Thursday, November 16, 2006


Chief DeWayne Browning

Chief DeWayne Browning in Iraq

Old guys in a new Army
The difference between Vietnam and Iraq from Vietnam veterans working in Iraq.

In Iraq, "no such thing as POW". The enemey has "absolutely no value" for life.
Iraqi civilians near the base are growing "more positive toward U.S. forces".
"...the people in the United States respect what the soldiers are doing,"
"At its peak the Vietnam War had more than three times as many on the ground as the roughly 140,000 in Iraq today. The new Army that these vets serve in is all volunteer. There are women in uniform all around, as pilots, MPs, mechanics and nearly all other jobs except for infantry and armor units."

One Vietnam vet's Iraqi mission
By Patrick Jackson,
BBC News -November 15, 2006

DeWayne Browning is one of a small number of Americans uniquely qualified to compare the Vietnam and Iraq conflicts, having served in both as a helicopter pilot.

With George W Bush visiting Vietnam for the first time this week, the recently retired pilot spoke to the BBC News website about his efforts, second time around, to bring some humanity to the horror of war.

Mr Browning got drafted - but not for Vietnam. Ironically, his combat call-up only came in 2004 when he was asked to go to Iraq as a 55-year-old reservist in the California Army National Guard.

Back in 1969, he had pre-empted the draft by signing up for helicopter training, seeing it as a more interesting prospect than the regular army.

Serving in Vietnam with the Americal Division, he flew Huey troop carriers and occasionally Cobra gunships.

He went to Iraq theoretically as a higher staff officer but was soon transporting soldiers on a Black Hawk, the Huey's successor.

And his commanders had another, more unorthodox job for Chief Browning which indirectly led to a humanitarian mission of his own.


Vietnam vets in Iraq see 'entirely different war'
By Steven Komarow,
USA TODAY - June 20, 2005

TIKRIT, Iraq — Before dawn, the pilots digest their intelligence briefing with coffee. The sun rises as they start preflight checks. Just after 7:30, they start rotors turning on their UH-60A Black Hawk, and ease it smoothly into the desert sky ...Read it all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Chicago - Desire No Shackles


Even in the Age of Information, it would seem that not all information is created equal. We have seen this in the closing of a successful 3-year-old production of Mozart's opera 'Idomeneo', because as Berlin police said, it posed 'incalculable risk' of inciting Islamic fundamentalists to violence. These and other acts of cultural and artistic intimidation are a stark reminder that censorship throbs with power while the lifeblood of art is wrung dry.

Last year, outrage from Muslim students led Harper College, located just outside Chicago, to remove an exhibition of works by Amir Normandi depicting the oppression women suffer in many Islamic countries. Partly in response, Normandi, an Iranian-born Muslim, has curated a new exhibition of works by local and international artists entitled, 'Desire No Shackles, / 'Imagine No Borders', to examine oppression, and the notion of borders in Islam and other contexts.

Featured artists: Amir Normandi, Maryam Hashemi, Marcia Middleton Kaplan, Tim Arroyo, Diane Carriere, Rosy Torres.

Please help us strike a blow to censorship and promote freedom of expression and artistic integrity by posting this event on your blog.

For more info on the events and on the artists, see 'Desire No Shackles / 'Imagine No Borders'

Monday, September 11, 2006


The Price of Freedom

Image: Cox & Forkum Steven Vincent -August 05,2005

August 02, 2006 was the first anniversary of Steven's brutal death

Steven Vincent: Bloggers remember one of their own

In New York last week, I had the privilege to meet with Lisa Ramaci-Vincent. We talked about the wonderful man Steven was, the profound marks he left behind and the recognition he received during his life and after his tragic death. He was an honest and gifted writer known to be attentive to those he met. He was a successful art critic in New York but touched by the horrors of September 11, exactly five years ago today, Steven Vincent decided to leave for Iraq. He devoted his time to follow the reconstruction but was savagely murdered in Basra during his third trip on August 02, 2005.

Admired by many, Steven always maintained a dignified humility in life. He will always be deeply missed.

A few days ago, Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil gave a brief TV interview on one of the major news broadcaster. I think it was on CNN.
Most of the content of this interview can be found in an article Mr. Fadhil published on September 6, 2006. Iraq’s Endangered Journalists

During the interview, Mr. Fadhil describes the perils that Iraqi journalists are facing every day. He is genuinely and quite understandingly concerned for the safety of Iraqi journalists and for the freedom of the press.

While, in his article in The New York time, he recognizes that "building a free press in Iraq was one of America’s greatest achievements" he explains how the situation has been dangerously degrading since. He also reports that American soldiers are responsible for the death of 14 Iraqi journalists.

Towards the end of the TV interview Fadhil is asked to comment on freedom of speech during Saddam's reign. Visibly relieved, he strongly admits that freedom of the press and freedom of movement have hugely improved since the fall of the regime.

Ali Fadhil's devotion to his country is commendable and his worries regarding the freedom of the press are quite understandable but I wished that during his TV interview he had found something to say about the enormous efforts that brought him the new freedoms he so wants to keep.

We hear too little on the price we must pay to guarantee our liberties and we hear hardly nothing on the sacrifices America made to this day to free Iraq from its decades of violence and nightmarish regime. We are however constantly reminded of the growing discontent with American policies in Iraq and elsewhere and America's "mistakes".

We all know that the difficulties in Iraq are mostly due to terrorism of internal and external origins and to the struggle between Iraqis themselves. Meanwhile the Arab media and MSM have been consistently leading a dishonest coverage of the war. All this goes well with this blind hatred for Bush's administration but surely does not help Iraq's future and everyone's interest. The challenge is to overcome all this together.

