Thursday, February 28, 2008

"The chairman of the Lahore Lawyers Association of Pakistan highly praised Kim Jong Il as the greatest man without an equal in the world"

A lawyer would say something like that:
Meetings took place in India, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Poland and Egypt from Feb. 8 to 12 on the occasion of the birthday of General Secretary Kim Jong Il.

Speeches were made there.

The director of the Indian Institute for Foreign Policy Studies said that Kim Jong Il established the original Songun political mode on the basis of his penetration into the importance of the army and arms and the situation of the anti-imperialist struggle.

The reality of the DPRK, which brought about the dawn of a great prosperous powerful nation, decisively frustrating the arbitrary and high-handed practices of the U.S. styling itself the world's "only superpower," clearly proves that the Songun politics serves as an all-powerful treasured sword firmly guaranteeing the advance and victory of the cause of independence under any conditions and circumstances, he said.

The chairman of the Lahore Lawyers Association of Pakistan highly praised Kim Jong Il as the greatest man without an equal in the world and a great politician who turned the whole country into an iron wall with his Songun politics and consolidated the single-minded unity of the whole society with his warm love for the people.

The chairman of the Poland-Korea Friendship Club in Otwock, Poland stressed that the outstanding political caliber and immortal exploits of Kim Jong Il who has converted the DPRK into an invincible country and put the dignity and honor of the Korean nation on the highest stage with his Songun politics will shine long with history.

Messages of greetings to Kim Jong Il were adopted at the meetings held in Pakistan, Bulgaria and Egypt.

Seminars and film shows held in France, Thailand and Bangladesh on Feb. 12 and 13 dealt with the great vitality of the Songun politics of Kim Jong Il.
The Kim Jong Il birthday season!

Update: Dear Leader "the greatest politician of the present times, the universally recognized leader and the greatest man in the world."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mshari Al-Zaydi: "The party believes that borders are nothing but mud barriers and that we are all just martyrdom projects"

This is a stunning article in some ways. You might not be so unreserved yourself about grouping Egypt and Saudi Arabia with the forces for "stability, calm and peace," but you have to admit that Al-Zaydi has Iran's number (and that of its minions and satellites). On that score he has a lot to teach all but a select few Western commentators.
[...] The Arab region is divided between some parties who seek to transform it into a land of strife, war, martyrdom and another Karbala, such as illustrated by some of the slogans raised in the Iranian demonstrations that hailed Lebanon as 'Karbala' following the assassination of Mughniyeh. However, there are also those who want to head in another direction towards progress, developing the economy and catching up with the contemporary world. Such a contradiction may be summarized as: the two cultures [trends] of life and death and it can be used to describe the conflict between these two visions, such as those of Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran and Syria on the one hand, and the March 14 Coalition Forces, Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the other. The latter culture is one that propagates stability, calm and peace and is against revolutionary trends, suicide operations and weapons.

This is why Hezbollah, Iran and those that orbit in the same circles should not expect the world to praise or commemorate Imad Mughniyeh since his life and efforts – and even his death – reflect the interests of a hostile party, namely Iran and its supporters. My approach is not one that stems from Sunni-Shia sectarianism to which I oppose strongly; rather it emerges from a practical description of reality.

What I am referring to is the audacious manipulation of Khomeini's Iran of all Shia followers around the world with the intention of attaching them to pure Iranian interest under holy slogans about al Hussein's blood and the symbolism of Karbala. Exalted slogans that evoke religious sentiments become provocative and rebellious and ultimately only serve the interests of the Iranian political agenda, and moreover do nothing to quell the rebellious groups that are far from the Iranian territories.

Division among the Arabs has reached unprecedented depths; compliments and rehashed words about the interests, dreams and objectives of the Arab nation are useless, as are the tours and statements issued by Amr Moussa [Secretary-General of the League of Arab States].

So, which Arabs are we referring to? Are they the Arabs of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria, or the Arabs of Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Is it the procession of Arab martyrs, bomb devices, the media of martyrdom and the war on America and "death to the United States"? Or is it about the Arabs for globalization, education and sustainable development? Are we referring to the Arabs of Dubai or those of the southern neighborhood [Lebanon]?

We are all suffering a chronic state of division and differences. Regardless of our position towards his personality or history, when Walid Jumblatt speaks about the impossibility of coexisting with the culture of Hezbollah, he touches upon an open wound – notwithstanding the anger that it evokes among Nasrallah's supporters and the Syrian 'orphans' in Lebanon.

All it takes is tuning into Al-Manar TV, which is affiliated to Hezbollah, to gauge your feelings and reactions. You will find yourself bombarded by scenes of martyrs, death, explosions and songs of praise for suicide bombers and other media tools that are only dedicated to one purpose: to glorify the dead and persuade the living to seek the same end so that they may share the same fate as the archetypal martyr: al Hussein. And it goes on and on…

But if you happen to change the channel to any other, even if it were the Disney Channel you would suddenly feel as if you had just exited a stifling steam room to an open space with fresh air and scenes of life; a place where death does not reign.

The culture of Hezbollah that Walid Jumblatt refers to is a death culture – even if some turbaned members of the party try to convey otherwise. Only a few days ago, Hezbollah affiliates appeared on Al-Manar saying that the party's martyrs are the ones responsible for spreading life since the afterlife is eternal!

Notwithstanding their words, the truth is quite different. Based on this transcendental culture that claims to be founded upon divine vindication and heavenly purity; this culture that governs Hezbollah is an exception on every level and is quite different from the rest of the misguided groups that are far removed from the light of faith and religion.

Among these exceptional characteristics is the lack of any real dependence on the state and nation since Hezbollah seeks a deeper aim; that is, Islamic unity under the symbol of the Supreme Guide, bless his holy secret. The party believes that borders are nothing but mud barriers and that we are all just martyrdom projects that will only exist until Judgment Day and the advent of the Awaited Mahdi [the Savior among Shia Muslims].

Indeed, this is the mobilizing culture that drives vital youth to become reduced to nothing but guns and bombs that heed the direction of Sayyed Nasrallah or follow the orders of Hajj Radwan. And this is exactly what happens to their Sunni counterparts who have been recruited as the soldiers of Al-Qaeda and other Islamic movements that adopt the Salafist Jihadist approaches – they are the sons of heavens not of this world.

A friend of Imad Mughniyeh's mother told Asharq Al-Awsat (18 February 2008) that even thought they had succeeded in killing Imad, hundreds who adopt the same approach would emerge. And although she may have exaggerated the figure, her prediction rings true. The ceaseless spawning of similar candidates is a defect and shortcoming and certainly not a reason to praise and rejoice. How could we, or even Hezbollah and their affiliates, be proud and praise this abundance of suicide bombers and their mentors?!

The defect, originally, is a defect in culture and mindset. Even if Hezbollah were to liberate the Shebaa farms and free the prisoners held in Israeli prisons, it would still not mean that it would shift into becoming a civil party with a civil ideology and a civil vision. The party will not stop generating individuals who are obsessed with death and martyrdom since its very structure is built upon 'resistance', as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told the 'understanding' General Michel Aoun in their second meeting. And yet, the very thing that makes Nasrallah proud of the nature and essence of his party is precisely what concerns and alarms us about it.

But this time Hezbollah's leader and the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jaafari have raised the ceiling of their demands and the party's arms and ideology have now become entangled with Israel. As such, the aim behind Hezbollah's armament, and therefore its culture and exceptional nature, is to annihilate Israel!

This is why after the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh; Nasrallah came out to say that his blood would wipe out Israel. A few days later General Jaafari offered his condolences and support to Mughniyeh's supporters and said that Hezbollah would eliminate the Israeli virus “soon” according to Asharq Al-Awsat as reported by the Iranian Fars News Agency (FNA).

Thus, Hezbollah’s arms and culture will always exist until Israel no longer exists . . .
See the original article for the punch-line. See this for some of the references.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, February 25, 2008

"first symphony ever in history to be built on the theme of the immortality of the leader"

I suppose this means the Dear Leader favors program music:
Quite a few symphonies of new themes have been created in the DPRK in past years.

