Archive for July, 2006

Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XLVII

Pity, because the guy was obviously doing a bang-up job:

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Field Update
31 Jul 2006

Ramzi Mohammad Asfour, a 28-year old resident of Greater Abasan, suffered moderate injuries after masked gunmen shot him in Khan Yunis. Asfour is a member of the Preventive Security Apparatus.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 14:50 on Sunday, 30 July 2006, a number of masked gunmen in 2 cars intercepted a taxi in which Asfour was riding. The incident took place in Bahar Street, opposite Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis. The gunmen forced Asfour out of the taxi and shot him in the legs. He was hit by several bullets in the legs and thighs. He was immediately taken to Naser Hospital for treatment, where his condition was listed as moderate.

As someone in preventive security, he must have been very proud of the situation in Gaza, where security has been just about completely prevented.

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Qananagins?

What really happened at Qana? Will we ever know? Whatever it was, it seems less and less likely that it happened as Hezbollah said it did [Hat Tip Yerushalimey]:

The setting was also perfect: Kana was again being used as a primary site for launching rockets against Israeli cities. The IDF reported that more than 150 rockets had been launched from Qana and its vicinity at Israeli civilians, wreaking destruction in Kiryat Shmona, Maalot, Nahariya and Haifa. It was only a matter of time before the Israeli Air Force would come for a visit, using pinpoint targeting of the sites used to launch rockets, Hezbollah logistical centers and weapon storage facilities.

On the morning of July 30, according to the IDF, the air force came in three waves. In the first, between midnight and one in the morning, there was a strike at or near the building that eventually collapsed. There was a second strike at other targets far from the collapse building several hours later, and a third strike at around 7:30 in the morning. There too the nearest hit was some 460 meters away, according to the IDF. But first reports of a building collapse came only around 8 am.

Thus there was an unexplained 7 to 8 hour gap between the time of the helicopter strike and the building collapse. Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters, in a press briefing, told journalists that “the attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear.”…

Rescue workers filmed as they went carried the victims on the stretchers, occasionally flipping up the blankets so that cameras could show the faces and bodies of the dead.

But Israelis steeled to scenes of carnage from Palestinian suicide bombings and Hezbollah rocket attack could not help but notice that these victims did not look like our victims. Their faces were ashen gray. Their limbs appeared to have stiffened, from rigor mortis. Neither were effects that would have resulted from an Israeli attack hours before. These were bodies that looked like they had been dead for days.

Viewers can judge for themselves. But the accumulating evidence suggests another explanation for what happened at Kana. The scenario would be a setup in which the time between the initial Israeli bombing near the building and morning reports of its collapse would have been used to “plant” bodies killed in previous fighting — reports in previous days indicated that nearby Tyre was used as a temporary morgue — place them in the basement, and then engineer a “controlled demolition” to fake another Israeli attack.

The well-documented use by Palestinians of this kind of faked footage — from the alleged shooting of Mohammed Dura in Gaza, scenes from Jenin of “dead” victims falling off gurneys and then climbing back on — have merited the creation of a new film genre called “Palliwood.”

There is increasing evidence that the Kana sequel is another episode in this genre, a variety which might be called Hezbollywood.

The parallels to Jenin are striking indeed. LittleGreenFootballs linked to this blog yesterday, featuring grisly photos of the same man brandishing the same dead child over and over again. See the update here, with more of same.

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If They Can Put a Man on the Moon…

Why can’t they make a country disappear?

It’s unlikely to occur by swallowing a pill or donning a special cloak, but invisibility could be possible in the not too distant future, according to research published on Monday.

Harry Potter accomplished it with his magic cloak. H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man swallowed a substance that made him transparent.

But Dr Ulf Leonhardt, a theoretical physicist at St Andrews University in Scotland, believes the most plausible example is the Invisible Woman, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes in the “Fantastic Four.”

