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Israel's French Friends

Weekly Standard, January 27, 2003

ON DECEMBER 16, 2002, as a routine meeting of the Conseil d'Administration of Paris VI University drew to a close, a rump contingent of the administrative counsel seized the rare opportunity afforded them by the absence of their colleagues, most of whom had already departed for the holidays. The group — computer scientists and medical researchers, mostly — was suddenly and mysteriously seized with a desire to dabble in foreign policy. They swiftly passed a motion lamenting the fate of the Palestinians and urged the European Union not to renew its cooperation agreements with Israeli scientists, researchers and universities. The boycott motion had not been on the counsel's agenda; it was discussed with only 33 of the group's 60 members present; it passed by only 22 votes. Had the motion been institutionalized, Israeli researchers of all political persuasions would have been thrown off European scientific committees and banned from European academic conferences. Israelis would have been barred from contributing to European academic journals. Cooperative international research projects led by Israeli scientists — including, for example, projects concerning water resource management, cancer treatment, desalination and regional disease eradication would have been cancelled; Israeli exchange students in Europe would have been sent home.

Mrs. Euro's Mideast Adventure

The Weekly Standard, February 2003

WIM DUISENBERG, THE president of the European Central Bank, is the most powerful man in Europe, at least among men without troops. His decisions determine the economic future of three hundred million Europeans; twenty percent of the world's goods and services are produced in the currency zone over which he presides. He is responsible for the success or failure of Europe's monetary union, a project that is at once the essence and the emblem of Europe's renunciation of fratricide and reinvention as a continent united in peaceful cooperation. A pillar of the European establishment, he is the public face of the Euro and, by virtue of this role, the public face of Europe. His nickname, in fact, is Mr. Euro.

Is God Still Dead?

Policy Review, February 2005

ATHEISM, AS THEOLOGIAN Alister McGrath understands the term, is not merely the asseveration that no God exists. It is a distinct movement in intellectual, cultural, and political history and may be mapped to particular historic events — the arc of its rise and decline demarcated at either end by two tumbling edifices, the Bastille and the Berlin Wall. This movement, curiously, has behaved much like a religion: It has produced gurus and proselytizers; it has been appropriated to serve political ends; and, ultimately, it has been embraced not for its compelling internal logic but on faith — or at gunpoint. The political and cultural institutions associated with it having come now to be objects of general revulsion, so too may atheism itself be observed in its twilight; thus the title of McGrath’s book, an allusion and rebuke to Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche’s “grand declaration of war” on religious faith.

It's History That's Tearing the E.U. Apart

The Washington Post, June 2005

MOVE FROM AUSTERE Paris to this anarchic city as I have done this summer, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the idea of integrating Turkey into the European Union is and always has been ludicrous. Turkey is not Europe, and it is certainly not France.

The Hope of Marseille

Azure, January 2005

THE COMMENCEMENT OF the second Palestinian Intifada, in late 2000, ignited the most extensive outbreak of anti-Semitic violence in France since the Holocaust. It continues to this day. The crimes have been perpetrated almost entirely by the beur — Arab immigrants. The political alliances forged between Jewish and Arab leaders during the rise of the right-wing National Front have broken down.

Marseille, France's second-largest and oldest city, was initially not exempt. In September 2001, the Gan Pardes school in Marseille was set alight. The words "Death to the Jews" and "Bin Laden Will Conquer" were spray-painted on the walls. Over the next year, Jewish cemeteries were defaced and swastikas painted on Jewish homes. During demonstrations in support of the Palestinians, marchers shouted, "All Arabs are Palestinians! We are all suicide bombers!"

Spy vs. Spy

Weekly Standard, December, 2004
A review of CIA Spymaster, by Clarence Ashley

Clarence Ashley’s account of the life of the CIA’s most-decorated case officer, George Kisevalter, is apt to suffuse the old cold warriors at the Agency with nostalgia. A Russian émigré, Kisevalter handled Pyotr Popov, the CIA’s first major source inside Soviet military intelligence. He was key to the most successful operation in CIA history, the penetration of the Soviet military hierarchy by GRU colonel Oleg Penkovsky, and to the extraction and interrogation of the dipsomaniac defector Yuri Nosenko, supervisor of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald. Those were the glory days, when the CIA could do no wrong -- or at least, could do something right.

A Modest Proposal

Samizdata, August 2002

SADDAM, LET’S THINK outside the box for a change.

We know you don't really give two shits about the Palestinians, and you sure as hell don't give a rat's ass about Islam, either. And we know you're a practical kind of man. So here's a little suggestion that might meet both of our needs.

English Only Spoken Here

There's a desperate shortage of foreign language speakers at our intelligence agencies. Not that they're doing anything about it.

Weekly Standard
December 3, 2001, Vol. 7, No. 12

A RUMOR HAS BEEN CIRCULATING in intelligence circles that communications intercepted prior to September 11 referred in Arabic to a "Christmas gift" for the United States. What no one listening to these messages realized was that the same expression can mean "an unpleasant exploding surprise."

This anecdote may or may not be true. But the lack of trained linguists in our intelligence services is no rumor. Directly after the September 11 attack, FBI Director Robert Mueller issued an urgent appeal for Arabic and Farsi translators, posting a toll-free number for applicants on the FBI's website. But this is too little, too late: A critical shortage of linguists with security clearances has crippled American intelligence efforts for decades, and will take decades to remedy fully.

True Lies

Arabies Trends, December 2001

THE PLACE IS simply mythical, its iconic power lending it an almost magnetic resonance, like the Taj Mahal or the pyramids. Not a day passes without some nut trying to get past the front gates, driving up to the vehicle barriers with a 12,367-point list of demands from his alien masters or a desperate plea that the CIA stop beaming those obscene broadcasts into his fillings.

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