Archive for October 26th, 2007

US Will Strike Iran if Diplomacy Fails

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Successful diplomacy with a terror state? Not likely.

A senior Palestinian intelligence official said that based on meetings with American diplomats he “understood” the U.S. plans to target Iran’s suspected nuclear installations in two to three months if negotiations with Tehran don’t generate a major breakthrough.

The official, speaking to WND yesterday on condition of anonymity, said according to what he “understood,” the U.S. will “pay” for Arab support for a U.S. strike against Iran by creating a temporary Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank by next summer.

The official met last week with U.S. secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip here earlier this month to prepare for a U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit slated for next month in which Israel is expected to outline a future Palestinian state in most of the West Bank.

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Father Sues Westboro Baptist “Church” for Cheering at Son’s Funeral

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I am not usually an advocate of settling things in court, but in this case it may be the only way to stop the madness at Westboro Baptist “Chuch” (I use the term church loosely). Maybe if a judge makes them pay for their actions, they will quit the senseless, Godless way they are protesting at our soldier’s funerals.

The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers’ funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son’s burial made him sick to his stomach.

Albert Snyder said Wednesday he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.

“They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family,” Snyder testified. “They wanted their message heard and they didn’t care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside.”

Snyder is suing the Westboro Baptist church, whose members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country’s tolerance of homosexuality. The York resident is seeking unspecified monetary damages in the case for invasion of privacy and intent to inflect emotional distress as a result of the Topeka, Kan., church’s protest at his son’s funeral in Westminster in March 2006.

The church’s protests have inspired several state laws and a federal law about funeral protests, but the Maryland suit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

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Flag-Folding Recitations for Vets Banned Because of Religious Content

Friday, October 26th, 2007

More attempts by the government to quash religious freedom. Guess where the problem started? If you guessed California, you were absolutely right.

RIVERSIDE,California – Complaints about religious content have led to a ban on flag-folding recitations by Veterans Administration employees and volunteers at all 125 national cemeteries. It all started because of one complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery in California.

Veterans and honor detail volunteers, including Bobby Castillo, 85, and Rees Lloyd, 59, are furious. “That the actions of one disgruntled, whining, narcissistic and intolerant individual is preventing veterans from getting the honors they deserve is truly an outrage,” Lloyd said. “This is another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God.”

Charlie Waters, parliamentarian for the American Legion of California, said he’s advising memorial honor details to ignore the edict. “This is nuts,” Waters told the Riverside Press-Enterprise by telephone from Fresno. “There are 26 million veterans in this country, and they’re not going to take us all to prison.”

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Israel holding talks with Hamas: Abbas

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Pray for Israel. Pray that Olmert doesn’t give away everything to the pali terrorist like he says he’s going to.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that meetings have taken place between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

But both Israel and Hamas quickly denied that such talks had taken place.

“We have information that some Hamas men are meeting with the Israelis at Erez (on the Israel-Gaza border). This information is almost confirmed,” Abbas said after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“I don’t know if the meeting was for normalisation or to calm things down,” Abbas said, according to the royal palace.

Israel, which boycotts Hamas as a terrorist organisation, categorically denied any such meetings. “This is utter nonsense,” said Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A spokesman for Hamas, which does not recognise Israel’s right to exist, also issued a denial.

“These are baseless allegations. He wants to justify the meetings he himself is holding with the Israeli occupier despite continued Israeli aggression against our people,” Samir Abu Zuhri told AFP.

Abbas is due to hold talks with Olmert on Friday as part of preparations for a Middle East conference in the United States this year despite mutual recriminations over poor progress to date.

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“Hollywood’s War on the War on Terror” by Michael Fumento

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Read this excellent article, by Michael Fumento, detailing Hollywood’s latest endeavors to paint terrorist as “good guys” and Americans as “bad guys”.

Critics have labeled the new movie “Rendition” a “political thriller.” Whether it thrills or not is subjective. But “political”? Absolutely. It’s merely the latest in an unbroken series of major films about the war on terror that range from those seeking to assure us that Islamist terrorism isn’t the threat we might think, to those depicting the terrorists as no worse than those who fight them — and by implication the American people as a whole.