Lisa Ramaci-Vincent had something to say on one of Ali Fadhil's observation and reminded us all that Steven Vincent paid with his life for reporting a story.

Forwarded by Lisa Ramaci-Vincent

The New York Time
A Journalist’s Death
To the Editor:
September 9, 2006

While reading “Iraq’s Endangered Journalists,” by Ali Fadhil (Op-Ed, Sept. 6), I was shocked by his claim that “foreign reporters ... have the advantage of being considered untouchable by the Iraqi police and security forces.”

Might I remind Mr. Fadhil that on Aug. 2, 2005, my husband, Steven Vincent, an American journalist living in and writing from Basra, was kidnapped and killed by five men in police uniforms?

Two days before Steven’s murder, The New York Times ran an Op-Ed article he wrote in which he disclosed how the British Army was ignoring both the infiltration of the Basra police force by Iranian-backed Shiite militias, and the resulting spike in fundamentalist violence. He specifically mentioned the white police vehicles used to abduct and kill an ever increasing number of people; two days later, one of those vehicles came for him.

Steven thus has the dubious distinction of being one of the few foreign journalists in this Iraq conflict specifically targeted for execution.

Lisa Ramaci-Vincent
New York, Sept. 7, 2006

Photo taken a couple weeks ago at ground zero.


Friday, June 23, 2006


Life, Love, LIberty and Pluralism - Clarity & Resolve

Patrick Kafir is the team leader of Clarity & Resolve. A site with a fun and straight to the point approach. C & R has a lot to offer: beautiful writing, original images and insightful commentaries on the war launched by Islamo-fascism againts freedom. One can also find at the C&R website, Clarity & Resolve Kafir Gear, a little shop fearturing items with the cool C & R logo, Kafir FOR Infidel in Arabic.

Patrick has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Pro-Freedom Artists.

Your craft and blogging.

1- Patrick Kafir, you are an artist, a musician and a devoted dog owner and you seem animated by the passion to write. Could you comment on the source of that passion?

I don't know if I'd call myself an artist, Diane. I don't mind being called a graphic artist, but I'm no Michaelangelo. I love to create, and I've always done so throughout my life, whether with pen and paper, music, writing, and now using digital media.

I've found myself spectacularly inspired in the creation of graphics and with web design - perhaps more so than ever in my life. It's definitely something that I find myself doing more and more these days. The possibilities are virtually (pun semi-intended) endless right now for digital arts. It's yet another benefit of a free society and the wondrous innovations that are inevitable when people are able to pursue excellence in an open and competitive environment.

- What is your approach and what do you hope to communicate through your work, whether it is music, writing or images?

At C&R, I also try to communicate a sense of "Yeah, the situation we currently face in handling those who oppose freedom - those who are demonstrably willing and ready to kill us - is pretty messed up, but ultimately, we're going to win." "We" being anyone, anywhere who loves freedom.

More than anything, I want to convey a message of hope. I can't say that I always succeed in this at Clarity & Resolve since the subject I cover there is so often grave and horrible. But in my day-to-day life, I try to stress that life is beautiful - that we are beautiful. I want people to feel wonder and awe and I want them to feel love. Not just the love of family or nation or religion, but a universal love which recognizes goodness wherever it exists, and which also recognizes the inseverable ties that bind us all.

2- Open publishing via the web is a powerful incentive for creating: what do you think is behind your own creativity?

I think the single most powerful factor in publishing today is its accessibility. Virtually anyone with a computer and an internet connection can write, create art, make music, etc., and then publish it to the world. Of course the downside to this is a lot of drivel, unwanted attention, and negativity, but more freedom is always better when it comes to expression, I think. This innovation of linking the world and empowering people to be heard and to share ideas is enormously powerful. That's why totalitarian states and ideologies don't like it.
[The Peaceful Religion of Mushroom Clouds]

At the foundation of this awesome technological creative boon is the same ancient human spirit that's always driven us to create and to share. We've always loved to create, to tell stories, to impress others, to reach for the sublime, and to challenge ourselves. I'm sure we always will.

The primary impetus behind my own creativity is the simple fact that I love being alive. I'm grateful for every breath I draw, and I'm grateful to enjoy the freedom to express myself as I see fit. Creativity is selfish in that it is often purely a matter of satisfying ones own personal drive for excellence and gratification. But when we share the fruits of our creative efforts with others, sometimes the magic of communion happens, and we find a deeper meaning. This is grand and exalting, I think.

3- From reading your blog, we see that words, music, and visual arts are clearly important to you. Which artist, and what specific works in these fields have captivated your imagination?

When I was younger, my favorite author was Dostoevsky. I read all of his novels. He made me look at humanity in a way I'd hitherto not thought of. Pity, he was apparently an antisemite. I also loved Steinbeck, Herman Hesse, and Honore de Balzac. And Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose prose is poetic, even in English. I haven't read any fiction in years, though. I find Oriana Fallaci's writing to be very impressive - what a cool woman. Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs & Steel is pretty amazing, and I wish more people would read it. I really like science writing too. I usually have a few books going at once, and I don't know how I get through any of them.
[Surface to Air Dog Snow]

I love all music. I'm primarily a drummer, but I've been known to play guitar on occasion. Growing up I loved the Beatles because my Dad had all their stuff. As a teenager, I was into the Grateful Dead, Metallica, and Public Enemy. Now I listen to practically all genres. Yesterday I listened to Maria Callas, Erik Satie, and the Dave Matthews Band.
[Uncle Sociopath Rocks the Courthouse]

I've always been fond of impressionist paintings, especially Van Gogh's, and I've always admired graphic artwork as well. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention cartoon hero, Tex Avery, a true artistic genius. Art is everywhere because art is simply a depiction of the human experience. The only art I truly dislike - in all its forms - is postmodernist stuff. My favorite visual artwork these days is a brilliantly planned and skillfully rendered Flash site. I love Flash - it's truly an amazing artistic tool. Computers are giving more and more people the power to create stunning artwork.
[Van Gogh, Wikipedia]

4- Patrick, what does the name Clarity and Resolve stand for?


