THINGS WHICH MUST BE DISSEMINATED

Pulse Media

31.12.06

Executed



BBC

It was only nine o'clock in the evening in Crawford but George Bush was already embedded in the land of nod, with orders not to be woken until the morning. The blithe indifference of deep slumber was the final snub to the dead man who once described himself as "Salahadin II", "the Redeemer of all the Arabs" and "the Lion of Baghdad".
Indeed, the man once dubbed by the west as 'the Iraqi strongman' before he became less of a middle-eastern tool.
Shortly thereafter the White House issued a pre-prepared written statement: "Today Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial - the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime."
A fair trial, in an occupied country?

President Bush and his advisers have always liked to compare the birth pangs of Iraqi democracy to the emergence of a free Germany after the World War II. Bloodletting But what they were dealing with was not Germany 1945 but Germany in 1648 emerging from the feudal bloodbath of the 30 years war. Another example would have been Yugoslavia in the 1990s.


Al Jazeera
For some Iraqi Kurds, the execution was a "fair decision" regardless of timing, though it has dashed hopes of justice for crimes against them. Saddam was due to face charges against Iraqi Kurds during a second trial in what is known as the Anfal, or "spoils of war", campaign. This was due to resume next month.

Is that democratic justice? Perhaps the people in charge couldn't risk the truth about US-Iraqi relations being discussed in court.

And now what of the man who - apparently - was really behind the September 11th 2001 attacks, namely Bin Laden?

1.12.06

Of god


So, here we go again for the big debate on wether there is a creator or wether science can explain all. Recently, I came to the conclusion, that faith is a personal matter which can not and need not be proven. I believed that would be a definition which would please hard core atheists, sceptics such as myself as well as believers in a creator. I also thought it would be a good way of diffusing differences in a heated argument on the subject, a subject on which neither side is ever willing to cede ground. This is not necessarily the case, though, as I found out talking to a muslim believer the other day. Our discussion was fairly amicable and we parted on friendly terms both pleased to have been able to exchange our thoughts. We were, however, both right, and determined to have the last word. I say that, but I remain unconvinced as to how anyone can be 'right' on this issue. The man assured me, that the existence of a creator could be proven, if not scientifically, at least philosophically in the sense, that everything we see around us, everything material must come from somewhere, someone or something must have created it. Sure, I said, but who created the creator? Here, he said, I was thinking in materialistic terms when I should have been thinking outside the material sphere. Problem is, he was using a spiritual creator to 'explain' the origin of the material world. I respect him for making a difference between scientific and philosophical proof, but in fact it comes to the same thing as the scientist I saw on the news recently arguing, that schools should be open to teaching about creationism as a scientific theory simply because nothing disproves it. As far as I know schools don't usually teach a theory unless it has actually already been proven (though perhaps education systems tend to accept 'proven' theories a little to easily). In the end, I believe I am still right in saying faith is personal and proof has no role in it. Of course, we may never know everything about where we come from. Of course, it doesn't seem to make any sense to say we appeared out of nothing, and yet it makes no more sense to say some non-material being created us, since the question remains: where does that being come from? For all of us who are not scientists, belief in a creator is as valid as belief in the idea, that the world came out of nothing. When I say 'belief', I really mean 'theory'. None of us know, however, who the creator is, why he/she/it created us, and what we were created for. That all belongs to the domain of faith, and should not be imposed as fact. Neither the Bible, the Qu'ran , the Torah or any other holy book can be seen as anything more than legend. They are certainly not proof. Some people may think their after-life depends on them praying regularly to their god and imposing their beliefs on others, but they run the risk of being utterly mistaken and reaching death having wasted their lives and the lives of others in the process. This is why for me faith should remain a theory and/or a personal matter. There is so much to say on this subject, and I am sure I am far from having written everything I could write. If anyone is interested in continuing the debate, please leave a message!

27.11.06

Painting the Picture



Fisk (extracts)


The other Lebanese problem - which the people of Northern Ireland will immediately spot - is that a sectarian state, where only Maronites can be the president and where only Sunnis can be the prime minister, cannot be a modern state. Yet if you take away the sectarianism France created, Lebanon will no longer be Lebanon. The French realised all this in the same way - I suspect - as the Americans have now realised the nature of their sectarian monster in Iraq. Listen to what that great Arab historian, Albert Hourani, wrote about the experience of being a Levantine in 1946 - and apply it to Iraq. To live in such a way, Hourani wrote:
"is to live in two worlds or more at once, without belonging to either; to be able to go through the external forms which indicate the possession of a certain nationality, religion or culture, without actually possessing it. ... It is to belong to no community and to possess nothing of one's own. It reveals itself in lostness, cynicism and despair." Amid such geopolitical uncertainties, it is easy for westerners to see these people in the borders and colours in which we have chosen to define them. Hence all those newspaper maps of Lebanon - Shias at the bottom and on the right, the Sunnis and Druze in the middle and at the top, and the Christians uneasily wedged between Beirut and the northern Mediterranean coast. We draw the same sectarian maps of Iraq - Shias at the bottom, Sunnis in the middle (the famous "Sunni triangle" though it is not triangular at all) and Kurds at the top. The British army adopted the same cynical colonial attitude in its cartography of Belfast. I still possess their sectarian maps of the 1970s in which Protestant areas were coloured orange (of course) and Catholic districts were green (of course) while the mixed, middle-class area around Malone Road appeared as a dull brown, the colour of a fine, dry sherry. But we do not draw these maps of our own British or American cities. I could draw a map of Bradford's ethnic districts - but we would never print it. I could draw a black-white ethnic map of Washington - but the Washington Post would never dream of publishing it.
It's interesting, that just as reserving the presidency to one community, the PM to another and the speaker of parliament to yet another is not entirely democratic, the same goes for restricting democracy to one religious/ethnic community within society. It might be said Lebanon and Israel are on a par. The difference is, of course, that in one case, several communities must strive to live together in harmony, whereas in the other only one community is officially represented by the state, which was in fact created for that one single community. The others, who lived on the same land for generations must accept second-class status.

