War III. I gave the suggestion kind of a chuckle, and told her no, we'd be seeing a major escalation in the terror war, but we weren't yet quite near a world war.

Then yesterday morning as I was getting ready for classes, around 7:00am, I saw the news of the Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkey, and I thought, "Man, shit just got real over there." In class I spoke again to the student and suggested that if there was going to be World War III, it's crises like this, seemingly small at first, that have the potential to escalate into major conflict.

In any case, imagine my chagrin last night when Bill O'Reilly led off with the possibility of a world war. What a trip:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet (VIDEO)

There's a huge live blog at the Telegraph UK, "Putin's fury after Turkey shoots down Russian jet, killing at least one pilot before rebels destroy rescue helicopter • President warns of 'serious consequences' but Obama says Turks have right to defend airspace":
There are dark corners of the Internet where Russian nationalists will argue the toss with Americans about whether the Su-24 is better than an F-16. I guess that argument was resolved today.
Also at WSJ, "Skies Darken for Accord on Syria With Turkish Downing of Russian Fighter":

Fallout of fatal incident threatens to destroy chances for grand coalition of international powers to change course of chaos in war-torn country.

When Turkey destroyed a Russian warplane it had warned away from its airspace, the fallout threatened to destroy chances for any grand coalition of international powers to change the course of chaos in Syria, at least for now.

The fatal incident in the skies Tuesday immediately escalated, and complicated, what had already been an intensely difficult enterprise—trying to bridge divides and corral longtime adversaries into a pact to combat their one shared enemy, Islamic State.

The Turkish-Russian aerial altercation quickly hardened the positions held by all sides. While the U.S. and its ally France dug in on their demands on resolving the Syrian conflict, Russia and its ally Iran adhered to theirs.

Aggravating the conflict was a war of words, with Mr. Putin leveling charges that Turkey, an ally of the U.S. and France, finances terrorism—accusations widely aired on Russian television in a daylong propaganda blitz.

Amid the strife, President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande presented a united front, speaking at the White House Tuesday after their first meeting since the Paris attacks. They outlined changes they said Russia must make to its military strategy in Syria and to its position on a political resolution to the conflict before the U.S.-led coalition, which includes Turkey, would cooperate with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State.

The demands made by the U.S. and French leaders—including the key issue of the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia supports—now have set the stage for a tense meeting between Mr. Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Thursday.

The downing of the Russian jet is likely to redraw the lines of engagement in Syria and affect Russians’ perceptions of their country’s intervention, analysts say.

“Hollande’s mission was to reach some kind of coordination with Russia,” said Alexei Makarkin, deputy director at Center for Political Technologies. “Now it is very, very doubtful that it is even possible to coordinate actions. The maximum that we can talk about now is avoiding shooting each other.”

Mr. Hollande’s visit to Moscow this week was supposed to be a crowning moment for Mr. Putin’s plan to bring more countries into his antiterrorism tent, as well as any potential rapprochement with the West after isolation over his intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

But Mr. Obama, after expressing a new openness to coordinating with Russia since he met with Mr. Putin in Turkey last week, on Tuesday sought instead to isolate him.

“Russia right now is a coalition of two—Iran and Russia, supporting Assad,” he said. “We’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia is the outlier.”

At the same time, the U.S. and French leaders sought to demonstrate enhanced cooperation in their coalition.

Mr. Hollande said the immediate priority in the military campaign in Syria is to take back territory currently controlled by Islamic State and secure the border with Turkey.

Mr. Obama called on the European Union to implement an agreement that would require airlines to share passenger information.

“By targeting France, terrorists were targeting the world,” said Mr. Hollande.

Mr. Hollande’s stop in Washington was part of a whirlwind international tour to build a “single, grand coalition” of nations to take on Islamic State, which he called for last week.

French diplomats, however, have in recent days inched away from Mr. Hollande’s call for such a sweeping coalition. Instead officials in Paris have spoken of “coordination” in the strikes against Islamic State and have ruled out any shared command center for bombing targets in Syria...
And see, "Turkey Shoots Down Russian Military Jet Near Syrian Border."

New Books on the Salem Witch Trials

At Amazon.

See Benjamin C. Ray, Satan and Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692.

And Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692.

More, Books in Colonial History.

Ellie Goulding for Rollacoaster Magazine


The photos are posted at Imgur, "Ellie Goulding Rollacoaster Magazine.

GRAPHIC: Police Release Video of Officer Shooting Laquan McDonald

At the Chicago Tribune, "Chicago releases dash-cam video of fatal shooting after cop charged with murder," and "A moment by moment account of what the Laquan McDonald video shows."

Also, at WSJ, "Chicago Officials Urge Calm as Police-Shooting Video Is Released":

CHICAGO—A city police officer was charged with murder Tuesday in the fatal shooting in 2014 of a black teenager, and hours later officials released a graphic video showing the white officer repeatedly firing at the 17-year-old.

The video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald was released after a news conference held by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

City leaders said they understood the footage, taken from a camera on a police car dashboard, would be disturbing, but they urged the public not to resort to violence.

“I understand that people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video,” Mr. Emanuel said, but added that the family of Mr. McDonald had urged people to conduct any protest peacefully.

Mr. McDonald died on Oct. 20, 2014, after officers responded to reports of a man breaking into vehicles.

The video shows Mr. McDonald jogging down the middle of a street. He slows to a walk as he approaches two police cruisers that have pulled in ahead of him. He is holding a small knife at his side.

Two officers hop out of one of the vehicles and point their guns at Mr. McDonald as the teen veers away from them.

Mr. McDonald is a car-lane’s-width away when Officer Jason Van Dyke opens fire, the bullets twisting the teen’s body and sending him to the ground. Puffs of smoke can be seen rising from his body, which prosecutors say is from the officer’s continued gunfire.

None of the other officers on the scene opened fire on Mr. McDonald. Police later recovered a knife with a three-inch blade, prosecutors said.

The video doesn’t show Mr. McDonald advancing on Mr. Van Dyke. An initial police version of the shooting, contained in the medical examiner’s report, said the teenager had lunged at the officers with a knife, leading an officer to open fire. A Chicago police spokesman didn’t respond to questions about that initial account.

The video’s release came after Mr. Van Dyke turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. The first-degree murder charge carries a potential penalty of life in prison.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the decision to prosecute was made because Mr. Van Dyke hadn’t faced an immediate threat from Mr. McDonald and because he continued to fire at the teen as he lay on the ground after being shot. The youth was hit by 16 shots.

