My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam.
I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)
Amnesty loses it....
They go after Harper for his support of Israel and his private support of the death penalty....
The Amnesty report calls on party leaders to use the federal election campaign to restore Canada's commitment to rights at home and abroad.
The report said there has been an "erosion" of Canada's past policies, including a "principled and non-partisan reputation in the Middle East" because the government's "unflinching refusal" to criticize Israel's human-rights record has eroded Canada's reputation in the Middle East.
"Serious violations committed by the Israeli government have on occasion been described as 'a measured response' and Canada's voice was noticeably moderate when hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils faced grave peril in early 2009," the report said.
Harper used the phrase "measured response" in July 2006 to describe Israel's decision to bomb Lebanon in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists based in that country.
You know, I used to write letters for Amnesty many years ago...when they had a better stance on human rights. Now, they are just politically-correct, post-modernist hacks. What a shame.
Islamic States and Sexual Orientation...
Shock and feat in Beersheva...
They just missed...
Residents of Beersheba’s Heh neighborhood were still coping with shock on Wednesday morning, hours after a Grad rocket crashed into one of the neighborhood’s streets, scattering shrapnel in all directions and leaving one man wounded.
Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich cancelled school for the city’s pupils following the early-morning strike for safety reasons.
“We have 40,000 students going to school in the morning and we don’t know if there will be another strike.
The situation is too dangerous to take a risk,” Danilovich said Wednesday.
The mayor added that the city’s residents are “dealing with the situation, which is terror being directed at Beersheba and the South with the goal of harming innocent civilians. We can’t let ourselves get into some sort of routine where this happens every few weeks.”
Danilovich said he hopes “the government takes a stand and puts a stop to this,” but added that “we don’t want a war, we want there to be quiet for the residents of the South and for the residents of Gaza.”
People gathered near the site of the rocket strike, examining the damage done to the Saani home located only meters away from where the missile landed in the middle of the street. Several schoolchildren, let out of school for the day, walked around collecting ball bearings and other shrapnel that had been packed into the rocket to maximize its destructive power.
At the end of the block is an apartment building where one resident was lightly wounded by a piece of shrapnel that flew hundreds of meters, through his apartment blinds and into his third-floor apartment.
The roof and exterior gate of Mordechai Saani’s house was pockmarked with holes, and there was shattered glass all over. Ball bearings were still lodged in the interior cement walls in each of the house’s four rooms. In the kitchen, support beams had been placed to hold up the ceiling, which he said was now in danger of collapsing.
“We heard the alarm and grabbed the kids from their beds and took them to an interior room only moments before the missile struck and sprayed large rocks all over their beds. It was a miracle,” Saani said.
That a miracle had occurred was a common sentiment among residents of the neighborhood, the boyhood home of Vice Premier Silvan Shalom (Likud), whose childhood home is only a few dozen meters from where the missile struck.
The shockwaves from the strike blew out several windows of the Shimon Shalom Synagogue built by Shalom in honor of his late father, but the shattered glass was mostly cleared up by the afternoon.
Shimon Tsiboni, 33, said he was with a group of around 30 men who had started the morning service at the synagogue when the sirens went off and the worshipers began to scramble for cover.
“It was a serious miracle, look at where it struck, literally between two houses,” Tsiboni said. “Only a few meters this way or that and it would have killed everyone inside those houses.”
What is wrong with Reuters???
They can't even say the terrorist attack in Jerusalem is a terrorist attack..
This is from a Reuters story on the Jerusalem bombing earlier today:
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a "terrorist attack"? Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a "teachable moment." Or as a "venting of certain frustrations." Or as "an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy." Or perhaps as "a very special episode of 'Cheers.'" Anything but "a terrorist attack." I suppose Reuters will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by referring to the attacks as "an exercise in urban renewal."
The mind reels.
The Palestinians are not ready for statehood...
The latest from Khaled Abu Toameh...
Almost every week, the Palestinian Authority reaffirms its intention to seek the international community's recognition in September of an independent Palestinian state on the 1948 armistice lines.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank say that the Palestinians are ready for statehood, and all what is needed now is that the United Nations recognize the state even without an agreement with Israel.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed this week that the Palestinian leadership has prepared a draft document that would be presented to the UN in the coming weeks. The document, Erekat said, calls for official recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians, he added, have reached the conclusion that there is no point in conducting peace talks with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu because of his refusal to withdraw from "all" the territories that were occupied in 1967.
The Palestinian Authority has also decided that it does not necessarily have to wait until September to seek UN recognition of the state. In recent months and weeks, Palestinian leaders have approached many countries, asking them to declare their recognition of a future Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
So far, a number of South American countries have responded positively. But these countries did not bother to ask Palestinian Authority leaders whether the Palestinians were prepared for statehood.
Had the South American governments checked, they would have discovered that the Palestinians already have two "states" – one in the West Bank and the second in the Gaza Strip. This has been the reality on the ground ever since Hamas managed to throw the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.
The Palestinian Authority is asking the world to recognize a state on the pre-1967 lines when it has no control over the Gaza Strip. Abbas cannot even visit his private residence in Gaza City because it has been occupied by Hamas.
Moreover, Abbas does not have a real mandate to negotiate or strike any deal with any party on behalf of a majority of Palestinians, particularly since his term in office expired in January 2009.
Abbas is seeking the world's recognition of a state when he knows that he also cannot even hold elections without Hamas's approval.
His recent announcement that he would hold presidential and legislative elections is not being taken seriously because of opposition from Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
Now Abbas is saying that he is ready to take the risk and travel to the Gaza Strip to try to convince Hamas to change its position and agree at least to the formation of a new Palestinian "unity" government. But this new initiative is also not being taken seriously, not even buy his own Fatah faction: they believe Abbas is saying this only for local consumption, not only to show that he cares about unity, but also because they know that the gap between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is too wide and too difficult for this dispute to be solved at the moment.
Before seeking international recognition of an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinian Authority needs to get its act together and end the ongoing power struggle between the two Palestinian entities.
For now, it seems that everyone is against everyone in the Palestinian Authority: Abbas against Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is against Fatah, which is against Fayyad; the PLO is against Fatah, some of whose members are also against Abbas.
And then there is Fatah against Hamas, which is against all the others.
With such a mess, it is hard to say that the Palestinians are prepared for statehood.
Turkey discovers weapons on Iranian plane...
By ship, by plane, the Iranians are shipping weapons en masse...
Weapons were found on an Iranian cargo plane forced to land in southeast Turkey on Saturday, Turkish media reported Tuesday.
According to reports, the arms plane left Tehran with military ammunition for Syria. Several crates containing weapons and ammunition were removed from the aircraft.
Turkish media reported that the plane was forced to land in a military airfield at the United Nations' request following information indicating it was carrying nuclear materials. It was further reported that rocket launchers, mortars, rifles and explosive materials were found in one of the main cabinets on the plane.
Gay couple in Holland suing for lack of protection....
Gays are in trouble in the Netherlands...
A gay couple from Utrecht is holding the municipality, the police and central government liable for the financial and emotional damage they suffered as a result of intimidation and violence of Moroccan youths.
The couple have made official police reports to the Utrecht police eight times in the past years. On no single occasion was a suspect arrested. Meanwhile, the two men have moved to another municipality.
The men are holding the municipality, the police and the State liable. They want to force a damages settlement from the three bodies via civil proceedings. In separate proceedings, they also want to compel judges to force the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) to prosecute the perpetrators.
Between the summer of 2009 and 2010, the men were continually intimidated. Windows of their house were broken and their car was damaged. Because police there said they could not take action against this, the men eventually found themselves forced to sell their home at way below its estimated value.
Is Malaysia a WMD transit point???
Nice to see they are possibly catching on...but just how must stuff goes through Malaysia???
POLICE are probing the possibility of Malaysia being a transit point for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
'It is safe for me to say that Malaysia is likely being used as a transit point and not as a destination point for WMD,' the Home Minister said after meeting Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, secretary-general of the National Security Council of Saudi Arabia, in Bukit Aman on Monday.
Mr Hishammuddin was commenting on the recent police seizure of equipment that could be used to make WMD, including nuclear warheads, in Port Klang. 'It will take us some time to identify the equipment, what it can be used for and to trace the source of the equipment.
'We are also examining whether the items can be used in the context of making WMD and have enlisted the help of government agencies and foreign experts to examine the equipment,' he said.
A Chavez terror network???
The growing ties between Iran and Venezuela...
President Obama’s trip to South America has showcased promising partnerships in Brazil and elsewhere. His visit, however, should also focus attention in the region and within his administration on the fact that Iran and Venezuela are conspiring to sow Tehran’s brand of proxy terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.
