Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tehran Times: "Iran enjoys deterrent power"

This is an interesting explanation, even with all the double-talk, of what nuclear power means to Iran:
Iran’s access to some stronger power parameters will soon oblige the United States to share power with Iran and amend its expansionist policies.

On the threshold of the “Government Week” President Mahmud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the Arak heavy water nuclear plant in central Iran on August 26. This was another step forward in developing nuclear programs for civilian purposes in the country.
It is hard to see a civilian nuclear program as representing much "deterrent power."
Access to the technology of producing heavy water automatically puts Iran on the list of the twelve countries which exclusively keep this technology at their own hand, and therefore weighs Iran’s position in the international power estimations.

The technological advance coincided with the “Blow of Zolfaqar” war games in different provinces which actually caused concerns and cautious reactions among both the Western and Israeli officials.

Consequently, the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) members called on their Zionist government to get prepared for launching a military attack on Iran, claiming that Tehran’s access to the technology of producing heavy water enables it to produce nuclear bombs.

Erroneously being labeled as a threat against international peace and stability, the nuclear activities of Iran has served the West as an excuse to pressure Iran.

However, here is the point. Although the West has already stepped up pressure on Tehran, it has not yet imposed any political or economic sanction on Iran.

Now, one may ask why the Western governments have failed to take any political or economic action against Iran or when they will probably do so.

Usually major powers slap sanctions or take military actions against a country when they have studied all of power parameters and have a probable victory in sight. Victory becomes meaningful when there is the necessary capability to realize the objective.

It is quite a long time since the Islamic Republic of Iran has got involved in the political game of the U.S. strategists. To implement its strategy in the Middle East the U.S. wants a weak Iran and a strong Israel.

However, Iran’s military power, legitimate and innovative ideology, advanced technology, and economic capacity coupled with wise and farsighted decision-makers will efficiently deter any unwise decision by the West.
"Innovative ideology"--there's a deterrent for you.
Global stability holds only when there is a balance of power. Otherwise, the world will face a chaos. Any country that fails to increase its power in pace with others will place its independence in harm’s way to the benefit of stronger ones. Accessing stronger power parameters obliges greater powers to share their power with other countries and revise their expansionist policies.

Therefore, Iran’s access to legal modern nuclear technology will make Iran scientifically independent of the West. This would give weight to Iran’s position at any negotiation table and obliges the Untied States to accept realities about Iran.
There you go, an extensive rationalization for acquiring nuclear weapons in an article that still attempts to claim that Iran's nuclear program is purely civilian.

And she shall be Yvonne

And she shall be Yvonne
Blog-fodder for Goodman
And she shall be Yvonne
In tradition of the Taliban
And she shall be Yvonne
Blog-fodder for Goodman
She shall be Yvonne . . .

In her latest essay, Yvonne Ridley treats us to "A Lesson for the Zionists":
THIS column today is aimed directly at those nauseating little Zionists who accuse me of being an anti-semite. You see they don't like me using the Z word to describe my pure, unadulterated disdain and contempt of their extremist beliefs.

Some of the poor things don't even realise they are Zionists.

Let's start with a simple English lesson for the benefit of Z people. Not all your fellow Zionists are Jewish and not all Jewish people are Zionists.

According to my copy of the Oxford English dictionary Zionism is described as "A movement for [originally] the re-establishment of a Jewish nationhood in Palestine, and [since 1948] the development of the State of Israel."
She needed the OED for that? She is so deliciously stupid.
So there you go. Zionists are those individuals who support - usually without question or method - the establishment, development and policies of Israel. I plead guilty to despising, hating, reviling the policies of the Zionist state - but that does not make me anti-Jewish.

According to a Jewish friend of mine, her political dictionary definition says: "Since 1948 Zionism has been broadened to imply the identification of world Jewry with Israel ... Zionism has also given financial, political and moral support to the Jewish state." And as I said earlier, not all Jews are Zionist and many of my orthodox religious Jewish friends, even in Israel and a rabbi in New York, believe the man-made creation of Israel is an implicit usurpation of God's role.

This, by the way, is also a view shared by many liberal Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, who balk at the 1967 conflict and subsequent occupation and colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

So now that we've cleared that up, how can some of these Z people (four of whom are fanatical about distorting and guarding the content of my Wikipedia entry) call me anti-semitic?

Well a semite is a person who can be an Arab or a Jew ... hmm, so these dingbats are accusing me of hating the entire Jewish and Arab world? I suppose that includes my daughter who has Semite blood running through her veins?
There are probably some anti-Zionists out there who know the difference between the definition and the etymology of the word "anti-Semite," but our friend Yvonne never had a chance.
Once and for all - I do not like the Zionist State of Israel, its disgusting policies or its behaviour on the international stage. However, I have nothing against people of the Jewish faith and in fact I am very happy to count many as my friends.

Those who have happily come on to my TV show in Britain include Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss from New York, author and Chciago-based academic Professor Norman Finkelstein, peace activist Dr Uri Davis from Jerusalem and UK-based journalist and author Arthur Neslen.

So I hope we've put that debate to bed finally. However if any of those Zionist idiots continue to try and paint me as an anti-semite I must warn you ... one of my closest friends is one of Britain's best defamation lawyers. Oh, and she happens to be Jewish (for some reason most of the best lawyers and hairdressers are).
Yvonne, why do you need a lawyer if you have the "Arabs are Semites too" argument?
Now that issue is cleared up perhaps the zionists - including the guardians of my Wikipedia site - might like to justify why Israel has once again ignored international laws to use cluster bombs in civilian areas on its failed war against Lebanon?

The international community should be imposing sanctions on this digusting little Zionist state, and although the US State department has launched an investigation it is purely a cosmetic job to blunt Arab governments' criticism.

We now know three types of cluster bombs, manufactured in the US, were used in civilian areas..

Now we know that the United States signed agreements with Israel governing its use of US-made cluster bombs in the 1970s. The deals required that munitions only be used against organized Arab armies and clearly defined military targets.

A decade later President Ronald Reagan imposed a six-year ban on further sales of cluster weapons to Israel after a congressional investigation found Israel had used the weapons against civilian areas of Lebanon, which it invaded in 1982.

According to a report which has just come my way Israel dropped these vile bombs on at least 170 villages in southern Lebanon during its 34-day war.

Now ask me again why I hate the Zionist State of Israel and the fourth largest army in the world which has an international reputation for using its weapons on women and children?
This is an interesting variation on the claim that anti-Zionists often make that they are being accused of anti-Semitism merely for criticizing Israel. She openly professes to hate Israel. Hate any other countries, Yvonne?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

IRIB Radio: "Ilaf" interviews Al, Mel, and Dustin

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting says the thing which is not:
A number of prominent Hollywood actors and actresses have lambasted the United States and the Zionist regime for their crimes and atrocities against Muslims, with some denouncing Zionists as the source of all wars throughout the world.

The London-based Arabic-language "Ilaf" newspaper has asked a number of well-known Hollywood stars and glitterati to declare their opinion about recent events in middle east, in particular the Israeli military offensives in Gaza and Lebanon.

Hollywood actor, Al Pacino, the star of such Hollywood classics as The Godfather, The merchant of Venice, said: “You only have to look at Israeli history, to find out where terrorism originates”.

Australian-born actor, and Hollywood superstar, director and producer, Mel Gibson, who starred in Oscar-winning “Braveheart”, and directed the controversial film, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, said: “Zionists are the source of all wars throughout the world, and I hope for their destruction”.

Hollywood actor, Dustin Hoffman, who starred in such classics as Kramer vs. Kramer, and Papillion, said: “With creation of Israel, humanitarianism has been destroyed”.
You can't make this stuff up, but they can.

