Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great news! "Gaza police back on the beat amid Israeli attacks"

The LA Times has not only outdone itself, but also the recent notorious puff-piece on Hamas in the London Times:
Gaza City police have redeployed in force, as Hamas works to maintain law and order in the Gaza Strip amid a prolonged Israeli air assault that has leveled dozens of police stations and left nearly 400 people dead.

But many officers on patrol are now wearing civilian clothing and carrying sticks rather than guns to avoid being targeted by Israeli warplanes.

"We are trying to cope with the situation," said Officer Abu Ahmed, 47. "It's not easy to work under the current situation, but we have no other option but to keep working."

In addition to maintaining the peace among an increasingly desperate, heavily armed population, police are arresting merchants suspected of price gouging -- all while keeping a vigilant eye on the skies.

Officer Mohammed Abo Hwaishel shivered against the winter rain Wednesday. He was told not to light a fire for fear of drawing the Israelis' attention.
He would probably be safe as long as he didn't try to roast any marshmallows.
"We are used to this. We have to keep our people's lives safe," the 30-year-old policeman said. And besides, he added, "the streets are safer than the buildings nowadays."

Nearly half the Palestinians killed since the Israeli attacks began Saturday have been police, according to police spokesman Islam Shahwan, who said most of the 180 dead officers perished in the initial strike.

"All of our security compounds in the Gaza Strip were destroyed or seriously damaged," Shahwan said.

Hamas, the militant group that has controlled Gaza since mid-2007, has an estimated 20,000-strong security force composed of police; Protection and Security, a unit similar to the U.S. Secret Service; and Internal Security, an intelligence and interrogation squad with a rising reputation for brutality.
Those brave lads!
Many security force members moonlight with the Izzidin al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas' military wing, which continues to launch dozens of rockets and mortar shells each day at southern Israeli towns.
That extra paycheck makes such a difference.
Now the police are back in force with a mandate to prevent looting and crack down on profiteering.

In the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a young man selling gallon jugs of kerosene was approached by three police officers, who demanded that he lower his price from 5 Israeli shekels (about $1.30) to 4. He refused, so the officer called in reinforcements and the merchant backed down, according to residents.

Elsewhere in Rafah, residents reported to a new police hotline that a flour merchant was boosting his prices above the official ceiling, a felony offense under laws passed by Hamas last year. Several plainclothes police arrived at his storefront discreetly concealing pistols. They warned the merchant that he risked confiscation of his flour if the complaints persisted, according to witness accounts.
"We wouldn't want anything to happen to you . . ."
Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 and seized control of Gaza in June 2007. One of its first actions was to crack down on armed factions and street crime, a campaign that even its critics say was extremely effective. [...]
Actually many of its critics have been oddly silent concerning these achievements . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Huffpo zeros in on the proportionality issue

For most Leftists, disproportionality seems to be a buzz-word to be tossed off casually. Lionel Beehner embarks on the promising course of actually explaining and applying the doctrine of proportionality. A lot of the paragraphs are like this:
The targeting of civilians, whether deliberate or not, violates the 1949 Geneva Conventions. As such, Hamas sprinkles its militants around population centers as a form of deterrence but also to maximize world outrage when Israel responds with overwhelming force and ends up killing scores of civilians. What's remarkable is that time and again Israel falls for the bait. Regardless of how many Hamas fighters it kills or what kind of signal it sends to Syria and Iran, world perception is what ultimately matters, not body counts. And the tide of public opinion seems to invariably side with the underdog, regardless of who's to blame.
So did Israel use proportionate force or not? One paragraph notes "growing confusion as to what constitutes a legitimate military target." Another begins "Critics say Israel has a history of using disproportionate force." Are those critics correct? Here are the last two paragraphs:
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have condemned Israel's "disproportionate use of force" against Hamas. The Obama camp has been mum on the issue, only to issue anodyne statements standing by Israel's right to defend itself and urge a peaceful solution. But this issue -- what is an acceptable level of violence in response to attacks by non-state actors -- will rear its ugly head again, whether along the Turkish-Iraqi border, in northwest Pakistan, or in Gaza. There is no agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a proportionate response to terrorist attacks.

States, especially those with hyperactive militaries and nukes at their disposal, cannot be given carte blanche to retaliate. But it should be in their own self-interest not to respond with disproportionate force. After all, non-state actors tend not to be deterred much less defeated militarily. All that results is a surge in recruits and international sympathy for the non-state actor -- in this case, Hamas. Yes, it's tough for states to sit on their hands in the face of incoming rockets. But to respond, especially with disproportionate force, is suicidal.
That last sentence suggests that somehow, in this course of this article, Israel has actually been determined to be guilty of that disproportional thing, but I can't find an actual argument that leads to this conclusion. This is less hostile towards Israel than the writing of most leftists, but it is just as muddled. The word for what Hamas did to provoke Israel is "bombardment," or "shelling." Some of the weapons pointed at Israel and fired are described as "mortars." In one incident last year a single rocket injured 70 people. What situation could merit a military response more than this one? Once it is admitted that a military response is justified, then all the proportionality doctrine demands is that the force used should not be in excess of what is needed. Compare the arguments that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were disproportionate, which usually involve the idea that Japan would have surrendered anyway. In this case it seems doubtful that the point of sufficient force will be reached, must less exceeded.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

The purpose of editorials

To present strategies for ignoring the facts one learns from the regular news stories?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Ahmadinejad: Real Holocaust now taking place in Gaza"

In other words, not the fake Holocaust that Iran invited David Duke to help investigate. From IRNA:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a message addressed to world nations on Tuesday condemned the atrocities of the Zionist regime and its supporters in Gaza Strip.

In the message, the Iranian president underlined that the real Holocaust is now taking place in Gaza Strip and Palestine, calling on world nations not to hesitate even for a moment to back the oppressed Palestinians in Gaza.

The president lauded the heroic resistance of the noble Palestinian people in Gaza who are being massacred by the savage Zionist occupiers.

Innocent women, children, youths and pious people in Gaza have fallen victims to the Zionist criminals just because of their attempts to vindicate their legitimate rights, he said.

Under such circumstances the global arrogance along with all bullying powers do not hesitate to confirm such inhuman atrocities through their silence, he said.

Peoples of the world must understand that the real Holocaust is now underway in Gaza and Palestine, he underlined, adding that the message of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in fact reflected the historical outcry of all oppressed nations against injustice.

Ahmadinejad said, "It is very important for us to fulfill our humanitarian duties towards defenseless people in Gaza and Palestine."

"The crimes of the Zionists have roots in their weakness and desperation and killing of defenseless civilians will not bring them any advantage. Capitalism and Zionism along with their supporters are at the end of the road and have no option but to face their annihilation," the president said.

"The US administration and certain European governments should understand that their complicity to all these crimes will be recorded in the history," he said, adding "The Zionists whose real face has been unveiled for all nations have no option but to respect the legitimate rights of nations."

President Ahmadinejad said that the Zionist criminals will be brought to justice in the near future.

The outcry of the oppressed people in Gaza as well as people in the region should be regarded as a warning to the mercenaries and if they refuse to halt their crimes, they will confronted the whole peoples of the world, he said.

Ahmadinejad said the behavior of the Zionist regime is an insult to dignity of humanity and a disgrace for so-called advocates of human rights.

"The Gazans are in the frontline of the struggle with all atrocities and savagery of Zionist criminals. World nations should not lose any chance to render any support for people in Gaza," he said.

The president also called on scientists and intellectuals mainly the youth in Islamic regions to voice their protest and also try to maintain their vigilance and readiness to help restore peace, security based justice and spirituality in order to liberate Palestinians.

These people should urge Egypt to consignments of relief supplies to reach women and children in Gaza, he said, adding that lawyers should lodge their complaints with International Criminal Court to prepare grounds for bringing those criminals to justice.

Ahmadinejad also proposed that all governments and their businessmen boycott products and commodities of the Zionist regime.

Current developments in Gaza once again proved incapability of international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which only serve the interests of global arrogance, Ahmadinejad said.

The president said the UNSC kept silence during the 33-day war in Lebanon and let the Zionists attack people in Lebanon but when the Zionist regime's dreams did not come true the council issued a resolution calling for ceasefire between the belligerent sides.