On Aug. 22, 2010, at Iran’s suggestion, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosted senior leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in a secret summit at military intelligence headquarters at the Fuerte Tiuna compound in southern Caracas. Among those present were Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, who is on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists; Hamas’s “supreme leader,” Khaled Meshal; and Hezbollah’s “chief of operations,” whose identity is a closely guarded secret.
The idea for this summit sprang from a meeting between Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Ahmad Mousavi, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Imad Saab Saab, at the Venezuelan embassy in Damascus on May 10, 2010. According to the report received by Venezuela’s foreign minister, the two envoys were discussing a meeting between their presidents and Hezbollah’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah, when the Iranian suggested that the three meet Chavez in Caracas. That these infamous criminals left their traditional havens demonstrates their confidence in Chavez and their determination to cultivate a terror network on America’s doorstep.
According to information from within the Venezuelan regime, arrangements for the August conclave were made by Chavez’s No. 2 diplomat in Syria, Ghazi Nassereddine Atef Salame. Nassereddine is a naturalized Venezuelan of Lebanese origin who runs Hezbollah’s growing network in South America — which includes terror operatives and drug traffickers. A document obtained recently from a senior Venezuelan diplomat indicates that Nassereddine does business with four companies operated by Walid Makled, a cocaine smuggler indicted in the United States and detained in Colombia.
Makled has admitted his ties to the drug trade in a series of media interviews from jail. He claims to have documents and videotapes proving the complicity of Chavez’s military commander, Henry Rangel Silva, and other Chavista cronies in cocaine smuggling. Colombian authorities say they must return Makled to his native Venezuela to face a murder charge, and U.S. diplomats have concluded it is pointless to continue pressing for his extradition to face drug charges in New York. Yet the revelation that Makled can cast light on Nassereddine’s Hezbollah network should spur U.S. diplomats to renew their push for Makled’s extradition to the United States.
The danger posed by a network of terrorists in the Americas is very real. Last May, Muhammad Saif-ur-Rehm Khan, a Pakistani applying for a U.S. visa at the American Embassy in Santiago, Chile, was detained after guards detected traces of bomb-making materials on his hands. U.S. officials discovered Khan’s link to the Islamist group Jamaat al-Tabligh. It is not clear how much they shared with Chilean investigators. Lacking evidence to prosecute Khan, Chilean authorities released him in January, and he left the country bound for Turkey. A high-ranking Chilean source informed me that, before his arrest, Khan lived and associated with persons of Egyptian, Saudi and Lebanese background — many of whom carried Venezuelan passports. One of the officials accused of issuing such Venezuelan identity documents to suspicious foreigners is Chavez confidante Tarek Zaidan El Aissami. Also Venezuela’s interior minister, El Aissami is of Syrian descent; his father is known for having publicly praised Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden; and his brother, Firaz, is an associate of the cocaine smuggler Makled.
The threat posed by globe-trotting terrorists is ever-present. A U.S. security official told me in mid-January that two known al-Qaeda operatives were in Caracas planning a “chemical” attack on the U.S. embassy; on Jan. 31, the embassy was closed, and reports at the time cited “credible threats.”
A Venezuelan government source has told me that two Iranian terrorist trainers are on Venezuela’s Margarita Island instructing operatives who have assembled from around the region. In addition, radical Muslims from Venezuela and Colombia are brought to a cultural center in Caracas named for the Ayatollah Khomeini and Simon Bolivar for spiritual training, and some are dispatched to Qom, Iran, for Islamic studies. Knowledgeable sources confirm that the most fervent recruits in Qom are given weapons and explosives training and are returned home as “sleeper” agents.
Hamas attacks in Gaza...
Nice guys, eh?
The mortar attacks on Israel over the weekend were designed to divert attention from Hamas’s growing problems inside the Gaza Strip. The Hamas leadership has been under heavy pressure as a result of mass demonstrations in the Gaza Strip demanding an end to the Hamas-Fatah dispute.
After failing to prevent the protests, Hamas authorities began cracking down on the organizers, political foes and journalists.
Hamas believes that the demonstrations are being organized by Fatah as part of an attempt to undermine the Islamist movement.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on Saturday accused Fatah and its allies of exploiting the calls for Palestinian unity to destabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip.
The first sign of Hamas’s increased nervousness was evident last week when dozens of the movement’s undercover police officers attacked thousands of demonstrators who were participating in a Facebook- initiated rally to demand Palestinian unity.
At least 50 demonstrators were injured, including eight local journalists.
On Saturday, Hamas again targeted journalists, raiding press offices and confiscating cameras, laptops and other equipment.
Sources in Gaza City said the Hamas policemen stormed the offices of CNN, Reuters and a Japanese TV station.
Three Palestinian journalists were beaten with clubs, the sources said. They identified the three as Sami Abu Salem, Manal Hasan and Munzer al-Sharafi.
The Hamas crackdown on journalists is seen as an attempt to prevent further coverage of daily protests throughout the Gaza Strip.
Hamas’s actions indicate that the movement, which has been controlling the Gaza Strip since 2007, is afraid that the current wave of popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world will hit the Strip.
Ban Ki-Moon tells Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel...
Saudi Arabia authorizes clinic to treat people with Koranic incantations...
Cutting edge medicine...
For some people, alternative medicine means acupuncture, for others it's macrobiotics. But now, in Saudi Arabia, Islamic holy scripture is now among a patient’s legally sanctioned therapeutic options.
This week, the government awarded a license to a clinic treating the ill with Koranic incantations. The permit for The Center for Treatment through Ruqiya (Incantation) in the coastal city of Jedda was given by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which also oversees the center's activities.
"You sit with the patient for three to four minutes and begin with general questions like the patient's name, what he likes, his age and weight, all as a kind of mental preparation for the patient," Tawfiq Al-Hashimi, a Koran therapist who won the license for the Jedda clinic, told the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
Until now, regulations have been designed to eliminate the practice of sorcery, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death. Two men were sentenced to death last October following charges of practicing witchcraft in the kingdom. But Saudi practitioners insisted that ruqiya should not be confused with sorcery.
Al-Hashimi told A-Sharq Al-Awsat that half of all diseases are treatable by using the Koran because they are "Satanic afflictions" that disappear following prolonged verse incantation. Al-Hashimi added that 80% of cancer cases in the kingdom are caused by the evil eye, which is treatable by the Koran as well.
Israeli students in the UK hide where they are from....
The campus is not a friendly place for Jews these days...
Israeli students at British universities have spoken about the "hostility" they feel on campus. One says she hides her nationality.
In the past year alone, police have been called to anti-Israel protests at Manchester and Edinburgh universities and the London School of Economics.
Manchester Law student Shir Gomes de Mesquita, 20 from Zur Moshe, near Netanya, said: "I feel that I have to be cautious before disclosing my nationality if I'm by myself or surrounded by non-Jews."
She chose Manchester because of its "active Jewish community" and was taught at school in Israel about the "active delegitimisation" of Israel in UK universities.
"The way things are going, Israeli officials may never be able to visit UK campuses and Israeli students will just feel more alone than ever.
"The UK government and university administration has made it possible for a group of students to feel unsafe away from their homes. I'm going to go back to Israel at the end of the year to serve in the army."
Doron Bar-Gil, 27, from Jerusalem, studying for his master's in global politics at LSE, said: "During a class on Israel's policy in the West Bank, a few people, who knew I was Israeli, just kept staring at me and made me feel very uncomfortable.
"There were some other events when people were on the main road with bottles filled with fake blood, as part of a campaign to take Israel's goods from campus.
Malaysia seizes possible nuclear weapons parts...
Were these headed to Iran???
MALAYSIAN police confirmed on Thursday they have seized two containers which may contain parts used to make nuclear weapons, from a ship bound for western Asia.
'I can confirm that we have seized the containers at Port Klang but we do not know yet whether these are possibly parts to help make weapons of mass destruction or nuclear items,' national police chief Ismail Omar told AFP.
'We are waiting for a report from our nuclear agency on the parts seized before we can make any determination and investigations are still ongoing,' he added.
His comments follow a front page story in the influential Sun daily which said police had seized 'parts of an equipment believed used to make weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warhead' from a ship about 10 days ago.
The paper said the Malaysian-registered vessel, which had arrived from China and was headed for western Asia, carried dismantled equipment parts which were listed among items subject to controlled and restricted sale by the UN Security Council and other international laws.
Threatening tweets at McGill...
Sent by a real twit....
A McGill University student is under investigation by police after he allegedly made death threats using his Twitter account.
The student, Haaris Khan, was watching a documentary screened by the Conservative Party’s campus arm, Conservative McGill, when he appeared to become increasingly agitated and expressed himself on Twitter using his BlackBerry.
“I’ve infiltrated a Zionist meeting. I feel like I’m at a Satanist ritual,” he allegedly wrote at the March 8th screening.