Reader Comments:

I must say that I admire the courage of Al Pacino, Mel Gibson, and Dustin Hoffman in expressing their political views in such an admirable way. Very few people in the so-called "land of the free" are able to say anything critical about Israel. This is very refreshing indeed, specially when such comments come from Hollywood. There is hope for the US after all.
Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi | Homepage | 09.11.06 - 3:52 am | #

The Mel Gibson "quote" is mostly fabricated in a way that would be so obvious to anyone who follows the news that the IRIB article just looks like goofy propaganda. That is why I posted it. The other quotes are probably also bogus. Sorry.
Yitzchak Goodman | Homepage | 09.11.06 - 12:38 pm | #

Don't be sorry because this can be nothing but true =) you cn't just come and make people say things they didn't in such a public site. Juridic masures can be taken, if it's realy a "goofy propaganda" as you say the one who posted this puts himself at risque of prison, and so far everything seem to be quite.. and true =)
Aahd | 01.12.09 - 4:33 pm | #

Pay attention. The supposed Gibson quote is an inaccurate quotation of something he really said with some totally made-up phrasing tacked on. At the time of the post it was a big news story. So you can watch IRIB Radio making things up before your very eyes. Hope that helps.
Yitzchak Goodman | Homepage | 01.12.09 - 10:08 pm | #

Chomsky still evasive about Faurisson

The Independent currently has an interview with Noam Chomsky consisting of answers to questions asked by readers. Here is a question and answer about Robert Faurisson:
You have said you see a "hint of anti-Semitic implications" [The correct wording is "no hint of anti-Semitic implications"--YG] in the work of Robert Faurisson, the notorious French Holocaust denier. Is Jew-baiting merely a hobby of yours, or is it vocational? LAURENCE COLE, KENT

[Chomsky]: The facts and the principle have been spelled out dozens of times since 1980 (so it is a bit boring), but once again, briefly.

The last time I had anything to do with this affair, Faurisson was accused of raising questions about gas chambers. Several years later, he was tried and sentenced for "Falsification of History", but there was no charge of Holocaust denial or anti-Semitism (according to Le Monde). The only issue concerning my connection with this sordid affair is whether we should adopt the Goebbels-Zhdanov doctrine that the State has the right to determine Historical Truth and punish deviation from it. As I wrote then, and am happy to repeat, it is a gross insult to the memory of victims of the Holocaust to adopt the doctrines of their murderers. The remark you are misrepresenting is from a personal letter - an interesting source. It reviewed the facts and went on to point out that even denial of huge atrocities would not in itself be evidence for racism, giving a few of the many examples. Thus neither you, nor I, conclude that Americans are vicious racists because they estimate Vietnamese deaths at about 5 per cent of the official figure, or because for centuries even scholarship vastly understated the scale and character of the destruction of the indigenous population. The point generalises to England and others, of course. There can be many reasons for denying horrendous crimes, even in the cases that are the most serious on moral grounds: our own. One special case - purely hypothetical in this personal correspondence - was that denial of the Holocaust would not establish anti-Semitism, for exactly the same reasons.
I find the nonchalant way in which he tosses out the subject of Vietnam fairly incredible here. What does he mean by the "official figure" and exactly who is disputing it? It is as if he is addressing an audience with no intellectual curiosity whatsoever. Perhaps he *is* addressing an audience with no intellectual curiosity.

(Hat Tip: My Right Word)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

(North) Korean News: "U.S. Ambition to Rule World by Strength Denounced"

In the light of recent North Korean missile testing, this is very interesting:
The United States which already keeps 3 warships capable of intercepting missiles constantly deployed in the Pacific plans to double their number by the end of this year. Commenting on this, a Rodong Sinmun analyst Tuesday says:

The scheme of the U.S. war-thirsty quarters to deploy dense MD networks in the U.S. mainland, Japan and the Pacific reveals their wild ambition to rule the world by strength.

The U.S. imperialists claim that their moves to build a MD system are designed to cope with somebody's "threat." But it is a shameless act reminding us of a thief crying "Stop thief!"

No country in the world threatens the U.S. with missiles. If there is a threat, it is a threat posed by the U.S. to other countries. It is none other than the U.S. that has defined the preemptive nuclear and missile strikes as the hard core of its military strategy and it is again the U.S. which actually makes missile attacks on other countries. Yet the U.S. warlike forces are working round the clock to establish an MD system, raising terrific outcries over somebody's "threat" to misrepresent truth. What they seek in this is a dangerous purpose to contain other countries by strength and establish an order of global domination. The U.S. advertisement that its scheme to deploy an MD system is intended to confront somebody's "threat" is a ruse to justify its drive for global domination.

It is an invariable ambition of the U.S. imperialists to dominate the world by strength. The U.S. MD scheme is a grave criminal act threatening and wrecking peace and security of the world and bringing a renewed arms race. The U.S. would be well advised to abandon its ambition to rule the world by strength and drop its scheme to build an MD system.
Anything denounced in this way by North Korea must be a good idea.

Sudden Jihad Denial Syndrome

Psychological researchers have recently documented a hitherto unidentified mental disorder which they are terming “Sudden Jihad Denial Syndrome.” Sufferers seem to experience a severe split from reality and they make strange non-sequitur statements, typically involving the idea that anyone with mental problems is automatically disqualified from being a Jihadist or the idea that Jihad is only carried out by groups, but not individuals. Sufferers of SJDS will deny that Jihad is involved even when the Jihadist himself claims to be a “terrorist.”

There does appear to be some hope for SJDS sufferers, however. A new therapeutic technique has been developed in which the therapist puts on a replica of a bomb-belt, shouts “Allahu akhbar!” and then asks, “Am I a terrorist?” A patient responding in the affirmative will then be asked to evaluate other violent scenarios, ones involving SUVs, for instance. Hopefully the patient can make progress towards recognizing that Jihad need not always be an inner spiritual struggle and can sometimes even involve violence.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Text of Ahmadinejad's letter finally available

It is interesting that it has taken so long. Here is an excerpt, from Fars News Agency:
I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust. But, does it not stand to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War II indebted to them. Their purpose has been to weaken their morale and their inspiration in order to obstruct their progress and power. In addition to the people of Germany, the peoples of the Middle East have also borne the brunt of the Holocaust. By raising the necessity of settling the survivors of the Holocaust in the land of Palestine, they have created a permanent threat in the Middle East in order to rob the people of the region of the opportunities to achieve progress. The collective conscience of the world is indignant over the daily atrocities by the Zionist occupiers, destruction of homes and farms, killing of children, assassinations and bombardments.

Excellency, you have seen that the Zionist government does not even tolerate a government elected by the Palestinian people, and over and over again has demonstrated that it recognizes no limit in attacking the neighboring countries.

The question is why did the victors of the war, especially England that had apparently such a strong sense of responsibility toward the survivors of the Holocaust not allow them to settle in their territory. Why did they force them to migrate to other people's land by launching a wave of anti-Semitism? Using the excuse for the settlement of the survivors of the Holocaust, they encouraged the Jews worldwide to migrate and today a large part of the inhabitants of the occupied territories are non-European Jews.
Iranian Jews, for instance, who want to live in a country where it is legal for a Jewish school to have a Jewish principal. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch)

Yvonne Ridley on the "blackened, scrawny, shrivelled hearts" of the Neocon Cabal

Ridley, you will recall, converted to Islam after being kidnapped by the Taliban. Funny how that made her an anti-Semite, isn't it? This is from the Daily Muslims site:
. . . if you have ever wondered why Israel literally gets away with murder, you should examine the nationalities and citizenship status of the neo-con cabal which hangs out with the US President.

You do have to ask where their allegiance really lies when they stand before the star spangled banner with their righthand over their blackened, scrawny, shrivelled hearts.