The typical of them are "The Leader Is Always with Us", "Victory in Great Anti-Janpanese War" and "Please Receive Our Salute" which have been performed before enthusiastically acclaiming people.
Insufficient enthusiasm means re-education camp, of course. Not that re-education camp is appreciably different from the rest of the country, but the individual food allotment is lower.
These symphonies truthfully represent the earnest desire of the army and the people to hold President Kim Il Sung, the founder of socialist Korea, always in high esteem and uphold the Songun leadership of Kim Jong Il.
You have to see the accompanying Songun mime gestures to really appreciate it.
"The Leader Is Always with Us," the first symphony ever in history to be built on the theme of the immortality of the leader, well represents the imperishable revolutionary feats of the President and the unshakable faith and will of the Korean people to successfully carry forward the revolutionary cause of Juche pioneered by him to accomplishment.

The new symphonies include a number of works played on the theme of the struggle of the popular masses to achieve independence.

The audience are carried into stunned amazement by "The Flower Girl" and "The Fate of a Self-defence Corps Man", symphonies which render a musical delineation to the profound philosophical truth that struggle is the only way out for the oppressed working masses.
Out of what? The concert hall?
Some symphonies evolve on the subject of our-nation-first spirit.

One of them is the symphony "Pyongyang Is Best" which consists of three movements evolving on the musical themes of "At Crossroads of Destiny", "Flocks of Wild Geese Fly" and "Pyongyang Is Best", songs of the multi-part film "The Nation and Destiny".

This work gives a profound symphonic rendition to the idea that socialist Korea centered on the popular masses is the best in the world.

Al-Manar: "Israel Faces 'Certain Death': Iran Leader Adviser"

Notwithstanding Juan Cole's damage control following Ahmadinejad's remark about wiping Israel off the map, since the Mughniyeh assassination every day seems to bring a new phrase from the Iran Axis denoting the destruction of Israel. "Complete annihilation" is one recent example. Here's another:
The assassination of Hezbollah Military leader Imad Moghniyeh has hastened the "certain death" of Israel, the top military adviser to Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday. General Yahya Rahim Safavi said the murder of Imad Mughnieh in a Damascus car bombing last week had enraged thousands of young members of Hezbollah.

"With this anger, the certain death of the Zionist regime had been brought forward," he said, according to IRNA news agency. Safavi, who was for a decade top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, accused Israel of carrying out the attack that killed Mughnieh but also said that "security terrorists" from the United States and "one Arab nation" had cooperated.
Which one? C'mon, you're Hezbollah--name names!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Press TV (Iran): "In the American political vocabulary, the parties that take the Islamic way of life seriously are not moderate."

This is from an interview with Liaquat Ali Khan, who teaches, according to the article, at Washburn University School of Law. That's in Kansas:
Q. In the recent elections in Pakistan, most of the people have voted for 'moderate parties' as they say. Is it a good sign for the country? If yes, why?

A. The word "moderate parties" in the context of Muslim countries is a code word that means secular, pro-Western parties. In the American political vocabulary, the parties that take the Islamic way of life seriously are not moderate. In 2008 parliamentary elections, Pakistanis have voted primarily for two national parties that have ruled before, PPP and PML-N.

Some Islamic parties refused to take part in the elections. Some did but they lost primarily because they were too closely associated with Pervez Musharraf.

If the winning parties in Pakistan will fight the American war on terror, they will be welcome as moderate parties. If the new government will say no to "the war on terror" and make an effort to bring peace to the nation, it will come under economic and military pressure to change.

Unfortunately, some (not all) US policymakers prefer that Muslim governments fight and kill "extremists and radicals." This is a recipe for internal strife and civil war. Pakistan needs to wake up, as must all Muslim nations, to say NO to the genocidal "war on terror." [...]

More Hudna nonsense

Al-Ahram entitles this "Israel ignores peace." That's the first and last time in this article that the word "peace" is used to mean something offered by Hamas.
Hamas has been sending definitive signals of its willingness to sign a dignified truce with Israel in return for its lifting its harsh blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as ending bloody and unrelenting Israeli attacks which wreak death and havoc on the coastal territory's civilian inhabitants.

Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, said this week that the Islamic movement was "willing and ready to examine any serious proposal that would put an end to Israeli aggression." Similarly, Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha told reporters in Gaza earlier this week that Hamas welcomed third-party intervention to bring about a ceasefire.

"The ball has always been in the Israeli court, not in our court. The resistance is not the cause, but the effect, of Israeli aggression. If Israel stops its crimes and lifts this oppressive blockade on our people, the resistance would stop," Taha said.

Taha was responding to remarks made by visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner during a meeting in West Jerusalem with Israeli politician and Meretz leader Yossi Beilin. Kouchner reportedly said that France was willing to play the role of "mediator" or "facilitator" between Hamas and Israel for the purpose of reaching a ceasefire.

Kouchner's statements represented something of a departure from usual EU policy against making contact with Hamas until it recognises the legitimacy of Zionism (the Jewish character of Israel) and abandon violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Taha challenged Kouchner to act on his remarks, saying that the French official should visit Gaza to see how things are on the ground.

Hamas has been reluctant to appear publicly as seeking a ceasefire with Israel for fear that this would undermine the movement's image as a resistance group as well as harm relations with allies in the region. Hamas was also concerned that a ceasefire with Israel would provide Fatah, its arch foe, with valuable propaganda ammunition to discredit the movement.

Increasingly deadly attacks waged by the Israeli army in Gaza, however, met mostly with silence or indifference by the bulk of the international community, appear to have convinced the movement that a ceasefire agreement inclusive of lifting the 20-month-old harsh blockade on Gaza would be an important achievement and popularity booster for Hamas.

One Hamas leader in Gaza told Al-Ahram Weekly that the movement didn't want to give Israel the propaganda tools it needs to continue its genocidal policy.
Otherwise, they'd stop that Qassam fire in a second.
"They are trying both to mislead and desensitise world public opinion by claiming that the problem lies in Palestinian rockets originating in Gaza. Meanwhile, they are annihilating entire Palestinian families and are calculating that if the world accepts 10 or 20 Palestinian victims per day, then the world can be desensitised into accepting 50 or even 100 victims per day. It is genocide by retail," the official said on condition of anonymity. [...]
Poor Hamas. No customers for their bogus going out of business sale.

Reuters: "Hamas says leader killed to extract 'sham confession'"

I saw this at Arab Herald--it seems to be breaking news:
Hamas on Sunday accused Palestinian forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas of torturing one of its leaders to death to extract "sham confessions" that the Islamist group was trying to set up a West Bank militia.

Abbas has opened an investigation into the death of 45-year-old Majd al-Barghouthi, a relative of a Hamas minister, in an Israeli jail.
Is that a mistake? The rest of the article seems to assume his jailers were members of Fatah.
Abbas's security force said on Friday that Barghouthi, who is also a preacher, had died of a stroke.

"Imam Barghouthi was subjected to all kinds of torture for a week. The information we have now is that he resisted uttering statements dictated by his jailers about a Hamas executive force in the West Bank," Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq told Reuters.

"We have no intention of setting up such a force," said Rishq, who lives in exile in Syria.

Tension between Hamas and Fatah has increased since Hamas took control of Gaza by force last year. Fatah holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The two sides accuse each other of mistreating prisoners.
Probably true.

"Rodong Sinmun on Kim Jong Il's All-Embracing Politics"

When you have "all-embracing politics," who needs food? From (North) Korean News, of course:
General Secretary Kim Jong Il's all-embracing politics is great politics as it reflects the fundamental interests and wishes of all classes and strata who make up the nation, politics of concord and reunification as it embraces all classes and strata in the north and the south and abroad and leads them to a bright future of reunification and politics of love as it takes care of the destiny of all the fellow countrymen and shows warm loving care and solicitude for them, says Rodong Sinmun in a signed article today.

