Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Text of the North Korean "Joint New Year Editorial" is available--they still aren't prosperous

The "Joint New Year Editorial" is an annual event in North Korean propaganda. The current one is especially interesting because North Koreans have a new supreme leader. North Korean propaganda has interesting methods for avoiding the admission that they never saw any actual prosperity under the last Dear Leader. For example:
The great Kim Jong Il was an outstanding ideologist and theoretician, peerless veteran statesman and brilliant Songun commander who led the revolutionary cause of Juche along the road of victory by dint of his profound ideas and theories and unexcelled leadership, and a great patriot and the benevolent father of the people, who dedicated his revolutionary life entirely to his country and his people. Thanks to his leadership our nation has greeted a golden age of its prosperity unprecedented in its 5 000-year-long history . . .
Hmm, North Korea "greeted" prosperity? Does that mean it actually experienced it? Later we read
Today we are confident in saying that we, with a great pride in being a victor, are at the epochal point of opening the gates of a thriving country . . . As Kim Jong Un, a peerlessly brilliant commander, is leading our revolution in the van and the powerful revolutionary army and people united single-heartedly support faithfully their guide, the Workers' Party of Korea, the revolutionary cause of Juche is sure to emerge victorious. The advance of our revolution that started on Mt. Paektu will continue without interruption as a vigorous march towards the victorious Songun revolution, towards prosperity.
But they aren't actually prosperous now? The text of this thing is long, so I won't try to comment on everything of interest. Reuters noted the reference to people acting as "human shields" to protect Kim III. Readers of this blog should be familiar with that sort of rhetoric. The editorial is mostly like that: the same old propaganda in a currently interesting context.

PIJ: "Palestinian combatants now have the means to create horror and panic in Israel" (Fars News-Iran)

According to this, the "means to create horror and panic in Israel" involves "new missiles":
A spokesman of Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, warned the Zionist regime of Israel against launching a fresh invasion of the Gaza Strip, and stressed that any Israeli aggression will be met with a crushing response.

"The Resistance will give a crushing response to any invasion, while it will be able to target Israel's strategic sites with its new missiles that it used to be unable to threaten," Abu Ahmed told FNA.

"If Israel decides to implement its new warmongering threats of a new aggression against Gaza, it should expect a strong response from the Palestinian Resistance," Abu Ahmed reiterated, adding that the Palestinian combatants now have the means to create horror and panic in Israel.

He further reiterated that Palestinian resistance groups are entitled to the right to use all their forces and possibilities to defend their country and people against Israeli aggressions.

The remarks by the Islamic Jihad's spokesman came after Israeli officials intensified their war rhetoric against Palestinians.

Almost three years after the Israeli regime's massive attack on the Gaza strip, a Tel Aviv official has again threatened to launch another war on the blockaded region, describing the move as "a war of necessity for Israel".

Referring to the military plan as a "swift and painful" war, chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. General Benny Gantz, also claimed that the measure was "not a matter of choice, but a war of necessity" for Tel Aviv.
That sounds true.

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Syrian Opposition Leader Urges Officials to Take Rigid Action to Free Abducted Iranians" (Fars News-Iran)

I guess they were looking for a word like "rigorous":
A senior Syrian opposition leader condemned abduction of five Iranian engineers by unknown gunmen in Homs city last week, and urged the country's officials to take swift and serious action to set them free.

"We demand Homs officials to use all their possibilities to set the Iranian engineers free because they have come to Syria to aid our country with progress and development," Syrian Parliament Member and Leader of the 'Third Movement' Opposition Party Mohammad Habash told FNA in Damascus on Friday.

The opposition leader further underlined that the Iranian nationals have been abducted for political motives, specially for impairing Iran-Syria alliance.

"…those behind the kidnapping intend to pressure the ruling system (in Damascus) and make Iranians feel scared of their alliance with Syria", he said, but meantime underlined, "I don't think that such a thing could bring their illusions into reality and harm Iran and Syria's alliance."

He reminded Iran and Syria's strategic alliance against the Zionist regime of Israel, and said no one can harm the Islamic Resistance against the Zionist regime through such measures. [...]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

France loots soda drinkers

From Der Spiegel:
For French residents fond of sugary drinks like Coca Cola, life is about to get more expensive. The country's top constitutional body, the Constitutional Council, approved a new soda tax on Wednesday. The tax, which works out at about 1 euro cent per container, is part of austerity measures passed in France to combat the debt crisis, and is expected to generate around €120 million ($156 million) in revenue for the government.

In its decision approving the legislation, the Constitutional Council said that while it didn't believe the government was imposing the tax only to promote health and combat obesity, it also didn't see any unfair disadvantages for a specific product group in the legislation.

The "cola tax," as people are calling it in France, will now go into effect on Jan. 1. French media are reporting that most companies will raise the tax money by increasing their price per drink. Industry sources have told newspapers that soft drink prices could increase by as much as 35 percent. [...]

"Leader's Top Aide Lauds Syria as Main Arm of Resistance against Israel" (Fars News-Iran)

In which we learn that the "chain of resistance" includes "the new Iraqi government":
Senior Advisor of the Iranian Supreme Leader for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati praised Syria's resistance against enemies' plots and conspiracies, and said certain states are striving hard to weaken Damascus as a main arm of resistance against the Zionist regime.

"The chain of resistance against Israel by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the new Iraqi government and Hamas passes through the Syrian highway," Velayati said, addressing a conference in Isfahan city dubbed 'Islamic Awakening and the Role of Universities' on Thursday.

"Syria is the golden ring of the chain of resistance against Israel," he added.

Velayati also reiterated that any possible problem which leads to the collapse of Syria will be a blow to the aforementioned countries and resistance groups as well.

Many political analysts had earlier warned about the enemies' attempts to create problems in Syria for its resistance against the US and the Zionist regime.

"Enemies intend to weaken Syria to cut this main arm of resistance in the region, but they will certainly fail in their efforts," Secretary-General of Lebanon's Al-Tauhid Al-Arabi Party Wiam Wahab said in November.

Also in the same month, a senior figure of the Lebanese Hezbollah Movement had praised the resistance and wisdom shown by Syria against the US plots and schemes.

A conspiracy is underway against Syria but the country has powerfully resisted the US plots, Head of Hezbollah Sharia Board Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek said.

Yazbek further referred to the popular uprisings in the Arab and Islamic states in recent months, and added that Arab Spring means spring of resistance and uniting efforts against the US plots.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hamas rats leave sinking Syria

Of course, what replaces Assad could be worse. Cheerful thought, right?
Alarmed by bloody unrest in Syria, the Hamas militant group has pulled out many of its lower-level cadres from its Damascus headquarters and made contingency plans to move its leadership to locations across the Middle East, senior Hamas members have told The Associated Press.

The Hamas members say the group remains appreciative of Syrian leader Bashar Assad and there is no immediate intention to abandon their base in Damascus. But they confirmed that dozens of low and midlevel members have already left Syria as the security situation grows increasingly precarious. [...]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What is the significance of the 8th day of Chanukah?

The eighth day especially embodies the significance of the entire festival. See here.

"The Zionist regime's decision to announce Quds as the capital of the Jewish government is the result of the Zionists' racist prejudice" (Fars-Iran)

More about the "judaization of the holy city." I hear the Greeks are Hellenizing Athens:
The Mufti of Al Quds, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, blasted Israel for its claim on Quds city, and warned about the judaization of the holy city by the Zionist regime.

"The Zionist regime's decision to announce Quds as the capital of the Jewish government is the result of the Zionists' racist prejudice," Sheikh Akrameh Sabri told FNA on Tuesday.

He underlined the responsibility of the Arab and Islamic governments for preventing the implementation of such dangerous decisions, and said, "We want them not to leave us alone."

Sabri stressed that the Zionist regime is misusing the opportunity created by the Islamic Awakening uprisings in the Middle-Eastern and North African countries to promote its plots for Judaizing the Quds city, building more settlements and destroying the houses of the Palestinians while Arab states are busy with their own internal problems.

In light of the Arab and Muslim world's passive stance, the Zionist regime takes any action it wants very freely and breaks sanctuaries and Judaizes the Quds city without being questioned by the international community.

Palestinian officials had also earlier warned that the Israeli Quds municipality continued to Judaize East Quds (Jerusalem) through the renaming of Arab street names and monuments in the city.

As part of what the municipality calls "infrastructure restoration and area development", authorities fenced off areas around the city's historic Damascus Gate to do name and landscape changes as part of the Judaizing of the city.