25.11.06

Very Cross and other stories


On this issue of BA banning a small cross, I think Ian Hislop put it well on Have I got News for You. Of course, it's not only nonsensical for BA to dig their feet in over such a small item of jewelry, it's also unfair to expect a person to hide their faith when others are allowed to show theirs. That said, such a ban doesn't amount to persecution of christians. As Hislop said, persecution is stoning, beating etc. I do believe people or groups can be persecuted without physical violence, but to say christians are persecuted in Britain, a country whose head of state is also head of the church, is almost comical.
I also think this case has shown how politicians, especially elected ones, should be careful when they open their mouths. Jack Straw may feel intimidated when a veiled muslim woman comes into his surgery (poor thing), but his job as an elected representative is to defend the rights of all first and foremost. If he believes a christian BA worker should be allowed to wear her cross, then he should defend the right of a muslim woman to wear the veil if she so chooses, and however intimidated he feels. I find it hard to believe an experienced politician such as him, what's more MP in an ethnically diverse town in a multicultural country, could be so ignorant and small minded as to feel uneasy facing a veiled citizen.
My personal view is, that the veil or niqab was never a problem until recently. Similarly, islamic terrorism never took place in this country until 7/7/05. I don't think it is coincidental, that this all takes place post-9/11/01 and post US/UK invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. I think Blair and his minions which include Straw, would like us to conveniently ignore those links, and believe, that islam has suddenly become a faith to be feared, for no apparent reason.
Finally, I would like to point out, that faith is a personal issue. Some christians may say the cross is not necessary as some muslims may not feel the veil is necessary. It is not for anyone to say what a believer should or should not wear. Faith, in my opinion, is cultural. This is why in some muslim countries women wear a niqab and in others they wear a hijab or nothing. It is also why in some muslim communities in Britain women will be more likely to wear a niqab than in others. This is why it is more a case of cultural tolerance than religious tolerance. Furthermore, since faith is a personal matter but also a belief, who are we to say what believers should or should not believe. When western politicians call on muslims to practice a moderate islam, they are belittling the faith. If a muslim believes in a radical islam, that is his or her right, so long as he or she does not harm others.

21.11.06

Balanced reporting

Al Jazeerah

In an unprecedented incident an Israeli woman was killed by a Palestinian projectile in Sderot this morning. Members of the armed resistance often launch the homemade projectiles from the northern Gaza Strip onto the Israeli town, but usually not even material damage is done.

One wonders how Al Jazeerah can be accused of being unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinians. Then again, one wonders how anyone can be unfairly biased in favour of the palestinians, given the biased context which favours Israel: it is a state, with a powerful military, supported by the world's unique super power, and none of the most powerful 'democracies' of the west will openly question Israel's 'right to self defence' nor its questionable version of democracy. Whether or not palestinian terror attacks are morally justifiable is frankly not relevant, at least as long as for every Israeli (Jew) killed, dozens of Palestinians are killed, kidnapped, their houses flattened, and the 'free world' continues to justify Israel's terrorism in the name of 'self-defence'.

BBC

In the past nine days alone around 80 Palestinians have been killed. And altogether, close to 400 have died - many of them civilians - since the Israeli army intensified operations in late June.

Over the same period, on the Israeli side, there have been three deaths. They were all soldiers, and one of them was killed accidentally in friendly fire.

The BBC manages to come accross as sympathetic to the Palestinians, even being accused by zionists, pro-zionists and neo-cons (right and left) of actually being liberally biased and biased in favour of the Palestinians. And yet, if the BBC really favoured the Palestinians, it would talk of Israeli terror, Israeli militants. It would name the hundreds of Palestinians killed almost daily, and it would regularly interview their families. If the BBC was biased towards the Palestinians, it would link Palestinian attacks, murders and kidnappings directly to Israeli attacks, murders and kidnappings. It would have reminded us regularly, that prior to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, two Palestinian suspected militants were kidnapped in Gaza by the Israelis. Actually, if the BBC was professional it would do all that.

21.10.06

Judith Butler on anti-semitism, Jews and Israel


London Review of Books (extracts)

Summers is right to voice concern about rising anti-semitism, and every progressive person ought to challenge anti-semitism vigorously wherever it occurs. It seems, though, that historically we have now reached a position in which Jews cannot legitimately be understood always and only as presumptive victims. Sometimes we surely are, but sometimes we surely are not. No political ethics can start from the assumption that Jews monopolise the position of victim. 'Victim' is a quickly transposable term: it can shift from minute to minute, from the Jew killed by suicide bombers on a bus to the Palestinian child killed by Israeli gunfire. The public sphere needs to be one in which both kinds of violence are challenged insistently and in the name of justice.

If we think that to criticise Israeli violence, or to call for economic pressure to be put on the Israeli state to change its policies, is to be 'effectively anti-semitic', we will fail to voice our opposition for fear of being named as part of an anti-semitic enterprise. No label could be worse for a Jew, who knows that, ethically and politically, the position with which it would be unbearable to identify is that of the anti-semite. The ethical framework within which most progressive Jews operate takes the form of the following question: will we be silent (and thereby collaborate with illegitimately violent power), or will we make our voices heard (and be counted among those who did what they could to stop that violence), even if speaking poses a risk? The current Jewish critique of Israel is often portrayed as insensitive to Jewish suffering, past as well as present, yet its ethic is based on the experience of suffering, in order that suffering might stop.

(...)

If, on the other hand, we distinguish between anti-semitism and forms of protest against the Israeli state (or right-wing settlers who sometimes act independently of the state), acknowledging that sometimes they do, disturbingly, work together, then we stand a chance of understanding that world Jewry does not see itself as one with Israel in its present form and practice, and that Jews in Israel do not necessarily see themselves as one with the state. In other words, the possibility of a substantive Jewish peace movement depends on our observing a productive and critical distance from the state of Israel (which can be coupled with a profound investment in its future course).

(...)

A challenge to the right of Israel to exist can be construed as a challenge to the existence of the Jewish people only if one believes that Israel alone keeps the Jewish people alive or that all Jews invest their sense of perpetuity in the state of Israel in its current or traditional forms. One could argue, however, that those polities which safeguard the right to criticise them stand a better chance of surviving than those that don't. For a criticism of Israel to be taken as a challenge to the survival of the Jews, we would have to assume not only that 'Israel' cannot change in response to legitimate criticism, but that a more radically democratic Israel would be bad for Jews. This would be to suppose that criticism is not a Jewish value, which clearly flies in the face not only of long traditions of Talmudic disputation, but of all the religious and cultural sources that have been part of Jewish life for centuries.

(...)

A challenge to the right of Israel to exist can be construed as a challenge to the existence of the Jewish people only if one believes that Israel alone keeps the Jewish people alive or that all Jews invest their sense of perpetuity in the state of Israel in its current or traditional forms. One could argue, however, that those polities which safeguard the right to criticise them stand a better chance of surviving than those that don't. For a criticism of Israel to be taken as a challenge to the survival of the Jews, we would have to assume not only that 'Israel' cannot change in response to legitimate criticism, but that a more radically democratic Israel would be bad for Jews. This would be to suppose that criticism is not a Jewish value, which clearly flies in the face not only of long traditions of Talmudic disputation, but of all the religious and cultural sources that have been part of Jewish life for centuries.

(...)