It goes on:

The transparent stand of Kim Jong Il who attaches overriding importance to the country and the nation is fully reflected in the idea of "By our nation itself".

He made sure that the historic Pyongyang summit was held and the June 15 joint declaration adopted to provide all the fellow countrymen with the banner of "By our nation itself", a landmark of independent reunification and great national unity. This clearly shows the steadfast will of Kim Jong Il who has placed the interests of the country and the nation in the center of all his thoughts and activities.

His all-embracing politics calls for placing the nation above ideology and regarding the present more important than the past. This is a magnanimous and patriotic politics as it calls for embracing even those who committed crimes against the nation in the past, not digging up their past wrongs if they have patriotism, and helping them turn over a new leaf.

The reality in which reconciliation and unity among fellow countrymen are growing stronger day by day under the uplifted banner of "By our nation itself" is a proof of the immense attraction and great vitality of the all-embracing politics.

Ramattan News: "Israel Won't Be Able to Fortify Sderot"

Ynetnews puts it this way: "Olmert: Sderot fortification won't be extreme." Ramattan is more accurate here?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday in the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel has no intention of fortifying every building in Gaza area communities or in Sderot.

the Israeli prime minister added that by the year 2010 Israel will be in possession of an anti-missile defense system, and that certain designated areas will be fortified against Qassam rocket strikes.

"We will provide the residents of Sderot and the Gaza vicinity an appropriate answer through a multilevel system against the Qassam," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, during which the ministers approved a budget of NIS 327 million (about $91.61 million) for the fortification package, as okayed by a ministerial committee last week.

Olmert said the fortification of the western Negev will be based on a combination of solutions such as the Iron Dome Defense System, an early-warning system, new school buildings and fortification of homes.
The famed "rope-a-dope" strategy . . .

Linkim 2/24/08

Haveil Havalim 155 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

EOZ: "Hamas: Sderot is occupied 'Northern Gaza'"

Judeosphere: "Iranian Government Contemplating Legislation to Execute 'Apostates' and, um, 'Witches'"

Eye on the World: "Shopping for Sderot"

My Right Word: "Holy Hole!"*

Lee Smith at the Michael Totten blog: "The Arabs and Obama"**

Maan News: "Unscrupulous Gaza street dealers selling fuel at double designated price"

Ramattan: "Hamas' Police Arrests Two Young Men Involved in Detonated YMCA"

*From Haveil Havalim **Linkage

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Ithaca Journal: "Lansing teen experiences the real Cuba"

Tell me this isn't real:
My feet sink slowly into the white sand with each step I take. A light breeze sweeps up my hair, letting it dance to the distant sound of trumpets and drums. The music being played is the sound of joy and happiness. I feel the beat now and it makes me want to move. As I begin dancing the residents start to cheer and eventually join me. I am different from them. I am a stranger. I come from a country that only seems to hurt them, yet they are happy and grateful I am here to dance and enjoy the land. They are the people of the beautiful and misunderstood country of Cuba.

Now, I know everyone's first reaction is how did I get there? I went on a mission trip with the organization called the Mission of Peace, a part of the Northeast United Methodist Church. This isn't a trip where we go to educate the masses of "our way." In fact, It's quite the opposite. We go to learn. We went to learn about the people and the culture and break down stereotypes our media has created. I had a life-changing experience I want to share with the world.

Much of my experience was spiritual, but I fell in love with the land and people. I have never been to a place where so many people were grateful and excited to have us in their home. I will never forget the joy that radiated from their beautiful faces. They treated us with warmth and compassion even when they knew we were Americans. Most places in the world are not very open to American visitors. Cuba suffers from the decisions our government has made. But they have learned to separate our government from us, the people. They don't generalize, discriminate or judge. They just love their fellow human beings. We all could learn from the Cubans. [...]
I hear that Guantanamo Bay has a poet's colony.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Perils of Two-State Pauline

How many ways can there be to spin the same old dreary reality? The New York Times exhibits considerable optimism on this point in their latest offering on Israel and the Palestinians: "Arab Leaders Say the Two-State Proposal Is in Peril." Let's review a bit, shall we?

Back in the days when Hamas lead the Enemies of Peace on Both Sides Inc., Palestinian Division, Israel negotiated the beginning of a two-state solution. They negotiated in good-faith, and together with Yassir Arafat, who was negotiating in bad faith, there was some implementation of the solution. Some of that implementation still stands: that is why Israel recognizes something called the "Palestinian Authority," although the former enemies of peace, now friends of Hudna, have since seceded from it.

Back in 2000 (aided and abetted by famous advocates of Apartheid Dennis Ross and Bill Clinton) the Zionist Entity made a serious final status proposal. It was met with an increase in terror. Then, of course, Israel created further obstacles to peace in 2005 by putting Gaza, some of the territory offered in 2000, into Palestinian hands anyway. The non-achievement of Palestinian state viability, we learn, threatens more "radicalism," but if that is where the radicalism comes from then what did the Saudis spend their money on, anyway? I hope that whets your appetite for the main course--you are going to be asked to swallow a great deal:
Arab leaders will threaten to rescind their offer of full relations with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands unless Israel gives a positive response to their initiative, indicating the Arab states’ growing disillusionment with the prospects of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At an Arab League meeting next month in Syria, the leaders are planning to reiterate support for their initiative, first issued in 2002. The initiative promised Israel normalization with the league’s 22 members in return for the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as the capital, and a resolution of the issue of Palestinian refugees.

But this time, "there will be a message to Israel emphasizing the need to respond to the initiative; otherwise, Arab states will reassess the previous stage of peace," said Muhammad Sobeih, assistant secretary general of the Arab League in charge of the Palestinian issue. "They will withdraw the initiative and look for other options. It makes no sense to insist on something that Israel is rejecting."

Many Arab leaders never warmly embraced the idea of a two-state solution to the conflict because of their distaste for Israel, but they accepted it as a means to stabilize the region and tamp down extremism. Now, however, there is a growing feeling that Israel wants to create only a rump Palestinian state that would be neither viable nor truly sovereign. And that, officials say, is not only unacceptable, but also dangerous.
Are you getting tired of the "viable state" meme? Viable in what sense? Is Lebanon's current pluralistic form politically viable?
That perception hit Arab leaders hard when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians crashed through the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt last month, in the wake of an Israeli policy to cut off supplies to Gaza to protest the rule of Hamas there and the continuing rocket fire on Israel.

When the Palestinians poured into Egypt, suddenly, officials in both Jordan and Egypt — the only neighbors with peace treaties with Israel — grew frightened that Israel planned to solve its Palestinian problem by forcing Egypt to absorb Gaza, and Jordan the West Bank. [...]

"There is a general Arab sentiment of despair regarding this issue," said Dureid Mahasneh, a member of the Jordanian team that negotiated the treaty with Israel in the 1990s. "I challenge you to find anyone who took part in the negotiations with Israel to say that he is optimistic."

That despair is accompanied by anxiety and fear that momentum is moving in favor of the more radical players, like Hamas and its patron state, Iran.

"Hamas is going to be fortified," said Mahmoud Shokry, a retired Egyptian ambassador to Syria who serves on the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, a government advisory group. “Not only Egypt, but all the Arab countries have to think about this.”

Arabs blame Israel — as the occupying power — for the diminishing viability of a two-state solution, even while Mr. Sobeih said he would never, under any circumstances, accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. [...]
Oops! Somehow a significant detail appears!
“People no longer trust that a Palestinian state can be established, for one sole reason: the brutality of the Israeli state and the retreat of the Arab world,” said Abdullah el-Ashaal, a former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister and a professor of international law at Cairo University, who was articulating a widely held position in this region. "And this is why there is a return to the radicalization of the Arab attitude, meaning the words 'peace process' no longer hold any meaning." [...]
Or at least any meaning that has to do with peace.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Kimjongilia Festival Full of Reverence for Great Man"

A Kimjongilia is a flower named for the Big Juche Guy. Don't ask me what an "ecstasy decorated with Kimjongilias" is. From (North) Korean News:
The 12th Kimjongilia Festival, opened on Feb. 13, is being visited by a stream of people every day.