"Camp David has been annulled and has no more credit and value" (Fars News-Iran)

You may have seen headlines that state that Al-Nour will maintain the peace treaty with Israel. Don't count on it.
Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent Egyptian political figure and the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, cautioned that the US is doing whatever it can within its possibilities to stop the revolutionary Egypt from annulling Camp David Accord specially now that Islamist parties are coming to power in Egypt.

Speaking to FNA, pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said that the future of the Camp David Accord has been the focus of meetings between Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and Washington.

"The negotiations were completely secrete and confidential," ElBaradei said.

"What the supreme military council said was that the talks were about bilateral and mutual relations, but I believe that Americans wanted to ensure that the deals signed between Egypt and Israel will remain intact if Islamists ascend to power," ElBaradei stated.

The two main Islamic parties in the Egypt, which won majority of votes in the recent parliamentary elections in the country, have voiced their opposition to Cairo-Tel Aviv ties.

Speaking to FNA in Cairo on Saturday, spokesman of the Salafi al-Nour party rejected reports about a meeting between the party's leaders and Israel's ambassador to Egypt, and described the reports as smear campaign to defame the Islamist party.

"Al-Nour party can in no way ignore the Arab nations and Arab world's rights and the restoration of these rights is an unchangeable principle of the party," Nader Bakar said.

"Al-Nour is against the establishment of any relations with the Zionist regime," he stated.

The spokesman underlined that his party would certainly strive to change the Camp David Accord in the interests of Egyptian nation.

The Salafi al-Nour is among the two main Islamist parties that won a majority of votes in both the first the second rounds of Egypt's parliamentary. It has won 20% of ballots.

Early in December, a senior member of the Egyptian Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) party underlined the necessity for revising Camp David Accord between Cairo and Tel Aviv, describing the pact as "cruel".

"It is natural that after the victory of the revolution many things and issues should be studied and dealt with," Kamal al-Halbawi told FNA at the time.

"Hence, the issue of revising the Camp David Accord will also be in the list of the top priorities of (Egypt's new) officials to be studied in its appropriate time," he added.

Also, former Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian territories Gamal Mazloum had told FNA that Egypt should take action to boost its forces in the Sinai Desert and make a formal request to correct and modify the Camp David Accord.

Since the Zionist regime has several times breached the Camp David Accord, Egypt should use its power and increase its military presence in the Sinai Desert if the Israeli regime rejects a willing modification of Camp David, he said in October.

Another leading Egyptian political activist had also underlined the necessity of revisions in the Camp David Accord between Cairo and Tel Aviv, stressing that the deal is no more valid.

"Camp David has been annulled and has no more credit and value," member of Egypt's National Association for Change George Ishaq told FNA in Cairo in September.
As Camp David goes, so goes the whole concept of land-for-peace.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Students manufacture amateur surveillance drone" (IRNA-Iran)

What's an "electric jet engine"?
Students of Islamic Azad University in the city of Heris, East Azarbaijan province built amateur surveillance drone with electric jet engine, IRNA reported on Monday.

Head of the technical team involved in manufacturing the drone Nasser Nazari Heris said in the ceremony to unveil the aircraft that it has been designed for 35 minutes reconnaissance mission at night.

He said that the aircraft is ultra-light working with two electric jet engines and is capable of flying with one engine.

Nazari Heris said in the meantime that it took four months to design and manufacture the drone.

Teammate Reza Danandeh said that the drone is capable of flying at maximum speed of 250 km and minimum 50 km per hour.

It can fly a distance of 10 km and operates at an altitude of 9,000 feet. The aircraft can transmit online scanning of the area to database on the ground.
In other drone news, according to a Mehr headline, "Decoding drones not beyond Iran’s capabilities: defense minister":
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi has said that Iran has very high capabilities in the area of defense, particularly in decoding unmanned aircraft.

Vahidi made the remarks during a televised interview broadcast live on Jaam-e-Jam TV network on Sunday night.

“Islamic Iran has very high capabilities in all areas of defense, (including) employing drones and decoding them, electronic warfare and anti-electronic warfare as well as countering covert wars against the Islamic Republic of Iran and by itself has achieved such a level of success under the most difficult circumstances and (under) comprehensive sanctions. Therefore, it will easily enhance (its capabilities) and maintain them,” he said. [...]

"Kim Jong Un, identical to Kim Jong Il, is the popular tender-hearted father and the sun of the destiny" (Korean News)

The cult of personality rolls on:
Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, has personified the love shown by leader Kim Jong Il for the people.

On December 24, all the servicepersons and people were deeply touched by the warm love shown by Kim Jong Un.

He earnestly instructed the officials to provide the people with convenience on a top-priority basis under any circumstances so that they might not be affected while mourning the demise of Kim Jong Il day and night in profound grief.

He underscored the need to take thorough healthcare measures for the people missing Kim Jong Il very much and falling into a swoon. And he told officials to console the mourners on the spot, offering them warm water.

Yesterday Kim Jong Un made sure that fresh fishes were supplied to every family in Pyongyang in reflection of Kim Jong Il's warm love for people and today he took a special step for meeting people's interests and providing the best conveniences to them on a top-priority basis under any circumstances.

Kim Jong Un, identical to Kim Jong Il, is the popular tender-hearted father and the sun of the destiny as he is the man the people will follow to the end of the earth.

Kim Jong Il is always with us.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jeffrey Goldberg asks "Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?"

He groups "responses" into "predictable" and "less predictable." The predictable responses are "panic and rationalization." The rationalizers rationalize
that the Muslim Brothers and even the Salafists are not the bogeymen we think they are. Scratch a Muslim Brother, the argument goes, and you’ll find the Middle Eastern analog of a European Christian Democrat.
So why is the other side characterized as "panic" rather than disinclination to rationalize? The "less predictable" responses involve "analytical humility"--we don't know what is going to happen--and "fatalism: What will happen in the Middle East is going to happen." Ok, but was the Arab Spring a "Victory for Extremism"? It looks that way now. Few would have a problem characterizing the Al-Nour Party as "extremist" if not for the fact that it just did well in elections. Goldberg is correct that we don't know what the Middle East will look like after "the next 10 (or 20 or 30) years"--actually I'm quoting part of a sentence that predicts that in the end Arabs will turn to "a type of liberal democracy informed by faith, but without the intolerance associated with fundamentalism," but I liked the sound of "analytical humility." Let's just say that extremism's stock is up at the moment. Way up.

Update: The latest Haveil Havalim is probably a victory of some sort. Other recent editions of HH here and here.

"Iranian President Condoles with North Korea over Kim Jung Il's Demise" (Fars News)

Iran's relationship with North Korea is mentioned less frequently in the Iranian Press than its relationship with other "independent" countries. I was wondering if I was even going to see mention of Kim Jong Il's death. This one even features a picture of Ahmadinejad, not looking too anguished, but maybe pensive:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in separate messages extended his condolences to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea over the death of the country's former leader Kim Jung Il.

In two separate messages to the DPRK's new Leader Kim Jong Un and President of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) Presidium KIM Yong Nam, the Iranian president extended his condolences over the recent demise of Jong Un's father and leader of North Korea Kim Jung Il.

Also in his message, Ahmadinejad wished welfare and success for the Korean nation and government.

Earlier, Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani had also offered his condolences to the DPRK officials and nation on Jung Il's death. [...]

The snowman go-eth

More post-Kim offerings from the Korean News site. Are rice balls good with cognac?
[...] Looking back on world history, there were many statesmen who advocated patriotism and dedication. But, no one has ever made such total dedication with a pure and true mind like snow.

It was only Kim Jong Il who made his life shine like snow.

He worked hard day and night, having uncomfortable sleep and taking rice-balls. He was the first to greet dawn like a man in his twenties. Seeing his dedication in tears, the people would ask him to stop making any more journeys along snow-covered roads in cold weather and sitting up all night. Hearing this, he said he considered it as his pleasure and his routine to do so and continued his journeys despite strong wind and snow and spent nights full of enthusiasm.

Who is the last laughter? No one in the world can beat the man ready to die. With such pluck and gut Kim Jong Il made trips to inspect the front and give field guidance to factories and co-op farms, providing a bright prospect for building a thriving nation. [...]

"‘Deviant’ current aptly named: MP" (Mehr News)

Here is a fascinating glimpse into current Iranian politics. Often the Iranian press doesn't admit the existence of anything but complete support for the government among the Iranian people unless it is some sort of foreign plot:
MP Mohammad Dehghan has said that the deviant current deserves to be called “deviant” for a number of reasons.

Dehghan, who is a member of the Majlis Presiding Board, made the remarks in an interview with the Mehr News Agency published on Saturday, in which he enumerated six negative characteristics of the current.

He said, “The deviant current does not regard the principle of velayat-e faqih (rule of the supreme jurisprudent) as their point of reference in regard to their political and social activities.”