“Clearly this officer went overboard, and he abused his authority, and I don’t believe the force was necessary,” she said at a separate Tuesday news conference.

Mr. Van Dyke’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, said he expects to prevail at trial. He has said the officer was protecting himself and others.

“This is a case that needs to be tried in a courtroom,” said Mr. Herbert. “This is a case that can’t be tried on the streets. It can’t be tried in the media. It can’t be tried on Facebook.”

Ms. Alvarez said that while she had made the decision to charge the officer internally in recent weeks, the announcement was moved up because of the imminent release of the video.

Mr. Van Dyke, who is 37-years-old, appeared in court Tuesday wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. A judge denied him bail, saying he wanted to view the video before setting bond.

Jeffrey Neslund, an attorney for Mr. McDonald’s family, said they were thankful that the officer had been charged and urged a peaceful response to the video’s release.

“We hope that Laquan will finally get justice,” Mr. Neslund said. “We hope that the city of Chicago will remain peaceful and any demonstrations will be nonviolent.”

The video was ordered released Wednesday by a circuit court judge who ruled last week the footage is subject to public-disclosure laws.

Mayor Emanuel, pastors and community activists have been meeting in recent days in the face of concerns the video could touch off violence in the nation’s third-largest city.

Cities such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore have experienced rioting, looting and vandalism in response to police shootings. But there also have been peaceful protests in many U.S. cities amid a growing call for changes in the use of police force, particularly against black men...

Randall Munroe, Thing Explainer

At Amazon, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words.

Teenage Girl from Vienna Who Ran Away to Join Islamic State Reportedly Beaten to Death After Trying to Flee

Bad things happen when you join up with bad people.

She made a big mistake.

At the Telegraph UK, "Teenage Austrian 'poster girl for the Islamic State' killed by group for trying to escape":
Sabra Kesinovic, 17, was reportedly murdered after she was caught attempting to escape from Raqqa, Syria.
Sabra Kesinovic photo ad_148420533-e1448386266894_zpspxwxxq5d.jpg
An Austrian teenager who became a poster girl for the Islamic State has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after she was caught trying to leave Syria.

Sabra Kesinovic, 17, was murdered after she was caught attempting to escape from Raqqa, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (Isil) de facto capital in Syria, according to reports in two Austrian newspapers.

She appeared extensively in Isil propaganda material after leaving her native Vienna to join the group together with Sabina Selimovic, a 16-year-old friend.

The two teenagers were shown wearing Islamic headbands and brandishing Kalashnikov rifles, surrounded by masked male jihadists.
They were also shown wearing full Islamic veils and pointing towards heaven.

The Austrian government refused to comment on reports in Österreich and Kronen Zeitung newspapers that Kesinovic had been beaten to death.

“We cannot comment on individual cases,” Thomas Schnöll, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said.

Both Austrian women are now believed to be dead, after reports Selimovic was killed in fighting in Syria last year.

Krone Zeitung newspaper quoted an unnamed Tunisian woman who lived with the two Austrians in Raqqa as saying Kesinovic was murdered.

The Tunisian, who was also an Isil volunteer for a woman, later escaped.

Kesinovic and Selimovic were both children of Bosnian refugees who fled to Austria from the war in their country during the nineties.

Their families reported them missing after they disappeared from their homes in Vienna last year.

They reportedly left a note for their families which read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him.”
They were traced as taking a flight to the Turkish capital of Ankara, and travelling on to the region of Adana, close to the border with Syria.

It emerged they had joined Isil after Kesinovic telephoned her sister from Syria to let her know she was alright.

She reportedly wrote home late last year telling family she wanted to return and that she has had enough of the extreme violence she witnessed every day.

It is believed they both married Isil jihadists in Syria. Selimovic later denied reports she was pregnant in an exchange of SMSes to the magazine Paris Match, and claimed she was happy in Syria.

“Here I can really be free. I can practise my religion. I couldn’t do that in Vienna,” she told the magazine.

Reports of her death first emerged last year from David Scharia, an expert at the UN security council’s counter-terrorism committee...

Syrians are a Nation of Terrorist Supporters

From Daniel Greenfield, at FrontPage Magazine, "10,000 Syrian refugees mean 1,300 ISIS supporters":
Syria is a terror state. It didn’t become that way overnight because of the Arab Spring or the Iraq War.

Its people are not the victims of American foreign policy, Islamic militancy or any of the other fashionable excuses. They supported Islamic terrorism. Millions of them still do.

They are not the Jews fleeing a Nazi Holocaust. They are the Nazis trying to relocate from a bombed out Berlin.

These are the cold hard facts.

ISIS took over parts of Syria because its government willingly allied with it to help its terrorists kill Americans in Iraq. That support for Al Qaeda helped lead to the civil war tearing the country apart.

The Syrians were not helpless, apathetic pawns in this fight. They supported Islamic terrorism.

A 2007 poll showed that 77% of Syrians supported financing Islamic terrorists including Hamas and the Iraqi fighters who evolved into ISIS. Less than 10% of Syrians opposed their terrorism.

Why did Syrians support Islamic terrorism? Because they hated America.

Sixty-three percent wanted to refuse medical and humanitarian assistance from the United States. An equal number didn’t want any American help caring for Iraqi refugees in Syria.

The vast majority of Syrians turned down any form of assistance from the United States because they hated us. They still do. Just because they’re willing to accept it now, doesn’t mean they like us.

If we bring Syrian Muslims to America, we will be importing a population that hates us.

The terrorism poll numbers are still ugly. A poll this summer found that 1 in 5 Syrians supports ISIS.  A third of Syrians support the Al Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda. Since Sunnis are 3/4rs of the population and Shiites and Christians aren’t likely to support either group, this really means that Sunni Muslim support for both terror groups is even higher than these numbers make it seem.

And even though Christians and Yazidis are the ones who actually face ISIS genocide, Obama has chosen to take in few Christians and Yazidis. Instead 98.6% of Obama’s Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims.

This is also the population most likely to support ISIS and Al Qaeda.

But these numbers are even worse than they look. Syrian men are more likely to view ISIS positively than women. This isn’t surprising as the Islamic State not only practices sex slavery, but has some ruthless restrictions for women that exceed even those of Saudi Arabia.  (Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front, however, mostly closes the gender gap getting equal support from Syrian men and women.)

ISIS, however, gets its highest level of support from young men. This is the Syrian refugee demographic.

