Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pop goes the weasel

They say you are not supposed to speak ill of the dead. They usually say that when the dead person has a lot of dirty laundry that just never got washed.

The late Senator Edward Kennedy ought never to have been in political life after the night of July 18, 1969. That was the night of the infamous “Chappaquiddick incident”, as it has become known.

Funny word, “incident”.

For Mary Jo Kopeckne and her family it was the Chappaquiddick tragedy. But, for Ted Kennedy it really was just an incident. She lies in a grave and he went on to fame, a long life and the enjoyment of his considerable family fortune. In fact, for Kennedy the real problem was that the “ghost of Chappaquiddick” prevented him from gaining the highest office in the land.

The American novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald once commented to his fellow American novelist, Ernest Hemingway that, “The rich are very different.” Hemingway replied, “Yes. They have more money.”

Fitzgerald was right and he immortalized that difference in his novel, The Great Gatsby. What we saw were wealthy characters, steeped in their own pleasure, and indifferent to the pain and suffering they inflicted on others.

That is always how I have viewed Ted Kennedy, through an F. Scott Fitzgerald filter.

We know from his history that he was a boozer and a womanizer. Was his nature and were his inclinations any different on July 18, 1969? Does it seem reasonable with his record that they would be?

There have been a number of eulogies about Senator Kennedy, but I haven’t seen a recent compilation of the story of Chappaquiddick. So I am going to give one.

At the time of her death, Mary Jo Kopechne was 28 years of age and single. Ted Kennedy was 37 and married. She and Kennedy were attending a party on Chappaquiddick Island. Kopechne was staying in a hotel on the mainland.

At 11:15 p.m. Kennedy offered to drive her back to her hotel. He took a road called Dyke Road that led to a one-lane bridge and his car went off the bridge into the water. The car was sitting on the bottom, upside down. Three windows were smashed. Kennedy, who was six feet, two inches tall, escaped from the car. Kopechne, who was five feet, two inches tall, did not.

The water was not very deep, approximately seven feet. Kennedy claimed he couldn’t remember how he got out of the car, but he did remember diving several times to free Kopechne without success. He then walked back to the party. Sometime after midnight, he enlisted the aid of two cousins to go back to the scene to get Kopechne. They were unsuccessful.

Since the ferry was then shut down, Kennedy said he decided to swim back to the mainland – not an easy swim because of tides and currents. The next day, he reported the mishap to the police. However, by this time the police had already recovered Kopechne’s body.

Here is the dirty laundry list:

1. Why did Kennedy drive down Dyke Road.? It was going in the opposite direction to where he was supposed to be going

2. Why did Kennedy claim his problem was that he was unfamiliar with the road? He had quite good knowledge of Chappaquiddick and had passed over the road twice before that very day.

3. Police estimated he was doing about 55 kilometers an hour when he approached the bridge and jammed on his brakes 5 meters from the bridge, which effectively locked his brakes and caused his loss of control. Why was he doing an unsafe speed? He had no explanation.

4. Why did Kennedy walk back to the party instead of seeking assistance from an island resident who lived only 135 meters from the bridge?

5. Kennedy was reported as being relaxed and even jovial the following day. He took the ferry back to Chappaquiddick with his two cousins and then reported the accident by telephone. Unexplained behaviour.

6. The coroner said the death was by drowning, but the undertaker said it was by suffocation. The police diver who recovered the body said it was too buoyant to be full of water.

7. Unfortunately, Kopechne’s family (she was an only child) did not give permission for an autopsy, apparently afraid the autopsy would disclose that she was pregnant. In 1969, it was still socially scandalous to have a daughter who was pregnant without being married, even if she was well into her adulthood. So we are not sure what she died from.

8. Kennedy informed Kopechne’s parents of her demise, but did not tell them he was driving.

9. It was also unusual since Kennedy normally had his chauffeur drive (no doubt because of his drinking), but on this occasion took the keys from the chauffeur.

10. Kennedy claimed that he had consumed no more than a quarter of a glass of beer, but other evidence was offered that suggested he had been drinking rum and cokes well before the start of the party.

When Kennedy finally made a public address about the matter a few days later he offered this slimy version:

There is no truth, no truth whatsoever, to the widely-circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been levelled at my behaviour and hers regarding that evening. There has never been a private relationship between us of any kind. I know of nothing in Mary Jo's conduct on that or any other occasion - the same is true of the other girls at that party - that would lend any substance to such ugly speculation about their character. Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor.

In short, how dare anyone accuse Miss Kopechne of immoral conduct -- I would never be in the company of a woman of low moral virtue!

Most of his tributes have called him “the lion” of the Senate. But in July, 1969, he was definitely a weasel. This behaviour disqualified him from the presidency, but apparently is acceptable conduct for a U.S. senator since he continued to be re-elected quite easily for the next 40 years.

