Monday, April 25, 2005

So much for straight talk: Bush can't say "genocide"

In his statement on the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide, President Bush betrayed the memory of millions of innocent victims of the 20th century's first attempt by Muslims to eliminate an ethnic and religious minority. He once again refused to call it a genocide, to the dismay of Armenians around the world and to the smirking delight of the Turks who hope to entrench their own brand of holocaust denial in the minds of new generations.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Syria plots an Iraqi Anschluss

The current most popular show on Al-Iraqya TV, "Terrorists in the Hands of Justice," airs interviews with captured insurgents. Many of those featured on the show have turned out to be from Syria or to have connections to the Syrian Intelligence Service. Here is a revealing statement taken from a transcript of the interrogation of a captured Syrian intelligence officer, First Lieutenant Fadi Al-Abdallah, as he describes Syria's hopes to "unite" itself with Iraq through a campaign of slaughter and propaganda. It looks as if the plan is pretty standard fare: Destabilize Iraq, convince the Iraqis to send the Americans packing, and then fill the ensuing vacuum with a Syrian military presence. Good for Syria, bad for Iran, and back to business as usual for the Kurds and Shiites who lived for decades under the boot of a Sunni-dominated Baath party. Anyway, Assad can't have all those soldiers and spies recently evicted from Lebanon hanging around Damascus causing trouble.
Interviewer: Then why did you form these networks before the fall of the regime?

Fadi Al-Abdallah: Sir, in order to unite Syria and Iraq. These were the instructions we received from above.

Interviewer: So all the CDs that are circulating on the streets -All these acts of slaughter and other thing one is ashamed to mention - Why did you film them and circulate them?

Fadi Al-Abdallah: Sir, this is what the Syrian government wanted.

Interviewer: You mean there was a purpose behind this.

Fadi Al-Abdallah: Yes, sir.

Interviewer: What was the purpose of these acts?

Fadi Al-Abdallah: To terrorize the [Iraqi] people and make them hate the Americans and the new government."
Al-Iraqya broadcast this interview in late March. Click here to see a clip of the show with translation provided by the indispensable MEMRI TV.

MEMRI TV also has a clip of another "Terrorists in the Hands of Justice" in which a young woman claims that the Syrian Intelligence Services coerced her into spying in Iraq by kidnapping and threatening her daughter.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A glimpse inside the mind of the Muslim misogynist

Here's an interesting opinion piece from the Egyptian Al Messa. The translation from Arabic into English is provided by Watching America which was called to my attention by Little Green Footballs and which will certainly be on my daily "watchlist" from now on.

The unidentified writer rails against American meddling in the Muslim world. The inspiration for his ire--I presume the writer is male--is the recent mixed-sex prayer services led by women in New York and Boston. We get an odd condemnation of the politically correct relativist contortionism fostered by the Bush administration after 9/11:
Since the events of September 11, 2001, America has conducted fierce campaigns against Muslims under the pretext that Islam is the cause of terrorism. And therefore, she spared no effort in throwing some of its believers into prison, while at the same time holding conferences in various places to show how close our cultures are. She imposes at these conferences ideas and suggestions that contradict our religion. She concentrates in particular on women's rights and their equality with man, even in regard to inheritances!!

The exclamation points are the writer's, not mine. So he is unwilling to brook any idea that might contradict the tenets of Islam ... not a good starting point. Clearly he feels that laws regarding inheritance should discriminate against women. I find it astounding how effortlessly Islamists can pair their gender apartheid with purported high regard for women's rights. The writer gives us the typical "Islam respects women" prevarication:

America does not know that Islam honors women and their situation in the loftiest way possible. And it gives them rights and advantages that American and European woman have yet to achieve.

As part of its policy of violating our religious doctrines, America and her media machine have been encouraging a new phenomenon: A woman leading men in Friday Prayer!!"

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Iraqi hope

Here is a refreshing sentiment coming out of Iraq. Every now and then the mainstream media manage to shift their gaze from the enticing spectacle of primitive bullies like Sadr, and we get a chance to hear from an Iraqi who is intelligent and insightful and not preaching hatred or violence. In an article about protests marking the second anniversary of Saddam's fall, we find this quote:

'Baghdad is beautiful with its people,' said Safa Adnan, 40. 'What's important now is that we rebuild the Iraqi citizen. We want a new generation that is raised well, cultured and open to the rest of the world.'

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A former U.N. human rights observer speaks out

Kenneth Cain, an attorney who worked for the U.N. in Africa, writes a scathing critique of Kofi Annan and the peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations in last Sunday's Guardian. Cain addresses not only the egregious failings of the U.N. but also the bizarre attitude that leftists in American and British have adopted. By not coming out strongly and clearly against the corruption, abuse, and moral uncertainty that has made the U.N. impotent against genocide, they have entered into a relationship of complicity with thugs and murderers ... it may be decades before the left can wash off the stink of the company it keeps. Whereas the left once defined itself according to moral principles (think of the anti-Aparthied divestment movement of the 1980's), it now defines itself by simply opposing whatever American Republicans support. Cain claims to be mystified that the left cannot find its moral compass.