The festival venue presents an ecstasy decorated with Kimjongilias reflecting the best wishes of the Korean people and the world progressives for Kim Jong Il.

On display there are tens of thousands of immortal Kimjongilias presented by some hundred units including military organs, ministries and national institutions, soldiers of the Korean People's Army, working people of all strata and school youth and children, and overseas Koreans and foreigners.

The model of the Lake Chon on Mt. Paektu, and the exhibition stands like sun-rays shining from the Korean map made with Kimjongilias--they show well the will of all people to hold Kim Jong Il as the sun.

The current festival held in the significant year marking the 20th anniversary of naming the flower Kimjongilia is attended by many organizations of overseas Koreans, organizations of foreigners and individual figures.

Displayed there are 250 Kimjongilia pots sent by officials of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan and Koreans in Japan and more than 200 Kimjongilia pots by Koreans in China.

Also seen in the flower festival are more than 300 Kimjongilia pots sent by 30-odd diplomatic missions in the DPRK including China, Russia, Cambodia and Indonesia, the European Union and other international organizations and friendship and solidarity organizations with Korean people including the Sweden|Korea Friendship Association and the Peruvian|Korean Institute of Culture and Friendship.

A company in Jilin Province of China exhibits more than a hundred Kimjongilia pots and the U.S. Group for the Study of Songun Politics immortal flowers reflecting their sincerity.

The flower festival proves the ever-deepening respect and reverence of all people for Kim Jong Il.
Yeah, even we Imperialist types sneak in a little reverence for Mr. Poofy-head in between hegemonic plots.

Press TV: "Iran to US: Don't gamble with death"

It would be nice if the US would respond in kind:
Iran's former top nuclear negotiator says Washington would be gambling with death if it decides to launch a military attack on Tehran.

In a meeting in Qom, Ali Larijani said that although there is a remote possibility that the US will wage war on Iran, the Islamic Republic has reached a pinnacle of self-sufficiency and is fully prepared to defend itself in case it comes under attack.

"Iran's nuclear activities are in line with the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency and therefore accusing the country of pursuing nuclear weaponry would be solely aimed at justifying their warmongering policies," the senior official explained.

Larijani also clobbered Western media outlets, saying that they have launched misinformation campaigns against Tehran to undermine the pending IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program.

"The Western media is exaggerating the extent of Iran's uranium enrichment program to prevent the UN nuclear watchdog from releasing its positive assessment on the country's nuclear activities," said Larijani who is a member of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
"Exaggerating"? What prompted them to do that?
On Wednesday, sources close to the UN nuclear watchdog affirmed that the agency's upcoming report on Iran would be positive and that it would vindicate the Islamic Republic of the West's allegations.
We'll see.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tariq Alhomayed: "Lebanon's collapse is incidental, as long as it serves the agenda of Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah"

Amazing the clarity that results from a bit of sympathy with Lebanese who don't want to be sacrificed to Hezbollah's agenda:
[...] Why did Nasrallah consider Lebanon the front line with Israel and not Syria? Isn't Syria embroiled in conflict with Israel regarding the occupied Golan Heights and Israel's violation of Syrian air space from time to time? Besides, it is not implausible that Israel would target Syria itself? Why then should Lebanon alone be deemed "the battleground?"

Moreover, after the plethora of accusations against Israel, we witness a Syrian-Iranian controversy involving Hezbollah over the Mughniyeh investigation conducted by Damascus, with Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Muallem promising to reveal the culprits through hard evidence, after hurling accusations against Israel.

Why then would this clash take place especially since all parties involved have already condemned Israel?

So why then would an investigation be conducted in the first place when there is an established belief that Israel is behind the assassination? Or is there information that has yet to be disclosed to public?

The truth is that a strong tremor has hit the Tehran, Damascus and Beirut alliance. Although this will not result in the demise of the alliance, it has revealed a number important facts to us.

It revealed that the three allies are in agreement regarding Lebanon's designation as the front line against Israel.

Here Lebanon's collapse is incidental, as long as [it] serves the agenda of Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah. [...]

Tehran Times: "Hezbollah’s new tactics"

In which we learn that "Over the past 25 years, Hezbollah has never tried to expand the scope of its campaign against the Zionist occupiers beyond Lebanon . . . " Via Mehr News:
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s vow to launch an all-out war against the Zionist regime in response to Israel’s assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus has frightened Israel’s military and political leaders.

Nasrallah, whose threats are taken seriously by Zionist regime leaders, warned that the war with Israel could be expanded beyond the borders of Lebanon and Israel.

Israel is in a susceptible position outside of the occupied territories, and any expansion of the war would impose heavy financial and military costs on the Zionist regime.

Although Israel uses the most sophisticated surveillance in its war against the resistance fighters in the occupied territories, it is impossible for it to protect its interests all over the world.

In addition, the fact that the Zionist regime’s military and intelligence agencies are on red alert will cost Israel tens of millions of dollars every day and will eventually exhaust its soldiers and spies.

The Zionist regime has made a great mistake which may cause Hezbollah to expand the war beyond Lebanon’s borders.

Over the past 25 years, Hezbollah has never tried to expand the scope of its campaign against the Zionist occupiers beyond Lebanon because they regard themselves as freedom fighters whose task is to liberate the Lebanese territory occupied by Israel.

Hezbollah, whose international status has risen as a result of the 34-day war with Israel in 2006, now regards the scope of its operations to be expanded, and the future will show that Tel Aviv cannot withstand the onslaught of millions of Muslims.

Since Mughniyeh was assassinated outside of Lebanon, Hezbollah may feel compelled to carry out some operations against the Zionist regime’s military and security interests across the world.

Israel, which has been conducting state-sponsored terrorism for the past 60 years, is making the law of the jungle the norm in the world and undermining international institutions, including the United Nations.

The martyrdom of the Hezbollah commander was a sorrowful event for the resistance fighters, but it will compel the organization to immediately appoint a successor, and the experienced forces of the resistance movement will avenge the death of Mughniyeh.
Israel had better go on the offensive then.

Comment is Free: Castro "has a tremendous moral and ethical sense"

Not many people know this, but did you know that the Fuhrer was a great dancer?
[...] There can be no replacement for Fidel. Not simply because of his qualities as a leader, but because the historical circumstances will never be the same. Castro has lived through everything from the Cuban revolution to the fall of the USSR, and decades of confrontation with the US. The fact that he departs while alive will help to ensure a peaceful transition. The Cuban people now accept that the country can still be run the same way by a different team. For a year and a half they have been getting used to the idea, while Castro remained theoretically president but his brother, Raul, held the reins. It was Fidel the mentor, as ever.

The most surprising thing that I found out about the man, in the hours we spent together compiling his memoirs, was how modest, human, discreet and respectful he was. He has a tremendous moral and ethical sense. He is a man of rigorous principles and sober existence. He is also, I discovered, passionate about the environment. He is neither the man the western media depict, nor the superman the Cuban media sometimes present. He is a normal man, albeit one who is incredibly hard working. He is also an exemplary strategist, one who has led a life of enduring resistance.

He contains a curious mixture of idealism and pragmatism: he dreams of a perfect society but knows that material conditions are very difficult to transform. He leaves office confident that Cuba's political system is stable. His current preoccupation isn't so much socialism in his own country as the quality of life around the world, where too many children are illiterate, starving and suffering from diseases that could be cured. And so he thinks his country must have good relations with all nations, whatever the regime or political orientation.

So now he is handing over to a team he has tested and trusts. This will not lead to spectacular changes. Most Cubans themselves - even those who criticise aspects of the regime - do not envisage or desire change: they don't want to lose the advantages it has brought them, the free education right through university, the free universal healthcare, or the very fact of a safe, peaceful existence in a country where life is calm. [...]
. . . and there were no discontents or grumblers, because wise king Otto had had them all put to death along with the trade union leaders many years before . . .