The fingers of their lefthand are probably firmly crossed and hidden behind their backs as they sing America's national anthem.

The truth is that most of the Bush junta are Israeli passport holders.

Let's name and shame them in order of importance and influence. Well topping the list of Israeli passport holders is Paul Wolfowitz, followed by the so-called Prince of Darkness Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Michael Chertoff, George Tenet, Elliot Abrams, Donald Kagan, Richard Haas, Kenneth Adelman, Edward Luttwak, Robert Satioff, Dov Zakheim, David Frum, David Wurmser, Steve Goldsmith and Marc Grossman.

I would have thought any US citizen, even the reddest of the red necks, would spot an obviously glaring conflict of interests.
Half a mind is a semi-terrible thing to waste.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Vacation Announcement

I plan to live a life of travel, relaxation, and non-blogging for the next week or so. See you when I come back.

Now it's time to say Shalom
Uncle Yitz is 'bout to roam
You know he'll be back again
With the might of Songun in his pen

Remember all the bloggers we met along the path
I can't recall how many, but you can do the math
Listen to your Elders, elevate your mind
Don't wear your kefiyyeh in the airport line

Now it's time to say Shalom
Uncle Yitz is 'bout to roam
You know he'll be back again
With the might of Songun in his pen

Monday, August 21, 2006 "Madonna offers to use Kabbalah on nuclear waste"

Does it remove radioactivity from fissionable material also? Maybe we should dump some of the stuff onto Iran:
Pop star Madonna has urged the British government to use a mystical Kabbalah fluid to clean up radioactive waste, The Scotsman website has reported.

According to the report, Madonna is a keen follower of the Jewish spiritual movement "which believes that water can receive magic healing powers through 'meditations and the consciousness of sharing'."

The Scotsman reported that, together with her husband Guy Ritchie, Madonna has approached Downing Street, the Department of Trade and Industry and British Nuclear Fuels with the innovative idea.

The superstar was promoting "a water-based solution that had allegedly proved successful in neutralizing dangerous nuclear waste in Russia."

Asharq Alawsat: Iranians protest aid to Hizbullah

Of course, it might be funny money anyway. I wonder if this has occurred to the protesters.
The Iranian government's pledge of 500 million dollars to Hezbollah has angered many Iranians who say they are still awaiting money to help rebuild their homes that were damaged by wars and natural disasters, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The anger is particularly fierce in the Khuzestan district, which sustained severe damage during the Iran-Iraq war, and in Bam, which was hit hard by an earthquake three years ago.

Hezbollah is reportedly handing out wads of cash to residents of southern Lebanon to help rebuild their homes. The money is thought to originate from Tehran, but Iran is downplaying allegations that it has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Lebanon.

Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, said on Sunday that Iran was examining ways to help Lebanon, but added that “nothing has been decided yet.”

“Informed sources” told Asharq Al-Awsat that spontaneous demonstrations were staged in Bam and in Khuzestan on Friday as protesters shouted slogans critical of Hezbollah and the government. They were demanding their homes be rebuilt instead of the government intervening in Lebanese affairs.

I have a kasha on this article . . .

This is from the BBC:
US astronomers say they have found the first direct evidence for the mysterious stuff called dark matter.

Dark matter - which does not emit or reflect enough light to be "seen" - is thought to make up 25% of the Universe.

By contrast, the ordinary matter we can see is believed to make up no more than about 5% of our Universe.

Until now, astronomers have only been able to infer the existence of this dark material through the gravitational effects it has on ordinary matter.

The researchers have discovered what is effectively the gravitational signature of dark matter.

This signature was created by dark matter and ordinary matter being wrenched apart by the immense collision of two large galaxy clusters.

"The kinetic energy of this collision is...enough to completely evaporate and pulverise planet Earth ten trillion trillion times over," said team member Maxim Markevitch of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US.

Study leader Doug Clowe, from the University of Arizona, said: "This provides the first direct proof that dark matter must exist and that it must make up the majority of the matter in the Universe."

Astronomers have known since the 1930s that these galaxy clusters have far too much gravity to be explained by the amount of visible matter in them alone.

This extra gravity has two possible explanations. One is that most matter in the clusters is in a form we cannot see, because it does not absorb or emit light.

A second explanation is that gravity does not behave the same way in galaxy clusters light years in size as it does on Earth.

Usually, the gas and the galaxies in the clusters are held close together in space by gravity.

But in the cosmic smash-up known to astronomers as the Bullet Cluster, these components have been pulled apart. The astronomers were lucky enough to catch the collision just 100 million years after it occurred - the blink of an eye in cosmic time.

The researchers could see that the hot gas in the collision had been slowed down by a drag force, similar to air resistance. Meanwhile, the galaxies themselves continued speeding through space, leaving the gas behind.

Dark matter particles should not slow down in the same way as the gas; they do not interact directly with themselves or the gas except through gravity. Instead, dark matter should behave in a similar way to the galaxies.

If dark matter did exist, the astronomers expected to find the majority of mass in clusters residing around the galaxies.

But if dark matter did not exist, most of the galaxy cluster's mass would be in its diffuse hot gas. This is because galaxy clusters typically contain 10 times as much ordinary mass in gas as in stars.

The researchers found most of the mass was located near the galaxies - ahead of the gas clouds - showing the dark matter really was there.

The majority of the Universe - some 70% - is composed of dark energy, an equally mysterious quantity which exerts negative pressure.
If 25% is "dark matter," and 5% is "ordinary matter," and 70% is "dark energy," then isn't that everything--isn't 100% of everything accounted for? So what happened to the ordinary energy?

Note: The above is not a hashkafah post. I am not playing "gotcha" with science and I am not endorsing anything in this article either. Maybe the whole thing is nonsense; maybe it is as good an application of the scientifc method as anything else--I have no idea one way or the other. I just had a kasha.

Osama Bin Laden "obsessed with Whitney Houston"?

This is a real low-point for this blog. From the NY Post:
Osama bin Laden has more on his mind than just the destruction of the United States - the world's most wanted terrorist is obsessed with Whitney Houston, so much so that he's even mulled a hit on her hubby, Bobby Brown.
There is a lot more to this story. Go ahead, click on the title link.


Great bargains available on Zimbabwe money

When we last dealt with Mugabe on this blog we learned that Zimbabweans have the world's shortest life expectancy. We also noted an interview with Al-Jazeera in which Mugabe claimed that Zimbabwe surpassed the US on the human rights front. So this isn't surprising. From the BBC:
People in Zimbabwe have been rushing to shops to spend their old banknotes before they cease to be legal tender at midnight on Monday.

Three weeks ago Zimbabwe adjusted its currency, removing three zeros from the values after years of high inflation . . .

Supermarket owners in the capital, Harare, reported that business was unusually brisk for a Monday morning, as people tried to spend their old cash.

There are also reports that buses and some shops were already refusing to accept the old notes on Monday, and that long queues were forming at banks as people tried to change their old money.

The new currency is intended to end the necessity of carrying bags of cash for even small purchases, and eliminate the multiple zeros that Zimbabweans have become used to seeing on price tags . . .

Critics say the measure does not tackle the underlying causes of Zimbabwe's inflation.

They accuse President Robert Mugabe of ignoring economic principles and trying to bribe voters by seizing productive white-owned farms to give to poor black families.

He maintains that Zimbabwe's economic woes are the result of a western plot intended to bring down his government.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Huffington Post visits Fantasyland

I'm not holding my breath:
Now the UN has another chance. It needs to show that its ready to mandate, man, and equip a true military mission, as well as wade through the minefield of attendant politics, including what happens if UN peacekeepers kill, what happens if Hezbollah retaliates against a troop contributing country, and what happens if the parties resume open warfare. If it can deliver, respect for the world body will soar.

