Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Angry Arab pretends to be stupid

He quotes from an article about the HRW statement about Gaza rockets, ending with the following:
HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson said in the group's report on Monday that "The rocket attacks killed three Israeli civilians and wounded dozens. Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim."
Then he comments:
I don't know which statements Sarah is referring to, but is she implying that threats are more deadly than actual harming of civilians, or does she mean that Israel should be forgiven for killing and injuring Arab civilians because it did not make clear statements that harming civilians was their aim?
How difficult is it to understand what the HRW statement is saying? The "threats" were simply offered as support for the assertion that Gazan terrorist groups are actually targeting civilians. As for his statement "I don't know which statements Sarah is referring to," I think I know of a resource that can help him out. The Love of the Land blog has screenshots of some tweets from @AlqassamBrigade quoting Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida. Always glad to help out a fellow blogger. Speaking of AA, he had an interesting and very telling angle on the business about the Mayan date for the the end of the world:
I was looking forward to the end of the world as it would have permitted me--even for a second--to witness the end of the Zionist entity over Palestine.
To use one of his favorite words, the man thinks hatred is cute.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Juan Cole on "the flowering of Christianity" in the Middle East

Juan Cole, who is certainly interesting most of the time, argues that "arguments you see for Christian decline in the region are mostly wrong." (He is perhaps answering this.) Here is a paragraph about Lebanon:
The argument for decline is usually made from Lebanon, where Christians were a bare majority in 1931, but are now something like 22%. But Lebanon’s population was about 800,000 in 1931, so Christians were 408,000. Lebanon’s population is now 5 million, and Christians inside the country are about 1.1 million. So with all the vast Christian Lebanese emigration abroad, to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, the United States, Mexico, etc. (with perhaps 6 million Lebanese-descended people in the New World), there are still twice as many Christians in Lebanon in absolute terms now as there were in 1931. And although it is consequential politically that Lebanese Christians are now less than a third of the adult electorate, they are hardly powerless. They dominate the presidency, the officer corps, and the business world, and they are split between allying with the Sunni Muslims and allying with the Shiites, which gives them influence as a swing vote.
Yes, I guess if the total population increases six-fold in 80 years, you can lose a lot of ground percentage-wise and still have larger absolute numbers. I didn't say it was convincing, just interesting. Here is a sentence about Egypt, making a similar argument: "So in absolute terms, Egypt alone now has more than 11 times as many Christians as lived in the central lands of the Middle East 162 years ago. How is that a decline?" Don't know about that, Juan. 162 years sure is an awful long time. Aren't we talking about whether there has been a recent decline?

Juan also includes South Sudan and Eritrea in the Middle East. He also admits the decline in the Christian population in the West Bank in Israel because, I assume, he can blame Israel for it, while neglecting the fact that the Christian population has increased in not only absolute but percentage terms inside green-line Israel. He may be desperate to depict Christians as "flowering" in the "Middle East," but he isn't going to violate any of his Israel-bashing imperatives. There's more, of course. Reading it is the only way to see if I'm being fair here.

Update: Somehow I'm reminded of this:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Future bright for projectiles

You may have seen one of a number of headlines, such as the following from the Guardian: "US west coast may be within North Korean missile range, says Seoul." (North) Korean News, not surprisingly, has a number of stories about the "satellite" launch, including not-too-subtle hints as to the military significance. For instance, "Title of DPRK Hero Awarded to Contributors to Successful Launch of Satellite":
The title of DPRK Hero, gold star medals and Orders of National Flag (First Class) were awarded to Choe Chun Sik and 100 other scientists, technicians, workers and officials.

By successfully launching satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 they instilled great national self-esteem and conviction of sure victory into the service personnel and people of the DPRK and dealt a sledge-hammer blow at the hostile forces' desperate moves to check the advance of the DPRK. They also made a great contribution to remarkably raising the international prestige and influence of the DPRK.

A decree was promulgated by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK in this regard on Saturday.
Iran is denying that if had anything to do with recent North Korean missile advances:
Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics has denied that Iran cooperates with North Korea on missiles and expert exchange.

Brigadier General Ahmed Vahidi, Minister of Defense described the claims as ‘only speculations’ and said that Islamic Republic of Iran has not sent experts on missiles to North Korea.

In providing a response to the question on sending expert on missiles to North Korea, Vahidi said that no expert had been sent.
Iran admitted most of its role in supplying missile technology to Hamas (and got thanked publically for the rest) and it loves to take credit for things. We are bound to see more interesting statements from Iranian officials. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Pakistan: Shiites react to blasphemous graffiti against Imam-e-Zaman (AS) and Imam Khomeini" (ABNA-Iran)

Graffiti against Ayatollah Khomeini is "blasphemous"? They don't quite have the hang of monotheism, do they? The English a bit fragmented here--I guess the "movie" the third paragraph starts talking about is "The Innocence of Muslims":
Blasphemous graffiti against Imam-e-Zaman (AS) and Imam Khomeini appeared on the walls of Bhakkar district.

The graffiti against the 12th infallible Imam and his deputy during the time of occultation, Imam Khomeini, has sparked off anger and dismay among Shiites.