In 1942, Hollywood went to war. It began pumping out countless movies designed both to entertain the public and bolster its will to fight. A lot of them were cheap, hokey, or both. But even in a nation that seemingly needed little reminder of the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor or the evils of the Nazis, they kept drilling home the message that we must persevere no matter the costs or the duration.

Well that they did. President Franklin Roosevelt lived in constant fear that the public would turn against the war. Indeed a Gallup Poll taken just five months before Germany’s collapse and long after the American public began learning of the horrors of the Holocaust, showed about one-fourth did not want to drive on to unconditional surrender.

Fast forward that reel to the post-9/11 era. Just how many Hollywood movies (not documentaries) have been made in which the bad guys are Islamist terrorists that do not specifically concern the Sept. 11 attacks? If you have to guess, guess “none.”

Consider, too, the odyssey of the conversion of Tom Clancy’s massive best-selling 1991 book, “The Sum of All Fears,” in which a nuclear bomb destroys an American city, into the 2002 film of the same name. In the book and the original script, the bad guys were Islamist terrorists. Little did Mr. Clancy know how realistic his choices of villains were: Federal court hearings in February 2001 revealed that as early as 1993, Osama bin Laden offered $1.5 million to buy uranium for a nuclear weapon.

But ultimately the Paramount movie depicted the bomber as yet another comic book character villain, an Austrian neo-Nazi. (Though at least he never says, “Vee haff vays uf making you talk!”)

Mr. Clancy, who unfortunately had no control over the process, took a swipe at director Phil Alden Robinson on the special features section of the DVD. Mr. Robinson, for his part, made the incredible claim on the DVD extra that the change was in the name of realism.

In reality, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had lobbied to change the villains and won. “I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs,” Mr. Robinson wrote to them, “and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.” Paramount’s CEO at the time, Sherry Lansing, also suggested that she would steer clear of movies with Muslim villains.

Indeed, one of the few competent characters in “Live Free or Die Hard,” the Deputy FBI Director, looks Arab. In reality, he’s a New Zealander of Maori descent but indeed played an Arab in the film “Three Kings.”

As for CAIR, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI’s counterterrorism section, Steven Pomerantz, has charged that the organization has “effectively given aid to international terrorist groups.” In June federal prosecutors named CAIR an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a plot to fund the designated terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR’s 1996 publication, “The Price of Ignorance,” listed “incidents of anti-Muslim bias and violence” that included the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman was convicted of conspiring to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel and other New York City landmarks.

By cooperating with organizations like CAIR, Hollywood kowtows to groups that aid and abet terrorists.

Moreover, it’s hardly the case that Islamists don’t make believable villains, much less more believable and captivating than evil cyber-geniuses and neo-Nazis. Islamists have killed about three thousand American civilians on 9/11, killed almost 200 people in the Madrid Train Bombings, and 52 more in the London subway bombings.

Islamic terrorists routinely explode bombs in markets and launch chlorine gas attacks. They build torture chambers and make and display videos of beheadings in which the victim screams in agony as his head is sawed off with a dull knife.

Even their foiled plots are often bizarre, such as Richard Reid’s “shoe bomber” attempt. These guys are a scriptwriter’s dream. Quentin Tarantino couldn’t think this stuff up.

As to not wanting to stereotype either Arabs or Muslims, the vast majority of whom want nothing to do with violence done in Mohammed’s name, has it occurred to the Tinseltown terror apologists that nobody suffers more from Islamic terror than Muslims themselves?

Islamist terrorists everyday kill and maim Iraqis and Afghans. Afghans were forced to suffer for years under the Taliban terror regime. Now the terrorists have blown up at least 136 Pakistanis and injured 400 more for the “sin” of greeting former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Was there what the Islamists call an “infidel,” such as a Christian or Jew, among them?

Whether CAIR cares about them, we should. So should the moguls in La La Land. Instead, they’re giving us the equivalent of 1943 movies equating FDR with Hitler.