“She guides light around her using a force field in this cartoon. This is what could be done in practice,” Leonhardt told Reuters in an interview. “That comes closest to what engineers will probably be able to do in the future.”

However you do it, Ulf, I’ve got your first candidate, conveniently located right across the Channel. Of course, invisiblity is only the first step; we’ll still be able to hear and smell them.

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Here’s to Global Warming

Talk of global warming (I’m sorry, “climate change”) usually makes me want to grab another beer. Now I realize I’m not alone:

A native Greenland entrepreneur on Monday presented the Arctic island’s first domestic beer, brewed on water at least 2,000 years old and melted from Greenland’s vast ice cap.

The first 66,000 liters (17,200 gallons) of a dark and a pale ale were produced at Greenland Brewhouse, the first-ever Inuit microbrewery in Narsaq, a hamlet in southern Greenland.

“It is the only beer in the world based on water that comes from Greenland’s pure ice cap,” Salik Hard, the Greenlander behind the 4 million kroner (euro536,000, US$679,000) project, said as he presented the brews in Copenhagen’s downtown Tivoli amusement park.

“Today, with all the pollution … you cannot get cleaner water than melted ice cap water,” hard said.

That’s going to make the eco-lefties’ heads explode. Grab a brewski and watch.

But when I think of all those huge chunks of ice falling into the ocean in An Incoherent Truth, I weep for all the potential kegs lost at sea.

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Vichy-sur-Seine

This defies parody [Hat Tip Aunt Agatha]:

Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday, during a visit to Lebanon.

“It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region,” Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region,” he told a news conference.

Douste-Blazy (A dolt, by Zeus) is the same putz who scolded Israel for rejecting the 72-hour hudna to allow Hezbollocks to rearm evacuate those who didn’t read the leaflets Israel dropped by the thousands.

Modern day France acts like Captain Reynaud, the character played by Claude Rains in Casablanca. He/they happily sip champagne with his/their enemy, doing his/their best to foil those fighting for freedom. I doubt this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship–but rather the end of a problematic one.

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A New Way to Demonize Israel!

God knows the world doesn’t need a new way to crap all over the Jewish state, but that’s never stopped it before:

In early March, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) held its forty-seventh annual conference in Washington. AIPAC’s executive director spent twenty-seven minutes reading the “roll call” of dignitaries present at the gala dinner, which included a majority of the Senate and a quarter of the House, along with dozens of Administration officials.

As this event illustrates, it’s impossible to talk about Congress’s relationship to Israel without highlighting AIPAC, the American Jewish community’s most important voice on the Hill. The Congressional reaction to Hezbollah’s attack on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory bombing of Lebanon provide the latest example of why.

On July 18, the Senate unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution “condemning Hamas and Hezbollah and their state sponsors and supporting Israel’s exercise of its right to self-defense.” After House majority leader John Boehner removed language from the bill urging “all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure,” the House version passed by a landslide, 410 to 8.

AIPAC not only lobbied for the resolution; it had written it. “They [Congress] were given a resolution by AIPAC,” said former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus on July 19. “They didn’t prepare one.”

Nothing like citing former Carter Administration officials to liven up a debate.

But hang on, you say. What’s new about making sly insinuations about the Jewish lobby (heavy on the chintz, light on the potted plants)? That’s as old as, well, the Jews themselves.

True, but note the twist (and I do mean twist):

“The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel,” says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.”

Even Jewish lobbyists decry the influence of Jewish lobbyists. Still not novel enough for you? Jews have criticized Jews as long as, well, there have been Jews?

True, but Israel is under attack. Thousands of missiles have fallen on its soil, dozens of soldiers and civilians killed and wounded, three soldiers kidnapped and held for ransom–and The Nation sees this as a fit time to examine the pernicious influence of the Jewish lobby. I have to say, I’m impressed.

Still not unique? Israel was criticized by the Left in ’67, ’73, and probably ’48, you say?

