Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, November 27, 2006

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain! My tables, my tables,—meet it is I set it down! That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain!

By Aussiegirl

Thus Hamlet damns his uncle Claudius, but his condemnation seemed to me also appropriate for another arch-villain, Putin. Read the following article that shows in great detail the monstrous lengths that villains will go to to retain power.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Who Killed Litvinenko?
Try asking Vladimir Putin.
Monday, November 27, 2006 12:01 a.m.

MOSCOW--Until a week ago, Alexander Litvinenko, a former colonel in the Russian Federal Security Service, the FSB, was virtually unknown outside the murky world of Russian intelligence. With his death in London from a massive dose of the radioactive element polonium 210, however, his fate may lead to a fundamentally different relationship between Russia and the West.

Beginning with the Yeltsin era, two U.S. administrations have muted their criticism of Russia. This was the case even in the face of a series of political murders in Russia. But if Litvinenko, a British subject, was murdered by Russian intelligence on British soil, self-censorship is no longer an option. Unless we want to give the Putin regime carte blanche to dispose of its enemies on our soil, we now have no choice but to react.

Russian television has given an explanation for the murder of Litvinenko as surrealistic as any offered by the Soviets during the Cold War. It attributed his death to intrigues in the entourage of the exiled Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky. An announcer on the evening news said Litvinenko was "a pawn in a game whose significance he did not understand."

Mr. Berezovsky, however, had no reason to kill Litvinenko, whose views he shared and whom he had helped since his arrival in the U.K. in 2000. In November 1998, Litvinenko revealed a plot to kill Mr. Berezovsky who, at the time, was the deputy head of the Russian security council. The evidence points instead to Litvinenko having been murdered by the FSB, which, together with the other "force ministries," has become the dominant political force in Russia today.

The FSB has always had a strong interest in Vladimir Putin's critics abroad. In December 2001, a Russian police official, in announcing a warrant for Mr. Berezovsky's arrest, said, "We know what he eats for breakfast, where he has lunch and where he buys his groceries." This was followed up in September 2003 with an unsuccessful attempt to kill Mr. Berezovsky with a needle camouflaged as a pen. The British reacted by granting Mr. Berezovsky political asylum. In 2004, a stranger threw a Molotov cocktail at Litvinenko and Akhmed Zakaev, the London representative of the separatist government of Chechnya, as they stood on the street near Litvinenko's residence. Besides a history of tracking Mr. Putin's opponents, the FSB could have been encouraged to kill Litvinenko because in June the Russian State Duma passed a law allowing the president to authorize attacks by the FSB on "terrorists" in foreign countries. In fact, the Russian intelligence services do not need a law to attack persons they regard as terrorists abroad. On Feb. 13, 2004, the former Chechen president, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, was killed and his 12-year-old son seriously injured when a bomb attached by Russian agents ripped apart their SUV. The new law, however, gives a seal of legitimacy to such operations and guarantees that those who carried them out will not be disowned or forgotten in the event of failure (or possibly even prosecuted in a post-Putin democratic dispensation).

In the last six years, the makeup of the ruling elite in Russia has undergone a dramatic change. Once in power, Mr. Putin filled the majority of important posts with veterans of the security services, many with ties to him dating back to his work in St. Petersburg. By 2003, the top ministers, half of the members of the Russian security council and 70% of all senior regional officials in Russia were former members of the security services. At the same time, many of these persons gained access to great wealth. Russia was already highly corrupt under Boris Yeltsin but, according to IDEM, an independent Russian think tank, with the rise in oil prices the level of corruption in Russia between 2002 and 2005 increased 900%.

The result of these developments was that Mr. Putin created an FSB ruling class. As this class became rooted, the victims of contract killers in Russia began to include some of the most prominent political figures in the country.

The most sensitive question in Russia is the provenance of the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk in which 300 persons died. As a result of the bombings, the second Chechen war was launched and, in his role as wartime leader, Mr. Putin, then the prime minister, achieved enough popularity to be elected president. There is widespread belief that the real authors of the bombings were the FSB. Two of the political figures murdered in Russia in recent years were trying to investigate the bombings.

The first victim was Sergei Yushenkov, a co-chairman of the Liberal Russia Party and member of the commission on the apartment bombings. He was shot on April 17, 2003. Mikhail Kodanev, the other leader of the Liberal Russia Party, was tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison for organizing the murder. Two years later, however, Igor Korolkov, a reporter for Moscow News, learned that a video camera near the building where Yushenkov was shot captured two persons running from the building immediately after the killing. The police collected the tape but it was never included in the case filed against Kodanev.

In July 2003, Duma deputy Yuri Shchekochikhin, another member of the commission on the 1999 bombings, died after contracting an unexplained illness. Shchekochikhin, who was also a reporter for Novaya Gazeta, had been investigating the "Three Whales" furniture stores that reportedly evaded millions of dollars in import duties. A co-founder of the stores was the father of Yuri Zaostrovtsev, then a deputy director of the FSB. Shchekochikhin's illness progressed catastrophically from peeling skin to "edemas of the respiratory system and brain" and death. When Novaya Gazeta tried to investigate whether he had been poisoned, they were told that all information was a "medical secret" that could not be disclosed even to family members.

Finally, Anna Politkovskaya, perhaps Russia's best-known journalist, was murdered last month. She traveled to Chechnya regularly despite the risk and was sought out by people from all over the North Caucasus in the hope that she would tell the world about their situation. It used to be said in Russia that no one is killed for politics. Politkovskaya, however, was clearly the victim of a political killing because she wrote only about politics.

Litvinenko resembles the others in this list in all respects except one. He lived in England. His book, "Blowing Up Russia," accused the FSB of the 1999 apartment bombings. He received visitors from Russia, was able to comment knowledgably on the actions of the FSB in Moscow, and refused to be intimidated.

In the wake of Litvinenko's death, the West must insist on cooperation from the FSB in finding his killers. If that is not forthcoming, it should be assumed that the murder of Litvinenko was ordered by the Russian regime.

Under those circumstances, not only should Russia be expelled from the G-8 but the whole structure of mutual consultation and cooperation would need to be re-evaluated. This is not just a matter of refusing to trivialize a murder. It is also a vital political obligation. Russians of all types are watching to see whether the West will simply swallow this crime or finally react to the rampant criminalization of Russian society. There are forces in Russia that want the country to be part of the West. But to back them, we need to demonstrate that we have moral values that we defend. To do less would be to abandon Russia to the forces of nihilism and obscurantism.

Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hoover Institution, the Hudson Institute and Johns Hopkins. His most recent book is "Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State" (Yale, 2003).

Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Was former KGB agent murdered over false-flag terrorism within Russia?

By Aussiegirl

Look at these two photos -- one of a man in his prime, with a serious, thoughtful expression on his face -- the other of this same man in agonizing pain, struck down by the devil himself. This terrible incident bears witness to the truth of the old adage: He who sups with the devil should use a long spoon.

The Raw Story | Was former KGB agent murdered over false-flag terrorism within Russia?

Was former KGB agent murdered over false-flag terrorism within Russia?
Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Sunday November 26, 2006

Were a Russian journalist and an ex-KGB officer murdered over an investigation of the Beslan terrorist attack?

Former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who passed away late last week from what many intelligence officials have indicated they believe to be a state-sponsored assassination, was likely the victim of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (SVR), well-placed sources tell RAW STORY.

Specifically, two former Cold War CIA officers, who still on occasion provide consulting work for the CIA, point to the S Directorate of SVR, which is in charge of black operations and other allegedly highly illegal transnational activities. They believe that the murders are closely tied to terrorist activities within Russia, and likely do involve Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Litvinenko died of radiation poisoning from a rare and highly concentrated isotope, polonium-210. It is alleged that prior to the poisoning he had been in receipt of documents that were also in the possession of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya when she was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in her Moscow apartment building in October of this year.

"They put a contract out on her," said one former high-ranking CIA officer with expertise in the region, "and there was already a failed poisoning attempt."

"They had her shot," that source explains, "in order to send a message to other Russian journalists to back off reporting on the Russian bombings."

Although none of the sources interviewed for this article were able to say too much regarding what is an ongoing investigation into the two murders, several former intelligence sources pointed to alleged false-flag bombings that were carried out in Russia starting in 1999.

A false-flag operation is one in which an attack is carried out by one government or entity and made to seem the work of another. In modern times, the term has become synonymous with Operation Gladio, a series of false-flag bombings inflicted on Italy by certain far right members of elements in the government and military, the aim of which was to frame opposition parties in order to discredit them, as well as to force that nation as a whole to move politically right of center. This method was known as the Strategy of Tension.

