Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guardian: "samples were taken by rival teams of scientists hired by Suha and the Palestinian Authority, who are deeply distrustful of each other"

Darn! The military honors were called off!
Yasser Arafat was buried eight years ago to a chorus of gunfire before a crowd of thousands amid the rubble of his Ramallah headquarters. Yesterday, the gravediggers who came to disinter him slipped in under cover of darkness. For hours they hacked through the several metres of concrete that were supposed to ensure that no one could ever desecrate his body. The Palestinian leadership had the Israelis in mind when it buried the old revolutionary so deep and secure.

Eight years after his death, it was Arafat's widow, Suha, who had him brought up again as part of a French murder investigation into whether he was slowly killed by a radioactive poison, polonium-210 – the same substance used to murder the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 – after it was detected on his clothes earlier this year.

The plan had been to move Arafat's corpse to a mosque for religious rites to be observed before samples were taken by rival teams of scientists hired by Suha and the Palestinian Authority, who are deeply distrustful of each other. After that, there was to be a reburial with full military honours.

But once the concrete was finally hacked through, Arafat's remains were in no state to be moved. Instead the coffin was lifted out for Palestinian doctors, working under the watchful eye of the foreign scientists, to take about 20 samples to be tested for poisons as well as polonium. Then it was resealed and reburied.

The military honours were cancelled on the grounds that Arafat wasn't being reburied because he hadn't been removed from his coffin.

Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat's death, said it all went according to plan.

"Only Palestinian hands touched the remains," he said. It was a stunning contrast to the Palestine Liberation Organisation leader's burial, when crowds pressed into the rubble of his headquarters, the Muqata, which had been flattened by Israeli tanks.

The Muqata has since been rebuilt and transformed into a sprawling presidential palace of Jerusalem stone.

Arafat's mausoleum is now a towering quad of limestone and glass, a reflecting pool, and an honour guard.

But all of that was hidden behind large blue plastic sheets, hung to shield the exhumation from outsiders.

Palestinian officials justified the secretiveness as necessary to protect the dignity of Arafat's remains. But the opaque handling of the process reflected the doubts among some about where this could all lead.

Many ordinary Palestinians have long believed Arafat was murdered by Israel, but they are divided over whether that warrants digging him up.

"He should have been left alone," said Munir Jaara at a coffee shop close to the Muqata. "We all know the Israelis killed him so what's it going to prove to disturb his body? It's disrespectful."

Ghada Nayfeh demurred.

"We need to find the truth. It was very suspicious how he died, just like that under siege from the Israelis," she said.

If Arafat was murdered, the guilty party is assumed by Palestinians to be the Israelis. But if that is the case, it's unlikely they could have got to him without inside help.

The speed of Arafat's death aged 75 after a short, unexplained illness fed the suspicions of foul play that took hold among Palestinians almost immediately after his funeral even though French officials determined that he died at a Paris military hospital from a stroke caused by a blood disorder.

Suha Arafat refused to permit an autopsy at the time. But earlier this year she gave some of her late husband's personal items, including his toothbrush, underwear and kaffiyeh to Al Jazeera television which sent them to Switzerland for tests. The Institut de Radiophysique discovered abnormal levels of polonium-210.

The tests were inconclusive, however, and so Suha Arafat, a French citizen, asked the French government to launch a murder inquiry. The Palestinian Authority, suspicious of Arafat's widow – who is not a popular figure among Palestinians in part in part because she is regarded as having enriched herself – and the French and Swiss experts she hired, called in Russian scientists to do separate analysis.

This week, French magistrates have been questioning Palestinian officials who were besieged with Arafat in the Muqata because it's unlikely the PLO leader's food or drink could have been poisoned without a collaborator in the building.

The Israelis had an opportunity to interfere with food deliveries which passed through their checkpoints during the siege.

But they had no way of knowing who would be eating what and the fact that there was no mass poisoning inside the Muqata would mean that Arafat's food was contaminated by someone with direct access to it.