You know, you may be right. This may be nothing more than the same streak of anti-Zionism (which, employing the commutive property of bigotry, equals anti-Semitism) which has long run through the Left. After all, whom do they cite?

Dennis Kucinich…Nick Rahall…Charlie Rangel…James Zogby.

What useful and innovative contributions they make! I guess when you boil it down, the new way to demonize Israel is no different form the old. Leave it to ZbgnvBrznski to state the latest Protocol of the Elders of Zion:

“Either I make policy on the Middle East or AIPAC makes policy on the Middle East.”

The anti-Israel set just can’t get over that Americans just might see Israelis as themselves, but for the grace of God.

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Lemme Know About That Ceasefire

Sorry about Qana, and all that, but this is why Israel can’t just surrender:

More than 160 Hizballah rockets hit Israel Sunday, July 30, in stepped up blitz on Day 19 of the war

July 30, 2006

Kiryat Shemona alone took 100 Katyushas, inuring 9 people, one seriously. Fires around the town enveloped the town in heavy black smoke, homes and shops have been wrecked, malls and factories damaged and some 80% of Kirya Shemona’s inhabitants have fled their Galilee town which they call hell. Haifa was briefly attacked after a three-day pause and is trying to recover from two weeks of constant rocket fire. Katyusha siren alerts sent people to shelters in Nahariya, Acre, Tiberias, Afula, Migdal Ha’emek and Nazareth. The total number of rockets fired in 19 days of Hizballah’s war has risen past 3,500.

The good news is that at this rate, Hezbollocks will have used all of its 13,000+ rockets by the end of September, perhaps in time for the high holy days.

Oh, and one strange thing about Qana:

Israeli Air Force Staff chief Brig-Gen Amir Eshel said Sunday he could not account for the time gap between the air strike over Qana village at 0100 Saturday night and the building’s collapse six or seven hours later

He said the air force had not been aware of civilians in the building and regretted the loss of 57 innocent lives, 37 of them children. Qana village was targeted as a busy Hizballa command and logistical center, said Brig. Eshel, from which 150 rockets had been fired into Israel on a daily basis. Civilians had been repeatedly advised to leave and many had. The defense minister has ordered a probe into the tragedy.

I’d like to hear more about that.

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Gums Flap in Europe, No One Hurt

I barely care enough about this to type it up, but it’s a pretty good example of liberal good intentions run amock:

British novelist Salman Rushdie has squared off against feminist icon Germaine Greer, labeling her support for a group of Bengali film protesters as “philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful.”

The protesters oppose the film version of Monica Ali’s book “Brick Lane,” a story about a Bangladeshi woman living in the area of east London, because of the way the book depicts people in the area. Their campaign has led to the cancellation of plans to shoot scenes for the movie in the neighborhood.

Greer wrote that locals had a right to prevent filming, and that Ali failed to realize that some residents might have found her plot outlandish. Others have supported the book and film.

Ali “writes in English and her point of view is — whether she allows herself to impersonate a village Bangladeshi woman or not — British. She has forgotten her Bengali, which she would not have done if she had wanted to remember it. When it comes to writing a novel, however, she becomes the pledge of our multi-ethnicity,” Greer wrote Monday in The Guardian newspaper.

Rushdie, who received death threats after writing “The Satanic Verses,” lashed back at Greer with a letter in The Guardian newspaper.

“At the height of the assault against my novel ‘The Satanic Verses,’ Germaine Greer stated: ‘I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his, which was about his own troubles.’ She went on to describe me as ‘a megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin.’ Now it’s Monica Ali’s turn to be deracinated.”

I admit I can’t understand what Greer is talking about, but it’s pretty astonishing when one writer defends the censorship of another writer.

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Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XLVI

I can understand the Palestinians being upset, but does this help?

Palestinian protesters stormed the main U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a demonstration against Israel’s bombing of southern Lebanon that killed around 60 civilians, witnesses and U.N. staff said.