The Russian bombings bear all the hallmarks of such operations, including the most well-known of these bombings, in which a car bomb was detonated in front of an apartment building in the city of Buynaksk that served as military housing for Russian soldiers, killing more than sixty residents. The attack was blamed on Chechen separatists and was used to justify attacks on suspected Chechen sympathizers and alleged co-conspirators, as well as on Chechnya itself. Other bombings soon followed, leading to then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declaring war on the separatist region, which had gained de facto independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

But it was not until the failed Rayzan bombing attempt that the suspected role of the Russian government in the bombings began to be alleged publicly. In mid-1999, a group of agents of the Russian Federal Security Service, or Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB), were found placing explosives at an apartment complex in the city of Rayzan. The FSB is the Russian equivalent of the FBI, and it and the SVR are the two arms of what used to be known as the KGB. The materials used in this incident were similar to those found at the other bombings committed throughout 1999, but th FSB denied any involvement in the previous terrorist attacks and described the Rayzan bombing plot as a domestic counter-terrorism exercise.

The Russian Duma -- the lower house of the Federal Assembly -- attempted to investigate the bombings, but the Kremlin would not cooperate or provide requested documentation.

At the time of the alleged attempt to poison Anna Politkovskaya, the reporter was en route to the city of Beslan, the site of an infamous elementary school hostage crisis of September 2004, a three day stand-off between alleged Chechen terrorists and Russian domestic security forces that left 344 people dead, more than half of them children.

A source in one of the Western European intelligence organizations suggests that "Annas heart never left Beslan," and that up until the moment of her death the journalist was pursuing evidence that might prove "embarrassing to the Kremlin."

RAW STORY has not been able to obtain additional confirmation of this particular allegation, or greater clarity on what the Kremlin might view as embarrassing with regard to Beslan. There have, however, been allegations of censorship of information and stalling by the Kremlin to avoid investigating the massacre, including outright claims of criminal incompetence.

Whatever it was that Politkovskaya was working on eventually landed in the lap of Alex Litvinenko -- or at least was supposed to on the day he was poisoned.

One of the CIA officers RAW STORY spoke with for this article suggested that whoever carried out the Litvinenko murder would have required the backing of a state sponsor, because only a government would have access to something as rare and difficult to obtain as polonium-210. The highly powerful and radioactive isotope has a half-life of fewer than 140 days.

Another former CIA officer (who sometimes currently serves as a CIA consultant) alleged that whoever carried out the attack must actually have been doing it on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin and was either an agent of or working directly for the S Directorate of SVR.

"They never thought anyone would identify the poison," said this source. "but the Brits were very good."

Reports have Litvinenko meeting with several individuals on November 1 -- the day on which he became ill -- including a meeting that afternoon at a sushi bar with Mario Scaramella, his contact regarding the Politkovskaya murder. Some have indicated that they believe that a meeting at a London hotel with two Russian friends that same morning may have been where he was poisoned.

There is also an allegation that the murder may have taken place when Litvinenko had tea at the apartment of a friend prior to proceeding to the sushi restaurant. According to the BBC, Oleg Gordievsky -- who is a former KGB colleague of Litvinenko, like him a defector to the UK, and the author of a book blaming FSB agents for the 1999 bombings -- pointed to a Russian friend with whom Litvinenko had a meeting earlier in the day. "He told the BBC he believed Mr. Litvinenko was poisoned when he drank a cup of tea at the flat of an old Russian friend -- before the lunchtime meeting at the sushi restaurant."

However, one British intelligence officer, who wished to remain anonymous given that the investigation is still ongoing, suggested a different possibility. "You should start," says this source, "with the Italian." The Italian in question is Mario Scaramella, the contact whom Litvinenko met at the sushi bar to discuss the case of Anna Politkovskaya.

Scaramella, an expert on the former Soviet Union, does indeed appear to have both a relationship with the Russian FSB and some knowledge of radioactive materials. According to an account by BBC International Monitoring, originally from an Italian source, in 2004 Scaramella brought to the attention of Italian police an attempt to smuggle highly enriched uranium into Italy:

"During the month of September 2004 I was approached by a Ukrainian national, whom I know by the name of Sasha, who wanted to sell me a briefcase containing radioactive material, and, more precisely, uranium for military use." There is enough testimony by Giovanni Guidi, a Rimini businessman, and by other defendants - Giorgio Gregoretti, Elmo Olivieri and Giuseppe Genghini - to fuel a spy story [preceding two words published in English] worthy of a novel by Le Carre. Involved is a briefcase containing five kilos of highly enriched uranium, half of which would be enough to build an atomic device, which remained for months in a Rimini garage. A briefcase, however, which eluded investigators, and which managed to get back into the hands of the Ukrainian national, who perhaps is still in Italy. Together with another briefcase having a similar content, and a third believed to conceal a tracking system. The entire kit geared to the assembly of a small tactical atomic bomb.

A mystery story fuelled by information supplied the Rimini police department by a consultant of the Mitrokhin committee, Mario Scaramella, who, acting on behalf of the agency presided over by Paolo Guzzanti, was trying to track illegal funds from the former USSR that had transited through [the Republic of] San Marino.
Scaramella is also said to have connections to the deputy chief of the FSB, Viktor Komogorov, who is alleged by Chechen sources to have been conducting an internal FSB investigation of Litvinenko..

One CIA officer also suggested an outsourcing to non-Russian agents, indicating that, "this would give Putin plausible denial," in the event the plot was uncovered,. "Perhaps," the source joked, "Gladio has not been dismantled, but simply privatized."

Primer on Islamic imperialism

By Aussiegirl

A long, sobering, and important article -- a must-read -- on the true nature of our enemy. Be sure to read it all!

American Thinker: Primer on Islamic imperialism

Primer on Islamic imperialism
By Greg Richards

One of the alleged sins held against the West by Islamic radicalism - which has declared war on us through Osama bin Laden's fatwa issued in 1998 in London - is imperialism: the imperialism of the Dutch, the British and the French from the 17th to the 20th centuries. (For some reason, Russian imperialism in Central Asia gets a pass - so far.) Israel is allegedly an outpost of European imperialism.

The original western imperial enterprise in the radical Islamic narrative was the Crusades. The First Crusade began in 1095. The Crusades were undertaken to reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom. Reclaim it from whom? From the Muslims.

But Mohammed died in Medina in 632 as ruler of the Hijaz, the northwest section of Arabia along the Red Sea which includes the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. But if they controlled the Hijaz in 632, what were the Muslims doing in Jerusalem in 1100?

Of course, they were there by conquest! They were they by virtue of Islamic imperialism - the extension of the Land of Islam (Dar al-Islam) by holy war: jihad (notwithstanding the other meanings of this term).

Let's review. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a warrior and ruler who conquered Mecca and the Hijaz from his base in Medina. Following The Prophet's death in 632, Islam was spread by Arab and Muslim conquest. There are Muslims who are not Arabs, but the first phase of expansion was Arab expansion. The ruler of the Muslim world, the successor to Muhammad, was the Caliph - "the shadow of God on earth."

The Caliph was both the religious and political head of the Muslim world which, unlike the Christian world, draws no distinction between the two. In North Africa and the Middle East, the lands that the Arab Muslim world expanded into were controlled by the Byzantine Empire, the successor to the Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople. These were Christian lands. To the East, between the Middle East and India, was the Persian Empire with a different religious tradition.

At the death of Muhammad in 632, the realm of Islam consisted of northwest Arabia. To the north and west is Christian Byzantium, to the east is Persia. Neither of these are Arab; neither of them are Muslim. But within 100 years, the territory from Persia to Spain is controlled by Muslim Arabs. How did this happen? Egypt, for instance, was not in 632 an Arab country. It was of a different ethnic stock and had been in existence for 3600 years!

What happened was conquest, one of the most impressive in history. [....]

The philosopher and economist Thomas Sowell instructs us to ask "as compared to what?" when evaluating and criticizing human enterprise. It is pointless to compare human enterprise to some abstract ideal that has never existed. As Sowell points out, if the standard is set high enough, anything will fail.

Was the British Empire - the archetype of Western imperialism - a bad thing? As compared to what? As compared to the Muslim Empires? As compared to them, the British Empire was a model of enlightenment. The Muslims pride themselves on their tolerance of minorities. But that tolerance came at the cost of dhimmitude - second-class citizenship and payment of tributes. The British Empire was, yes, established by force, but it was not sustained only by force. It was also sustained by consent. And it left behind a number of the freest, richest, most liberal countries on earth. As compared to the Muslims, the British look pretty good.

But it is not the point of this paper that Arab/Muslim imperialism was an evil, or at least was not a unique evil. It was a human enterprise with its strengths and weaknesses. Muslim culture at its highest was high indeed. The Muslims preserved and passed on the Greeks. The Arabs developed Arabic numerals, and invented the number zero (or the next best thing, recognized the significance of the Indians having done so), the basis of modern mathematics. Algebra is an Arabic word: al-gebera. Muslim letters, science, medicine and architecture were at the highest level of achievement.

But so are our own. We can't have a double standard here - being impressed by the achievements and conquests of Arab/Muslim civilization but at the same time embarrassed by the even more impressive achievements and conquests of the West. If conquest is something to be embarrassed by, if it is a moral disqualification, then the Arab/Muslims are at the head of the line; Europe is well back on the list! And whatever the achievements of medieval Muslim culture, and they were many, they are in the past. There are few achievements today, and none to compare with those of the West.