I also completely discount all this bullshit about what a great liberal senator he was and how he will be missed in that role. Politics is like nature, it abhors a vacuum. And if Kennedy hadn't been there to occupy the liberal space, some other senator, probably a better representative, surely would have.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rachel's requiem for the world's most famous libel tourist

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld

The Serial Libel Tourist is Dead; But Libel Tourism is Alive and Well

Libel Tourism is so effective, that the Western media apparently fears even to report the serial suer Khalid bin Mahfouz's death.

By Rachel Ehrenfeld & Millard Burr

Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz died in Jeddah last Saturday. The 60 year old former owner of the Saudi National Commercial Bank, and banker for the Royal family, also owned a charity, the Muwafaq (blessed relief) Foundation, that funded al-Qaeda and Hamas, to name but a few. He should be remembered not only because of his involvement with the shady Bank for Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) aka “banks for crooks and criminal,” and the illegal purchase of the First American Bank in Washington, DC, but mostly because inadvertently he led Americans to better protect their free speech rights.

Using British libel laws that allow foreigners to sue other foreigners in British courts, a practice known as libel tourism, Mahfouz became a serial suer. He, sometimes together with his sons, sued more than 40 writers and publishers - mostly Americans - because he did not like their critic. Single handedly, on behalf of his royal masters made libel tourism a multi million dollars industry for the British Bar, and Mahfouz made London the “Libel Capital” of the world.

Many will miss him. In Riyadh, he will be missed by the ruling members of the royal family who once used his National Commercial Bank as their own piggy bank, and often used him and his family members as fronts for their business and to fund their favorite organizations and terrorist groups. Likewise, those shady characters who ran the Saudi funded Muslim World League, the International Islamic Relief Agency and the Rabita Trust of Pakistan will miss him.

The Georgetown alum (1968) Prince Turki bin Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the U.K. and the U.S. and director of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department from 1977 until ten days before 9/11, and responsible for the Saudi financial aid of the jihad in Afghanistan, will have lost an old friend.

Bin Mahfouz will certainly by missed by a circle of notorious Saudi plutocrats who make an appearance in the annual Forbes list of the world's wealthiest citizens, many are defendants in the lawsuits filed by the victims of the 9/11 attacks. There are the Raji, the Bin Laden, the Al Amoudi, and such other disreputable individuals as designated terrorist Yassin al Qadi, who run some of Mahfouz’s business and charity – the Muwafaq foundation, that funded al-Qaeda and Hamas, to name but a few.

Al Qaeda, Hamas and Taliban leaders must be grief stricken and worried; would his sons be as generous as he was?

It is supposed that Mahfouz retained a powerful friend in Washington in James A. Baker, III. Baker, who served as chief-of-staff to Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, joined Mahfouz during the roaring seventies when Houston was known as Riyadh-west. They worked together through the heady days and even through the bankruptcy of the second-largest banking organization in Texas, MCorp, in the late nineteen eighties. During the dark days of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Mahfouz could count on Baker, his man in the White House, to keep him out of jail, no matter how persistent the pressure applied by New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Obviously, the ruling family of Abu Dhabi will be thinking different thoughts as they recall the $596 million they paid for the privilege of purchasing Mahfouz’s shares in BCCI, and were then left holding the bag as the bank went under.

Irish politicians, particularly the disgraced former prime minister Charles Haughey will recall those wondrous days in 1990 he received $85,000 from Mahfouz, so that Mahfouz and nine members of his family would paying $1 million each, would obtain an Irish passport -- thus allowing easy commercial entree to the European market.

Surviving members of the Hunt family of Texas likely have mixed feeling on the death of Mahfouz. Bunker Hunt, scion of one of the world's richest men had used John Connally, former Governor of Texas and Secretary of the Navy, as his go-between in an effort to entice Mahfouz to join in his play to corner the market in silver bullion. Mahfouz then induced member of the Saudi royal family to join in, and they, like Mahfouz, would lose a fortune. Nearly driven to suicide, Mahfouz was comforted by Salem Bin Laden, perhaps his closest friend ever.

On the West Coast, Boeing directors must recall with fondness the 5% they paid Mahfouz, the fixer, to win perhaps their largest contract ever. And the middlemen in Saudi Arabia who also benefited from their involvement with Mahfouz in clinching the deal must be reminiscing.

As for Osama bin Laden, wherever he is, the al Qaeda leader probably remembers with some affection the days spent with his brother, Salem bin Laden and Khaled bin Mahfouz at their jointly-held River Oaks estate in Houston, TX. With Mahfouz gone, Osama’s “golden chain” of wealthy Saudi funders, has been reduced by a link.

The international law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, must be sad to have lost this wealthy and most litigious client. Likewise, the English Bar must be shedding crocodile tears, especially those lawyers who represented Mahfouz.