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said.

At least five people were wounded, police said.

U.N. staff were inside the compound at the time, but managed to escape after U.N. guards let off tear gas canisters. A U.N. official said the compound, which includes scores of buildings, was ransacked and eight vehicles damaged.

Members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s special guard arrived shortly after the assault began and managed to disperse the crowd by firing into the air.

Witnesses in Gaza said extensive damage had been caused to the U.N. compound, from where the world body directs its relief and aid operations for the Gaza Strip’s 1.4 million people.

Hey, Gaza’s all theirs; they can trash it all they want to, and they have. But if they want Israel to call off its dogs, they can just release the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. All this would go away.

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On Bolton and Lieberman

Aunt Agatha shares two NY Times opinion pieces with us, and wonders what we have to say.
First, on John Bolton:

When President Bush nominated John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations last year, we argued that this convinced unilateralist and lifelong disparager of the United Nations should not be confirmed. The Senate agreed. Mr. Bush sent him to New York anyway, using the constitutional end run of a recess appointment. That appointment expires in January.

Now the Senate is being asked to confirm Mr. Bolton again. With one of last year’s critics, George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, having recently changed sides, confirmation seems more likely. But after a year of watching Mr. Bolton at work, we still believe the Senate should reject his nomination.

As ambassador, Mr. Bolton’s performance has been more restrained than many of his opponents feared. He has, as far as we know, faithfully carried out any instructions he was given. And on some issues, like this spring’s botched reform of the United Nations’ human-rights monitoring body, Mr. Bolton was right not to accept a bad result.

But over all, American interests at the U.N. have suffered from Mr. Bolton’s time there, and will suffer more if the Senate confirms him in the job. At a time when a militarily and diplomatically overstretched Washington needs as much international cooperation as it can get — on Iraq, on Iran, on North Korea and now on the latest fighting between Israel and Lebanon — Mr. Bolton is a liability, not an asset at the United Nations.

Second, on Joseph Lieberman:

Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman’s friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers — most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents — say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

This primary would never have happened absent Iraq. It’s true that Mr. Lieberman has fallen in love with his image as the nation’s moral compass. But if pomposity were a disqualification, the Senate would never be able to call a quorum. He has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case, he has strongly supported a woman’s right to choose. He has been one of the Senate’s most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation.

But this race is not about résumés. The United States is at a critical point in its history, and Mr. Lieberman has chosen a controversial role to play. The voters in Connecticut will have to judge whether it is the right one….

If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

There’s actually very little to say. Everything the Times rejects about these two men, I embrace. Everything the Times celebrates about their opposition, I deplore. “[T]here [are] some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war…” what the hell does that mean, or where? Lodi? Mobile? Would the editors of the Times really be more impressed if Lieberman supported Bush a la carte, like Hillary Clinton, or sent the order back, like John Kerry? (“I was for the Chilean sea bass before I was against it.”) Supporters can be true leaders, too. But one does not have to scream about the abuses at Abu Ghraib to be against them, or to call for cut-and-run at every setback to be sanguine about our chances in Iraq. Lieberman feels as I do: that on the big stuff, Bush basically gets it right. Saddam had to go, and there was no other way to get him gone but for us to do it; Israel can and must defend itself, and we are the only power to permit them to do so.

As for Bolton, the Times may be right, yet ultimately wrong. In the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, James Stewart changes the cynical and corrupt ways of the Senate, and brings down a rotten political machine. I’ve alway loved that movie (and its co-star, Jean Arthur) and still have scenes memorized. But Mr. Bolton could never change the UN: it’s beyond saving. United States Senators are, by definition, Americans; UN delegates are, by definition, not. Our interests there don’t amount to a hill of beans. More often than not, the UN actually works against American interests, and sees that as a good thing.

But if you want to know the real difference between the UN and the US, ask Saddam and Ahmad…Achduliebe–the Iranian guy–which one they respect.

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