Yes, one can certainly ask about spiritual achievement. If the Muslims wish to live in the 8th century, nobody is stopping them. Just as nobody stops the Amish from living in the 18th century. But if the standard is living in the 21st century, then it is clear that the West is a superior culture in all respects for that - in comfort of living, in science, in medicine, in human rights, in the rights of women to name just a few.

We are in a fight for our lives against Islamic radicalism. We cannot unilaterally disarm ourselves morally because of some imagined slights offered to Muslim culture by the West. Yes, we are the stronger, but that was not always so. When Muslims were the stronger, they prided themselves on their conquests and their cultural and political dominance, which still shape the world we live in.

Ukraine marks anniversary of forced Soviet-era famine

By Aussiegirl

This is the description of the photograph on the top: Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (centre) with his wife Kateryna (left) and members of his family plant a bush and string its branches with ribbons during a commemoration ceremony for victims of the Great Famine of 1932-33 in Kiev.

Gulfnews: Ukraine marks anniversary of forced Soviet-era famine

Kiev: Ukraine began solemn commemorations yesterday to mark the 73rd anniversary of a man-made Soviet-era famine that killed one-third of the country's population, a tragedy that Ukraine's president wants recognised as an act of genocide.

During the height of the 1932-33 famine, 33,000 people died of hunger every day, devastating entire villages. Cases of cannibalism were widespread as desperation deepened.

Black ribbons were hung yesterday on the blue-and-yellow national flag, and in cities across the country, officials laid flowers at monuments to the estimated 10 million victims.

President Viktor Yushchenko and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz unveiled the cornerstone of a planned memorial complex in the capital. A procession was taken out later and thousands of candles were lit on a centuries-old Kiev square.

"I would like for us never to tolerate the shame of having to hold discussions about what to call this," Yushchenko said at the ceremony.

"This is one of the most horrible pages of our history, and for a long time now, it has had only one name."

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin provoked the famine in a campaign to force peasants to give up their private farms and join collectives.

Authorities collectivised agriculture throughout the Soviet Union, but farmers in Ukraine - known as the breadbasket of the USSR - fiercely resisted and bore the brunt of the man-made disaster.

Yushchenko has asked parliament to recognise the famine, known here as Holodomor, or Death by Hunger, to be recognised as genocide - but some lawmakers have resisted, and Moscow has warned Kiev against using that term.

Russia argues that the orchestrated famine did not specifically target Ukrainians but also other peoples in the Soviet agricultural belt, including Russians and Kazakhs, and this month said the issue should not be "politicised".

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holding Islam to Account

By Aussiegirl

Another in an important series of articles by my dear friend, Amil Imani.

American Thinker: Holding Islam to Account

November 24, 2006
Holding Islam to Account
By Amil Imani

Islam has spawned many sects that are master practitioners of the art of double standards. As far as Muslims are concerned what is good for Muslims is not good for the non-Muslims; and, what is bad for Muslims is good for non-Muslims.

What complicates matters is that there is no way of knowing which of the dozens of at-each-other’s-throat sects is the legitimate Islam. As sooner as Muhammad died his religion of peace became a house of internal war: jockeying for power and leadership started, sects formed and splintered into sub-sects, and bloodletting began in earnest.

The internal infighting in Islam is presently playing in full color—in red—most dramatically, in the Iraqi theater. Shiite raid Sunni civilians, slaughter them like sheep, and toss their bodies like trash in the streets or the rivers. The Sunnis return the favor with just as much viciousness and savagery.

Question: if this is the way these Muslims treat each other, how would they deal with the infidels, when they have the chance?

Answer: these devoted followers of Muhammad would deal with the infidels exactly the way Muhammad did: behead the non-believers, take them as slave to hold or sell, or make them pay back-breaking jazyyeh—poll taxes.

Some may objects that writings like this are little more than hatemongering and fanning the fire that rages between Islam and the non-Islamic world. They may further flash the Islamic apologists’ few well-worn-out propaganda cards as evidence for their contention that Islam is not what its detractors claim.

Here are the few favorite cards:

* There is no compulsion in religion says the Quran—the full context is never shown.

* “Islam,” means “Peace,” so Islam is religion of peace.

* “For you, your religion, and for me, my religion,” Muhammad reportedly has said.

The Muslims and their apologists quickly run out of their few cards and the rest of the Islamic deck is all about intolerance, hatred, and violence toward the infidels and all others who are not true Muslims, even toward those who consider themselves as Muslims. Shiites, for instance, judge the Sunnis as traitors to Islam and Sunnis condemn the Shiites as heretics. Each side deems the other worthy of death and hellfire.

This internecine Islamic war of the religion of peace is not confined to the Shiite-Sunni divide. There are so many internal divisions within each side that listing and describing them comprehensively would be encyclopedic.

So, who is right? What are the facts about Islam and how does Islam impact the ever-shrinking village earth and its inhabitants? Admittedly, this is a huge question and cannot be answered satisfactorily in one article. However, some facts can be presented to help the reader decide.

There is no need to belabor the point that Islam is not and has never been a religion of peace. The word “Islam,” is derived from “taslim,” which means “submission,” while the term for “peace,” is “Solh.” Another derivation of the word “taslim,” is “salamat” which means “good health,” and so on.

Irrespective of what the term “Islam” may mean, the facts on the ground conclusively demonstrate Islam’s violent nature from its very inception. No need to go back to the time of Muhammad and examine the historical records. Just a few from contemporary events should make the point.

Here is a partial list: the savage Shiites-Sunnis bloodletting in Iraq; the barbarism of the resurging Taliban in Afghanistan; the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur; the Somalis killings; the Iranian mullahs murder of their own people and support of mischief abroad; the cross-border attack on Israel by Lebanese Hizbollah; the incessant terrorist acts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatwa of the Palestinians against Israel; the bombing of Shiites mosques in Pakistan and the Shiites retaliation against easy innocent civilian targets.

Clearly, there is no place on the planet where Muslims reside that is in peace from the religion of peace. Spain, France, Holland, England Thailand, and Indonesia, have already been attacked while others such as Belgium have been threatened and sanctioned.

Stretching the benefit of the doubt beyond limits, one may believe that all these acts of horrors are committed by a small minority of thugs and radicals who happened to be Muslims.

Fine, let us ignore all those “fringes” for now: those who are giving Islam a bad reputation. And never mind Saudi Arabia, the cradle of barbarism fixed in formaldehyde since Islam’s inception. Also, let us overlook the dastardly Shiite fanatics presently ruling (ruining) a great nation of Iran. Iran Shiite Hitlerists are hell-bent on wiping Israel off the face of the planet while viciously devastating Iran’s own largest minority—the Baha’is; the people universally-recognized as law-abiding and peaceful.

Would someone account for what is happening in the “civilized” Islamic country of Egypt? The world owes Egypt a debt of gratitude for giving it the Muslims Brotherhood—the lead promoter of Sunni hatred toward the infidels with chapters and front organizations in much of the world. With typical Islamic hypocrisy, the Egyptian government claims that the Muslims Brotherhood is outlawed, when in actuality the Brotherhood holds twenty-five percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament. The same country that gave the world vicious American killers like Al Zawahiri is the recipient of huge largess from the American taxpayer.

And the latest shameful action of the Egyptian government is the issuance of identity cards that requires listing of one’s religion. In order to be issued an ID card which is essential for just about any and all exercises of the rights of citizenship, the individual must list his religion as one of the three sanctioned faith: Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. No one is allowed to leave the religious affiliation blank or list any other religion. Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is or agnostics and atheists have to either lie and fake a religious affiliation or run the serious risk of having to survive as non-entities in the “crown jewel” of modern and moderate Islamic society.

These are the conditions on the ground wherever Islam rules. Violence of all forms is endemic to Islam and is not confined to any fringes. Islam itself is the fringe. A fringe that is oppressive, hateful of others and violent to the core.

The world must confront Islam and demand that it mends its ways in conformity with the Bill of Rights, where every man, woman, and child is fully entitled to equal treatment under the law, irrespective of any and all considerations.

Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. He maintains a website.

Andrew Carnegie, 1836-1919

By Aussiegirl

Scotsman.com's Fact of the Day column informs me that Andrew Carnegie, once the richest man in the world, was born this day in 1836 -- Scotsmans.com also published the short biography that I have posted below.

Scotsman.com Heritage & Culture - Great Scots - A to Z - Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

THE RISE to fame of Andrew Carnegie is the classic rags-to-riches success story. Born in Dunfermline the son of a humble handloom weaver, he grew into one of the best-known industrialists in the world, dominating the burgeoning American steel industry in the 19th century.

Carnegie retired as the world’s richest man, then proceeded to become the world’s greatest philanthropist, giving the bulk of his vast fortune to charitable trusts and adopting as his motto "the man who dies rich dies disgraced".

