Sunday, January 30, 2011

Only 17 days until Kim Jong Il's birthday!

Dictators aren't doing so well lately. If that bothers you, this should cheer you up:
Events were held in different countries on January 14 and 18 to celebrate February 16, the birthday of General Secretary Kim Jong Il.

They included a meeting, photo exhibition and film show in Sweden and an opening ceremony of the Korean handicraft exhibition and film shows in Russia.

Displayed in their venues were photos on immortal exploits of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and photos and handicrafts showing the true picture of Songun Korea.

Korean films shown included "Fireworks for a Thriving Nation" and "The Arch of Triumph".

The chairman of the Sweden-Korea Friendship Association said that the DPRK under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il encourages the world progressives in their struggle as a powerful and stable socialist state and a fortress of independence and peace against imperialism.

We extend full support to the Korean people in the efforts to improve the people's living standard, defuse the tension in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia and bring earlier the independent and peaceful reunification of the country, he said.

The director of the Bureau for Culture of the Ryazan Regional Administration of Russia said that the exhibits would help visitors know better about the reality of the DPRK and the indomitable will of the Korean people dynamically advancing toward the future, closely rallied around their leader. [...]
The latest Haveil Havalim is dynamically advancing toward the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guardian:"These stooge negotiators have acted as tools for the repression of their people. We in Hamas must seize back the initiative"

In the good old days LGF would refer to "Al Guardian." That sort of thing has always been a bit too crude to emulate in my own blogging, but maybe I should reconsider. The title of this little example of Guardian editorial choices is "The Palestinian cause has been betrayed. But no more":
The revelations about the conduct of the Middle East peace process made by al-Jazeera and the Guardian over the past few days have shocked people around the world, but they did not surprise the membership of Hamas. They simply confirm what many of us have been warning against for nearly two decades.

Negotiating peace on the basis of the Oslo accords was, right from the start, conducted by two unequal parties. The PLO representatives, the weaker of the two sides, had no real cards to bargain with and ended up offering concessions that gave away basic national Palestinian rights. Their main aim has been to remain in power, preserve their role in the process, and maintain the special status and privileges accorded to them as individuals in exchange for collaborating with the occupiers. Consequently they allowed the Israelis to use them as stooges and tools for the repression of the Palestinian people.

Not only do we know for sure that these documents are authentic, but their authenticity has been endorsed by a good number of officials from the PLO and Palestinian National Authority, including some former members of the negotiation team.

The Palestinian negotiators named and quoted in these documents have betrayed their people and the Palestinian cause. We are in no doubt that, as a result of these revelations, they have lost their credibility for good. It is unthinkable that the Palestinian people will ever approve any deal concluded with the Israelis by this team of negotiators, for they will always be suspected of selling out and of betraying the cause. The Palestinian people can never believe that what these individuals pledge in public reflects how they bargain or deal in private.

One cannot but conclude from this shameful episode in the history of our people that these negotiators were willing to make such unthinkable and unacceptable concessions because they simply lacked any genuine affiliation to the people they claimed to represent, or any belief in the cause on whose behalf they claimed to negotiate. In fact they were neither elected by the Palestinian people nor mandated by its elected representatives to engage in this process. The only mandate given them was the one emanating from the US-led world order that has always conspired against our people and sided with our oppressors. [...]
That's a little less than half of it.

PressTV: "The United States continues its presence in Afghanistan to pursue a regime change policy aimed at Iran, China and Russia"

You can't really know what's going on in the world without reading Iranian news sites:
The United States continues its presence in Afghanistan to pursue a regime change policy aimed at Iran, China and Russia, a US anti-war activist says.

"That is a strategy of regime change," going on in regard to Russia, China and Iran, Richard Becker from ANSWER Coalition said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

"You can see that between those countries -- Russia, China and Iran -- is Afghanistan and its strategic importance is very great in what is the drive of the US foreign policy to bring about a regime change wherever a government is not compliant with the wishes of the US policy makers and leaders," he added.