In the places where the Syrian refugees come from, support for Al Qaeda groups climbs as high as 70% in Idlib, 66% in Quneitra, 66% in Raqqa, 47% in Derzor, 47% in Hasakeh, 41% in Daraa and 41% in Aleppo.

Seventy percent support for ISIS in Raqqa has been dismissed as the result of fear. But if Syrians in the ISIS capital were just afraid of the Islamic State, why would the Al Nusra Front, which ISIS is fighting, get nearly as high a score from the people in Raqqa? The answer is that their support for Al Qaeda is real.

Apologists will claim that these numbers don’t apply to the Syrian refugees. It’s hard to say how true that is. Only 13% of Syrian refugees will admit to supporting ISIS, though that number still means that of Obama’s first 10,000 refugees, 1,300 will support ISIS. But the poll doesn’t delve into their views of other Al Qaeda groups, such as the Al Nusra Front, which usually gets more Sunni Muslim support.

And there’s no sign that they have learned to reject Islamic terrorism and their hatred for America...
Still more.

Obama's New Terror Plan: 'Travel at your own risk...'

Ed Driscoll has the New York Daily News cover story, at Instapundit, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS HEADLINE: “BAM’S NEW TERROR PLAN: BE AFRAID:”

KIND — Nuts & Spices, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, 1.4 Ounce, 12 Count

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On sale, 40% Off - Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts.

And for under the tree, from Bruce Levine, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South.

College 'Crybullies'

From the letters, at the Los Angeles Times, "Readers React: Telling college 'crybullies' to grow thicker skin":
Protesting students are exercising their rights of free speech. However, these same students do not recognize the rights of those who disagree with them. Polls have suggested that roughly half of students in many universities favor speech codes and “trigger warnings” alerting them to issues that might offend their sensibilities.

Increasingly there is a totalitarian bent on university campuses, which have become a breeding ground for victimhood. Administrators lack the will to stand up to these tactics.

The real world is not so sanitized and safe. We are doing these young people no service to coddle them. They need to learn to stand up for themselves in debate, not shut down the opposition with demonization.

Lisa Niedenthal
Los Angeles
RELATED: From Roger Kimball, at WSJ, "The Rise of the College Crybullies."

The Rape of Sweden

Condell seems to produce one vlog per per month, so it's probably still a week or two until he comes out with his next one, no doubt on the Paris attacks.

But we'll see. We'll see.

This one's perhaps hard-hitting enough, man.

ICYMI, The German War

From Nicholas Stargardt, The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945.

The German War photo 12279106_10208406113333405_3686314134360095622_n_zpslqmnwofe.jpg

What the 'Hunger Games' Movies Say About Feminism — and War

At the Los Angeles Times, "The Katniss Factor":
Throughout the new "Hunger Games" movie, the fourth and final in the dystopian series, heroine Katniss Everdeen's name is intoned with grave sincerity. The manipulative President Snow whispers it, as one does of a worthy rival; her battle partner and occasional romantic interest Gale Hawthorne utters it to suggest a noble comrade.

But the most telling invocation comes early in the film. "It's Katniss," belts out Peeta Mellark, her other battle partner and romantic interest, compromised and angry as he lies in a hospital bed. "It's [all] because of Katniss."

Much has indeed happened thanks to Katniss, a name you couldn't dream up if you tried and now can't imagine not existing. The character has become a kind of cultural shorthand — an archetype, someone who has deepened our understanding of armed conflicts and paved the way for a political movement. And that's just off the screen.

As the Lionsgate franchise winds down with this week's release of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2," the film and its lead character reside in a far different world than the one in which they began. And many of those differences came because of "The Hunger Games" films.

There is, of course, the money. The franchise that started with novelist Suzanne Collins and was largely directed by Francis Lawrence has taken in $2.3 billion globally, with more on the way. Every year since 2012, at least 35 million tickets have been bought in the United States to a new "Hunger Games" movie. More Americans on average have come out to see Katniss in a given film than they have Harry Potter.

But the effects go beyond sheer popularity. As played by Jennifer Lawrence, Katniss, with her bow and arrow, has inspired a generation to lift up their weapons, both literally (the surge in archery lessons) and otherwise. She is often unsmiling, efficient and "male-like," by the chestnutty Hollywood definition, in which female characters are rarely foremost and even less frequently autonomous.

Before "Hunger Games," Hollywood somehow couldn't conceive of a fully formed, villain-thwacking heroine in a top-tier franchise. Sure, some swings had been taken. But they were exceptions — pre-made stars in one-offs (Angelina Jolie in "Salt" or "Wanted") or one-dimensional types in B-movie serials (Milla Jovovich's "Resident Evil" or Kate Beckinsale's "Underworld").

Katniss, on the other hand, was, almost from the start, confident but complicated, bold but human. "She's just so relatable and she's not a superhero — she feels real, she feels lost, she feels reluctant," said director Francis Lawrence. "She doesn't want to be a leader, she doesn't want to be part of a rebellion."

If the character was sometimes caught in a love triangle, a Bridget Jones touch that doesn't exactly scream postfeminist consciousness, she spent much of the rest of the time knocking away at glass ceilings, the Hollywood lady hero whose power comes from thoughts and actions more than sexuality...
Still more.

CNN, Fox, and Other TV Networks Met to Discuss How to Respond to Donald Trump's Attempts to Restrict Press at Events, Including Blacklisting Reporters

They're not used to this kind of treatment. They've been feted as royalty for so long under the Democrats.

At Politico, "TV networks hold conference call to discuss Trump treatment":
Representatives from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN discussed how embeds and reporters from outlets are being treated, including being pushed into media "pens." The Washington Post was first to report on the conference call.

It's unlikely a formal unified message will be sent to the Trump campaign unless all the networks agree on a response.
The plan, according to one network news executive familiar with the discussions, is to have a call with Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and work through their issues.

The issues being discussed, the executive said, involve access to attendees at Trump events. Often reporters are able to speak with attendees before an event is set to begin, but lately reporters have found themselves confined to media-only areas by Trump staffers.

"The effort in the Trump campaign is to limit any kind of interaction between our reporters and the people attending the Trump events. So we'd like to have some access to folks," the executive said.

But the executive cautioned that the talks were being handled by the networks' political units and were not rising to high executive levels. Though media has complained about access with other campaigns, the executive said this was the first coordinated effort of its kind thus far this cycle...
Just think: a candidate who doesn't need these flacks.

Can the Democrats Keep Us Safe?