It signifies using ones ability to see what is good and what is bad around us, so that we can stand up for the former and against the latter.
[Islamic Family Values]

5- Your website is quite rich in content. Could you describe it for us?

I would describe it as one man's attempt to frame a highly dynamic and sometimes overwhelming world in which the space between the forces of good and evil have been drastically reduced - the two collide far more frequently and dramatically these days. In my mind, we have some huge issues to tackle in this century: famine, disease, environmental decimation, and degraded biodiversity, to name a few. Before we can get to these issues, we need to first conquer the "little" issues, like jihad, communism, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Clarity & Resolve is a way station on this journey, I guess. It's also a place for anyone who is frustrated with the persistence of anti-freedom/anti-human forces, and those who support them. [Iranian Shia Islamocrat: Near Future Will Be in the Hands of Islam]

It's a place for those who are thoroughly frustrated with the "peaceful inner struggle" of jihad and the inscrutable penchant of the West to whitewash it. [Yet More Shocking Crimes Against Quranity™]

It's also a place to laugh, because frankly, that's sometimes the only way to deal with the wretched lunacy I traffic in for my writing. So, there's a lot of sarcasm, black humor, and of course, Photoshops that mock jihad. Good ol' Photoshop.

Truth be told, Clarity & Resolve isn't half as rich as I might like it to be. I just don't have as much time as I'd like to spend on it. Hamza vs. Hamza]

6- Do you have any favorite posts? What do you look for in the posts you read?

I don't know what to tell you regarding which of my posts are my favorites. There are many that I've felt satisfied with once finished, sometimes even laughing out loud, but I never remember which ones. Like my imagery, I leave it to the beholder to choose which, if any, is of great merit. Writing is something magical to me. It is familiar and almost pedestrian to me, but a consummate joy each time I do it - like taking the same pleasant route to work or to the market each day. You forget which day was which - they blend - but it's always a wonderful walk because you smell wet earth or the new grass and flowers. The airbites your face or just lightly touches it. You notice new things that make you appreciate the moment and your part in it. You feel the sun and the rain on your skin - you feel intensely alive. You see old friends and you make new ones. You learn. Just like yesterday and just like tomorrow.

7- Many bloggers have said blogging is a wonderful tool. Could you share some of your own experiences as a blogger with us?

I love blogging. I studied (and continue to study) Islam in great depth after 9/11. I was alarmed, saddened, and outraged by what I learned and what I see happening every day to Muslims and infidels alike in the name of Allah. I became acquainted with the 9/11 every day lifestyle of the average Israeli. This new awareness started to weigh on me to the point of depression, so I said, "To heck with it - I'll start a blog." I figured if nothing else, I'd be able to vent and lay out my ideas and conclusions in a concrete way.
[Mass Moonbat Epiphany]

Overall, it's been vastly rewarding. I hear from people all the time who say they read Clarity & Resolve every day, and that they're grateful for the work I do. That's kind of humbling. These are intelligent people who make a point of taking the time each day to read my analysis and perhaps to share a laugh with me. They appreciate the time and effort I put into this blog. I'm extremely pleased that people are seeking out information about the free world's war against jihad/sharia and other totalitarian ideologies, but I'm genuinely touched and thankful that some of them are seeking it at C&R.

I've been mentioned in an Australian newspaper article about blogging and traditional news media. I've been contacted by a foreign embassy official in Washington D.C., and I've gotten email from around the world - most of it positive. Blogs are bringing people together, and that's a great thing. It's part of the first step in a global phenomenon which I feel will increase our awareness that we have far more in common than we have in opposition.

I'd like to mention briefly how important it is for bloggers to police themselves. You should have your facts straight and corroborated, and you should refrain from a purely ad hominem line of criticism. You should admit when you're wrong and learn from your mistakes. I think that accountability and honesty are two vital ingredients for a good blog.

8- There are so many good websites; could you name a few favorites? Which ones do you read daily?

Yeah, there are a lot. It's really hard to keep up. The only sites I religiously go to each day are news sites like Google News, Yahoo! News, and and to get information and news on what's happening in Israel. I get a lot of my news right in my Safari browser with the built in RSS reader. I love it. Never has so much information been available on demand in all of mankind's history.

Believe it or not, I very rarely read blogs. I don't really have the time, unfortunately. I always make a point of reading Robert Spencer's blogs because as far as I'm concerned, he's the preeminent infidel authority online (and off) when it comes to Islam and Islamic terror. I try to get to Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs when I can, because there's such a huge community there, which always results in copious amounts of information. Plus, Charles is a smart, funny guy and he has great taste in music.

One of my favorite sites is Best Flash Animation You'll always find mind-blowing work there. It's also fun to go to Photoshopping contest sites like Fark and Worth1000. I check out a lot of graphic arts sites to see how far the envelope's been pushed since I last checked, which is usually a good deal.

For science sites, I like NASA,, and Ray Kurzweil's AI site (

9- Could you tell us about your companions, the canine squad and the other members at C & R?