He further argued, "The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been, since its beginning in 1949, an instrument of the United States. So, you have to ask the question “what is NATO doing in Afghanistan?” to begin with."

"Afghanistan is quite far from the Atlantic Ocean and it is serving as an expansion of the projections of US military power," Becker pointed out. [...]
"Pointed out" refers just to the "far" part--or the "expansion" part also?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

IRNA (Iran): "Nasrollah says Hezbollah is not after power in Lebanon"

That's reassuring:
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrollah said resistance movement is not trying to gain power in Lebanon and warned rivals not to engage in intrigues against the movement.

He made the remarks in a gathering to commemorate Imam Hossein (the third Imam of Shia Muslims) in Baalbek on Tuesday.

Nasrollah said that Lebanon is going through a hard and sensitive stage, adding that 'in current situation, we need dialogue, responsible behavior, and cooperation'.

He strongly criticized those who claim Lebanon's appointed prime minister Najib Mikati is Hezbollah's candidate and said 'they are just carrying on a religious intrigue'.

Nasrollah urged all Lebanese to take advantage of the new political opportunity and said 'threat against Mikati has no benefit for anybody'.

He reiterated that Hezbollah is not seeking power and just wants to prevent conspiracies against resistance.

Resistance leader said he was confident that a big development was going to happen in the region and emphasized the danger of the Zionists in the Middle East.

Hezbollah secretary general said, 'We supported candidacy of prime minister Najib Mikati and we asked him to form a national unity government here.'

He rejected the claim by some people that premiership of Mikati means Hezbollah's dominance over the post and said Mikati is a moderate person and is not dependent on March 8th or 14th groups.

He underlined that if the opportunity is not given to Mikati to form his government, then nobody knows what will happen in Lebanon.
Also, at IRNA: "West has double-standards towards Israel, says British journalist." Guess who the "British journalist" is . . . that's right, Yvonne Ridley!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maan: Ahmed Yousef makes every conceivable claim about the Hamas Charter

I don't think this extended attempt to present the "fact" of the Hamas charter addresses a single statement that the Charter actually contains and that the Israelis supposedly mistranslated. Instead we get every possible claim about why it doesn't really mean what it says and why we should ignore it anyway, although it "retains its authoritative value." Let's see, it was mistranslated, taken out of context, only one elder's opinions, created to give "broad strokes direction," ratified when there was "little time . . . to pore over the minutia of . . . its religious and political terminology," and "cannot be construed to demand literal interpretation":
The Israeli occupation has never missed an opportunity to brand Hamas a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization. True to the Mossad motto which states "By way of deception, thou shall do war," it has excelled at taking select articles from the Islamic party's charter and using them, out of context, to justify its claims.

The Israelis have, for example, translated the charter to several languages, English and French included, intentionally perverting the substance of its tenets to suit their purposes. Those aims were to market its fraudulent translation to as many Western politicians, academics and media channels as possible; and therefore make it easier to claim security concerns as the basis for their legal infractions.
Is it my imagination, or does the first sentence of the above paragraph use the expression "for example"? Is there an actual example hidden in there somewhere?
The fear-mongering is designed to horrify the West so much that it turns a blind eye to the crimes against humanity which contravene international law.

Throughout my tenure as an adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the tenth and eleventh administrations (the unity government), and even after the events of June 2007 when I was assigned as a deputy minister to the Foreign Ministry, journalists and politicians consistently asked the same questions around the charter and the extent to which the government was beholden to it or intent on applying the articles within it.

Despite my consistent clarification that Hamas must be evaluated on its official actions and political positions, it is evident that the Israeli propaganda machine has over a two year period successfully brainwashed those it has targeted. Many observers have become incapable of making an impartial assessment of the significant transformations the movement has undergone; and instead have parroted the Israeli position, adopting the obstinacy of what a local colloquialism notes "is a goat, even if it has wings." [...]

The Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, was born in December 1987 with the first Intifada, or Uprising. Initially, the group mounted demonstrations against Israeli belligerence; and in order to maintain the momentum of the newly created protest culture, the group's leadership needed a platform to crystallize its views and give the "resistance generation" broad strokes direction on the principles and challenges within which they would operate against the occupation. Those early, revolutionary days represent the context within which the concept of a charter was formed.

That document was a practical response to an oppressive occupation. It reflected the views of one of the movement's elder leaders; and it was ratified during the unique circumstances of the Uprising in 1988 as a necessary framework for dealing with a relentless occupation. There was little opportunity, at that time, to pore over the minutia of either its religious and political terminology or the broader perspective of international law.

An internal committee reviewed the possibility of amending the charter during the nineties and ratifying it as a binding manifesto; yet the primary concern, that of being seen as following the Fatah route of offering up concessions on a silver platter, led the group's leadership to shelve such measures.

Instead, new ideas were proposed that reflected the movement's openness to the international community and its willingness to adopt a more realistic political view. This flexibility was evident in official speeches; and more recently in the election platform put forward by the Change & Reform Party (al-taghyeer wal islah).

Despite the group's evolution, it is an inescapable fact that the charter represents a milestone in the struggle against an occupation. At any rate, historical statements remain a testament to the past; and the charter, as a document written over two decades ago, retains its authoritative value. [...]
Got that? The supposedly "fraudulent" translation is here. Yousef's article ends with a list of statements that he wants us to take as Hamas's true principles, but no clarification or translation of any specific statement or passage in the charter.

Angry Arab addresses post to bi-gendered "fighters for justice"

Here is the text of his post:
Every fighter for justice in the world should ask himself/herself daily: what have I done against Israel today?
"Himself/herself" refers to a person who is both, right?

AP: "Leaked documents show Palestinian Jerusalem offer"

I see a Kos diary in my crystal ball, and its title is "The Myth of Palestinian Intransigence." The first two sentences, which somehow require a paragraph break between them, convey the essence of this little development:
Palestinians were prepared to compromise over two of the toughest issues, Jerusalem and refugees, during peace talks in 2008, the Al-Jazeera TV channel reported Sunday, quoting from documents it said came from the talks.

Palestinian negotiators quickly denied the reports, saying parts of the documents were fabricated. [...]
According to Ahmed Qureia, we learn, the fabrications are "part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership." That would do it, I guess.

The Jerusalem Post title for this story is "PA: Al-Jazeera has declared war on Palestinians." How is the PA going to respond?
Asked if the PA was now considering measures against Al-Jazeera, the official said he did not see how a TV station that "incites" against the Palestinians would be able to continue operating in the West Bank. However, he said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Cairo, would decided on the PA's response to the exposure of the documents in the coming hours.
I wonder what this all means. The Palestinian position has hardened in the meantime? Palestinians tell the truth to Israelis and lie to other Arabs? Some well-meaning leftist thought he was being helpful and bent the truth a bit? This should prove interesting.

Update: The original Al-Jazeera article is worth quoting. Bad Israel!
Not only did the Israeli government offer no concessions in return, but – as The Palestine Papers now reveal – it responded with an even more aggressive land swap: Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert wanted to annex more than 10% of the West Bank (including the major settlements in Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and elsewhere), in exchange for sparsely-populated farmland along the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Reuters gets one thing right

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim former ally of the Jewish state . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can I have some Shwarma McNuggets with that?

Here. (h/t: Israel Matzav)

I went on down to the Pyongang Zoo and they all axed fuh you

They rallied 'round the headquarters of the revolution fuh you, they even made a great leap forward fuh you:
General Secretary Kim Jong Il visited the Central Zoo in Pyongyang.

He looked round the monument to President Kim Il Sung's on-site guidance newly built at the entrance of the zoo.

Recalling the history of the zoo, he said that the zoo is a product of the President's warm love for the people. The undying feats of the President who devoted all his life to the people will shine long in the history of the country, he added.

Going round a veterinary hospital, an aquarium and other places of the zoo, leader Kim Jong Il learned in detail about its management and operation.