Monday, February 18, 2008

AFP gets a headline right anyway

The headline: "Iran predicts Hezbollah will destroy Israel." In other words, Iran doesn't just harbor some vague hope that Israel will disappear from the pages of history.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Monday predicted Hezbollah would destroy Israel, in a new verbal onslaught against the Jewish state after the murder of a top commander of Lebanon's Shiite militant group.

"In the near future, we will witness the destruction of Israel, the aggressor, this cancerous microbe Israel, at the able hands of the soldiers of the community of Hezbollah," the ideological force's commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying . . .
Appreciate the use of the word "murder"? Try this:
Ahmadinejad has provoked international outrage by repeatedly predicting that Israel is doomed to disappear. He also courted more controversy by playing down the scale of the Holocaust . . .
"Playing down the scale"?
Iran insists its position is in no way anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist, pointing to the continued existence in the country of the largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel.
After so many Jews fled the country that worldwide Iran now has only the third largest population of Persian Jews. According to Ynetnews, Israel has complained to the UN about the "cancerous microbe" remark. There isn't much novelty there. Ahmadinejad called Israel an "infectious gland" in July of 2006. What is an "infectious gland," anyway?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

New York Times braces for revenge

"Bracing for Revenge," a current editorial in the New York Times, seems to think that the Mughniyeh assassination was obviously Israel's doing and possibly a bad idea because of the massive retaliation that might ensue. The AMIA bombing, the author reminds us, followed the assassination of Sheik Abbas Musawi. Did you know that Mughniyeh was captured on tape celebrating? That nicely contextualizes leftist denial that Hezbollah is a terrorist group, doesn't it?
The telephone monitors of the United States National Security Agency turned up “not a smoking gun, but a blazing cannon,” in the words of a Mossad official. A senior Hezbollah operative, Talal Hamiyah, was taped rejoicing with Mr. Mugniyah over “our project in Argentina” and mocking Israeli security services for not preventing it.
We learn that Ehud Barak ruled out an operation against Mughniyeh in 2000, "surely" with "the aftermath of the Musawi assassination in mind." Now, the author wonders whether "Mr. Barak has unlearned his lesson or not." Why is "don't mess with Hezbollah" a bad "lesson" to "unlearn"?:
As Hezbollah draws no fine distinctions between the United States and Israel, both nations, along with Jews around the world, might well have to pay the price for the loss of the man whose mystical aura was as important as his operational prowess . . . an inkling of how the group might respond can be found in the July 2007 statements of Michael McConnell, America’s director of national intelligence, expressing grave apprehension about Hezbollah sleeper cells in the United States that could go into action should the Americans cross the organization’s "red line."

This line has now been crossed. Only the severest of countermeasures by the intelligence services of Israel and the United States will prevent last week’s assassination, justified as it was, from costing a vastly disproportionate price in blood.
That's an interesting appearance of the "disproportionate" meme: don't provoke Hezbollah into doing something "disproportionate." The editorial raises interesting issues, but not quite the ones it thinks it does. I wonder if the author, Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, realizes that he has made a case against assassinating Bin Laden? Obviously terrorist groups are capable of horrendous operations for reasons other than revenge. The consequences of not crossing "red lines" could be to allow a terror organization to build its capabilities and then take the initiative when it feels ready. That all presumes, of course, that the West is ready to do what is necessary to root out terror, however unpalatable the necessary actions might be. Bergman unwittingly suggests that our other option is to buy some peace and quiet until the unthinkable happens anyway.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, February 17, 2008

IRIB Radio: "Martyr Mughniyah Commemorated Across Muslim World"

They're taking it kinda hard:
Muslim officials and figures, including those of Arab states, called the martyrdom of Imad Mughniyah - senior commander of Lebanon's legendary anti-terrorist movement, the Hezbollah - a clear indicative of the fact that the countdown for end of the illegal existence of the Zionist entity's has begun. According to al-Alam News Network, on the sidelines of a ceremony held in Damascus Sunday to commemorate Mughniyah, who was martyred by an Israeli terror squad in the Syrian capital, Deputy Secretary-General of the Palestine Islamic Jihad Movement, Ziyad Nakhaleh, said: "The revered terms of Qods and Palestine had special standing in Mughniyah's heart, to the extent that he could not stand the illegal existence of the Zionist entity."

In related news, a political member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Abu-Fouad, said: "Hereby, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of Marty Mughniyah till the achievement to his goals in the face of the enemy's plots."

Meanwhile, in a commemoration ceremony held in Tehran today, in the presence of Iranian and Arab political figures, Palestine's ambassador to the Islamic Republic, Salah az-Zawavi, said similar brave resistance fighters would certainly spring from each drop of Mughniyah's blood.

"The Zionist entity has committed a historic blunder by martyring Imad Mughniyah," he added.

At the gathering, Lebanese ambassador to Iran, Zain al-Musawi, said the usurper state of Israel by assassinating Mughniyah has started its own complete annihilation.
More nuggets of bite-sized blather from IRIB Radio!

"Awe-Inspiring Iran Army has Unnerved Enemies":
The Chief of Staff of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army said today that Iran's awe-inspiring armed forces have unnerved the enemies and made them lose whatever confidence they had. According to IRNA General Ataollah Salehi asserting that the power of the Iranian army is not solely military might and weapons, said: "Global Arrogance, despite its various military bases and forces, is now paralyzed and is sinking daily into a whirlpool. "Iran's army today has reached a phase of self-confidence, creativity and power that is able to overcome and neutralize any plot by the enemy", he added.
And no Iranian news round-up would be complete without the N-topic:

"Atomic Bombs Do Not Increase Countries' Defensive Power: Official":
Visiting Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Human Rights Headquarters emphasizing the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, said in Tokyo Saturday evening that Iran is not after manufacturing atomic bombs, and added, they do not increase countries' defensive power. According to IRNA's correspondent in Tokyo, Mohammad-Javad Larijani who was attending a ceremony marking the anniversary of the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution, referred to the humiliating defeat of the Zionist regime at the end of the 33-day uneven war it had imposed on Lebanon.

He said, "Israel lost that war to a popular political party with a military wing, the Lebanese Hezbollah, although Tel Aviv was armed with more than 200 nuclear warheads."
Larijani added, "The United States, too, regardless of the countless nuclear bombs it has, and missiles that can each carry a nuclear warhead, is suffering another humiliating defeat in Iraq, having lost over 3,000 US soldiers there, and killing some 150,000 Iraqis."

Pointing out that Iran is after taking very serious peaceful advantages of its nuclear technology, Larijani reiterated that Iran has already gained noticeable achievements in nuclear science and technology.
So, that settles that . . .

Linkim 2/17/08

Haveil Havalim 154 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Israel Matzav: "How Rachel Corrie really died"

Pajamas Media: "Campus Pilgrims Pay Homage to the Terror Masters"

Simply Jews: "Dumb and dumber"

BTB: "Prelude to the Malley Kerfuffle"

Divrei Chaim: "which Adar is the 'real' Adar?"

Ramattan: "Gazans Give Flowers to Cows and Goats"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

MPAC-UK: Letter from a Sharia suffragette

Here's a letter at the MPAC-UK site from Muslim woman who is sick and tired of media failure to recognize that Sharia law gave the world woman's suffrage "centuries before women’s rights groups, in the West, such as the suffragettes started campaigning for women’s rights." Farther down, however, we encounter references to "crappy Sharia courts" and "ignorant Imams" who are making the same mistake as the media.
[...] I am tired of the media’s shoddy reporting on how ‘repressed’ Muslim women are ever since the Archbishops comments and I am amused by their demonisation of Sharia law with respect to women.

I am a Muslim woman who lives by the Sharia law and this law gave me the right to inherit, the right to vote, the right to divorce, the right to marry whom I please centuries before women’s rights groups, in the West, such as the suffragettes started campaigning for women’s rights.