Blasphemous movie has evoked stiff protest from all Shiites irrespective of their affiliations to different organizations. They termed it a provocative act of terrorism and fanaticism by the stooges of Zionist and global imperialism. They said that notorious takfiri nasbi terrorists Malik Ishaq

Latest reports say that all Shia parties have joined hands against the sacrilegious graffiti. Wizarat Hussain Naqvi, a known Shia leader has summoned a meeting in which all Shiites are participating. District Police Officer Bhakkar and two DSPs are also present at the meeting. Shiites are chalking out their course of action against the graffiti.

"Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment" (LA Times)

Oh the irony, oh the humanity, oh the bears:
State scientists, grappling with an explosion of marijuana growing on the North Coast, recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.

In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, they counted 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants — mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The scientists determined the farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it.

"That is just one small watershed," said Scott Bauer, the state scientist in charge of the coho recovery on the North Coast for the Department of Fish and Game. "You extrapolate that for all the other tributaries, just of the Eel, and you get a lot of marijuana sucking up a lot of water.… This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover."

The marijuana boom that came with the sudden rise of medical cannabis in California has wreaked havoc on the fragile habitats of the North Coast and other parts of California. With little or no oversight, farmers have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, drained streams and polluted watersheds.

Because marijuana is unregulated in California and illegal under federal law, most growers still operate in the shadows, and scientists have little hard data on their collective effect. But they are getting ever more ugly snapshots.

A study led by researchers at UC Davis found that a rare forest carnivore called a fisher was being poisoned in Humboldt County and near Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada.

The team concluded in its July report that the weasel-like animals were probably eating rodenticides that marijuana growers employ to keep animals from gnawing on their plants, or they were preying on smaller rodents that had consumed the deadly bait. Forty-six of 58 fisher carcasses the team analyzed had rat poison in their systems.

Mark Higley, a wildlife biologist on the Hoopa Indian Reservation in eastern Humboldt who worked on the study, is incredulous over the poisons that growers are bringing in.

"Carbofuran," he said. "It seems like they're using that to kill bears and things like that that raid their camps. So they mix it up with tuna or sardine, and the bears eat that and die."

The insecticide is lethal to humans in small doses, requires a special permit from the EPA and is banned in other countries. Authorities are now regularly finding it at large-scale operations in some of California's most sensitive ecosystems.

It is just one in a litany of pollutants seeping into the watershed from pot farms: fertilizers, soil amendments, miticides, rodenticides, fungicides, plant hormones, diesel fuel, human waste. [...]
Don't you like the way the article refers to "the sudden rise of medical cannabis"? Even when it is a total disaster environmentally, evidently involving criminal activity, the LA Times can't bring itself to write something accurate like "psuedo-medical cannabis." I only posted about half of the article. Tsk tsk.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Ban on PressTV, HispanTV: Zionist octopus at work" (PressTV-Iran)

Iran reacts to the removal of PressTV from Spanish television by demonstrating why it got removed. Great graphic:
It seems that the West is sloughing over its established definition of freedom of expression when the Iranian channels HispanTV and Press TV come under brutal censorship by the Israel-friendly satellite companies in Europe.

Evidently spearheaded by the Zionists, Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat has ordered Overon to take Press TV and Hispan TV off the air. No wonder, the illegal move created extreme joy in the Zionist organizations such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

“This is an important development in the worldwide effort to contain the defiant regime in Tehran, one we have been watching carefully for months and discussing with our friends in Spain,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“Hispasat did the right thing,” Harris continued. “No satellite company in the Western world should enable the dissemination of propaganda from an Iranian government that denies human rights, supports terror organizations and is determined to achieve nuclear weapons capability. That Hispasat’s action triggered such an angry response in Tehran tells us all we need to know about its significance.”

Overon says as the EU has blacklisted the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Hispan TV and Press TV must be taken off the air. It should be noted that Hispan TV is officially registered in Spain and operates under the country’s media laws. Besides, the EU has confirmed to Press TV that its anti-Iran sanctions do not apply to the country's media.

From a legal point of view, this move runs counter to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Article ten of the ACHR says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.”

Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat whose French-Israeli CEO is widely believed to be the architect of attacks on Iranian media in Europe.

Without even Michel de Rosen being the Zionist CEO of Eutelsat, the European media is so pathetically caught up in the claws of the Zionists that they would readily give in to their demands especially when they are directly aimed at dispelling the political sway of the Islamic Republic.

On the one hand, the Zionists keep depicting themselves in the light of a nation so viciously persecuted in the course of history at the hands of the Europeans, an excuse which they use as a way of emotional blackmail. This, the Europeans sadly buy and seek to make up for the ‘holocaust’, an inflated issue, a political ace in the hole for the Zionists.

On the other hand, Europe is infernally prone to smother any voice coming from Iran and that which is in defense of the Islamic Republic as the Europeans are fearful of alternative channels such as Press TV, Hispan TV and RT which deliver a truthful report of the public discontent in the European community. The fact is that Europe is crumbling from within and there is no economic salvation in sight and Europe prefers media blackout. Further to that, the Zionist lobby is so powerful in Europe that they prefer to cave to their wanton demands, ignore the very basis principles upon which the European Convention of Human Rights is built, and avoid withering criticism or political isolation from Washington.