He expressed great satisfaction with the officials and employees of the zoo who have taken good care of animals and organized visits to the zoo in a meticulous way for the cultural and emotional education of the visitors. [...]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fars:"MP Blames Zionist Lobbies for Ban on Hijab in Azerbaijan's Schools"

You can't be really informed about what is going on the world without reading Iranian news sites. In the following article, we learn that the reach of The Lobby is very long:
A prominent Iranian lawmaker blasts Azerbaijan's decision to ban the Islamic code of dressing for schoolgirls, saying that the move was made under the pressures of the Zionist lobbies.

Pointing to the influence of the Zionist lobbies on the US, and the US military presence in Azerbaijan, Rapporteur of the Islamic Revolution fraction at the Iranian parliament Hamid Rassayee said these lobbies had a hand in the approval of the ban on the observation of Islamic code of dressing, Hijab, in Azeri schools.

"Americans have a military buildup and base in Azerbaijan and they influence Baku's decisions," Rassayee stated, adding, "The ban on Hijab in education centers is a move based on the decision and will of the Zionist and American lobbies since the Islamic Hijab can endanger the interests of the US and Israel."

He criticized Baku's officials for obeying the Zionist lobbies, and noted, "Always, we have witnessed that the country's leaders and authorities act in accordance with the policies, aspirations and instructions of these lobbies."

Last month, Azerbaijan's government refused to lift a ban on Islamic veil or Hijab despite angry public protests against the controversial decision.

Azerbaijani officials have been preventing Muslim schoolgirls wearing headscarves from attending schools for a month since the ban was implemented.

Islamic groups and rights activists expected the government to end the ban in the New Year and hundreds of people staged a demonstration in Azerbaijan's second largest city of Ganja late in December and called on the government to overturn the decree. They also chanted slogans against the anti-Islamic law. [...]
That'll teach it. According to an IRIB headline: "'Iran to unveil new bio-implants.'" Read that one if you dare. Another IRIB article features some Ahmadineblab:
IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the main problem of the human society today was the way a few governments manage the world.

President Ahmadinejad made the remark in a meeting with the visiting Uruguayan Parliament Speaker Ivonne Pasada.

“The era in the global management characterized by monopoly and expansionism has come to an end,' the President said.

Ahmadinejad noted that adhering to principles such as justice, freedom and mutual respect can bring nations closer to one another. [...]
According to ISNA: "Iran successfully test fires upgraded 'Hog' missile system":
Iran successfully test fired mid-range surface-to-air upgraded Hog missile system to protect its sensitive areas.

The operation was carried out near Khondab nuclear center in central Iran.

The missile system has reportedly received warm test and hit the objectives. [...]
It "received warm test"? My suspicions about where North Korean journalists moonlight are confirmed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hamas needs cars

And it knows where to get them:
Authorities in the Gaza Strip on Thursday confiscated cars belonging to the Central Elections Commission, voting officials said calling on Hamas to return them.

The commission said in a statement that it is independent, neutral and has nothing to do with the internal differences that have plagued the Palestinian territories since the 2006 elections.

Hamas closed CEC headquarters in November 2009, refusing to hold elections until it and Fatah reconciled in a unity agreement that Egypt has tried and failed to broker for years.
We might see some sort of token unity agreement eventually as long Hamas doesn't really have to give up any power. The CEC should kiss those cars goodbye.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mossad Vulture story and some other agendas

Last Friday a blogger named Marco Villa amplified an Angry Arab post about the Mossad Vulture. According to AA:
. . . the original reports from Saudi media says NOTHING about the bird being in the custody of the Saudi security forces nor that they suspect it of having been trained by Mossad. It was just some villagers who got scared by the big bird with the weird transmitter . . .
Villa frames AA's post with a whole discussion of how Israel's press has supposedly deteriorated:
The liberal press is Israel has become nothing more than a wraith of its former self. It is not a right-wing dominated press establishment. Israel may be the only nation where the media tilts to the right.