My family lives under the Sharia law and they don’t force me to wear a scarf, they don’t force me to dress modestly. It is something that I myself choose to do. My family cannot force me to get married since Sharia law forbids them from doing so, they cannot perform a so-called honour killing because sharia law forbids it. They won’t condone female genital mutilation since this is forbidden by Sharia law. They know this because they are educated in their religion and they are educated in Sharia law. It is not the laws of this country that stop my family from a heinous crime towards me because if it were the laws of this country then we still wouldn’t be hearing of families involved in acts such as forced marriages etc.
The logic here escapes me.
Islam is the only thing which stands in the way of my family committing a serious grievance against me.

If other Muslim women feel like they are not getting their rights then I would say that they don’t know their rights, they haven’t been educated in their rights. If their families condone honour killings, forced marriages and genital mutilation then they are not educated about Islam. They know nothing about Islam. They are just cultural ignorants which is what one becomes when emptied of morals.

If my family tried to force me into marriage, the first place I would turn to is the Sharia court because Islam is the only religion who allowed me the right of choice. Not the English court where there would be a danger of being stuck up in the media as an example of a 'repressed' Muslim woman, my family, myself and my religion exploited, demonised and ridiculed with the result of becoming estranged and ending up in some sort of womens right 'asylum' still waiting for my rights to be acknowledged and my family to be held accountable and accept me. Nor would I go to the crappy Sharia courts who claim to be going by ‘Sharia’ law and then don’t give a woman her God given right. No I would go to a Sharia court who gives me my right and if they are not giving me my rights I will know and I will hold them to account because I too have access to the Quran. I too have access to my religion. I have read it and I know all the rights it has given me and I'm tired of everyone, be it ignorant Imams, journalists or politicians who try to take my rights away from me or who try and make out that Islam hasn’t given me any rights especially since they have no knowledge of Islam in the first place. [...]
I wonder how the true Islam feels about Hamas?

IRIB: "Zionists overwhelmed with horror"

It's true that Israel is on alert against retaliation, but it sounds as if IRIB is worried that Nasrallah's fulminations will come across as a tad impotent.
'Israel' is overwhelmed with fear and horror following the threats by Hezbollah's Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrollah to give a retaliatory response for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, al-Minar reported Saturday.

"Israeli security and military centers are on high alert and the Zionist regime's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert is conferring with the heads of the Army commanders in this regard," al-Minar added.

Head of the regime's army headquarters ordered the air, ground and naval forces to be on high alert. The regime's Foreign Ministry also warned its ambassadors and represantatives abroad to be on high alert.

Al-Minar aired parts of an interview of a Zionist analyst with an 'Israeli' TV network who said that the prime minister had talked with the head of Musad, head of the army's headquarters, Shabak, war minister and other security officials about Nasrallah's statements and they had taken his words very seriously.

Al-Minar also broadcast some remarks of another Zionist analyst who said that the 'Israeli' army had strengthened its forces across northern borders and all forces were ordered to be on high alert.
In the meantime another terrorist commander has bitten the possibly self-inflicted dust.

Mughniyeh and Hezbollah manipulation of academics

Martin Kramer has a current important post at MESH about Hezbollah's recently reversed policy of denying that Mughniyeh was a member and the tendency of academic "experts" on Hezbollah to just echo Hezbollah evasions. Discussing the book "Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism" by Judith Palmer Harik, Kramer comments that Harik
spends a few embarrassing pages agonizing over this question: “Was Mughniyeh a member of Hezbollah?”

Now that Nasrallah’s eulogy has placed Mughniyah officially in the pantheon of Hezbollah’s greatest martyrs (with Abbas al-Musawi and Raghib Harb), this question looks absurd. That it ever arose is a testament to the discipline of Hezbollah in sticking to lies that serve its interests. One of its paramount interests is concealing from scrutiny that apparatus of terror that Mughniyah spent his life building.
In the comments, Michael Young observes:
This is emblematic of a wider problem. Hezbollah has been very adept at turning contacts with the party into a supposedly valuable favor. Scholars, particularly in the West, who can claim to have a Hezbollah contact are already regarded as “special” for having penetrated a closed society, so that readers are less inclined to judge critically the merits of what the scholars got out of Hezbollah. The same goes for book editors. Since Hezbollah denied knowing Mughniyah, few were willing to say “This is rubbish, I’m going to push further.” The mere fact of getting that denial was regarded as an achievement—one the authors were not about to jeopardize by calling Hezbollah liars.
I am reminded of the fact that when Human Rights Watch attempted to follow its reports criticizing Israel's conduct during the Lebanon war with one critical of Hezbollah, its relationship with Hezbollah immediately soured. You have to wonder what price it paid for its previous access to South Lebanon. More on Mughniyeh and the experts here.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Great leap forward preempted by hungry party officials

The J-blogosphere is currently giving some attention to a Hamas kiddie television character, a giant Jew-eating bunny. Some of you may recall, however, that someone bred real giant bunnies in Germany and that he was sending some of them to North Korea for breeding purposes with the idea of helping the great powerful prosperous socialist nation with its starvation problem. It turns out that none of that Rabbit flesh is ever going to get to the starving Korean in the street because the supposed breed-stock rabbits were all eaten by party officials! As before, Spiegel Online has the story:
A German pensioner who made headlines last year (more...) for breeding giant rabbits -- and selling a batch to North Korea with the idea of easing hunger -- is the subject of a short documentary by an American director in the the 2008 Berlin Film Festival. Director Julius Onah made the five-minute film . . . after reading about Karl Szmolinsky on SPIEGEL ONLINE. And in doing so, he learned that the rabbits may have been eaten by North Korean functionaries instead of the starving people for whom they were intended.

Szmolinsky is a 68-year-old German living in Eberswalde, near Berlin, who won a prize for breeding a 10.5-kilogram (23.1 pound) rabbit named Robert in 2006. Robert was the size of a small dog. When North Korean leaders saw photos of him they contacted Szmolinsky through a breeding federation, hoping to purchase a line of "German Giant Grays" to alleviate hunger in their hermetic Communist state. [...]

"In April of '07 Szmolinsky was supposed to go to North Korea himself and oversee the breeding of the rabbits," Onah told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "But some time between January and April he found out that the rabbits he sent got eaten (by senior officials). All 12 of them. So he refused to cooperate (more...) with the North Koreans." [...]
We also learn that Szmolinsky got "harassing phone calls" from animal rights advocates, who appear to have had a point.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, February 15, 2008

IRNA: "Happiness expressed on Mughniyah's assassination blot on arrogance's reputation - Rafsanjani"

And when you're a World Arrogance, reputation is everything!
Iran's Expediency Council Chairman said here Friday happiness expressed by United States and Israel over assassination of senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah is a blot on reputation of global arrogance.

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, addressing thousands of Tehrani worshipers at central campus of Tehran University, made the comment as provisional Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran in his second sermon.

He added, "The countries that have apparently hoisted the banner of the international campaign against terrorism are today rejoicing over this terrorist act that led to martyrdom of that great personality."

The new Head of the Leadership Experts Assembly reiterated, "Even if the leaders of those countries had felt happy from the bottom of their hearts over this sad event they should have, logically speaking, condemned this sort of terrorist move."
Rafsanjani added, "Haaj Imad Mughniyah was martyred brutally and now they are launching a campaign against him. Nowadays they are publishing thousands of article in Western and Arab World media in which this great man is accused of having committed a long list of terrorist acts and other deeds, while he is no longer alive to defend himself, but there are his friends and fellow combatants who must do so." He added, "This man had two brothers, both of whom were martyred by the usurper Zionist regime."

Hashemi Rafsanjani said, "The volume of articles and radio-TV broadcasts against this noble martyr is dozens of times greater than the amount of stuff published and broadcast in his defense, but of course in a country like Iran, he is defended sufficiently." The interim Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran reiterated, "The most shameful point for the arrogance is that the Americans and the Israelis, as well as some other Western countries, openly expressed delight over the assassination of this personality."