Dehghan added, “The current’s claims of being in contact with Imam Mahdi (AS) prove their departure from Shia beliefs.”

He also said that the relationship of the groups’ members with actresses who do not observe hijab (Islamic dress code) properly and who do not believe in Islamic values is another proof of their deviation.

The stance that the current’s associates have adopted toward Iran’s relations with the United States goes against the guidelines set by the late Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dehqan said.

He added, “The deviant current seriously believes in normalizing relations with the United States. The leaders of this current are under the illusion that they should join the U.S. in managing the world, and the first result of such a belief would be the recognition of the U.S. hegemony in the world.”

“On regional uprisings, the deviant current believes that Islamic uprisings have been organized with the support of the U.S. and therefore regards supporting the people of the region as supporting the United States. To this day, they have not acknowledged that (these) uprisings are popular and Islamic in nature, and when they were compelled to use the term ‘Islamic awakening’, they introduced (the concept of) ‘human awakening’,” he stated.

“The deviation of this current has been proven to all revolutionary and Islamic intellectuals,” he said, adding, “The departure of these people from the principles of the revolution, the system, the noble Islam, and the clergy has led them to be called ‘deviant’.”

Dehqan also said that those who have not yet waken up to the danger posed by this current have poor understanding of the political and social realities on the ground.

Fars News Agency "Invites World Cartoonists to Int'l Wall Street Downfall Cartoon Festival"

The solidarity between OWS and the Khomeinists is unshakeable!
Fars News Agency plans to hold an international cartoon festival on the Occupy Wall Street movement in a bid to help people in the United States take their message out to the world.

Despite the attempts made by the US media and statesmen to portray it as an unimportant development, the Anti-Capitalism Occupy Wall Street Movement has gradually grown so wide that it cannot be harnessed by the US administration any more. Now the US administration can suppress people by the help of its security forces, but it no doubt will be unable to root out this movement, and one day, the roots of this movement will grow so deep and so wide that it will topple the West's and the United States' capitalist system.

A way to help the Occupy Wall Street Protests stay alive is releasing artworks, specially cartoons and satirical works, around this movement. Cartoonists can portray their critical and vigilant views in one work through their artistic delicacy and present it to thousands, meaning that the message carried by hours of speech or lengthy pages of an article can be presented to people in one single picture.

'The International Cartoon Festival of Wall Street Downfall' is an opportunity for artists from around the world to display their works in support of the American and European protesters and all others who have been victimized by poverty, corruption and discrimination.

Festival Topic:
The Anti-Capitalism Occupy Wall Street Movement

Each participant can send a maximum number of 7 works

Please attach your name and surname, postal address, contact numbers and E-mail in a file in Word Format to your works.

All works should be 1500 pixels (200 dpi) in length and width at minimum

All participants will be presented with a copy of the Festival's Book of Selected Artworks

Winners Prize:

Top Artist Prize: 5000 euro + diploma and festival statue
Second Winner:4000 euro + diploma and festival statue
Third Winner: 3000 euro + diploma and festival statue
4th to 10th Winners: Each 500 euro + diploma and festival statue
Diplomas for 70 finalists
A Special Prize, including 500 euro, for the selected artist from the viewpoint of our internet visitors [...]
Carlos Latuff should do well.

Billy Graham mourns Kim Jong Il?

According to (North) Korean News:
U.S. Rev. Billy Graham, Rev. Franklin Graham who is president of Samaritan's Purse, a non-governmental organization, and Robert Springs, president of Global Resource Services, a non-governmental organization, and his wife Babara Springs sent a floral basket and wreath to the DPRK permanent mission at U.N. Wednesday on the demise of leader Kim Jong Il.

Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico State, requested the U.S. government to express condolences over the demise of Kim Jong Il.

He in a Tuesday TV show including ABC TV said the U.S. government should express official condolences to the DPRK.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Assad losing control as 10,000 soldiers desert Syrian military" (Ha'aretz)

The next dictator to make his exit?
According to Western intelligence agencies, even though the top brass is still loyal to President Bashar Assad, lower-level officers are deserting in large numbers, and in some cases, whole units have deserted en masse. [...]
And maybe some of the top brass are leaving also. According to Arutz7:
A Syrian opposition group reported on Wednesday that a senior officer in the Syrian army has defected.

The group claimed that the officer is General Mustafa al-Sheikh, commander of the Syrian army’s chemical warfare unit. It was also reported that he fled to Turkey.

Angry Arab: "Arab Jews are part of the landscape"

I'm Ashkenazi myself, but I'm sure the Arab Jews have some suggestions for what he can do with that "landscape":
I read that Munsif Marzuqi called on Tunisian Jews to return to Tunisia. Many Arabs wrote to me in protest. I do support his call. We should call on all Arab Jews to return to their original lands. In fact, such call could easily cut the Israeli population by half, but the intentions are moral. Arab Jews are part of the landscape and they should not have been driven out (mostly by Zionists and in some cases by intolerance).
"Mostly by Zionists," eh? Here is a blog you might want to follow on a regular basis.

"Iran Can Make Drones More Advanced than RQ-170" (Fars News-Iran)

In which we learn of Iran's "giant advancement in electronics":
Former Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Electronic Warfare Division Ali Asqar Zare'i stressed Iran's giant advancement in electronics, and said the country can and will make drones much better and more advanced than the US RQ-170 Sentinel that it downed on December 4.

Zare'i who is now a member of the Iranian parliament pointed to the hues and cries made by the US after Iran brought down the US stealth drone, and said, "Americans want to wage a propaganda campaign to make the world believe that if Iran gains any progress in this field (drone technology) it has been learnt from the (downed) drone."

"That is not true. In fact our drone industries is right now not much behind this plane technically," Zareii noted.

"Today the stealth technology has been indigenized in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We have a radar-evading plane which enjoys a home grown and fully stealth technology and has been tested by the most precise systems and can continue flying for tens of hours," the commander said, adding that the US officials should wait and see how Iranian experts make a drone much more advanced than the American RQ-170 Sentinel.

"In response to Mr. Obama's demand for the return of this plane, I recommend the Americans to be patient a bit since God willing our friends will manufacture a drone more advanced than the US RQ-170 Sentinel soon and then they can come and buy it to regain their morale and stop their (present) feeling that they are loosing everything," the former IRGC Electronic Warfare commander said. [...]
That's really giant of him . . .

Kim Jong Un emerges as . . . um . . . whatever

Whatever it is that we are supposed to know about dictators, we don't know it about Kim Jong Un. A current buzzword about Kim Jong Il is "unknowable." And that is after decades of public prominence and a giant cult of personality. The young Kim has seemingly achieved a great leap forward in unknowableness. This captures it pretty well:
According to various press analyses, the new leader is either a bumbling naïf or a clever, multilingual operator who’s already formed alliances with key generals. He will either push market reforms or preserve the status quo. He will reach out to the West or step up confrontation or do neither.

Here’s the real answer: We really don’t know much of anything. [...]
What does North Korea's news agency tell us about the Great Successor?
[...] Standing in the van of the Korean revolution at present is General Kim Jong Un, the great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche and outstanding leader of the Party, the army and the people.

He is the eternally immovable mental mainstay of the Korean people. [...]
"Eternally immovable mental mainstay"? Hmm. Not nimble on his feet like his father? In any event, Reuters evidently has an infallible informant who informs us that the Young General is going to rule, not by himself, but as part of a military junta. If that's true, that counts as an actual development. And if not, oh well, nobody ever said unknowability was good for journalism.

"Cuba Proclaims Period of Mourning for Demise of Kim Jong Il" (Korean News)

It's a sad time for Cuba:
A mourning period of three days was proclaimed in Cuba over the demise of leader Kim Jong Il.

On Monday, the Council of State of Cuba announced the days from Dec. 20 to 22 as an official period of mourning over the demise of Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission.

Flags will be hoisted at half-mast at public buildings and military institutions of Cuba in the period.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kim Jong Un "tortured small animals" as a child? (WS Journal)

Just giving them field guidance:
[...] The portrait of Kim Jong Eun that emerges in his U.S. profile is that of a young man who, despite years of education in the West, is steeped in his father's cult of personality and may be even more mercurial and merciless, officials said.

A senior U.S. official said intelligence analysts believe, for instance, that Kim Jung Eun "tortured small animals" when he was a youth. "He has a violent streak and that's worrisome," a senior U.S. official said, summing up the U.S. assessments. [...]

Monday, December 19, 2011

"We Are under Respected Kim Jong Un"

Western news agencies are wondering if the relatively untested Kim Jong Un will be able to successfully take over the reins of power. Silly Imperialists!
[...] Kim Jong Il passed away to our sorrow before seeing the victory in the drive for building a thriving nation, his great desire, but we are under respected Kim Jong Un identical to him.