And part of this right-wing shift is that the new owners have political agendas and place less emphasize on journalistic integrity and professionalism. There has been a dumping-down. And the Israeli press is now filled with silly pieces about how Arabs are conspiracy minded . . .

This fits the racist and crude Israeli stereotypes of dump, hate-filled antisemitic Arabs and the Israeli press amps it up.
In this light, it is worth noting how Iran's PressTV reported the story. Persians are not Arabs, of course, but PressTV is one of the slicker and more widely disseminated news organizations in the Muslim world. I would venture to say that a significant block of Arabs takes it seriously. Here is their take on the Mossad Vulture. The sentence in bold is in bold in the original and set off somewhat from the main text:
A tagged Israeli bird found in Saudi Arabia has raised speculations that Israeli spy agency Mossad is training birds for espionage in the region.

The vulture, with the identification code of R65, was found in a rural area in Saudi Arabia, wearing a transmitter and a leg bracelet bearing the words "Tel Aviv University", Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported Tuesday.

It was captured near the home of a sheikh in the community of Hayel in Saudi Arabia.

The words "Tel Aviv University" etched in English on a ring clasped to the bird's leg, and especially the transmitter, raised suspicions among the finders who said it could be a Mossad agent.

According to the report, the tags indicate that the bird was part of a long-term research project into migration patterns.

Saudi residents and local reporters, however, say it seems to be a "Zionist plot."
The "plot" view gets the last word. "Related stories" you might also want to click on at the PressTV site have the following titles:
Lebanon indicts general over espionage
Mossad behind Egypt church blast
Israel wants press away from Dubai hit
Mossad on verge of collapse

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maan News: "research . . . revealed that Arafat was poisoned with Thallium"

EOZ posted about an Arabic version of this story on Sunday:
The special advisor to Yasser Arafat said Monday that he will soon release new information on the death of the late president.

In an interview with Ma'an Radio, Bassam Abu Shareef said research conducted by British forensic experts had revealed that Arafat was poisoned with Thallium. New information had also come to light, Abu Shareef said, adding that he would present it to an investigation committee.

Abu Shareef said he had warned the president to remain alert to Israeli assassination attempts.

In 2004, Arafat fell ill while besieged by the Israeli military in his Ramallah headquarters. He was flown to Paris for treatment and died at Percy Hospital on 11 November 2004.

The Guardian newspaper quoted a medical report by French doctors identifying disseminated intravascular coagulation as the cause of the president's death.

DIC is a secondary condition however, and the ultimate cause of death was never revealed.

In the months preceding Arafat's death, Israeli officials had publicly contemplated assassinating the leader, fueling speculation that he was murdered.
The speculation then gave birth to an endlessly repeated factoid that Arafat was poisoned. Mahmoud Abbas was "revealed" to have been in on the plot. Now the exact poison has been identified. Science never stops advancing.

Two Naharnet stories about poison balloons

This isn't exactly new--some of my posts are things I might want to refer to in the future. The controversy about Jaher Abu Rahma reminds me of the poison balloon story from early 2007. (Yes, "reminds" is a vague word.) Here are the complete texts of two Naharnet articles that illustrate what the initial reports were like, and which document that the story was fairly quickly debunked. Notice all the specific details in the first article. The headline of the first article: "8 Hospitalized after Inhaling Toxic Gases from Israeli Balloons":
Eight people were hospitalized Saturday after inhaling toxic gases from poisonous balloons dropped by Israeli warplanes over Upper Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.

NNA said among those who were rushed to hospital suffering from nausea and fatigue were a Lebanese staff sergeant, a recruit and An Nahar reporter Rana Jouni.

The agency said Israeli warplanes dropped at least 10 poisonous balloons with Hebrew markings over Upper Nabatiyeh at about 9 am Saturday.

NNA said contacts have been made between the Lebanese army command and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has instructed an Italian peacekeeping unit to take samples from the balloons for examination. The agency said the results are likely to come out on Sunday.