News Busters: Money handed out by Hizbullah counterfeit?

Caption:... Hezbollah members began distributing US$12,000 in crisp cash bills Friday to those who lost their homes in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Now that Hezbullah has suddenly morphed into a philanthropic organization, we learn from this photograph that they are distributing approximately US$12,000 to the needy in areas destroyed by Israel. Of course, what is our intrepid photographer obviously not curious enough to know? Well, that Hezbullah has already been dinged for counterfeiting U.S. currency . . .
Elder of Ziyon had a post on Hizbullah counterfeiting with some additional sources, and I had this. If Hizbullah supporters find themselves with only worthless fake currency to show for their destroyed houses launch-sites, won't that be interesting?

Further thought: Hizbullah is Iran's proxy, of course. Do Iran and North Korea share counterfeiting technology in the same way that they share missile technology?

Washington Times: Washington subsidizing Chavez?

More on Hugo the Jackal:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of the hemisphere's harshest critics of the United States, is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies from Washington, thanks to an obscure 20-year-old oil pricing formula.

The formula is part of a supply contract between Venezuela's state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum Corp., which forces Citgo to buy PDVSA's crude for at least $5 a barrel over market prices.

The net effect is to reduce Citgo's taxable earnings in the United States and to boost Venezuela's share of oil profits by as much as $1 million a day.

"At the moment, we have the strange situation where the USA is subsidizing Venezuela to the extent of the tax relief on the excess above-market prices" says Oliver Campbell, a former finance coordinator of PDVSA.

James Williams, an Arkansas-based oil analyst with WTRG Economics, estimates that Citgo has been paying $5 to $8 a barrel over market prices for the past two years, amounting to a de facto U.S. subsidy.

Mr. Williams estimates that Venezuela could be earning as much as an extra $1 million a day that would otherwise belong to the U.S. Treasury.
Have a nice day.

Yvonne Ridley: "Is Israeli Army so Incompetent?"

This piece (via Daily Muslims) is typically rancid:
I hate myself for writing this - but I simply do not believe the Israeli Army is so incompetent. The facts just don't stack up.

Since its inception, the Zionist Army has battered its counterparts in Egypt, Syria and Jordan in days not weeks.

And, as I said before, it has also dealt with civilians in a brutal and uncivilised way. In fact one story which I can now write about for the first time highlights the cowardice typical of some of the men who make up part of the rank and file of the Israeli Army. The incident I am referring to threatened to spill over into a massive diplomatic spat, and happened in Jerusalem five or so years ago when a senior British Army officer wtinessed some soldiers punching and kicking a frail, Palestinian woman from his hotel room.

The British Army hero ran down to the hotel lobby and outside into the street where the old woman had fallen helplessly to the ground ... still being kicked and punched by the Israeli soldiers. To their shock and surprise, he intervened and called them a bunch of cowards. He was then arrested and detained when he tried to help the elderly victim to her feet.

After a few hours of manic behind-the-scenes diplomatic manoevres, he was finally released and nothing more was said.
Why can she write this now "for the first time"? Why couldn't she write it earlier? Because she hadn't made it up yet?
So, as you can see I am not a great admirer of the Israeli Army, or their cowardly soldiers and nor do I think they deserve the high international reputation they have accrued over the years since the inception of the Zionist State. But I do not, for one minute, think Hizb'Allah are inferior in bravery or derring do.The unrelenting aerial bombardment, supported by Apache helicopter shelling together with artillery attacks should, on paper anyway, have brought Hizb'Allah to its knees.

So what sort of victory can Israel claim? Well it can go into its favorite mode ... that of victim of terror. It occupied land all the way to the Litani River and is now trying to appear most reasonable by withdrawing from the area to allow UN forces to take up positions.

Hizb'Allah is more or less intact giving the Israeli Army justification for using force again whenever it wants, citing defense as a reason for launching pre-emptive strikes in the face of terror.

I simply can not believe, with all the spy satellite equipment at its finger tips, the Israeli Army was clueless about Hizb'Allah's activities reinforcing bunkers and developing a sophisticated underground defense system over the last few years in preparation. And what about Mossad? The vile intelligence wing which uses bribery, torture, extortion, sex and drugs to recruit Arab collaborators? Am I expected to believe that while this method has brought in thousands of vulnerable Palestinians to become fifth columnists, Mossad could not attract a single Hizb'Allah spy to spill the beans on all its underground tunnels or covert activities?
There's more, if you have the stomach for it.

Linkim 8/20/06

Haveil Havalim 83 is up!

DTPW notes that "Finally, somebody does compare Bush with the Nazis."

Huffington Post has "Nasrallah's Other Victory Speeches" and "Kim Jong Il on Cinema: Another book report."

Daily Kos nominates "Bill Clinton for Middle East Ambassador At Large."

Interesting Muslim inter-sectarian polemic from Indigo Jo.

Asharq Alawsat on "The Sad Syrian" (h/t: Martin Kramer)

Steyn: "World is watching as Iraq war tests U.S. mettle" (h/t: RCP)

Simply Jews describes "The 'quiet' terrorist attack in Germany."

MENL: "Hizbullah returns to South Lebanon"

Just some news:
Hizbullah operatives have returned to the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Israeli military sources said Hizbullah fighters and operatives were seen returning with tens of thousands of Lebanese residents to the communities from which they had fled in July. The sources said some of the Hizbullah fighters were seen with weapons and communications equipment.

"They are quite open about it," a source who tracks Hizbullah movements said. "The Lebanese know it and even our soldiers at their posts in Lebanon see them."

Under a United Nations-arranged ceasefire, Hizbullah operatives were not allowed to bring their weapons to southern Lebanon. The Security Council resolution also called for the surrender of Hizbullah weaponry.

IRIB: "IRI Jews ready to cure Palestinians"

A new variation on a constant theme:
The association of the Iranian Jewish community and management of Tehran-based Jewish hospital `Sepir' said on Sunday that the hospital is ready to admit Palestinians wounded by the Zionist regime for medical treatment.

In reaction to a letter to that effect, Majlis Speaker, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, said in the formal session of the parliament on Sunday that the letter showed that Iranian Jewish community supports human rights of the Palestinian people.

"The Jews never support criminal acts of the Zionist regime," Haddad-Adel said thanking the letter of solidarity of Iranian Jews to the oppressed Palestinians.
Also at IRIB: "Hezbollah's victory, fall of Zionism":
Foreign Ministry Spokesman said Sunday the recent victory of Lebanon's Islamic Resistance Movement Hezbollah is the beginning of the fall of the Zionist regime.

"The Zionist regime's officials admit that the regime had not been in such a crisis since 1948," Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters in his weekly press conference.

He said there is a gap of decision-making in the social, political and economic institutions of the usurper Zionist regime, bringing terrible outcomes for the illegitimate regime.

Asefi pointed to the approval of the legitimate resistance of Hezbollah by the fair-minded world politicians and described resistance as the indispensable right of the Lebanese nation.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Al-Jazeera: "Chavez of Arabia: Venezuela leader winning Arab hearts and minds"

Hugo the Jackal?
Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, found himself at the centre of Middle Eastern politics when he announced that he was withdrawing his most senior diplomat from Israel, the Venezuelan charge d'affaires in Tel Aviv. Not for something Israel did to his country, but for what it does to Palestinians and Lebanese thousands of miles away.

The action was preceded by Chavez's repeated condemnation of what he describes as Israel's "aggression" against Lebanese land and its "genocide" against the Lebanese people. He was the first head of state to say such harsh words towards Israel after violence broke out on the Israeli Lebanese border last month, even before that of any Arab or Muslim country.