For reasons of security, I can't say all that much about my human companions. I do write about the Religion of Peace, after all, and I speak freely. Suffice it to say that I've been blessed by a wonderful family which has helped me to get through all of the difficult times in my life, and they mean the world to me.

The Canine Defense Forces is a scrappy group of dogs who were all assembled from previously failed dog combat units, but who have gotten their act together to perform like true pros for the elite C&R team. Maggie (Agent Choco) came from the mean streets of Tacoma, Washington. Action Jack escaped from a puppy mill in Minnesota. Specialist Rudy (who resides with some dear infidel friends of mine) - I don't even know his background story. He's kind of a shadowy figure. Friendly too. He also has a new partner, whom I'll be introducing soon. Watch for upcoming K-9DF news! These dogs are lean, mean infidel-protecting canine machines, and I'm proud of all of them.

As far as other members go, I consider everyone who comes by to read or comment at Clarity & Resolve as part of the team. Some people bring up points I've missed, some disagree with my commentary, some are downright hilarious. All are welcome and appreciated. They inspire me.

10- What is behind the burqa car?

The burqa car is nice because it kind of illustrates the absurdity and misogyny inherent in Islam. As decent and reasonable people, we must question an ideology which is so dreadfully insecure about its women's autonomy that it imposes a portable means of confinement on them when they leave the home, and as is the case on the great Muhammadan peninsula, actually denies them the simple mobility of a car. [Burka car]

I explain it the way I explain all of the anachronistic, anti-human attitudes found in Islam: It's a politicoreligious ideology which was formulated in a barbaric place at a barbaric time, and it was designed to remain unchanged. Add to this the fact that Muslims believe that the Koran is the inerrant word of God, and one begins to understand why the Islamic world struggles so desperately with the concept of progress.

Fallacious arguments from Islamic apologists notwithstanding, Islam has always been anti-woman. It attaches a pathologically shameful stigma to the feminine sex that is borne out in the Koran and sunna. This has ruined the dreams and hopes - and human rights - of countless little Muslim girls.

When you have the putative word of God (the Koran) prescribing oppression of women and the account of the ideal Muslim man (Muhammad, in the sunna) fulfilling and expanding upon such prescriptions, you have a disaster of colossal proportions for Muslim women. It's not right.

Incidentally, I've long suspected that if Islam is to stand a chance at reform - indeed at survival - it will likely be because of its women.

11- What does Christianity mean to you? How do you describe or imagine God? Do you think God really exists?

Christianity is the faith I was brought up in. It was instrumental in providing me with the ethical foundation upon which I've built my moral sense. Christianity shaped Western civilization, and made it better. It gave us "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are Godââ‚â„¢s," which left us plenty of room to eventually eschew theocracy during the enlightenment and to embrace democracy. This stands in stark contrast to Islam's rigid insistence that God's law be imposed upon all men of all times in all places.
[Iraq: Avian Defense Forces]

The beneficial Judeo-Christian contribution to mankind cannot be overstated in my opinion.

I'm an atheist/agnostic (I don't really care which label people use to describe me), Diane, so what God may be like is of little concern to me. I don't meant that in an arrogant way, and I sincerely respect the profound and poignant relationship that most of us have with our Creator. I just don't believe in supernatural agency or phenomena, so it's really a non-issue for me.

That being said, I still consider myself to be a Christian on many levels. Much of the codified Christian moral precepts are simply self-evident guidelines to being a good human being, I think.

12- Do you think those values we cherish in the free world are universal to humanity or are they somehow exclusive to Christianity? Do we find values similar to our Christian values in other major world religions?

I think that all humans have the same moral template, which is used uniquely from one culture to the next. There are certainly universal morals and values, but the extent to which they are developed depends on the culture they occur in. Western civilization has emerged - largely by accident - as the best social environment to nurture the concepts of freedom and pluralism. Again, I feel that Christianity was an essential influence in this process.
[American Infidel Cowboys Love Kids]

Life, love, freedom, and plurality are just, more or less, my favorite things. Or rather, these things make all other good things possible, in my opinion. These are values that the West and Christianity have imbued us with. They are invaluable. I try to accentuate their value at Clarity & Resolve, and I also try to show how bad it is when and where they are absent.

13- For about three decades in the West, God has not been a regular subject of our public debate. Since 9/11 and the Islamic assault on the West, religion and its role, if any, in determining the norms of our civic society has returned full force. Just think of the recent Danish cartoon debate. As a consequence, God or more generally speaking, religion with all its emotional baggage seems to have returned to claim a place in our public lives. For example, we now hear Americans often referring to Europeans as being Godless. What do you think our American friends mean by this?

I think it's mostly people on the right who worry about the degree of religiosity among the average European. However, I feel a case can be made that secularism can be taken to the same unhealthy, dangerous extreme that religion sometimes is. I would venture to guess that Americans and Europeans both are no more or less religious than they have been in recent history. But (and I'm speaking in general terms here) the former is comfortable with publicly expressing religious sentiments, while the latter appears to have adopted the notion that open satisfaction with ones Christian faith is somehow shameful.
[Rock of Ages]

Europeans, for whatever reason, have largely been more receptive than Americans to the fuzzy thinking found in ideas like the noble savage and the innately, irremediably flawed white European. Such thinking does have the superficial glow of progressivism and enlightenment. However, it only muddies the water more because it ignores the fact that all peoples have been, at one time or another, good and bad. It is popular among the intelligentsia in Europe (and America) to claim that Europeans (and Americans) have more to be ashamed of than proud of in their heritage. Christianity appears to have been bundled into this package.
[Gloria In Excelsis]

At the end of the day, I think that the supposed divide between Europeans and Americans is mostly insubstantial, and exists more in political circles than social ones.