NNA had earlier said that the Lebanese army's engineering unit headed to the area and destroyed the balloons by explosives.

The army, in a communiqué issued Friday, warned civilians against messing with the balloons and urged them to report finding them to the closest army unit.
The second article's title: "Panic over Israeli Balloons in South Lebanon":
The issue of poisonous Israeli balloons that soared over southern Lebanon on Saturday and the ensuing admittance of eight people to hospital suffering from nausea remain vague.

Agence France Presse said Sunday the balloons were advertising an Israeli newspaper.

AFP cited witnesses and officials as saying the balloons drifted across the tense border into southern Lebanon, causing panic among locals and scrambling the Lebanese army.

The National News Agency said eight people were hospitalized Saturday after inhaling toxic gases from poisonous balloons dropped by Israeli warplanes over Upper Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon.

NNA on Saturday said contacts have been made between the Lebanese army command and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has instructed an Italian peacekeeping unit to take samples from the balloons for examination. The agency said the results are likely to come out on Sunday.

The army, in a communiqué issued Friday, warned civilians against messing with the balloons and urged them to report finding them to the closest army unit.

AFP said the green and orange balloons -- branded with the Hebrew word Ha'ir (The City), the name of a Tel Aviv newspaper -- appeared Saturday in the southern cities of Nabatiyeh and Tyre.

Local health officials told AFP that five people were admitted to hospital in Nabatiyeh complaining of nausea and dizziness, as the army -- with help from UNIFIL -- rounded up the balloons for a controlled explosion in an open field.

"While our investigation and analysis are continuing, we have told local inhabitants not to touch such balloons in case they contain toxic gases," an army spokesman said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman in Jerusalem said the balloons had been filled with helium for distribution at "a kind of party" thrown by the Ha'ir newspaper.

"It was a public relations thing," she said. "They gave out balloons with helium in them and the balloons flew away and into Lebanon."(Naharnet-AFP)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Helicopter Flies to Bring Drifters Home"

Some of these stories about Kim Jong Il's loving care are quite dull. This one reads like the story-line of Juche comic book:
There is one more touching story in socialist Korea where the people have become a big harmonious family with General Secretary Kim Jong Il as its father.

Some days ago, 10 inhabitants of Kwaksan County, North Phyongan Province went adrift due to violent sea waves while plucking shell fish. They had been rescued by lighthouse keepers and inhabitants from Rap Islet but could not come back as the iceberg more than a fathom deep blocked their way.

The officials of the county and the families of the drifters were at a loss, though they confirmed their whereabouts.

Informed of this, Kim Jong Il took a measure to bring them home. A helicopter of the air force of the Korean People's Army flew towards a remote lighthouse islet in the West Sea of Korea.

When the helicopter appeared in the air over the islet in the morning of Thursday, all the drifters and four inhabitants of Nampho City who found shelter on the islet and those on it were moved to tears by the loving care shown by Kim Jong Il. They shouted at the top of their voices "Long live respected General Kim Jong Il!"
He was, of course, personally piloting the helicopter. Another headline proclaims: "Joint New Year Editorial Hailed by Mexican Politician":
Cuautemoc Amezcua Dromundo, chairman of the C.C., Socialist Popular Party of Mexico, made public a statement on Jan. 2 in support of the joint New Year editorial of the DPRK.

The statement said that the joint editorial serves as a militant banner and an important work as it represents a grand plan and will of General Secretary Kim Jong Il to build a thriving nation without fail true to the last instructions of President Kim Il Sung and indicates the strategy and ways to do so.