Kim Jong Un's leadership provides a sure guarantee for successfully carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Juche through generations, the cause which was started by the President and led by Kim Jong Il to victory".

Kim Nam Il, 36, teacher of Wonsan University of Fisheries, vowed to eternally hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem and defend and glorify his undying revolutionary feats, united close around Kim Jong Un.

The army and people of the DPRK will weather the present difficulties by overcoming sorrow and displaying fresh strength and courage and struggle more staunchly for the great victory of the Juche revolution under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.
According to one article I saw, Kim Jong Un already has diabetes, just like his father.

"Pyongyangites Call Kim Jong Il in Chocking [sic] Voices"

The English section of the (North) Korean News site finally has content related to the Songun bucket-kicking of the Dear Leader. Here is a particularly maudlin example:

"General, don't go!"

"General has not passed away."

"General, our father!"

These are the voices of grief heard from among all Pyongyangites, young and old, men and women, at the sad news of demise of leader Kim Jong Il which came like a bolt from the blue.

The statues of President Kim Il Sung in various places of the DPRK including Kim Il Sung University and the Pyongyang Students and Children's Palace and the mosaics depicting Kim Jong Il are visited by an endless crowd of citizens.

They are shedding bitter tears, their knees on the ground, as they courageously weathered out stern adversities, trusting him only and holding him in high esteem as the sun of destiny and father.

They are getting the paved stones drenched with tears, feeling so regrettable as they can no longer see him whose smile was as broad as sunshine.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Leap Backwards--A Kim Jong Il Retrospective III

[This one was called "Kim Jong Il, genius of music and arts"--May 23, 2010]

Can you imagine what his musical "field-guidance" must have been like? "Rule number one: All songs must be about me!"
The musical anecdotage "General Kim Jong Il and Songs" (second volume) was recently published by the Art and Literature Publishing House.

The five-part book contains 126 musical anecdotes about General Secretary Kim Jong Il's energetic guidance over the work of music and arts.

Part 1 carries episodes in him who provided tireless guidance to make sure that such songs praising the revolutionary life, undying exploits and noble personality of President Kim Il Sung as "Cantata to Marshal Kim Il Sung", "We Live in the Embrace of the Leader" and "Leader, the Night Is Far Advanced" resounded forth.

Part 2 deals with historic episodes which were told in the days when songs calling for devotedly defending the leader and songs praising the country, loved by our army and people, were created and disseminated under the far-reaching plan and energetic leadership of Kim Jong Il.

Part 3 carries touching episodes saying that Kim Jong Il, genius of music and arts, developed the Juche-oriented music and arts onto a new higher stage suited to the emotion of the era and the thinking and sentiments of the Korean people.

Parts 4 and 5 deal with moving stories telling that he wisely guided the work to make every song created in the era of Songun a powerful weapon encouraging the revolutionary cause of Juche to victory and a solemn march for the building of a great prosperous and powerful nation and that he showed profound trust and warm love for the creators and artistes.
The latest Haveil Havalim is "a powerful weapon encouraging the revolutionary cause of Juche to victory."

Great Leap Backwards--A Kim Jong Il Retrospective II

[This one was called "the flood-victims directed attention to protecting the portraits of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il than their families"--September 8, 2007]

Remember the story about the lady who got burnt trying to protect slogan-bearing trees from fire? This one is called "Spirit of Defending Leader with Very Life Displayed in Flood-hit Areas":
The recent unprecedented heavy rains triggered off flood and landslide in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, causing heavy human and material losses.

But the flood-victims directed attention to protecting the portraits of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il than their families.

The torrential rains on August 9 submerged the township area of Hoeyang County. Over a thousand families there were evacuated to safety places. They came there, carrying not their properties but the portraits of the President and the leader.

Students of Koksan County School for Agricultural Skilled Workers and people in the county defended the picture of smiling President from the downpour.

Ri Chun Hwa, a worker of the Changdo County Clothing Factory, brought over 1,500 books carrying the images of the great men of Mt. Paektu, from the County Publication Circulation Office to a safe place through torrents of water at the risk of her life.

Many people including People's Security officer Choe Myong Gil in Ichon County and teacher of Ichon Middle School No. 1 Hwang Myong Ok rushed in public buildings and dwelling houses without hesitation to save portraits, realizing that they would soon crumble.

Among such people are peasant of the Jongdong Co-op Farm in Phyonggang County Cha Hyang Mi who handed over portraits to rescuers and went to the bottom of the torrent water, peasant of the same farm Pak Jong Ryol who lost his wife and child by landslide but saved the portraits and worker of the Ichon Foodstuff Factory Kang Hyong Gwon who firmly took portraits in his hands in flood though his five-year-old daughter slipped down from his back.
Oh no . . . no . . .
After the flood, corpses were dug out of the silt. Found out in their bosom were portraits wrapped with vinyl sheets to prevent them from being spoiled by water.

It is the just outlook on life of the Korean people to enjoy their existence, dignity and happiness in the effort for defending the leader at the cost of their lives.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Great Leap Backwards--A Kim Jong Il Retrospective I

[This post was originally titled "Of Slogan-bearing Trees and Infinite Happiness"--December 22, 2005]

More from the N. Korean News. I know, I know, I do this too much. This one is a minor masterpiece:
Pyongyang, December 21 (KCNA) -- Leader Kim Jong Il received a letter on Dec. 19 from Kim Yong Ok, a lecturer of the room for the education of servicepersons through trees bearing slogans at the navy unit 153 of the Korean People's Army, who got burnt while sacrificingly protecting slogan-bearing trees on Mujae Hill a few years ago. She returned home after being given medical treatment in a foreign country thanks to the benevolent solicitude of Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il personally met Kim Yong Ok during his field inspection on Dec. 10, 2004. Seeing the scar of a burn on her face and hands, he took a benevolent step for restoring her face and hands at a best hospital of the world . . .
Recalling the unforgettable days when she felt the warm loving care of Kim Jong Il, she presented a letter to him who had her restored as a most beautiful flower in the Songun era at the expense of much money.
And that isn't even the letter:
She said in the letter:
Seeing us being hospitalized at the highest class room for nearly one year with payment of a fabulous medical fee under the peculiar expectation and concern of the country, even doctors, who had treated only rich men of different countries at the world's famous orthopedic hospital, repeatedly asked me that they were really a daughter and sons of workers and farmers and families of servicepersons. I loudly answered that I am a daughter of Kim Jong Il. I told doctors and foreigners that I had given up marriage after getting burn as a girl, that the whole country gave me medical treatment and helped me get married to a navy officer and that Kim Jong Il told officials to send me to the most famous hospital in the world to restore my face and hands. Deeply moved to hear me, they said that Kim Jong Il is best in the world, socialism of Korea is best and you are his daughter living in blessings. When I told them that Kim Jong Il is the sun in the sky and the future of Korea under the shining sun is always rosy and bright, they stood up to clap, shouting "Kim Jong Il-Sun!" and "Sun-Kim Jong Il!"
Wouldn't anybody! The article concludes:
In the letter she expressed her firm determination to convey to all the people and servicepersons the legendary story of love shown by Kim Jong Il to her as a wife of an officer and make her debut on the stage of the 9th contest of art groups of families of servicepersons to loudly sing of the infinite happiness of being a member of families of his servicepersons.
"Kim Jong Il-Sun!" "Sun-Kim Jong Il!"

Kim Jong Il kicks the Songun bucket and makes the last great leap forward

He's gone to the great Hungnam Fertilizer Complex in the sky. He's giving field guidance at the morgue in the spirit of Mt. Paektu. Come to think of it, what is Mt. Paektu doing now? Erupting in sorrow?
Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69.

Kim's death was announced Monday by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media. [...]
Is this the end of Juche-oriented blogging? Or will North Koreans rally around the headquarters of the revolution in the spirit of devotedly defending the leader, Young General Kim Jong-Un? Stay tuned, Imperialists . . .

"Iran does not need China, Russia for inverse engineering, says MP" (ISNA-Iran)

I'm surprised they admit to any interest in reverse-engineering the drone. Why do they need US technology?
-The Head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran's Parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the country does not need China and Russia for inverse engineering's technology.

As to the rumors on handing the U.S. spy drone to Russia and China for inverse engineering, Boroujerdi said, “As it was announced we are amongst the rare countries and even the second one capable of producing drone and even we ourselves can best make use of the U.S. new technology.”

He said Iran has gained power in this regard after the end of the imposed war.

As to the probable exchange of the drone with Russia for receiving S-300 missile system, he stressed, “Russians are indebted to us on the issue of S-300. They have not fulfilled their promises based on an official agreement, now they should either act based on the contents of the agreement or pay for its losses.”

