zenpundit.com » propaganda

Archive for the ‘propaganda’ Category

Humanitarian intervention in the Mesozoic: lukewarm

Monday, July 21st, 2014

[by Lynn C. Rees]

Article II, Section 3 of our Constitution opens with this strongly worded suggestion:

He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

As a people, we underutilize the President’s Annual Messages to Congress from 1789-1913: here is a compact, blow by blow, year by year glimpse into how we saw ourselves through what the president wanted us and our representatives to hear about the state of our Union. What is reported is, inescapably, political. Yet, before Thomas Woodrow Wilson (may his bones be crushed) and cousin Franklin turned the president’s annual message into the State of the Union Spectacular, its submission to Congress was low key. Real history could seep through without being pooped on by monarchial excesses that turned its submission to Congress into a spot-the-living-applause-line-sitting-near-to-the-First-Lady-snore.

The instinct of His Excellency Thomas Jefferson, that old serpent of creative hypocrisy, was right: a clerk reading the annual message into the Congressional Record is less monarchial, more modest, and more republican than what we do now. Over time, Americans have acquired the usual growing taste for what the Nazis sold as Führerprinzip“leadership principle”. If your answer to every question is, from most complex to least complex, “These problems will be fixed when we elect __________” or “We need presidential leadership” or just “We need leadership”, you’ve already broken Godwin’s Law. Hero worship is a crutch for the weak-minded and beneath the dignity of a free people.

Few Americans worship at the altar of Grover Cleveland. Understandable: he was a walrus-like fat dude from Buffalo, New York. Yet his administration’s reporting on its evolving response to the Cuban War for Independence is a model of how sovereignty clearly communicates its responsibilities under the law of nations before that law was corrupted by international law.

The response began lukewarm:

Whatever may be the traditional sympathy of our countrymen as individuals with a people who seem to be struggling for larger autonomy and greater freedom, deepened, as such sympathy naturally must be, in behalf of our neighbors, yet the plain duty of their Government is to observe in good faith the recognized obligations of international relationship. The performance of this duty should not be made more difficult by a disregard on the part of our citizens of the obligations growing out of their allegiance to their country, which should restrain them from violating as individuals the neutrality which the nation of which they are members is bound to observe in its relations to friendly sovereign states. Though neither the warmth of our people’s sympathy with the Cuban insurgents, nor our loss and material damage consequent upon the futile endeavors thus far made to restore peace and order, nor any shock our humane sensibilities may have received from the cruelties which appear to especially characterize this sanguinary and fiercely conducted war, have in the least shaken the determination of the Government to honestly fulfill every international obligation, yet it is to be earnestly hoped on every ground that the devastation of armed conflict may speedily be stayed and order and quiet restored to the distracted island, bringing in their train the activity and thrift of peaceful pursuits.

Share

Dabiq magazine: an end-times reference from the IS “Caliphate”

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- the new caliphate has a new magazine hot off the presses, and it's bookended with apocalyptic hadith ]
.

**

A new caliphate’s new magazine demands a new name — and on this occasion the name chosen carries a very specific end-times connotation:

As for the name of the magazine, then it is taken from the area named Dabiq in the northern countryside of Halab (Aleppo) in Sham. This place was mentioned in a hadith describing some of the events of the Malahim (what is sometimes referred to as Armageddon in English). One of the greatest battles between the Muslims and the crusaders will take place near Dabiq.

So there you have it in a nutshell — the IS caliphate announced their arrival with the first issue of a magazine named specifically for an impending battle associated with Armageddon.

**

To give those they seek to recruit to the cause more detail, the extended hadith is then narrated:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab). Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them.

When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’ The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah. Then they will conquer Constantinople.

While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false.

When they arrive to Sham he comes out. Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear” [Sahih Muslim].

**

The magazine next cites Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi:

Shaykh Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi (rahimahullah) anticipated the expansion of the blessed jihad from Iraq into Sham and linked it to this hadith saying,

“The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify -– by Allah’s permission -– until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq” [Ayna Ahlul-Muru’at].

**

Finally, the editorial concludes:

According to the hadith, the area will play a historical role in the battles leading up to the conquests of Constantinople, then Rome. Presently, Dabiq is under the control of crusaderbacked sahwat, close to the warfront between them and the Khilafah.

May Allah purify Dabiq from the treachery of the sahwah and raise the flag of the Khilafah over its land. Amin.

**

You thought, perhaps, that those who put forth the magazine were kidding about Dabiq as the location of an end-times battle, sometime shortly after which Jesus [the son of Mary -- ‘Isa Ibn Maryam] will descend? On the 50th and final page of the magazine, the entire long hadith that graced page 4 is repeated — with, hey, different paragraph breaks to provide a little novelty:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab).

Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them. When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’

The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah.

