Sunday, July 31, 2011

SANA (Syria): "Syrian Arab Army…National Institution with Pan-Arab Ideology Thwarting Conspiracies"

Things have gotten quite lively in Syria at the moment. According to an AP headline, "Scores die as Syrian forces attack defiant cities," and according to the Guardian "100 die in crackdown as Assad sends in his tanks." In the meantime Syria's SANA news agency has headlines such as "Interior Ministry: 8 Policemen Martyred during Confrontation with Armed Terrorist Groups in Hama." Let's examine an article about how wonderful Syria's army is in general:
The Syrian Arab Army has always been a national guarantee for all the Syrians who believe in its role in defending the motherland, and its military barracks have became a part and parcel of the Syrian cities and villages as they instill security in the hearts of the citizens and endow them with a sense of pride and strength.

Since its foundation on August 1st in 1945, the Syrian Arab Army has always performed its missions with a high professionalism and responsibility deriving its strength from the popular situation which gave it complete confidence and supported it to be able to stand in face of the enemies and to thwart the conspiracies hatched against Syria.

Syria since the independence has given a pan-Arab dimension for the Syrian Army whose top issue is the Palestinian cause, and it played a heroic role in Lebanon as it became a bastion in face of those who conspire against the Arab nation.

The pan-Arab ideology of the Syrian Army made it participate in the Rescue War in 1948, and it played a significant role in confronting the tripartite aggression against Egypt in 1956, and despite of the attempts to disarm it, the Syrian Army achieved a stunning victory against the Israeli enemy during Tishreen War in 1973 in coordination with the deep-rooted Egyptian Army.

The latest events witnessed in Syria have enhanced the confidence of the Syrian people in their army which protected the citizens and the public and private institutions as it has sacrificed to combat the crime and to confront the conspiracies with the least losses.

Researcher in International and Political Relations, Ma'an al-Hassan said that there is a national consensus on the role of the Syrian Arab Army as one of the bases of the national unity, adding that there is a belief in its ability to get out of the crisis and to defeat the foreign threats facing the hometown under the slogans of national dignity, hope, and the confidence in liberating the land and protecting the national independence against all the foreign conspiracies.
"Tishreen War"? As in Tishrei? The article is accompanied by heartwarming photos like this one:

Forward hug!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fars (Iran): "Commander Blames Zionist Regime for Directing Terrorist Attacks in Norway"

Great picture:
Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi took the Zionist regime responsible for directing and sponsoring the last-week terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway, which killed scores of innocent people.

"The West should know that Zionists are behind the so-called religious extremisms and terrorist and racist actions," Firouzabadi said on Saturday, adding that the Zionist regime misuses the world people to materialize its wrong and racist beliefs.

He referred to the terrorist attacks in Norway, and said that any probe into the incentives and goals of these terrorist attacks without investigating their links with the Zionists will be fruitless.

"Since Zionists realized their failure and weakness, they have tried to expand and spread Christian Zionism which is a big danger for the Christian world, and the West as well as the Church should take it seriously," he added. [...]
An article at Fars in which Ahmadinejad "blasted the US and Israel for hatching plots to exercise a compromise plan in the Middle-East" also has a good picture:

And, of course, the article also has a blog-worthy text, including a dash of 9/11 conspiracism:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the US and Israel for hatching plots to exercise a compromise plan in the Middle-East, cautioning that Washington is seeking to persuade other countries to recognize the Zionist regime through such plans.

"If we succeed in vanquishing the enemy in its plan for compromise and recognition of the Zionist regime in parts of the Palestinian territories, colonialism will fail forever," Ahmadinejad said on Saturday, adding that "this is a historical battle".

Ahmadinejad had earlier reiterated that Israel is experiencing fragile conditions in the Middle-East region today and it should leave the political scene.

"After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, specially in the last 10 to 15 years, it was revealed that the Zionist regime has become shaky and should go,"
Ahmadinejad said on Monday, addressing people in the Northeastern Golestan province.

He also pointed to the bad political conditions of the world hegemonic powers, and said they resort to every possible means and action to save themselves similar to what they did in 2001 by sponsoring the September 11 attacks. [...]
That sentence was probably the exact moment at which he made that two-fingers-in-in-the-air gesture.

Friday, July 29, 2011

On that "puzzling question"

Here is the NY Times reporting on recent US Treasury statements about the long-known link between Iran and Al-Qaeda:
Weighing in on the puzzling question of whether Iran’s Shiite regime seeks to help the primarily Sunni Al Qaeda, Treasury officials asserted that the Iranian government had entered into an agreement with operatives of the terrorist group and was allowing the country to be used as a transit point for funneling money and people from the Persian Gulf to Pakistan and Afghanistan. [...]
"Puzzling question"? Did they happen to notice that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Sunni?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

(North) Korean News: "Iran's Supreme Leader Warns of Poisonous Books"

(North) Korean News continues to publish articles that could easily be from the Khomeinist press. This one is cute:
Seyed Ali Khamenei, leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, in a recent address to librarians and publishers, urged censors to be vigilant against harmful and poisonous books.

"Not all books are necessarily good. Some books are like poisonous and addictive drugs," he said. "We should provide the people with healthy and good books."
I assume he means "Sayings of the Supreme Leader," and that sort of thing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attributing causes to Terrorism

Causation is a complicated matter. One event can have multiple causes and the causes can be of different types. Attributing causes to terrorism is often a matter of one's sympathy with the terrorist. The most sympathetic cause one can attribute to a terror attack is what the terrorist himself says made him angry or what the terrorist himself says he is fighting. Hence the Norwegian ambassador to Israel, as reported by JTA and noted by many bloggers, recently commented, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel."

A somewhat less sympathetic attribution of causes sees incitement or recruitment by other terrorists or extremists as causing terror attacks. I won't elaborate here because those notions of causality are receiving a lot of attention lately.