He noted, “Aggression against Iran’s air space violates the international convention, though Iran has succeeded in confronting the air space violation.”

Boroujerdi stressed, “The U.S. should bear all the consequences of its spy drone violation of Iran’s air space and it should know that Iran definitely would not return the drone.”
According to another ISNA headline: "Iran designs several models of drones":
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Saturday the country has designed several models of drones.

He added, "Iranian armed forces have managed to make progress in designing unmanned crafts. Iran has designed drones with high power, preciseness and detection capabilities and the drones are being developed inside the country."

Also regarding threats against Iran, Vahidi said, "Threats on aggression against Iranian border by the US and Zionist regime is rooted in weakness of international organizations which were created and controlled by them." [...]
Such as the UN?

Hezbollah deals drugs to deal with cash-flow problems (Ynet)

Ynet reports that according to a Le Figaro article "based on information obtained by French intelligence agencies," sanctions against Iran and Assad's problems are hurting Hezbollah's financing. Of course, those Khomeinist scamps are nothing if not resourceful:
Le Figaro said the financial crisis has led some Hezbollah terrorists to deal drugs in north Lebanon. Just last week US prosecutors indicted a Lebanese national who they said led a massive international drug smuggling ring with links to Hezbollah.

"Hamas Reiterates Armed Resistance against Israel" (Fars News-Iran)

Hamas continues to make effective use of its two faces:
The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, would never give up armed resistance against the Zionist regime of Israel, a Hamas official said, rejecting reports that the group has accepted to end its armed struggle against the Israeli regime.

According to Palestinian media reports, Salah al-Bardwil, a member of Hamas Political Bureau rejected the claims raised in some western media about an agreement between Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas about ending armed campaign against the Israeli regime.

Western media have quoted Abbas as saying that Fatah and Hamas had agreed during their reconciliation talks on giving up military resistance to stand against the Zionist regime only through "peaceful popular resistance".

"Hamas is against giving up armed resistance," Bardwil stated, and added, "This issue has not been raised during the negotiations between Hamas and Fatah."

He reiterated that popular resistance is a priority for the Palestinians, but it does not at all mean that armed resistance should end.

Another senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan had earlier said that armed resistance remains a strategic option for Palestinians, while affirming that popular action was also an integral part of challenging Israel's policies.

Radwan told Ma'an news agency that "all aspects of resistance are open and permissible and open to us". [...]

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Student health threatened by LA school-district "healthy" lunches

The health-food wimp menace has started threatening our children!
[...] For many students, L.A. Unified's trailblazing introduction of healthful school lunches has been a flop. Earlier this year, the district got rid of chocolate and strawberry milk, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, nachos and other food high in fat, sugar and sodium. Instead, district chefs concocted such healthful alternatives as vegetarian curries and tamales, quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles.

There's just one problem: Many of the meals are being rejected en masse. Participation in the school lunch program has dropped by thousands of students. Principals report massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away. Students are ditching lunch, and some say they're suffering from headaches, stomach pains and even anemia. At many campuses, an underground market for chips, candy, fast-food burgers and other taboo fare is thriving.
But will it be able to save all those kids from anemia? Maybe it won't have to. The articled continues:
Acknowledging the complaints, L.A. Unified's food services director, Dennis Barrett, announced this month that the menu would be revised. Hamburgers will be offered daily. [...]
I hope there's meat in those burgers . . .

"Iran builds remote control semi-smart submarine" (ISNA-Iran)

Just a bauble:
Iranian scientists built a remote control semi-smart submarine with the speed of 10 nuts per second.

The submarine dubbed "Phoenix" can move with the speed of 10 nuts per second under water and 12 nuts in second on water. It also enjoys pleasing appearance. Camera can be installed on the submarine as well.
More evidence that Iranian press agencies also get help from North Korea.

"Syria Mufti warns of Zionists' plot to divide Egypt" (IRIB-Iran)

He looks worried:
Syria’s Grand Mufti, Ahmad Hassoun, warned Egypt on Wednesday against “an Israeli plot to divide Egypt like the way Sudan was divided.”

In an interview with the Kuwait-based Al-Rai newspaper, Hassoun said the gangs in Syria killed his son because he refused to join the plot.
Other Iranian Press headlines include one from PressTV proclaiming "Russia will stop any attack against Iran" although the person interviewed is identified as "an independent military expert." In another interview-based article (with video), PressTV also informs us "US turning into burgeoning police state."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"UK Queen begged Tehran for ties" (PressTV-Iran)

Zohreh Elahian, in case you don't follow these things so closely, is female:
A senior Iranian lawmaker has revealed that Britain's Queen Elizabeth II “begged” Tehran to maintain ties with London after Iran's Majlis voted to downgrade ties with the country.

“After Iran's Majlis approved a bill to downgrade ties with the UK, the office of [Britain's] Queen [Elizabeth II] contacted some of the Iranian officials and begged for the continuation of relations with Britain,” Head of Iran Majlis (parliament) Human Rights Sub-committee, Zohreh Elahian was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying on Thursday. [...]
I wonder if there is any truth to this at all. Maybe the Queen got modestly involved in the diplomatic process at some point? It is hard to judge from this article, which is supposed to mean that Iran is scoring lots of glory and grandeur points presently.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Where are you"--a story for Yud Tes Kislev

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes," replied the minister.

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"US must apologize instead of requesting" (IRIB-Iran)

No, don't say the word "apologize"! Don't give Obama any bright ideas . . .
The United States must offer apology to the Islamic Republic of Iran over the intrusion of the Iranian airspace by one of its spy drone (landed by IRI experts last week) instead of asking for the return of the landed drone, Spokesman of the IRI Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday.

The spokesman also called the US request a “forward escape tactic”.

It seems that US President Barack Obama has forgotten that the United States has violated Iran's airspace and engaged in an intrusive spying operation as well as interfering in the nation's internal affairs, which are all in violation of international law, Mr. Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly press conference.

The US needs to understand that what it has done in violating the Iranian airspace is a sort of measure that can threaten global peace and security, he added.

In an apparent forward escape tactic, Obama has pleaded for the return of the spy drone rather than making an official apology and admitting to the intrusive violation of Iran's sovereignty, the Iranian spokesperson pointed out.

Mr. Mehmanparast emphasized that the US must accept responsibility for intruding into Iran's airspace and the ensuing consequences of such abusive conduct. [...]

Actual Fars News headline: "Obama Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane"

This was completely predictable:
US President Obama is hoping that the Iranian government is in a Christmas mood because he has asked Tehran to send him his Christmas present back.

We are still wondering how he shamelessly asked Tehran to give the US back the stealth drone which had violated the Iranian airspace for espionage.

"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said following a meeting at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Obama's comments were the first official confirmation that the United States had asked for the return of the RQ-70 drone that was downed by Iran over a week ago.

During the last ten days, Pentagon and State Department officials have repeatedly said they were unaware of any efforts by the American government to contact Iran to have the drone returned to the US.

Speaking later in the afternoon US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was doubtful the US would get its "equipment" back.

"Given Iran's behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply," she said during a press conference with her British counterpart. [...]
I hope that demonstrates her gift for understatement, but I don't hope for much from this administration.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Occupy protestors failed to be as much of a nuisance as they planned to be

I happened to be driving in the vicinity of Long Beach today. I was glad the rain was good for something:
Reporting from Oakland, Seattle and Long Beach—Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters blocked access to several major West Coast ports Monday in synchronized demonstrations that slowed business but fell short of what some protesters hoped would be a complete shutdown of coastal shipping.

The protests stretched from San Diego to Anchorage, brought work to a standstill in Oakland and Longview, Wash., and led to the closure of a major marine terminal in Portland, Ore. Demonstrators caused smaller disruptions in Seattle and in Long Beach, where a driving rain and threats of arrest put a damper on an early morning picket line. [...]
Rain is pretty infrequent here in Southern California. The Earth disapproved?

Newt fails to make a distinction

I'm not endorsing what Newt said, but it is fun looking at all the not-so-dazzlingly-well-informed responses he is garnishing. Case in point, Michael Kinsley in an article entitled "Palestinians Will Invent a State Next":
Newt also isn’t completely off the wall in describing the situation as a struggle “between a civilian democracy that obeys the rule of law and a group of terrorists that are firing missiles every day.” If he had thought a bit before opening his trap, Gingrich might have wanted to distinguish between the Palestinian Authority, which rules in the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls Gaza . . . Hamas is the one firing missiles. [...]
Here is a sentence from today's Maan News:
The Ayman Juda Brigades, a sub-division of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing two homemade projectiles at an Israeli military post in the southern Gaza Strip.
Fatah is, of course, the main "faction" of the PA/PLO. This isn't, as they say, rocket science.