Finally, I'm not in Europe, and I haven't spent much time there (I really loved it, though), so I'm probably not qualified to make any sort of conclusive assessment of the European soul. I just hope that they don't sell it out to Islam.
[Scoring Halaal Goals for God]

14- We can certainly understand that many Europeans are still traumatized from the horrors of WWI and WWII. Before these terribly conflicts, so costly in treasure and human life, they went through centuries of the religious wars. Do you see a relationship between their past and what appears to be a real reluctance to face the threat of Islam both from within and from outside their own societies?

European leaders made some egregiously foolhardy decisions in the seventies which have resulted in a large, prolific, and hostile Muslim citizenry today. I think that's where the reluctance to confront jihad and dawa (the non-military, missionary spread of Islam) come from. Europe has a very big problem now, and I don't know if it's reversible.
[The Multicultural Misery]

15- The left has always viewed and prided itself as the real defender of human rights. Yet in the current context, they are vigorously opposed to almost any forceful action designed to put an end to dictatorships. How is it that the left excuses these dictators, who are the worst offenders of the very human rights the left purports to defend? How you explain this?

Something malicious and tragic happened to the left while no one was paying attention. There's a new left that, through naivete or design, has forgotten what the word liberal means and how it relates to liberty and individual rights - to freedom of conscience. This departure from classical liberal values is very similar to Islam, fascism, and communism. I guess that a surfeit of freedom and rights breeds a particular form of collective idiocy that, sadly, ends up getting people killed and supporting the most vile acts and actors.
[Genocide Intervention Fund]

I'd like to say that it's only the fringe of the left that hates Israel, hates America, and loves Castro and Hamas. You know, the same way that only the fringe of the right supports the KKK or David Duke. I don't know if that's true, though. It seems that an increasingly large contingent of the center left are allowing themselves to be pulled down by the lunatics who are clamoring to offer up the West's neck to Islamofascism.
[Hamas: Mass Murder of Civilians OK]

These people are the new useful idiots, and this time they're furthering the agenda of jihad as well as communism. Ironically, they themselves would go under the sword or the burden of jizya if the Religion of Peace was somehow able to vanquish those of us who unabashedly defend the West and Western values. Also ironically, we defend these idiots from their own idiocy. Maybe that's one of God's little jokes!

16- Recently in the United States, some retired Generals were critical of the Sec of Defence for his handling of the Iraq War. The strong left lobby and the powerful news media (MSM - NYT) locked on to this issue, fanning the flames in a major offensive to get rid of Donald Rumsfeld. In effect, an effort by them to decapitate the civil leadership of the US military. As a Democrat, what do think of this?

I think it's case study #whatever of a leftist bias in big media. It may be part of what we will later realize was big media's last gasp. Blogs are here now, and people are tired of being insulted by a rank partisan, disdainful media elite.

But yeah, these people hate George W. Bush with a passion that I've seldom seen equaled. They'll sink to any level if they think it'll hurt Bush. Sadly, it just hurts our ability to effectively address and combat the forces that threaten us. It's really a shame because it fosters an environment of petty divisiveness at a time when America - and the world - need unity more than ever.

I think that is probably one course of action that is being pursued right now. We certainly know who to contact inside Iran and we certainly have C.I.A. and special ops guys on the ground as well. I don't think that there will be any way to avoid armed conflict when all is said and done, though. Ahmadinejad - or "Armageddonjihad," as I call him - wants holy war, he wants Israel destroyed, and he wants the Islamic rapture. Unfortunately, a disturbingly large number of influential voices are providing him with the cover of legitimacy.

I just hope that when we hit them, it will be fast, overwhelming, and decisive. Like any American, I'm sick of watching our guys die. As a human being, I'm sick of watching bloggers imprisoned and young girls and gay men being murdered by the despicable mullahs in Iran.

17- What are your thoughts on the future of democracy and capitalism?

It's mankind's only hope. No other form of governance and economy has thus far been devised which so closely mirrors man's nature and serves our needs and desires. With the proper resolve and support, it will proceed to its natural end of wiping out most human suffering. We're in a bottle neck right now - a crucial one - and we need all the hope and tenacity we can muster to get through it intact.

Media, communication, information

18- The image provided by the MSM is quite different in reality from that of the real world, which is reported, discussed, and analyzed in the vast blogosphere, 24/7. Which media source - traditional or the net - will be the most persuasive in the short and medium term?

Mainstream media (in its present form) still has the upper hand, because people are familiar with it, and the saturation of the masses with the computer isn't yet complete. This is about to change, though. Within the space of a couple of decades, we've gone from a few geeks building the internet as we know it on clunky, slow, and expensive machines to the common person having access to the internet - and participating in its evolution - at lightning speeds on cheap, well-running machines. The TV revolution that built modern media and the telegraph/telephone/radio and printing press revolutions before that took centuries to bear their fruits.
[It's the Jihad, Stupid]

The phenomenon of blogging was bound to happen. The good blogs were bound to stand out. Traditional media will be absorbed by the new media, which will then become mainstream. The difference will be that people will have more choices about where to get their information and analysis, which is, of course, a very good thing.

18- Do you think the explosion of information in the blogosphere will have a definitive impact on way the MSM determines what is news and how it will cover, what it traditionally calls, "the story"?

It already has. The big guys read the little guys, and in some cases, the little guys are now big guys. Mainstream media is now being fact-checked and analyzed in real time in a milieu freely available to millions on demand. It makes sense for big media to pay attention to what is being discussed on blogs because, after all, people are paying attention too.