Israel has repeatedly denied killing Arafat and called on the Palestinian leadership to release his medical records, which it has steadfastly refused to do.
Something's fishy somewhere. If only Abu Amar were alive to supervise the examination of his dead remains. Then we'd learn the truth!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CAIR Canada attacks Jewish textbook

The Canadian version of CAIR, the Council of American Islamic Relations, has recently taken the trouble of attempting to have a textbook removed from the curriculum of a religious Jewish school. According to CAIR, referring to a text book called "2000 Years of Jewish History: From the Destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash Until the Twentieth Century":
We discovered that the textbook uses inflammatory and hateful terms in describing Muslims, such as “rabid fanatics” with “savage beginnings” (page 45). The entire chapter devoted to Islam presents a pernicious and extreme portrayal of Muslims and the Islamic faith (pages 41 – 46). The material further denigrates the Prophet Muhammad as a “rabid Jew-hater” (page 41) and falsely portrays Islam as inherently anti-Semitic and devoted to hating Jews. Further, the descriptions refer to an ongoing attitude – not one that is static in history – defined as being “a combination of wildness and civility […] towards the Jews throughout history” (page 44). Overall, this teaching material undeniably leaves impressionable young Jewish readers with a sense of suspicion and even intolerance towards their fellow Canadians.
I learned about this whole business courtesy of the Loon Watch website, which has a post supporting CAIR's depiction of the book. Here are a few things you won't learn from Loon Watch, which sometimes tolerates my participation in comments threads. Here, for instance, is the paragraph containing the phrase "savage beginnings":
While the savage beginnings of Mohammed’s sweeping massacres were often reflected by anti-Jewish legislation and vicious attacks against Jewish life and property, there were also long periods in which the Arabs accepted the Jews in their communities and valued them for the cultural and commercial abilities. Indeed, it was largely under the rule of the Mohammedan Caliphs that the entire Jewish nation enjoyed the “Golden Age of the Geonim.”
Is the depiction of Mohammed as a "rabid Jew-hater" likely to inspire "suspicion and even intolerance" towards Canadian Muslims? Here is the sentence in question:
Like Paul of Tarsus, inflamed by Jewish rejection, Mohammed turned into a rabid Jew-hater.
Here is a sentence about Martin Luther (p. 152):
Like Paul of Tarsus and Mohammed before him, Luther's attitude took a complete turnabout. He became a rabid Jew-hater.
All this is not so politically correct and the writer is certainly no measured and judicious Bernard Lewis when it comes to his prose style (The phrase "rabid fanatics" refers to early Shi'as and contrasts them to more tolerant Sunnis). The book, however, if my brief investigations of the CAIR-highlighted language are any indication, doesn't single out Muslims for worse treatment than that accorded to Christians and other peoples in their Jew-persecuting phases. Luther has his academic defenders as does Mohammed, but surely Jewish textbooks are allowed to take a dim view of developments that ended the existence of entire communities without arousing the ire of civil rights groups. What's next? Demands for favorable depictions of the Disputation of Paris?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What did the Gazans think they were doing? Isn't it obvious?

Yaakov Lozowick, in a typically (although now infrequent) well-written and thoughtful post, states the following:
The question What the Gazans think they're doing, what they possibly hope to achieve by their actions, isn't easy to answer, and I don't pretend to know. It certainly doesn't look like anything rational. It's not as if anything they might throw at us will make us go away.
Funny, for all that typical thoughtfulness, I can't remember a time when I disagreed more with one of his posts. Here is what the Gazans thought they were doing:

1. Testing the post Arab-spring waters, and--no surprise--the waters were fine. To give only one example, Hamas et al had important Arab leaders visiting them during Operation Shale Stones/Pillar of Defense.

2. Testing/showing off the improvements to their arsenal--they can now hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

3. Shoring-up their Jihadist/resistance credentials. Leftists and other Arabs and Muslims won't accuse them of doing the Zionist entity's bidding by restraining Islamic Jihad for a while. They aren't going to sell out the Ummah, not them. Resistance forever.

4. Demonstrating that their capacity to disrupt Israeli life isn't going away. Isn't that the usual way terrorism works?

It seems to me that this was all a brilliant success. They got back the previous cease-fire with essentially no cease-reload while only suffering something like one tenth the casualties they suffered during Operation Oil Stain/Cast Lead.