LoonWatch explains the prevalence of suicide bombing

Today the LoonWatch blog, the scourge of Islamophobes everywhere, explains something I had been wondering about:
Some Americans wonder why there are so many Muslim suicide bombers. Well, they don’t have drones, which are the American equivalent of suicide bombers. Drones have the added benefit that they can be operated without fear of any personal harm.
Hmmm, drones are "the American equivalent of suicide bombers." "Equivalent" in what way? Don't ask me, but I will say this: this little comparison doesn't seem to place much emphasis, at any rate, on the suicide part of suicide bombing. Keep working on this one, guys.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dr. Ismail Zayid tells Kim Peterson "who the Palestinians are"

More Gingrich fallout: According to Peterson, "Dr. Ismail Zayid, who was born in Palestine, responded to me a few years ago on the topic of who the Palestinians are":
The Palestinian people of today are the direct descendents of the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jebusites and other Arab tribes that lived in this land, of historic Palestine, since history began . . .

The Israelis are not the original inhabitants of Palestine. They came as invaders. The land of Palestine, because of its geographic location, was exposed, throughout history, to a variety of invaders including the Hebrew tribes, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Turks and the British and finally the Israelis of today. The Hebrew tribes [The Israelites], as invaders have no more legitimate claim to this land than the Greeks, Romans, Turks etc. If conquering invaders, in occupation for a period of time, have any legitimate claim to a territory or country, then the Romans should claim England as their land, and the Arabs should claim Spain as their land, and so on. [...]
Is that a claim that "the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jebusites" were all Arab? And who does he think got invaded by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans?

"Message from Iran: Tell All Americans We Love Them" (LoonWatch)

LoonWatch is a website with a mission: to expose Islamophobia. A current post tries to combat the image of Iran promoted by the "corporate media":
Iran is portrayed in the Western media as a country run by fanatical, bloodthirsty Mullahs, ruling in concert with the often outrageous President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As for the Iranian people, angry mobs are often shown in the streets, burning American flags and shouting “Death to America!”

No wonder it is easy to convince Americans that Iranians are consumed by hatred . . .
The "fanatical, bloodthirsty Mullahs" are presented merely as a projection of "Western Media" and the only thing admitted to be "often outrageous" is Ahmadinjad himself--and not only that, we've transitioned to whole new topic: how ordinary Iranians feel about Americans. They "adore" them, we learn, and this post has the anecdotes to back up that generalization.

OK, but what about those Mullahs? What are they really like, anyway? We learn later
. . .the late Ayatollah Khomeini dubbed America the Great Satan, a term that has been co-opted ever since by Islamophobes determined to portray Iranian leaders as hateful and irrational.
Wait a minute--they aren't "hateful and irrational"? Pay no attention to all those loony and hostile articles at IRIB, ISNA, PressTV, Fars News, and Mehr News? Well, for some reason, we learn that Iranians hate their government anyway. But we shouldn't get carried away:
As much as Iranians despise their current regime and adore Americans on a personal level, they are united in the opposition to foreign intervention. If the US attacks Iran, Iranians will rally around the flag.
And how do the good folks at LoonWatch know this? All that appears necessary to establish the imperative of using nothing but diplomacy on Iran is a Nicholas Kristof editorial. Ah, I thought I saw that "friendly Iranian" meme somewhere before! The folks at LoonWatch appear to be very prolific. By the time you follow the link and look at the rest of this little masterpiece, it will be buried under a whole slew of new posts. Watch out, Loons of the world: you're being watched.

"Muslim Brotherhood to review Camp David treaty" (IRIB-Iran)

Iran is happy and the image accompanying the article somehow conveys their feelings perfectly. Even we imperialist world-arrogance types can appreciate the fact that the tear goes right through the image of Jimmy Carter:
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said that the country's peace treaty with the Zionist regime needs re-evaluation by the country's new parliament, in press remarks by a senior member of the group published Friday.

"A long time has passed since the Camp David accord was signed, and like the other agreements it needs to be reviewed, and this is in the hands of the parliament," said Mahmoud Hussein, the group's secretary-general, according to DPA.

He denied a report saying that the Muslim Brotherhood had reached an understanding with the United States and the Zionist regime on "the importance of safeguarding the peace treaty with Israel." [...]

Another ideologically flawless performance

Where else but North Korea?
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, enjoyed a performance given by the art squad of KPA Large Combined Unit 324.

Put on the stage were colorful numbers of diverse genres including female quintet "Glory to Our Great Party", male solo "Tell, the Road of Songun," guitar quintet "At a Breath," drama and chorus "They Are Looking at Us," mixed chorus "Our Army, Our People", female solo "Arirang on Jiansanfeng" and chorus "Song of Defending Country".

The performers represented the invincible might of the powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu which has grown to be a matchless army and the loyalty of the servicepersons of the People's Army serving it with yearning for the Supreme Commander.

They also reflected the ideological and moral traits of the servicepersons of the large combined unit spending days and nights with combat preparations, following the enemies' provocative moves with vigilance.

He expressed great satisfaction over the splendid performance rich in ideological contents and high in artistry with numbers of great cognitional and educational value as they truthfully reflect the inexhaustible mental power and noble moral traits of the KPA dynamically advancing full of optimism and enthusiasm, equipped with transparent outlook on the leader and the revolution. He highly appreciated their successful performance.

He repeatedly praised the performers for their successful presentation, saying he watched the performances of the art squad of the large combined units several times and the one given by it this time was the best. He extended a warm salute to creators and artistes.

He noted the members of the art squad are high in artistic skills and the numbers staged by them are firm in their ideological stand and their contents are good as they are firmly based on the service of the soldiers.

He expressed expectation and conviction that the members of the art squad of the large combined unit would conduct dynamic revolutionary and militant art agitation in the future, too.
So I'm assured of endless blogfodder.

Juan Cole: Palestinians "were mentioned by the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians"

Was Gingrich's statement that Palestinians are "invented" actually a clever ruse to make leftists and Palestinians spout nonsense? Here is Juan Cole on the ancient roots of the Palestinians:
Gingrich said that there had never been a Palestinian state in history. If you want to play the romantic nationalist game of finding ancient forebears for modern nations, it would be easy in the case of the Palestinians, who were mentioned by the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. But today’s Palestinians are equally descended from the ancient Canaanites and as well as from the ancient Jews.
The bit about the "Egyptians and Assyrians" involves a trick I've noted before: conflating the modern-day Palestinians with the people who are usually referred to in English as the Philistines. Do the Palestinians really want to be identified with polytheistic enemies of the monotheistic ancient Hebrews? And what is the evidence for the assertion in the sentence about the "ancient Canaanites" and "ancient Hebrews"? Need something to blog about? See the rest of Juan's post for more half-truths and nonsense.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Iranian computer game--"Attack on Tel Aviv"

It doesn't actually exist yet if I am following this correctly:
Iranian computer game programmers will soon release "Attack on Tel Aviv" in a retaliatory move against "Battlefield 3" videogame which depicts a US assault on Tehran.

Speaking to FNA on Saturday, Executive-Manager of Iran's National Foundation of Computer Games Behrooz Minaei told FNA that the foundation will fund the project, and announced that many Iranian computer game programmers have voiced preparedness to contribute a role in the project.

Minaei said that Battlefield 3 has many technical and video faults, adding that the location of the game in Tehran is "unacceptable".

He said that Iran has sent letters to the US videogame company, Electronic Arts (EA), and voiced its protest at the latest version of Battlefield, but the opposite side has not yet responded to the letter.

In November, Iran banned the computer game, depicting US amour and aircraft launching an assault on Tehran.

"All computer stores are prohibited from selling this illegal game," Iran's deputy police chief said.

A Tehran-based IT union warned all shops to abide by the ban. [...]
No matter who offends them, the "retaliation" is always against Israel.

PA spokesman lectures Newt Gingrich about "basic historical facts" while spouting ahistorical nonsense

Gingrich, as you may have heard, referred to the Palestinians as "invented." I try to avoid that sort of rhetoric myself, but this reponse features some nice unintended irony:
"The Palestinian people descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites that inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem as early as 3200 B.C.E.," [Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dimitri] Diliani said. The "Gingrich remarks are ignorant of the basic historical facts of the Middle East."

Great News! "Hamas sets up rocket production line in Sinai"

That didn't take long. From J-Post:
Hamas has established forward bases and rocket production facilities in the Sinai Peninsula in an effort to protect them from Israeli air strikes, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

By establishing the facilities in Egypt, Hamas aims to protect its assets since it believes Israel will not strike targets inside Egypt due to the affect it would have on bilateral relations. [...]