“I want to shoot everyone in this room,” another tweet said. “Never been this angry.”
The tweets call the documentary a “Zionist/Conservative propaganda film” and the gathering, which attracted about 20 students, “a secret Zionist convention.”
Then: “I should have brought an M16.”
A spokesperson for the Montreal Police Service said the force is still investigating. It’s not clear what charges could be laid, if any. “We take the case very seriously,” the spokesperson said. “We don’t go with half-measures on this.”
Montreal has had several school-related shootings, most recently in 2006 at Dawson College.
McGill University refers all matters involving alarming behaviour to a threat assessment team and a disciplinary officer, said Morton Mendelson, deputy provost of student life and learning.
“We have come to the conclusion that the messages don’t constitute a threat to the community,” Mendelson said.
The university will release a public response to the incident Thursday. In it, Mendelson will talk about the use of social media like Twitter.
“It highlights the downside of social media,” he said, and “the ability of a single person who happens to be in a room somewhere to disseminate inappropriate, threatening messages to the world at large, and there are consequences to that.”
He continued: “We really have to be responsible in how we’re using the Internet and social media.”
The film, Indoctrinate U, explores liberal bias and political correctness on American campuses. It has been acclaimed by such conservative commentators as Lou Dobbs.
By the way, Indoctrinate-U is a terrific film!
Massacre of the innocents
Jeff Jacoby is an amazing columnist with the Boston Globe...
LAST WEEKEND in Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the Samarian hills, terrorists infiltrated the home of Udi and Ruth Fogel and perpetrated a massacre of the innocents.
The killers started with Yoav, the Fogels’ 11-year-old, and Elad, his 4-year-old brother. Yoav’s throat was slit, and Elad was stabbed twice in the heart. Then the attackers murdered Ruth, knifing her as she came out of the bathroom. In the next room they killed Ruth’s sleeping husband, Udi, and their infant daughter, Hadas. Apparently they didn’t notice the last bedroom, where the two other boys, Ro’i, 8, and Yishai, 2, were asleep. It wasn’t until half past midnight, when 12-year-old Tamar came home from a Friday night youth group, that the horrific slaughter was discovered. Much of the house was drenched in blood, and the 2-year-old was shaking his parents’ bodies, crying for them to wake up.
What explains such unspeakable evil? What sort of human being deliberately butchers a sleeping baby, or plunges a knife into a toddler’s heart?
As news of the massacre in Itamar spread, candy and pastries were handed out in Gaza in celebration. The Al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, argued that the murder of Israeli settlers was permitted by international law. A day later it changed its tune, insisted that “harming children is not part of Hamas’s policy,” and suggested instead that the massacre might have been committed by Jews. The Palestinian “foreign minister,’’ Riyad al-Malki, also voiced doubt that the killers could have been Palestinian. “The slaughter of people like this by Palestinians,’’ he claimed, “is unprecedented.’’ Actually, the precedents abound.
The atrocity in Itamar recalls the 2002 terror attack at Kibbutz Metzer that left five victims dead, including a mother and her two young boys. It brings to mind the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters, who were shot at point-blank range as they drove from Gaza to Ashkelon in 2004. It is reminiscent of the bloodbath three years ago in a Jerusalem yeshiva, where eight young students were gunned down. Unprecedented? If only.
The civilized mind struggles to make sense of such savagery.
There are those who believe passionately that all human beings are inherently good and rational creatures, essentially the same once you get beyond surface disagreements. Such people cannot accept the reality of a culture that extols death over life, that inculcates a vitriolic hatred of Jews, that induces children to idolize terrorists. Since they would never murder a family in its sleep without being driven to it by some overpowering horror, they imagine that nobody would. This is the mindset that sees a massacre of Jews and concludes that Jews must in some way have provoked it. It’s the mindset behind the narrative that continually blames Israel for the enmity of its neighbors and makes it Israel’s responsibility to end their violence.
The truth is simpler, and bleaker. Human goodness is not hard-wired. It takes sustained effort and healthy values to produce good people; in the absence of those values, cruelty and intolerance are far more likely to flourish.
For years the Palestinian Authority has demonized Israelis and Jews as enemies to be destroyed, vermin to be loathed, and infidels to be terrorized. Children who grow up under Palestinian rule are inundated on all sides — in school, in the mosques, on radio and TV, even in summer camps and popular music — with messages that glorify bloodshed, promote hatred, and lionize “martyrdom.’’
None of this is news. The toxic incitement that pervades Palestinian culture has been massively documented. What children are taught in Palestinian classrooms, Hillary Clinton said in 2007, is “to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for. . . . This propaganda is dangerous.’’
An estimated 20,000 mourners accompanied the Fogel family as they were laid to rest in Jerusalem Sunday. In his eulogy, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon predicted bitterly that in time the Palestinian Authority would honor the Fogel family’s murderers and name public squares after them. His comment might have seemed gratuitous — except that at that very moment, in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh, Dalal Mughrabi was being celebrated at a public square named in her honor. It was Mughrabi who, 33 years earlier, led a PLO terror squad on a savage rampage on Israel’s Coastal Road. Thirty-eight innocent Jews died that day, 13 of them children.
Turkey refused Israeli request to stop ship full of arms....
More proof that Turkey is becoming more of a problem...
Israel affirmed Wednesday that Turkey refused an Israeli request to intercept the "Victoria" cargo vessel which, according to Israeli sources, carried weapons being smuggled to help Palestinian activities in the Gaza Strip.
According to Maariv Israeli newspaper, Israel requested Ankara to intercept the cargo vessel, a request which Turkey flatly refused.
Israel had stopped the ship which was hoisting the Turkish and Liberian flags, indicated the newspaper, adding that the cargo consisted of weapons suspected to be shipped to Palestinian factions.
Are Israeli settlers human???
Another great piece by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal...
A few years ago, British poet and Oxford don Tom Paulin offered a view on what should be done to certain Jewish settlers. "[They] should be shot dead," he told Al-Ahram Weekly. "I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them." As for Israel itself, it was, he said, "an historical obscenity."
Last Friday, apparently one or more members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the terrorist wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's "moderate" Fatah party, broke into the West Bank home of Udi and Ruth Fogel. The Jewish couple were stabbed to death along with their 11-year-old son Yoav, their 4-year-old son Elad and their 3-month-old daughter Hadas. Photographs taken after the murders and posted online show a literal bloodbath. Is Mr. Paulin satisfied now?
Unquestionably pleased are residents of the Palestinian town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, who "hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack" and "handed out candy and sweets," according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The paper quoted one Rafah resident saying the massacre was "a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank." Just what kind of society thinks it's "natural" to slit the throats of children in their beds?
The answer: The same society that has named summer camps, soccer tournaments and a public square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian woman who in March 1978 killed an American photographer and hijacked a pair of Israeli buses, leading to the slaughter of 37 Israeli civilians, 13 children among them.
I have a feeling that years from now Palestinians will look back and wonder: How did we allow ourselves to become that? If and when that happens—though not until that happens—Palestinians and Israelis will at long last be able to live alongside each other in genuine peace and security.
But I also wonder whether a similar question will ever occur to the Palestinian movement's legion of fellow travelers in the West. To wit, how did they become so infatuated with a cause that they were willing to ignore its crimes—or, if not quite ignore them, treat them as no more than a function of the supposedly infinitely greater crime of Israeli occupation?
Canada is now an apartheid state...
With more statements like this, the anti-Israel crowd continues to lose credibility...
At Toronto’s Israel Apartheid Week hate event this year, Chadni Desai, speaking on behalf of the organizers, announced:
“We as the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto believe that we cannot speak meaningfully about Israeli apartheid without speaking first about the realities of apartheid here in Canada. Canada’s reservation system and the treatment of indigenous peoples is (sic) closely studied by the planners of apartheid in South Africa, although this is a hidden chapter of our history. From its very foundations, Canada has been based on the theft of indigenous land and the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples. In crucial ways, the Canadian state’s treatment of indigenous peoples, historically and currently, can be described as an apartheid system. So there you have it. They have proclaimed that ‘Canadian apartheid’ was the inspiration for South African apartheid, except our version is still going on.
.. As non-natives, we have a role within our communities to further the process of decolonizing Canada. If you are with us in opposition to Israeli Apartheid, we encourage your consistent opposition to apartheid right here in Canada. .. From Palestine to Turtle Island* there is no justice on stolen land.”
It’s possible the supporters of IAW think that formally declaring Canada an “apartheid” country absolves them of charges of hypocrisy. Actually, it makes it worse. Not only are they hypocrites and irrational anti-Semites, but they also establish themselves as willing contributors to apartheid.