There is no doubt that world nations are disappointed at the performance of these organizations and seek to find other options to resolve global issues, he said.

President Ahmadinejad reminded that the UN secretary-general shoulders a very grave responsibility. "If the UN belongs to all nations then why does it not take any action to prevent atrocities of the Zionists?"

World nations call on the UN secretary-general to rise up and reflect the outcry and protest of people in Gaza to the global arrogance, he said.

The president said, "I seriously urge the Arab League, Arab and Islamic states mainly Egypt to carry out their duties and support people in Gaza and prove that they have no affinity with the Zionist regime."

Rafah crossing point and other sea routes to Gaza should be opened in order to let other governments and nations fulfill their humanitarian commitment as soon as possible, he said.

"If Arab League refuses to carry out its grave responsibility, its existence will come under question," he said.

The president said that resistant and revolutionary people in Gaza and Palestine along with their vigilant leaders should understand that the key to their victory is martyrdom.

The brave and pious Iranian nation along with all other nations in the region and world will support the Palestinian people, Ahmadinejad said, adding that the victory of the oppressed as promised by God is near.

Monday, December 29, 2008

IRIB: "Iranian Jews to convene against Gaza genocide"

The Iranian Press periodically runs stories about how the sentiments of the Jewish community are 100% Khomeinist. Iran wasn't going to let the Gaza operation pass without something like this:
The Community of the Iranian Jews would stage a sit-in against the office of the UN office in protest against the horrendous masacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza by the Zionist regime.

The Community said in a statement that the personalities and lawmakers of the community would also participate in the gathering.

Gaza was in blood and fire Saturday and Sunday as the Zionist regime's genocidal strikes on the besieged territory left over 300 martyrs and over 700 wounded.

Thick clouds of smoke billowed into the sky. Mangled, bloodied and often charred corpses littered the pavement around Hamas security compounds, and frantic relatives flooded hospitals.

On Saturday, the Zionist regime, unable to break the spirit of the Palestinians after 18 months of putting Gaza under siege used 60 U.S.-supplied F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters to drop more than 100 tons of bombs on Palestinians in Gaza.

The elected Premier of the popular Hamas government however vowed that the Palestinians would not stand down or cave in even if the Zionists should eradicate the Gaza Strip or kill thousands of people.

Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal too called for a military intifada against the enemy and said resistance will continue through martyrdom missions.

Meanwhile, Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei issued a statement Sunday on the horrendous tragedy, strongly condemning the heinous complicity of the criminal Bush's regime with the Zionists, adding that the silence of some international bodies and some Arab states provided for the crimes.

Ayatollah Khamenei declared Monday as day of general mourning and called on all Muslim people and free men of the world to render their duty towards the tragic issue. The text of the statement is as follows.

"All the Palestinian Mujahid and other faithful of the world of Islam are supposed to defend the defenseless people of Gaza," the statement urged.

Juan Cole on where suicide bombers come from

Some Juan wisdom:
If the Gaza population doesn't turn on Hamas, and Israeli measures don't destroy the organization (which they helped create and fund back in the late 1980s when they wanted a foil to the secular PLO), then what? They'll just go on half-starving Gaza's children for decades? Malnourished children have diminished IQ and poor impulse control. That would make them ideal suicide bombers. Plus, sooner or later there will start to be effective boycotts of Israel in Europe and elsewhere over these war crimes.
Cole has been using the "WC" phrase liberally lately. See Yaacov Lozowick.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Of sewers and stimulus

A VOA News article presents some current Democratic and Obama-team economic thinking. According to Obama adviser David Axelrod:
"Every economist from left to right agrees that we have to do something big in terms of job creation . . .
Is that really true? Jacob Sullum deconstructs "Obama's job fetish":
Obama wants to spend $150 billion on "developing and deploying advanced energy technologies, including solar, wind and clean coal." He says this plan "will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs that can't be outsourced."

Leaving aside the desirability of "energy independence" and the merits of Obama's approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions (which has the government, rather than the market, picking the most efficient methods), the fact that he lists "jobs that can't be outsourced" as a distinct goal is troubling. Paying people to dig holes and fill them in again also creates "jobs that can't be outsourced," but that doesn't mean it's a smart investment or an appropriate use of taxpayers' money.
The sort of thinking described here seems to be really rampant. Accroding to the VOA article:
. . . Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown expressed the views of many Democrats: that the economy cannot recover without receiving a significant boost, and that the only entity capable of providing it right now is the federal government.

Brown also spoke on This Week, saying "When you see what has happened with consumer spending, in Christmas especially, with [low] holiday sales, and you understand that 70 percent of the economy is all about consumer spending, we need a real stimulus to get people to spend money. And that means putting money in infrastructure, water and sewer."
Did I miss something there? Sewers are important, but I am not sure what building sewers is supposed to do for consumer spending. Both ends of the political spectrum agreed, for the most part, on propping up the major banks, but there are convincing voices out there arguing that Obama's stimulus package is likely to make things worse.

Peter Schiff asks "what can we expect from the coming avalanche of federal activism?" He answers:
By borrowing more than it can ever pay back, the government will guarantee higher inflation for years to come, thereby diminishing the value of all that Americans have saved and acquired. For now the inflationary tide is being held back by the countervailing pressures of bursting asset bubbles in real estate and stocks, forced liquidations in commodities, and troubled retailers slashing prices to unload excess inventory. But when the dust settles, trillions of new dollars will remain, chasing a diminished supply of goods. We will be left with 1970s-style stagflation, only with a much sharper contraction and significantly higher inflation.
According to Fred Barnes, Obama has some "unusual ideas about the economy":
"The American economy has worked in large part," he said last week, "because we've guided the market's invisible hand with a higher principle: that America prospers when all Americans can prosper." That's not exactly the way Adam Smith described the invisible hand of free markets.

When he announced his picks for top energy and environmental posts, Obama praised California for adopting the most stringent emission standards in the country. "And rather than it being an impediment to economic growth, it has helped to become an engine of economic growth," he observed.

At best, it hasn't helped much and more likely has hurt the California economy, which is currently cratering.
Right, I wouldn't promote California as the model of sound policy.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Some titles about the Gaza operation:

Press TV (Iran): "Israel to pay penalty for Gaza crimes"

Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades Information Office: "Massive holocaust in Gaza"

Tehran Times: "Genocide in Gaza, Arab world silent"

Daily Kos: "Israel's ongoing war on Palestinian self-determination"

Maan: "Fatah officials in Nablus call Israeli strike "a new Holocaust"

MPAC-UK: "Gordon Brown – Zionist, Liar" (For characterizing the Gaza operation as a response to the Qassams)

Islam Online: "Gaza Holocaust Ruffles Egypt"

Desert Peace: "The Chanukah Massacre"

"Single-minded Unity Fully Displayed in 2008"

I see I had a post entitled "Might of Singlehearted Unity Displayed in 2005." I've been at this blogging thing a Songun and weary while. From (North) Korean News:
The might of single-minded unity, the symbol of Juche Korea and the greatest national strength, was eloquently demonstrated again in Juche 97 (2008).

From the beginning of the year the Korean people launched into a daring all-out offensive on all fronts of socialist construction with indomitable spirit in response to the militant slogan of the Workers' Party of Korea "Glorify This Year of the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the DPRK as a Year of Historical Turn Which Will Go Down in the History of the Country".
Nothing marks a totalitarian regime like phrases such as "Youth Power Station." Iran has a "Student's News Agency."
Fierce flames of technical updating and production upsurge flared up at major industrial establishments including the February 8 Vinalon Complex and the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex and a project of UHP electric arc furnace was completed at the Chollima Steel Complex. In the meantime, lots of monumental edifices including Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No.1 and the Chongdan County Gravity-fed Waterway have taken shape and modern production bases cropped up in all parts of the country, which will help improve the people's standard of living.

Pyongyang has been face-lifted and scenery of socialist fairyland has been unfolded in many places including the Unhung Co-op Farm, Thaechon County, North Phyongan Province. And specific fruits have been gathered in socialist cultural construction. To cite an example, a new representation was given to the orchestra and chorus "Snow Falls" to make it a hit listed as a national treasure.