The least sympathetic attribution of causes sees the terror as resulting from the immorality of the terrorist, his willingness to murder to achieve political ends. In a very confused piece, Simon Jenkins of the Guardian writes:
The Norwegian tragedy is just that, a tragedy. It does not signify anything and should not be forced to do so. A man so insane he can see nothing wrong in shooting dead 68 young people in cold blood is so exceptional as to be of interest to criminology and brain science, but not to politics. [...]

Terrorism is a specific and rational political form: the use of violence to achieve a multiplier of fear through a civilian population to a particular end. Visiting "shock and awe" by bombing Baghdad in 2003 was terrorism, as were the bombs on the London Underground. Killing Norwegian teenagers (not Muslims) to express some vague hatred for society is not. It is merely deranged. [...]
Jenkins appears to be so used to the mindset of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," the mindset that goes with the assertion that Hamas must use suicide belts and Qassam rockets because they do not have "F-15's and Apache helicopters," that he cannot bring himself to see even an ultra-right terrorist as an example of fairly common type of politically-motivated criminal. And Neo-Nazi groups do organize in cells and nurture fantasies of committing terror-attacks. Jenkins writes:
No, Anders Breivik does not tell us anything about Norway. No, he does not tell us anything about "the state of modern society". He tells us nothing about terrorism or gun control or policing or political holiday camps. His avowal of fascism could as well have been of communism or Islamism or anarchism . . .
Anarchists in the early 20th century attacked crowds of ordinary people with bombs. It would be interesting to see Jenkins explain further what he thinks makes Breivak exceptional. The youth of his victims? The Taliban just strangled an 8-year-old boy. The left needs to stop making excuses for terrorism. If an ultra-right terror attack won't convince them of that, what will?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tehran Times: "Venezuela says Iran serves as model for other countries"

Why travel the path to totalitarian power alone when you can do it with a friend?
Venezuela’s National Assembly Speaker, Fernando Soto Rojas, has said Iran’s revolution and its resistance against global arrogance is a model for other countries.

Rojas made the remarks in a meeting with Iranian MP Hossein Sobhaninia, who traveled to Caracas to submit an invitation letter by Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani.

The two sides discussed issues of mutual interest.

Rojas said he attaches great importance to anti-hegemony revolutions in Iran, adding the positive attitude of Venezuelans toward Iran resulted from an important role Iran plays in regional and international arenas.

The Venezuelan official also called for the expansion of ties between the two countries and expressed his readiness to travel to Tehran to exchange views with Iranian officials.

Sobhaninia said Iran’s Majlis is ready to increase parliamentary cooperation with Venezuela’s parliament. [...]
"Parliamentary cooperation"? What does that involve? Maybe Iran could propose some legislation for the Venezuelan parliament to pass?

Monday, July 25, 2011

(North) Korea News:"99.97 Percent of Voters Participated in Local Election"

Nothing like a dictatorship for high voter turn-out:
The election of deputies to the provincial (municipal), city (district) and county people's assemblies of the DPRK was successfully held on Sunday.

According to data available from the Central Election Guidance Committee, 99.97 percent of voters except those on foreign tour or working in oceans participated in the election as of 18:00.

Those who were not able to go to the polling stations due to old age, illness, etc. cast their ballots into mobile ballot boxes.

All voters took part in the election with the revolutionary will to demonstrate the high spirit of Juche Korea making a leaping advance toward a thriving socialist nation and consolidate people's power under the Songun leadership of Kim Jong Il through the election.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gilad Atzmon: "Anders Behring Breivik might indeed, have been a Sabbath Goy"

Amid all the left-wing posturing about the Oslo attacks and the terrible wrong done to Muslims in suspecting Al-Qaeda or similar groups (such as the one that initially claimed responsibility), you may have noted Glen Greenwald's fantasies about punishing the likes of Daniel Pipes for the attacks:
One last question: if, as preliminary evidence suggests, it turns out that Breivik was "inspired" by the extremist hatemongering rantings of Geller, Pipes and friends, will their groups be deemed Terrorist organizations such that any involvement with them could constitute the criminal offense of material support to Terrorism? Will those extremist polemicists inspiring Terrorist violence receive the Anwar Awlaki treatment of being put on an assassination hit list without due process?
Courtesy of Gilad Atzmon, here is something only slightly loonier:
[...] I am not in a position at present firmly to point a finger at Israel, its agents or its sayanim – but assembling the information together and considering all possibilities may suggest that Anders Behring Breivik might indeed, have been a Sabbath Goy.

Within the Judaic, mundane-societal context, the role of the Sabbath Goy is to accomplish some minor tasks the Jews cannot undertake during the Sabbath. But within the Zionized reality we tragically enough live in,the Sabbath Goy kills for the Jewish state. He may even do it voluntarily. [...]

As yet, the full facts of the Norwegian tragedy are unknown. But the message should by now be transparently and urgently clear to all of us: Western intelligence agencies must immediately crackdown on Israeli and Zionist operators in our midst, and regarding the terrible events of the weekend, it must be made absolutely clear who it was that spread such hate and promoted such terror, and exactly for what reasons.
The gauntlet has been thrown down, Glen. Can you out-loony Gilad? I think you can . . .

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Angry Arab's brain works

AA gives the following post the title: "Israel's dirty hands in South Sudan." After the introductory sentence, the rest is an excerpt from a Ynet article:
And you dare question the propensity of many Arabs to drift toward conspiracy theories? "Just days after South Sudan declared independence, Israeli companies are already storming the world's newest nation – and receiving a warm welcome. An Israeli businessman has even managed to schedule a meeting with the new trade minister. "I haven't seen such openness anywhere else in the world," he says."
I'll certainly never "dare question" that "propensity" again . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2011

IRIB (Iran): "Zionist regime, scared of its own shadow"

Larijani ends by singing the chorus of his new song "This will fade the shaky US power away":
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said the Zionist regime is afraid of its own shadow.