Identifying Israel with Jewry obscures the existence of the small but important post-Zionist movement in Israel, including the philosophers Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki, the sociologist Uri Ram, the professor of theatre Avraham Oz and the poet Yitzhak Laor.

(...)

It will not do to equate Jews with Zionists or Jewishness with Zionism. There were debates among Jews throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries as to whether Zionism ought to become the basis of a state, whether the Jews had any right to lay claim to land inhabited by Palestinians for centuries, and as to the future for a Jewish political project based on a violent expropriation of land. There were those who sought to make Zionism compatible with peaceful co-existence with Arabs, and those who used it as an excuse for military aggression, and continue to do so.

(...)

What is ironic is that in equating Zionism with Jewishness, Summers is adopting the very tactic favoured by anti-semites (...) Mona Baker, the academic in Manchester who dismissed two Israeli colleagues from the board of her academic journal in an effort to boycott Israeli institutions, argued that there was no way to distinguish between individuals and institutions. In dismissing these individuals, she claimed, she was treating them as emblematic of the Israeli state, since they were citizens of that country. But citizens are not the same as states: the very possibility of significant dissent depends on recognising the difference between them. Baker's response to subsequent criticism was to submit e-mails to the 'academicsforjustice' listserv complaining about 'Jewish' newspapers and labelling as 'pressure' the opportunity that some of these newspapers offered to discuss the issue in print with the colleagues she had dismissed. She refused to do this and seemed now to be fighting against 'Jews', identified as a lobby that pressures people, a lobby that had put pressure on her (...) Oddly, and painfully, it has to be said that on this point Mona Baker and Lawrence Summers agree: Jews are the same as Israel.

(...)

The 'Jew' is no more defined by Israel than by anti-semitism. The 'Jew' exceeds both determinations, and is to be found, substantively, as a historically and culturally changing identity that takes no single form and has no single telos.

19.10.06

Any independent-minded persian-readers out there?

UPDATE BELOW

Information Clearing House

When properly translated the Iranian president actually calls for the removal of the regimes that are in power in Israel and in the USA as a goal for the future. Nowhere does he demand the elimination or annihilation of Israel. He called for greater governance for Palestine. The word map does not even feature. And the president makes plain that the Holocaust happened, but, he argues western powers have exploited the memory of the Holocaust for their own imperialistic purposes. What the mainstream ran with is complete deception.

The deception has been aided by the fact that much of the media use an ‘independent’ company called Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri) for translating Middle Eastern languages. Memri just happens to be owned by two right-wing neo-con Israelis: Meyrav Wurmser, the wife of one of Dick Cheney’s aides (and ex-special assistant to ‘Strap-on’ John Bolton), David Wurmser and former(?) Israeli Military Intelligence officer, Colonel Yigal Carmon. Indeed a look at Wikipedia’ s incomplete staff list seems to suggest a heavy Israeli bias in staffing and at least two more ex-Israeli Military Intelligence people. Still the little red email is sure that’s just a coincidence, as is the fact that the Israeli army (presumably military intelligence) has also used this mistranslation tactic in the past.
Update: Fri.20th Oct.

On Holocaust denial by Ahmadinejad:
Information Clearing House

The Iranian press agency IRNA renders Ahmadinejad on 2005-12-14 as follows: "'If the Europeans are telling the truth in their claim that they have killed six million Jews in the Holocaust during the World War II - which seems they are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it, why the Palestinian nation should pay for the crime. Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.' [...] 'If you have committed the crimes so give a piece of your land somewhere in Europe or America and Canada or Alaska to them to set up their own state there.' [...] Ahmadinejad said some have created a myth on holocaust and hold it even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets [...] The president further said, 'If your civilization consists of aggression, displacing the oppressed nations, suppressing justice-seeking voices and spreading injustice and poverty for the majority of people on the earth, then we say it out loud that we despise your hollow civilization.'"

(...)

The assertion that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust thus is wrong in more than one aspect. He does not deny the Holocaust, but speaks of denial itself. And he does not speak of denial of the Holocaust, but of denial of the Myth of Holocaust. This is something totally different. All in all he speaks of the exploitation of the Holocaust. The Myth of Holocaust, (see Finkelstein: The Holocaust Industry - Jez) like it is made a subject of discussion by Ahmadinejad, is a myth that has been built up in conjunction with the Holocaust to - as he says - put pressure onto somebody. We might follow this train of thoughts or we might not. But we cannot equalize his thoughts with denial of the Holocaust.

(...)

The next step is to connect the Iranian President with Hitler. 2006-02-20 the Chairman of the Counsil of Jews in France (Crif) says in Paris: "The Iranian President's assertions do not rank behind Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'". Paul Spiegel, President of the Central Counsil of Jews in Germany, 2005-12-10 in the 'Welt' qualifies the statements of Ahmadinejad to be "the worst comment on this subject that he has ever heard of a statesman since A. Hitler". At the White House the Iranian President is even named Hitler. And the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel as well moves over Iran's President towards Hitler and National Socialism by saying 2006-02-04 in Munich: "Already in the early 1930's many people said that it is only rhetoric. One could have prevented a lot in time if one had acted... Germany is in the debt to resist the incipiencies and to do anything to make clear where the limit of tolerance is. Iran remains in control of the situation, it is still in their hands."

All this indicates war. Slobodan Milosevic became Hitler. The result was the war of the Nato against Yugoslavia. Saddam Hussein became Hitler. What followed was the war the USA and their coalition of compliant partners waged against Iraq. Now the Iranian President becomes Hitler.





18.10.06

Open letter

Stop the war

DEMONISING MUSLIMS: AN OPEN LETTER There is an attempt to plunge this country into a racist hysteria of a kind we have not seen for a generation or more -- directed against Muslims. Recent weeks have seen a series of speeches by leading politicians designed to isolate and demonise British Muslims. These have been reflected in spurious news stories and, still more seriously, violence directed against Muslim people and places of worship. In particular, we deplore the recent remarks by Jack Straw concerning the veil worn in public by some Muslim women. His intervention undoubtedly created the climate in which the racist attack on a Muslim woman in Liverpool took place. Likewise, the bullying attacks of John Reid have served only to spread fear amongst Muslims. We further condemn the attempted fire-bombing of a mosque in Windsor -- the latest in a number of such episodes nationwide -- and note the failure of many commentators and politicians to condemn this outrage. We express our solidarity with all British people of the Muslim faith and affirm their right to worship and dress as they please and to live their lives in peace and security. The current wave of Muslim-baiting is rooted above all in the disastrous 'war on terror', of which this government has been such a prominent supporter. This war has made Britain more vulnerable, not less, to terrorist attack -- an uncomfortable fact from which ministers try to distract by attacks on the Muslim community. If the government is concerned about improving the cohesion of our communities, let it first of all abandon its support for the foreign policy of the US administration, including the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We call on all people of good-will to reject the anti-Muslim hatred being whipped up and to support the values of tolerance now under attack.