The might of single-minded unity of Korea was demonstrated through the political events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK.
I don't see how either statues or venues could be "full of yearning and veneration."
The statues of President Kim Il Sung standing in all parts of the country and the Kimilsungia-Kimjongilia Show venues were full of yearning and veneration for the President growing day by day and all the venues of celebrations including the national meeting and the national photo exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK were grand epical scenes of the single-minded unity of Korea.
Kimilsungias and Kimjongilias are flowers named for the Great Leader and the Dear Leader.
Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and the Young Red Guards displayed through a mammoth parade the spirit and might of the revolutionary civilian armed forces of Juche which have grown into invincible fighting ranks.

The torchlight procession of youth and students under the title "The Motherland of Songun" marking the 60th birthday of the DPRK showed the unshakable pledge of the third and forth generations of the Korean revolution to make a long journey of Songun revolution true to the Workers' Party of Korea in one mind and one will, come what may.

The political events in September were a grand demonstration of the immutable faith and will of the Korean people to share destiny with the Workers' Party of Korea and socialist motherland to the end, trusting their leader.

The Korean people will as ever remain rallied close around the headquarters of revolution in one idea and one will and adorn the history of the DPRK with victory and glory.
Fierce flames of technical updating and production upsurge flared up in the latest edition of Haveil Havalim.

Guardian: "Analysis: The latest attacks in Gaza rank with Deir Yassin and the Sabra and Shatila massacres"

The title of the post quotes the blurb on the Guardian front page (click on the screen-shot for a closer look), which links to the following article:
[...] For in the end what has happened in the past few hours is simply an expression of what has been going on for days and months and years: the death and fear that Gaza's gunmen and rocket teams and bombers have inflicted upon Israel have been returned 10, 20, 30 times over once again. And nothing will change in the arithmetic of it.

Not in Gaza. But perhaps in a wider Arab world, becoming more uncomfortable by the day about what is happening inside Gaza, something is changing. And Israel has supplied a rallying point. Something tangible and brutal that gives the critics of its actions in Gaza – who say it has a policy of collective punishment backed by disproportionate and excessive force – something to focus on.

Something to be ranked with Deir Yassin. With the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Something, at last, that Israel's foes can say looks like an atrocity.
The author puts the comparison into the mouth of the "Arab World," but he means it himself. Deir Yassin was followed, perhaps revenged, within days by the much less well-known Hadassah Hospital Convoy Massacre. Sabra and Shatilla was carried out by Arabs. The AP, in reference to the current Gaza operation, states "Most of the casualties were security forces . . . "

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Great minds think alike!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ayatollah Kashani denounces "interferences of the Zionists in the Christian world"

The Iranian regime continues to express its benevolent concern for the "Christian world":
Tehran's interim Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, called interferences of the Zionists in the Christian world, America in particular, as very regrettable.

He congratulated the birth anniversary of the Jesus Christ to all Christians around the globe.

Addressing worshippers converged in Tehran University campus on Friday, Ayatollah Kashani said Jesus Christ was the herald of peace.

He advised the Christians not to let the Zionists interfere in their destiny.

"While the Zionists have caused humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and Palestine, how could the Christian world answer the crimes?" he said.

"While the message of Jesus Christ is restoration of peace and tranquility, why you keep silence?" he asked the Christians.

Ayatollah Emami Kashani said the Jesus Christ is a great Messenger of Allah and his greatness was described more in the holy Qoran rather than Bible.
The Telegraph reported a few months ago:
A month ago, the Iranian parliament voted in favour of a draft bill, entitled "Islamic Penal Code", which would codify the death penalty for any male Iranian who leaves his Islamic faith. Women would get life imprisonment. The majority in favour of the new law was overwhelming: 196 votes for, with just seven against . . .

For one woman living in London, however, the Iranian parliamentary vote cannot be brushed aside. Rashin Soodmand is a 29-year-old Iranian Christian. Her father, Hossein Soodmand, was the last man to be executed in Iran for apostasy, the "crime" of abandoning one's religion. He had converted from Islam to Christianity in 1960, when he was 13 years old. Thirty years later, he was hanged by the Iranian authorities for that decision.

Today, Rashin's brother, Ramtin, is also held in a prison cell in Mashad, Iran's holiest city. He was arrested on August 21. He has not been charged but he is a Christian. And Rashin fears that, just as her father was the last man to be executed for apostasy in Iran, her brother may become one of the first to be killed under Iran's new law. [He is now out on bail awaiting trial.]
MPAC-UK, of course, is calling on Muslims to thank Channel 4 for Ahmadinejad's Xmas message. (Hat Tip to "SilverLJ" from the comment thread to the MPAC post for pointing out the relevance of the Soodmand case.)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, December 25, 2008

[Repost] The Fifth Night of Chanukah

There is a Chassidic custom to regard the fifth night of Chanukah as special. It is the first night when most of the lights are lit. A more technical version of this point is that it is the first night when following the opinion of Beis Hillel to start with one candle and add one every night results in more flames than following the opinion of Beis Shammai (to light all the flames on the first night and take one away each day). The fifth night of Chanukah can never fall on Shabbos, which might be regarded as something negative, but one way of looking at it is this: The light of Chanukah can even overcome the darkness of never falling on Shabbos. One of my favorite stories about the Lubavitcher Rebbe includes this thought. Read it here. Another story about the fifth night is here.

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IRIB: "President hosts family of Imad Mughniyeh"

Someone at Huffpo babbles "Ahmadinejad's uniting message of peace and human rights may be the only world leader speech you can agree with this Christmas." Meanwhile, he appears in the Iranian media honoring one of the most vicious terrorists who ever lived, and with an only slightly blunter deployment of the same rhetoric about "bullying powers" that appeared in the X-mas speech:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday hosted the members of the family of the Lebanese assassinated commander Imad Mughniyeh, assuring them that the Zionist regime and other bullying powers are doomed.
Meaning the U.S. and Britain.
President Ahmadinejad also said the martyr Mughniyeh frustrated Zionism by his brave resistance and campaigns.

"Today, thousands of the like of Imad Mughniyah will continue his resistance and follow the path of martyrdom until the final victory is achieved and the God's promises are realized," Ahmadinejad told the audience.

The Mughniyeh's family thanked IRI for its advocacy to the world's oppressed, especially the oppressed Palestinian nation.

They also underlined that the path of resistance martyrs must be kept.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Mehr News: "BBC Persian service conducting illegal activities: culture minister"

This doesn't seem to be any coverage from the BBC in English as far as I can tell:
The activities of the BBC Persian service in Tehran are illegal, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi said here on Wednesday.

The BBC is among the many foreign media outlets that have been granted permission to cover developments in Iran, he told the Mehr News Agency.

However, there is a limit to how much "unprofessional conduct" will be tolerated by foreign media outlets, he added.

Saffar Harandi said, "Foreign media outlets operating in Iran are being monitored," and if any of them commits an offence, it will be punished based on the media law.

Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei stated that "some spy agencies" may be seeking to use reporters as shields for their espionage activities, but "no British nationals" have been arrested on such charges.

However, espionage activities will probably increase in the run-up to Iran’s presidential election, he predicted.

The intelligence minister made the remarks in response to rumors that some BBC reporters had been arrested in Iran and charged with espionage.
An earlier story on the same subject.

Asghar Bukhari receives letter from entity which is "everywhere"

Asghar Bukhari, MPAC-UK co-founder and spokeman, who was in the news a few years ago when it was revealed that he had sent money to David Irving, was back in the news more recently when he stated that "any Muslim who fights against Israel and dies is a martyr and will be granted paradise." The next development in the saga is that he has received an anonymous letter from one of the various entities who are commonly said to be "everywhere":
Today, further intimidation tactics were used by the highly organised Zionist Lobby.

Asghar Bukhari, a spokesperson for MPACUK, has recently been targeted by powerful Zionists demanding he go to jail for standing up for the Palestinians and saying Muslims have every right to defend themselves.