It was a far cry from his early years in Dunfermline. His father, William, was an active Chartist and marched for the rights of the working man. The arrival of the power loom and a general economic downturn impoverished his family and in 1848, when Andrew was 12, the family left Scotland for America and joined a Scottish colony in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now part of Pittsburgh. His first job was as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory; then, at 14, a messenger in a telegraph office. His willingness to work hard and his shrewd business brain were evident even then and he quickly moved into a senior management post with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

In 1865, Carnegie, already wealthy - having invested wisely in the up-and-coming oil industry and other thriving businesses - established his own business enterprises. He foresaw the worldwide demand for iron and steel and by the 1870s the Carnegie Steel Company operated dozens of steel mills in and around Pittsburgh, introduced efficient working practices like the Bessemer process and led the enormous expansion of steel making in the United States.

Carnegie consolidated his business empire by buying the coke fields and iron-ore deposits that furnished the raw materials for steel making as well as ships and railroads for transporting supplies to the mills. The low point in his career was the trade union strike at the company’s Homestead works in 1892. Local managers brought in armed guards from the Pinkerton detective agency to break the strike and in the shootout that followed three guards and nine workers were killed. In 1901 he sold his business to industrialist JP Morgan of the US Steel Corporation for $480m.

One of Carnegie’s lifelong interests was the establishment of free public libraries and in his 1889 book The Gospel of Wealth, he wrote of his belief in philanthropy and asserted that that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community. He enthusiastically set about his philanthropic endeavours, providing money for over 2,500 libraries throughout the English-speaking world and more than 7,600 pipe organs for churches. He established a variety of trust funds and foundations which still operate to this day. By the time of his death he had given away $350m to good causes.

Carnegie had the magnificent Skibo Castle in Sutherland built for him and his wife Louise and after his retirement the couple divided their time between the castle, their home in New York City and their summer house, Shadowlands, In Lenox, Massachusetts, where Carnegie died in August 1919.

Friday, November 24, 2006

First Direct Evidence of Turbulence in Space

By Aussiegirl

From Wikipedia's article I learned that turbulence is an impenetrably difficult problem in physics -- which doesn't stop physicists from joking about it: Like the three-body problem in gravitation, turbulence remains one of the unsolved problems in physics. According to an apocryphal story Werner Heisenberg was asked what he would ask God, given the opportunity. His reply was: "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." A similar witticism has been attributed to Horace Lamb (who had published a noted text book on Hydrodynamics)—his choice being quantum mechanics (instead of relativity) and turbulence. Lamb was quoted as saying in a speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, "I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather optimistic."

(For the Wikipedia articles on the three-body problem in gravitation and the unsolved problems in physics, see here and here.)

(And here is the description of the illustration: Turbulence in space has been directly measured by a suite of 4 satellite detectors, called Cluster, which are positioned just outside the bow shock ahead of Earth’s magnetosphere. Cluster measures rapid variations in the magnetic field as solar wind particles arrive in Earth’s vicinity.)

Physics news Update 802

First Direct Evidence of Turbulence in Space

If you think chaos is complicated in the case of simple objects (such as our inability to predict the longterm velocities and positions of planets owing to their nonlinear interactions with the sun and other planets) it's far worse for systems with essentially an infinite number of degrees of freedom such as fluids or plasmas under the stress of nonlinear forces. Then the word turbulence is fully justified.

Turbulence can be studied on Earth easily by mapping such things as the density or velocity of fluids in a tank. In space, however, where we expect turbulence to occur in such settings as solar wind, interstellar space, and the accretion disks around black holes, it's not so easy to measure fluids in time and space. Now, a suite of four plasma-watching satellites, referred to as Cluster, has provided the first definitive study of turbulence in space.

The fluid in question is the wind of particles streaming toward the Earth from the sun, while the location in question is the region just upstream of Earth's bow shock, the place where the solar wind gets disturbed and passes by the Earth's magnetosphere (see figure at Physics News Graphics). The waves in the shock-upstream plasma, pushed around by complex magnetic fields, are observed to behave a lot like fluid turbulence on Earth.

One of the Cluster researchers, Yasuhito Narita (y.narita@tu-bs.de) of the Institute of Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics in Braunschweig, Germany, says that the data is primarily in accord with the leading theory of fluid turbulence, the so called Kolmogorov's model.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thomas James Henderson, 1798-1844

By Aussiegirl

Today's Scotsman.com Fact of the Day has this brief note:

Astronomer Thomas Henderson died on this day in 1844. The Dundonian scientist was the first person to measure the distance to a star (Alpha Centauri) from the Earth using parallax and was appointed the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1834.

What follows is the Wikipedia article about him (in which we learn that he should have been a little bolder in letting the world know of his achievement: Henderson published his results in 1839, but was relegated to second place because of his lack of confidence).

Thomas James Henderson (December 28, 1798 – November 23, 1844) was an astronomer noted for being the first person to measure the distance to Alpha Centauri, the major component of the nearest stellar system to Earth, and for being the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

Born in Dundee, Scotland, he was educated at Dundee Grammar School, after which he trained as a lawyer, working his way up through the profession as an assistant to a variety of nobles. However, his major hobbies were astronomy and mathematics, and after coming up with a new method for using lunar occultation to measure longitude he came to the attention of Thomas Young, superintendent of the British Navy's "Nautical Almanac". Young helped Henderson enter the larger world of astronomical science, and on his death a posthumous letter recommended to the Admiralty that Henderson take his place.

Henderson was passed over for that position, but the recommendation was enough to get him a position as the British observatory at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. There he made a considerable number of stellar observations between April 1832 and May 1833, including those for which he is remembered today. It was pointed out to him that the bright southern star Alpha Centauri had a large proper motion, and Henderson concluded that it might be a close star.

The 1830s version of the "space race" was to be the first person to measure the distance to a star using parallax, a task which is easier the closer the star. Henderson was thus in a good position to be this person. After retiring back to the United Kingdom due to bad health, he began analyzing his measurements and eventually came to the conclusion that Alpha Centauri was just slightly less that one parsec away, 3.25 light years. This figure is reasonably accurate, being 33.7% too small.

Doubts about the accuracy of his instruments kept him from publishing, however (there had been previous, discredited attempts to claim a measurement of stellar parallax), and eventually he was beaten to the punch by Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, who published a parallax of 10.4 light years (9.6% too small) for 61 Cygni in 1838. Henderson published his results in 1839, but was relegated to second place because of his lack of confidence.

In the meantime, his measurement work at the Cape had led him to be appointed the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1834. The private observatory on Calton Hill in Edinburgh — where he had made his first observations as an astronomer — was sold to the University of Edinburgh and the vacant chair of astronomy there given to him on the advice of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Welcome to American Thinker readers

By Aussiegirl

Many thanks to Thomas Lifson for his generous link to my articles on the Ukrainian Holodomor and upcoming commemorations in Ukraine on November 25th and for his eloquent words. Welcome to new readers. Look around, there are articles on a variety of subjects on Ultima Thule.


For the Victims of the Holodomor 1932-1933 [Induced Starvation,
Death for Millions, Genocide] and other Political Repressions
Against the People of Ukraine

Famines In Ukraine: Induced Starvation, Death For Millions, Genocide

By Roman Serbyn, Professor Emeritus
Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Canada

Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #791, Article 1
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, November 19, 2006

During the 70 years of communist rule in Ukraine, this Soviet republic
suffered a number of severe famines, the most destructive of which was
the terrible Holodomor of 1932-1933.

The term "holodomor" was coined from the Ukrainian noun "holod" (hunger,
starvation, famine) and verb "moryty" (to cause to be wasted, to kill).

Since it is now known that all the famines were preventable, many Ukrainians
apply the term to the other Ukrainian famines as well.

Recent studies, based on documentation released since the fall of communism
and the breakup of the Soviet Union show clearly, that throughout the whole
period, the Ukrainian Soviet Republic produced enough foodstuffs to be able
to feed all of its inhabitants.

The famines were the result of Moscow's diverting of Ukrainian resources to
purposes other than the satisfaction of Ukrainian population's hunger.

FAMINE OF 1921-1923
The first widespread famine began in the summer of 1921 and lasted for two
years. It affected the grain rich southern half of the republic, where two
consecutive years of drought completely destroyed the harvest.

Approximately one million people died, mostly in the villages but the urban
centres were also affected.

Had Ukraine been truly an independent country with a government which
put the vital interests of the Ukrainian population at the centre of its
preoccupations, this famine could have been avoided.

Ukraine had not yet been completely despoiled by the German occupation of
1918, or by the part of the Russian civil war fought on Ukrainian soil, or
by the White and the Red Russian wars of reconquest of the Ukrainian "bread
basket". The harvest in the northern half of the republic were adequate and
even in the southern part there were still some, if insufficient, reserves.

An truly independent Ukrainian government would have arranged to have
foodstuffs transferred from the north to the south, and no human lives
needed to have been lost.

But Kharkiv, now the capital of an officially sovereign and independent
Ukrainian SSR was in fact an administrative centre taking direct orders from
Moscow. And Moscow had other priorities than to safeguard the lives of
rebellious Ukrainians.

Drought had also devastated the Volga valley and the Northern Caucasus
regions in the RSFSR and affected several times more people than in
Ukraine. Famine casualties there were also much higher than in Ukraine.