At Instapundit, "NO. NEXT QUESTION? New RNC ad: Can these Democratic weaklings be trusted to keep America safe?"

Click through for the new RNC ad.

France Can't Keep Tabs on 10,000 Radicalized Young Muslims (VIDEO)

From last night's CBS Evening News:

Magical Thinking About #ISIS

A far left-wing take on the attacks, from Adam Shatz, at the London Review of Books:
Before the Lebanese civil war, Beirut was known as the Paris of the Middle East. Today, Paris looks more and more like the Beirut of Western Europe, a city of incendiary ethnic tension, hostage-taking and suicide bombs. Parisians have returned to the streets, and to their cafés, with the same commitment to normality that the Lebanese have almost miraculously exhibited since the mid-1970s. Même pas peur, they have declared with admirable defiance on posters, and on the walls of the place de la République. But the fear is pervasive, and it’s not confined to France. In the last few weeks alone, Islamic State has carried out massacres in Baghdad, Ankara and south Beirut, and downed a Russian plane with 224 passengers. It has taunted survivors with threats of future attacks, as if its deepest wish were to provoke violent retaliation.

Already traumatised by the massacres in January, France appears to be granting that wish. ‘Nous sommes dans la guerre,’ François Hollande declared, and he is now trying to extend the current state of emergency by amending the constitution. Less than 48 hours after the event, a new round of airstrikes was launched against Raqqa, in concert with Russia. With a single night’s co-ordinated attacks, IS – a cultish militia perhaps 35,000 strong, ruling a self-declared ‘caliphate’ that no one recognises as a state – achieved something France denied the Algerian FLN until 1999, nearly four decades after independence: acknowledgment that it had been fighting a war, rather than a campaign against ‘outlaws’. In the unlikely event that France sends ground troops to Syria, it will have handed IS an opportunity it longs for: face to face combat with ‘crusader’ soldiers on its own soil.

Recognition as a war combatant is not IS’s only strategic gain. It has also spread panic, and pushed France further along the road to civil strife. The massacre was retribution for French airstrikes against IS positions, but there were other reasons for targeting France. Paris is a symbol of the apostate civilisation IS abhors – a den of ‘prostitution and vice’, in the words of its communiqué claiming responsibility for the attacks. Not only is France a former colonial power in North Africa and the Middle East but, along with Britain, it helped establish the Sykes-Picot colonial borders that IS triumphantly bulldozed after capturing Mosul. Most important, it has – by proportion of total population – more Muslim citizens than any other country in Europe, overwhelmingly descendants of France’s colonial subjects. There is a growing Muslim middle class, and large numbers of Muslims marry outside the faith, but a substantial minority still live in grim, isolated suburbs with high levels of unemployment. With the growth rate now at 0.3 per cent, the doors to the French dream have mostly been closed to residents of the banlieue. Feelings of exclusion have been compounded by discrimination, police brutality and by the secular religion of laïcité, which many feel is code for keeping Muslims in their place. Not surprisingly, more than a thousand French Muslims have gone off in search of glory on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. Most of these young jihadis became radicalised online not in the mosque. Some, like the perpetrators of the attacks in January and November, have histories of arrest and time spent in prison; about 25 per cent of IS’s French recruits are thought to be converts to Islam. What most of the jihadis appear to have in common is a lack of any serious religious training: according to most studies, there is an inverse relationship between Muslim piety and attraction to jihad. As Olivier Roy, the author of several books on political Islam, recently said, ‘this is not so much the radicalisation of Islam as the Islamicisation of radicalism.’

By sending a group of French – and Belgian – citizens to massacre Parisians in their places of leisure, IS aims to provoke a wave of hostility that will end up intensifying disaffection among young Muslims. Unlike the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the 13 November attacks were universally condemned. The victims were of every race, the murders were indiscriminate, and many Muslims live in Seine-Saint-Denis, where the bombing at the the Stade de France took place. In theory, this could have been a unifying tragedy. Yet it is Muslims who will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the emergency measures and of the new rhetoric of national self-defence. Fayçal Riyad, a Frenchman of Algerian parents, who teaches at a lycée in Aubervilliers, a few hundred metres from where the 18 November raid against the fugitive attackers took place, pointed out the change in the air. ‘In his January speech,’ Riyad said, ‘Hollande clearly insisted on the distinction between Islam and terrorism. This time he not only abstained from doing so, but in a way he did the opposite by speaking of the necessity of closing the frontiers, insinuating that the attackers were foreigners, but above all in echoing the National Front’s call for stripping binational French people of their nationality if they’re found guilty of acts against the interests of the country. So that is aggravating our fear.’ Marine Le Pen, whose National Front expects to do well in the regional elections in December, is exultant. But anti-Muslim sentiment is hardly confined to the far right. There has been talk in centre-right circles of a Muslim fifth column; a leading figure in Sarkozy’s party has proposed interning 4000 suspected Islamists in ‘regroupment camps’.

IS achieved a further strategic objective by linking the massacre to the refugee crisis. The memory of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy from Kobani who was found drowned on a Turkish beach, has now been eclipsed by a passport found near the corpse of one of the attackers. That this assailant made his way to France through Greece, carrying a passport in the name of a dead Syrian fighter, suggests careful planning. The purpose is not merely to punish Syrians who have fled the caliphate, but to dampen European compassion for the refugees – already strained by unemployment and the growth of right-wing, anti-immigrant parties. Marine Le Pen called for an immediate halt to the inflow of Syrian refugees; Jeb Bush suggested that only Christian Syrians be admitted into the United States. If the West turns its back on the Syrian refugees, the effect will be to deepen further their sense of abandonment, another outcome that would be highly desirable to IS.

It is hard not to feel sentimental about the neighbourhoods of the 10th and the 11th, where IS attacked Le Petit Cambodge and the Bataclan theatre. I know these neighbourhoods well; a number of my journalist friends live there. In a city that has become more gentrified, more class-stratified and exclusionary, they are still reasonably mixed, cheap and welcoming, still somehow grungy and populaire. Odes to their charms have flooded the French press, as if the attacks were primarily an assault on the bobo lifestyle. ‘They have weapons. Fuck them. We have champagne,’ the front page of Charlie Hebdo declared. But as the journalist Thomas Legrand noted on France Inter, ‘the reality is that we have champagne … and also weapons.’