Today, on 24th December, Zionists showed they meant business and were totally hell bent on using fear and intimidation by posting an anonymous letter at the home address of Asghar Bukhari. The letter mentioned Bukhari’s support for the Palestinians with a veiled threat that they were watching him and sinisterly commenting that ‘we are everywhere’ [...]
Other recent achievements of the entity which is "everywhere" include orchestrating the recent spate of piracy incidents, Zionist death bats, the Qassam misfire ray, and, of course, the Mumbai attacks.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yemen Times: "Hamas has gone through a metamorphosis"

Yes, Hamas, you've come a long way, baby, since your terrorist days:
Anyone who has been watching the Palestine resistance of Hamas for some time now cannot help but appreciate the great transformation that the movement has become subjected to since Mr. Khalid Mash'al took the helms of authority. Unlike most Salafi oriented organizations one has heard of throughout the world, Hamas is sophisticated, enlightened, well-organized and apparently moving forward towards their desired goals of approaching some form of desirable settlement of the Palestine tragedy. Anyone who has the audacity to say that the Palestine problem is not a tragedy ought to be indoctrinated in the school of "Holocaust Mania". There they will teach one how to make the most of a terrible situation. Of course this is not by all means any endorsement of the horrific crimes of the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, but rather to emphasize that what the Palestinian people have been subjected for close to a century now is by equal standards just as deplorable as the unforgivable crimes against humanity inflicted by the Nazi regime.

It goes without saying: the Palestinians definitely have a right to seek redress from the criminal Zionist regime that carried out and is still unabashedly carrying out all the massacres, evictions, imprisonment, torture, inhumane treatment and you name it and you will find it crime against humanity that exists within the Holy Land. Similarly, they have the right to seek redress from an international community (especially including their own Arab brethren, Moslem and Christian) for literally watching all the tragedies that are unfolding daily in Palestine as if they were just a soap opera running ad infinitum. It is with this logic then, that organizations like Fatah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and all the other Palestinian resentence movements definitely have the right to exist and the right to use any civilized methods to obtain their freedom from the horrendous occupation that they are subjected to in the sparse territory that still fragilely remains under their feet. It would be useless to see under their control, because the Palestinian population of the remaining Palestinian enclaves is under the perpetual siege of the most horrible occupation of all times headquartered in in Tel Aviv.

Coming back to Hamas then, one is understandable that the early days of the formation of this rapidly growing religious resistance movement may have been highlighted by the uncontrollable spontaneous reactions of fighting organized and systematic terror with seemingly chaotic, spontaneous spot displays of nervous terror like suicide attacks against restaurants or discotheques filled with drunken kids of parents who hailed from the former Jewish ghettos of Europe or spoiled Jewish kids from New York, who have just passed their Bar mitzvahs. Of course, this observer is not agreeing to this form of resistance. On the contrary, this observer has always suggested that Hamas would better get its act together and note that such tactics do not achieve any real strategic goals or worse do not even have the understanding and sympathy of even the strongest advocates for human rights and justice. Yet, one might ask: what about what the Palestinians went through, in terms of massacres, beginning from Deir Yassin to Sabra and Shatilla to Janin? Where not hundreds of innocent and unarmed Palestinians slaughtered mercilessly either by Zionist regular forces, paramilitary mobs of settlers or mercenary thugs of Lebanon and elsewhere, who forgot that they were killing their very own kind. To this day the Palestinians are undergoing suffering inflicted by illegal setters, who are filled with hatred and chauvinism of the West Bank and Gaza (now to a very small extent in the latter), except for the siege by the merciless Israeli Government. Yet even with all that behind them, Hamas has come to realize that this is indeed a formidable enemy that has come to wrest them of their God given right to live in peace as indigenous people of the land, which Zionist demagogues believe is their Divinely ordained real estate (without ever explaining to the world how the Lord Al-Mighty got into the real estate business in the first place?).

For the record, one must state that the successes of Hizb Allah have had a profound influence in shaping the current characteristics of the Islamic Resistance Movements of both Al-Jihad and Hamas. The sophistication and the finesse of the modus operandi of Hizb Allah has caused the latter two genuine resistance movements to shift their strategies from wanton almost irresponsible inflictions of senseless death to legitimate means of resistance targeting the very important elements that give the Zionist state its comfortable sense of security and well-being, including going after responsible world opinion towards realizing their goals of relief from a horrifying occupation and redress for all the past wrongs inflicted against their people. If Hamas, like the Jihad continue to carry on with this spirit of right versus wrong, good against evil, justice against oppression and outright thievery (which is really what Israel is all about), then for sure, the world will realize that they indeed have a strong case. Happy Anniversary, Brother Khalid and all the brave and gallant people that make up your remarkable organization with Al-Fatihah to the souls of Chairman Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of Hamas and Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine Authority, both of whom gave their lives honorably for the liberation and freedom of their people.
Clad in the jumpsuit of resistance, Arafat bravely fought the Zionist microbes rampaging through his body . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

"Great Songun Commander of Invincible Army"

Peter Hitchens wrote last year:
[North Korea's] military power in general is decrepit. I saw many soldiers, though we were forbidden to photograph them. I suspect this is because they are undersized, shabbily dressed, and their weapons are ancient and probably useless. One infantryman, who halted us at a checkpoint on the way to the frontier, carried a rifle whose unvarnished wooden stock was split. The metal parts were worn and old. I should not have wanted to fire such a gun, for fear that it would blow up in my face, and I doubt if it had been used for many years.
Pay no attention to those Imperialist lies. Here is the Songun inside story of those invincible revolutionary forces:
Today the Korean People's Army has grown into invincible revolutionary armed forces that any formidable enemy on earth dare not pounce upon.

It is unthinkable apart from the extraordinary intelligence and energetic Songun revolutionary leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Il.

Over the last decades he has poured all his heart and soul into the work of developing and strengthening the KPA into an invincible army.

In particular, the past 10-odd years when the Songun politics has been embodied in an overall way were years of demonstrating his prominent commanding art and were recorded in the history of Juche-oriented army building as proud annals in which the KPA ushered in its heyday.

When the country and the revolution faced with grim trials due to the imperialist allied forces' reckless moves to invade and stifle them, he put forth the original idea that the army is immediately the Party, the state and the people, and formulated the Songun politics as the basic mode of the socialist politics.

With his indefatigable army-inspection for Songun he has strengthened the KPA to be a matchless powerful army that can wipe out any imperialist aggressive forces at one stroke with the result that it has displayed its might as a powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu.

During the period of the"Arduous March" the KPA started the vigorous movement for winning the title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment, a new higher form of mass movement, and waged a brisk campaign to follow the spiritual and moral traits of Hero Kil Yong Jo and other soldiers who defended the leader with their very lives, developing itself into a unit of pure ideology, ranks of human bullets and bombs, for safeguarding the leader at the cost of lives.

In order to boost the combat capacity of the KPA onto a highest phase, he, with his prominent commanding art, has never ceased to inspect army units, letting the servicepersons have inexhaustible wisdom and courage.

It is thanks to the clairvoyance of the brilliant commander of Mt. Paektu that these years all the companies have been trained as powerful combat ranks through the military drills intensified on a new higher level to increase the combat power of the whole army remarkably and all the commanding officers have grown to be able ones.

The army and people of the DPRK have won one victory after another in the anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. confrontation and the DPRK demonstrated its might as a powerful military state with self-defensive war deterrent. It is, indeed, a historical miracle wrought by them under the guidance of Kim Jong Il, supreme commander of the KPA.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"they will emerge victorious only when they are led by Kim Jong Il and let them display all their mental power stronger than the nuclear weapon"

In the tradition of immortal Judeopundit posts such as "Rodong Sinmun on Korean People's Inexhaustible Mental Power" and "Full Display of Mental Power Called for," we offer a (North) Korean News article entitled "Great Leadership for Giving Full Play to People's Mental Power" for your Songun enjoyment in the spirit of Mt. Paektu:
Seeing out this year, a year of great turn, which will shine in the annals of the country, the Korean people, with deep emotion, are looking back upon the immortal service of General Secretary Kim Jong Il who has led their efforts to build an economic power to victory.

Since he guided on the spot the workers in their work for constructing the Ryesonggang Power Station on a cold and windy day in the beginning of the year, he has covered without rest the road of field guidance in order to celebrate this year on which the 60th anniversary of the DPRK fell as a significant year in the history of the nation.