"I don't want to be an Arab. From now on I shall be Venezuelan"
Today on many Arabic internet sites one can read comments such as: "I am Palestinian but my president is Chavez, not Abu Mazen." Or: "I don't want to be an Arab. From now on I shall be Venezuelan."
Touching, right?
In Gaza and Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories I am told that next to Arafat's and Che Guevara's posters, a new poster of Chavez is being added.

On world television channels one could even see Venezuelan flags in demonstrations in Beirut, next to Lebanese and Palestinian flags, and in many prominent newspapers across the Arab World, columnists wondered: why can't Arab leaders do what a Latin American non-Arab non-Muslim leader dared do?

Naturally, some anti-Chavez Venezuelans would rush to warn their president's Arab fans of what they say is the real Chavez: an authoritarian who is ruining their country.

But that would still not change much for his Middle Eastern supporters. When one internet user wrote saying that Chavez was a "dictator like Fidel Castro", the replies flooded the website one after the other defending Chavez and insulting the person who had criticised him.

Chavez's opponents see his position as a mere political manoeuvre to support his ally, Iran, and to attack his traditional enemy: the US, or the "empire" as he calls it. They also think that he wants to increase his popularity worldwide.

That could be true. But what is undoubtedly true is that Chavez's affinity with Arabs is nothing new. He often mentions them in his speeches and tells stories of his adventures with Arab leaders in their faraway lands. He admires the desert. He says he is a Nasserite (referring to the late nationalist president of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser). He mentions Iraq more than Arab leaders do and never misses an opportunity to "salute the Iraqi resistance against imperialist forces".

IRIB: "The American Zionist Lobby pressured CBS reporter, Mike Wallas, for his 'inability' to satisfy their objectives"

Somehow, virulently anti-Semitic articles from the state-controlled press of Iran should not be this fun:
The American Zionist Lobby pressured CBS reporter, Mike Wallas, for his 'inability' to satisfy their objectives in his interview with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) called for Mike Wallas' early retirement, criticizing him for inability in the face of IRI President.

Mike Wallas, the leading CBS reporter, who inerviewed President Ahmadinejad last week failed to reach his pre-determined objectives with President Ahmadinejad leading a matured interview.

Mike Wallas on Friday refused to accept a call for interview by IRIB reporter in America, saying that he no more wants to become subject to Zionist pressure.

Is the war still over?

This is from Arutz Sheva:
Israeli forces carried out a raid deep in southern Lebanon Saturday morning, disrupting Syrian arms shipments to Hizbullah terrorists. One IDF officer, Lt-Col. Emanuel Moreno, died in the operation . . .

In the wake of the Israeli operation, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday evening to update him on the deployment of UNIFIL forces in Lebanon and to express his organization's dismay at the Israeli raid. Reiterating official positions made public earlier in the day, PM Olmert told Annan that Israel honors the United Nations Security Council ceasefire resolution, but reserves the right to take defensive action to prevent the re-arming of the Hizbullah.

The UNSC resolution establishing the ceasefire prohibits foreign weapons from reaching Lebanon without authorization of the Lebanese government. Israel considered the continuing arms shipments to Hizbullah to be a violation of the ceasefire. As Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said on Saturday, "Israel is entitled to act to defend the principle of the arms embargo."

United Nations Middle East envoy Terje Larsen disagreed, saying on Saturday that such an Israeli raid violates the UN Security Council ceasefire resolution.

Lebanon threatened to stop deploying its soldiers in southern Lebanon following the Israeli strike, which Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora called "a flagrant violation" of the UN ceasefire terms.

The Lebanese government orders regarding the arms held by the Hizbullah, drafted by Lebanese parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri and Siniora, are that Hizbullah may continue to openly maintain its arsenal north of the Litani River, but south of the Litani, weapons would be permitted to Hizbullah forces only so long as they remained concealed.
And as long as Hizbullah does not become a symphony orchestra.
The Litani River bisects Lebanon and runs from between 4 and 40 kilometers (2.5 - 25 miles) from the Israeli border with Lebanon.

Last Monday, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr stated, "The army is not going to be deployed in southern Lebanon in order to disarm Hizbullah, something that Israel was unable to do in its war." The army is to be deployed, he said, "in order to protect the civilians and to maintain the achievements of the resistance [the Hizbullah]."
That sounds like fighting words to me.
According to a weekend report from Beirut in the Australian newspaper The Age, an internal document distributed among Lebanese army forces over the past week calls for troops to stand "alongside your resistance and your people who astonished the world with its steadfastness and destroyed the prestige of the so-called invincible army after it was defeated."
So Israel didn't lose the war. You can't lose a war which is not over. The war is going badly, however.

My E-mail in-box this Motza'ei Shabbos

1. IDRIS MABOYO very urgent
2. Diego Seahm Trusting to hear from you immediately.
3. Diego Seahm Trusting to hear from you immediately.
4. Adama Ibrahim call me immediately you received this message
5. mr aziz moustafa URGENT ASSISTANT PLEASE.
Why is this still going on? Is there anybody left who would fall for this stuff? Why don't spam scams get played out eventually?

Friday, August 18, 2006

On George Allen' s Confederate flag

A discussion of Macaca-gate by Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel includes the following:
Allen owns a Confederate flag, as nearly everyone has mentioned during this tempest. He also reportedly plastered his high school car with a Confederate bumper sticker and wore a Confederate flag lapel pin in his high school senior picture.

I don't know if Allen is a racist. I do know that owning a Confederate flag is not a damning offense if you're a collector of Southern memorabilia, as Allen is. And high school is, well, high school.
I grew up in the South and I once made up the following rule: One Confederate flag on a car indicates regional pride--eight Confederate flags on a car indicates Klan-membership. It wasn't really a reliable rule, but it was good joke, or it was in the Bible-belt town where I used to live. I don't think people appreciate the joke the same way here on the West Coast. So place makes a difference, and that, I think, is the key to the Macaca remark. It may be that somebody somewhere is slurred by that word, but the person Senator Allen referred to was not a member of that group. And in this case, Allen is also not a member of the group that usually does the slurring. So the whole event seems essentially meaningless: not one of those things where you had to be there, but one of those things where you had to be somewhere else.

AP: "Grand sheik calls for Muhammad cartoonist's arrest"

This is via
Egypt's top Islamic leader said that the Danish editor who first published the contentious Prophet Muhammad cartoons should be jailed and his newspaper banned, according to an interview published Friday.

Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the grand sheik of Al-Azhar, one of the most powerful Islamic institutions in the Sunni Muslim world, said that Muslims still haven't forgotten the cartoons, which triggered a global firestorm earlier this year, Danish daily Berlingske Tidende reported.

"This was a really big crime," Tantawi was quoted as saying. "So the punishment should be to sentence the editor to prison for a number of years. And in addition to ban the paper from publication for some years."

"You can use your freedom of the press to attack people like me or presidents or royals. We can defend ourselves. But Jesus and Muhammad cannot, and anyone who attacks them must be punished for what he has done," Tantawi said.
Strange argument. Anne Frank is not around to defend herself either.

IRIB: "Muslims should follow Hezbollah"

Are Friday sermons in Iran always about politics?
Tehran's Friday Prayers Leader, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday he hoped America would learn from the Zionist regime's failure in Lebanon and allow Iran's peacefull nuclear issue to be solved vi negotiation rather than confrontation.
So far the Lebanese situation has not illustrated the efficacy of negotiated solutions.
"We hope that America will learn its lesson and will not enter a new conflict to disturb security in this region," Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in his sermons to the thousands of worshippers.

Referring to the Leabanese Islamic Resistance Movement Hezbollah's resistance which brought about dignity for the world of Islam, the Friday Prayers Leader said that the road paved by Hezbollah should be taken by every country which sees itself under op pression and occupation.

Rafsanjani further insisted that Hezbollah's resistance was based on a humanitarian and legal basis because defending hometown is an inalienable right for everybody and Hezbollah just defended its soil against the Zionist regime's aggression.