Moscow decided to come to the rescue of the starving population of the
RSFSR. All taxation in the famine regions were suspended while they were
twinned with regions that had a regular harvest, and the latter were ordered
to provide famine relief.

At the same time, Moscow ignored the famine in Ukraine and ordered the
Ukrainian republic, designated as a single unit, to help the starving
population along the Volga . Moscow also appealed to the West for foreign
aid for Russia, keeping silent about the famine in Ukraine.

In fact, when in November 1921, a fact-finding mission of the American
Relief Administration enquired about conditions in Ukraine, it was told by
Moscow that there is no reason to go to Ukraine because that Republic was
providing famine relief to Russia.

What the Russian authorities failed to mention was that Ukraine was doing
this at Moscow's orders and at the expense of it's own population's
starvation and death.

Ukraine was eventually opened to famine relief, due to the perseverance of
the ARA-JDC effort to bring aid to the starving Jewish population of
southern Ukraine.

Since the 1921-1923 famine was a regional scourge, decimating the urban as
well as the rural dwellers, the Jewish population of southern Ukraine also
suffered greatly and alarmed their relatives and friends in Western Europe
and North America. The American Joint Distribution Committee was already
a participant in the ARA relief effort in the RSFSR.

Together with the ARA it prevailed upon Moscow to allow a fact-finding
mission to go to Ukraine and eventually American aid, paid for the most part
by the JDC, was allowed to come to Ukraine. ARA soup kitchens were opened
in Ukraine in April 1922, eight months after their appearance in Russia.

Other charitable organizations were also allowed to set up famine relief in
Ukraine in 1922. In October 1922, the Kremlin declared the famine vanquished
and Moscow began exporting grain from Odessa, to the disgust of
international charitable organizations, which continued to provide famine
relief for another year.

The great famine of 1932-1933 differed from the one in 1921-23 in which
there were important adverse climatic conditions, the harvests in 1932-1933
were adequate.

All serious scholars agree that in spite of the upheavals due to
dekulakization and collectivization, and even grain export, there was enough
cereal grain reserves to feed all the population of the Soviet Union.

The 1930s famine also differed in that its target was the whole rural
population of Ukraine, while the urban centres received survival rations.
The people who died from starvation in the urban centres were mostly
peasants who had come to seek food.

Unlike the 1921-23 famine, the 1932-33 catastrophe affected primarily
Ukraine and the Kuban' region of Northern Caucasus, while the food
shortages in the regions of the RSFSR contiguous to Ukraine were much
less severe.

As a result of the famine the Ukrainian SSR lost, according to various
estimates, from four to ten million people, overwhelmingly ethnic
Ukrainians, since they made up 90 % of the republic's agriculturalists.

Perhaps as many as one million farmers died in the RSFSR, but we do
not have a clear idea of their ethnic composition.

One of the most heavily devastated areas was the Northern Caucasus
Territory, where 2/3 of the population of the Kuban region was Ukrainian;
other affected regions were inhabited by Germans, Tatars and other ethnic

The great famine came in the wake of the so-called Stalin's revolution from
above. Having outmaneuvered his competitors for Lenin's mantle, Stalin
could finally undertake the transformation of the backward Soviet empire
into a modern industrial and military superpower.

Most of the capital for this endeavor would have to come from agriculture,
which would also have to sustain the growing industrial population with

Tsarist agriculture had shown Stalin that the best providers of marketable
grain were the large estates of rich landowners, while the more recent
Bolshevik experience taught him that door to door confiscation of peasants
produce was a very inefficient method of procurement.

Since most of the arable land was now in the hands of the middle and poor
peasants, most of the food produce was now consumed by the farmers and
little was left for the State procurement.

Collectivization would recreate large agricultural exploitations over which
the State would have a direct control and could squeeze out of them as much
as it wished. Collectivization would also correspond to Marxist ideology and
the satisfy the Party's quest for better control over the peasant

Stalin and the party hierarchy was well aware that collectivization would be
strongly opposed by the peasantry, especially in Ukraine, the Kuban, and
other regions that did not have the Russian tradition of peasant obshchina
(sort of commune).

They also knew that forceful imposition of collectivization would have very
disruptive consequences for Soviet agriculture and that total production
would undoubtedly decline.

Finally, Stalin and his henchmen could not fail to realize that in Ukraine,
the opposition to the destruction of the peasants' traditional way of life
would assume national overtones.

In fact, recent documents such as Stalin's correspondence with Kaganovich
and Stalin-inspired decisions of the Politburo reveal that the "peasant"
and "national" questions became intertwined in Kremlin's policies during the
early 1930s.

Collectivization was adopted as part of the first Five Year Plan in December
1927 but was not strongly implemented until 1929. In December of that year,
the Politburo ordered the dekulakization of the villages.

Kulaks were rich peasants or those deemed to have a kulak mentality.
Theoretically numbering about 5 % of the peasant population they were
divided into three categories and dealt with accordingly.

The first category, the richest and most ferocious adversaries of the State,
were exiled into special settlements outside Ukraine, after some of the
heads of families were executed.

The second category was exiled to other regions of Ukraine and third
category was allowed to stay in the same village. In both cases they were
prevented from joining collective farms and were allotted poorer lands for
their own use.

In this way several hundred thousand of Ukraine's most dynamic and
productive agriculturalists were destroyed or marginalized from the
Ukrainian society.

The property confiscated from the "kulaks" was turned over to the
collective farms in order to draw to them the poor peasants.

Dekoulakization thus fulfilled several goals for the regime: it brought
class struggle into the village, it provided property for the new collective
farms, it provided cheap labor in remote desolate regions of Russia, and
it removed the natural leaders of the Ukrainian peasant opposition.

Dekulakization weakened but did not prevent active peasant opposition to
collectivization. This opposition manifested itself in various ways, from
armed resistance to the so-called "babs'ki bunty" (women's revolts).

Dekulakization was over by 1931, and most of Ukrainian peasants had been
forced to join the kolkhozes by the fall of 1932 when the great famine
began. Throughout the dekulakization, collectivization and the famine
itself, USSR exported huge quantities of grain: 1930 - 5.8 million tons;
1931 - 4.7 m.t.; 1932 - 1.6 m.t.; 1933 - 2.1 m.t.

One million tons was sufficient to feed five million people for one year. It
should also be noted that even with the exports, the State's grain reserves
never dipped below 1.5 m.t., i.e., enough to save the starving population
from untimely suffering and death.

The first wave of induced famine hit Ukraine in the winter-spring 1932 when
half a million died; the second wave commenced in the fall of that year and
peaked sometime in the early spring days of 1933.

The direct cause of famine were high procurement quotas which most of the
kolkhozes and remaining individual peasants were unable to meet and which
Stalin refused to lower to a manageable level.

Stalin knew very well the situation in Ukrainian villages. He was
continually informed by his envoys to Ukraine Molotov, Kaganovich, Kosior
and Postyshev. He received complaints and requests for lowering of
procurement quotas from the Ukrainian leaders Petrovsky, Chubar, Terekhov.

The OGPU sent periodic reports showing the catastrophic situation in the
Ukrainian villages. Stalin's response was always the same: there is grain in
Ukraine, saboteurs are hiding it, the grain must be found and the saboteurs
be punished.

During the worst months of the famine, party faithfuls, helped by workers
sent to Ukraine from Russian industrial centres and by local peasant
activists went from house to house, seeking hidden grain and other
foodstuffs, confiscating the last pieces of edibles from the peasant tables.

Kolkhozes and individual farmers were put on "balck boards" (black lists),
forbidden to buy the basic necessities of life: matches, kerosene, and other
manufactured goods.

Two documents which have recently come to light reveal that Stalin's
extermination policy was directed specifically against the Ukrainian people.

On 14 December 1932 a joint resolution of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party and the Council of Peoples Commissars of the USSR
condemned the process of Ukrainization which had been carried out in
Ukraine and Northern Caucasus (especially Kuban) for the problems in
State procurement in these regions.

Ukrainization had allowed, according to the document, Petliurites, Ukrainian
bourgeois nationalists to infiltrate local administrations, educational
establishments and the mass media outlets, create counterrevolutionary cells
and pursue a policy of sabotage and destabilization.

The solution ordered by the Party/State hierarchy was put Ukrainization in
Ukraine on its original track: to integrate the Ukrainian people into the
Soviet system. Petliurites and Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist were to be
removed from Soviet institutions in Ukraine and punished.

The punishment of the 8 million Ukrainians in the RSFSR amounted to
complete annihilation of their ethnic identity: Ukrainian bourgeois
nationalists were to be removed from all public institutions in RSFSR,
the Russian language was to replace Ukrainian in all sectors of social life
where Ukrainian was used: local administration, newspapers and journals.

All Ukrainian schools were to be Russified. In addition, the inhabitants of
many of the Ukrainian stanytsias, settled by descendants of the Ukrainian
Zaporozhian cossacks were to be deported to the north and resettled with
loyal Russian peasants from infertile lands.