In January he called at the Kanggye Pig Farm and Janggang Mushroom Farm and many other units to inspire the working people who launched a dynamic labor campaign from the outset of the year. He also indicated the road for the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people, continuing his on-the-spot guidance to various units of the national economy all the year round.

While looking round the February 8 Vinalon Complex which had been updated to meet the requirements of the new century and was mass-producing goods, he set forth tasks and ways for increasing the variety of chemical products needed for the economic development of the country and the life of the people. At the Taegyedo tideland reclamation site, he heightened the revolutionary enthusiasm of the builders there so as to complete the project at an early date.

At an enterprise he congratulated workers of merit on their distinguished service in the production and had a photo taken with them and on the Unhung Co-op Farm in Thaechon County, North Phyongan Province he met Om Jong Sil, a model farmer and a model agitator, who had volunteered to the farm from Pyongyang and bestowed benevolent affection to be conveyed to the posterity upon her. His field guidance has produced many legends on his human love.

He has continued on-the-spot guidance without interruption defying the intense cold of the midwinter and the blazing sunlight and rainy days of midsummer. It has implanted in the minds of the people the steel-firm belief that they will emerge victorious only when they are led by Kim Jong Il and let them display all their mental power stronger than the nuclear weapon to effect a creation and change on this land.

The Korean people had made great successes in all sectors of the socialist construction by constructing or rebuilding more than 140 major objects, monumental edifices, throughout the country on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK through the accelerated general march of the Songun revolution, and thus demonstrated the dignity and might of the country to the whole world.

He does not cease his field guidance even in December. This news further strengthens the people's confidence in and optimism for the victory of the revolution.

The Korean people will certainly build a great, prosperous and powerful nation on this land by giving full scope to the indomitable mental power under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il and demonstrate the dignity and honor of the Kim Il Sung's nation to the whole world.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"More Works of Great Persons Displayed"

You just gotta love titles such as "Songun Revolutionary Line Is a Great Revolutionary Line of Our Era and an Ever-victorious Banner of Our Revolution." Imagine having to take them seriously on a perpetually empty stomach:
Over 2,000 more works of President Kim Il Sung and General Secretary Kim Jong Il have been displayed at the Exhibition of Works on the Juche Idea for the past decade after it was opened to public on Dec. 21, Juche 87 (1998).

Among them are more than one thousand works contained in such books as "Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works" and the "Selected Works of Kim Jong Il" and collections of works "On the Revolutionary Traditions of Juche," "On the Juche Philosophy" and "On the Juche-oriented Literature and Art."

Kim Jong Il authored and published many works during the days when he pursued the unique Songun politics and led the struggle for defending socialism and building a great prosperous powerful nation to victory. More than one hundred works of them were displayed, including "Songun Revolutionary Line Is a Great Revolutionary Line of Our Era and an Ever-victorious Banner of Our Revolution," "Let Us Discharge Our Duty as Citizens of the Republic with Civic Consciousness" and "Let Us Thoroughly Implement the Line of Economic Construction in the Era of Songun Laid Down by the Party".

Out of works published by him in the period from January to July this year, about 20 works were brought out in booklet and displayed.

Among the works on display to enrich the treasure house of ideas and theories are several hundred works which were translated and published in pamphlet in many countries of the five continents.

The exhibition has been visited by more than 2.3 million servicepersons and working people of different strata from over 26,000 organizations in the DPRK and a large number of overseas Koreans and foreigners over the past years.
More works of great persons are displayed in the latest Shiny Happy Dhimmi, Haveil Havalim, and KCC.

Islam Online: Permissible to kill cheating wife and lover? No.

From the "Ask the Scholar" feature. The questioner asks:
As-salamu `alaykum. What should a man do if he finds his wife making love to another man? Can he kill both of them?
And the answer:
Of course, he can not kill them, but he has every right to divorce her.

In areas where Islamic Law is applied, he may do li`an (oath of condemnation). Due to the absence of four witnesses, he may swear before the judge that he saw her committing adultery and that Allah’s curse would be upon the liar, and she would also have the right to swear the same way.

After that the couple are separated and they cannot be husband and wife again. In the absence of li`an, the husband can simply divorce his wife if he found her in such a situation, and if he wants he has the right to take her to court as well.
You have to wonder if this was a practical or a theoretical question.

Richard Falk in the Guardian: "The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function"

Richard Falk, the UN's special Israel-basheur and conspiracy kook, was recently prevented from entering Israel. The Guardian gives him editorial space to prevent his view of what happened, including his denunciation of the Israeli blockade on Gaza. The lack of an actual argument here is breathtaking:
The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function. It is supposedly imposed in retaliation for some Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets that have been fired across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot. The wrongfulness of firing such rockets is unquestionable, yet this in no way justifies indiscriminate Israeli retaliation against the entire civilian population of Gaza.
What is "indiscriminate" about the blockade? All blockades and economic sanctions target a country's collective interests. Generally, such measures serve as a more restrained first step before a conflict escalates to the active military stage, although Hamas has been at the military stage for years. Hamas is not a "non-state actor" anymore; it is the government of Gaza, the "democratically-elected" government of Gaza we are constantly told. Governments are not supposed to get involved in wars that they cannot win and it is generally disastrous for the people they rule if they do, particularly if they expect their ostensive enemy to deliver goods and supplies to them.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ayatollah Janati: "The shoe Intifadha in Iraq should not be overlooked easily"

Surely the Ayatollah supports Stephen Millies as well:
Substitute Friday prayers leader of Tehran Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati here Friday hailed Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi's recent shoe-tossing at the US President George W. Bush and said the "shoe Intifadha" should not be taken for granted.

"The shoe Intifadha in Iraq should not be overlooked easily. Well done to Iraqi journalist for throwing the shoes at the US President.

His shoes should be kept in Iraq's political museum. The pair of shoes are more valuable than crowns, medals and signs," Ayatollah Jannati told large groups of Tehrani Friday prayers worshipers at Tehran University campus.

He suggested carrying shoes in all the anti-US demonstrations held in Iran and Iraq.

"The shoe hurling by Iraqi journalist had many messages which the world received them and Iraqi people too held demonstrations afterwards. People should support the Iraqi journalist," he added. [...]
I hear Hamas has been acquiring shoes and is about to launch the Muntadhar al-Zeidi Brigades.

Amnesty International to India: Please keep doing a pathetic job of fighting terror

Arthur Herman observed shortly after the Mumbai attack:
. . . India’s record on counterterrorism is abysmal, almost deliberately so. The government in New Delhi steadfastly maintains a wall of separation between law-enforcement agencies like the one that used to separate the FBI and CIA before the Patriot Act, and keeps counterterrorist units underfunded and undermanned . . . India has no preventive detention laws; no laws to protect the identity of anti-terrorist witnesses; and no laws to allow domestic wiretapping without court order.
Herman announces the death, as he puts it, of "certain illusions about the war on terror, and how to deal with terrorists." As I observed before, those illusions are alive and well. From Gulf News:
Amnesty International on Friday called on India's president not to approve an anti-terror bill made after the deadly attacks in Mumbai.

The London-based group said the bill violates international human rights treaties.

It will also double the number of days police can detain suspects before filing charges, from 90 days to 180, as well as boost their powers to conduct searches.

Both houses of India's Parliament have approved the bill after the attacks on India's Mumbai by suspected Islamic terrorists that killed 164 people last month.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"S. Korean Puppet Plot-Breeding Group's Anti-DPRK Sabotage Moves Disclosed"

You may have seen North Korean claims about a plot to kill the Dear Leader in the Western Press. Nothing compares, however, to the Songun version of the story:
The moves of the puppet plot-breeding group of south Korea to sabotage the DPRK have recently reached an extremely reckless and dangerous phase. A spokesman for the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK issued a statement Thursday in this regard.

The statement said:

It is well known that traitor Lee Myung Bak totally negated the June 15 joint declaration and the October 4 declaration, great programmes for national reunification, and pushed the north-south relations to stalemate as soon as he came to power.

The evermore vicious moves to destabilize and bring down the DPRK are now being put into practice in such a despicable manner as to baffle human imagination behind the scene.