Hollywood truly has declared war on the global war on terror.

Original Link.

Forest Thinning Helps Spare Some Homes

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I’m going to get in trouble for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway…
California’s excessive environmental laws and attitudes are directly responsible for the losses from this week’s wildfires.
Forest thinning does help.

LAKE ARROWHEAD — As flames ravage surrounding communities, this resort town high in the San Bernardino Mountains emerged largely unscathed, an island in a sea of destruction.

The credit for that isolated victory, federal officials say, should go to firefighting tactics, shifting winds and favorable terrain — and a sometimes controversial U.S. Forest Service effort to eliminate the tinder that fuels forest fires.

Since 2002, the Forest Service has removed millions of trees, thinned brush and cut low-hanging branches, creating fuel breaks around almost 80% of the community. Fires don’t spread quickly or easily through such areas, instead burning lower to the ground and with less intensity.

“The fuel breaks saved Lake Arrowhead,” said Randall Clauson, the Forest Service’s division chief for the San Bernardino National Forest and incident commander earlier this week on the two biggest wildfires still burning in the mountains.

He said he believes that, without the breaks, “the fire would have run right through Lake Arrowhead and gone to Highway 18, cutting off the evacuation route and probably resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.”

But not everyone was convinced that forest-thinning itself played such a pivotal role.

“Thinning and cleanup of surface fuels really does help,” said Ken Larson, a fire behavior analyst with the Forest Service, stationed at the fire command post in the San Bernardino Mountains. “But there are many variables at play. Even that may not save structures in the face of extreme winds and extreme conditions.”

Still, evidence was dramatic in the thinned forest areas. In one cluster of Lake Arrowhead neighborhoods protected by fuel breaks, only a few stumps were burning and no trees were lost. Hundreds of surrounding homes were untouched.

Some of the worst-hit areas like Running Springs don’t have fuel breaks. Just 20% of Big Bear is protected by breaks, fire officials said.

The Forest Service decided that Lake Arrowhead would be first in line for the fuel breaks because it had suffered worst from the bark beetle infestation and drought that killed 90% of its pine trees, turning them into enormous fire hazards.

“We have been doing it like triage,” Clauson said. “We started here so we got the most done here.”

The work is painstaking, expensive and controversial. Clauson has a budget of $17 million a year to create fuel breaks in the forest and has so far completed 25,000 acres. The goal is 100,000 acres. He still runs into people who object to cutting trees, suspecting it of being clandestine logging.

To gain public acceptance, Clauson spent a year holding meetings, sometimes attending three a week, where he pushed the idea and urged private landowners to thin their trees.

“This has been the first test of this magnitude and I think it has proven its effectiveness,” he said.

And yet there is only so much the Forest Service can do. Lake Arrowhead didn’t escape unscathed. In Grass Valley, an upscale part of the town about a mile from Lake Arrowhead, more than 100 homes were destroyed. Many had been surrounded by tall trees and lush vegetation left uncleared by the homeowners.

There were scenes of total devastation — lakeside homes reduced to their foundations, torched cars and, in one house, only a pair of smudged lawn jockeys survived. Power lines littered the ground or hung perilously overhead.

“We can spend $100 million to put fuel breaks around every town up here but if individuals don’t take responsibility for their land I can’t save them,” Clauson said.

Original Link.


Friday, October 26th, 2007

The voices of truth can never be diminished or drowned out, be it by the rain that fell in New York City or by the zealousness of truth’s adversaries. On Wednesday evening, October 24th, the electricity in the air was palpable on the campus of Columbia University. In a packed classroom in the mathematics building, a panel discussion was held as part of an ongoing series of lectures in a weeklong event being held on over 100 university and college campuses. This nationwide event is entitled Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and is the brainchild of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

David Horowitz is a former left-wing academic whose politics have now taken a giant step to the right. As one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s, he was also the editor of its most influential magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of a number of best-selling dynastic biographies on the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Fords, and the Roosevelts. With Collier he also wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their break with the 1960s Left, that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. On his web site,, Mr. Horowitz champions an array of causes including the defense of the principles of individual freedom as well as defending free societies in the war against their enemies, and the reestablishment of academic freedom in American schools.