17.10.06

Canada blocks IAEA vote on Israeli nuclear weapons


Atomic archive

Terrorism News

Israel neither confirms nor denies its nuclear status but is considered to be the only country in the region with nuclear weapons. Israel does not accept IAEA controls on its nuclear activities.

11.10.06

Punk as Fuck

When the truth is too embarrassing...

From Bradblog.com:

Just amazing. Fox's O'Reilly Factor just covered the Mark Foley (R-FL) issue in two different segments, one of them with a page who says he received communications from Foley, and another with Ann Coulter.

Never mind the content of either segment for now. Incredibly, during a total of three different cutaways to video footage of Foley, he was labelled at the bottom of the screen eachtime as "(D-FL)" !

Three different times. In two different segements. Each cutaway about 15 seconds or more. Showing Foley as a DEMOCRAT. Amazing.

So either Fox is the most duplicitous network in the free world, or the most incompetent. The former is more likely.

28.9.06

More from that guy down there



The Death of Retail Price

Anti-Borat hard-liners have pulled the plug on borat.kz, Borat's Kazakhstan-based Website after his frequent displays of anti-Semitism and his portrayal of Kazakh culture.
Funny considering Borat's creator is Sacha Baron Cohen, a Jew.

And indeed...

In the video, Borat said, "In response to Mr. Ashykbayev's comments, I'd like to state I have no connection with Mr. Cohen and fully support my Government's decision to sue this Jew. "
Is it really possible, that people can be that dumb as to believe Borat represents the real Kazakh people? I guess so...but in that case he is merely the messenger.

Blog of this day


The Death of Retail Price

It started with alcohol which naturally lead her to weed

Such a profound statement yet so rarely heard.

My moral of the story would be: don't let anyone you care for sink so low. Who you care for is your own choice...

anti-Americanism

No Pasaran

Azerty: Do these polls distinguish George W. Bush from the United States? It strikes me many French like the United States but rather they mistrust Bush...

Ted Stanger: Indeed, the French are somewhat schizophrenic when it comes to the United States. You'd have to be really disabled in the eyes and ears not to notice that US cultural products enjoy great success in France but it is the American model of society that is not appreciated and that is even, in my view, demonized, sometimes excessively [Hunh ?! — Ed.]. Nowadays in France, one defines an anti-American as one who hates the United States more than is necessary.


What is schizophrenic about that? And who decides when it is 'more than necessary'? Americans? The US must be the only country-with the exception of Israel-the policies of which it is impossible to criticise without being called a racist. There's no such word as anti-Frenchism (in French) or anti-Britishism, of that I am sure.

27.9.06

Desmond Tutu on South Africa's unfinished struggle


iafrica

"We must take seriously the cry of those who say in the past we were not white enough, today we are not black enough – even if they are wrong. We must take seriously their perception and try to change it.

"Many a truth is uttered in jest"

"So, let us hear the cry of those who complain about a Nguni-ocracy and even of a Xhosa-ocracy. Many a truth is uttered in jest.


Steve Biko, who was murdered whilst in detention in 1977, had an "all-consuming passion to strive for the liberation of his people". He strongly believed that, by internalising a negative self-image, black people collaborated in their own oppression. The Black Consciousness movement was meant to "exorcise this demon".

Black consciousness is not finished – Tutu

In his address, Tutu stressed that the work of black consciousness is not finished – we still do not respect ourselves and each other. "Fundamentally we do not respect one another…the fact of the matter is that we still, depressingly, do not respect one another."

Tutu went on to point out the moral degeneration of South African society and the disregard for the value of life inherent in "horrendous" acts of rape and murder. "Perhaps we did not realise just how much apartheid damaged us, so that we seem to have lost our sense of right and wrong."

26.9.06

My two pennies worth

I have just watched Newsnight on the BBC doing an experimental poll with 30 people on what they thought of the potential labour candidates in the next election.

I will now post my disclaimer: I trust none of them, and will be spoiling my vote (bar a crisis!).

I have to say, I can't believe how maleable people can be. And these were fairly 'educated' people who were fairly politically aware.
The reaction of many seemed to be, that Brown was insincere in his praise for Blair. While this is no doubt at least partially true, which politician is sincere? John Reid? Well, according to many of them, yes. At least it gives the lie to the idea, that a Scotsman can't be trusted to lead Britain!
What on earth can persuade anyone with half a rational mind, that a populist like Reid could be sincere? Have we not learnt, that a politican saying what people want to hear is usually dishonest?
It's amazing, despite most people rejecting politicans as dishonest and liars, people still fall for the same techniques of flattery, plain speaking etc.

25.9.06

Unitarian Jihad

Communique

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

No religious war

This is not a religious war. There is no reason, that Jews and Christians and Muslims and Hindus should not live and work in peace.

23.9.06

Face to Face

Michael Stone, former Ulster Defence Association comes face to face with the family of Dermot Hackett, killed by him in 1987 in presence of Desmond Tutu and Donna Hicks of Harvard University.
I condemn all use of violence against another human being (other than self defence). If the vicitm is innocent it is all the more unjustifiable.
Michael Stone says Dermot Hackett was an IRA member. As I have pointed out, this does not make his killing less worthy of condemnation.
What is true, though, wether or not Mr Hackett was a 'soldier', is, that as Mr Stone says, in a war you dehumanise yourself. In a war, there are victims, innocent and guilty. That a 'paramilitary' or 'terrorist' dehumanises himself should not be any more shocking than if he were a soldier in a regular army. When a plane fires missiles and drops bombs on cities full of innocent civilians, the soldier is dehumanising himself. Of course, it's obvious, that he will feel less horror being so far removed from the victims. Are his victims any less deserving of sorrow and 'healing' and 'closure' (in the words of Desmond Tutu)?

Toxic Sludge is good for you, selling wars

They lied then. Are you sure they wouldn't lie now?

Memphis, Egypt

WikipediaIf you disagree with this text, go change it at Wikipedia, and let me know!