The puppet National Intelligence Service is now being reorganized into an all-powerful fascist plot-breeding mechanism little different from the "Central Intelligence Agency", which earned ill fame in the past, under the signboard of increasing its function. All the intelligence-gathering and plot-breeding organs in south Korea are now locked in the war minus gunfire against the DPRK.

Recently secret agents were routed while being active in the DPRK to carry out their missions to collect environmental samplings including soil, water, tree leaves and dust, etc. in the major munitions industrial areas in order to gather its nuclear-related information as instructed by a puppet intelligence-gathering and plot-breeding institution. Also checked and frustrated was the plot to gather party, state and military secrets and lure some officials working in important fields of the DPRK into defecting to other country after enlisting a corrupt Korean woman residing in China as a spy and letting her pay private visit to it to carry out the above-said mission.

The above-said ministry exposed and frustrated a plot to form a secret "underground church" with an eye to rally dishonest and hostile elements behind an organization under the guise of religion. It also checked and foiled one after another attempts to lure and abduct ex-convicts and corrupt elements and coax them into defecting to other country in a bid to set up a "centre" fabricating misinformation about "human rights abuses" in the DPRK.

The anti-DPRK broadcasting services and "the anti-north leaflet-scattering movement" financed by the puppet authorities have become more frantic in their operations.

The anti-DPRK smear campaign is not confined to this.

Shortly ago, a person surnamed Ri was discovered and arrested while being active to carry out the terrorist mission given by a south Korean puppet intelligence-gathering organization to do harm to the safety of the top leader of the DPRK.

According to the disclosure, he crossed the border in violation of the law and order early this year. He was absorbed by an agent surnamed Hwang serving an intelligence organ of south Korea who had the mission to rally dishonest elements after finding his way into an area near the border of the DPRK.

The south Korean puppet intelligence-gathering and plot-breeding institution let him undergo necessary training and go back to the area of the DPRK with the mission to gather information about the courses and the period of the field guidance by the top leader of the DPRK. The organization sent him speech and acoustic sensing and pursuit devices for tracking the movement of the top leader and even violent poison in the end.

This case goes to prove that the south Korean puppets have gone the lengths of resorting to thrice-cursed methods to dare harm the headquarters of the DPRK, hell-bent on inciting confrontation with the DPRK.

The weak are apt to employ such despicable terrorist method like a stray cat when they find themselves in an inferior position in the showdown with their rival in the political and military aspects.

The puppet terrorist and plot-breeding group, however, are going reckless, not aware of who their opponent is.

No one can be out of vigilant watch by the state security organ of the DPRK which has the single-minded unity of the people as the source of its invincible strength.

The enemies would be well advised to draw a lesson from the fact that their moves to spy, sabotage and destabilize the DPRK which have rapidly escalated this year have been exposed and frustrated one after another.

They are seriously mistaken if they think that the DPRK uses only shield as its weapon.

It is our duty and mission to ferret out and deal a merciless blow at anyone who dares give his eye-teeth for the headquarters of the Korean revolution no matter from where he makes such attempt.

Traitor Lee Myung Bak and his intelligence-gathering and terrorist group should clearly understand that the treasured sword of the state security organ of the DPRK, whose mission is to safeguard its leader, system and people as its life and soul, shows no mercy for the enemies.

Al Jazeera: "Palestinian groups admitted that they had been using the truce to train and better arm themselves"

The end of the, ahem, ceasefire means that Hamas is unambiguously at war with Israel. Israel has every right, if somehow it didn't previously, to do whatever it takes to win the war. It bought into this ceasefire, of course, so the chances that the Zionist entity will snap out of it are not promising.
Palestinian group Hamas has declared that the six-month ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip is over.

The ceasefire officially ended at daybreak in Gaza on Friday and came after armed Palestinian groups admitted that they had been using the truce to train and better arm themselves.

The Izz-al-din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, blamed Israel for the failure of the truce.

"The ceasefire is over and there won't be a renewal because the Zionist enemy has not respected its conditions," the group said on its website.

The announcement followed talks between various Palestinian factions within the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel after Hamas made its announcement of the ceasefire, the Israeli military has said. [...]

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza, said some of the armed Palestinian factions had used the calm to better train and equip themselves, saying not only had their resolve grown stronger, but their weapons had as well.

Mohyeldin said longer range rockets, heavier machine guns and more accurate firing systems have all been acquired, according to the armed groups . . .

Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad's military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, said: "During the calm we trained and prepared ourselves for the period after the calm. We will deploy to the front lines along the border and reinforce our positions there with new weapons that we have brought." [...]
Think of it as the alarm going off yet again after the latest press of the snooze-button.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Shoe-throwers proliferate

This is sort of like reinventing the pet rock:
When President Bush ducked an Iraqi reporter's footwear, a man in Queens got an idea. The transit rider wanted to grab the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's attention.

He did, but he got more than he bargained for.

"And one more thing, where is Elliot Sanders?" Stephen Millies said during an MTA public hearing on Wednesday.

Then, just as he said, "Mr. Sanders, this is for you," Millies was tackled.

Millies said he was just trying to show the MTA his shoe -- when he got the boot. The 54-year-old was hauled away in handcuffs and cited for intending to cause "public annoyance."

"What's the point of having one of these public hearings unless you can annoy some of these $300,000 bureaucrats? Annoyance is not a crime," Millies said.

Whether or not it's a crime, he appears to be facing an unexpected punishment.

Millie's protest got him thrown out of the meeting. It got him into the headlines. But when he showed up for work the next day at Sunnyside Yard in Queens, his employer, Amtrak, told him to go home.

"I have no idea why because I was just exercising my first amendment rights of freedom of speech," Millies said.
The NY Times reports concerning Millies' denial that he meant to throw the shoe:
Bill Morange, the authority’s security director, was standing beside the speaker’s podium and was one of the first to grab Mr. Millies. He said it appeared Mr. Millies was going to throw the shoe. "You can say anything you want," Mr. Morange said. "Just don’t throw your shoes."

Reached later by telephone, Mr. Millies said he had no intention of doing that.

"I wanted to show the sole of the shoe as a sign of contempt for someone who makes so much money and yet wants to raise fares on the disabled," he said.
Millie's explained, according to the Times, "I was very much inspired by that courageous Iraqi journalist who was protesting the occupation of his country by the American and British oil companies and their governments." Well, the "courageous Iraqi journalist" actually threw his shoe. I'd consider that an admission of criminal intent having nothing to do with free speech. It wasn't the most momentous crime of all time and he was thwarted before he got to commit it, but I don't see why it shouldn't lose him his job. Employing morons can't be good for business. (Hat Tip: VosIzNeias)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ayatollah: Sunni-Shi'a discord a Western (and Israeli) plot

Some Supreme Leader paranoia:
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the world arrogant powers which have sustained a loss due to the unity of all Muslims and their interest in the Islamic Revolution, are trying to aggravate religious dogmatism to create disunity between the Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Ayatollah Khamenei was addressing thousands of people who met the supreme leader on the occasion of Eid-al Ghadir (Ghadir Feast).

The day marks a historical event in which the Grand Prophet of Islam (PBUH), in a place near Mecca called 'Ghadirkhum' declared his cousin and son-in-law, Imam Ali, (AS) as his successor.
Iran even has a Ghadir-class submarine.
Expounding on the importance of the issue of 'government' in Islam, Ayatollah Khamenei said the big lesson and message of 'Ghadir' is showing a model of Islamic government, adding the Shia Muslims, while keeping their 'logical and brilliant beliefs' on the Ghadir event, won't let these beliefs be a 'cause for difference and discord' in the Muslim world.

Referring to the incessant efforts of the founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Republic for preventing difference among the world Muslims, Ayatollah Khamenei said everyone should be aware of the dangerous plot of the arrogant powers for creating disunity.

Congratulating the Iranian nation and all Muslims of the world, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Understanding the message of 'Ghadir' well, gets the Islamic Ummah to move in the right way."

"The important issue of announcing Imam Ali as his successor by the Grand Prophet of Islam, in fact, shows the importance of the issue of government and the unity of religion and politics in Islam and this big lesson is the great need of all Muslims today."