The second document, which shows Stalin's intent to exterminate a part of
the Ukrainian nation, is his directive cosigned by Molotov, and sent on 22
January 1933 to the republican authorities in Ukraine and Belarus, and five
Russian regional administrations along the Ukrainian borders.

The order blames the OGPU for allowing the previous year peasants from
Ukraine and the Kuban to go north, allegedly in search of food, but in fact
to spread propaganda against the kolkhoz system. These Petliurites and
agents of Pilsudski must not be allowed to do the same this year.

A mass movement has already started once more in Ukraine and the Kuban,
and it must be nipped in the bud. The addressed authorities must warn their
peasants against leaving their villages and take all the necessary means to
prevent a peasant exodus. The Railways are forbidden to sell tickets to
peasants in those regions.

The OGPU is ordered to arrest all peasants who do not heed the warning
and try to cross the Ukrainian border. As a result of this directive, in the
ensuing six weeks, the OGPU arrested some 220,000 people, sent about
190,000 back to their starving villages and dealt otherwise with the rest.

These two documents provide convincing evidence that the Stalin-made famine
of 1932-1933 meets the requirements of genocide as defined by the United
Nations Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, adopted by the General
Assembly on 9 December 1948.

The crucial element of the definition, the question of intent to destroy in
whole or in part, is demonstrated by Stalin's decision to close internal
Soviet borders thus isolating peasants of Ukraine and the Kuban to prevent
them from seeking refuge in the more benign conditions of Russia and

The second element of the definition, that the target group be identified as
national or ethnic is also met. The segregated peasants made up a national
group (in the civic sense of the term) as citizens of Ukraine, while at the
same time 90 % of them were ethnic Ukrainians.

Some three quarters of the Kuban peasants and Cossacks were of Ukrainian
ethnic background and thus compose an ethnic group. The nexus between
the two targeted groups was their Ukrainianness.

The third famine began in the fall of 1946 and reached its peak in the
spring of 1947. The main causes of the famine were similar to those of the
previous famines: exorbitant procurement quotas for grain and other
agricultural produce, which drained the country side of vital resources, and
Stalin's unwillingness to aid the starving population in those regions that
suffered from drought and a poor harvests.

During the famine period, the Soviet Union shipped cereals to its new
satellites: Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia and
even Finland and France. Some 2.5 m.t. of grain was exported.

The famine touched particularly the newly annexed Izmailivs'ka and
Chernivets'ka oblasts, where collectivization of agriculture had dire
consequences for the agrarian population. Other regions of Central and
Eastern Ukraine were also affected by food shortages.

To escape the famine, peasants fled to Western Ukraine, where the climatic
conditions had been more benign and the harvest more plentiful. To prevent
this peasant movement, the authorities posted guards along the main routes
to turn the refugees back.

In Western Ukraine, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and
the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) tried to impede the export of Ukrainian
grain to the West. Soviet authorities provided famine relief only to those
who worked in the fields, where soup kitchens were set up during working

In all, about one million Ukrainians, mostly peasants, perished from
starvation during the famine of 1946-1947.

In conclusion, all three famines, 1921-1923, 1932-1933, and
1946-1947 were the result of Moscow's deliberate diverting of
Ukrainian resources to purposes other than the satisfaction of
Ukrainian population's hunger.

Night - A Memoir of The Great Famine of 1933

By Aussiegirl

My mother lived through this famine as a 13-year-old girl, and the memories are indelibly etched in her mind. I published this memoir last November, but I'm reprinting it today because I have many new readers. This eloquent and understated testament to growing up under the tyranny of Soviet rule was published in Ukrainian in a Ukrainian-American magazine. This is my own translation of her moving memories.

Ultima Thule: Night - A Memoir of The Great Famine of 1933

Night - A Memoir of The Great Famine of 1933
By Maria D.

Night -- and sleep has vanished into the darkness. A light rain falls softly through the leaves of the tree outside my window, gathers in a stream in the gutters, and falls in heavy drops to the ground. I try counting them, but sleep will not come. My thoughts are a tangle of memories, long lost dreams and disappointments.

Suddenly, out of the distant and forgotten past a spark of memory flashes across my mind and I fly back through the years to my earliest childhood. But even here I am lost. Where to begin?

As my mother described it, I was born in March of 1920, "on the first day of Lent" as she liked to put it, in the village of R. in the Kharkiv region of Eastern Ukraine. My father was still away at war. Our village, plundered by the frequent waves of "Reds", "Whites" and other roving and warring factions, was left impoverished and half-starved.

In the village I had two grandfathers, Vasyl and Mykhailo, but no grandmother. Both my grandmothers had gone to an early grave, claimed by the heavy work and toil that was a woman's lot.

My grandfather, Vasyl, had four more children in addition to my father, and probably for this reason he married again, to give the children, if not a mother, then at least a stepmother. No household could survive without the capable and hard working hands of a woman.

My mother always told me that even as a very young child I was fond of singing. While singing I liked to parade back and forth along a bench that sat by the kitchen table.

And one day it happened that during such a "recital" I fell off the bench and landed on the floor under the table. I probably banged my head, but most importantly I smudged my brand new kerchief, that had only just been given to me by my aunt. There were lots of tears and grief, and later, whenever anyone would ask me to sing, I would always reply, "Oh, sure! And fall off that bench again!" And here my brilliant singing career came to an end.

After a few years our family (there were now three of us children) moved to town and we only visited the village during the summer.

Later, during the years of the NEP, the so-called New Economic Policy that led to a loosening of restrictions on private trade and labor, conditions eased and food and goods became almost plentiful.

I remember our village in those later years. The village had bloomed -- had prospered -- had burst into song in the midst of flowering cherry orchards. There were times at night, while lying in the hayloft in my grandfather's barn, that I lay awake and strained to hear the magical sounds of the night as the villagers gathered after their day's labor in the fields to join their voices in glorious ancient folksongs.

The night was so beautiful, starry and bright, with a full moon – and the nightingale added his ecstatic song – to my childish heart it was paradise -- and nothing less!

How desperately I wanted then to hurry and grow up to be able to join in this glorious singing -- I think I never again experienced such a night.

But it did not remain this way for long. In the fearful conversations of my elders, more and more frightening and foreign words began to intrude -- commune, kurkul (kulack), Siberia -- and we became afraid. Our visits to the village came to an end.

Soon, the terrible, black specter of the Stalin created Famine-Genocide of l932-33 spread throughout the land. And even though I was still quite young, I remember that frightening apparition of the famine very well. Images that are seared in my memory forever -- hundreds -- thousands of people, their limbs and bellies grotesquely swollen from starvation -- the walking dead, the half-dead and the dead -- orphaned children wandering homeless and begging for food in the streets -- or simply dying in the gutters.

In school during class a small boy suddenly pitched forward onto his desk and died -- I shall never forget the sound of his head hitting the desk -- and he wasn't the only one. And the textbooks, newspapers and so-called "artistic literature" all around us overflowed with the slogan: "We are grateful to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood!" What obscene and monstrous mockery!

I remember my mother gathered all our relatives from the village where all the food had been confiscated, even from private homes. They lay about on the floors, many too weak to move as my mother stirred a weak "soup" in large kettles on the stove -- a broth so thin that one little grain of cooked wheat was barely in any danger of knocking into another. And even though we ourselves were hungry, at least my father as a civil servant received a small allotment, and we shared it with those closest to us who had nothing. I will never forget the image of my little brother coming home from school and opening the doors of the little cupboard where once we had stored bread. With tears in his eyes he searched the empty shelves, and then wetting his tiny finger he traced it over the naked boards, picking up the few crumbs left over from bread that had once been there. This memory still burns in my soul.

Many difficult and heavy years had passed since I had seen my native village. It was not until I had finished high school in town and at the suggestion of my classmate who was also from that same village, that I set out to again visit my relatives -- to see my grandfather whom I loved so very much. That journey was about 25 kilometers on foot. And now I too, a grown young woman, would definitely have the chance to go into the streets at night to sing as I had once dreamed of doing. My friend, though, was strangely silent.

As we walked along, I found myself entranced by the flowing fields of grain as the wind bent and lifted them in undulating waves, a lark sang high in the heavens, and with increasing anticipation and impatience I looked for the towering poplars that marked my grandfather’s garden as we approached the village. But in vain -- there were no more poplars, there was no more village so happy and full of song that I had so long treasured in my heart's memory. The village was dark and silent and numb.

I opened the door to my grandfather's house. I saw him, gray and stooped, and greeted him warmly, noticing that he did not recognize me. And it occurred to me to have a little fun with him and not tell him who I was.

I asked him for some water to drink and to wash my hands after my long journey. My grandfather took a bucket and I followed him out into the yard where he drew cold, fresh water from the well. He poured the water over my hands as he regarded my face with interest. He handed me a clean towel and in a hesitant and unsure voice asked: "Well
then, tell me now, after all -- whose child might you be?"

"Grandfather, it's me, Marika, your first grandchild. Don't you know me?" My poor old grandfather began to tremble, clutched me desperately to his breast, and a cascade of bitter tears rolled down his cheeks into his white beard.