Memphis, coordinates 29°50′40.8″N, 31°15′3.3″E, was the ancient capital of the first nome of Lower Egypt, and of the Old Kingdom of Egypt from its foundation until around 1300 BC. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Ineb Hedj ("The White Walls"). The name "Memphis" is the Greek deformation of the Egyptian name of Pepi I's (VIth dynasty) pyramid, Men-nefer. The modern city of Mit-Rahineh, south of Cairo, lies nearby (29°50′58.8″N, 31°15′15.4″E). The ruins are 19 km (12 miles) south of Cairo on the West Bank of the Nile.
The city was founded around 3100 BC by Menes of Tanis, who united the two kingdoms of Egypt; with some 30,000 inhabitants, it was by far the largest settlement worldwide at the time. Memphis reached a peak of prestige under the 6th Dynasty as a centre of the cult of Ptah. It declined briefly after the 18th Dynasty with the rise of Thebes and was revived under the Persian satraps before falling into firm second place following the foundation of Alexandria. Under the Roman Empire, Alexandria remained the most important city. It remained the second city of Egypt until the establishment of Al Fustat (or Fostat) in 641. Memphis was then largely abandoned and became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements. It was still an imposing set of ruins in the 12th century but soon became little more than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone.
The remains of the temple of Ptah and of Apis have been uncovered at the site as well as a few statues, including two four metre ones in alabaster of Ramesses II. The Saqqara necropolis is close to Memphis.
It is believed by Tertius Chandler that Memphis was the largest city in the world from its foundation until around 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. Its population was over 30,000. [1]
The Greek historian Manetho referred to Memphis as Hi-Ku-P'tah ("Place of Ptah"), which he wrote in Greek as Aί γυ πτoς (Ai-gu-ptos), giving us the Latin AEGYPTVS and the modern English Egypt.
In the Bible Memphis is called Moph or Noph.

Only Americans can criticise their president

Robert's Rationale

There has been a lot of attention paid to big-name Democrats coming out against Hugo Chavez’s ridiculous UN speech. I agree that the speech was unprofessional, un-presidential and way overblown, but Charlie Rangel’s assertion that only Americans can criticize Bush is also wrong.

22.9.06

Blah blah environmentalists

George Monbiot

Environmentalism has always been characterised as a middle-class concern; while this has often been unfair, there is now an undeniable nexus of class politics and morally superior consumerism. People allow themselves to believe that their impact on the planet is lower than that of the great unwashed because they shop at Waitrose rather than Asda, buy Tomme de Savoie instead of processed cheese slices and take eco-safaris in the Serengeti instead of package holidays in Torremolinos. In reality, carbon emissions are closely related to income: the richer you are, the more likely you are to be wrecking the planet, however much stripped wood and hand-thrown crockery there is in your kitchen.

Death Penalty

Village Voice

During the continuous coverage in this country of Iran's nuclear threat and its crucial support of terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, there has been scarcely any mention of this horrifying dimension of the culture of Iran : sangsar, the stoning to death of women.
Death penalty info

18. March 10, 1992. Oklahoma. Robyn Lee Parks. Lethal Injection. Parks had a violent reaction to the drugs used in the lethal injection. Two minutes after the drugs were dispensed, the muscles in his jaw, neck, and abdomen began to react spasmodically for approximately 45 seconds. Parks continued to gasp and violently gag until death came, some eleven minutes after the drugs were first administered. Tulsa World reporter Wayne Greene wrote that the execution looked "painful and ugly," and "scary." "It was overwhelming, stunning, disturbing -- an intrusion into a moment so personal that reporters, taught for years that intrusion is their business, had trouble looking each other in the eyes after it was over."27

Medical News Today

“Capital punishment is not only an atrocity, but also a stain on the record of the world's most powerful democracy. Doctors should not be in the job of killing. Those who do participate in this barbaric act are shameful examples of how a profession has allowed its values to be corrupted by state violence.”


The death penalty is a stain on democracy. If democracy is to exist, then the death penalty should have no place in our society. Whether it is done by stoning, by hanging or by lethal injection.
Of course, democracy is not the West's primary concern. What concerns 'our' leaders is the balance of power, ie. "we have power (nuclear); you don't."

Persian Jews


Yahoo

But I ask him if there's been any change in the climate since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent remarks both questioning the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He's clearly uncomfortable with the topic and says my questions are getting political. But I press him on it. "As far as daily life goes here, there hasn't been an impact on us," he says, "We don't see any difference in our lives. But maybe others feel differently." He continues, saying the Iranian government has made a clear effort to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism. "Zionism is a political party that enjoys Jewish symbols and ideals, but it's not the same thing," he says. "The law that is being enforced in Israel is not Jewish law, it's not religious, its anti-religious." In the nearby synagogue, David Zakaria, who owns a rubber factory, agrees. "His comments were directed more to Israel as a political entity," he says of President Ahmadinejad. "I'm connected to Israel religiously, it's the Holy Land, but not politically."

Obviously, Jews are discriminated against by definition in Iran, as are Christians and other non muslims, since Iran is an Islamic republic. It is the same as non Jews in Israel. By definition, they can not be equal to Jews, since Israel is a Jewish state.

21.9.06

Control_Room

The media as a combattant unit - Note: Press pause and let the video fully download before watching. This may help sound/image syncronicity. Then again, it might not!

Thai coup (blogger reaction)

An interesting take from blogger Christao.

It reminds me of the case after the invasion of Iraq where we saw the images of mobs of people toppling the statue of Sadam Hussein in Baghdad. Later on we learned (source: Control Room) the the pictures of the crowds bringing down the statue were deceptive: upon viewing a wider angle view of that square, there was only a small group of people, not the masses that it appeared in close-up. Plus, those people turned out not to be Baghdad locals but people who had been brought in from outside for the event. Interesting.

Pull the wool of your eyes.

Thai Coup

Thai Coup

On the streets of Bangkok



Interesting take from blogger Christao. Pull the wool of your eyes.

20.9.06

Nukes and independence

BBC

We have forgotten that Khomeini's revolution was also a declaration of independence from British and American control.

In more honest english, that would read "we have chose to ignore the fact that Khomeini's revolution was also a declaration of independence from British and American control."
Just like the 'terrorists' Iran supposedly supports, and those it most clearly doesn't, Iran's fight is a nationalistic one, not a fundamentalist one.

But, if President Ahmadinejad wants to attack Israel, there are simpler ways than building a nuclear bomb.

Iran's close ally, the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, armed and trained by Iran, launched a highly successful brief war against Israel.

Indeed, as we know, nuclear power, when it's purpose is not to be an energy source, is used as a threat. The Soviet Union, once the world's second super power never attacked the US or anybody with nuclear power, because it knew it would be blown away in turn. How long could Iranians hope to survive if they sent a nuke to Israel? Nuclear power, if it is not a source of energy, which it most certainly is for the West as well as the 'others', is about balance of power. That is not something the 'West' wishes to share with anybody other than close allies (Pakistan, India, Israel...).

17.9.06

Irreverent corner

Mary Higgins Clark tells how a study has been done on the most popular books since the invention of printing, and it has been found, that these are books about deity, God, books about the monarchy, books about sex, and suspense. So, a software is developped to come up with the perfect book with this study in mind. Everyone gathers around the computer, a key is pressed, and up comes the first sentence of the book:
"My God!" said the Queen, "I've been raped." But who done it...?