Making the remark on Wednesday while addressing the Majlis open session here, Larijani said “We got informed yesterday that it (Zionist regime) prevented the humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza Strip,” adding that this measure was a political scandal for that regime.

Larijani further deeply regretted the US and the West support for this action and said it showed the US and Zionists’ apprehension of regional developments.

Despite the western plots to create diversions in revolutions in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, the regional nations have become more persistent, the speaker noted.

Larijani stressed that the Middle East region is now ready to defend the oppressed Palestinians and this will fade the shaky US power away.
And this was echoed by the other Majlis members: "Awaaay--shoo wop shoo wop--awaaay--shoo wop shoo wop--awaaay . . . "

(North) Korean News: "Iran Condemns US Conspiratorial Moves"

The North Korean press offerings have lately included an increased number of propaganda items on behalf of its allies, including the Islamic Republic of Iran. The present example offers an odd mix North Korean and Iranian rhetoric, a sort-of Islamo-Maoism:
The U.S. is the chief culprit of all terrorist acts in Iraq, said the vice-chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Majlis when interviewed by a news agency on July 16.

The U.S. is manipulating terrorist acts in Iraq and seeks to foster religious disputes, he noted.

He called upon all the Muslims to shatter the U.S. conspiratorial moves by their concerted efforts.

The secretary-general of Iran's High Council of Human Rights on July 15 protested against the West's moves against his country.

The enemies scheme to paralyze the sound consciousness of Iran's youth and children through bourgeois ideological and cultural poisoning and propaganda campaign, he said.

All the Iranian people will heighten vigilance to decisively shatter the sordid moves of the enemies, he added.
With the might of Al-Songun?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Palestinian Information Center: "Hamas condemns Israel’s 'international piracy' against Gaza-bound boat"

Later in the article the interception of the boat is also termed a "war crime":
Hamas has strongly condemned ”the international piracy” against the pro-Palestinian activists on board the French Dignite – Al-Karama boat, which set out to challenge Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokesperson has announced that Israeli naval forces intercepted the yacht on Tuesday as it neared the Gaza coast.

The force claimed the boat had weapons on board, which the passengers have denied altogether.

Israeli Radio said the interception took place without incidents reported.

Hamas said in a statement that ensued: ”The Zionist occupier's continuance in preventing the supporters and humanitarian aid from arriving to the besieged Gaza Strip and its attacks on them will not stop the solidarity campaigns with the Palestinian people, but will increase the determination and work until the siege and injustice on our people in occupied Palestine is lifted”.

Hamas emphasized the need for continued siege-busting campaigns and called on human rights groups not to surrender to Israeli pressure and to help expose Israel's practices and prosecute its leaders in the international courts.

Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, also condemned the attack, adding that the Israeli government was responsible for the safety of the Dignite's 17 passengers, who were taken to the Israeli Ashdod port and detained.

He added that the act contravened the most basic human rights principles and international law.

Discussing the next step to be taken, Bahar called on Arab and Muslim organizations to lead a rights movement in facing Israel's acts by filing legal complaints with all international courts.

In a separate statement, the popular committee against the siege on Gaza blamed world silence for Israel's continued attacks on pro-Palestinian activists who come from abroad.

Another statement by Hamas leader Ismail Radwan calls the boat takeover a war crime. [...]
That's so meaningful coming from someone who likes to quote the rocks and trees hadith.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fars: "Ahmadinejad: Arrogant Powers Angry at Spread of Islamic Thoughts"

In which we learn that Ahmadinejad "appreciated the Iranian nation for its bright record in supporting Islam throughout the past." Shouldn't that be "highly appreciated"? Fars News is falling behind in its mission to sound like the North Korean press as much as possible:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that the world arrogant powers cannot bear to see the spread of Islamic thoughts and make every attempt to hinder this trend.

"The fact that after 1400 years (since the rise of Islam) the arrogant countries recognize the Zionist regime and accuse the Islamic Revolution of injustice and discrimination instead shows that they are angry at the Islamic and Shiite school of thought," Ahmadinejad said, addressing a large number of people in the Northwestern Ardebil province on Monday.

He also appreciated the Iranian nation for its bright record in supporting Islam throughout the past, but underlined that the Iranian people should still continue their mission, which he described as the protection of Islam's school of thought.

Earlier this month, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also said arrogant powers are deeply fearful of the spread of Islamic thoughts in the world and are, thus, striving to change the nature Islam and the meaning of Islamic concepts.

"They believe that Islam is moving rapidly and that they should harness it," Larijani said, adding that arrogant powers fear the spread of Islam and believe that Islam and Islamic thoughts have spread beyond their perceived levels and boundaries.

"The western intellectuals believe that Islam has influenced the Islamic nations' social and political life and caused independence, honor and Jihadi thoughts in Islamic states," he added.
"Independence, honor, and Jihadi thoughts"--that's so beautiful . . .

Fars (Iran): "Zionists" bombed the AMIA building

Hezbollah and Iran would never do such a thing. They love Jews:
A senior Iranian lawmaker on Monday dismissed the existence of any evidence that can prove Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), and called on Argentina to launch a probe into the role of the Zionists in the attack.

"The Argentine court should probe into the accusations raised about Zionists' involvement in the blast at the Argentinean Jewish center. It is embarrassing that baseless claims are raised against Iran, while the terrorist elements involved in this case are completely known," First Vice-Chairman of the parliament's Judicial and Legal Commission Mousa Qazanfarabadi told FNA.

He expressed the hope that the court would find out the truth after conducting the necessary investigations into the AMIA case, and said the truth is that Zionists have been involved in the explosion at the Argentine Jewish center.

Qazanfarabadi further rejected existence of any evidence proving Iran's involvement in the attack, and added, "Unfortunately, Zionists' control over legal and international channels has grown so strong that they accuse Iran for all incidents in the world."