Justice David Eady would surely miss Mahfouz. The cases he brought before Eady whose judgments made both both Mahfouz and the Justice (in)famous for making Libel Tourism a weapon to silence critics of Saudi Arabia the world over. Even the U.N. Human rights commission warned Britain last year that its libel tourism industry has become a tool to suppress the media’s free speech rights and endangers national security.

The serial Libel Tourist Khalid bin Mahfouz is dead. But the jihad against the West he helped fund together with the pernicious British libel tourism practices, are alive and well. Unfortunately, the U.S. has done nothing to stop his activities on either front when he was alive. New York State, Florida and Illinois have already passed anti- libel tourism laws, and it is just passed unanimously by the California legislature.

A federal law to protect Americans’ free speech is a legacy Mahfouz never intended to leave behind. Indeed, he was so successful in his efforts to intimidate reports about him that amazingly the Western media refrained from reporting of his death. However, his libel tourism led to the Free Speech Protection Act 2009, now pending in the Senate. One hopes the bill passes as soon as Congress reconvenes so that the instigative journalists and researchers can expose others like him before they do us harm.

Rachel Ehrenfeld’s book Funding Evil, and Millard Burr’s Alms for Jihad, were banned in the U.K. after Mahfouz’s libel tourism hobby was rewarded, as many times before, by Justice Eady’s ruling against them in London’s High Court.

Short Biography of Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld

Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of three books and hundreds of articles on terror financing and corruption. Her latest book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop It led to the Libel Terrorism Protection Act, known as "Rachel's Law" in NY State, and to a new national bill for Free Speech, now pending before U.S. Congress.

She is the Director of the New York based American Center for Democracy (ACD). She is currently working on several projects, including Financial Jihad, Shari'a financing and Islamic banking, and the Islamic penetration of the US and Western economies, and terror financing. Dr. Ehrenfeld is on the Board of Advisors of American Congress for Truth, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), together with James Woolsey, and George Shultz.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I have just two words to say about this -- Bollocks

Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill

There is a great flap going on over the so-called “compassionate” release of the Lockerbie airline bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, gave a gushy nonsensical speech about Scottish values of compassion and mercy being the motivating factor in the government’s decision to release al Megrahi to go home and die from cancer in Libya.

One thing I know about politicians is that the ability to lie with a completely straight face is a skill one must have to succeed in politics.

The real reason is that al-Megrahi probably never should have been convicted in the first place. The prosecutor’s case against him was very weak. Even the relatives of the victims of the bombings who attended the trial doubted the truth of the verdict. Since that time his defense team has been assembling further proof that some of the incriminating evidence may have been fabricated or planted.

Scotland didn’t release him for any compassionate reason, but because the pending appeal would likely cause politically embarrassing issues for the government.

In politics, one must always ask the question, who benefits from this decision? Clearly, it is the Scottish government that can now sweep this whole mess under the carpet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Breaking News: Paula Abdul to be judge on Iranian Idol


Al-Jazeera, the Arabic television network, is about to announce a big coup. After weeks of intense negotiation, Al-Jazeera has arranged with Iranian authorities to televise the trials of the 100 Iranian dissidents as a reality talent show, called Iranian Idol, generally copying the format of the immensely popular American Idol.

Instead of singing or dancing, which are frowned on by pious Muslims, the aspiring talents will be asked to write poems, the great Iranian art form, extolling the virtues of secular democracy and why it is better than an Islamic Republic.

The judges were originally to comprise five old, bearded clerics of profound Islamic learning, but as a belated sop to women, the Iranian government decided to include one female. However, as no females have any authoritative religious standing in Islamic society, Al-Jazeera cast around for a woman with both judging capabilities and experienced with talent. To their great good fortune (or perhaps the intervention of Allah), Paula Abdul announced that she would no longer be a judge on American Idol.


An inside source claims she has signed a one year contract with Al-Jazeera, subject to some conditions.

She is not to discuss politics, religion or any other weighty subject on the show, basically a no-brainer for Ms. Abdul. Her role is simply to critique the poems on their artistic merit. She will also be required to wear suitable Islamic attire, covering her body from head to toe, leaving only her eyes completely stark naked. And lest the clerics prove to be not as old as they look, she will be given a separate seat and table, just behind them, a little to the left, so that she can still be seen by the cameras and the live audience, but not by the ayatollahs.

Just like the other talent shows in the West, the Iranian public will be permitted to vote, but its vote will not override the vote of the clerics and Ms. Abdul should it differ.

The winning poem will grant the successful dissident a swift execution, likely by beheading, but possibly by hanging. The details have not been worked out. The two runner-ups will receive life sentences in a jail to be yet determined, but the inside scoop is it will be the one with the most up-to-date torture facilities in Iran. All other contestants will be given 10-year sentences in a jail of their choosing, and all entrants will receive a free gift of 100 lashes.