Virtually every country in the world has had prior occupants with some sort of land grievances. But if contemporary Canada is the living spirit of apartheid, what are these self-declared “anti-apartheid” activists doing here, continuing to colonize, settle and steal native land? If they honestly believe the foolishness they put forward, why don’t they live up to their commitment of “decolonizing Canada” by packing up their bags and taking Helen Thomas’ advice to Israelis to ”go back where they came from”?
Ironically, these are the same people who as a group want to make immigration (i.e. the increased and ongoing theft of Native land) easier. Yet each new immigrant simply increases the crime against Canada’s original occupants, adding to “apartheid”. And far from supporting the ideals of IAW, most immigrants likely have less sympathy for Canadian natives than those of us who were born here and raised on the awareness of the wrongs perpetrated on aboriginals.
Have these hypocrites in the “Israeli Apartheid” movement actually done anything substantive to end “Canadian apartheid”? There’s no evidence of it. Are they calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Canada, as they do against Israel? No. That would be inconvenient for them, as it would expose the foolishness of their position. Instead, they utter meaningless platitudes and then go after the Jews.
IDF Seizes Iranian arms headed to Gaza....
Thankfully, this boat was stopped...
The IDF seized a freighter ship with dozens of tons of weaponry from Iran headed for Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
The ship, known as Victoria, was flying a Liberian flag, and was seized by the navy in the Mediterranean Sea, 200 miles off of Israel's coast
The Victoria was boarded by commandos from the Israeli Navy's Flotilla 13, also known as the Shayetet, and is expected to arrive in the Ashdod port on Tuesday evening.
An initial inspection of the cargo revealed the ship was carrying weapons. The exact amount is to be determined.
The crew, questioned by the Navy Commando, was not aware that the cargo contained weaponry.
The ship set sail last night from Turkey, and was expected to dock in Alexandria. There, it was supposed to unload the weapons, which would travel by land to Gaza. The IDF's assessment is that the weapons did not originate in Turkey, but that the containers were unloaded there and transferred onto the Victoria.
The continual incitement against Israel....
The Palestinian Authority has long been poisoning the chances for peace...
The Palestinian Authority and its leaders share the blame for the murders of those five Israelis from Itamar on Friday – including two children and an infant – along with the terrorists who committed them. It is the PA and its leaders who have prepared the ground for these murders with the incessant incitement to hatred and the glorification of violence and terror.
In spite of its conciliatory statements in English, the PA continues to use all the structures it controls to demonize Israelis and to promote violence. Terrorists are presented as heroes and role models for Palestinians, teaching that killing Israelis is a way to earn eternal fame.
Just two months ago, PA President Mahmoud Abbas sent a clear message of support for terror when he awarded $2000 to the family of a terrorist who attacked IDF soldiers. Last week, the PA’s official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida announced a football tournament named after Wafa Idris, the first female Palestinian suicide bomber, and three weeks ago PA TV, which is under the direct control of Abbas’s office, broadcast videos glorifying the terrorist Habash Hanani, who in May 2002 entered Itamar and murdered three Israeli students. Twice the PA named summer camps after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 led the most deadly attack in Israel’s history in which 37 civilians were killed in a bus hijacking, both in 2008 and again this past summer.
But the long arm of the PA’s promotion of violence and terror goes even farther, penetrating the realm of culture and music, which has been used so often in recent years in other places in the world to promote peace and tolerance. Last year, PA TV broadcast a number of performances of a band called Alashekeen, including a song anticipating the conquering of Israel through holy war. The song presents all of Israel as “Palestine,” mentioning the Carmel region near Haifa, and the cities of Lod, Ramle, and Jerusalem as regions to be liberated: “In Ramle we are grenades... the Palestinian revolution awaits [them]... We replaced bracelets with weapons. We attacked the despicable [Zionists]. This invading enemy is on the battlefield. This is the day of consolation of jihad. Pull the trigger. We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country.”
More significant than the repeated exposure on PA TV and at cultural events was the fact that Abbas chose to honor the musical group. He issued a presidential decree turning it into an official Palestinian national band.
COMPOUNDING THE PA’s nationalistic hate promotion are its Islamic-based messages. The PA seems to have adopted what was once thought to be only Hamas ideology, that the conflict with Israel is a Ribat – a religious war for Allah to defend Islamic land in which conflict with Israel is uncompromising. Abbas’s appointed minister of religion, Mahmoud Habbash, has taught repeatedly that the conflict with Israel is not territorial but is in accordance with Islamic law: “Allah has preordained for us the Ribat on this blessed land. We are committed to it by Allah’s command. Let no one be mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat is a choice and nothing more. It is a commandment.”
He has also preached that the conflict against Israel – over all of Israel – is cited in the Koran: “The catastrophe, in truth, did not begin in 1948, but began perhaps in 1917 with the cursed [Balfour] Declaration, which gave a promise to those who did not deserve it... Since that date, resolute people, fighters and Ribat fighters have not ceased upon our blessed land... This conflict is explicit in the Koran and our obligation with regard to it is clarified by the Koran.”
In short, the PA, like the Hamas, is telling its people that Islam does not allow for reconciliation with Israel.
Sharansky on the unrest in the Arab world...
We need to embrace the dissidents...
I am often asked why so many Israelis are worried by the popular rebellions rocking the Middle East and why I'm so hopeful. My response is that just as their worry is tempered by hope, my hope is tempered by worry.
The worried among us fear the possibility of long-term chaos and/or the emergence of regimes even more repressive than those that are crumbling. Their arguments are serious and deserve an answer.
For decades, the free world's policy toward the Middle East was based on the desire for stability, purchased by deals struck with leaders. That the leaders were corrupt autocrats mattered little. To the contrary, tyranny was seen as guaranteeing stability, corruption as guaranteeing that tyranny's friendship could be bought.
This was rationalized by considerations of realpolitik and the comforting assertion that we had no right to judge the moral standards of societies different from our own.
That pact, however, has been definitively exposed as a sham, yielding not stability but its opposite. And it has been broken - not by us or the autocrats but by the peoples of the region. Their great awakening has shattered the truism that, unlike "us," they have no real desire for freedom. With tremendous courage, they have risked their lives to declare otherwise.
In that stirring spectacle lies the first, elemental reason for my hope that a historical page has at last begun to turn. But the window is only so wide, and many forces aim to shut it. So what comes next?
Surveying the fall of the dictators, some in the West have reflexively turned to other, already organized structures within the societies shaped by dictatorship: notably, the army or Islamist groups. The unspoken idea is to replicate the old pact but with a different set of players. Once again the goal is stability, rationalized now by the alleged absence of other centers of potential leadership within Arab society and by the "discovery" of moderate elements within some of the region's worst actors.
This is delusion squared: an abdication of the free world's ability to influence developments in the Muslim world. Take the interest expressed by Washington in "engaging" the Muslim Brotherhood. As the Egyptian democratic dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim has put it, this is akin to announcing that the free world has no choice but to accept these people as the legitimate inheritors of power. It effectively turns a blind eye to the unprecedented opportunities of the present and repeats, obsessively, all the mistakes of the past.
There is another option: to see the region's democratic dissidents as our real partners. How many times did I and my fellow dissidents in the Soviet Union hear the refrain: Yes, you are wonderful people - but you have no power, you command no legions. And how deep was the subsequent shock when the impossible happened and the mighty empire, with its legions and its gulag, collapsed. Who could have predicted it?
Qaddafi's HIV shakedown....
An evil man who needs to be taken out asap...
Zakia Saltani has been warned not to talk to the press. She doesn’t care. She has waited 13 years to tell her story, and the Libyan government’s threats can’t stop her now. “After what happened to my family, what more can they do?” she asks. “I am beyond fear.”
At her friend’s house in Benghazi, with the red-black-and-green flag of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion spread proudly across her shoulders, she shows a framed photograph of her son, Ashur. He died of AIDS-related complications in May 2005, when he was 8. He had been one of more than 400 Libyan children who were admitted to the Al Fateh pediatric hospital in Benghazi 13 years ago with routine complaints like colds and earaches. They left with HIV. Like Ashur, roughly 60 have since died. Others are hanging on.
Until the Feb. 20 liberation of Benghazi by anti-Gaddafi protesters, the regime was able to bully people like Saltani into silence. Meanwhile, the government blamed the outbreak on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor at the hospital, falsely accusing them of deliberately infecting their young patients, and sentencing them to death. The medics were finally released in 2007, but not before the regime had extorted an Eastern European debt-forgiveness package and roughly three quarters of a billion dollars in supposed compensation and health-care assistance, together with a civilian nuclear-development deal and a “very good military accord” (in the words of Gaddafi’s British-educated son Saif al-Islam) with the French government “and other confidential stuff we shouldn’t discuss on the record,” the smiling Saif told NEWSWEEK at the time.