"Introducing a personality like Imam Ali (AS) as the successor of the Grand Prophet of Islam shows that Ghadir is not just a historical event but a way to express the required criteria for running the Islamic societies and all human beings."
I wonder of some of this rhetoric rubs Sunnis the wrong way: Everybody should really be Shi'ite, but we're not going to let that spoil the unity of the Ummah . . .
"Ghadir teaches us that the Islamic societies should be run by those who consider Imam Ali as a model and this important issue is among the new messages of Islam and the Islamic Republic to the world," the Ayatollah said.

Stressing the necessity of being vigilant against the plots of making disunity between the Shia and Sunni Muslims, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Deep belief in the leadership of Imam Ali after the Grand Prophet of Islam is the basic principle of Shia and the Shia Muslims will keep this belief but they won't let it be a source of difference in the Muslim world."

Referring to what the enemies of Islam do to make disunity among Muslims, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "We have known for a long time that a center affiliated with the world arrogance has been paying the money for publication of books containing false accusations and abusive language against Shia and Sunni Muslims. Is this not a dangerous and warning fact?"

Ayatollah Khamenei said publication of such books is helping the realization of US and Israel objectives.

He urged the authors to write books containing solid and logical reasons, such as those written by the Shia scholars in the course of history.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the efforts made by certain forces to make some Arab leaders confront the nuclear rights of Iran and some other demands of Iranian nation and said this is the most that the enemy can do but these Arab states have their own 'reservations' and are not ready to be fully in the service of US and the Zionists to confront Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei concluded the world arrogant powers may hatch any kind of plot, but if the Iranian nation and other Muslim nations are aware, the hegemonic powers won't be able to materialize their hostile objectives in weakening the Islamic Ummah.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"He is for a while keeping to say that he would not shake hand or hold talks with those who say the Zionist regime should be disappeared."

Ahmadinejad compares Sarkozy to Pharaoh. What does that make Ahmadinejad? Moses? And, of course, another variation of the "wiped off the map" meme:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran will never recognize Israel and is ready to hold talks with those urging an end to Israeli crimes, occupation, aggression, ideology and Zionism.

"Whoever who is to talk with the Iranian nation should know that Iranians would never recognize the Zionist regime," the president said addressing a large crowd in the city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province.

He arrived in the province with his cabinet members on the second round of his provincial tours to follow up implementation of the projects that had been approved during the first round of his visit.

Addressing "those who are to hold talk with Iran," the president stressed, "Iranian nation is neither in favor of suppression, nor in favor of hegemony and it would never give up its absolute rights." Commenting on the recent remarks made by one of the European leaders, the president said, "This respectful man who tries to mimic superpowers, speaks like Pharaoh when he stands behind the podium.

"He is for a while keeping to say that he would not shake hand or hold talks with those who say the Zionist regime should be disappeared.

"I would tell this man that you are making conditions for talks while no Iranian has ever asked or will ever ask to shake hand or hold talks with you.

"All who are to talk with Iranian nation should notice that Iranians would never recognize Israel.

"They should also notice that they would talk to a people who call for an end to Israeli crimes, aggression, occupation, ideology and the basic of Zionism."

Referring to the current global financial crisis, the president said the crisis would soon "turn into a great political and social problem and would collapse their palace of tyranny."
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, December 15, 2008

This takes the cake

Every so often a story comes along that just screams "What were they thinking?" on so many levels:
[...] The boy, asked his name, put down a tiny plate and ran behind his father's leg. He flashed a shy smile but wouldn't answer. Heath Campbell, 35, the boy's father, encouraged him.

"Say Adolf," said Campbell, a Holocaust denier who has three children named for Nazism. [...]

Adolf Hitler Campbell -- it's indeed the name on his birth certificate -- turns 3 today, and the Campbell family believes the boy has been mistreated. A local supermarket refused to make a birthday cake with "Adolf Hitler" on it.

The ShopRite in Greenwich Township has also refused to make a cake bearing the name of Campbell's daughter, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in February.

Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, a girl named for Schutzstaffel head Heinrich Himmler, turns 1 in April.

"ShopRite can't even make a cake for a 3-year-old," said Deborah Campbell, 25, who is Heath's wife of three years and the mother of the children. "That's sad."
What's sad, Lady, is that in addition to not being able to figure out whether the Holocaust happened, you can't figure out how to operate a frosting bag. If you are going to name your kids "Aryan Nation" and "Adolph Hitler," then you buy a nicely decorated cake with the "Happy Birthday, Adolph" part left blank and put it in yourself. Then you can write "Happy Birthday, Adolph," "Heil Hitler," "Kill the Jews," and anything else you want on the cake. Why would this lady expect a cake not loaded with extra roach-parts? And why didn't the Shoprite people accept the order so that they could put in the extra roach-parts? It just gets weirder and weirder. The Shoprite people actually tried to accommodate the Campbells and a Wal-Mart has been pretty-much doing the Campbell's bidding:
The grocer offered to make a cake with enough room for the Campbells to write their own inscription. But the Campbells refused, saying they would have a cake made at the Wal-Mart in Lower Nazareth Township. The Campbells say Wal-Mart made cakes for Adolf's first two birthdays.

A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said the store won't put anything illegal or profane on a cake but thinks it's important to respect the views of customers and employees.
The story goes on to quote a lot of completely bizarre, self-pitying blather:
Heath Campbell said some people like the names but others are shocked to hear them. "They say, 'He (Hitler) killed all those people.' I say, 'You're living in the wrong decade. That Hitler's gone,'" he said.

"They're just names, you know," he said. "Yeah, they (Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They're not going to grow up like that."

"Other kids get their cake. I get a hard time," he said. "It's not fair to my children.

"How can a name be offensive?" he asked.
(Hat Tip: VosIzNeias)

Where are You?--A story for Yud Tes Kislev

On the 19th of Kislev, the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad, was released from prison. See here to learn why this day is known in Chabad as the "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism." Here is a story:
In 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was imprisoned on charges, put forth by the opponents of Chassidism, that his teachings undermined the imperial authority of the czar. For 52 days he was held in the Peter-Paul Fortress in Petersburg.

Among the Rebbe's interrogators was a government minister who possessed broad knowledge of the Bible and Jewish studies. On one occasion, he asked the Rebbe to explain the verse (Genesis 3:9): "And G-d called out to the man and said to him: 'Where are you?'" Did G-d not know where Adam was?

Rabbi Schneur Zalman presented the explanation offered by several of the commentaries: the question "Where are you?" was merely a "conversation opener" on the part of G-d, who did not wish to unnerve Adam by immediately confronting him with his wrongdoing.

"What Rashi says, I know," said the minister. "I wish to hear how the Rebbe understands the verse."

"Do you believe that the Torah is eternal?" asked the Rebbe. "Do you believe that its every word applies to every individual, under all conditions, at all times?"

"Yes," replied the minister.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman was extremely gratified to hear this. The czar's minister had affirmed a principle which lies at the basis of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the very teachings and ideology for which he was standing trial!

"'Where are you?'" explained the Rebbe, "is G-d's perpetual call to every man. Where are you in the world? What have you accomplished? You have been allotted a certain number of days, hours, and minutes in which to fulfill your mission in life. You have lived so many years and so many days," -- here Rabbi Schneur Zalman spelled out the exact age of the minister -- "Where are you? What have you achieved?"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dr. Nasrallah!

That diploma will look just grand hanging in Nasrallah's office. And how apt it is that Nasrallah's doctorate is in political science. He'll be Norman Finkelstein's colleague! From Fars News:
Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyed Hassan Nasrallah received an honorary doctorate in the field of political science from an Iranian university in Isfahan, as part of the events to mark the university's 300th birthday.

Sheikh Hassan Hamda accepted the degree on behalf of Nasrallah.

In a statement from Nasrallah read at the ceremony, he thanked Iran for its support of Hezbollah's fight against Israel and expressed the hope that one day the Shiite group would change the face of the Middle East.

Nasrallah also thanked the Iranians for "25 years of support and aid for the Hezbollah organization and its warriors in southern Lebanon."

He also mentioned Israel, and said his group had won "two big triumphs" against "the most equipped armed forces in the region".

"The Israeli army", Nasrallah wrote, "is considered an undefeatable army, but thanks to the Lebanese resistance it became a worldwide model of failure."