As someone who walked away when my comrades cozied up to the Clintons, I happen to believe that the old moral compass has been gathering dust for years. Nonetheless, Cain's piece is stunningly blunt. Here's an excerpt:
The second searing irony for me is that the American neoconservative right has occupied the moral high ground in critique of Annan, outflanking the left, which sits on indefensible territory in his support. But if prevention of genocide and protection of the vulnerable are not core priorities on the left, then what is? If anyone's values have been betrayed, it is those of us on the left who believe most deeply in the organisation's ideals. I am mystified by the reluctance of the left both in the US and the UK (the Guardian 's coverage, for example) to criticise Annan's leadership. The bodies burn today in Darfur - and the women are raped - amid the sound of silence from Annan. How many genocides, the prevention of which is the UN's very raison d'ĂȘtre, will we endure before the left is moved to criticise Annan? Shouldn't we be hearing the left screaming bloody murder about the UN's failure to protect vulnerable Africans? Has it lost its compass so badly that it purports to excuse the rape of Congolese women by UN peacekeepers under Annan's watch? Is stealing money intended for widows and orphans in Iraq merely a forgivable bureaucratic snafu?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Whose side are we on?

The effect of blogs on information flow deserves some consideration. I'm hesitant to put this up, but here's a breaking "news" story from Cynical Nation (hat tip, with reservations).
Terror scare in London?
(posted by Barry N. Johnson)

This hasn't hit the news yet, but my brother-in-law is sitting on a plane in Heathrow Airport as we speak, and there is apparently some action going on. It seems his plane was stormed by agents with machine guns, who seized a Middle Eastern passenger from my brother-in-law's row and removed him from the plane.

This is happening as I type this. The wonders of modern technology. More to follow, no doubt....

UPDATE: The flight in question is British Airways flight 0215, from London to Boston.

UPDATE: Multiple passengers were removed from the plane by force. My brother-in-law is now off the plane as well, but he has been herded into some special area at Heathrow....

If the story is to be believed, then it's pretty clear there is some kind of a media clamp-down going on. Heathrow's official site claims (as of five minutes ago) that the flight is boarding, and there's nothing in the mainstream news about it. So the question is, are we in the blogosphere working against law enforcement by "breaking" this kind of thing? If the suspects taken off the plane hours ago at Heathrow are part of a larger terrorist attack, then perhaps the reason for the media silence is to avoid tipping off other operatives who may not yet have boarded their planes or arrived at their targets. Self-censorship is tricky business, but it's worth thinking about.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sandy Berger cuts a deal

Sandy Berger
Originally uploaded by tompain.
Sandy Berger testifying before the 9/11 Commission. What's that up his sleeve?

Former Clinton Administration National Security Advisor and former advisor to the Kerry campaign Sandy Berger pleads guilty to knowingly stealing and destroying classified documents belonging to the National Archives and subsequently lying to investigators about the missing papers ... and he walks! Martha Stewart must be doing a whirling dervish in her ankle bracelet.

From The New York Times:

Though Mr. Berger maintained after the accusations first arose that he had removed the classified documents by inadvertently mixing them in with his own papers, he admitted as part of the plea agreement that he had taken them intentionally and with full knowledge that doing so was unauthorized.

The Times predictably gives the story a whitewash, tossing out all pretenses that anything remotely akin to investigative journalism goes on there any more. This one-sentence paragraph wedged in the middle of what is otherwise essentially a press release sums it up well:

His motives in taking the documents remain something of a mystery.

Thanks for all the help, Holmes.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Ward Churchill fan club gains 60,000 new members

Just came across this press release on the International Raelian Movement website. They've made Ward "Roosting Chickens" Churchill an honorary priest. Churchill joins a clergy that already includes Eminem (for the emptyheaded pacifist song "Mosh"), Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (for dropping origami birds instead of napalm on restive Muslims in the southern provinces), and Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso (who has been accused in Belgian court of crimes against humanity but threw a nice party for the Raelians in Brazzaville in 2001). Bill Gates and Linda Ronstadt fill out the priesthood's diversity nicely, but Michael Moore, Madonna, Ramsey Clark, and George Michael only get to be "honorary guides." The Raelians' lunatic doctrine hinges on the belief that four-foot-tall, olive-complected, bug-eyed aliens put us here as some sort of DNA experiment. (The aliens also supposedly created us "in their image." Thank god that part didn't work out.) Sometime in the 1970's the aliens decided it was time to let us in on the joke, so they contacted a French journalist ... naturally. Here's a picture of him.

Originally uploaded by tompain.
Rael, leader of the International Raelian Movement, or the lunatic formerly known as Claude Vorilhon

Our petite progenitors made it Claude's job to get an embassy built for them before their expected arrival in another decade or so. They want it built in Israel, but the Knesset hasn't been too cooperative thus far. Here's a picture of what it will look like.

Raelian Embassy
Originally uploaded by tompain.

The Raelians keep themselves busy, but not busy building the embassy. They made the news a few years ago when their "scientific" branch, Clonaid, claimed it had cloned a human. They also support their leader's careers as a race car driver, author, and singer/songwriter. And then there's all the time recruiting new members for orgies. Mostly harmless, when you add it all up. Rael's opinions range from common-sense libertarian to absolutely loony, but sometimes the looniness isn't funny. In 2002, Rael thought it appropriate issue a press release expressing his "support to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe for his action to seize the lands of the descendants of colonizers and redistribute them to poor african [sic] farmers." Churchill will fit right in.

In a bizarre twist, the Raelians' website has come under attack recently by Islamist hackers who apparently feel offended by the Raelians' beliefs that Allah does not exist and that Muhammed was a clone trained in public speaking by aliens. Maybe Rael and Cat Stevens can have a "sing-off" to settle their differences. I'll buy a ticket to that.