"In contrast what the Zionist regime has done was a true example of war crimes," said the Prayers Leader, adding that the regim and its supporter, America, are the main factor of tention in the region.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AP: "California on brink of global warming breakthrough"

"A global warming breakthough"! Don't you love that wording? It means that businesses in California are going to face some new regulations. The cheerleading in this article is amazing:
California is forging ahead with the most aggressive U.S. program to reduce global warming -- a plan that pits Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger against fellow Republican George W. Bush.

Both the governor and his state's Democratic-led legislature want to make California -- the world's eighth largest economy -- a model to follow with caps in greenhouse gas emissions that the U.S. president rejects.

State politicians still are hammering out differences over the proposed Global Warming Solutions Act. If passed, it is likely to play a role in November's vote for governor and in national politics for years to come . . .

California is an environment-savvy state where being green wins votes. But it is also the world's 12th largest emitter of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. It faces environmental and health disasters with warmer temperatures.
I hear Mars is getting warmer too.

IRIB: "Lebanon battled with arrogance"

This has some interesting variations on the usual themes. The phrase "world arrogance" is used constantly in these articles, but there is some novelty to the equation of Hizbullah and "united mankind." The reference to the Iran-Iraq war is also interesting, if a bit incoherent. The Lebanon war "manifested" the Iran-Iraq war?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that what was witnessed in Lebanon was a real battle field of an unequal war between the world arrogance and united mankind.

He made the remark at a public gathering in the town of Namin on the third day of his provincial tour to Ardebil province along with his cabinet.

The Chief Executive referred to Lebanon as a transparent battle field, where a war was fought between a group of world arrogance -- the so called defenders of human rights -- and united mankind, whose resistance was aimed at promoting peace, restoring human dignity as well as securing independence and freedom.

Ahmadinejad said that the war in Lebanon manifested the eight-year imposed war in IRI and the devoted resistance of the Iranian nation against Saddam Hussein, who was encouraged by America and Britain to attack IRI.

The President said that now, 17 years on, the Iraqi-imposed war, they are still dizzy from the Iranian nation's hard slap on their face.

"In the recent crisis created in Lebanon by the enemies, they imagined that they can conquer the country in two days, attach it to the Zionist regime and make a new Middle East in the region. The admirable resistance of Lebanon made the world realize what adisgracing defeat the dishonored Zionists faced," said the President.

Victor Davis Hanson: "Excuse After Excuse"

A typically excellent recent Victor Davis Hanson essay spends a number of paragraphs refuting Islamist claims about the West. Here is an example:
Then there is moaning that the West treats its Muslim immigrants unfairly, despite evidence to the contrary. After all, Muslims build mosques and madrassas all over Europe and the United States; yet Christians cannot worship in Saudi Arabia or have missionaries in Iran. Western residents or immigrants in most Arab nations would not dare demonstrate on behalf of Israel. But in Michigan last week, largely Arab-American crowds chanted "Hezbollah" -- despite that terrorist organization's long history of murdering Americans.
I would like to quibble a bit with a section of the conclusion:
The one thing, however, that the United States cannot do to please Islamists is change its liberal character and traditions of Western tolerance. And isn't that the real story behind all these perceived grievances and phantom hurts: the intrusive dynamism of freewheeling Western, and particularly American, culture?

Both its low form of girly magazines and punk rock as well as its impressive literature, art, commerce and technology now saturate the world. And why not? American radical individualism appeals to the innate human desire for freedom and unbridled expression. Westernization subverts most hierarchs, especially in the reactionary world of Islamic fundamentalism, where the mullah, family patriarch or state autocrat can't keep a lid on it. Instantaneous communications have also brought to an insecure Middle Eastern society firsthand views of how much wealthier, freer and more tolerant the outside world is when it is democratic and transparent.

But instead of providing a blueprint for reform, these revelations only incite envy and anger from millions who are advised that parity with the West is found instead by retreating further into 7th-century religious purity.
Hanson is still answering the question "Why do they hate us?" I don't necessarily disagree with his analysis, but I think his emphasis is misplaced. The bottom line is that we in the West and the Islamists are natural antagonists, just as we and the Communists were natural antagonists during the Cold War. As a matter of fact, the war on terror can be seen as a continuation of the Cold War, with the remaining Communist states allied with the Islamists. They want a world ruled by theocratic dictatorships as much as possible. We are not just advocates of liberal democracy; we are fish living in the pond of liberal democracy. Their goal is the drying up of that pond, whatever emotions go with that goal. Victories for them are defeats for us by definition. That, quite simply, is why appeasement will never work. I am a member of the choir that Hanson is preaching to, but I don't know if we are going to convince the left of the reason of our viewpoint by fine-tuning the "They hate us for our freedom" remark.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Asharq Alaswat: "A Fake Celebration"

The author is Tariq Alhomayed and the essay is a blast of good sense:
This is Iran and Syria’s war and Lebanon will pay the price, along with the Arab countries against adventures and adventurers, who were criticized by President Assad. He said that those with no experience/knowledge of war should not be guides for peace! Of course, there are no Guides in our Arab world, even if there are some who want to drag them into our problems! It is also important to mention the unison between Iran and Syria even when it comes to an attack on other Arab countries. Ahmadinejad said that many of the regional leaders had failed in the experiment of this war which Hezbollah waged. His words followed the ceasefire. It is worth bearing in mind that, on their recent regional tour, Iranian had called on Arab leaders to help bring about a ceasefire.

As for Syria, I do not know which war it has experienced. Other than the 1967 war that Damascus took part in and which resulted in the occupied Golan Heights, the capital of steadfastness didn’t fire a single shot over the Golan Heights! Damascus only fired inciting slogans and accused others of treason.

Truly, this is a forgery, a falsification of facts and an escape from upcoming dues, most importantly the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and the constitutional amendment which kept Emile Lahoud in power, damaging Lebanon and impairing its make-up. Lebanon is a country which was never Iranians and can’t breathe Syria’s dictatorial air for very long.

The Syrian president’s speech on resistance, honor and war is all about Lebanon and Lebanese blood. The question remains, what about Syria? Why didn’t Damascus open up a branch for Hezbollah on its territory and to start the fight of liberation, so long as resistance is the alternative?
Read it all. (Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

IRIB: "Schism simmering among Zionists"

Another day, another IRIB post:
An Iranian political expert said Wednesday that Zionist parties and groups suffer an immense schism following the regime's military debacle in fighting against Lebanese people.

"The schism will all but lead to Olmert cabinet collapse," Sajedi added.

He said that Olmert made a salse assessment of the extend of Hezbollah power, adding the egime's Prime Minister, Defence Minister, and Chief of Staff faced defeat in their biggest political test for their inexperience.

Also Sajedi hailed Lebanese islamic Resistance Movement's bravery in their month-long resistance, adding that military experts have vowed following their heroic fight to include a course on Lebanese military tactics in world military academies.

He said however that western elites rely on material factors and ignore human factor, adding martyrdom seeking spirit is a military factor which outpaces any other military equipment.
I don't know if it works that way when you are seeking martyrdom for other people.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Arab News: "Who Are the Real Fascists?"

President Bush's use of the phrase "Islamic Fascists" has received a great deal of attention lately. Here, one Muhammad Salahuddin weighs in at Arab News:
Okay, we do realize that the man is limited in his knowledge and intellect and lacks the necessary experience. He also has a tendency to sometimes blabber and is totally oblivious of the impact and consequences of his utterances. However, having said that, any tenth grade politician would naturally realize that it is inappropriate to ascribe the vicious actions of evil-minded people to their religions. Otherwise, it would have been imperative for us to describe Adolf Hitler as being a Christian Nazi on account of his Nazi ideology; likewise we would be required to refer to the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, as a Christian fascist. Similarly terrorist organizations across the length and breadth of Europe, including Northern Ireland’s IRA and Spain’s ETA would have to be described as Christian terrorists.
It is funny how this writer attempts to use generalizations about wrong-doing and religious identity to wave away the connection between Islam and groups like, um, Islamic Jihad. The argument that such groups are motivated by a distorted version of Islam may or may not be true, but at least it is a respectable argument. Salahuddin is just being silly.