He added, "These apparent standard bearers of campaign against terrorism are the same ones who launched wars in our region, including in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and are still exerting pressure against us on pretext of condemning the supporters of terrorists."

The Chairman of the Expediency Council emphasized, "This is quite obviously a terrorist act. Iran is the greatest victim of terrorism, because ever since the first days after the victory of the Islamic Revolution a large number of the Revolution's best sons and daughters, our great personalities, our prayer leaders, a president, a prime minister, a judiciary chief, and a large number of Iranian civilians were assassinated."

He added, "The terrorists who assassinated that large number of Iranians are now living under the supportive umbrella of the Americans in Iraq today, just like their presence at some Western countries, where they even frequent at those countries' parliaments freely, while Iran is accused of supporting terrorists, and suppressed immensely on that excuse!"

Rafsanjani added, "They lost the remainder of their blotted reputation after this last state sponsored assassination, since they expressed happiness over a terrorist act, which should have been condemned, whereas no type of terrorism is by any means justifiable." The Leadership Experts Assembly Speaker reiterated, "This terrorist act took place on the anniversary of another Lebanese Hezbollah leader, Haaj Abbas Moussavi, that was targeted from air when he was ravelling in his passenger car along with his children by the Israelis, and they were all martyred."

Hashemi Rafsanjani added, "This event is also simultaneous with other terrorist acts committed by Israel nowadays in Gaza, which are repeated as often, as ever since the siege of Gaza 95 oppressed Palestinian residents of Gaza Strip have been martyred, mostly by direct fire of low altitude flying helicopters that have targeted certain houses, or passenger cars." [...]

Hashemi Rafsanjani emphasized, "We are opposed to terrorist acts of all types, but we do not consider Jihad, resistance for materializing absolute rights, and campaign against occupation aimed at liberating one's own motherland terrorist acts, since such moves are righteous upraising." [...]
And blowing up a Jewish community center in Argentina-what's wrong with that?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Supreme Leader mourns one of his best henchmen

The Ayatollah's condolence letter to Nasrallah.
Dear brother Hojjat-ol-Islam Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

The martyrdom of the dedicated and diligent brother Hajj Imad Mughniyeh was a great accomplishment and a prosperous culmination for the man himself as his heart was brimming with the love of diligence in the path of God; at the same time, it was a source of pride for the Lebanese nation which is rearing and offering such great men to the span of freedom seeking and combat against oppression.

Though a heartrending loss for all noble men and all those who knew him, not least his parents, his wife and his dear children, the life and death of the eminent, diligent freeman and his likes is an epic which would awaken the nations, produce examples to youths and show to every one the path to bright horizons.

The bloodthirsty, criminal Zionists must mind that the pure blood of such martyrs as Imad Mughniyeh would generate hundreds of other Imad Mughniyehs and would double the resistance against oppression, corruption and transgression.

Such men as the great martyr sacrifice their lives, well-being and temporal gains in the path of support for the innocent and combat against the oppression and arrogance. This is a sublime merit to which all the fair-minded individuals would pay homage.

May Allah's Consent be on him as well as on all those who are dedicated to the path of truth.

I offer my congratulations and condolences over the great martyrdom to you and his respected family as well as the prideful youths of Hezbollah and resistance and the overall Lebanese nation.
Iran's true nature is particularly obvious at the moment. It isn't correct to say that Iran's acquisition of nukes poses the danger that they will fall into terrorist hands. If Iran acquires nukes, then they will already be in terrorist hands.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Imad Mughniyeh "famous fighter against international terrorism"

This is from Iran, of course, IRIB Radio to be precise. The original article title is also pretty warped: "Senior Hezbollah Freedom-Fighter Asassinated":
Lebanese Hezbollah holds the Zionist regime responsible for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, one of Hezbollah senior commanders in Syria and a famous fighter against international terrorism. In its statement Hezbollah said Imad Mughniyeh, also known as Haj Rezvan, attained martyrdom in a terrorist attack by the Zionist terrorists in Damascus, IRNA reported.

The Lebanese Hezbollah also announced that Mossad, the notorious spying network of the illegal Zionist entity, had been trying to assassinate Imad Mughniyeh, the senior commander of the resistance, for more than twenty years.

In this statement it was also written that the "blood of the Hezbollah commanders" would elevate the Resistance to higher status, just as the martyrdom of Seyyed Abbas Moosavi and Sheikh Ragheb Harb helped the Resistance to expand.

According to a Lebanese political official who requested anonymity Mughniyeh was the victim of a car bomb in Damascus.

Press TV: "Zionism octopus threatens Muslims"

I think EOZ scooped Press TV on this one:
Hamas has called on the Muslim world to unite against Israel after the assassination of Imad Mughniya, a top Lebanese Hezbollah figure.

"We urge the Muslim and Arab nations to act decisively against the Zionist octopus that threatens the security of Arab and Muslim countries," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said on Wednesday.

Imad Mughniyah, a top commander of Hezbollah, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus on Tuesday night, 'has been a target of the Zionists for 20 years,' Hezbollah said in a statement.

Israeli leaders have also threatened to target Hamas political leaders in the Gaza Strip. It assassinated top Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in Gaza in 2004.

Abu Zuhri warned Israel of 'unprecedented responses' if it carried out any assassination in Gaza.
I don't think any Hamas leaders will be enjoying the great outdoors for a while.

Al-Manar TV: "Hamas: Moghniyeh Murder 'Zionist Gangsterism'"

Feel the love:
In a series of condemnations of the assassination of Hezbollah top commander Imad Moghniyeh, a Syrian human rights watchdog accused Israel on Wednesday of state terrorism and the killing of Moghniyeh. "The killing of Imad Moghniyeh in the Kfar Suseh neighborhood of Damascus followed repeated threats by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to have Hezbollah and Hamas leaders killed wherever they are," the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said. "The action carried out by the Israeli government is a terrorist act of the sort condemned under international law," the watchdog's chairman Ammar Qorabi said. "Israel has acknowledged in the past having assassinated Ezzedine Sheikh Khalil, one of the leaders of the Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas, who died in a September 2004 car bombing in Damascus," Qorabi added.

In the same context, Hamas joined Syrian Human rights watchdog in accusing Israel of killing Moghniyeh, saying it was a "new example of Zionist gangsterism." Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called on Arabs and Muslims to "face up to this Zionist octopus whose crimes have gone far beyond Palestinian territories into the Arab and Islamic worlds."

Moreover, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of being behind the killing. "Imad Moghniyeh was assassinated by the Zionist Mossad ... which was aware of the important status of the martyr and the privileged role he played in the struggle (jihad)," said a statement. "The Zionist murderers and their agents should know that the resistance will respond by aiming its bullets and its explosives at the leaders of Zionist terrorism and their agents," the statement added.

What's with this image at Ramattan News?

Did they get hacked? Why does part of the image look like a champagne bottle? (Click on the image for a larger view.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Leave Saudi Women Alone!" and attack the Jews instead

A defense of the position of women in Saudi Arabia is inevitably going to involve--what else?--holocaust denial:
The United Nations’ interest in the situation of women in the Kingdom really puzzled me. It looked as though Saudi women live in a huge prison guarded by people whose only interest is to humiliate and degrade women as much as possible.

It seemed as if the women in this country were desperately seeking words of help and promise of rescue from these organizations so that that they can begin life afresh enjoying all the freedom they lost a long time ago.

I wonder how members of such organizations — whose hearts apparently bleed for those oppressed and suppressed — are so concerned about the Saudi women, but fail to realize the tragic plight of the women in Palestine and Iraq.

I wish the UN addressed the concerns of the women in Gaza who are starving to death because of the Israeli blockade in place for the last eight months. Before that there was a siege that lasted one year. Palestinian women and children are struggling for survival. Children are dying because there is no food and there are no medications. I don’t see the UN raising a voice to condemn what is going on in the Gaza Strip.