Now Saltani and other ordinary Libyans are starting to speak out at last. She says this is the first interview she has ever given—and her anger against Muammar Gaddafi and his 41-year dictatorship begins to spill out. “On Feb. 2, 1998, we went to the hospital because Ashur had a fever and a cough,” she says. “He was 4 months old, and we stayed two days. We went back two weeks later for the same problems.” Shortly afterward she took her 5-year-old daughter, Mouna, to the same hospital with a high fever. Mouna also went home with HIV, although at the time Saltani had no way of knowing that either child had become infected.
The truth began to emerge a few months later. “In October we learned that the doctors were hiding something,” Saltani recalls. “They said there was something in his blood that they couldn’t identify. The head of the hospital told us not to say anything. When we found out it was HIV, the government told us the infection originated from outside Libya, and that it only affected 10 kids. Another doctor even tried to convince us that it wasn’t HIV, but tuberculosis.” When the families finally discovered just how many children had been infected, the regime sent many of the patients to Italy for analysis and treatment.
Foreign medics made useful scapegoats—and lucrative hostages.
Even then the regime still did its best to cover up the outbreak. Mohammed El Agili, 20, says he was 8 when his parents took him to Al Fateh for an eye operation in March 1998. Three days later he returned, still dizzy from the procedure. When rumors of AIDS swept through the city, he underwent HIV testing, along with all the other children who had been admitted to the hospital in early 1998. The result came back positive. “When I found out, I ran shouting through the streets like a lunatic,” says his father, Mahmoud. “And we made sure the government heard our cries. Gaddafi invited all the families to a tent in the desert outside Sert, saying he would give us whatever we wanted, but we had to keep quiet. ‘We don’t want foreigners to become involved in this,’ Gaddafi told us. ‘We don’t want this to get out of Libya.’ He warned us that our relatives outside Libya would be in danger if we talked. We were afraid. We had to keep quiet.”
The news blackout may have suited Gaddafi’s purposes, but it didn’t help young Mohammed deal with insensitive classmates. They bullied him until he finally gave up school at 12. A rabid fan of the Real Madrid football team, he now helps his brother run a mobile-phone shop near their house. Asked about his future, the HIV patient smiles at the question’s naivete. “My generation doesn’t think about the future,” he says. “Even without this disease, Gaddafi has destroyed all our futures.”
Although the cause of the outbreak remains a mystery, outside studies implicate poor hygiene at the hospital rather than any of the conspiracy theories that abound in Libya. According to a 2002 report by Italian medical investigators, all the infected children had received intravenous fluids, antibiotics, steroids, or bronchodilators, but no blood or blood products. Saltani says she found it hard to accept the regime’s allegations against the hospital’s foreign medical workers. “At first I didn’t believe it was them,” she says. “The Palestinian doctor and the Bulgarians had always taken good care of the children, but everyone was blaming them, so we believed it. We wanted to confront them face to face, but the government wouldn’t let us.”
Still, the foreign medics made useful scapegoats—and lucrative hostages. The ransom Gaddafi received for freeing them enabled him to pay the victims’ families roughly $1 million each, helping him to buy a little more silence. For 41 years he has controlled the country through a combination of violence, intimidation, and strategic payoffs. To test the regime’s limits on free speech was to risk imprisonment, torture, and death. And old habits persist, even in liberated Benghazi, where anti-Gaddafi rallies occur daily. The current director of Al Fateh Hospital, who was working there as a doctor when the infections took place, refuses to speak as long as Gaddafi holds sway in Tripoli.
Israel stands alone...
A terrific article by Michael Coren...
I will defend all of my beliefs, but one of the ideas I most proud of is Zionism. No apologies, no hiding, no doubts.
Zionism is arguably the most successful example of the restoration of an indigenous people to their rightful homeland in human history. It is a liberation struggle, a story of the creation of a light on a hill, that light being the Jewish state in the Middle East.
I write this now in particular because it is Israel Apartheid Week. Which is an attempt to bully and silence supporters of Israel and close down any civilized debate on university campuses concerning Israel and Palestine. It singles out for particular contempt one small country that, while far from perfect, has a human rights record eminently superior to that of any around it.
It attempts to equate the Jewish state — where all citizens irrespective of religion, race, gender or sexuality enjoy equality — to the hideously immoral racist society that was apartheid South Africa. It’s a lie, a blood libel, a politically motivated and blatantly dishonest campaign to use Soviet-style propaganda to condemn Jews.
So I was delighted to accept the offer to speak to four different universities during this death-dark celebration of doublespeak and anti-intellectual posing.
As I write this, I have spoken at my first and while the majority of the people there were supportive, and most of those not supportive were relatively polite, the fanatic who was removed by the police showed me the face of authentic hatred.
In the middle of my talk, he ran to the microphone reserved for questions at the end and screamed foul language and abuse. That the police were there in the first place says a great deal — disruptions are not uncommon.
This particular individual then waited for me when I left the lecture hall and continued to abuse me for 10 minutes, and also try to run at me and physically confront me. If this happened to me, I can only imagine what ordinary Jewish kids have to put up with on campuses each day.
A few brief comments: Kurdistan is occupied by four different Islamic nations. Morocco forcibly prevents hundreds of thousands of people who have the right to live in the country from entering. Most Arab countries reject black immigration and embrace passive, if not aggressive racism. In the Gulf States, and Pakistan in particular, slavery exists in the guise of “servants” who are treated as virtual animals.
In Lebanon, Palestinians are denied dozens of different occupations simply because of who they are. In Iran, homosexuals are publicly hanged and innocent women stoned to death. The secret police suppress freedoms in Syria and even relatively free Jordan. We have seen what Egypt and Libya are like, with other Arab countries little better and sometimes worse.
Gay Palestinians are forced to flee to Haifa and Tel Aviv to live openly and safely as homosexuals, gender apartheid exists in massive chunks of the Arab and greater Islamic world, yet Israel is supremely open and progressive. And so on and so on.
Cuba sentences Alan Gross to 15 years in prison...
He distributed laptops and cell phone to the Jewish community in Cuba...
Cuba on Saturday sentenced US contractor Alan Gross to 15 years prison for distributing laptops and cellular phones to the island's Jewish community -- a move Washington decried as "another injustice."
Cuba's Popular Provincial Tribunal found Gross responsible for "acts against the independence or territorial integrity" of the country, according to a statement read on state-run television news.
Gross, 61, was working under contract for the US State Department when he was arrested in late 2009 for distributing the electronic devices to members of the communist-run island's small Jewish community.
Murdered by terrorists...
4 Year old Elad Fogel was murdered by terrorists..
Gazans hand out candy after 5 Israelis murdered...
Time for a celebration...
Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.
Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."
David Horowitz's speech in Brooklyn...
Nobody says a word about Arab apartheid...
Another great article by Khaled Abu Toameh...
Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.
Ironically, the boy's death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.
It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.
Why should anyone care about a Palestinian boy who is denied medical treatment by an Arab hospital? This is a story that does not have an anti-Israel angle to it.
Can anyone imagine what would have happened if an Israeli hospital had abandoned a boy to die in its parking lot because his father did not have $1,500 to pay for his treatment?
The UN Security Council would hold an emergency session and Israel would be strongly condemned and held responsible for the death of the boy.
All this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatments in Israeli hospitals.
Last year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip entered Israel to receive medical treatment. Many were treated despite the fact that they did not have enough money to cover the bill. In Israel, even a suicide bomber who is -- only! -- wounded while trying to kill Jews is entitled to the finest medical treatment. And there have been many instances where Palestinians who were injured in attacks on Israel later ended up in some of Israel's best hospitals.
Lebanon, by the way, is not the only Arab country that officially applies Apartheid laws against Palestinians, denying them the right to receive proper medical treatment and own property.
Just last week it was announced that a medical center in Jordan has decided to stop treating Palestinian cancer patients because the Palestinian Authority has failed to pay its debts to the center.
Other Arab countries have also been giving the Palestinians a very hard time when it comes to receiving medical treatment.
It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father was not carrying $1,500?
But as the death took place in an Arab country – and as the victim is an Arab – why should anyone care about him? Where is the outcry against Arab Apartheid?
Are experts from Iran training Hamas???
Not good news from Gaza...
The militant Islamic Hamas group that rules Gaza has recovered from a war against Israel two years ago and looks "much like an army," thanks in part to direct assistance from Iranian and Hezbollah agents operating in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli military official has told The Associated Press.
The official said Hamas now has a "vast amount" of anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets, a "very big arsenal" of rockets that can strike deep inside Israel and a sophisticated communications system. He did not give numbers to back up his claims.
He says Hamas could not develop this expertise without foreign help.