Also at Arab News: "Bahrainis Mark Hezbollah’s Victory"

Latest Daily Kos conspiracy theory

Perhaps the author of this diary is a right-wing agent provocateur:
How can one speak of a "thwarted" plot when intelligence agents were an inherent part in leading the conspiracy from the very beginning?

When you put the pieces together, the following picture emerges about the liquid explosives conspiracy:

* It was first penetrated by Pakistani intelligence in June 2005.
* British intelligence have been actively involved for more than a year.
* U.S. intel was first made aware of the surveillance operation at least several months ago.
* The Bush Administration decided the timing of the arrests a few weeks ago.

That makes this terrorist conspiracy as much a conspiracy of state as it is a real terrorist plot.

Why did Ha'aretz print this?

I'm used to Israel-bashing from Ha'aretz, but this is a new low--or maybe I don't read Ha'aretz often enough:
What is the logic that will emerge from this war? If Israel can exist only by destroying the neighborhood, then it's time to declare it a failed state. The Zionist dream has turned into a nightmare and is not viable. If the future holds more of the same, then the time has come to reconsider the whole project. Every state has a duty to defend its citizens, but also it has a duty to provide them with security and the two are different. The prospects are for more destruction, fanaticism, violence and hatred. No unilateral separation can isolate Israel from this, nor can the region or the world live with the consequences. This seems to be the only choice, and Israel must do itself and others a favor and go away.
Maybe just the Ha'aretz part could "go away." (Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

IRNA: "Iranian nation favors new Middle East without US, Zionist regime"

More gloating from Ahmadinejad. Remember Juan Cole's "debunking" of the idea that Ahmadeinejad referred to wiping Israel "off the map"?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iranian nation favors the new Middle East to come true in absence of the United States and the occupying Zionist regime.

"The arrogant powers aim to create a new Middle East to grant free hand to the US, Britain and the Zionist regime. Those who advocate the new Middle East are against freedom and independence of the nations in the region examples of which are Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon," President Ahmadinejad said.

"Those, who think they can violate the rights of nations through propaganda campaign and conspiracy from the overseas, should know that they are making a serious mistake, because, nations in the Middle East are awakened and are making headway to victory through reliance on God," President Ahmadinejad said.

He said that Israeli aggression on Lebanon was a prelude to the plan of the new Middle East.

"They thought that they can eliminate Hezbollah through aggression on Lebanon but to no avail," he added.

Monday, August 14, 2006

MENL: "Iran Sends Bin Laden's Son to Lebanon"

Speaking of interesting alliances:
Iran was said to have sent the son of Al Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden to Lebanon.

Islamic sources said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has released Bin Laden's son, Saad. The sources said IRGC released the 27-year-old Saad and sent him to organize cells in Lebanon.

"We have been hearing reports that Saad is no longer under house arrest and is now in Syria waiting to enter Lebanon," a source said.

The UAE-based Elaph news agency reported that Iran sent Saad to the Syrian-Lebanese border to build cells for Hizbullah in Palestinian refugee camps. Elaph, regarded as an authoritative source, said the move marked renewed cooperation between Al Qaida and Iran.

Solidarity with Iran at Korean News

The article title is "U.S. False Propaganda prior to Military Invasion under Fire." Strange bedfellows:
It is preposterous for the U.S. imperialists to resort to a false propaganda against other countries, lording it over in the international arena and this is nothing but a mockery of humankind. Rodong Sinmun today says this in a signed article. It goes on:

The West is engaged in a ceaseless false propaganda in a bid to isolate Iran in the international arena by branding its peaceful nuclear activities as ones for "the development of nuclear weapons" and seek a regime change.

They are bringing such groundless charges as "violation of human rights", "development of nuclear weapons" and "terrorism sponsorship" to other countries by spreading sheer lies and misinformation in a bid to mislead the international public opinion, find a pretext for aggression and war and justify their moves.

It is a vicious, crafty and trite method for them to resort to a false propaganda prior to aggression and war.
In a related development, Iran and North Korea are going to merge their respective religions to create the composite faith of Juche-lam.

Daily Kos: "9/11 just another tragedy"

This is from a Kos diarist calling him/her/itself "earthmissinglink":
The bloodiest day in American history was and we hope always will be September 17, 1862. Almost 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers perished in the Battle of Antietam that day. Read that figure slowly and then compare the figure to the events of September 11th, 2001. The latter doesn't even compare . . .

And of course, earthquakes have taken their toll (more than seven hundred dead in San Franscisco in 1906), as does crime-related violence, AIDS, and many other horrors every year.

Perspective may have been lost on September 11th because NYC and D.C. are national media centers. The sense of proportionality may have been lost because we live in an image-driven age. Yet as we recover from the hysteria, histrionics, and rampant opportunism those horrible attacks spawned, it does some good to look back and see they are in no way unique and are even small compared to some other horrible events in our nation's history.

And we must put the Republican exploitation of those attacks to an immediate end. Let us win this November on things that we now face and need to be corrected rather than events that will be more than five years old then.

[****] happens. It happened in 1793, it happened in 1900, it happened in 1941, it happened in 2001, and it will happen this year, next year, and forever. Tragedy always will be with us. My intent isn't to be harsh, but to be realistic. It is time to get over it. And...

It is time to move on, in every sense of that phrase.
What exactly is involved in moving on "in every sense of that phrase"? Voting for Hillary? Ending Airport security? Abandoning Iraq? What else does this "new perspective" lead to? Does this mean all the suicide bombings in Iraq don't really matter? And what about, chas veshalom, a nuclear or biological attack on the US? Or maybe, what the heck, Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't any worse than five years' worth of auto accidents.

AP: "Hezbollah claims victory against Israel"

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that his guerrillas achieved a "strategic, historic victory" against Israel — a declaration that prompted celebratory gunfire across the Lebanese capital.

Israel's prime minister, however, maintained the offensive eliminated the "state within a state" run by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
If Olmert really said this, it was a pretty foolish statement. The "state within a state" is obviously still there. The one thing that was accomplished is that Lebanon paid a very heavy price for allowing Hizbullah to become so powerful. The Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, and now the Lebanon war, have at least made it catastrophically expensive for some terror-supporting states to be terror supporting states.

Exacting a very high price for terrorism has been a good strategy, I think, in the case of the US. The fact that regime change in two countries was the consequence for 9/11 is probably the reason the US has not experienced another 9/11-level attack. It can hardly be said that the US has been sealed off in any sense. At a rate of two regime changes per major terrorist attack, a Pax Americana would come about pretty quickly in the Middle East. That has to be a very daunting prospect to Al Qaeda.

Where does that leave Israel? Lebanon has paid a heavy price, but without the regime change. I think it is very hard to predict the future at this point. We don't know yet who won--perhaps nobody has.

All hail the great, infinitely admirable Mr. Nuance

This is from a Guardian article by Max Hastings entitled "Bush's belief in a worldwide Islamist conspiracy is foolish and dangerous." Be prepared for the last sentence in this excerpt. It is going to make you very angry:
Whatever the truth about last week's frustrated aircraft bomb plot, we cannot doubt that Britain faces a serious and ongoing threat from violent fanatics undeserving of the smallest sympathy. Yet we shall defeat them only when our Muslim community at large perceives that its interests are identified with Britain's polity.