He also stressed that "Iran's support was always the main factor in the victories and it always will be."

Nasrallah also heaped praise on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, and said that with his support "the victories of 2000 and 2006 were achieved." [...]
Good thing the Supreme Leader is so humble. He won't let all that praise go to his head.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Struggle for World Peace and Security Called for"

The bad imperialists are trying to fight terrorism, but don't worry: the "world progressive countries," such as Iran, are boosting "national defence capability." Increasing "mental power" helps also, of course. From (North) Korean News:
Aggression and war are unavoidable and world can never be in peace as long as imperialism exists.

Rodong Sinmun Friday observes this in a by-lined article.

It goes on:

The imperialists' aggressive and brigandish nature can never change as it has been formed and nurtured through history. Their aggression and war actions, therefore, never cease till they go to ruin.

The article cites facts to prove that the international tension has escalated and the danger of war increased and peace and security have been gravely threatened due to the "anti-terrorism war" launched by the U.S. imperialists since the "September 11 incident."

It is a very crucial and urgent task facing progressive humankind to frustrate the imperialists' moves for aggression and war and ensure global peace and security, the article notes, and continues:

The astonishing reality of the DPRK in which it wins only victory in the acute showdown with the imperialist forces goes to clearly prove that bolstering the national defence capability provides a guarantee for protecting the sovereignty and peace of the country and the key to the victory in the struggle against imperialism and war.

Many countries and people are making positive efforts to boost national defence capability, supporting and sympathizing with the Songun politics of the DPRK. They are countering the imperialists' "anti-terrorism war" by increasing the national defence power, keenly aware of their aggressive and reactionary nature. This has become a global trend and the imperialist forces' policy of aggression and hegemony is, therefore, going bankrupt.

The world progressive countries and people will bring earlier the doom of imperialism and accelerate the building of an independent and peaceful new world when they bolster their national defence power, increase mental power and boost unity and solidarity.
Update: Accelerate the building of an indpendent and peaceful new world and increase mental power with the latest editions of Haveil Havalim and Shiny Happy Dhimmi.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The "Islamic Propaganda Organization of Iran"--the world's most aptly named organization

You can't make this stuff up. From IRNA:
The Islamic Propaganda Organization of Iran on Thursday strongly condemned atrocities of the Zionist regime against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"The Palestinian land is currently faced with the biggest and the most barbaric genocide of the history. Dirty hands of criminal Zionists have turned Gaza Strip into a big prison," the IPO said in a statement.

It regretted, "The Zionists intercept import of basic needs including food and medicine."

The organization called on all Islamic nations to deeply feel the sensitive situation in the region and strive to solve problems of the oppressed Palestinian people.
And we end with an appeal for deep feelings about the "sensitive situation in the region." O rhetorical lurch, thy name is IRNA.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The gruelling, drug-scandal ridden world of chess competition

Unless someone can figure out how to put good positional judgment and sparkling combinational play into a pill, I don't think this should be an issue:
Who knows what was going through [Grandmaster Vassily] Ivanchuk's head when, on Nov. 25 in Dresden, the last day of the Chess Olympiad, he lost to Gata Kamsky? What we do know, however, is that when the game against the American ended, a judge asked Ivanchuk to submit to a drug test. Instead, he stormed out of the room in the conference center, kicked a concrete pillar in the lobby, pounded a countertop in the cafeteria with his fists and then vanished into the coatroom. Throughout this performance, he was followed by a handful of officials.

No one could convince Ivanchuk to provide a small amount of urine for the test. And because refusal is treated as a positive test result, he is now considered guilty of doping and could be barred from professional chess for two years.

The incident in Dresden and the possibility of a professional ban for Ivanchuk has caused outrage in the chess world. The players, who fraternize with one another, say that accusing one of them of doping is an insult to their honor and intelligence. Letters of protest were issued, and players are accusing bureaucrats in the world of championship chess of destroying the game, because, as they insist everyone should know, doping provides no benefits in chess. [...]
The author is not sure and thinks "Ritalin or Modafinil" might help with concentration. Unless there is some big danger of overdosing on this stuff, however, I still don't think this warrants drug-testing.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour

Milton was 400 years old a few days ago. According to Wordsworth, Milton had "a voice whose sound was like the sea; Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free." According to some illiterate at the Guardian:
Milton lacks the qualities now considered essential in a poet: concision, humour, or romance . . . Readers can handle the poignancy of On His Blindness and snatch pleasure from the great quotes. But the imagery and subject matter of the epics are rooted in a theology and mythology that today are gone.
He comments further "We prefer to like our poets, and Milton was a bore and a prig." Our non-boring and non-priggish hero at least recommends Milton's prose. I wonder whom he considers to have been a "likable" poet. Ezra Pound?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mehr News: "Obama policy will be based on phantom threats"

Mehr is one of the many Iranian pro-government news agencies. What might those "phantom threats" be? A nuclear Iran?
U.S. President-elect Barak Obama’s policies will be formulated based on a series of elaborate phantom threats, Lebanese sociologist and university professor Talal Etrisi said on Tuesday.

Etrisi told the Mehr News Agency that Obama won’t make more than symbolic departures from George W. Bush’s policies.

Obama, as a representative of the United States’ Black minority and poor people in general, has appeared on the political scene to address their problems, he added.

"The image of the United States presented to the world by George W. Bush is arguably a very belligerent image," but Obama has appeared on the scene to improve his country’s image, he opined.

The U.S. image has been tarnished throughout the world because some officials have used the name of the American people to advance their own goals, the Lebanese sociologist explained.

Thus, U.S. citizens should take steps to prevent another war, he added.

There is no doubt that Obama staunchly believes in the ideals of poor African-Americans, but the president does not really have power in the U.S. since some institutions, organizations, secret societies, and more importantly the Zionist lobby, are the main decision makers, and thus to what extent the new president can revise policies remains to be seen, he noted.

"We have recently heard that the new U.S. president intends to hasten the process of the Zionist troop withdrawal from the Palestinian occupied territories, but we believe that the main problem in regard to Palestine will remain."

And whether the Zionist regime will implement United Nations Resolution 149, allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their home land, and agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Beit-ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem) as its capital is still unclear, he said. [...]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Mashaie: Zionism's annihilation should turn into a global cause"

Rahim Mashaie, you will recall, got in trouble for stating publicly that Iran does not actually hate Israelis. Here he is, apparently rehabilitated, making the usual statements about the "annihilation" of the "Zionist regime." From IRNA:
Iran's Vice-President Rahim Mashaie said here Tuesday that Zionism's annihilation should turn into a global cause and demand.

Mashaie, who is here to perform annual Hajj pilgrimage, told Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that "corrupt and criminal" Zionist regime is not only harmful and a threat for the Arab and Muslim world but also for whole the world mankind. "So, its removal should turn into a global cause and demand."

Al-Bashir for his part said that global conditions necessitate tighter cooperation between Iran and Sudan.

Based on the incoming reports, Mashaie also met and conferred with the Arab League Chief Amr Moussa on the sidelines of the Hajj visit on Tuesday.

Some sense from the NY Times

Thank Hashem for small miracles:
. . . there is no sane reason to think Lashkar-e-Taiba would shut down if the situation in Kashmir improved. Its literature is much concerned with establishing a caliphate in Central Asia, and murdering those who insult the Prophet. Its leader, Hafiz Saeed, who lives on a large estate outside Lahore bought with Saudi Money, goes about his business with minimal interference from the Pakistani government.

Lashkar-e-Taiba is part of the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders (the Qaeda franchise). Mr. Saeed’s hatreds are catholic — his bugbears include Hindus, Shiites and women who wear bikinis. He regards democracy as "a Jewish and Christian import from Europe," and considers suicide attacks to be in accordance with Islam. He has a wider strategy: "At this time our contest is Kashmir. Let’s see when the time comes. Our struggle with the Jews is always there." As he told his followers in Karachi at a rally in 2000: "There can’t be any peace while India remains intact. Cut them, cut them — cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy." In short, he has an explicit political desire to create a state of war between the religious communities in India and beyond, and bring on the endgame.
Yaacov Lozowick writes that this illustrates that "you don't have to be a right-winger to see what's happening in the world." It helps, of course.