15.9.06

An Israeli point of view

Amira Hass in Ha'aretz

But it cannot be that those who are appalled over every swastika painted on a Jewish grave in France and over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish local newspaper will not know how to reach this information, and will not be appalled and outraged.

As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews. We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us. Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is immeasurably heavy.

Antizionism, antisemitism and refusal to criticise

Anthony Loewenstein in Counter Punch

Lipski argued for uncritical reporting. He encouraged a newspaper that shamelessly ignored the rights of Palestinians, Lebanese and Arabs. And he celebrated perspectives that blindly supported the Jewish state, with no questions asked. Lipski must be a very insecure man if he can't handle criticism of his beloved homeland. Besides, such debate is currently occurring within Israel itself, where a majority of Israelis now realise they lost the recent war against Hizbollah. Lipski's anti-intellectualism was unsurprising for a Jewish leadership that refuses to recognise that we no longer live in 1943 Poland.

14.9.06

The Euston Manifesto

Euston Manifesto

My response:

I have read your manifesto.Not only do you use emotional language, such as "jihadist and baathist thugs" which could be compared to Bush's "islamo-fascists", but there are several instances in which you fail to point out or clarify the undemocratic tendencies of those countries you call 'democracies'
Among these are the following:
While it is possible, that some see 'antizionism' as an excuse for 'antisemitism', I have seen little evidence of this. I have seen open antisemitism and I have seen open antizionism. The fact, that certain antisemites have been invited by antizionists does not automatically mean the latter are antisemites. There are many Jews as well as Israelis (Meron Benvenisti and the 'binational state' movement for eg.) who oppose zionism as it is percieved today. This you have not clarified.
You also fail to clarify, that 'democracies' practice torture and support 'tyrannical' regimes. You allude to the former, by mentioning Abu Graib and Guantanamo, but remain vague. You don't (unless I missed it) point out Western support for Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and in the past for Saddam Hussein in Irak, militias in Central America, Pinochet in Chile etc.
You allude to the 'democratic' nature of the US and Western nations. It is for this reason, that most progressive thinkers and commentators criticise first and foremost the undemocratic actions of souch nations. 'Tyrannical' regimes are by definition undemocratic. That does not mean they should not be exposed, but, by shining the spotlight on such governments as those of the US, the UK or Israel, Western progressives are simply pointing out the hypocrisy 'at home'. We expect 'enlightened' Arabs and Muslims to denounce the crimes of 'their' leaders, and so, it is our responsibility to do the same, straightforwardly and without self-censorship.
It seems your manifesto is simply either an apology aimed at the reactionary right for being progressive, or a thin veil for right-wing reactionary tendencies on your part.
There is something to be said for logical criticism, and in particular for pointing out, that the undemocratic tendencies of the US government should not be blamed on all Americans, as is the case with Britons or Israelis, but the same goes for citizens of 'tyrannical' regimes. The glaring difference, of course, is, that the first three examples are 'democracies' in which presumeably the citizens can kick 'their' leaders out, which is presumeably not the case in 'tyrannical' regimes. I think we all know, that 'democracy' in our countries is much more limited than that, though.

Sincerely,

11.9.06

US declassified documents

Click below to see evidence plans to use terrorist actions against US citizens and interests by the Pentagon in 1962.

National Security Archive


Page 8 §3

The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western hemisphere.

Page 10 Note

Such a plan would permit the evaluation of individual projects within the context of cumulative, correlated actions designed to leaad inexorably to the objective of adequate justification for US military intervention in Cuba.

Page 11 §3

A "Remember the Maine" incident could be arranged in several forms:
a. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.

§4
We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.
The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding instances to be widely publicized.
Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.
For background go here

9-11 Remembered

Last photo of Allende alive.

9.9.06

Terrorism in Japan


Asahi Shimbun

It will soon be five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and other U.S. targets. Since then, in response to U.S. President George W. Bush, who declared "a war against terrorism," Koizumi has supported the U.S. initiative and even went so far as to dispatch Self-Defense Forces personnel to Iraq.

I thought "war against terrorism" was a key phrase of the Koizumi era. If so, why isn't he prepared to fight "right-wing terrorism" on the home front?


It's been said over and over again: terror is terror. Wether it is homegrown or not. Maybe it is easier to fight a foreign enemy than to deal with the enemy within. Or maybe patritotic terrorists are not seen as enemies.

6.9.06

Remembering Steve















His showmanship was over the top - maddeningly so at times. But his commitment to conservation was unquestionable. I went to the Australia Zoo twice in 2004 (the photo above is from the last trip) and found that half the zoo was reserved for the care of sick and injured wildlife. And the Irwins had bought a huge chunk of bush as a koala reserve to create a safe home for injured koalas.

Steve seemed to be indestructable - often bitten by nonvenomous animals and never bitten by the venomous ones. Of all the people to be stabbed in the heart by a stingray, you'd never think it would be Steve. Yet, of all the people to be stabbed in the heart by a stingray, you'd believe it would happen to Steve.

Crickey, mate. May your afterlife be full of 7 metre crocodiles.

Tolerance

From Timothy Garton Ash's forum


Citizenship education has been added to the National Curriculum and its aims to teach pupils: about the origins and implications of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. The introduction to the National Curriculum proclaims: promoting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through citizenship.

In an ideal world, Muslims would have integrated schools where people of different faiths could specialize in them within the curriculum. But we are a long way from that and as a consequence I think we have no choice but to have state funded Muslim schools. All the evidence shows that faith schools raise pupils’ confidence and self esteem better than state schools do. If you understand the moral parameters of your own faith properly and are confident in who you are, that makes you a good citizen, it means that you do not feel threatened by others and you are not susceptible to extremism. Muslim schools give a strong moral and spiritual out look on the world, the children feel secure. Muslims are no longer considered to be merely part of the sub-continent immigrant labouring class. They are British and part of the British society in all walks of life. Muslims schools are worthy of support. Parents of private Muslim schools are taxpayers too and are entitled to a share of the education budget. Muslim schools are promoting good citizenship and are promoting a better understanding of people and communities around them.

Islamic school does not foster separatism and hatred. There is ample evidence that state schools foster intolerance, hate and bullying. There is no evidence that Islamic schools indoctrinate children with values that endanger shared society. David Bell, the chief school’s inspector was wrong to say that Islamic schools must do more to promote social cohesion. There is no evidence that there is a link between Islamic schools and terrorism. Islamic education actively discourages terrorism. Muslim parents want their children to keep their faith, culture and languages and not fall into Western way such as binge drinking, yobish culture and loose morals. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. It is the state schools who have been producing intolerance.