The official, a senior officer in Israel's Southern Command, spoke to The Associated Press late Wednesday on condition of anonymity under military guidelines barring publication of his name.
The Israeli official said Hamas could not have acquired its new capabilities without foreign help.
He said Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, frequently send in experts to train Hamas forces, crossing through illicit tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border that are also used to smuggle in weapons. Some foreign experts are even stationed in Gaza, he said.
"We have spotted them," he said. "We know the people. We have names."
He refused to share the names but noted Hamas' newfound expertise in making roadside bombs planted along Gaza's border with Israel and its recent use of a sophisticated Kornet anti-tank rocket. "Hamas didn't have this knowledge" before the Israeli offensive, he said.
Qaddafi should work for Dior...
Yes, a match made in heaven...but only from a prison cell...
President Shimon Peres on Thursday made unusual comments on Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi during a meeting with students in the Bayit VeGan boarding house in Jerusalem.
Peres said that in his opinion Gaddafi should work for the Dior fashion house, whose chief designer John Galliano was recently fired over anti-Semetic slurs.
"Who needs this Gaddafi? I think he should have gone to work at Dior. He changes his outfit everyday, investing thousands of dollars in strange hats, crappy dresses, wasting his money… Who needs him? You tell me, what for?" Peres said.
NATO seizes rockets from Iran in Afghanistan....
And, the Americans won't do a thing...
NATO forces in Afghanistan have seized 48 Iranian-made rockets intended to aid the Taliban's spring battle campaign, the most powerful illicit weapons ever intercepted en route from the neighboring state, officials said Wednesday.
The shipment is seen as a serious escalation in Iran's state support of the Taliban insurgency, according to NATO officials and described in detail by an international intelligence official.
It's also an escalation in the proxy war Western officials say Iran is waging against U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan, as Washington continues to lobby for tougher international sanctions against Tehran to dissuade it from its alleged goal of building nuclear weapons.
The intercepted 122-millimeter rockets can be fired up to 13 miles (22 kilometers) away from a target, and explode in a burst up to 80 feet (25 meters) wide — double that of the previous 107-millimeter rockets provided by Iran to the Taliban since 2006, the intelligence official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.
The rockets, which were shown to an Associated Press reporter, were machined without Iranian markings or any serial numbers, but the official says their technical details match other Iranian models. So far, there is no evidence that the 122-millimeter rockets have been used in Afghanistan, though the Taliban has sometimes used Chinese- and Russian-made rockets of the same range in the fight here, harvested from the multiple weapons caches around the country from Afghanistan's decades of civil war.
Cuba's American Hostage....
Free Alan Gross....
While Arabs are ousting dictators, it's tyranny as usual in Cuba, where U.S. government contractor Alan Gross went on trial last week for espionage. Or at least that's what the Castro regime said took place. The civilized world doesn't know because the two-day proceeding was held behind closed doors. The regime simply announced that a verdict would soon be delivered, which could condemn the 61-year-old to 20 years in prison.
Mr. Gross stands accused of bringing computer equipment to the island to help Cuban Jews communicate with the diaspora. The dictatorship, which is terrified of the Internet, says Mr. Gross acted "against the integrity and independence" of Cuba. He has been held in Villa Marista prison since December 2009.
One speculation is that Fidel and Raul Castro want to trade Mr. Gross for five Cubans arrested in 1998 and convicted for spying in the U.S. President Obama can't make that trade. Yet the U.S. is not powerless, despite the feeble comments by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley last week that the U.S. has been in "dialogue" with Cuba for the past year and has "raised Mr. Gross's case in every instance."
The language the Castro brothers really understand is financial. Every year the U.S. issues 20,000 permanent resident visas for Cubans to enter the U.S. The program is a safety valve for discontent on the island, and the emigres who join millions of their brethren in the U.S. become new sources of revenue for Cuba when they send remittances home. A message that future visas will depend on the return of Mr. Gross would get the regime's attention.
Israeli lecturer attacked in Belfast...
An Israeli law lecturer had to be rescued by security officers when a seminar was abandoned after being disrupted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
Solon Solomon, a former legal adviser to the Knesset Foreign Affairs committee, had been invited to speak to law school students at Queen's University in Belfast.
But he was heckled by members of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society (PSS) and the youth wing of Sinn Féin shortly after starting his lecture about the legality of Israel's security wall on Wednesday last week.
Sally Wheeler, the law school acting head, abandoned the lunchtime session after less than 10 minutes, and a security team bundled Mr Solomon out of the lecture theatre.
Protesters then surrounded the room where Mr Solomon and other panel members were sheltering.
When the security team eventually moved him out of the university building, protesters attacked the car he was travelling in, punching the vehicle and attempting to smash its windows. One person's foot was run over in the melee.Mr Solomon declined to comment on the incident this week.
A spokeswoman for Queen's University said an investigation had been launched. She added: "We are disappointed that the event could not take place."
Supporters of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group were in the audience for the lecture but said that they had been forced to hide on the building's top floor until the protest ended, as they felt intimidated.
A terrific article by Bruce Bawer...
Back when Mario Cuomo was governor of New York, wags called him the Hamlet of Albany because he made a show of pondering everything to death but was painfully short on meaningful action. Obama makes him look like a Marvel Comics superhero. (As opposed to Marvel’s own efforts in that department.) In his recent hagiography of Obama, The Bridge, David Remnick labors on almost every page to dispel the notion that our president is in any way a left-wing extremist. But one thing that comes through clearly, even in Remnick’s skillfully sanitized pages, is that Obama’s distinguishing characteristic throughout his adult years has been a species of intellectual vanity that seems to overwhelm his every other personal attribute, good or bad. So pronounced is this intellectual vanity — and the self-seriousness that goes with it — that it stood out even at Harvard Law, where he studied, and the law school at the University of Chicago, where he taught. He has, in short, even by the formidable standards of the Ivy League, the law profession, and high-stakes politics, an exceedingly lofty opinion of his own mind and wants us to share that opinion. Nothing else, it would seem, matters to him nearly as much.
So thoroughly does this trait dominate Obama’s character, indeed, that it utterly dwarfs other traits that one might consider important in a president — or, for that matter, an alderman, school superintendent, night manager at a deli, or anybody else in a position of responsibility. Time and again, when the impressive thing would be to make a strong and timely decision — and to make a clear case for it — Obama hesitates, vacillates, equivocates, and ends up, as in the matter of gay marriage, making a muddle of things and riling up pretty much everybody; and instead of recognizing this habit as a weakness, Obama himself shows every sign of considering it a virtue, a mark of excellence, that distinguishes him from lesser — which is to say less cognitively inclined — beings.
A president is judged by what he accomplishes for his country and the world. But Obama seems to be constituted in such a way that he cannot transcend his perception of the country and the world as, first and foremost, objects of — and an admiring audience for — his own reflection. From the time he first emerged on the national scene, the emphasis was on Obama as orator — like Reagan, his admirers enthused, he was a Great Communicator. But what a difference! Reagan held strong opinions about the great questions of the day, and he sought to convey those opinions as lucidly and powerfully as possible. The communicating wasn’t about him — he was just the vehicle. Obama’s most admired speeches, by contrast, have been, above all, attempts to impress — his goal is not to persuade us with argument but to bowl us over with his brilliance, his easy way with exalted ideas. To look back now at Obama’s much-lauded campaign oratory is to recognize that what he was offering to us wasn’t a plan or a platform or a philosophy but nothing more or less than his own putative intellectual heft. The reason why Obama has proven such a crushing disappointment is that for Obama himself, it never really went beyond the cerebration — there never was any political program worth speaking of. The thought, and the advertisement of it, were their own end. He thinks, therefore we are.
Zimbabwe to sell uranium to Iran...
Yet another reason why Mugabe needs to be removed...
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, said the sanctions – which prohibit member states from providing Iran with raw materials that it could use to make a nuclear weapon – were unfair and hypocritical.
He said that Zimbabwe, which is also the subject of sanctions over human rights abuses perpetrated by President Robert Mugabe's supporters, would benefit economically from the agreement.
A leaked intelligence report suggests Iran will be awarded with exclusive access to Zimbabwe's uranium in return for providing the country with fuel.
The report – compiled by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog – said Iran's Foreign and Co-operative Ministers had visited Zimbabwe to strike a deal, and sent engineers to assess uranium deposits.
Experts say the move contradicts Iran's claim that it now has enough domestic uranium supplies to sustain its nuclear energy ambitions. They say Zimbabwe's defiance of sanctions and its support for the pariah state will scare those considering investing in its economy, which is only just starting to recover after years of hyperinflation.
12 Jews honoured by Africans as apartheid fighters...
This is very nice to see...
The postal services of Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone will simultaneously issue a set of three commemorative postal sheets on Tuesday in memory of 12 Jews – men and women – who fought Apartheid and racism in Africa.