The statement expressed belief that in order to successfully accelerate the advance for this year the Workers' Party of Korea would give fuller play to the spirit of its historic Conference, the spirit of single-minded unity, the indomitable spirit of forced march and the spirit of uninterrupted revolution. [...]
The latest Haveil Havalim gives fuller play to the spirit of single-minded unity, the indomitable spirit of forced march and the spirit of uninterrupted revolution

Two AFP Headlines: "Israel demolishing chance for peace: Palestinians" and "Israeli right rattle sabres over Gaza rockets"

The two headlines comment on the AFP itself and on each other in ways the AFP did not anticipate, don't you think? The articles that go with the headlines are here and here.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Angry Arab makes sure I am never without blog-fodder

The New York Times recently reported on a scientific discovery with a relationship-angle. Women's tears may contain chemically encoded messages--something like that--read the article if you're interested. It is the sort of story that has an obvious appeal for readers. The source of the discovery happened to be an Israeli University, but I doubt that most readers took more than momentary notice, except for one reader--Angry Arab!
If there is any news relating to Israel--especially if it seems to editors to be favorable to the PR interests of the Zionist usurping entity--it gets prominent coverage. I will never forget how once in the obituary section of the Times there was a long glowing obituary of a certain chef: and the headline said: "worked in Israel." I kid you not. So there is this article today and then this: "“Chemical signaling is a form of language,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Noam Sobel, a professor of neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. “Basically what we’ve found is the chemo-signaling word for ‘no’ — or at least ‘not now.’ ”" I have no doubt that this prominent coverage was due to the involvement of an Israeli occupying scientist. [...]
One of these days I need to make a collection of the various "Goodman's laws" I have formulated. Here is one of them: Extreme animosity is the functional equivalent of stupidity.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A few thoughts on the Jawaher Abu Rahmah case

Factual clarity may never be achieved. The eyewitness accounts seem to be muddled and inconsistent, and certainly there is an anti-Israel agenda at work to some extent or another. The important thing is moral clarity. Is CS tear gas only used by rogue states or is it widely used by normal countries for riot control? If it is a legitimate tool for riot control, then I don't see why we should not accept the assertions that Abu Rahmah was at least peripherally present at the demonstration and that her final round of symptoms started with some kind of exposure to the gas. So what? A person who wants to live in maximum safety should not participate in weekly demonstrations that often turn violent.

Some explanation seems to be in order no matter who we believe in this case. Deaths from outdoor exposure to CS tear gas appear to range from extremely rare to unheard-of. There must be some reason that Abu Rahmah died when nobody else even needed gas-related medical treatment. We may never know what it was. Maybe the doctors were incompetent, maybe she was more sickly than her family is admitting, maybe she had some rare predisposition that decided to express itself just at that moment. A narrative which mostly consists of an IDF soldier firing something and a nonviolent protester dying is very exciting and useful to anti-Israel propagandists. However, a great many legitimate activities lead to an occasional death: skydiving, riot-control, marketing snacks containing peanuts. Let the would-be activist beware. He is not entitled to more than the proverbial buyer.

IRIB: Call to support Copts "improper interference in the Egypt's internal affairs"

More warm and fuzzy inter-religious feelings. I wonder when the Coptic refugee crisis starts:
Sheik of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, criticized Pope Benedict XVI for calling for the world's support for the Egyptian Copts and Christians.

He described the demand as an improper interference in the Egypt's internal affairs.

In an address on the occasion of the new Christian year in Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the bomb attack outside a church in Egypt and called on the world leaders to defend the Christians. [...]

PFLP founder dies, AP gives some background

That's Abu Maher Yamani and here's the background:
The PFLP is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It gained notoriety for the 1970 hijackings of four Western airliners over the United States, Europe, the Far East and the Persian Gulf. The aircraft were blown up in the Middle East after passengers and crews disembarked.
So nobody died, isn't that nice? Not like the Lod Airport massacre.