Citizenship lessons do not make full sense” unless they are taught within the context of Islam. In the same way Multicultural studies should also be taught in the context of Islam. Just because people do not throw bricks at each other on a daily basis, does not mean everything is rosy in the garden. We do need a common sense of British Identity but it has nothing to do with “common values or shared culture”. We can learn from Ottoman multi ethnic empire which achieved remarkable degree of religious tolerance.

Terrorism is nothing to do with British Muslim community. It is an international problem, created by the unjust policies of the West towards Muslims. Government measures to tackle terrorism are creating a climate of fear among Muslims and risk encouraging Islomophobic attacks. Recent government proposals to screen clerics and close down Masajid were sending out a message that Muslims cannot be trusted.
Iftikhar Ahmad
www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

A baby boy


Japan Times

Let's hope the boy meets a blue eyed lass. A flaming redhead would be even better!

3.9.06

Integration Continued

Young British muslims place their religion above their nationality? What do you expect? Religion is faith. Nationality is accidental for those born here. I am a white British (and French) humanist. I place my humanistic ideals above my nationality.
Furthermore, Britain is an officially Anglican state. The head of state is head of the church. How can young British muslims identify with an anglican state? If it is so important, that they identify with the state, perhaps separation of church and state is the answer. In that sense, secularism is the best way of integrating all.
Personally, I think separation of church and state would be a symbolic gesture - though symbolically meaningful. I call it symbolic from a French point of view. France has separation of church and state, and yet there is not a sense of equality among different faiths and their believers. While in theory no expression of faith is tolerated in public life, some faiths are more tolerated than others. Despite it's supposedly strong secularist model, France remains a predominantly Catholic country.
Britain does not separate the church from the state, and yet there seems to be far more tolerance of non-Christian faiths than in many other Christian countries, including the US, another 'secular' state. No doubt this is an over-simplification of reality. However, I think it does show, that it is not enough claim "all are equal!".

Missing boys?

BBC

They came in their thousands, on a muggy evening at the end of August, to ask a simple question: "What's become of our missing boys?" - the three Israeli soldiers, whose abductions triggered the parallel crises in Gaza and Lebanon.

First inexactitude: prior to the kidnap of Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants, thousands of Palestinians - presumed to be militants - have been kidnapped in Gaza and the West Bank by the Israeli miltary. The last ones prior to the kidnap of an israeli were two palestinian brothers, Osama Muantar and his brother Mustafa.

A few blocks away, another "missing boy", a lone figure, tormented and filled with his own private despair, prepared to make his dramatic protest.
In this case a civilian, not a soldier. Yet for the BBC, he is the palestinian equivalent to the Israeli "missing boys". These two cases are not comparable. And yet I am forced to compare them: on the one hand, three combattants are kidnapped during a war (Israel continues to oppress the Palestinians while professing to make peace; Israel and Lebanon have never made peace and were still technically at war when Hezbollah captured the Israeli combattants-indeed Israel had kidnapped scores of Hezbollah combattants prior to the Hezbollah 'provocation'); on the other hand a Palestinian civilian used by the Israeli occupier as a snitch and abandoned to the mercy of the Palestinian resistance to be treated as a traitor or used against Israel. Finally, though tecnically on British soil to request asylum he is removed by Israeli anti-terrorist police. Would the British embassy in Karthoum or Harare have acted in this way? This complicity makes me sick. And the BBC needs to review its impartiality too.

2.9.06

Failure of British integration model?

Here is an article by Timothy Garton Ash and my response below.

Your comments are more than welcom. As usual.

Mr Ash,

I sincerely hope you read this. I would have rather written to you personally, because this is a very important issue for me, but you don't see to have a contact address. Never mind. Other people will be able to read my comments, which is always good.

I am Franco-British, was brought up in England and France, went to university in Scotland and now live in France. I don't wish to seem arrogant, but I think I have a good viewpoint on the differences between the two countries, cultures and systems.
I read your recent article on the 'failure' of the British model of integration in which you compared it to the French Rebublicanist model. I read it first in French.
I think it's great you bring up questions. After all, that's your job as a historian, a journalist. I must react, however, because despite the closeness of Britain and France, geographically as well as politically and culturally, there seem to be a lot of misunderstandings on both sides.
You are quite right, I believe, when you say one reason the recent discontent of the muslim population of Britain is that Blair has allied our country to the US in the 'war on terror'. I think it is the main reason. Given, I have not spent enough time, especially recently, in Britain to define all the reasons for the difficult 'race relations', but you just have to look at the history of 'terrorist' attacks in Britain: 7/7 was the first and last 'islamic' attack on British soil. We are much more used to Irish republican and British army (in Ulster) 'terrorism'. France, on the other hand has experienced several 'islamic terrorist' attacks, dating back over twenty years. France has also experienced 'race riots' far more recently than Britain.
I don't think the idea, that British muslims place their religion above their nationality makes them less integrated than French muslims. That is the nature of Britain it seems. Many Scots will call themselves Scottish before British. As do many Welsh. On the other hand, many Asians might choose to call themselves British rather than English, Scottish, Welsh or N.Irish. I believe, as you apparently did, that the British 'vagueness' is a good thing.
You probably have more insight into the situation in Britain than I do, but is it not true, that the 'deterioration' in 'race relations' you mention is a recent problem? I think accusing the 'British model' is to deflect attention from the responsibility of Blair and his pals in angering British muslims, even if you do mention this.
What I can assure you, is that French muslims are not integrated, definitely no more than British muslims. They may be assimilated, but that's hardly the same thing. You just have to compare the media and popular culture in both countries. The dearth of arab (or other minority) representation in those areas in France compared with Britain is...well sickening!

I hope this comes to your attention, and I would sincerely like to have your reaction.

All the best,

1.9.06

Brian Springer - Spin

Using the 1992 presidential election as his springboard, documentary filmmaker Brian Springer captures the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of politicians and newscasters in the early 1990s. Pat Robertson banters about "homos," Al Gore learns how to avoid abortion questions, George Bush talks to Larry King about halcyon -- all presuming they're off camera. Composed of 100% unauthorized satellite footage, Spin is a surreal expose of media-constructed reality.

Irresponsable?

BBC

Spokesman Gretchen Essell said: "I cannot support a video that would dramatise the assassination of our president, real or imagined."

"The greater reality is that terrorism still exists in our world. It is obvious that the war on terror is not over.

She added: "I find this shocking, I find it disturbing. I don't know if there are many people in America who would want to watch something like that."

Poor woman, she is delusional

31.8.06

No Outrage

Uruknet (extract)

WASHINGTON -- Abeer Qassim al-Janabi is not a household name, though perhaps she should be. The 14-year-old girl was repeatedly raped, then shot to death in her home March 12. Her body was set on fire. Her mother, father and sister also were murdered.