Under intense political pressure by the US and the Israeli regime, Argentina formally accused Iran of carrying out the attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that claimed the lives of 85 people and left 300 wounded.

Faced with lack of any evidence for their anti-Iranian allegations, only false and contradictory statements by Iranian dissidents seeking asylum in the West have been used by Argentine's prosecutors to level charges against Tehran. The Islamic Republic has vehemently and consistently denied any involvement in the terror bombing.

In relevant remarks last week, the Iranian foreign ministry in a statement called for the removal of all the ambiguities in the case of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural center.

The statement expressed sorrow that after 17 years of the crime, the truth has not been discovered yet and the identity of perpetrators and the real elements behind the crime are still vague.

It added that the criminal act has turned into a political game and a conspiracy.

"Judiciary officials of Argentina at that time, whose illegal acts were disclosed later and were convicted by courts, accused a number of Iranian citizens and tried to cause deviation in judicial investigation and help real perpetrators escape from justice," the statement reminded.

It concluded that the Ministry is also ready to enter constructive dialogue and cooperation with the Argentinean government to find out the truth and reality in the framework of law.
What more can anybody ask?

"Intifada-Palestine" blog reveals Al-Jazeera to be Zionist agents in plot against Syria

We are pleased to welcome Intifada-Palestine to the Judeopundit family of content-providers:
[...] Al-Jazeera has fabricated multiple eyewitness reports, bloated the death toll, broadcasted incitement against Bashar al-Assad, put forth the foreign policy objectives of the GCC dictatorships to bring down the Syrian government and ignored the vital fact that the Zionist-run National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is active on the ground in Syria (84). Instead of reporting these facts, the mainstream media and Al-Jazeera peddle the (admittedly) unverifiable, false casualty claims of London-based Syrian opposition groups, which boast about their membership with Zionism’s NED (85). Instead of reporting these facts, Al-Jazeera is manipulating imagery to fit with its anti-Syria agenda and paying actors to make false statements against Bashar al-Assad (86).

Mainstream media has consistently reported on snipers shooting at ‘pro-democracy’ protesters and has published recorded ‘eyewitness’ testimony from a member of Syrian security forces who ‘admitted’ that the snipers are Syrian military. The problem with this ‘eyewitness,’ like every other ‘eyewitness’ presented by the Al-Jazeera-Zionist media axis, is that his name isn’t real, his voice has been modified, and the person who supposedly produced the recording isn’t using his real name either (87).

None of it is real and everything is muddled because it’s another Zionist media fabrication. What is not being reported in the mainstream, is that the Syrian government has fully disclosed that there are indeed snipers firing not only on ‘protesters,’ but security forces as well (88). Mainstream media would never reveal that the snipers are agents of the Zionist-Saudi plan to destabilize Syria put together by Saudi National Security Advisor ‘Prince’ Bandar bin Sultan and the slippery Zionist criminal, Jeffrey Feltman (discussed earlier). The Feltman-Sultan plan, financed by $2 billion in Saudi funds, trained agents within Syria in sniper fire, arson and ‘sectarian attacks,’ all for the cause of fracturing Syria and terminating its support for Hezbollah and Iran (89). Hence, why the Zionist media is also spreading vile hasbara about Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters assisting Bashar al-Assad ‘crush dissent,’ obvious lies originating from Mossad and its closest ally in Syria, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (90). [...]
What could be more Zionist than the Muslim Brotherhood?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Angry Arab will never have anything useful to say about corruption in Arab countries

He blames capitalism:
I was reading an article on Arab uprisings by Samir Amin in Al-Huriyyah (the mouthpiece of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine). He makes an important point about corruption: how some people call for an end to corruption, like it is some ethical lapse, or some immorality, when it is an integral part of the capitalist system.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fars: "Official Underlines Iran's Ability to Foil Enemies' Plots"

Time for the Iranian press's greatest hit!
Secretary-General of Iran's High Council of Human Rights Mohammad Javad Larijani warned of the plots hatched by the enemies to harm the younger Iranian generation, but meantime, expressed the confidence that the Iranian nation will be able to stand against and defuse all enemy plots.

"The enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to deceit our country's youths and teenagers through cultural invasion and propaganda campaign," Larijani said on Friday evening.

However, Larijani stressed that the Iranian nation has always thwarted enemies' hegemonic plots and conspiracies through insightfulness, awareness and vigilance.

"Western countries and enemies are not able to dominate Iran. They do not have the ability to do so," Larijani underscored.

Iranian officials have always called on the Iranian nation to preserve unity in a bid to thwart the plots hatched by the enemies against the Islamic establishment. [...]
And this blog was there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fars (Iran): Muslim Brotherhood figure affirms "necessity . . . to annihilate this cancerous tumor (Israel)"

The guy looks and sounds pretty carcinomic himself:
A senior member of the Egyptian al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) party said the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are pressuring Cairo into giving up resumption of ties with Iran.

Speaking to FNA, former spokesman of Muslim Brotherhood Kamal al-Halbawi called on Iran and Egypt "to take the necessary steps" to get rid of such problems and hurdles placed by their opponents to impede resumption of their ties.

He reminded the friendly and age-old relations between Iranian and Egyptian nations, and called for faster diplomatic activities between the two sides.

"The Egyptian nation supports and welcomes Iran's anti-Zionist stance because the two nations view formation of the Zionist regime on the Palestinian territories as a brutal act and against the interests of the regional nations and Muslims," Halbawi noted.

"Both nations underline the necessity for Muslim nations to maintain solidarity and unity to annihilate this cancerous tumor (Israel)," he reiterated. [...]
Doesn't sound good. If only Juan Cole were here to explain what it means. (h/t: IMRA)

Mehr (Iran): Great news! "Guardian Council pledges to prevent infiltration of outsiders"

Just a little two-sentence article, but it speaks volumes. No "eclectic beliefs"!
In a statement released on the anniversary of the establishment of the Guardian Council and ahead of the parliamentary elections in March 2012, the council announced on Wednesday that it will do its utmost to prevent infiltration of outsiders and elements who have anti-Islamic views, or hold eclectic beliefs, into the Iranian government.