Because of the controversy that swirls around an event of this nature and magnitude, threats of protests and possible disruptions were made by a number of quintessential left-wing and pro-Muslim organizations including the Revolutionary Communist Party, United for Peace and Justice, Jewish Progressives and the Muslim Student Association, among others. Several security guards, (provided by the David Horowitz Freedom Center) who looked strikingly similar to stoic FBI agents or undercover cops ushered in the panelists and stood guard around the room. While the audience was quite diverse in nature, outside the building stood a lone demonstrator, who held a sign reviling the event as racist. Inside, the story was a bit different. A contingent from the Revolutionary Communist Party along with left wing representatives of the Women’s Studies and Middle Eastern Studies departments got their printing presses rolling at top speed, churning out libelous propaganda aimed at discrediting the objectives of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and took aim at the panelists, namely Phyllis Chesler. They even resorted to passing out a sheet of pre-prepared questions for audience members to ask that reeked of bellicosity, and surely did not promote open mindedness. So much for academic freedom and freedom of speech.

The student representative who helped organize this event asked the audience to curtail their predilection to disrupt the speakers and announced the rules for the Q&A, which followed.

Judging by the persons impaneled for the event at Columbia University, it would appear that Mr. Horowitz is not the only one whose political voice has made some major modifications. Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an Emerita Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island was a prominent voice and vanguard of the Second Wave feminist movement and a former political progressive. When she began to challenge the feminist and left-wing camps for propounding a “multi-cultural relativism” which essentially exonerates the Muslim world for its pervasive and barbaric abuse of women, she was labeled as a “dangerous traitor” by her former colleagues and relegated to a persona non-grata status. Her groundbreaking views on Islamic gender and religious apartheid have caused near riots on the many campuses that she has lectured at. She is a self-described “culture warrior” and is passionately committed to exposing the “Big Lies” of the left leaning, liberal Western academy. She is the author hundreds of articles and of 13 books, including, “The New Anti-Semitism – The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It”, (2003) which graphically illustrates the anti-Semitic agenda of intellectuals on the left, under the guise of anti-Zionism.

Ibn Warraq is a best-selling author, ex-Muslim intellectual, a dogmatic secularist, scholar and founder of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, specializing in Koranic criticism. Warraq gathered world notice through his controversial historiographies of the early centuries of the Islamic timeline and has published works which tend to challenge traditional conceptions of the period. He is the author of seven books, including Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), The Origins of the Koran (1998),Quest for the Historical Muhammad, (2000), What the Koran Really Says (2002),Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out(2003), the just released – Defending the West: a Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism (2006) and Which Koran? (2007). He has also spoken at the “Victims of Jihad” conference at the United Nations that was organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union alongside speakers such as Bat Ye’or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Simon Deng. The name “Ibn Warraq” is a pseudonym, to protect the true identity of a man who is “most wanted” in Muslim circles. Having been highly critical of Islam he is now considered an apostate, a marked man for his “heretical” views and for “betraying” the faith he was born into. His detractors claim he engages in anti-Islamic polemics while others such as atheist author Richard Dawkins describe him as a “deeply knowledgeable scholar of Islam.”

Christina Hoff-Sommers is a former professor of philosophy and ethics at Clark University in Worcester, MA and a resident scholar at a conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI). She is an author of several books including her seminal work, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (1994), and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men (2001). In her books and articles, Hoff-Sommers applies Paulo Freire’s principle of transition to supremacy movements in successful political struggles to the mainstream feminist movement. She speaks of the distinction between equity feminism and gender feminism, the latter being the action of accenting the differences of genders for the purposes of creating privilege for women in academia, government, industry, or advancing personal agendas. She suggests that feminist leaders are not only placing their political goals above academic honesty, but they are also indoctrinating impressionable university students not with grounded science, but rather with disingenuous, emotionally-charged pseudo information. Like her co-panelist, Phyllis Chesler, Hoff-Sommers accuses the Western feminist movement of losing its moral clarity and of abandoning the cause of spotlighting and protesting against the horrific abuse of women in the Muslim world.