"Oh, most merciful Heaven, what has the world come to when one doesn’t even recognize one's very own flesh and blood!”

My grandfather wept, and I wept too, out of pity for him and also out of shame for myself, that I had behaved so thoughtlessly.

I went to sleep again in that same barn where once in my childhood I had listened so fervently to the music of the night. But it was in vain. Long ago now -- very long ago the village had become mute. The young girls, exhausted from their hard labors on the collective farms, no longer sang. Only now and then somewhere in the distance a dog barked, and then again -- silence -- until dawn, when again the people were called to work in the new serfdom.

The memory of this night will stay with me forever.
This night, I will also never forget.

Russia: No Reasons To Regard 1932-1933 Famine In Ukraine As Ethnic Genocide

By Aussiegirl

Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Monday, November 13, 2006

MOSCOW -- However tragic the 1932-1933 events in Ukraine were,
there are no reasons to regard them as genocide under ethnic principle,
says the commentary of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday in
connection with the discussion in the press of the 1932-1933 famine in

It is quite often stated that famine in that period "was deliberately
provoked by the leadership of the USSR and aimed precisely against the
Ukrainian people," the ministry noted. "The existing archive materials
indicate that the massive famine of the early 30s indeed largely stemmed
from the policy of the Soviet Union's leadership," the foreign ministry

"It is quite clear, however, that the policy was not based on nationalities
principle." "We all should take a more balanced attitude to such complicated
and sensitive matters of our common history, and not to allow for their
politicisation," the ministry said. [....]

Ukrainian President Writes Letter To George Bush Thanking Him For Signing Law To Give Ukraine A Place In Washington To Build A Holodomor Monument

By Aussiegirl

Press Office of the President of Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, November 10, 2006

KYIV - Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko has written a letter to U.S.
President George Bush to thank him for signing a law to give Ukraine's
government a plot of land in Washington on which to erect a Holodomor
monument [1932-1933 Holodomor - induced starvation, death for millions,
genocide, in Soviet Ukraine, (Action Ukraine Report - AUR)]

"I thank you for honoring millions of innocent people whose lives were put
on the dreadful altar of the totalitarian Soviet regime. A monument in the
heart of the free world, Washington, will remind us that freedom and
democracy can guarantee that this terrible tragedy will never happen again,"
he wrote.

The President also sent letters to U.S. Senator Carl Levin [Democrat-
Michigan] and U.S. Representative Sandy Levin [Democrat - Michigan]
to thank them for helping pass the bill in the Senate and the House.

Putin strikes again!

By Aussiegirl

Today's Washington Post has the following excellent editorial about the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Putin. Shades of Ancient Rome and all the poisonings that went on there -- remember I, Claudius?

Political Poison - washingtonpost.com

Political Poison
Is it just a coincidence that enemies of Vladimir Putin keep ingesting toxic substances?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006; Page A26

FOR THE PAST 15 years it has been commonly assumed that Russian leaders gave up the Soviet practice of murdering political dissidents, inside and outside of the country. Maybe not. British authorities say they are investigating the apparent poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is fighting for his life in a London hospital after ingesting highly toxic thallium. A former agent of the KGB secret service and its successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB), who sought asylum in Britain six years ago, Mr. Litvinenko had alleged that the agency maintained a secret poisons laboratory. Along with many others, he also charged that the Kremlin was behind the 2004 poisoning of Ukraine's pro-Western president, Viktor Yushchenko.

There's no concrete evidence as yet that the FSB or Mr. Putin is behind the poison attacks -- but there is plenty of reason for suspicion. Mr. Litvinenko was investigating the recent murder of the country's best known opposition journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in her apartment building on Oct. 7. She, too, was hospitalized in 2004 and said she believed she had been poisoned. Ms. Politkovskaya's editor at the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Yuri Shchekochikhin, died after a suspected poisoning three years ago. No one has been arrested in these murders, but Mr. Putin publicly disparaged Ms. Politkovskaya while implausibly charging that his political enemies were somehow behind her death.

Former colleagues of Mr. Putin in the KGB don't doubt who is responsible. One, Oleg Kalugin, pointed out that the president pushed the Russian parliament to authorize the secret service to take action against "terrorists" outside the country. Another, Oleg Gordievsky, the former KGB chief in Britain, told the Times of London that he believed the attack was "state-sponsored" and was carried out by another former Russian agent. We trust that the British authorities will vigorously investigate the attack on Mr. Litvinenko -- who is now a British citizen -- and that Prime Minister Tony Blair will take seriously the possibility that a colleague in the Group of Eight sanctioned a political murder attempt in London.

While Mr. Litvinenko's story was emerging over the weekend, President Bush was pictured exchanging jollities with his "friend Vladimir" at a summit in Vietnam. Does Mr. Bush regret having given so much support to a leader who has dismantled his country's nascent democracy and whose opponents keep turning up in hospitals and morgues? If so, he's keeping his own secret.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hi-tech walking stick

By Aussiegirl

Sounds like a great idea! (The illustration is a photo of Charles Dickens's walking stick.)

Ananova - Hi-tech walking stick

German scientists have developed an intelligent walking stick that calls an ambulance if the owner falls over.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Development in Kaiserslautern invented the 'i-Stick'.

It's part of an ongoing Assisted Living project to use technology to help elderly people.

If a sensor in the i-Stick registers that it is in a horizontal position, for example if its elderly owner has fallen over, it sends a signal to a control unit which plays a message telling the owner to pick it up.

If the stick remains on the floor the control box is programmed to call either an ambulance directly or a chosen relative.

I-Sticks have yet to hit stores but the scientists are currently looking for a distributor.

Dark energy dates back nine billion years

By Aussiegirl

So you've decided that you're not interested in this topic? Well, just read this quote from the article -- The data suggest that the effect of dark energy was rather weak until about five to six billion years ago when it defeated gravity in a “cosmic tug of war” and the rate of expansion began to increase -- and then tell me that your attention wasn't seized by defeated gravity in a "cosmic tug of war", and you don't want to read more!
To that purpose I've assembled some relevant sources: Wikipedia's article on dark energy, then PhysicsWeb articles New light on dark energy , Dark energy, Quintessence (what a poetic name!), and finally, since there are always dissenting voices even in science, Theorists claim dark energy does not exist.

Dark energy dates back nine billion years (November 2006) - News - PhysicsWeb

Dark energy dates back nine billion years
Hamish Johnston
17 November 2006

The mysterious substance known as dark energy has been fuelling the expansion of the universe for at least nine billion years, according to astronomers in the US. Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues made the discovery by using the Hubble Space Telescope to study ancient exploding stars. They have also concluded that dark energy appears to be related to the "cosmological constant" first proposed – and then retracted -- by Albert Einstein.

In 1998 the astronomical community was astounded when data from Hubble and other telescopes established that the rate of expansion of the universe was increasing – something that physicists are still struggling to explain. Astronomers had long known that the universe is expanding, but the rate of expansion was expected to slow as the finite energy of expansion is depleted by the gravitational attraction that holds the universe together.

Physicists have tried to explain the acceleration in terms of “dark energy”, which boosts the expansion of the universe by counteracting the effects of gravity. To be effective, dark energy must account for about 70% of all energy in the universe -- but it has yet to be detected and physicists don’t really know if its behaviour remains constant or if it changes over time.

The most popular explanation for dark energy draws on the “cosmological constant” first proposed by Einstein. A consequence of the constant is that energy density of empty space is the same regardless of whether the universe was expanding. Therefore when one cubic centimetre of the universe expanded to ten cubic centimetres it would somehow end up with ten times more energy.

Now Hubble has shed more light on this mysterious energy. Riess and colleagues used the space telescope study light from 24 type-1a supernovae that exploded 8-10 billion years ago. Such supernovae are considered “standard candles” because they all have a similar brightness and this can be exploited by astronomers to reveal when a supernova occurred and how the universe has expanded in the intervening years.

The observations reveal that dark energy was around nine billion years ago and has been acting in a consistent way ever since. The data suggest that the effect of dark energy was rather weak until about five to six billion years ago when it defeated gravity in a “cosmic tug of war” and the rate of expansion began to increase.

The observations also confirm that the cosmological constant is currently the best explanation for dark energy, casting doubt over alternative theories such as quintessence.

Einstein proposed the cosmological constant in 1917 in order to reconcile his general theory of relatively with the contemporary notion that the universe was not expanding. This changed in 1929 when the US astronomer Edwin Hubble established that expansion was indeed occurring and Einstein retracted the cosmological constant. Now, data from the telescope named after Hubble has resurrected a concept that Einstein called his “biggest blunder”.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork

By Aussiegirl

These beautiful and powerful words are from the beginning of Psalm 19 -- I was reminded of them when I saw these stunning photographs. That's our Sun, the giver of life and all the sweetness and pain that life can hold.
And then I thought of the brilliance and talent of the scientists who thought this science into existence, and was reminded of another beautiful passage:

What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor.