This objective will remain elusive as long as the British government supports the United States in pursuing policies that many Muslims perceive as directed against their entire culture. You and I know that this is not so. We are as dismayed as they are by Bush and Blair's follies.

Yet, however eloquently we explain this, many Muslims respond by pointing to the spectacle of American, Israeli and British troops daily executing operations that the president declares to be in furtherance of his global jihad. It avails little that we know our boys in Afghanistan are pursuing infinitely more admirable purposes than the Israelis in Lebanon, when Bush is telling the world that the two conflicts are mere different fronts in a common struggle.
Our infinitely admirable friend sees himself in a very interesting role. The Muslims of the Great Britain somehow have not figured out what their best interests are and he is being thwarted in his attempts to enlighten them. If only America would refuse to support those infinitely less admirable Israelis. If only Bush had the powers of nuance to discern the vast difference between Al Qaeda and Hamas (even though the two are collaborating at the moment). Then we would have the kind of inter-Fidel tranquility that prevails in all other places in the world where Muslims and non-Muslims live together. Then the world would be one giant France!

Escape from the Planet of Prophet Cartoons

Muslims are offended by Danes and respond by attacking Jews--the Cartoon saga continues. From
An exhibition of more than 200 cartoons about the Holocaust opened Monday as Iran's response to last year's Muslim outrage over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

The display, showing 204 entries from Iran and abroad, was strongly influenced by the views of Iran's hard-line president, Mahoud Ahmadinejad, who drew widespread condemnation last year for calling the Holocaust a "myth" and saying Israel should be destroyed.
If some of these cartoons become available on the web, I will try to link to them or post some of them.

Further thoughts: Was this one of them? "Anti-Hizbullah comment starts W.Bank wedding riot"

I hate it when that happens:
Two Palestinian families went after each other with knives and clubs at a wedding after one guest cursed the leader of Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrilla group, Palestinian security officials said Monday. Seven people were seriously wounded, they said.

It took police three hours to break up the brawl that erupted Sunday night in the village of Aqada near the West Bank town of Jenin after a critic called Sheik Hassan Nasrallah "a dog," they said.
What's the problem? He was only trying to say that Nasrallah is man's best friend.

Today at IRIB 8/14/06

"Truce will be the Zionists' last":
Lebanon's UN Ambassador on Sunday slammed the Zionist regime's month-long bombardment of his country ahead of a hard-won truce, and vowed that the treaty would be the regime's last with any Middle East country.

"Lebanon will be, I think, the last state to sign a peace treaty with 'Israel'," UN Ambassador Nouhad Mahmoud told CNN television's "Late Edition" program, without explaining the remark.

He called the agreement a crucial test for all the parties involved.

"Now it is the moment of truth for everyone, and we'll see who will abide by the Security Council resolutions and who will not, so (what) we have this week is very crucial," Mahmoud said.

The diplomat added that the 15,000 Lebanese soldiers to be dispatched to south Lebanon to help keep the peace alongside a similarly-sized international UN force "are not going to use force" to disarm the Lebanese Islamic Resistance Movement, Hezbollah fighters which has been battling the Zionist regime.

"Hezbollah will just leave the area as armed elements, and the Lebanese army will take over the whole region along with the United Nations forces," he said.
"Ahmadinejad phones Raul Castro":
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday night held a telephone conversation with Cuba's acting President Raul Castro.

President Ahmadinejad wished speedy recovery and good health for the ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

He also offered Tehran's help as Cuba prepares for an upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Cuban capital, Havana, in September.

Raul Castro, for his part, praised Iran as a friend of Cuba and wished the Iranian government and nation success in their fight against global arrogance and for recognition of their right to possess peaceful nuclear energy
"Americans protest Zionist regime":
Thousands of people demonstrated outside the White House Saturday to protest the Zionist regime's American-backed military attacks in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

The anger with a war that has claimed the lives of over 1,000 Lebanese civilians was focused most directly on the White House.

"Israel out of Lebanon now!" chanted members of the crowd outside the White House, some brandishing signs that read: "Occupation is a crime."

In Los Angeles, the local coordinator of the march blamed America for sponsoring the Zionists' invasion by providing it with financial and military support.

"America needs to stop spending billions of dollars arming Israel and start spending it at home," Preston Woon of answer in Los Angeles said.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Independent: "Bomb plot 'just the tip of the iceberg' of UK al-Qa'ida activity"

Bush, Blair, and the Zionists are at it again!
MI5 and the police are investigating "dozens and dozens" of possible al-Qa'ida-inspired plots to cause mass murder in Britain, counter-terrorism sources have disclosed.

The alleged plot to destroy up to 10 transatlantic airliners, which police say they foiled last week, was believed to be just one of about 12 similar terrorist plans that are currently being investigated.

Discussing the threat, the Home Secretary, John Reid, defended his decision to leave the nation's terror alert level at "critical", although late last night the Government announced that it had been downgraded to " severe", meaning that the threat of attack was still "highly likely" , but not "imminent".

Earlier, Mr Reid said that "at least four" plots had been thwarted since last year's July 7 attacks in London. He also said that a suspected al-Qa'ida operation in Birmingham had been foiled six years ago.

Asked about a report that "up to two dozen" terror investigations were under way, he told BBC News 24: "I'm not going to confirm an exact number but I wouldn't deny that that would indicate the number of major conspiracies that we are trying to look at.

"There would be more which are not at the centre of our considerations and there may be more we don't know about at all."

Arab News: Israel develops Medical Incompetence Ray

The new weapon has proven effective in seeking out and destroying even tiny amounts of surgical skill and diagnostic expertise.
By now there are countless reports, from hospitals, witnesses, armament experts and journalists that strongly suggest that in the current offensive, Israeli forces are using “new weapons” in Lebanon and Gaza.

New and strange symptoms are reported amongst the wounded and the dead.

Bodies with dead tissues and no apparent wounds; “shrunken” corpses; civilians with heavy damage to lower limbs that require amputation, which is nevertheless followed by unstoppable necrosis and death; descriptions of extensive internal wounds with no trace of shrapnel, corpses blackened but not burned, and others heavily wounded that did not bleed.

Many of these descriptions suggest the possibility that the new weapons used include “direct energy” weapons, and chemical and/or biological agents, in a sort of macabre experiment of future warfare, where there is no respect for anything: International rules (from the Geneva Convention to the treaties on biological and chemical weapons), refugees, hospitals and the Red Cross, not to mention the people, their future, their children, the environment, which is poisoned through dissemination of Depleted Uranium and toxic substances released after oil and chemical depots are bombed.
The Israeli Medical Incompetence Ray should be effective for mounting counter-attacks against Hizbullah journalistic-incompetence-inducing weapons and mendacity drugs.

Middle East Newsline: "Iran Reports Huge Increase in Arms Sales"

This is one of these sites that requires a subscription to view the complete articles, but the excerpts are interesting.
Officials said the Defense Ministry has garnered new clients for Iranian military systems over the last 18 months. They said the sales included anti-tank missiles, naval boats and other platforms.

On Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Najar reported a 75 percent increase in defense sales. Najar, who did not cite a figure, said this was the highest increase ever for Iran's military industry.

In an interview with the official Iranian news agency, Irna, Najar said Iranian defense exports increased by 17 percent in the year that began in March 2006. The minister said defense sales in 2005 rose by 15 percent. He did not provide any figures.
Also at MENL: "Hizbullah Damages 25 Israeli MBT's":
Israel has acknowledged that Hizbullah damaged at least 25 main battle tanks and armored vehicles.

Officials said Hizbullah anti-tank missiles have struck and disabled between 25 and 30 tanks, armored personnel carriers and armored bulldozers over the last two weeks. They said most of the armored vehicles were repaired.