The evening began with Ibn Warraq offering an absolutely brilliant refutation of the late Columbia University English and Comparative Literature professor, Edward Said’s 1978 book entitled “Orientalism”, which marked the beginnings of postcolonial studies. According to the impeccable scholarly research done by Warraq, he asserts that the roots of late 20th century Islamo-Fascism began with Said’s premise that “all of the woes of the Arabs in the Islamic world can be blamed on America and Israel”. He points to the intellectual dishonesty of Said’s claims that all Europeans are racists, thereby creating “a western style for dominating the Orient.” He also reminds us that there are gross historic inaccuracies in Said’s manifesto and that Said was not a Muslim and was not a scholar of Islamic though, yet did everything in his power to foster the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Warraq tells us that through his writings, Said created a climate in which self-pity infected the vast precincts of the Islamic world, in which the West also appeared as the colonialist aggressor while the East remained the passive victim.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, despite an injury to her leg, literally rose to the occasion and delivered her stirring remarks with the aplomb of a veteran academic and professor. She addressed a number of important issues including the growing concern in the Western world of the rampant spread of Islamo-Fascism which threatens to bring with it to our shores its own inimitable version of gender and racial apartheid. That translates into forced veilings of women, honor killings, female genital mutilation, stonings, wife-beating, forced marriages and purdah, not to mention executions of women, intellectuals, dissidents, homosexuals and other infidels.

She took issue with her former feminist colleagues when she said, “Western feminists and academics must end their unnatural obsession with the so-called “occupation” of Palestine and focus of the occupation of women’s bodies throughout the Muslim world. If they care about women, they must confront the issues that characterize Islamic gender apartheid and affect at least half a billion women in the Islamic world.” She also attempted to debunk the myth that former colonialist powers and imperialist forces were to blame for Islamic barbarism. Said Dr. Chesler, “The Christian Crusades did not “cause” Arab or Muslim slavery, racism, polygamy, arranged child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor murders, forced face-veiling, capital punishment for apostates (Muslims who leave Islam), or the segregation of women. It did not cause Islamic jihad or Islamic imperialism which preceded the Crusades by centuries.” She also put forth the notion of a “new McCarthyism” being spearheaded by the left that imposes fear on academics who dare speak about Muslim on Muslim violence by pigeon-holing them as “racists” and “colonialists”.

The last speaker of the evening was Christina Hoff-Sommers who also addressed the issue of Islamic misogyny and said that Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare would be the liberation of Islamic women. According to Hoff-Sommers the Islamic revolution set women back for at least a century, outlining the subjugation of Iranian women under a hideous male hegemony. She spoke of a book entitled, “The Girls of Riyadh” which was described as “chic literature”, an Eastern version of “Sex In The City”, which caused Imams in Saudi Arabia to whip men into a violent frenzy against women. She called this, “a compelling indictment of Islamic incitement.” She praised heroic dissidents who are on a civilizing mission in Islamic countries, attempting to battle the forces of misogyny and patriarchal oppression of women. Hoff-Sommers posits that Islamic women are following the example of conservative women’s rights activists such as Frances Willard, the second president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and are embracing a creative interpretation of the Koran. She chided the major Western feminist movements and women’s studies departments on college campuses for focusing on such issues as the shape of women’s bodies, sexual repression and the philosophy of the “Vagina Monologues”, rather than championing the cause of basic human rights for women in the Islamic world.

Roberts Rules of Order seemed to prevail during the question and answer segment of the program, as the audience was again advised to keep to the question only format and not engage in diatribes or lengthy speeches. Most of the questions focused on American military involvement in Iraq and several questioners (mostly from the Revolutionary Communist Party) intimated that this event was just a clever subterfuge for promoting the Bush administration’s “war on terror” strategy, which seeks to create a groundswell of support for the war in Iraq. The questioners made little reference to the obvious threat of Islamo-Fascism that was so eloquently spoken about by the panelists, but rather they focused on their own anti-American agenda as they questioned the perceived hypocrisy of the Iraqi constitution that enshrined Islam as the state religion. The panelists remained nonplussed during the Q&A and answered the questions with alacrity, armed with a voluminous amount of facts and a plethora of knowledge. The adversaries of truth and the purveyors of the Big Lies were outdone by the valiant truth tellers and protectors of the future of western civilization as we know it.