UN organizations are not concerned about Palestinian women languishing in Zionist jails. They are being held unfairly without any charges or trial. They are being kept away from their children and husbands. How I wish these organizations opened their eyes and talked to us about these continuous tragedies and traumas. As for the situation of Iraqi women, they’re in endless distress. They’ve been traumatized with no end in sight to their miseries. How come these organizations don’t see a tragedy that TV screens bring to our living rooms?

Don’t they know that the US-led war has so far caused the death of more than one million Iraqis, a majority of them women and young girls? Maybe they know it and hence their horrifying silence?

I won’t say that the reason for their silence is that all these catastrophes are caused by America and Israel and they don’t want to annoy the global superpower and the regional superpower. I’ll only assume that they have good intentions and are trying to find out the truth. Maybe they want to make every nation feel happy.

These organizations should realize that every nation has its religious distinctiveness that’s taken into consideration when it comes to enacting laws. Islam has its Shariah rules, whether in granting women their rights or treating them as equals to men. Islam doesn’t deny other people their religious distinctiveness.

The Jews guard their religious distinctiveness with zeal. The same applies for Christians, Buddhists and others. This religious distinctiveness is respected in their laws. I’ve never heard a country or an organization objecting to Jewish religious regulations. No country, individual or organization can criticize Jews without inviting charges of anti-Semitism. In fact, nobody can question the truth about the holocaust even if it is scientifically and historically documented. [...]

Finally, I say to all those who cry over the situation of women in Saudi Arabia, whether they are outsiders or citizens: Leave the woman alone. Saudi women are capable of taking care of themselves without the help of these busybodies . . .
Oddly enough, Arab News illustrates the ability of Saudi Women to "take care of themselves" with another headline that reads "Ex-Husband Continues to Make Life Hell for Abused Wife."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Ramzy Baroud on manufactured realities

A recent piece by Ramzy Baroud, "Media Language and War: Manufacturing Convenient Realities," tackles a subject that many people would not associate with "manufactured realities": the recent bombing of an outdoor pet market by two female human bombs. Baroud laments the lack of "thorough analysis," but seems merely to be demanding the superimposition on the story of the Nancy Pelosi narrative of a failed surge:
[...] Any thorough analysis of the story would have to examine several related factors. First, it would need to juxtapose the high death toll with US and Iraqi governments’ reports of 'calm' in the Baghdad area. The claim of a ‘return to normalcy’ in the Iraqi capital has been propagated for months, as a way of validating US President’s Bush’s military 'surge'. Even if we buy into the questionable statistics aimed at hyping the positive outcome of the surge – questionable because they are only promoted by US and Iraqi military sources, with vested interests in downplaying the seriousness of the 'insurgency' – the violence seems to have shifted from the capital into northern areas, especially Mosul.

Instead of admitting failure in halting the violence which has plagued Iraq since the US occupation of 2003, US and Iraqi authorities resort to a continued and violent language to confuse and distract from the real issues.

This is how Alissa J. Rubin began her article for the New York Times (January 31): "The unsettled situation in northern Iraq continued Wednesday as Iraqi troops massed in Mosul to fight Sunni Arab extremists". This is a brilliant way to divert attention of the story from the failure of the surge to manipulate other values, and lumping these values to create a completely fallacious association: "Sunni Arab extremists." [...]
But what of the bombings themselves?
[...] What do the bombings tell us about the security situation in Baghdad, the success or failure of the ‘surge’ or the war which is driving people to suicide in its most brutal manifestations?

Apparently, it tells us nothing.

But Lt. Col. Steve Stover, spokesman for the Multi-National Division-Baghdad has an explanation that seems, at least from the point view of CNN much more relevant than the seemingly unimportant questions above. "By targeting innocent Iraqis, they (those who dispatched the 'mentally disabled' women suicide bombers) show their true demonic character." Thus, CNN headline: "'Demonic' militants sent women to bomb markets in Iraq." In Western media language, Arab women are perpetually oppressed victims, and they must maintain that role for the story to read right. Thus, the women bombers cannot be viewed themselves as extremists, but as victims in the hands of extremists.

Within hours the buzz words on online news were 'mentally disabled' and 'demonic'.

But what does 'demonic' mean exactly? What real issues does it address? And why should such an irrelevant outburst define the deadliest bombing in Baghdad in months?

Focusing on such extraneous associations - mindless, mad, demonic women, possessed and acting on the behest of bearded and cunning al-Qaeda ‘Arab Sunni, extremists’ – does much more than simply distract from the many military and policy failures in Iraq. It helps create a parallel universe to that of the real world, thus presenting a substitute image that shapes and reshapes the perceptions and imaginations of faraway news consumers.
The "real" world is a very non-demonic place, evidently:
The 'real world' - whether that of Iraq, Palestine, Burma, Kenya or any other - is a world that, although seemingly chaotic, is very much rational. It is predicated on the values of cause and affect. What may seem 'demonic' and 'mad' to a non-media person should not appear the same to a journalist. The latter’s responsibility is to narrate, contextualize and deconstruct with an independent and critical eye, not merely reiterate what has been told to him by 'official sources'. [...]
On a certain level it is hard to argue with Baroud's insistence about the failure to contain violence--the surge certainly failed to prevent the transformation of mentally disabled women into human bombs--but all that contextualization and deconstruction seems to lead to the most hackneyed of narratives--remotely detonated human bombs as people "driven to suicide" by the war. By the war? Aren't bombings part of the war? The people who dispatched those women are also interested in narratives. Their narrative ends with murderers entering paradise, the worldwide triumph of radical Islam, and sometimes we are also reminded that the terrorists' narrative involves depravities that most people don't even dare to imagine. So somebody--but not CNN--did create a "parallel universe."

The act of turning those women into bombs to slaughter people like animals (and actually along with animals) bursts, with demonic vitality, out of all the hackneyed Leftist narratives about terrorism--resistance to occupation, economic despair, whatever--rendering them crumpled and fraudulent husks. Why is Baroud so desperately fighting to drag the screen back in front of the obvious? He and the terrorists, I suspect, have a shared commitment to certain manufactured realities.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, February 11, 2008

Maan News: "Gunmen attack health clinic"

An ugly little story:
A health clinic in the northern West Bank town of Huwwara has come under frequent attack recently, culminating on Saturday night when unidentified gunmen vandalized the interior of the building, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The Ministry said that the clinic has been fired upon several times, and its main electrical generator was stolen.

A Health Ministry statement said that the only losers in such attacks are the thousands of Palestinians served by the clinic. The Ministry said health servives should not be attacked in political or family conflicts.
There is quite an opportunity for sarcasm here, but the story speaks for itself.

IRNA: "World powers defaming themselves by insistence on wrong decision"

It's awfully sporting of him to suggest that the West should "make good on its past mistakes." There's hope for us!
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that the big powers are damaging their own prestige by further anti-Iran provocations.

Addressing the large convention at Azadi Square, President Ahmadinejad said perseverance of the Iranian nation and the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have made the country victorious in terms of the logic of the nuclear program.

Iran has reaffirmed commitment to Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said enemies falsely supposed that they can, by threats, resolutions, sanctions, and psychological war, make Iran retreat, but they have been wrong as usual.

"On Iran's nuclear program, they spoiled reputation of their own and that of the UN Security Council, proving inefficiency of the Council.

"Some UN Security Council's permanent members, in the name of peace and security, made anti-Iran decisions based on their wrong perception and dictated it to the Council.

"Unfortunately, instead of apologizing to the great Iranian nation, some powers are complaining against non-observation of the UN Security Council's former decisions. I tell them not to insist on your mistakes. They should know that the Iranian nation will never give up its nuclear rights."

He said the west should find a way to make good on its past mistakes.

"We have repeatedly announced that nuclear activities of the Iranian nation are within framework of laws and regulations. I recommend them (westerners) to make recourse to justice and the law.

That's to the interest of all," he added.