France has been using those weapons more frequently, more widely, and more aggressively in recent years. The shift towards a more interventionist posture in the Muslim world began under Sarkozy, and became even more pronounced under Hollande, who has revealed himself as an heir of Guy Mollet, the Socialist prime minister who presided over Suez and the war in Algeria. It was France that first came to the aid of Libyan rebels, after Bernard-Henri Lévy’s expedition to Benghazi. That adventure, once the US got involved, freed Libya from Gaddafi, but then left it in the hands of militias – a number of them jihadist – and arms dealers whose clients include groups like IS. France has deepened its ties to Netanyahu – Hollande has made no secret of his ‘love’ for Israel – and criminalised expressions of support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement...
Still more.

The #ParisAttacks in Context

From Robin Simcox, at Foreign Affairs, "France's Perpetual Battle Against Terrorism":
ISIS spoke of France back in September 2014, when group spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani proclaimed to his listeners that “if you can kill an American or European infidel, especially the spiteful and cursed French, kill them in any way possible.” The response to this call was rapid: in December 2014, Bertrand Nzohabonayo attacked three police officers with a knife in Joué-lès-Tours and was shot and killed. Nzohabonayo had uploaded an ISIS flag to his Facebook account shortly before.

Weeks later, Said and Cherif Kouachi, two brothers who had been trained by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, murdered 12 staff members during an attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine’s headquarters in Paris. These particular strikes were not explicitly linked to ISIS, but the next ones were. Over a two-day period in January 2015, Amedy Coulibaly, one of Cherif Kouachi’s associates, killed five people in Paris. He had pledged loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

More was to follow. In April 2015, Sid Ahmed Ghlam allegedly planned to kill Parisian churchgoers and is suspected of having murdered a gym instructor during an attempt to steal her car. Ghlam’s plans were thwarted only when he accidentally shot himself in the leg and was forced to call an ambulance. Three months later, a heavily armed Ayoub el-Khazzani attacked a train heading to Paris from Amsterdam, only to be restrained by passengers and arrested. Both Ghlam and el-Khazzani are linked to the Belgian jihadist and Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a key figure in terror networks with ties to ISIS in Syria. Abaaoud was also linked to the ISIS cell operating in Verviers, Belgium, that was disrupted in January 2015.


None of these cases were detected by French police before they began to unfold. Granted, other plots have been thwarted—such as an attack on a military base in the south of France—but in reality, other disastrous attacks were averted only through good luck and heroic citizens. France's domestic security agency, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure, was formed in May 2014, replacing the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur. According to the France 24 journalist Leela Jacinto, the idea was to “beef up, enlarge, and provide more funds” to the DGSI in order to—as one French official put it—turn it into a “war machine” capable of staving off the terror threat. This task has had an inauspicious start.

The state of French security is problematic enough, but equally troubling is the fact that ISIS is now pulling off complex, coordinated plots that were previously perceived as too difficult for the group to execute...
Still more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Warning

At USA Today, "State Department issues 'worldwide' travel alert."

And the opening segment from tonight's CBS Evening News:

New Jersey Tailgaters Cheered Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

Did thousands cheer?

Don't know, but WaPo's Glenn Kessler claimed that Donald Trump's statement that Muslims cheered 9/11 in New Jersey was an "outrageous" lie. Ahem, not so outrageous after all.

Here's Kessler's hit job, at WaPo via Memeorandum, "Trump's outrageous claim that ‘thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks."

And then see Power Line, "Washington Post's Fact Checker Doesn't Read the Washington Post."

And from Elizabeth Price Foley, at Instapundit, "MUSLIMS IN N.J. CHEERING AFTER 9/11? This is what Donald Trump has asserted, and according to the Washington Post report of Sept. 18, 2001, Trump is right."

#ParisAttacks Show Cracks in France’s Counterterrorism Effort

French law-enforcement authorities had Hasna Aït Boulahcen in sight long before she surfaced as a suspected accomplice in the Paris terror attacks and died during a police raid. Her phone had been tapped as part of an unrelated drug-trafficking investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

It wasn’t until days after the Nov. 13 attacks that French authorities learned that Ms. Aït Boulahcen was the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a notorious Islamic State operative suspected of directing the terror spree that killed 130, the people familiar with the matter said.

That crucial piece of intelligence, supplied by Morocco, allowed French counterterrorism investigators to track Mr. Abaaoud to an apartment building in a Paris suburb, where Mr. Abaaoud, Ms. Aït Boulahcen and a third person, still unidentified, were killed Wednesday in a two-hour battle with police.

But the late discovery of Mr. Abaaoud’s connection with Ms. Aït Boulahcen has left French investigators stunned, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Abaaoud, a militant sought for months by French authorities, had a possible accomplice in Paris right under their nose.

“No need to fool ourselves,” a French government official said. “What we have in front of us is a complete failure.”

The intelligence breakdown comes 10 months after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a kosher store revealed a French security operation hobbled by communication troubles among agencies.

As French authorities try again to analyze the cracks in their counterterrorism bulwark, French officials said they needed to better cooperate with allies while improving their capacity to process a welter of information.

The revelation that France was blind to the blood ties between the 28-year-old Mr. Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin, and Ms. Aït Boulahcen, age 26, is particularly vexing for France, which has been trying to repair its security relationship with Morocco...
Keep reading.

Millennials More Likely to Favor Censorship of Politically Incorrect Comments About Minorities

The fruits of decades of cultural Marxism, and of course, seven years of Obama.

At the Pew Research Center, "40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities."

ADDED: From Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, "THE GRIEVANCE GENERATION."

Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner at the American Music Awards

Youth rules, I guess.

I was watching football and "Homeland," but it was hard to miss the sensational media coverage.

At London's Daily Mail, "Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner bring sexy back to the American Music Awards as they lead the showstoppers on the red carpet."

BONUS: "Demi Lovato looks sensational in a gothic waist-cinching corset and sexy knee-high boots as she steals the show at the American Music Awards."

Obama's Syrian Refugee Debacle

From Glenn Reynolds, at Instapundit, "MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s Syrian Refugee Debacle: Characterizing Republicans as xenophobes won’t hide the fact that president’s foreign policy failures created refugee crisis."

And from the essay:
When President Obama spoke in Washington about the terrorist attacks in Paris, he was curiously unable to raise much passion. The passion came out only later in Turkey when he started attacking Republicans. Those attacks continued throughout that week, with charges that people who oppose resettling Syrian refugees in America are somehow xenophobic haters who are not in touch with American values.