The Guardian Council is a constitutionally-mandated 12-member council which is charged with interpreting the Constitution, supervising elections, and approving presidential and parliamentary candidates.
Only approved candidates will do . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In North Korea "drama has reached the highest level"

Who needs Shakespeare now that Songun Korea is producing dramas "perfect in ideological and artistic value"?
General Secretary Kim Jong Il enjoyed drama "We Will Recollect Today" newly created by the National Theatrical Troupe.

The drama depicts the indomitable mental power and ardent patriotism displayed by the people of a mountainous county in the drive to implement the policy of the WPK on building medium- and small-scale hydraulic power stations during the arduous march.

He was greatly satisfied with the fact that the creators and artistes of the troupe produced an excellent drama perfect in ideological and artistic value meeting the aesthetic tastes in the era of Songun by preserving and fully applying to creative activities the Juche-based theory of drama established in creating the five revolutionary dramas. He highly appreciated the success made in the performance and extended special thanks to them on behalf of the general secretary of the WPK and the chairman of the NDC of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.

Noting that the drama has reached the highest level not only in ideological value but in all the elements of representation, he added that it is the greatest masterpiece as it makes a profound philosophical clarification of the memory of the faith and will, not conjuring up the memory of sorrow. He repeatedly said this is flawless in all aspects ranging from establishing human relations to dramaturgy, stage decor, music effect and acting and another monumental masterpiece representing the literature and arts in the era of Songun.

He met with playwriter Kim Hung Gi and director Jang Chan Guk and highly praised them for creating such great work, wishing them success in their future creative work.

The revolutionary dramas of the DPRK serve as powerful ideological weapons for preparing all the members of society as revolutionaries of Juche type and transforming them as required by the Juche idea for their high ideological and artistic value meeting the need and aspiration of the new era, he noted, underlining the need to intensify the performing activities to show them to larger audiences. [...]
It is a well-known fact that North Koreans are often physically stunted. We can now appreciate that this was a clever plan for fitting large audiences into small spaces.

12-13 Tammuz

Thursday and Friday are 12-13 Tammuz this year, the anniversary of the liberation of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn from Soviet prison in 1927. The survival of traditional Jewish observance, at least as an underground movement, is largely due to the work of the Rebbe and his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak possessed considerable literary gifts, and the diary he wrote recording his brutal treatment at the hands of the GPU (the precursor organization to the KGB) makes gripping reading. For many, the Rebbe's miraculous release is the turning point in the ultimately successful struggle to keep Yiddishkeit alive in the Soviet "Empire of Evil."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mehr (Iran): "Hudna and return to 1967 borders, best path forward for Palestine"

Hamas has put some public-relations effort into promoting the idea that land-for-Hudna is an acceptable substitute for peace. Here the Iranian press adopts this idea, and as is usually the case with Hamas, ends up admitting that peace isn't anywhere in the picture:
The Palestine crisis has been intensifying day by day, mainly because of the intransigence of the Israelis.

Israel, with the full support of the United States, has been trying to undermine the efforts of Hamas and Fatah to reach a reconciliation deal.

Making matters worse, there is a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy to stifle the voice of the Palestinians in the international arena.

But a new international movement has taken up the cause of the Palestinians, and some of its members have taken the UN track and are calling for a vote to be held at the UN General Assembly to recognize the statehood of Palestine based on the borders before the Six-Day War of 1967.

Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook is making strenuous efforts to convince the international community to vote for a UN resolution that would put a Palestinian independent state on the map. [...]

. . . Hamas insists that it must maintain its position to avoid falling into a “trap” set by the Zionist regime and the United States.

The Hamas stance is that all of Palestine must be liberated.

However, Hamas has said they are ready to accept a hudna (temporary truce) with the Israelis.

Thus, the Hamas call for a hudna should be incorporated into the talks for the establishment of two states based on the 1967 borders. This would be the best path to take.
Anything Iran approves of has to be the sure path to peace . . .

(North) Korean News: Chavez "accused the dissident groups and other tricksters of harboring a foolish expectation."

(North) Korean News has lately been running more articles about regimes it approves of, such as Iran and Venezuela. Usually the full-blast Songun rhetoric is reserved for Korea itself, but in this case Chavez's opponents are called "tricksters":
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias dismissed rumors about a reshuffle at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

As regards the rumor floated by opposition media, he assured the public that the vice-president and all other cabinet ministers would stay in their offices.

He accused the dissident groups and other tricksters of harboring a foolish expectation.
Shouldn't that be "harboring foolish expectation"? Indefinite articles are for Imperialists!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Angry Arab's Agony

A movie featuring--horrors!--a philharmonic orchestra from the Zionist entity--say it isn't so!
There is a movie coming soon to our theaters: a film--an actual film--of a performance of Israeli philharmonic orchestra. I could not believe it when I saw the trailer in the theater. Who would produce a movie of a philharmonic orchestra of any country. There are not even films of philharmonic orchestras of THE US DAMN IT. What is this insane and obsessive love affair with things Israeli in this country?? I mean, if this was the Austrian or German philharmonic orchestras, I would have understood, but Israel's??? Why Israel's?? What is next? A feature film about potatoes in Israel??
It's called "Kartoffel Felafel." And you know who controls the Cannes Film Festival . . .

Dear Leader povides field guidance to Lemurs and Chimpanzees

They are making a great scurry forward:
Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, provided field guidance to the Central Zoo.

Going round the lemur and chimpanzee sheds, animal and fur seal playing grounds and other places of the zoo, he acquainted himself in detail with its management and operation.