"If the United States' spy drone . . . had been a jet fighter, we would have hit all the US military bases throughout the world" (Fars News-Iran)

But next time, however, "If another US spy plane violates the Iranian airspace, we will give a frightening response to the Americans." There is a bit of bluster to Iran's military rhetoric, isn't there?
If the United States' spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces in the Eastern parts of the country had been a jet fighter, we would have hit all the US military bases throughout the world, a senior Iranian lawmaker warned on Friday.

"If this had been a fighter jet, the conditions would have been different now as we would have pounded all the US military bases on the planet," Vice-Chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmayeel Kowsari told FNA.

"We have repeatedly said and we caution again that in case our country's borders are violated, we will not confine our response to geographical borders," he added.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv. It has also warned that in case of an attack by either the US or Israel, it will target 32 American bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormoz.

The MP further said that Iran proved to the world that the US is not an invincible power after it downed the highly sophisticated drone through hacking its systems.

The legislator rapped the international bodies for their silence on the case, and warned, "If another US spy plane violates the Iranian airspace, we will give a frightening response to the Americans."

Iran announced on Sunday that its defense forces had downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyber attack.

The drone is the first such loss by the US. US officials have described the loss of the aircraft in Iran as a setback and a fatal blow to the stealth drone program. [...]
"Fatal"? So there won't be a "stealth drone program" any more?

Friday, December 09, 2011

"Iran: Britain will atone for its inappropriate behavior" (ISNA-Iran)

And, we learn, it has a century of imappropriate behavior to atone for:
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Saturday Britain would atone for its inappropriate behavior towards Iranian nation over last century.

He made the remarks at Tehran international Mehrabad Airport where he was joining the welcoming ceremony for staffs of Iranian embassy in Britain who heft the European country Friday night.

"British officials felt humiliation after Iranian Parliament passed a bill to downgrade relations, so they took a hasty measure to overshadow the bill," he told reporters.

"They want to represent Iran as a threat. They claim that Iran is the element of instability and insecurity in the region. They accuse Iran of terrorist actions."

They prepared the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Chief on Iranian nuclear issue in such a way which raises concerns over Iranian nuclear issue. They are seeking discord between us and other regional countries."

Also deputy ambassador of Iranian embassy in the UK, said, "Iranian embassy staffs left Britain with official British officials' send-off despite all pressures." [...]

"The Jews are the ideas that now prevails everywhere": Conspiracy Theories from the Muslim Brotherhood

The auto-translation is very garbled in places, but you get the idea. From
Jewish conspiracy continues

Unfinished plots Judaism at an end attempts to assassinate the Prophet peace be upon him, but took Liedson and hatching in the dark; They were behind the murder plot Commander of the Faithful Omar ibn al-Khattab, and sedition overwhelming that broke out during the reign of the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan at the hands of Abdullah Ibn Saba the Jew, and then followed it up to broadcast the seeds of strife and discord and conflict, and divide the nation into warring groups; Shias and the Kharijites and Qaramita and others.

Continued Jewish conspiracy in the black covert action through their associations suspicious, all lead to one goal, is to renounce religion and put and call to non-religious; Kalasmaeilih and the Ahmadiyya and the esoteric.

Today causing a treachery by secret societies to undermine Islam; Balmasonah and Rotary Clubs and the Baha'i .. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Mohamed Hussein: "The invitations destructive was wearing a dress of humanity and compassion and love of peace and harmony, they are many; Kalmasonah and communism, spiritual, and call for reconciliation between religions and between Islam and Christianity in particular," they went out to the world slogans glamorous; all lead to the destruction of Islam and destroy it.

And confirms the Sheikh Mohammed Abu Zahra (may Allah have mercy on him) their deception today, saying: "What I thought - as well as more Almason - that their association puppet Zionist purely not only Jewish, seeks the Jews by their influence to restore the glory of Zion, and the meaning of the glory of Zion disarmament of Palestine and its Judaization, a king to the Arabs for three centuries and a half. "

We will not forget their destructive

We will not forget the Jews subversive role in toppling the Islamic Caliphate, and they take off the Sultan Abdul Hamid, was demonstrated on the dimensions of the plot through the recently published diary of Sultan Abdul Hamid, and the emergence of a lot of historical documents and books that show the facts in this conspiracy .. Dr. Mustafa Hilmi: "The collapse of the heralds of which appeared in the last century, and before the announcement of its fall by the movement of the coup members of the Union and Progress (Masonic), and proved that they do not belong to the strain in Turkish, but a mixture of races, religions and nationalities, and staged a coup against the Sultan Abdul Hamid, for refusing to allow the Jews to buy land in Palestine.

Will not forget the destructive role of Jews in the Holy Temple .. Came in an appeal of Ansar al-Palestine Holy directed to the Muslim world to save Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1938: "The Jews demanded that the Grand Mufti to the Holy Land officially hand over Al-Aqsa Mosque and it is permissible for them to transform it a synagogue they live their faith," In the book (the Temple of Solomon) to Joseph Haj states: "The Jews demanding demolition of Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Temple of Solomon and the Wailing Wall, as claimed by the Jews is the wall the rest of the Temple of Solomon, and if we know that this wall is the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque destructive realized the seriousness of their plans.

Will not forget the Jews their subversive today in the fight against Islam on the international level; in the political, economic, social, and dissemination of dissolution to break the immunity of Muslim societies, and was Raúdhm the Jewish Freud; the demolition of ethics such as the demolition of thought and religion, both Jewish Darwin and Marx, then Otbahma Jewish Durkheim; who said that the original communist women, the need for the family!.

And became the Jews do not publish these views in the forums and publishing houses, but possessed direction applied to them; from the exploitation of art, and used as a tool for the pleasures of besmirched, and desires, and become Jews today are running nightclubs and dance halls and brothels, even turning the world into a brothel full of corruption, not to mention Jewish women and their use as wives or mistresses of the leaders of nations and well-known; to know the secrets and racketeering.

The record here, "Jack Whitney," U.S. Senator cries of the facts about what he sees in his country, America; says:

* There is a fear that a converted Jew in America a hundred years, and are more than dreams of Marx.

The Jews are the ideas that now prevails everywhere, and the occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel is a sign of the beginning of the era of non-religious Jews.

* The influence of Jewish finance has been strengthened for ever; terrible strength in order to remain dominant throughout the world.

* If we searched and searched behind the scenes of world politics animated; We found the Zionist stand firm devoid of emotions, do not shake the conscience of him.

* The destruction of nations and destroy religions and atheism offer .. All of these tragedies giant steps on the road to realize the hope of Israel (Book of the false brothers).

The Jews will not forget their role today in the killing of innocent people in Gaza and southern Lebanon, and has shaken sho the permanent slogan of resistance: "Khaybar Khaybar Jews, Muhammad's army .. started back."

The resistance to draw the nation's awakening after a setback, and awakening after a long sleep, in spite of Bush!!, And takes us back memory to the year 1948, was raped Palestine in the absence of Islam, and almost Brigades, the Muslim Brotherhood to remove the shame shameful, and inflicted terror in the hearts of the Jews nerveless; not for allies Jewish corruption of the people who kill Jews Kavúa Imam al-Banna in the February 12, 1949 AD.
Glad to hear "The influence of Jewish finance has been strengthened for ever." Hope that trickles down to me. (Hat Tip: EOZ)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Obama gets that Chanukkah business out of the way

Two weeks early. The Sufganyot were Pas Yisroel. (h/t: Israel Matzav) Obama expressed "our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel." I'm not sure how many points this will gain him with Jewish voters, but it shows that Obama thinks ahead when organizing his calendar.

"China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone" (Mehr News-Iran)

Hows that international isolation going that we've imposed on Iran?
An informed source in the Iranian military has said that Russian and Chinese officials have asked for permission to inspect the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces, reported on Wednesday.

On Sunday, an unidentified Iranian military source said that the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic had downed an advanced RQ-170 unmanned U.S. spy plane, which had violated the country’s airspace along the eastern border.

There are unconfirmed reports that Iran may put the drone on public display.

According to the Washington Post, the RQ-170 drone has been used by the CIA for highly sensitive missions into other nations’ airspace, including months of surveillance of the compound in Pakistan in which Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was allegedly hiding before he was killed in an attack by Special Operations forces on May 1, 2011.

On Monday, U.S. military officials said that they are concerned that Tehran may now have an opportunity to acquire information about the classified surveillance drone program, AP reported. [...]