Then they will conquer Constantinople. While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false. When they arrive to Sham he comes out.

Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear.” [Sahih Muslim]

The IS Baghdadi caliphate is part and parcel of the end-times, apocalyptic, Armageddon-style war as understood in one strand [see David Cook's books, below] of Islamic eschatology…

**

Recommended readings:

  • JP Filiu, Apocalypse in Islam
  • David Cook, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic
  • David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
  • Timothy Furnish, Holiest Wars
  • Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth
  • **

    Quote from Baghdadi: 'The Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots.'

    Share

    Theology matters: sun god moon god

    Saturday, June 21st, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- on soundbite mischaracterizations in a volatile and complex world ]
    .

    Isn’t it time we stopped maligning each others’ religions with third-rate “theological” speculations?

    The upper panel here is taken from a WND piece by Joel Richardson in which he describes the conspiracy-laden “Muslim” video-tube series “The Arrival” depicting the Christian savior as a sun god, while the lower one is taken from one of the “Christian” Chick tracts describing Islam as worshipping a moon god.

    The idea in each case is to score points preaching to one’s own “choir” — but any Muslim will tell you that the God they worship is in fact the One without a second, and any Christian will tell you that neither the Savior nor his Heavenly Father is the sun god Ra.

    **

    Speculating about the origins of religions is an interesting business, and David Fideler does just that in his book, Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism. He’s not, however, the only person investigating the rich brew of religious ideas from which Christianity emerged — the Nag Hmmadi and Qumran documents between them have made this a fertile field of study and speculation, and the theories range as far afield as the distinguished linguist John Allegro‘s claim that Christ was a mushroom.

    Islamic texts have not until very recently been subject to the same kind of scrutiny that Textual Criticism has brought to bear on Biblical studies since the time of Julius Wellhausen, but if time allowed me a second life in parallel with this one (and with less of an attention deficit?) I’d be very interested to read and compare Keith Small‘s Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts with Ahmad Ali Al-Imam‘s Variant Readings Of The Quran: A Critical Study Of Their Historical And Linguistic Origins.

    For those of us who lack the linguistic and scholarly chops for post-doc level research, however, and particularly those of us inclined to polemic, it may be wise to avoid citing any particular version of Islamic or Christian origins as definitive, and concentrate on the actual theologies, extreme as well as mainstream, of our contemporaries, and of major historical thinkers on the order of St Augustine and Martin Luther, Ibn Arabi and Ibn Taymiyyah.

    **

    Telling Muslims they worship a moon god is as unlikely to dent their faith as telling Christians they worship the sun — it is more likely simply to hurt or anger them. It is falsehood — and as the saying goes:

    the truth shall make you free.

    Share

    Observations of a religion watcher

    Friday, June 13th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- ISIS in Iraq, the battle of Badr, and 5,000 swooping angels ]
    .


    .

    Two days ago, under the title Iraq army capitulates to Isis militants in four cities, the Guardian reported:

    The extent of the Iraqi army’s defeat at the hands of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) became clear on Wednesday when officials in Baghdad conceded that insurgents had stripped the main army base in the northern city of Mosul of weapons, released hundreds of prisoners from the city’s jails and may have seized up to $480m in banknotes from the city’s banks.

    Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters.

    It’s that second paragraph that interests me.

    Supposing you were among the 800 ISIS fighters at the point when those 30,000 Iraqi soldiers desert the field, will your mind not move instantly to the Qur’an 3.124-25, verses which describe how 300 Muslims decisively defeated 1,000 fighters of the Quraysh at the seminal battle of Badr?

    When thou saidst to the believers, “Is it not enough for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down upon you? Yea; if you are patient and godfearing, and the foe come against you instantly, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand swooping angels.”

    — or to Qur’an 8.9?

    When you were calling upon your Lord for succour, and He answered you, “I shall reinforce you with a thousand angels riding behind you.”

    The impact on ISIS morale must be enormous — surely God is assisting them!

    To win a battle is one thing. To win a battle when outnumbered is another. To win a battle when outnumbered with the blessings of God is a third and yet more powerful thing.

    **

    Well, yeah.

    After I’d written this, but before posting it, I came across Ibn Siqilli’s blog post today titled Translation of the Message from Abu Muhammad al-’Adnani al-Shami, Official Spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, after Mosul, in which al-Shami says, quoting yet another Qur’anic verse about the battle of Badr:

    Allah ta’ala? said, {[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.”} [Al-Anfal: 12]

    All praise is to Allah, who fulfilled His promise, kept His slaves firm, gave victory to His soldiers, and alone vanquished the Rawafid. All praise is to Allah who filled their hearts with terror and their feet with defeat. All praise is to Allah who made their weapons, equipment, vehicles, and wealth, war booty for the mujahidin.