While history may or may not record this event at Columbia University, our kudos and accolades go to Ibn Warraq, Phyllis Chesler and Christina Hoff-Sommers for summoning the moral strength and courage to bear the slings and arrows of the totalitarian left, for exercising their right of freedom of speech in the name of truth and for their shining collective consciences. May they continue to lead us to a more peaceful, secure world, unfettered by fascism of any kind.


Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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Amnesty Criticises Hamas, Fatah Over Rights Abuses

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Amnesty International has suddenly realized that Pali terrorist actually engage in human rights abuses.
One might wonder why it took them so long to realize this, but when one sees how busy they’ve been condemning Israel for everything under the sun, it’s clear how they missed this elephant standing in their living room.
But not all is lost for them. You see, the human rights violations were only Pali on Pali violence. They have yet to mention the thousands of innocent Israelis killed and maimed by Pali terrorist. And if their track record is any indication, don’t look for them to change this policy any time soon.

LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Human rights violations in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have become widespread since fighting in June between the Palestinian factions saw Hamas seize control of Gaza, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

Islamist Hamas and its secular rival Fatah each claims to represent the Palestinian national struggle, but their violent schism was widely seen as an unprecedented setback to hopes for a state in lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

In a 57-page report, Amnesty International noted that the June civil war in Gaza in which some 160 people were killed had led to the creation, effectively, of separate Palestinian administrations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank where political opponents have routinely been subject to abuse.

“Arbitrary detentions and torture or other ill treatment of detainees by Hamas forces are now widespread and the initial improvements in the security situation which followed Hamas’ takeover are fast being eroded,” the London-based group said.

Amnesty further criticised Hamas for entrusting its gunmen, who were trained to fight Israel and led the bloody rout of Fatah forces from Gaza, with law-enforcement duties.

“It appears clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses continue to enjoy impunity,” the group said.

Amnesty also accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah of abuses in the larger West Bank, where it retains control and has conducted round-ups of Hamas sympathisers.

“Arbitrary detention of suspected Hamas supporters by Palestinian Authority security forces has become routine,” it said.

According to Amnesty, Hamas and Fatah have each detained around 1,000 people since the June fighting, sometimes for periods of up to two weeks. Torture of detainees has been commonplace, the rights group said citing victim testimony.

Hamas called the report unfair, saying its forces had acted to rein in lawlessness in Gaza while Fatah was conducting punitive actions in the West Bank.

“There has been a constant improvement in the security of citizens in Gaza,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said, adding that any of the faction’s fighters who acted unlawfully were “subject to constant monitoring and accountability”. Abbas’s administration similarly shifted blame to Hamas while vowing a crackdown on abuses by Fatah fighters.

“There is a huge difference between an outlawed force committing human rights violations and legitimate security forces empowered by law,” said Mahmoud al-Habbash, Palestinian minister for social affairs.

“Mistakes may happen but we are doing our best.” (Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah)

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Blog and Website Unavailable Friday Night (CDT)

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Out webhost is going to be upgrading their servers Friday night into early Saturday morning. This could cause the blog and website not to be available for awhile as they are doing the upgrade. Everything should be back to normal by early Saturday.

Our plan is for the upgrade to be all at once on Friday night, October 26th starting at 11:00pm Eastern time. We will be completed by 9:00 am the next morning of October 27th. In order to do this with the least amount of problems, we will be doing everything during this 10 hour time frame.

Most servers will be inaccessible for only 4 to 6 hours. Some, however, may be inaccessible during the length of the upgrade. We will know more as the upgrade begins. We will have up and running to keep you updated as we go.

We will update this page through out the night.