When I saw myself being quoted on MSNBC last year, it really hit me how mainstream citizen journalism has become in such a short amount of time. It was really an eye-opener, because I'm not famous by any stretch of the imagination. I'm quite anonymous, in fact. Nevertheless, there were the words I'd written in the privacy of my home, being broadcast to millions on the television. Incredible.

19 - What are your thoughts on the Mainstream Media's coverage of Jihad?

It usually falls into two categories: Woefully ignorant or shamefully dishonest. I suppose that ignorance in journalism is to be expected to some degree when covering exotic and complex topics like Islamic jihad, but that excuse is wearing pretty thin these days. Pick up the Koran, pay attention to the news wires, and stop the uncritical acceptance of what CAIR and agenda-driven academics are peddling.

The dishonesty is worse. It's a deliberate choice to mislead and it justifies the horrendous acts carried out by the mujahideen. It enables them. The willful distortion of simple facts, especially when it comes to Israel and the undeniable connection between mainstream Islam and Islamic terror, is disgraceful. Calling them "militants" or "activists" is disgraceful and insulting to their victims.

This is a serious matter, and the media is letting the public down in a big way. Thankfully, there is internet media to help fill in the moral, psychological, and factual gaps.
[Dar al-Gitmo Times]

20- What are your observations on the cartoon madness? What do you think is the real story behind the MSM refusing to publish these cartoons?

It's fear. Everyone knows what happened to Theo van Gogh. Salman Rushdie or Ibn Warraq or Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They're afraid of Muslims coming after them and their family to redeem the "honor" of their religion's founder. I was afraid too. I still am. These people - not all of them, mind you, but enough of them - kill when they feel their faith has been insulted.

Where's the guy who gave us "Piss Christ"? Where are the actors from The Last Temptation of Christ and The Passion of the Christ? I'll tell you where they aren't: In front of a mob of enraged Christians or Jews whipped up into a murderous fury, running for their lives.

Leftists are fond of the canard that we have surrendered our freedoms out of unwarranted fear through our adoption of the Patriot Act and our construction of Camp X-Ray in Gunatanamo Bay. They don't seem to mind accommodating the barbarians who kill over cartoons, though.

21- What are your thoughts on the fairness and balance - or lack there of - in the MSM coverage of Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

I'd like to see how these people would react to their neighbors, family members, and loved ones being blown to bloody pieces and bone fragments in their streets. They should be ashamed of their hypocrisy. When their jihadis friends came to America, they were terrorists. When they came to Madrid and London, they were terrorists. In Bali and Beslan, they are Islamic terrorist killers. In Israel, they are equated with the IDF who are struggling to protect Israeli sovereignty and security, while preserving the lives of Palestinian Arab civilians. There is no moral equivalence here, but that's what so many in the mainstream media are trying to feed us.

Alan Dershowitz said in The Case for Israel that Israel is the Jew of the world. That is, among nations, it is simply accepted that it's all right to unfairly criticize Israel for spurious faults while ignoring the glaring wickedness being perpetrated by so many others. Where does this unethical and stupid prejudice come from?
[Culture of Death: PA, Terrorists & Kids]

There's definitely some antisemitism to it, but there's also the element of a pervasive leftist slant in the media. I think it goes back to what we were talking about earlier regarding the leftist penchant for self-effacement and inflated veneration for the supposed victims who kill the innocent because we force them to. It sounds simplistic, but I think a lot of these people in MSM see Israelis - as per their distorted worldview - as the soulless white imperialists living off the suffering of aggrieved, noble brown people.

I don't know how else to explain it, but I will say this: It's intellectually lazy and ethically reckless.

22- Who are your favorite observers / columnists and who stands out as being particularly awful?

I really like Robert Spencer, because he's a veritable repository of information on the Religion of Peace. Oriana Fallaci is unparalleled for her keen sense and fiery conviction. There's a radio talk show host from Boston named Howie Carr who I like because he makes me laugh. I don't always agree with his politics, but he's very entertaining. I listen to him sometimes when I'm in the car.

For the moment, I think I'll decline mentioning by name the scoundrels whose print gets under my skin.

23. Patrick, what are some of the projects you wish to complete, "before the bones", as an old Muslim friend of ours says?

Ha! That's a cool expression. Well, my aim is to not get to that point at all, or at least to choose when I do. I want to live long enough to see the time when we can choose whether or not we want to die. It may seem like science fiction, but we are quickly approaching the era where what once seemed miraculous will become commonplace - all through technology and our integration with it, or rather, its integration with us.
[Smiles Are Universal]

This is all contingent on whether we can get over the stupid stuff like jihad and other forms of tyranny over mankind's body, mind, and soul.

In the meantime, I just want to become a better person and to keep learning. I want to improve my artistic skills. If I can, I want to help others. I want to raise awareness of the suffering of people and animals. I want to have a lot of fun, and make life fun for those around me.

About life

24. What are your thoughts on life, what matters and what does not really matter?

Life matters. We matter. Whether you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or an atheist, you matter and you deserve peace, security, and happiness. No one matters more than others by virtue of their religion, race, or other nominal distinction. Those things matter to us as individuals within discrete groups, but they shouldn't matter one whit when it comes to how we treat each other as a whole. Whatever we believe comes after this life, one thing is certain: right now we're all here together and it is wholly possible to be good to each other, no matter where we come from. Life itself matters, and I think we should honor it across its broad spectrum.
[American Infidel Crusaders Love Kids]

Science matters, and I don't think enough of us appreciate that. Faith is sustenance for man's spirit, but science is what makes life better in a practical sense. It has lifted us out of barbarism and, along with art, has transformed us into something better. It is also truly exhilarating to apprehend how it all works, and our part in it.