    **

    And yet, and yet — there’s also Kirkuk.

    Indeed, it’s possible that angels weren’t required in either instance, and that the Washington Post got it right in an article titled Iraq disintegrating as insurgents advance toward capital; Kurds seize Kirkuk.

    If God gave ISIS the melting away of Iraqi forces in Mosul and elsewhere, he appears to have given the Kurds a similar melting-away of Iraqi forces in Kirkuk, where the oil sits… Thus the BBC reports on the Kurdish situation:

    Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk as the army flees before an Islamist offensive nearby.

    “The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga,” Kurdish spokesman Jabbar Yawar told Reuters. “No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now.”

    Even the melting away of the army on two fronts, however, doesn’t stop the Iraqi propaganda machine. The WaPo article linked above also contained this more than slightly surreal item for a propagandap-quote collection::

    Meanwhile, in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and in towns and cities further south, young men flocked to recruitment centers to volunteer to fight the extremists, underscoring the sharpening sectarian divide that risks engulfing all of Iraq in war.

    State television broadcast footage of the long lines, accompanied by patriotic songs whose lyrics tout the army’s achievements: “We’re the soldiers of the nation, we shall never retreat.”

    **

    There is more to say on such varied topics as the major Shia shrines and hawza or seminaries at risk, the Grand Ayatollah Sistani‘s call to arms, the role Iran and the IRGC is adopting, and the presence of senior Ba’athist officers in the ranks of ISIS, etc — but this must do for now.

    I’ll return with more from Ibn Siqilli shortly, but leave you with this — from my POV, the most horrifying part of al-Shami’s statement, coming right at the end of his rant, and specifically threatening the two Shia holy cities of Karbala and Najaf:

    The Rafidah [lit. "those who reject", ie the Shia] will continue to curse you as long as some of them exist. Truly, between us is a settling of debts. … There will be a heavy and long account. However, the settling of debts will not be in Samarra and Baghdad, rather in Karbala al-munajjasah (the defiled) and Najaf al-ashrak (the most polytheistic).

    Share

    Today’s DoubleQuotes 1: in the wild

    Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- fascinated to see the uses others make of the juxtapositions I call "DoubleQuotes" ]
    .

    This first one was suggested to me by Scott Shipman as a “match” for my DQ about Von Karman’s mathematics of flow in liquids and Van Gogh’s night sky — and indeed, the two of them make a fine double DoubleQuote.

    **

    The second comes from the “HSM Press Office” twitter feed, the exact nature of which is unknown, but which calls itself the “High Spirit Mission Press” and sports a jihadist “black banner” as its avatar:

    **

    And the third?

    M’friend Bryan Alexander suggested what he called “a Piketty doublequote” in a note to me this morning:

    It may be excessive to accuse senior executives of having their “hands in the till”, but the metaphor is probably more apt than Adam Smith’s metaphor of the market’s “invisible hand”

    **

    Let’s take the two visual “DoubleQuotes in the wild” above, and look at my own equivalents:

    I have to say that I find the respective beauties of the von Karman vortext street diagram (upper panel) and the Van Gogh night sky painting (lower panel) seem perfectly balanced to me, while the fractal generator still has a ways to go before it arrives at the brilliance of Hokusai.

    The fractal-wave comparison, btw, is one that has obviously occurred to more than one person — here’s another version:

    It’s also interesting to me that in both cases — that of Hokusai and that of Van Gogh — the arts appear to have been “ahead of” the sciences.

    **

    As to the second “wild” DQ –

    I’ve used TinEye and Google image-search engines, and haven’t found any other uses of the double image HSM Press Office posted, showing an Imam praying for a deceased US soldier and US aoldiers urinating on the bodies of deal Taliban — so I imagine the pairing of the two images may be KSM Press Office’s own. And it’s funny, because I think the intention is to suggest “we” (ie jihadists) treat “you” (ie US military dead) with appropriate respect, while you show no such respect for deal Taliban.

    The thing is, here’s a caption for the photo of the Imam praying:

    Imam Hashim Raza leads mourners in prayer during a funeral for Mohsin Naqvi at al-Fatima Islamic Center in Colonie, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 22, 2008. Naqvi was a Muslim, a native of Pakistan (he emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 8 years old and became a citizen at 16) and a U.S. Army officer. He was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    So what we’re seeing is an American imam at the funeral of a fellow Muslim — in this case a fellow Muslim who was also American soldier. And BTW those American soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses? They’re not representative of the American military as a whole.

    Knowing this, I’ve made my own DoubleQuote in response to the one above.

    In the upper panel, it shows the New York imam at the funeral of Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi, whose flag-draped coffin was carried to the service by an Army honor guard from Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.

    In the lower panel, we see US medics — marines, I think [ Army, see correction below] — treating wounded Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

    Share

    Switch to our mobile site