What about Israeli achievements? Yes, they honed their most-moral-army shtick. So what, the usual suspects were as glib as ever with the war-crimes accusations. Yes, the star Hamas weapon in this last round had no defensive value. And yes, the star Israeli weapon had no offensive value. Is there some kind of moral victory there? It will be very small comfort if (when?) Hamas follows this success with the next one, G-d forbid.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Iranian, Egyptian presidents call for int'l consensus against Israel " (IRNA-Iran)

The picture is better than the article:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi in a telephone conversation on Sunday reiterated the need for bringing about an international consensus on preventing the continuation of Israeli aggressions on Gaza.

Ahmadinejad thanked Musri for his efforts aimed at bringing back tranquility and sustainable security to Gaza.

'Our religious and humanitarian duties oblige us to try to prevent the further massacre of defenseless Palestinians and restoring tranquility and sustainable security in the region and throughout the entire Palestinian territories,' the Iranian president said.

'It is necessary that all-out efforts should be made for putting an end to killing and massacre of women, children and the oppressed people of Gaza and Palestine,' Ahmadinejad said.

Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, for his part, said that he is concerned about what is happening to the people of Gaza and he is trying to prevent further massacre of the Palestinians in the region.

'I have also talked to many presidents of different countries, and I am trying to bring about an international consensus vis-à-vis the Israeli aggressions on the Gaza Strip,' he added.

"Kim Jong Un Greets Syrian President" (Korean News)

As Hendrix once commented, "Just ask the Axis/He knows everything":
Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, sent a message of greeting to Bashar Al-Assad, president of Syria, on Friday.

The message said:

Please accept my warm congratulations to you and the government and people of your friendly country on the 42nd anniversary of the rectification movement in Syria.

The rectification movement was a historic event which provided a landmark occasion in the struggle of the Syrian people to defend the sovereignty of the country and build a highly civilized and prosperous new society.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I wish you success in your responsible work, reiterating the firm solidarity of our people with the struggle of the Syrian Arab people to defend the sovereignty, peace and stability of the country.
Dictators have to stick together.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems Presented to KPA Units" (Korean News)

We learn that "the presentation of the military equipment to the army is an expression of the ardent loyalty and patriotism by the mothers in Songun Korea." What did they do, knit the rockets?
Multiple-launch rocket systems "Nyomaeng-ho" associated with the ardent patriotism of the women across the country were presented to units of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on the occasion of the 4th National Meeting of Mothers.

Those multiple-launch rocket systems "Nyomaeng-ho" were provided through a dynamic good conduct movement of the organizations and members of the Democratic Women's Union of Korea (DWUK) across the country.

A presentation ceremony was held at Hamhung Square in South Hamgyong Province on Monday.

Present at the ceremony were Thae Jong Su, chief secretary of South Hamgyong Provincial Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Jon Kwang Ho, chairman of the South Hamgyong Provincial People's Committee, officials concerned, service persons of the KPA and members of the women's union.

Ro Song Sil, chairwoman of the C.C., DWUK, made a presentation address to be followed by speeches.

The speakers noted that the presentation of the military equipment to the army is an expression of the ardent loyalty and patriotism by the mothers in Songun Korea to add glory to the immortal exploits performed by Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il for the army building and to make contributions to powerfully demonstrating the might of the powerful Paektusan revolutionary army.

They called upon all the women to take active part in diverse mass movements and the do-good-thing movement helpful to the building of an economic power and the improvement of the people's living standard and make devoted efforts for society and the collective, bearing Kim Jong Il's patriotism in mind.

At the end of the ceremony, the rocket systems left for units of the KPA amid warm send-off of women's union members in Hamhung City.
"Do-good-thing movement"--that's a new one.

Friday, November 09, 2012

"Senior Iranian Rabbi Asks for Stoning Israeli Rabbi Ari Shvat to Death" (Fars News-Iran)

Should Golestaninejad actually be considered a Rabbi? This article suggests that he does not know that the Biblical death penalties have not been operative for thousands of years. But then again, does he actually say the things attributed to him by Khomeino-journalists? We might find out some day:
After former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni disclosed personal details of her former career in Mossad, Rabbi Ari Shvat, one of the most famous rabbis of Israel, allowed Israeli women to have sex with the enemy in exchange for information, but Iran's Grand Rabbi Mashallah Golestaninejad described adultery as forbidden in Judaism, and stressed that Shvat should be stoned to death.