What doesn't really matter is the meaningless divisions we construct between ourselves as people. They shouldn't matter, at least. They mainly serve to hurt us and inhibit our progress toward unity and peace.

Life is precious, and whether you believe in God or not, you are a lost soul when you discount the inestimable value of life. You are then throwing away the most priceless gift we have. To do so in God's name is unutterably vile, in my view.

Many thanks to Patrick Kafir for his fun and thoughful commentaries.

- Additional interesting links from C&R -

About Clarity & Resolve and Ethical/Editorial Standards Summary

Clarity & Resolve Kafir Gear

Kafir: Arabic for "infidel"—one who refuses to submit to the Islamic God (Allah) and the Islamic faith, and who denies that Muhammad was God's messenger. We use the lovely Arabic calligraphic script for "kafir" as our logo, with the English "infidel" below.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


June 12, 2006 Women’s Freedom Rally in Tehran

Protection of women’s right, prevails democracy in Iran.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


The Steven Vincent Foundation


Slain journalists honoured
By Elizabeth White
Associated Press
May 4, 2006

Honoring martyrs who died for a free press
Pam Platt
April 30, 2006

In the past few months since the brutal murder of her husband in Iraq, Lisa Ramaci has been managing the beautiful Steven Vincent Foundation.
It's noble purposes honour in meaningful terms, Steven, her life companion. Many have read entirely The Red Zone. It is soulfully written, it is done with simplicity along with a keen sense of observation. It goes "au coeur des choses", right at the heart of things. Vincent was a dynamic, generous and honest communicator. The Red Zone is now a precious reference for students in journalism and for the rest of us who beneficiate from their journeys.

The Steven Vincent Foundation has two objectives.
It provides help to their families of journalists, photographers, stringers and translators who lost their lives for doing their work.
It also supports Muslim women confronting oppression on Islamic ground.

These two causes are dear to AFD, Arts For Democracy.

Here is an important interview with Lisa conducted by antimedia, Media Lies.

The price of war

War exacts an awful cost from many people. Not least among those costs is the loss of personalities, of names, of lives that had meaning and purpose and significance. Often those names, those people, melt away in the awful toll that turns individual losses into ever-growing statistics that dull our senses and harden us to the persons behind those statistics.

Rarely do those losses rise to our consciousness and cause us to reflect on the terrible price that war exacts from us all. In Iraq, many journalists have been killed. One American journalist was murdered in cold blood. He didn't work for a major news agency. He wasn't a famous journalist or a household name. He paid his way in to Iraq and lived on the stories he wrote. He was brutally murdered for writing the truth.

His name was Steven Vincent, and he was a writer extraordinaire. His words brought to life the dusty recesses of a world so foreign that few of us could imagine it. Yet, through Steven we could live vicariously, sensing the danger, wondering what was around the next corner, worrying about the troubling signs Steven gave us that all was not right in southern Iraq.

Recently I interviewed Lisa Ramaci, Steven's widow, to find out how the Steven Vincent Foundation was progressing. Lisa started the foundation to honor Steven's memory, to provide aid and comfort to families of slain journalists and others who lost their lives because they tried to bring us the news and to assist women standing up for their rights while living in countries where shariah law makes them second class citizens.

These are my questions and Lisa's answers... Read the rest.


[...What do you think Steven would say to you on the day of the official launch of the Foundation?


[... One of the purposes of the Foundation is to support women who are in jeopardy either because they reported events that put them in jeopardy or they attempted to help other women in trouble. Were you and Steven involved or interested in similar issues before he left for Iraq?


[... Steven's prose was so vivid that, reading his articles, you felt as though you were there with him. He obviously cared about the place and the people that kept drawing him back to the danger he finally succumbed to. If Steven could tell the American people one thing about Iraq, what do you think he would say?




NEW YORK, NY 10009



Steven Vincent's blog was named In the Red Zone. His book, In The Red Zone, is for sale at his publisher's website.

Our thanks to antimedia at Media Lies on Thursday April 27, 2006 at 11:48pm

To read as well: The Steven Vincent Foundation by Robert J. Avrech at April 30, 2006 at Seraphic Secret.

Last week was a difficult time for Lisa Ramaci.
It was a year ago, on April 24, that Lisa last hugged her husband Steven Vincent goodbye and watched as he went off to seek truth in Iraq. There, this good and talented man was kidnapped with his translator, Nour Weidi. Steven was horribly tortured for over five long hours and finally murdered in cold blood. Nour, a lively and poetic young woman, survived--but just barely. Steven's book, In the Red Zone, is the best summation of post-war Iraq I have yet to read.
Lisa and I speak to one another by e-mail. I have told her of my grief for Ariel and she has told me about Steven. We have prayed alone and together for those we have lost...

The Steven Vincent Foundation

About Steven Vincent

Steven Vincent (December 31, 1955 - August 2, 2005) was a respected New-York based writer and critic specializing in stories of art and archaeological theft, fraud and forgery, but a decade of covering the insular art world left him yearning for new and more meaningful challenges.

On September 11, 2001, from the roof of his East Village co-p, Vincent saw United Flight 175 strike the South Tower, watched the collapse of the World Trade Center, and knew the world had forever changed. Determined to be in the forefront of cataloguing America's new path, he gave up writing about art and methodically set about turning himself into a political journalist, covering the Iraq war and its aftermath. In September 2003, and again in January 2004, he went to Iraq as a freelancer, paying his own way, sans body armor, cell phone or hired security, unwilling to be beholden to any organization, and wanting the ability to freely report on the things he saw, heard, felt. These trips resulted in the well-received book In the Red Zone, published by Spence in November 2004.