He highly praised the officials and employees of the zoo for arranging the animal sheds to suite the ecological characteristics of wild animals and actively contributing to providing working people and school youth and students with cultural and emotional life.

He was greatly satisfied to hear a report that people are spending pleasant rest while seeing varieties of skills of animals.

He underlined the need to spruce up the zoo well as befitting an education center to help visitors widen knowledge about animals and nurture the spirit of socialist patriotism, not mere a sightseeing place, and thus actively contribute to the rest and education of visitors including school youth and students. [...]
In related primate education news:
Head of Iran's Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli says the country will send its domestically-built Kavoshgar 5 explorer into space in the near future.

“Kavoshgar 5, which is carrying a living creature, will be sent 120 kilometers (74.56 miles) into space below the orbit in July-August,” ISNA quoted Fazeli as saying.

“Now five monkeys are being trained so that they can [learn to] withstand the physical pressures produced by the orbital pace of the explorer, sound, vibration and other elements at the time of launching,” he added. [...]
They'll have good job prospects after retiring from the space program.

Update: The latest Haveil Havalim is actively contributing to providing working people and school youth and students with cultural and emotional life.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Iran: Supreme Leader trying to be more supreme

According to Amir Taheri:
[...] "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei, who has had to share power with different presidents and parliaments since 1989, now believes that he is in a position to seize exclusive control.

The split caused within the ruling establishment by the disputed presidential election of 2009 has served Khamenei's ambitions. By decreeing that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election, even before the official publication of the results, Khamenei made it clear that it was he, not the voting public, who chose the president.

Khamenei's move gave Ahmadinejad the presidency but deprived it of much of its legitimacy and authority. In his second-term, Ahmadinejad has been a politically wounded and vulnerable president, a far cry from his first term when he pretended to be the darling of the "poor masses" who had supposedly brought him to power.

Since 2009, Khamenei has used his office to put the focus on "Walayat al-Faqih" or rule by the theologian, a pseudo-religious concoction designed in 1979 to concentrate power in the hands of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini.

However, Khamenei has not been satisfied even with that. He has encouraged his cronies to launch the idea of "Walayat al-Faqih al-mutlaqah" or "Absolute rule by the theologian." [...]
Taheri thinks, however, that Mr. Supreme might be over-reaching:
Khamenei's aim is to produce a Majlis controlled exclusively by his own faction. This means depriving factions linked to Rafsanjani and Khatami of the 100 or so seats they hold in the 290-seat Majlis.

Attempts by Khatami and Rafsanjani to prevent a total purge of their factions by seeking a deal with Khamenei appear to have failed. [...]

Having robbed Ahmadinejad of legitimacy, Khamenei then moved to deprive the president of constitutional power. The "Supreme Guide" vetoed the president's choices of ministers and publicly ordered him to drop some of his key policies.

Worse still, a number of Ahmadinejad's close associates, friends and family members have been sent to prison on dubious charges of "spreading wrong beliefs" and "corrupt practices."

Years ago, Khatami had complained that, in the Khomeinist system, the president was no more than an "operative." Now, Khamenei is trying to reduce the president to a mere puppet.

Ahmadinejad, however, is no Khatami and might not agree to go down without a fight. [...]
Taheri could be right, but it sounds as if he is looking on the bright side. Iran is obviously progressing in a more straightforwardly dictatorial direction. Taheri thinks that "the elephant in the room" is that "the Iranian people . . . might not welcome the imposition of absolutism at a time that the rest of the Middle East is moving towards pluralism." We'll see.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Fars (Iran): "Commander Stresses IRGC's Ability to Target All US Vessels, Bases in Region"

Our favorite Holocaust-denying regime is crowing about further progress in its ongoing arms build-up:
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the US fleets of warships are no longer a threat to Iran since the IRGC now enjoys the capability to hit all US vessels and bases in the region.

"These vessels (US navy ships) are no longer a threat to us given the (desirable) level of our military capabilities," Hajizadeh told reporters in a press conference on the achievements of the IRGC's recent missile drills, codenamed "Payambar-e Azam (The Great Messenger) 6".

"A large (aircraft) carrier with a length of 330 meters, 7o meters width, 6,000 forces and 70-80 aircraft aboard is an easy target for us, and if they want to threaten us, we will attack them" the commander added, but at the same time underlined that "Iran will never initiate a war".

He also underlined Iran's missile capabilities, and stated that about 70% of the US bases in the region are maximum 300 to 400 kilometers away from Iran, meaning that all of them are within the scope of the IRGC's short and mid-range missiles.

Hajizadeh further stressed that the enemy cannot track or intercept the Iranian anti-ship and anti-vessel missiles since they are supersonic.

"… our coast-to-sea missiles traverse at supersonic speeds, of course this technology is own by a very few number of states," he explained.

In February, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari announced that the IRGC has started mass-production of a recently-developed smart anti-ship ballistic missile. [...]
According to another Fars headline: "IRGC Succeeds in Hitting Targets in Indian Ocean from Northern Iran":
A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced the successful test-firing of Iran's long-range missiles, saying that the IRGC has succeeded in targeting vessels in the Indian Ocean from a location in Iran's Northern province of Semnan.

Speaking to reporters, Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the test of long-range missiles was conducted in February.

"In Bahman of the last (Iranian) year (January 21- February 20) two IRGC long-range missiles with a range of 1,900km were fired from a region in Semnan province at specified targets in the entrance of the Indian Ocean," Hajizadeh announced.

The commander said that the test was conducted at a time when American forces were also present in the region, and added, "Of course, we had declared that we were having drills in the area and we had closed that specific.

"We even allowed the US spy planes to be present in the region, although they never made an announcement about this issue," he continued. [...]
Nice of them. And just as a reminder of the paranoia that accompanies this military build-up, according to another Fars headline, "Arrogant Powers Seeking to Fabricate Islamic Notions":
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday said arrogant powers are deeply fearful of the spread of Islamic thoughts in the world and are, thus, striving to change the nature Islam and the meaning of Islamic concepts.