In the struggle against South African Apartheid, according to one of the commemorative sheets, it was estimated that Jews were overrepresented by 2,500 percent in proportion to the governing white population.
“This stamp issue acknowledges the extraordinary sacrifices made by Jews to the liberation of their African brethren, and these stamps recognize some of the most significant contributors to global humanity in the 20th century,” reads the text on one of the commemorative sheets.
Each sheet presents four black-and-white photos of stamps featuring the Jewish heroes. Details can be found at www.legendaryheroesofafrica.com.
The Liberian issue will show Helen Suzman, Eli Weinberg, Esther Barsel and Hymie Barsel.
The issue from Sierra Leone will display Yetta Barenblatt, Ray Alexander Simons, Baruch Hirson and Norma Kitson. The Gambian sheet will present Ruth First, Hilda Bernstein, Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein and Ronald Segal.
Suzman (nee Gavronsky), the best known among them, was born in the South African mining town of Germiston in 1917 to Samuel and Frieda Gavronsky, both immigrants from Lithuania who had come to South Africa to escape the restrictions imposed on Jews.
She was raised in a financially unstable family and educated at a convent. She later attended the University of the Witwatersrand and eventually became one of South Africa’s most famous white parliamentarians and human rights activists.
In 1959, 12 MPs, including Suzman, broke away from the United Party and subsequently formed the Progressive Party, with an openly liberal program of extending rights to all South Africans. As the sole voice of South Africa’s oppressed in parliament, Suzman became known for her strong public criticism of the governing National Party when this was unusual among white people.
She was called a “f***ing Jew” on the floor of parliament. She remained in parliament for 36 years and retired in 1989, but remained actively involved in South African politics. Suzman died peacefully in her sleep in 2009 at the age of 91.
Weinberg, born in 1908 in Latvia on the Baltic Sea, experienced World War I and the October Revolution of 1917 as a child, leading to his socialist political development. His mother, his sister and other members of his family were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp. Weinberg was found guilty of being a member of the Central Committee of the underground South African Communist Party (SACP) and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
Esther Barsel, born in Lithuania, was a South African politician and long-standing member of the SACP. Her husband Hymie, a native of Johannesburg, was raised in a Zionistoriented home. During the 1930s, he was assaulted while taking part in demonstrations against the Blackshirt Movement.
Later, the couple was among 15 accused in the Bram Fischer trial. She was sentenced to hard labor for three years.
Barenblatt was born Ireland in 1913. A friend encouraged her to go to South Africa with the promise of employment, and there she became a union organizer and rose in the ranks.
In 1956, she was arrested on charges of treason but released.
She was detained in Johannesburg during the 1960 State of Emergency, along with 20 other white female detainees, and went on a hunger strike for eight days.
Simons was born in Latvia.
While at school, she displayed little fear in challenging authorities, and she later took up politics.When she moved to South Africa, she was a labor activist and banned from anti- Apartheid activity, but continued nevertheless.
Hirson, a South African native, was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for his activism and served the time in the Johannesburg Fort, Pretoria Local and Pretoria Central jails.
Kitson worked with the Johannesburg underground printing press of the ANC’s military wing and was exiled to London for her activities, but she continued there, carrying out continuous picketing of the South African embassy in Trafalgar Square.
First, born in South Africa, worked as a journalist and specialized in reporting about horrible conditions of blacks on potato farms, migrant labor, bus boycotts and slum conditions in the 1950s.
Hilda and Lionel Bernstein were married in 1941. She was convicted of sedition after assisting with a black mine workers’ illegal strike, while he was arrested and charged together with Nelson Mandela, who later became president of South Africa after Aartheid collapsed.
Segal, a self-styled Socialist journalist, was a marked man, not helped by a speaking tour of US campuses, where he argued with passion for an economic boycott of South Africa.
Hamas calls, once again, for the end of Israel....
Hamas keeps saying they want to destroy Israel...and no one seems to notice...
At a mass rally in Gaza calling for an end to the Palestinian schism, senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Haya said: "Hamas, the entire public, and all free men say today [that] the people wants to end to the occupation and to put an end to Israel... We will sacrifice ourselves and our sons... in order to defend the holy places." Al-Haya called for the lifting of the Gaza siege and the opening of the Rafah border crossing, and said that Palestinian schism would end only if a leadership were established that would defend the Palestinians' principles and act toward ending the occupation.
Source: Palestine-info.info, March 4, 2011
More Americans now Support Same-Sex Marriage than Oppose it...
It was just a matter of time...
Sociologist Darren Sherkat of Southern Illinois University has taken a close look at the General Social Survey data and found that in 2010, for the first time, more Americans support than oppose same-sex marriage.
...the shift is dramatic; in 1988, just 22 years ago, only 12% of Americans supported gay marriage. In 2010, it was 46%, with only 40% opposed. And it's even a big shift from 2008 to 2010: support went up seven points, and opposition trended downward seven points.
Obama says Fuck You to protesters...
He wants to work with despots instead of embracing this opportunity for democracy...
US President Barack Obama's administration is settling on a Middle East strategy that favors keeping long-time Arab allies who are willing to reform in power, The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.
Citing unnamed officials and diplomats, the newspaper said the administration is leaning toward this approach even if that means the full democratic demands of Arab citizens might have to wait.
Instead of pushing for immediate change – as it did in Egypt and now Libya – the United States is urging protesters from Bahrain to Morocco to work with existing rulers toward what some officials and diplomats are now calling "regime alteration," the report said.
The moderate US approach has emerged after lobbying by Arab governments who were alarmed that Obama had abandoned Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, The Journal said.
The Arab rulers were worried that, if Washington did the same to the king of Bahrain, a chain of revolts could sweep them from power too, the paper noted.
Some death threats don't count...
Tarek Fatah, a champion of free speech and democracy, seemingly can't get justice while being treated for cancer...
I had just woken from surgery when the first death threat arrived.
“This is an open threat to Xaar Boy @Tarek Fatah,” read the first Twitter posting, with its vulgar Somali adjective. “I know where you live & and where your office is.”
The sender signed herself as Mariama AnnaLitical and pictured herself wearing a purple hijab in the style of Toronto’s radical young Islamists. Other Twitter followers denounced the threat and urged that AnnaLitical be reported, even arrested. At one point she withdrew the warning, then repeated it later the same morning:
“He was also the 1 to propose banning the Niqab in Quebec… (and he) supports homosexuality,” she wrote, reiterating again: “This is an open threat. I know where you live/work @TarekFatah.”
Her fellow Islamists joined in, calling me a bad Muslim for opposing the hijab and supporting equality for gays. Other posters said I had brought the threats down onto myself.
I contacted Toronto police. Within hours, two uniformed policemen from 51 Division came to interview me in hospital. However, barely one minute later, we were interrupted. Two men entered the room and told everybody else to leave. They did not identify themselves, but five minutes into what amounted to a two-hour interrogation, I realized they were police intelligence officers. One of them, I recognized by reputation – a Muslim officer who had shut down a previous investigation into a death threat against me in 2008, and another one against a partner in liberal Islam, Tahir Gora.
The latter incident took place in the winter of 2007. Gora, at that time, a columnist for the Hamilton Spectator, had spotted a Facebook page titled “The Enemies of Islam.” The page masthead featured the names and pictures of Gora, Bangladesh author Taslima Nasreen, Sir Salman Rushdie, Irshad Manji and yours truly. Next to Gora’s name was written, “Pseudo Muslims like you should be put to death.” Similar threats were made against the other secular or liberal Muslims on the list.
Gora alerted Toronto police and within days he was visited by two plainclothes officers. Both were Muslim. Gora showed the lead officer all the posts, but despite the mountain of evidence, the officer showed little interest.
“He told me they [the police] felt the website creator was not in a position to harm me,” Gora says. When Gora suggested charges should be laid to serve as a deterrent, the officer refused. “From the officer’s tone and body language,” Gora says, “it was obvious he was upset that I was filing a complaint against a fellow Muslim.”
Meanwhile, after the intelligence officers left, the original officers confided to me that it was unusual for “intel” to act before a report had even been filed. I realized this was now about politics, and nothing would be done to help me.
Later that night, the same Muslim officer called me to say AnnaLitical posed no danger. “She didn’t mean to say it,” the officer said. I asked if any charges were laid. “No,” he said. “I didn’t think it was necessary.”
I have since informed Toronto Police Services chair Alok Mukherjee and Police Chief Bill Blair. Mukerjee assured me he will look into the matter. Chief Blair has not replied.