In an interview given 14 years ago but published in full for the first time last Friday in a pro-Livni newspaper and then cited by the British Sunday Times weekly, she described working undercover for Bayonet, Mossad's elite hit squad, where she answered the question if she had ever had sex to get information.

"If I'd been asked to do it, I don't know what I'd have said. In the office (Mossad's term for itself) there is a job tailored for everyone."

After the release of Livni's remarks, Rabbi Ari Shvat, one of the most famous rabbis of Israel, allowed Israeli women to have sex with the enemy in exchange for important information, claiming that Jewish law permits this type of action.

His remarks created chaos in the Jewish world and the Rabbis from different parts of the world reacted to Shvat's comments.

"The sources of Judaism have not allowed such a deed at all and it (adultery) is forbidden in our religion and based on the explicit instruction of the Ten Commandments, no one can embark on adultery at all," Iranian Grand Rabbi Mashallah Golestaninejad said.

In an interview with the Persian Daily, Javan, Rabbi Golestaninejad condemned Rabbi Shvat for his remarks, and said, "He is nothing more than a donkey and doesn't understand as much as a donkey… . Such a person with such comments is a renegade, belligerent and a corruptor on earth and based on the Torah instructions he should be stoned to death."

He further referred to Livni and said, "Ms. Livni is not a follower of any faith at all. The thoughts and goals of Zionism run counter to the faith of Judaism, and Zionists do not attach the least importance to the instructions of the Torah. Hence, it would be normal for them to embark on prostitution to attain their goals and objectives."

Noting that the Zionists using their own special Rabbis have created a fake regime for themselves, he said that they commit their crimes and wrong deeds under the name of Judaism but "they are the enemies of religion".

"A rabbi never approves of adultery and calls prostitution as a banned activity; therefore, anyone doing or saying anything to the opposite is an enemy of religion because a friend of religion is the one who considers God and not material interests whenever he wants to do something," Rabbi Golestaninejad reiterated.
Golestaninejad's previous appearances in this blog are here and here.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

"Commander Warns of New US Plot in Syria" (Fars News-Iran)

Is Firouzabadi putting on weight?
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi cautioned that the US is seeking to spark new unrests in Syria in collaboration with sponsors of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

The US, in collaboration with the sponsors of al-Qaeda, is planning to provoke a fresh series of conflicts in Syria, Firouzabadi warned on Friday.

He further advised Qatari officials not to further jeopardize their security by being lured into the Americans' trap.

"Muslims should unite and assist each other to cut the hands of the US from the Islamic countries, not to be in cahoots with the White House," Firouzabadi underscored.

His remarks came days after Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in October called for support for the foreign insurgents in Syria to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

In October, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.

The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

"Judiciary Chief Hails Supreme Leader's Unifying Comments" (Fars News-Iran)

Stop the presses--someone sucked up to the dictator!
Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani appreciated Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei for his unifying remarks addressed to the heads of Iran's three branches of power.

Amoli Larijani in a letter addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei said that the unifying comments of his eminence have roots in pure fountain of Vicegerency.

The full text of the letter whose text is quoted in the Judiciary Force website is as follows:

Long Live His Eminence the Supreme Leader;

Inheritor of Vicegerency (from the late Imam Khomeini and Infallible Imams -P)

Salamon Aleykom

With all due respect, and congratulating your honor on the upcoming blessed occasion of Qadir-e Khom Eid, the blessed message of that most esteemed leader that has roots in the pure fountain of Vicegerency, addressed to the heads of the head of the three branches of power was wholeheartedly received with heart and mind.

I pray to Almighty Allah for assisting all of us to shoulder our responsibilities, and to obey and assist that Most Exalted Supreme Leader.

Sadeq Amoli Larijani
Cool unifying comments, exalted Big Guy!