There are two problems with this line of attack for President Obama. The first is that it isn’t true: The opponents of refugee resettlement aren’t xenophobic haters, but ordinary Americans — and, in fact, include roughly a fourth of the House Democratic Caucus, who voted with Republicans to limit refugee resettlement.

The second problem is that Obama himself is the source of the Syrian refugee crisis. But don’t take it from me. Listen to foreign-affairs expert Walter Russell Mead, an original Obama supporter himself: “To see the full cynicism of the Obama approach to the refugee issue," Mead wrote in The American Interest, "one has only to ask President Obama’s least favorite question: Why is there a Syrian refugee crisis in the first place?”

Alessandra Ambrosio Is Maxim's 'World's Sexiest Businesswoman...'

She's always been one of my favorites.

At Maxim, "Alessandra Ambrosio Is Maxim's December Cover Girl."

Also at London's Daily Mail, "Maxim salutes 'world's sexiest businesswoman' Alessandra Ambrosio as she poses naked in series of sultry shots."

Donald Trump 'Goes After' Mary Katharine Ham!

Well, I think it was good-naturedly.

See Twitchy, "Mary Katharine Ham gets attacked for basically agreeing with Donald Trump [video]."

Video of the initial segment, including Juan Williams, is at the link.

And here's Mary Katharine with Howard Kurtz. It's great to see her back on TV after the tragic loss of her husband. She's a great lady.

Katie Pavlich on Donald Trump's Call to Resume 'Enhanced Interrogations' (VIDEO)

From Fox & Friends this morning:

France Launches First Missions from Aircraft Carrier (VIDEO)

Via France 24:

Donald Trump Out Front in Both Iowa and New Hampshire, New CBS News Polls Finds (VIDEO)

At CBS News, via Memeorandum, "Poll: Trump retakes lead, Cruz surges in IA; Rubio second in NH."

Trump's way out front in New Hampshire, at 32 percent, with Ted Cruz his nearest rival at 12 percent. The Iowa horse race is closer, but Trump, at 30 percent, is still nearly 10 points ahead in the Hawkeye State.

Some Holiday Shoppers Already Lining-Up for Deals (VIDEO)

Truly bizarre.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles, "5 Days Before Black Friday, Some Folks Already Lined Up Looking for Bargains."

Mumbai Was Critical Model for #ParisAttacks

In more ways than one.

Not only did terrorists organizations, most likely Islamic State, grasp the tactical significance of Mumbai for terror campaigns, but police and intelligence agencies worldwide seized on the Mumbai attacks to upgrade training and readiness.

A fascinating piece, at USA Today, "Mumbai was big lesson in Paris-style attack":
WASHINGTON — While the dead were still being tallied at multiple terrorist targets in Paris, security analysts were drawing immediate comparisons to coordinated assaults seven years earlier in India.

The Mumbai attacks, carried out by Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group at 12 locations across the city, served as a stunning warning to counterterrorism officials throughout the world, including the United States, and exposed the vulnerability of so-called soft targets —transportation centers, restaurants, hotels and sports arenas, among others — to rolling, multiple target attacks.

Within days after the November 2008 attacks, the New York Police Department staged elaborate exercises to mimic the four-day assault, which left more than 150 dead across Mumbai. In Boston, Mumbai commanders were brought to Massachusetts to prepare special bomb and SWAT units for the prospect of coordinated attacks there. And in Seattle, Mumbai is prominently referenced in a vulnerability analysis by the Office of Emergency Management as part of a “maximum credible scenario.’’

The method of attack in Mumbai — the deployment of heavily armed gunmen and the use of explosives, like in Paris — prompted one of the most dramatic reassessments of the terrorist threat since the Sept. 11 attacks, law enforcement officials and security analysts said.

James Waters, chief of the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau, said lessons learned in Mumbai have "without question'' heavily influenced how the nation's largest police force now responds to the current threat.

"It (Mumbai) was a watershed moment in counterterrorism,'' said Mitchell Silber, the NYPD's former director of intelligence analysis. "Before Mumbai, the focus of attention was on spectacular 9/11-style attacks or single-target bombings. Mumbai was essentially a raid by teams fanning out across the city. It is so eerily close to what occurred in Paris; it is almost like (the Islamic State) watched the documentary and sought to re-create it.''

Mumbai offered a simplistic yet lethal strategy that, like 9/11, ignited widespread fear.

Directed by a control group in Pakistan, 10 heavily armed gunmen arrived by boat and dispersed to targets throughout the city. Among them: the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, a local train terminal, a hospital and a Jewish community center.

Casualties mounted, analysts said, as the terrorists succeeded in confusing law enforcement's response.

For U.S. authorities, Mumbai brought into sharp and sudden focus how such a low-cost operation could have such high impact...

'Homeland' Season 5, Episode 8: An Intelligence Expert Weighs In

As usual, the show was pretty gripping last night, especially that gasp! of a conclusion.

Careful spoilers, if you haven't watched it yet, at WSJ's Speakeasy blog:
Warning: This post contains major spoilers from tonight’s episode of “Homeland,” “All About Allison.”

The lesson we learned on tonight’s “Homeland,” is that it always pays to remember those tiny, seemingly insignificant details from a random conversation you had with someone a decade ago.

This week’s episode, “All About Allison,” spent a good portion of its time in flashback mode, where we saw a fresh-faced Carrie Mathison and a vacation-bound Allison Carr‘s first meeting back in 2005 Baghdad. Carrie had just arrived to relieve Allison of her post, with her predecessor positively itching for some R&R at a St. Lucia beachside bar called Banana Joe’s (remember that detail)...
Keep reading.

Islamic State Demonstrates Wider Range of Tactics

From earlier, "Scale of #ParisAttacks Underscores Global Threats."

Here's the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, "Islamic State Tactics Shift, Borrowing From al Qaeda."

And now from yesterday at the Los Angeles Times, a great piece, "Islamic State shows the ability to shift to more sophisticated tactics":
Islamic State militants may be under bombardment by a dozen world powers bent on wiping them out, but they have managed to expand their repertoire of terrorist tactics to carry out ever more sophisticated attacks that disrupt Western society.

The band of extremists has succeeded in escalating the pace and scope of deadly attacks with nimble improvisation and the ultimate commitment of its perpetrators: readiness to die for their cause.

In less than a month the extremists professing to be defending their "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq have blown a Russian passenger jet out of the sky with 224 people on board, executed two foreign hostages and terrorized Paris with coordinated strikes at the "soft targets" of a sports stadium, a theater and a pair of lively cafes.