"They believe that Islam is moving rapidly and that they should harness it," Larijani said on Saturday, adding that arrogant powers fear the spread of Islam and believe that Islam and Islamic thoughts have spread beyond their perceived levels and boundaries.

"The western intellectuals believe that Islam has influenced the Islamic nations' social and political life and caused independence, honor and Jihadi thoughts in Islamic states," he added.

Larijani underlined that the western countries are seeking to control the spread of Islam through different plots and conspiracies, and mentioned that after the September 11 events they sought to change the nature of religion and religious notions and concepts. [...]

Since the 9-11 incident, Washington and its main allies have sought hard to misrepresent Islam through the fanatic practice and picture of fabricated Islamic notions staged by such CIA-created and CIA-backed terrorist groups as the Al-Qaeda.
And, of course, the guy across the street with the Obama/Biden bumper-sticker believes the same thing. It doesn't look good for the world arrogance . . . (The above photo accompanies the "Indian Ocean" story)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mehr (Iran): "Muslims can control world’s economy through strategic bottlenecks"

If this is just about blocking sea-passages, what is all this business about "superior geopolitical, geostrategic and geo-economic conditions"?
Former IRGC commander said on Wednesday that Muslim countries can dominate the world’s economy through strategic bottlenecks.

Major General Yahya Safavi stated that the Islamic countries are located on both sides of these strategic bottlenecks, which “we call unavoidable passages,” and that their superior geopolitical, geostrategic and geo-economic conditions have provided them with best opportunities.

“About 80 percent of the world’s trade is done through maritime navigation and the ships have to pass through these strategic bottlenecks,” he noted.

“The same case is true even with military issues,” he said, adding that during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. dispatched over 200,000 troops to Iraq through the sea and through the very same strategic waterways.

He went on to say that the United States claims it has the world’s best army, while the main part of its military and power lies in its Navy.

Thus, this feature has made the U.S. vulnerable to Muslim nations, thanks to the Islamic countries’ control over the strategic waterways.
We also learn today at Mehr that "Ahmadinejad opposes separation of sexes at universities":
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written separate letters to Science, Research, and Technology Minister Kamran Daneshju and Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, urging them to take measures necessary to prevent the implementation of the plan to separate the classes of male and female students at universities.

He also described the plan as “unwise”.

The president also called on both ministries to refrain from indiscriminate retiring of university professors until the relevant bylaw is ratified.
And then proceed with all the indiscriminate retiring?

BBC coverage of the Hamas hairdresser arrest

A male women's hairdresser, as you may know already, was recently arrested in the Gaza strip. The BBC article is accompanied by a picture of heavily made-up female eyes looking through the slit above a face-veil. The caption reads "Hamas argues it is enforcing a law supported by most of the population in Gaza." Some version of the same idea, that Hamas is only giving the Muslim Gazans what they want, appears about once every three paragraphs (which, in typical BBC style, is almost exactly the same thing as once every three sentences):
The Hamas government in Gaza has begun enforcing a law introduced last year banning men from cutting women's hair.

Until now, the law had not been enforced, but this week at least one male hairdresser in Gaza was arrested.

Male hairdressers for women are regarded by many Muslims as against Islamic tradition.

The move is seen as an attempt to bolster Hamas's Islamic credentials against critics who say it has become too moderate.

[The next part of the article follows the caption in bold (single quotes in original): 'Undercover police']

The reality is in Gaza - with its huge Muslim majority - most women do not want to have their hair cut by men.

Nevertheless a few salons have clung on, where male hairdressers work.

This week they are sitting idle outside their shops, fearful of arrest if they step inside.

Adnan Barakat, a hairdresser with 27 years experience, said: "Without work, I am like a dead man, because I am without work. The salon cannot work without me. This is my work since 1984. I haven't another work. What can I do?"

Others, like Mr Barakat, complain they are being watched by undercover police.

Hamas argues it is only enforcing a law that the majority of people here want.
I could just call this "bias" and go on to the next subject, but some of the details of the article--and the over-all story itself, of course--make Hamas look quite oppressive. The hairdresser himself comes across fairly sympathetically in the nearest thing the article has to an actual paragraph. What seems to be going on is the strange, almost neurotically obsessive, attempt at balance one often sees in the contemporary media. Gaza, of course, does have a "huge Muslim majority," but the exact meaning of that statement has to do with the ratio of Muslims to non-Muslims, not with the really interesting question: the ratio of hard-core Islamists to people who are also Muslims but who might prefer, to varying degrees, more separation of Mosque and state.

Who are those "critics" who aver that Hamas "has become too moderate"? Salafists? If Hamas is modifying its approach in response to that criticism, does that mean the Salafists have some clout? (Remember Haniyeh's statement after the killing of Bin Laden?) And if Hamas is just giving the people what they want, maybe its election victory had less to do with Fatah corruption than we are often told? Doesn't this all have implications for the "peace process"? And aren't these matters all a bit obvious? So why, finally, does the BBC appear, not exactly biased, but in the grips of a sort of paralysis in the face of a story such as this one?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Gimmel Tammuz

Today, the 3d of Tammuz, is the anniversary of the passing of the contemproary Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Jewish leader who inspired more people to return to traditional Jewish observance than any other contemporary Jewish leader. has a special section for this occasion. You might find this account of a young Rabbi's meeting with the Rebbe worthwhile. If you are into chess, you might enjoy this. You might also want to see what is going on at your local Chabad house or Chabad center, probably some free event that involves inspiration and vodka.

Motorcyclist killed by evil mandatory helmet law

You may have seen this story:
A New York man died Sunday while participating in a ride with 550 other motorcyclists to protest the state's mandatory helmet law.