The Toronto police, in their wish to promote an image of diversity and outreach, have dedicated themselves to serving and protecting the the radical Islamist elements within our city. Meanwhile, Muslims like myself, who do their best to promote the equality and respect that the police claim to cherish, are left without legal protection when radicals explicitly and publicly threaten us with violence. In Toronto, anybody can issue an “open threat” against a man laying helpless in a hospital bed and be assured they will not face charges, so long as the person making the threat is a black Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
Rushdie on the Revolutions in the Middle East...
UN Silence on Libya's crimes...
Surprise, surprise...no one is buying the Volt...
They sold just 281 in February...
Peruse Chevrolet's February sales release, and you'll notice one number that's blatantly missing: the number of Chevy Volts sold. The number – a very modest 281 – is available in the company's detailed data (PDF), but it certainly isn't something that GM wants to highlight, apparently. Keeping the number quiet is a bit understandable, since it's lower than the 321 that Chevy sold in January.
Nissan doesn't have anything to brag about here, either (and it didn't avoiding any mention of the Leaf sales in its press release). Why? Well, back in January, the company sold 87 Leafs. In February? Just 67. Where does that leave us? Well, here's the big scorecard for all sales of these vehicles thus far:
* Volt: 928
* Leaf: 173
Can we please start taking some firmer action against Iran???
The West needs to urgently target Iran...
Western democracies have been quick to condemn Gadhafi, and have passed a number of measures against him and his regime since Tripoli's crackdown began. By contrast, Iran's violent political repression is only part of the latest, gory wave that has been ongoing for more than a year and a half, and yet there appears no urgency in the West to adopt human-rights sanctions against Tehran.
There are compelling reasons to rectify this policy discrepancy. Like Libya, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a place where dissent has been put down, with varying degrees of brutality, for decades—since the early days of the 1979 Revolution. There, torture is rife and the family members of dissidents are intimidated, kidnapped and sometimes raped; hundreds of political prisoners, minorities, homosexuals and women die at the hangman's hands every year, following hasty trials held in utter disregard for the most elementary rules of fairness and justice; and cruelty is dispensed regularly for the sole purpose of instilling fear in the population.
Until Iranians openly challenged their regime following the June 2009 fraudulent elections, Western democracies did little to question Iran's treatment of its own people. But then, Iran erupted. Its people, chanting "death to the dictator," made it clear even to the most obtuse observers that their rulers kept power by force, not consent. Western leaders offered words of condemnation, but little else. Now is their second chance to show they're not indifferent to Iranian people's suffering, by hitting Tehran with similar measures to the ones they're imposing on Gadhafi.
Last week U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, gave a decent start, sponsoring a resolution calling for human rights to become a key tool of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran—a call the Obama Administration should now heed.
The European Union, meanwhile, still has Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on its travel-ban list, on account of his recent role as the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Since his appointment as Iranian Foreign Minister, there has been talk of lifting the travel ban to allow Salehi to fulfill his stately functions. But at a time when Iran's entire state apparatus is intent on silencing the opposition and crushing peaceful street protests, Salehi should not be given the gift of travel.
The same travel ban, along with asset freezes, should immediately be slapped on other Iranian officials, starting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the other figures who bear command responsibility for human-rights violations. Obvious candidates include Iranian "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council; and their gaggle of policy advisors.
The EU should not stop at the top brass—for every order given at the top to fire on protesters, torture prisoners, coerce confessions, issue harsh sentences and otherwise intimidate, violate and abuse innocents, an army of enforcers carries out the deed. So the EU should next name hundreds of Iranian officials at various levels of authority: Basij and Revolutionary Guards local commanders, judges in political trials, prison wardens, and their mid-level bosses in Iran's ministries of Intelligence, Interior and Justice, for a start. These officials should also be barred from travelling, and their assets frozen. International arrest warrants should be contemplated against them for crimes against their own people. And diplomatic immunity—which the U.K. has now lifted for Gadhafi—should be similarly denied to all top Iranian officials.
The EU should immediately recall all its member states' ambassadors who are still in Tehran, and refuse to return them until Messrs. Mousavi and Karroubi are released. The same applies to other Western countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland, who enjoy full diplomatic relations with Iran.
The EU, along with other Western democracies, should also move to undermine Iran's standing in international forums. The farce of Libya sitting as a full member of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council finally came to an end this week, but an equally absurd spectacle continues with Iran's membership in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. May it come to an abrupt end.
Beyond that, the West needs to invest in helping the Iranian opposition. The country's battered democrats desperately need free information, which the West can provide through boosting its Farsi-language radio and television broadcasts inside Iran. They also need the communication technology to bypass government strictures and keep them safe from Tehran's digital monitors, which the West could help provide with licenses to export the relevant machinery and transfer it to the right people inside Iran. Finally, Iran's dissidents need a safety net in the West for those who manage to escape; political asylum should be offered to those who flee Iran.
Hamas holds up its own banks...
Yes, the so-called government of Gaza actually steals from its own banks...
Banks in the Gaza Strip closed on Thursday in protest against Hamas's seizure of $250,000 in cash in a dispute between the Islamist movement that runs the enclave and its West Bank rival, the Palestinian Authority.
A banking official said Hamas police went to the Palestine Investment Bank on Wednesday and demanded the money from the account of the PA-backed Palestine Investment Fund, which Hamas alleged had been illegally transferring money out of Gaza.
The PIF said its withdrawals from the bank were legitimate.
"[Hamas police] said unless they were given the money, they would take it by force," the official told Reuters. He said the police left with bags of cash filled with Israeli shekels worth $250,000 after several hours of discussion.
"All banks closed their doors today to protest against Hamas's assault on the Palestine Investment Bank," said the official, who declined to be identified.
A West Bank official for the Palestinian Monetary Authority, which oversees banking in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, said the Hamas police had committed "armed robbery." In a statement, the monetary authority demanded the return of the cash.
Jews, Jews. Jews, Jews, Jews!
Gee, we're always in the news, no???
One of the great advantages of being Jewish -- and there are many (we invented both ethical monotheism and whitefish salad, after all) -- is that though there are only about 14 million of us on the whole planet (18 million before World War II, Mr. Galliano), people can't stop talking about us! It is very exciting to be a part of so many different fantasies.
Free the women in the Middle East....
Blatchford on Caledonia....
If you haven't read her book...please do so immediately...
Consider that, at its height, the following happened in Caledonia under the noses of the Ontario Provincial Police:
• Dave Brown, the best-known Caledonia resident after his 2009 lawsuit against the Ontario government and the OPP, and some others among the 450 residents who live adjacent to the DCE site, were forced for a time to show native-issued “passports” merely to get to their own homes. Their vehicles were occasionally subjected to arbitrary searches by self-appointed native security officers, with goods sometimes being seized. None of this was denied by government lawyers at Mr. Brown’s civil case, nor was a shred of evidence ever offered that it had not happened.
• These same residents were sometimes subjected to arbitrary native-imposed curfews, and either not allowed home or allowed to leave.
• At least two residents were asked to subject themselves to body searches before being allowed to return to their homes.
• The OPP Emergency Response Team, basically the force’s riot squad, broke a cardinal rule of crowd control by always facing only the townspeople for the first five months of the occupation. This is in direct contravention of the principle that when trying to keep the peace between two quarrelling groups, officers are to face both sides to watch for possible threats. ERT members complained to their union to no avail.
• The OPP policed the occupation in two distinct manners. Non-native activists were painted as “outsiders” and meddlers (chiefly by then-Commissioner Julian Fantino) and subjected to public campaigns to discredit them. Mr. McHale was also singled out by Mr. Fantino for special attention and targeted for arrest. Native activists from New York and all over Canada were never similarly demonized. Neither were they subjected to contemporaneous arrests, if they were arrested at all. The OPP rank-and-file absorbed the lesson that they should not attempt to arrest native lawbreakers lest it provoke greater or more widespread lawlessness.
• More egregiously, as is clear from a transcript of Brian Skye, the native head of security on the DCE, in the Ontario Court of Justice at Cayuga on Dec. 19, 2010, the OPP was actually taking their marching orders from natives on the site. Mr. Skye, then testifying in his own defence on a charge of assaulting Mr. McHale (he was acquitted), described how he and other native security leaders were regularly texting members of the OPP’s Aboriginal Liaison Team and Major Event Liaison Team, who would in turn tell the rest of the OPP what they could or couldn’t do. As Mr. Skye inimitably testified, “So if there was a line that they would set up between the people protesting our actions and us, I would be able to tell them that they could come back further towards us or, or they could, we would, we could if we wanted to, you know, pull our people back further … being able to tell the OPP that their men should move forward, or, or, or that they can move back as opposed to staying static.” Mr. Skye testified that his “work” with the OPP, texting and face-to-face meetings, continued from April, 2006, after the OPP’s failed raid on the site, through until 2009, when negotiations to settle the matter stalled.