On Friday, militants linked to a fellow Al Qaeda offshoot killed at least 20 people at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako.

Aimed at jacking up the death toll and prolonging their time in the media spotlight, Islamic State and its affiliated militias have perfected their operations with practice and put their perceived enemies on notice that there is much more savagery to come.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned in a speech before the National Assembly on Thursday that France and the West face a new kind of war in which "terror is the first goal and the first weapon."

"The ways of striking, of killing, are constantly evolving. The macabre imagination of those giving the orders is without limits: assault rifles, decapitations, human bombs, knives, or all of them at once, carried out by individuals, or in this case, specially organized commandos," Valls said.

Since the cleaving of Islamic State from its Al Qaeda parent two years ago, the militants have shifted from a focus on battling rival Muslim factions in Iraq and Syria to waging multi-pronged attacks that compound their terrorism. The Paris attacks were their first European mission to adopt the methodology of deploying multiple strike forces that combine suicide bombings with random shootings, a hybrid tested in Mumbai, India, in 2008, when 166 were killed in a dozen separate attacks that paralyzed the city for four days.

The "complex operations," as they are called in counter-terrorism parlance, have the advantages, from the perpetrators' perspective, of dispersing law enforcement's response and portraying the militants as an omnipotent force, aiding them in recruiting other extremists...
Keep reading.

Santa Barbara Widow at the Center of Vacation Rental Controversy

Airbnb's taken up her cause.

At KEYT News 3 Santa Barbara:

Twitter Account Honors Victims of #ParisAttacks

At France 24, "Paris attacks: Twitter account honours victims."

It's really beautiful.

Belgium Has Become Center of European Terror

At Der Spiegel, "Bad Brussels' Sprouts: Belgium Has Become Center of European Terror":
With 19 municipal mayors and six different police authorities, Brussels is a tangle of bureaucracy. It's also home to the suspected perpetrators behind Friday's Paris attacks. The failure of Belgian authorities has become a security problem for all of Europe.

The terror attack was the consequence of the opening of the borders on the European Continent, said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. He added that police authorities in European Union member states exchange too little data. Michel also questioned the Schengen Agreement, which regulates the freedom of borderless travel within the EU. "We are now confronted with a new threat level in Europe," he said.

But these words didn't come this weekend, following the massacre in Paris of 132 people across the French capitol city on Friday night. They came after Islamists murdered the editors of the Paris-based French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. Back then, the perpetrators also had links to Belgium. It wasn't the first time either. Police arrested 13 jihadists in Belgium and two even died in a shootout at the time.

Belgium now finds itself at the center of a major terror investigation once again. The suspected masterminds of the Paris terror attack came from Brussels' Molenbeek neighborhood, and at least one further perpetrator lived here. Security officials arrested several suspects during raids in the district over the weekend.

The greater Brussels area has long been considered to be a hotbed for radical Islamists. Troubled neighborhoods like Molenbeek and Anderlecht are known as being homes to secluded communities of immigrants in which radicals can easily go underground. So has Belgium become the center of terror in Europe and a security risk for the entire Continent?

Six Police Agencies Working for 19 Mayors

Belgian lawmaker Hans Bonte says he "isn't surprised at all" that several terror suspects got arrested in Molenbeek. He attributes two factors to the development: the sectionalism of Belgium's policing and a lack of monitoring and social control of radicalized Muslims.

Brussels is a city of 1.2 million people and it has not one, but six different police agencies. These agencies answer to 19 different municipal mayors who are often political rivals. "It's unbelievable that something like this exists in Europe's capital," says Bonte.

Furthermore, the unresolved conflict between the country's two largest populations, the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons is casting a shadow over all this. The Belgian government has sought for the past 40 years to defuse the situation through the decentralization of the state. Jan Flambon, the country's Flemish interior minister, has called for the six police authorities in the greater Brussels area to be merged in response to the Paris terror attacks, but he's unlikely to succeed. "That's a Flemish fantasy," sneers Ahmed El Kahnnouss, the deputy municipal mayor of Molenbeek, who says that the French-speaking areas insist on francophone police, in accordance with the country's traditional principle of communal autonomy.

The security agencies are also considered to be poorly equipped, especially in the less-prosperous areas like Molenbeek. "My impression is that they, even more frequently than us, are using outdated technology and that they have to drive around in less-efficient police cars," says one German security official. "Besides, the budgets are always very tight there." The official said that surveillance, wire-tapping and the deployment of informants is costly -- both in terms of personnel and money...
Keep reading.

And linked at the piece, "The Belgium Question: Why Is a Small Country Producing So Many Jihadists?"

Eyewitness Video Immediately After #ParisAttacks

The scene's out in front of one of the cafes. The clip's pixelated.

At Sky News, "Eyewitness Footage Shows Immediate Aftermath of #ParisAttacks."

The Booming Black Market for Fake Syrian Passports

At the Independent UK, "Paris terror attack: The booming black market for fake Syrian passports":
Fraudulent Syrian passports are nothing new on the migratory route from Turkey through Europe.

The terrorist who blew himself up outside the Stade de France had fingerprints matching that of a man who arrived on European shores Oct. 3 alongside desperate migrants who had crossed over from Turkey, according to French and Greek officials.

But the Syrian passport found near his body, which quickly sparked a political debate in Europe and the United States? It was a fake.

Fraudulent Syrian passports are nothing new on the migratory route from Turkey through Europe. Indeed, German officials this year estimated that nearly a third of asylum seekers falsely claimed they were Syrian.

That's because a Syrian passport has become a valuable item, as European nations have pledged to grant asylum to refugees from the Middle Eastern nation.

A range of individuals seek seek fraudulent Syrian documents. Many of them are so-called economic migrants who take life-threatening risks to get to Europe in search of a better life but aren't granted the same welcome as those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Eritrea. As The Post reported in September, among the flood of Syrian war refugees seeking asylum are other migrants — Iranians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Somalis and Kosovars — some of whom pose as Syrians...

France Expands Government’s Security Powers in Wake of #ParisAttacks

I hope Hollande's able to push those constitutional revisions through the parliament.

Strip the freakin' jihadists of their citizenship and ship them off to Devil's Island.

At WSJ, "France Expands Government’s Security Powers in Wake of Paris Attacks":
PARIS—French police will have more power to detain suspects, disband associations and block websites under a bill approved by the lower house of parliament Thursday, the first in a series of sweeping proposals from President François Hollande to prevent a repeat of the terrorist massacres that shook Paris last week.