It happened in Iraq, in the village of Mahmoudiya near Baghdad, in the so-called Triangle of Death, the most stressful, violent place in a stressful, violent country. The alleged perpetrators: American troops.

Before the incident, the soldiers allegedly downed whiskey, played cards and hit golf balls. Afterward, they dined on grilled chicken wings.

A similar act of violence here in the U.S. would have triggered overpowering outrage, non-stop TV coverage and a grave concern about our military. It might even have surpassed the wall-to-wall coverage that the arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey murder has received.

For those who might reject this as islamic propaganda:

BBC

CNN

Washington Post

26.8.06

Muslims in Britain

The Muslim News (extracts)


The degree of integration may, however, be cold comfort. It is indeed possible that it is the uncertainty brought by the loss of the hierarchies and values of traditional societies such as that of rural Pakistan, of the Punjab or Kashmir, from where most British Muslim Pakistani immigrants originally came, that is behind some of the militancy. Certainly studies show that most of those suspected or convicted of terrorist crimes in recent years have not been marginal, alienated figures.

'People who think kids do it because they are poorly integrated are wrong,' said Mark Sageman, former CIA officer and terrorism expert. Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist, has studied the backgrounds of hundreds of militants and concluded that there is no 'terrorist type or personality' nor evidence of psychological illness.

Instead, Sageman points to small group dynamics as a key trigger. 'Kids get together. They talk the talk. A few decide to act. These are self-organised groups of volunteers. Al-Qaeda is like Harvard. It doesn't need to recruit.'

The government insists that there is no link between British foreign policy and Islamic militancy. Ministers brusquely rejected a letter signed by 36 Muslim associations and public figures, including several Labour MPs and peers, claiming a connection. But though the positions of some are predictable - Haji Mustafa of the controversial group Hizb-ut-Tahrir told The Observer that anger at 'the Bush-Blair doctrine of "follow our values or we'll bomb you" lay behind the violence - the breadth of anger at the British government's position on the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian question and the conflict in Lebanon is undeniable.

It's all very well calling for moderate voices within Islam, particularly in Britain, if there is no moderate voice coming from the government. Nothing justifies murdering innocent people on a plane or in an office building, and our society has a right to be outraged by such violence. We also have a right, and more to the point a duty, to be outraged by violence carried out in our name against innocent people in far away countries such as those of the Middle East. We may wonder why young British Muslims feel such a bond to Muslims in the Middle East, that they decide to kill themselves in order to murder hundreds of innocent bystanders, but we are expected to accept, that soldiers from our country should go and bomb hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians simply because innocent Americans were killed by what we are supposed to accept are the terrorists. A terrorist is someone who terrorises. Whatever his or her agenda, origin or form, a person or entity, which terorises is a terrorist.
Claiming Islam is responsible for the rise of Islamic terrorism in Britain is extremely shortsighted at best, and a lie at worst. Until last year, there were no Islamic terrorist attacks in Britain. The only terrorism we had known on British soil had been IRA and British army terrorism. Is it that we feel closer to the Irish, that we can accept their anger more easily than that of young British Muslims, even if over the years, the IRA and related groups have killed far more innocent civilians than the islamists did, and even though Ulster is not a country under constant foreign aggression as have been several middle eastern countries over the past decades?

18.8.06

Reality on the ground

Full article by Robert Fisk

It looked good on television, all those clapped-out Warsaw Pact T-54 tanks and elderly Panhard personnel carriers on flatbed trucks, supposedly returning to the far south for the first time in 30 years. Of course, it wasn't true. Though not deployed on the border, thousands of Lebanese soldiers have been stationed in southern towns since the civil war, dutifully turning a blind eye to Hizbollah's activities, providing none of their fighters were rude enough to drive a truck-load of missiles through their checkpoints.

Among those Lebanese soldiers most familiar with the south were members of the 1,000-strong garrison at the southern Christian town of Marjayoun, who fled after Israel's small ground incursion a week ago. And herein, as they say, lies a tale. For their commander, the Interior Ministry Brigadier General Adnan Daoud, has just been arrested for treason after Israeli television showed him taking tea with an Israeli officer in the Marjayoun barracks. Even worse, Hizbollah's television station Al-Manar - which stayed resolutely on air throughout this latest war despite Israel's best attempts to bomb it out of existence - picked up the Israeli tape and rebroadcast it across Lebanon.

Prior to his arrest, General Daoud was even rash enough to unburden his thoughts to Lauren Frayer, an enterprising reporter for the Associated Press who arrived in Marjayoun in time to record the general's last words before his arrest. The Israelis, he said, "came peacefully up to our gate, asking to speak with me by name". An Israeli officer who introduced himself as Col Ashaya chatted to Daoud about future Israeli-Lebanese military relations.

"For four hours, I took him on a tour of our base." the general said of "Ashaya". "He was probably on an intelligence mission and wanted to see if we had any Hizballah in here." But an hour after the supposedly friendly Israeli left, Israeli tanks blasted their way with shells through the gates of the Lebanese garrison. The Lebanese soldiers did not fire back. Instead, they fled Marjayoun - only to find that their long convoy, which included dozens of civilian cars, was attacked by Israeli pilots who killed seven civilians, including the wife of the mayor, who was decapitated by a missile.

17.8.06

Will anyone be held responsible?

Easy Bourse


The oil slick has been described as Lebanon's worst-ever environmental disaster. The accident occurred during Israel's month-long bombardment, polluting more than 140 kilometers of shoreline, including parts of Syria, according to U.N. estimates.
Accident??? Talk about media bias.

U.N. and international maritime agencies promised to give Lebanon immediate technical advice on Thursday to help clean up an oil slick, and warned the operation could cost more than $65 million.
How much will Israel contribute? This oil slick will not only damage Lebanese coasts, but several mediterranean coasts.

16.8.06

Terrorism

William Shawcross on Newsnight says we are at war against 'extremist Islam' and support 'moderate Islam' in Irak, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That's a lie. Is Saudi Arabia an example of 'moderate Islam'?
True, as Shahid Malik says, killing innocent civilians in the UK or the US is not a justifiable response to the deaths of innocent civilians in Lebanon, Palestine or elsewhere in the Arab/Muslim world. Should Israelis, Americans and British not be saying, that killing innocent Arabs and Muslims is an unjustifiable response to the deaths of innocent Israelis, Americans and British?
Let us remember, that the killing of innocent Arabs and Muslims (as well as innocent civilians elsewhere in the world) by Israel, the US and the British (among others) started long before Bin Laden or any other 'fundamentalists' came along.

Terrorism News

15.8.06

The sceptic (cont'd)

Terrorism News


In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.