Now to the illustrations: the top one is described this way: Mercury and the Sun, the view through Hinode's X-ray Telescope. The arrow points to Mercury. The bottom one is described this way: When the transit began, that is, when Mercury moved directly in front of the sun's surface, Hinode zoomed in using another of its telescopes, the SOT (Solar Optical Telescope). The images reveal Mercury as no mere speck but a full-fledged planetary disk.

NASA - X-ray Transit of Mercury

To appreciate the majesty and power of a typical G-type star, you need only glance at this photo [the top photo]: The tiny black speck is Mercury. The star looming in the background is our own sun.

The Japanese Space Agency's new orbiting solar observatory, Hinode (formerly known as Solar B), took the picture on Nov. 8th just as Mercury was about to begin a rare solar transit. Thousands of people on Earth saw and photographed the event, but Hinode's photo is like no other because it shows the view through an X-ray telescope.

"Hinode's X-ray telescope, the XRT, is the best solar X-ray telescope ever flown," says John Davis, NASA's Hinode project scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "The XRT has arc-second resolution and can take pictures as rapidly as once every second."

X-rays interest solar physicists because they reveal the hottest gases in the sun's atmosphere. The bright flourish just above Mercury, for instance, is a gigantic mass of million-degree plasma trapped in the magnetic field of a sunspot. Viewed through an ordinary white light telescope, that hot mass would be almost completely invisible.

Truly, "these are unique images," says Davis.

When the transit began, that is, when Mercury moved directly in front of the sun's surface, Hinode zoomed in using another of its telescopes, the SOT (Solar Optical Telescope). The images reveal Mercury as no mere speck but a full-fledged planetary disk.

Viewing the movie [this refers to another link in this article], Davis points out "the motions in the background." The sun's surface boils like water atop a hot stove. Each of the bubbling "granules" is about the size of a terrestrial continent.

Hinode, just launched in September, is still in the shake-down phase of its mission. Ground controllers are testing Hinode's telescopes and other systems and don't expect to begin routine science operations until next month. The transit of Mercury is just a hint of what's to come.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Loving thine enemy

By Aussiegirl

In the end, if we have the stomach for it, we are going to have to isolate, contain and control Islam with the threat of nuclear annihilation if they attack us. We are also going to have to figure out how to deal with the uncomfortable fact that we have an enemy living in our midst. While there are peaceful Muslims -- who are, in reality, Muslims in name only -- any that are true Muslims are devoted to the takeover and destruction of this country and everything it stands for. If we truly want to survive, unpleasant things are going to have to be done. We may have to outlaw Islam and deport all Muslims and forbid them to immigrate. We must isolate these people in their own lands so we know where they are and where we can reach them with our superior military advantage, including nuclear. Instead, we are building mosques at Quantico, holding Ramadan dinners in the White House, and consorting with known terrorists from CAIR.

Loving thine enemy

Loving thine enemy
The more the Islamists step on our toes, the more we waltz them gaily around the room
Mark Steyn
National Post
Thursday, November 16, 2006

After September 11, the first reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, so did the Prince of Wales, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the prime minister of Canada and many more. And, when the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died away, you couldn't help feeling that this would strike almost any previous society as, well, bizarre. Pearl Harbor's been attacked? Quick, order some sushi and get me into a matinee of Madam Butterfly! [....]

From America Alone: The End of the World as We Know it, by Mark Steyn. Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. Copyright (Copyright) 2006 by Mark Steyn.

Democracy’s Problems with Islam

By Aussiegirl

Based on his own experiences, Amil Imani once again warns the West of the dangers of encroaching Islam.

Family Security Matters

Democracy’s Problems with Islam
Amil Imani
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: November 17, 2006

A relatively recent demographic change—significant increase in Muslim population—poses a serious challenge to the American system of governance—democracy.

Historically, people from all over the world came to this land-of-take-all and made it their home. In becoming American, each new aspirant had to meet specific provisions and take the “Pledge of Allegiance” as sworn affirmation of his highest loyalty to his new homeland. After a couple of generations, all hyphenated Americans saw themselves as Americans with a special affection for their ancestral heritage. An Irish-American, for instance, considered himself every bit as American as a German-American, or a Chinese-American.

Traditionally, America did not homogenize its diverse people. The notion of the “melting pot,” is inaccurate. Instead, America did one better. As it welcomed its diverse people, America united them around a set of core values such as respect for human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law.

The large number of Muslims arrival of recent years is posing a serious problem to this nation of all nations. Bluntly speaking, no one can be a Muslim and an American at the same time. Here are some of the reasons.

* A Muslim is, first and foremost, an Ummehist—a citizen of international Islam. So, when a Muslim takes the Pledge of Allegiance, he is either ignorant of the implication of his pledge or is lying willfully. Ignorance is never a valid reason in the court of law, and lying in the process of becoming citizen is a ground for denying the application and even deporting the violator. Sadly enough, tagyyeh—lying, or dissimulation—is not only condoned, it is recommended to the Muslims in their scripture. Hence, a Muslim can and would lie without any compunctions, whenever it is expedient.

* Muslims, by belief and practice, are the most blatant violators of human rights. We hardly need to detail here Muslims’ systemic cruel treatment of the unbelievers, women of all persuasions, and any and all minorities across the board. To Muslims, human rights have a different meaning, and it protective provisions are reserved strictly for Muslims—primarily for Muslim men. Just a couple of examples should suffice for now.

Oppression of women, for one, is so systemic in Islam that to this day women are, at best, second class citizens under Islamic law. Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Islamdom, denies women the right to drive, vote or hold elective offices—the most basic rights of citizens in democratic societies.

For another, no non-Islamic literature are allowed in Saudi Arabia. A visiting Christian, for instance, is denied to enter the Kingdom with a Bible. Further, severe punishment is meted out to anyone daring to disagree with Islam or espouse a different religion. Iran’s resurgent Shiism often vies with Saudi Arabia in its mistreatment of religious and non-religious minorities. To the fanatical ruling gang in Iran, it is their brand of Islam or disenfranchisement of rights of citizenship and even death for the “sin” of apostasy. And of course, there is no point at all in talking about the savage Islamic Taliban.

* Respect for the rule of law, as it is understood and practiced by civilized people, is an instrument of convenience to be used to advantage and to be violated when it is not, for the Muslim. A Muslim believes in a different law—the Shariah: a set of stone-age rules. Violation of the non-Muslim laws, therefore, is no violation at all to a Muslim.

What is incredible is the gall and audacity of Muslims in demanding that Western and other democracies legalize Shariah in their societies. Large populations of Muslims, mostly recent arrivals, in countries such as Canada, Great Britain, and Sweden are experiencing the insistent demands by Muslims to have Shariah rule their Islamic communities. This is just the beginning and it may seem relatively harmless to the simpletons in our midst. Yet, once Shariah is recognized to any extent, it will reach out to rule not only on matters that concern Muslims, but also those that may involve a Muslim and non-Muslim. Under Shariah, a Muslim man married to a non-Muslim woman is able to divorce the woman at will, automatically have custody of the children, and literally toss the wife out of “his” home with just about no compensations.

* As for democracy, the rule of the people, Muslims have no use at all. Muslims believe that Allah’s rule must govern the world in the form of Caliphate—a theocracy. Making mockery of democracy, subverting its working, and ignoring its provisions is a Muslim’s way of falsifying what he already believes to be a sinful and false system of governance invented by the infidels.

To Muslims, Ummeh-ism—international Islamism—is the legitimate form of government. Ummeh-ism is another form of despotism such as Communism and Fascism, with the added feature of enjoying “divine” authority.

The world has good samples of Ummeh-ism in practice to scrutinize in Islamic autocracies. Khamenei of Iran is not called “Caliph.” He is called the “Supreme Guide.” The Saudi King is just another Caliph vessel of the “divine.” These Islamic despots are every bit as vile as the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Pol Pots, and the Mussolinis. The government these Islamic autocrats head is infested to the core with the Islamic disease of oppression, corruption and the absence of accountability to the people.

Democracies believe that government must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Ummeh-ism is anathema to this sacrosanct fundamental democratic ideal.

As more and more Muslims arrive in non-Islamic lands, as they reproduce with great fecundity, as they convert the disenchanted and minorities, and as petrodollar-flush Muslims and Muslim treasuries supply generous funds, Muslims gather more power to undermine the democratic rule. A consortium composed of pandering politicians, blinded with short-term self-interest and egoism; attention and fund-seeking self-proclaimed prima donna professors; and, bastions of useful idiot liberals, universities, is the witting or unwitting promoter of Ummeh-ism.

It is human nature to be concerned, first and foremost, with his personal well-being. Some people evolve to a higher level of humanness and place the welfare of the general public above their own. Yet, many remain fixated at the constricted stage of “self first, self, last.” Even if you belong to this latter group, your self-interest demands that you do all you can to make sure that the disease of Islamofascism does not devour democracy. Democracy is both fragile and corruptible. It takes vigilant citizenry to protect its integrity.

We fully agree with Churchill’s observation, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest.” Yet, as imperfect as it is, democracy is still humanity’s best system of self-rule. We, one and all, must defend it with our all.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website at http://amilimani.com