The proposed law, which adds to police powers as part of a three-month extension of the country’s state of emergency, passed 551-6. It will go before the Senate on Friday under an accelerated legislative procedure.

Expansion of security powers has been a central element in the response to the attacks, in which militants killed at least 129 people. Since Mr. Hollande declared a state of emergency early Saturday, police have mounted some 600 raids without prior judicial authorization. One assault early Wednesday led to the death of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is suspected of playing a major role in plotting the attacks.

The government also wants to update the constitution to enshrine new emergency powers, new surveillance methods and a broader ability to strip people of their citizenship.

“We are at war,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told lawmakers. “It’s a new type of war—abroad and at home—where terror is the primary aim and the primary weapon.”

The French move came amid calls in the European Union for stronger coordination to combat terrorist attacks. Rob Wainwright, head of the EU police network Europol, told the European Parliament that European governments need to share more intelligence to prevent potential Paris-type terrorist attacks.

“It is reasonable to assume that further attacks are likely,” he said, adding that the Paris attacks were a clear statement of intent by Islamic State.

The French bill updates a statute crafted in 1955 during the Algerian War that gives police emergency powers including confining dangerous individuals to their homes, banning public gatherings and conducting searches and raids without judicial approval.

Under the new framework—which applies only during a declared state of emergency—the government will now be able to confine people or force them to wear electronic bracelets, under a lower standard, namely “serious reasons to think their behavior could be a danger to security and public order.”

The government will also have authorization to copy data on any computer system during its emergency raids.

It also can disband groups and associations that participate in or incite “serious violations of public order” and immediately block any “public communication service” that incites or condones terrorism. That boosts powers granted in a divisive law last year allowing police to block websites after informing operators and giving them time to remove information.

The government’s proposal to extend the state of emergency to three months forged rare unity in the National Assembly. Even far-right lawmaker Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, the niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen, voted in favor.

“An exceptional situation calls for exceptional measures,” Ms. Maréchal-Le Pen said.

Yet not all lawmakers were on board. Pouria Amirshahi, a Socialist lawmaker on the left of Mr. Hollande’s party, voted against the extension along with five others at the National Assembly. One lawmaker abstained.

Mr. Amirshahi said the government is hastily curtailing civil liberties it would defend in normal times, setting the stage for potential abuses of government power. He argued the exceptional powers also aren’t necessary to carry out raids like the one on Wednesday that killed the suspected architect of the Paris attacks.

“The temptation of authoritarianism is taking hold of part of the elite. That often happens in times of high emotion,” Mr. Amirshahi said...
The "temptation of totalitariasm."

Pfft. Hollande should shuttle the socialists off to Devil's Island as well.

Bill Whittle's Firewall: How Leftists Cause Islamic State Terror Attacks (VIDEO)

He's a freakin' patriot.

To Crush Islamic State, the West Must Settle on Military Tactics, Cut Off Oil Money, Counter Propaganda

At WSJ, "The War on Islamic State":
The Paris attacks and the downing of a Russian airliner have heightened determination in Moscow, Paris and Washington to defeat Islamic State, a challenge easier said than done.

Many strategists say military advances will show little progress unless more work is done to eliminate the militant group’s financing, counter its propaganda and cut a diplomatic deal among world powers on Syrian rule.

For military planners, destroying the terrorist group’s headquarters and crippling its fighting force is a relatively simple assignment, say strategists: It would require some 40,000 troops, air support and two months of fighting.

The problem is what do to after taking responsibility for won territory. With the recent experience of Afghanistan and Iraq, that is a job no Western leader wants. Many officials, especially in Europe, believe a full-scale military response would help Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, by broadcasting an image of Westerners seizing Arab lands, attracting more followers to the militants’ cause.

“Drawing us into a ground war with them is a trap,” said a French government official. “Frankly, I doubt it would go very well.”

The options short of a ground invasion are limited. After fighting Islamic State for more than a year through airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, military officers, diplomats and analysts agree there is no easy formula for victory.

Western allies are developing ways to escalate their operations and shift tactics. France is stepping up air attacks and bringing in 24 planes on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which will arrive in the eastern Mediterranean next week to triple French air power in the region.

The U.S. military has developed options to accelerate the fight against Islamic State, including measures designed to strengthen local partners—Kurdish forces, for example, in Iraq and Syria—against the militants.

The U.S. also is considering creation of a base in Iraq to launch raids on Islamic State leaders; tripling the number of special operation forces working in Syria; and expanding the list of Islamic State targets by risking additional civilian casualties in more aggressive airstrikes.

Derek Chollet, a former Pentagon official with the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. think tank, said taking more aggressive steps, such as sending U.S. forces to the front lines to call in airstrikes, could help in the fight but will take time. Entering into a ground war, he said, could be a mistake.

“We made a lot of decisions as a country in the wake of 9/11, in the fever of fear and the desire to do something decisive, that we are still digging ourselves out of,” he said.

Some strategists say Islamic State may be more vulnerable than it appears. The group seems to have challenged the world, said Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank in London. Islamic State has picked fights not only in the Middle East, but with the U.S., Russia and France. This week it baited Beijing by killing a Chinese hostage.

“They think this is their time in history, their victory is divinely assured,” Mr. Clarke said. “From a strategic point of view, they are making every mistake.”

The Paris attacks—along with the bombing of a Russian plane and attacks in Turkey—have raised the prospect of an alliance between Moscow and the West.

Whether the gestures of solidarity over the past week will continue is an open question. Russian aggression in Ukraine looms in the background. Many Western officials say Europe and the U.S. can’t ignore the annexation of Crimea or Moscow’s support for Ukraine separatists.

And, on Syria, the diplomatic rift remains between Russia, which sees the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the best bulwark against chaos in the region, and the West, which believes the Assad regime is to blame.

“There is the potential for this to work,” said a senior official in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “But you have to start any talk about any sort of coalition with a common objective, and we don’t yet have a common objective.”

European diplomats and scholars say both sides may now be willing to compromise. “This string of attacks have had a catalytic effect,” said Marc Pierini, a former European Union diplomat and scholar at the think tank Carnegie Europe. “Something is happening that is entirely new.”
Keep reading.

National Review's 60th Anniversary Issue

Jeff Jacoby has a write up, "At 60, National Review’s battle of ideas is as spirited as ever."

And at the magazine, "NATIONAL REVIEW 60TH ANNIVERSARY."