With the addition of Abdul, Al-Jazeera is now contemplating syndication of the show in worldwide markets.

The poorly performing economy of Iran is alleged to be behind the decision of the authorities to co-operate with the talent show. The state receives an undisclosed share of the revenues from the international television broadcast rights. Al-Jazeera is hoping the show will prove as popular in the Islamic world as American Idol and its offshoots have in the western world

An official joint announcement is expected shortly. Telephone calls to Ms. Abdul’s manager have not been returned.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A big thank you to Kathy

Kathy Shaidle, a real conservative and I suspect a real Canadian too, who writes a less lofty, but largely read blog, has sent a couple of commentaries on my last posting, which I published if you wish to scroll down through the comments section to find them.

She makes one very important point. She alerted me to the fact that I had misspelled Johnny Cochran’s name. So, I have gone back into the posting and amended it.

Thank you, Kathy. I will try and do a better job of self-editing; I know how vital that is in the blogosphere. I also apologize to my other handful of readers who may have been as discomfited by that error as Ms. Shaidle was.

And now, I will suspend blogging operations for the month of August, as I will be out of the country. See you all back here in September.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The breezes are beginning to blow the other way

Sometimes it is hard to spot differences between Americans and Canadians, but sometimes not so much.

In the United States something called “the race card” is often played to settle an argument before anybody can dissect the real issue too closely. We saw it happen when Johnny Cochran played it in the O.J. Simpson murder trial to discredit a police officer’s testimony. A more recent example involved Professor Gates in Cambridge, Mass., screaming both race discrimination and privilege at the same time as he was being hauled off by a pissed-off policeman.

In fact, under President Obama, the race card seems to have risen to new heights, but that is for another posting.

In Canada, it does not have the same resonance. What plays well here, however, is “the victim card”. We seem to be a society obsessed with finding victims, and usually victims in a collective identity rather than an individual one. If you are aboriginal, a Jew, a Muslim, a black, a Hindu, a gay, a woman, handicapped, homeless, etc., you will at one time or another been identified as a victim because of that status. Naturally, following such identification are the suggested public policy solutions to either sustain your victimhood (the homeless) or to rectify it (gays).

Clever political operatives always know how and when to play the victim card to their advantage.

In an earlier posting, June 23, I cautioned Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn about the danger of playing into Jennifer Lynch’s public relations campaign to portray herself and her Canadian Human Rights agency as the victims of the likes of Messrs. Steyn and Levant:

My suggestion to Levant and Steyn is to cool the sophomoric name-calling you regularly employ. No more “Commissar Lynch” or “Queen of the censors.” This only plays to her position that you folks are unreasonable and “unbalanced”, and that she is the real victim.

And stop attacking her about her spending habits and making her out to be a ninny. She has both inertia and an uninformed parliament on her side, and even if they are informed, there are enough of the bleeding-heart liberals to tip the balance to keep CHRC exactly as it is, or, worse make it bigger and more powerful. It happened in the bastion of conservatism, Alberta, and it could happen in Ottawa.

You keep up the personal attacks and you may be, as they say, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Since neither one obviously reads my utterings, or if they do, simply dismiss them because I am not one of the fully-fledged members of their cheerleading squad, they continued, bull-in-china shop fashion, to personally attack Ms. Lynch.

Well, according to this posting by Levant, the breezes are beginning to blow the other way. A former free speech supporter of Levant’s, an influential westerner, and, importantly, according to Levant, one of the card-carrying liberal left he waxed on about getting onside, Janet Keeping, has broken ranks and has attacked Levant for his personal broadsides against Lynch.

What does Levant do? Of course, he now attacks the credibility of his attacker, accusing her of that new philosophical no-no, “false moral relevance.”

Keeping’s column may open the doors to other journalists, editors and other opinion shapers who have to date held their noses by siding with obnoxious Levant on free speech. If Keeping has the balls to break ranks to defend the victim Lynch, how can others be so crass as to not rise to the occasion and balance out the personal attacks?

And, if they do, it will not be possible for politicians to safely dismantle the CHRC.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hello? Thees is the White House, please hold.

In 2006, American comedian, Albert Brooks, made a low key satirical movie called, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. I think it went straight into DVD and never got to the theatres. Satire in motion pictures does not carry well in the U.S.

The story line is that Brooks, who plays himself, is hired by the U.S. government to go to South Asia to study humour amongst Muslims so that Americans can better understand the people. When Brooks arrives in India, he is met by a couple of U.S. consular hacks who escort him to the offices they have rented for him. As he is walking down the corridor to his office he passes the open door of an office being used as a call centre. Two women, with strong Indian accents, are clearly heard answering the White House switchboard and putting the callers on hold.

I thought that was one of the funnier gags in the movie.

However, it seems outsourcing bureaucratic jobs to India is closer than we think, according to this Timesonline story.