"Fear of Iran Makes US Abort Covert Plan to Retrieve Spy Drone " (Fars News-Iran)

The drone is dominating Iran's news sites at the moment. Here is one particularly gloating example:
US special forces intended to conduct a covert mission inside Iran to retrieve or destroy a very precious stealth drone that was downed by Iran on Sunday, but ultimately gave up the plan for their fear of Iran's tough response, Washington officials revealed on Thursday.

Iran announced on Sunday that its defense forces had downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyberattack.

The drone is the first such loss by the US.

Initially, officials in Washington didn't believe Iran had detected and downed the drone, but they later admitted that they had lost it. White House officials first alleged that the drone was not anything special and belonged to the ISAF forces in Afghanistan, but later admitted that the unmanned surveillance plane was a stealth aircraft being used for top secret missions by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The US officials are now trying to convince the world that the aircraft and its systems are not among those technologies which shouldn't have been exposed to Iran, but the western media reported today that the aircraft is so important for the US that they have worked out three operations to retrieve or destroy it.

The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations' air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

US officials unveiled on Thursday that they considered various options for retrieving the RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

US officials considered both sending in a team of American commandos based in Afghanistan as well as using allied agents inside Iran to hunt down the downed aircraft.

Another option would have had a team sneak in to blow up the drone. A third option would have been to destroy the highly sophisticated aircraft with an airstrike.

However, the officials worried that any option for retrieving or destroying the drone would have risked a tough reaction by Iran.

"No one warmed up to the option of recovering it or destroying it because of the potential it could become a larger incident," the US official said according to Wall Street Journal.

If an assault team entered the country to recover or destroy the drone, the official said, the US "could be accused of an act of war" by the Iranian government.

Meantime, the US media are trying to convince the world that the drone has been badly damaged and is not of much use to Tehran, but Iran on Thursday evening released the first images along with thorough explanations about its systems, specifications and the way it was downed by military forces in Eastern Iran. The images and the footages aired by the Iranian state-run TV showed that the stealth aircraft is almost intact and without any major damage.

The Thursday evening images, footage and explanations are available on FNA website (the footage is, of course, only available on our Persian website).

Iranian officials had earlier informed the media that the craft sustained only minor damage.

US intelligence and military officials declined to comment on the specific mission the drone was flying when it was brought down by Iran.

George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, declined to comment on the discussions over options to recover the drone.

US officials claimed that analyzing the materials that contribute to the craft's stealth qualities wouldn't tell Iranian scientists how to manufacture the necessary coatings, but Iran does not need this information as it manufactured a radar evading spy drone with both surveillance and bombing capabilities almost two years ago.
They have already mastered all technology . . .

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Assad interviewed by Barbara Walters

This offers the same propaganda that you can read on his news agency's site, but I suppose there is some morbid curiosity gratification in hearing this played out in an actual conversation with Barbara.

Monday, December 05, 2011

"Berkeley’s Jewish student union says ‘no’ to J Street U" (

Good news although much of the article reads like a sympathetic interview with the J-Street types.

"Kim Jong Il's Songun Leadership Feats Praised by British Organization" (Korean News)

Funny how this sounds exactly like everything else at Korean News, isn't it?
The British Association for the Study of Songun Policy on Nov. 19 posted on its Internet homepage article titled "Defending world peace with outstanding Songun leadership" with a photo of leader Kim Jong Il.

World people are praising him as the "great defender of the socialist cause" and "symbol of human cause of peace", the article said, and went on:

The imperialists have resorted to vicious moves such as political and diplomatic pressure, economic blockade and armed blackmail to harm the DPRK.

Tricksters of the U.S. Department of Defense made a Korean war a fait accompli and worked out an operation scenario.

Another war might break out on the Korean Peninsula any moment.

The international community closely watched the DPRK with deep concern.

But for the Songun politics, a war would have broken out long ago on the Korean Peninsula by the imperialist aggressors and humankind would have been plunged into disastrous calamities of world war again.

Kim Jong Il conducted the energetic external activities to defend socialism and world peace.

He visited Russia and China several times in the new century alone. He also met with foreigners who visited the DPRK and gave clear answers to the questions for world peace and security.

It was thanks to his outstanding Songun revolutionary leadership and energetic external activities that all the moves of the imperialists against independence and peace have been checked and frustrated.

Justice and peace are being protected in the international arena and the human cause of independence is dynamically advancing thanks to the peerless Songun brilliant commander.

"Analysts Warn of Astronomical Prices for Oil if West Takes Action against Iran" (Fars News-Iran)

This doesn't seem to have actually been produced by Fars News. It looks as if they just lifted it from somewhere:
Pimco warned investors that any military action against Iran over its nuclear program could lead to sudden "all-time high" oil prices.

Greg Sharenow, portfolio manager at the group, said markets are more vulnerable to significant price spikes should a new supply disruption occur than during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait or the 1980 Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

The price of Brent crude oil already hit year-to-date highs of more than $120 per barrel in April before falling to roughly $100 by October. However, in October and November it gained roughly 8 per cent and as at December 1 was up to $110.

Sharenow said in a note, "Any event could pose a formidable risk to the global economy, e.g. a real supply disruption scenario would require higher prices to lower demand in order to balance the market. This could come at a time when the global economy, or at least the developed world, is facing fiscal headwinds and limits on monetary policy."

The manager said he was also concerned about supply disruption as there is currently less of a surplus than normal, with inventories falling below the five-year average for the first time since 2008. "While Saudi Arabia will likely respond by boosting output, we estimate excess capacity is unlikely to be much higher than 1.5m barrels a day," he said.

Sharenow said potential scenarios for an oil price surge range from exports being minimally disrupted, with oil spiking to $130-$140 per barrel, through to Iranian exports being lost for half a year, leading prices to rally and average $150 for the six months with "notable spikes" above that level.

Yet, market analysts and traders are seeing a shocking $200 to $300 per barrel for first few weeks of military action against Iran and a complete disruption of Iranian oil.

Robert Jukes, global strategist for Collins Stewart Wealth Management, said he was focusing more on the macroeconomic environment, including the ongoing debt crisis in Europe.

He said, "Ultimately short term spikes are possible as the situation is volatile and the oil price has been bubbling up on these tensions. But the bigger picture is the macro backdrop, which is deflationary."

Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Hamas didn't fail" (ABNA-Iran)

I'm sure you would never dare to think that Hamas could "fail," but you should enjoy this explanation of why it didn't:
In a recent interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Hamas failed in its "experiment of governance."

Well, it is really hard to swallow Abbas's remarks. His standards of success and failure must be totally unrealistic and irrational.

We know that in life, achievements, whether by individuals or nations, are measured in proportion to the availability of means, circumstances, challenges as well as the nature of goals pursued.

Hamas, a resistance movement fighting the octopus of international Zionism which controls big governments, including the government of the United States, the world's only remaining though declining superpower and Israel's guardian-ally, never pretended to be a super power that would liberate occupied Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan.

Indeed, those Palestinians who elected Hamas in 2006 did so not because they thought that Hamas would soon deliver Safad and Jaffa from the clutches of evil Zionism.

They did so because they thought, rather correctly, that Hamas was a clean, honest and corruption-free movement, unlike the notoriously corrupt Palestinian Authority whose very name is synonymous with corruption, graft, nepotism, cronyism, misappropriation of wealth, embezzlement of public money and other forms of corruption and misgovernment.

And from the very moment Hamas was elected, a real world war was declared on the small movement, including a hermetic global financial war, a harsh travel ban, and tight sea blockade on Gaza as well as the closure of all Islamic charities throughout the West Bank.

This is added the Nazi-like witch-hunting campaign targeting every elected or unelected Islamist official in the occupied territories, including virtually all Islamist MPs, most of whom were totally innocent people.

Indeed, five years after the elections, some of these MPs are still languishing in Jewish dungeons and bastilles on no other ground than to satiate the sadistic Zionist desire to see Palestinians suffer and wallow in pain.

But Israel was not the only villain in this orgy of oppression. Abbas's Palestinian Authority itself, which viewed security coordination with Israel as constituting political success, actively conspired and connived with Israel, secretly and publicly, in order to decapitate Hamas once and for all. The facts in this regard are too ignominious to recall.

Similarly, American puppet governments in the region did everything Israel asked for in order to throttle Hamas and its supporters. The ultimate goal was to force the Islamist movement to surrender and submit to Jewish Nazism.

And when Hamas proved too tenacious and virtually undefeatable, mainly because you can't defeat an idea by bullets and conspiracies, Israel launched an all-out war on the thoroughly blockaded and thoroughly starved Gaza Strip for the purpose of eradicating Hamas from the face of earth. The all-out onslaught resembled to a large degree the allies' bombing of Dresden during WWII. [...]
There's more if you can stomach it.