In April 2005, Vincent set out on what would be his final trip to Iraq. This time he was planning to spend 3 months in the southern city of Basra, his intention being to write a history of the city. Basra, under British control, was universally considered to be much safer than Baghdad. Once he got there, however, Vincent discovered that, contrary to the generally-accepted view, and with the disengaged complicity of the British, Basra was, in fact, becoming a radical Shiite state falling under the influence of Iran, in which women were forced to wear full chador, Christians were persecuted, alcohol sellers were killed on the streets and operators of music and/or video stores had their establishments firebombed.

On July 31, 2005, The New York Times printed what would be Vincent's last piece, "Switched Off in Basra," in which he accused the British of turning a blind eye as the Basran police force was systematically infiltrated by Iranian-backed insurgents, Shia extremists and followers of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and documented how elements of the three groups had set up "assassination squads" within the police department, operating unchecked, driving a white "death car" and killing their victims with impunity.

Two days later, on August 2, 3 months to the day he had arrived in the city, Vincent and his female translator were abducted off the streets of Basra in broad daylight by men in police uniforms, driving a white police truck, bound, gagged, beaten, driven to the outskirts of town, and shot in the back. The translator, Nour al-Khal, survived; Vincent died.

Six weeks later his friend and fellow journalist, Fakher Haider, a Basran stringer for the New York Times, wrote an article that built upon Steven's final op-ed piece. Several days later, men in police uniforms and driving police cars went to his house, and with his wife and three children watching, bound him, gagged him, took him away, drove him to the outskirts of town, and shot him in the head.

The Mission of the Foundation

Since the Iraq war began in April 2003, some 45 journalists and photographers have been killed while reporting in-country, as well as an undetermined number of translators and ‘fixers’. Some were Westerners affiliated with Western organizations, and their families would have received some kind of compensation, but those like Fakher Haider have no health insurance, life insurance, benefits of any kind. They rely on the paychecks they receive from the organizations they work for to support their families; when they are killed those paychecks stop, and the family is bereft of not only a son, brother, husband and/or father, but what is for many doubtless the main, if not the sole, means of support.

The initial purpose of the Foundation will be to see that the families of those fixers, translators, photographers and journalists killed while trying to do their jobs receive financial aid to help them through a time of shock and devastating grief. In addition to providing somewhat of a safety net, it will also send an important message to the recipient(s), namely, that the sacrifice both they and their loved one made has not gone unnoticed, that there are people in the West who appreciate, mourn and honor their loss, and who want to acknowledge the danger these brave men and women put themselves in while attempting to report the truth for our benefit. Financial aid will not be limited to one particular country, region or conflict, but will be provided on a worldwide basis as needed and as is feasible. With that purpose in mind, the first grant made by the infant Foundation was a donation of one thousand dollars to Fakher Haider's widow.

Another, and equally worthwhile purpose, will be to support women in volatile regions who are risking their lives to report on what they see happening in their countries, who try and change local policies, or who work to better the lives of their fellow women, and then find themselves in jeopardy for doing so. The women below, both 2005 'Courage in Journalism' award winners from the International Women's Media Foundation ( were the first of many that the Steven Vincent Foundation will be assisting, with each receiving one thousand dollars each in Steven's name:

Sumi Khan, 34, a reporter with Shaptahik 2000 (Weekly 2000) in Dhaka. Khan reports on politics, crime and corruption in one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. Since 2000, nine journalists have been killed in Bangladesh and reporters are routinely harassed and beaten while trying to do their work. In 2004, Khan began receiving threatening phone calls after she published an article about local politicians and religious organizations and their ties to attacks on minority groups. The phone calls were followed by an attack against her during which she was stabbed and beaten by three unknown assailants. Khan was injured so severely that she was unable to work for three months. Most recently, she received a death threat from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami fundamentalist party after her reporting tied the group to gang activity.

Shahla Sherkat, 49, editorial director of Zanan (Women) in Tehran. Sherkat founded the monthly magazine in 1991, after she was dismissed from her position as editorial director at Zan-e Rouz, a government-owned weekly women’s magazine because she wanted to change the way it depicted women. The Iranian government has threatened to close Zanan many times because of the daring way the magazine covers women’s rights and feminism. Zanan faces continuing financial difficulties because it is privately owned and funded. It has also been attacked by fundamentalist gangs and Sherkat has been repeatedly summoned to court to defend the articles she chooses to publish in Zanan. In January 2001, she was fined and sentenced to prison for four months after attending a conference in Berlin where discussions on the future of political change in Iran took place. She was not required to serve the prison sentence, but was forced to pay a fine equivalent to her two-months salary.

Women's rights were extremely important to Steven; he wrote in Red Zone that without such rights, there could be no true democracy in Iraq, let alone anywhere in the world. The Foundation will channel financial aid to women at risk, thereby allowing them, for instance, the wherewithal to hire a security guard, or, as in Shahla Sherkat's case, the ability to continue publishing.

As time goes by and the Steven Vincent Foundation grows, we want to expand our outreach and programs, but for now, we think these two initial programs would be a vital use of donations, and send a valid and much-needed message. Within two years, the Foundation also plans to institute the yearly Steven Vincent Award for Excellence in War Correspondence, which initially will award $5,000.00 to the journalist who produces the most compelling and important piece of reporting on a military conflict within a 12-month period, and $1,000.00 each to three semi-finalists, although in time those amounts will increase.