Police said Philip A. Contos, 55, hit his brakes and his motorcycle fishtailed. Contos was sent over the handlebars of his 1983 Harley Davidson and hit his head on the pavement.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital. [...]
If the point of riding without a helmet was to protest the helmet-law, then without the law he might have been wearing a helmet? Libertarianism doesn't have anything to do with not using safety equipment, right?

Arab demographic bomb a dud?

We are constantly hearing that the Arab population on the West Bank is so fertile that it threatens to create an Arab majority in the unit made up of "green-line" Israel and the West Bank. We hear also, from time to time, that it is not true. Here is an example of the view that the demographic sky is not falling:
Today, our leaders are . . . burdened with a concept that distorts their policy determinations, which they cannot overcome despite the empirical evidence shattering it.

This time the concept rests in the field of demography, namely that the Arab total fertility rate (TFR) is much higher than and even a multiple of the Jewish TFR.

The Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS) has just published the latest in a series of studies by Yakov Faitelson on demographic developments. This study, available in full at and based on the empirical data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, shows that Jewish TFR is steadily rising, while the Arab TFR is plummeting. [...]
Whoever is right about the birthrates, there is always also the factor of people making aliyah. We don't know what the rate of aliyah is going to be in the future. The rest of the J-post article is worth reading.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Ethan Bronner goes for a sail on "Gaza's Sea of Spin," ends up in shallow waters

He presents a good deal of editorializing from various sources while striking a detached pose. The opening paragraph gives a good taste of the muddle to follow:
SOME see a parallel with the Exodus, the ship filled with Jewish refugees that tried to break the British blockade of Palestine in 1947 and helped sway world opinion toward Zionism. Others are struck by the insistence on transporting basic aid — food and cement — when it is no longer needed. Still others note the way the Israeli authorities portray the organizers as violent Islamists when most are middle-aged European pacifists.
"Middle-aged European pacifists" who are doing the bidding of "violent Islamists." So how do "pacifists" find themselves in that role? We aren't going to get much insight from Bronner although there is an occasional flash of realism:
The Turkish group I.H.H., which helps sponsor the flotillas, has ties to Hamas, and Israeli and Western concern that violence could occur if the flotilla sets sail does not seem far-fetched, despite the organizers’ vows to the contrary.
That followed a paragraph about how "Mendacity has already reared its head" in the form of false claim on a You Tube video that a gay activist was denied permission to participate in the flotilla. The paragraph ends with reasons for suspecting the Israeli government was behind the deception. Yep, everybody's spinnin'. Is there a reality beneath the spin? Would it be a very bad thing, and not just for Israel, for Gaza to successfully duplicate Hezbollah's missile arsenal? Isn't the blockade the reason it did not happen yet? Is it really plausible that those "middle-aged European pacifists" don't understand what they are doing? There is no point in negating spin without some serious analysis to replace it.

"Venezuelan Figures": "Syria will overcome the international and regional conspiracy plotted by the Zionists and Imperialism"

As Syria sinks below the horizon, the light of propaganda still shines. And we have a treat for you today: this propaganda features special Venezuelan guests!
Speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly Fernando Soto Rojas on Friday expressed his confidence that Syria will overcome the international and regional conspiracy plotted by the Zionists and Imperialism.

In the opening speech of the solidarity forum held under the title 'Imperialism Targets Syria', Rojas hailed the role of the Syrian people in confronting the conspiracy through adherence to national unity.

For his part, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Temir Porras said that Syria is facing an international and regional conspiracy that aims at restoring imperial influence through financing terrorist groups supported by money and media.

Porras hailed the Syrian firm stance and the will of the Syrians who stood by their President, stressing that Syria is able to deal with and overcome the conspiracy.
As we also learn at SANA today, "Huge Support Rallies Continue as Thousands Take to Streets Condemning Plot Targeting Syria":
Huge support rallies all over Syrian governorates continue in support of the reform program and condemnation of the conspiracy targeting Syria.

Thousands of residents of al-Bab city in Aleppo countryside and surrounding villages took to the street on Saturday to express their support to comprehensive reform program led by President Bashar al-Assad and Syria's firm principled stances condemning misleading campaigns targeting Syria's unity and stability.

The participants headed for the homeland tent which was held in one of public squares, chanting national slogans that stress their rejection of all forms of plots and malicious propaganda which some are trying to broadcast among people. [...]
They won't stand for any propaganda . . .

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fars News (Iran): "Cleric Stresses Spread of Islamic Revolution to US, Europe"

In which we learn (again) that "growing waves of Iran's Islamic Revolution . . . are now spreading to the European continent and the US." What would be an example of that? We learn at the end that "the European nations . . . have fully surrendered to the US and the Zionists' cultural and economic policies." Enough stalling--time to read the thing:
Tehran's provisional Friday Prayers Leader Hojjatoleslam Kazzem Sediqi underlined that the growing waves of Iran's Islamic Revolution which have swept the Middle-East and North Africa are now spreading to the European continent and the US.

"The Islamic Revolution (of Iran), featured by confronting the US and defeating the arrogance over the past 32 years, has not only spread to the region but also reached Europe and the US now," said Hojjatoleslam Sediqi in his second sermon to large groups of Friday prayers worshipers in Tehran University campus.

He said the movements, originating from the Islamic Revolution of Iran, are getting universalized.

Earlier, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had stressed that the European continent will soon experience popular uprisings and revolutions sweeping the Middle-East and North of Africa at present.

Addressing a large number of Iranian teachers and university professors here in Tehran in May, Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that the growing wave of Islamic awakening in the Middle-East, North Africa and other parts of the Muslim world has been inspired by Iran's Islamic Revolution, and said this awakening will definitely spread to the European countries.

"This awakening move will certainly advance to the very heart of the Europe and the European nations will rise against their politicians and rulers who have fully surrendered to the US and the Zionists' cultural and economic policies," he said.
I just want to know how we merited to figure so prominently in their worldview.