Debate goes on about Jawaher Abu Rahmah's death

The opening sentence of a post by Anarchist Against the Wall Jonathan Pollack at Mondoweiss:
The evidence surrounding the events leading to the death of Bil’in resident Jawaher Abu Rahmah disproves completely the army spokesperson’s version, to the point of putting the army in a ridiculous light.
Meanwhile, EOZ reports that "Physicians for Human Rights can't figure how tear gas could kill people outdoors." The Mondoweiss post has a link to "the hospital’s official medical report," which states "Pt. presented with H/O drowsenes change level of consciousness-salivation." Why does that sound like Irangrish? I'm just asking, I have no idea what Palestinian medical-ese looks like. See your favorite Israel-advocacy blog (or your favorite truth-to-power-speaking progressive blog that wants to end war and racism NOW!) for more developments.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ben Cohen writes that "no outcome, farcical or otherwise, is preordained" for Angry Arab's chums, gets called "Zionist hoodlum" for his trouble

It all started with a fairly upbeat NY Times article about a paper whose "editorial chairman" has a picture of Imad Mughniyeh on the wall of his office. Angry Arab comments in his first reaction to the article "the publicity for Al-Akhbar is not bad these days: not that it needs it." One of said chairman's statements reported in the article, however, appears to require damage control:
This sentence in the article got my attention; it said that Ibrahim Al-Amin wants to: "remove Israel from the map and send the Jews back to Europe." I asked Ibrahim and he tells me that he did not say that sentence that was falsely attributed to him. He said that the interview that was conducted by Robert Worth through an interpretor was not accurate in transcript perhaps because the interpreter who came with Worth was so "weak" that he and Mansour (a colleague at the paper who runs the website) had to correct her. He explained that he was talking about the future demise of Israel and that he added that in such eventuality many Israeli Jews may immigrate to Europe and the US.
Angy Arab wants us to take this as just a neutral prediction, not something to be wished for? He certainly has an ample store of credibility to make this sort of assertion, after yearning in print and in English for more catastrophic fires to hit Israel and after being "bothered" in print and in English that Hizbullah does not have bigger missiles. In the meantime Ben Cohen, of Z-Word Blog fame, has offered some observations on Al Akhbar's brand of Leftism, assuming that the details reported in the Times are highly telling, which seems reasonable enough. AA takes him to task for daring to make such observations without knowing how to read Arabic, but if AA's own opinions are any indication, and he has published vast quantities of them in English by way of his blog, Cohen's observations are fairly astute. After a reply by Cohen, AA writes in a further installment:
he states categorically that Al-Akhbar is "viciously antisemitic" when in reality Al-Akhbar is the only Arabic newspaper to ever publish articles (by me and others) condemning Arabic anti-Semitism.
I do see AA pointing out anti-Semitism from time to time on his blog, but only in ways that suit his agenda. Here is an example:
As you all know, I have written before about the alliance over the years and decades between Zionism (and the state of Israel officially) with anti-Semites around the world. We know that Israel did not have better allies in the Arab world than Anwar Sadat (an unrepentant Nazi with a history of anti-Semitism), Abu Mazen (a holocaust denier), Muhammad Dahlan (who curses Jews in every meeting as a friend of his recently told me), and the Maronite church . . . It is cute (not really) how Zionists protect anti-Semites if they don't bother Israel.
The man's a regular crusader against anti-Semitism. Did he really never notice that Abu Mazen's Holocaust denial has been pointed out countless times by "Zionist hoodlums"? If you are wondering what sort of mind can turn Abu Mazen's Holocaust denial into a reproach against Israel, it gets worse. He observes in another post: "Some people in the East and West often observe that Arabs have a tendency to blame too many of their problems on Israel. I say: we should blame Israel far more than we do." Is the output of Al Akhbar's other writers any better than this? For now I'll just have to be guardedly doubtful. We Arabic-challenged Zionist hoodlums will just have to wait for the English version to become available.

Great News! Iranian Prosecutor: "Major seditionists to be tried for sure"

Good to hear they are doing something about their sedition problem:
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi said on Friday that main seditionists will be tried definitely on repeated calls of officials and the public.

Addressing this week's Friday prayers congregation as pre-sermon lecturer, Jaafari said, As Judiciary Chief (Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani) and other Judiciary officials have been stressing, their (main seditionists') trial will be definite.

He said People should know that the American officials and the Zionists regime are behind the big plot. We should act in a way to foil any conspiracy.