In point of fact, Europe is plunging into financial abysm largely on account of its reliance on US imperialism and its support of the Zionist regime. The role these alternative channels play in raising intellectual awareness and political insight is an irrefutable reality which serves as a resounding slap in the face of Europe. To put it in better terms, these channels hold a mirror to the European audience wherein the reality is reflected as it should. And this is exactly what harrows Europe with fear and wonder.

What is currently happening to the Iranian media is not just limited to Iran or to the Iranian community. These channels and like news outlets are the inalienable rights of the world citizens who are entitled to have an alternative voice different from theirs and choose to hear.

In fact, depriving the international community from these channels is stripping the people across the globe of the choice to hear. It is not ‘kosher’ and amounts to an act of intellectual abacination.
I actually had to look up the word "abacinate." It means to "blind by holding a red-hot metal plate before someone's eyes." (Hat tip: Isreallycool)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

PressTV-Iran: "Mossad death squads slaughtered American children at Sandy Hook"

This article repeats some of the claims from the PressTV interview with Neo-Nazi Mike Harris that a number of bloggers noted. The earlier title was "The Zionist-controlled Western media fueling culture of violence," although the "death squad" claim is there also. Notice the inclusion here of the Iran's attack on the AMIA building in Argentina among supposed Mossad crimes and also the mention of Lenin.(Neo-Nazis commonly assert he was Jewish). Even the name "Sandy Hook" is part of the conspiracy:
While liberals and some conservatives believe the time has come to ban assault weapons, the graver threat to our nation’s security has been swept under the rug.

The Sandy Hook massacre appears to have been a psy op intended to strike fear in the hearts of Americans by the sheer brutality of the massacre, where the killing of children is a signature of terror ops conducted by agents of Israel.

This is being used as powerful incentive for banning assault rifles, where most of the public is unaware of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has acquired 1.5 billion rounds of .40 caliber, hollow-point ammunition, which is not ever permissible in warfare under the Geneva Conventions.

A Senate Subcommittee has issued a report (3 October 2012) based upon its review of 680 “fusion center” reports (from 2009-2001) and found not a single indication of any domestic terrorist threat-not one! None! Since the only domestic “terrorist threats” are ones contrived by the government, especially the FBI, the public needs to know.

This information-as well as the existence of more than 300 FEMA camps and special boxcars to carry dissidents to them-has been deliberately withheld from the American people, because if they were aware of the facts of the matter, it would become obvious that those camps and ammunition are intended to be used against them.

When DHS is gearing up to conduct a massive civil war against the American people, what better excuse could there be for banning assault weapons than the massacre of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School?

The choice appears to be covertly revealing, where “Sandy” means guardian of men (as an allusion to guns) and “Hook” as a euphemism for hooking, gathering or confiscating the only weapons that DHS fears. And who better to slaughter American children than Israelis, who deliberately murder Palestinian children?

Mike Harris of Veterans Today has exposed the pattern relating what happened there to earlier assaults: “This is exactly what Israel did in Norway; the political party that voted sanctions against Israel was retaliated against by a ‘lone gunman’ who killed 77 children. This is what Israel always does, they go after the children.

“It is what they do in Gaza every day. It is what was done in Norway. It is what happened at Sandy Hook. Nobody buys the ‘one gunman’ story anymore, not with the Gabby Giffords’ shooting, not with the Aurora “Batman” shooting, certainly not with Breveik, and certainly not in Connecticut.”

The most likely scenario, given what we know now, is that Adam Lanza and his mother killed the day before. Adam's body picked up by local police. He was attired in a SWAT outfit, including body armor, and stored in the school.

A three-man team entered the school, one was arrested in the school--cuffed and put on the lawn--two went out the back door, one was arrested, the third appears to have escaped. You can find this on helicopter videos.

Those arrested are currently not in police custody; their names were never released. That is a telling sign that we are being sold a story that is based on fiction, not on fact. What else are the local police concealing?

A parallel situation in Aurora, where there appear to have been multiple participants, but the police concealed information about them. The DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, was even a active member of Delta Force, but the public was not informed.

His assistant in this killing spree, Lee Boyd Malvo, had been detained in Seattle but was released, even though he was an illegal alien, where INS has refused to explain how that happened. Did “higher authority” intervene?

Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army Major who killed 13 and wounded 29 during a rampage at Ft. Hood, Kansas, even sat next to the Director of Homeland Security during an event at George Washington University. Can that be coincidental?

When the "long gunman" cover story falls apart, then the national press, which William Colby told us was infiltrated by agents of the CIA-“The agency owns everyone of significance in the major media”-resorts to stories of Mind Control and use of drugs.

We have to see through the smoke and mirrors. These attacks typically involve three-man shooting teams, where, once the story is tainted with bogus MK/Ultra conspiracy disinformation, crucial data, like the assault rifle the Sandy Hook having been left in his car, swiftly disappears.

Lenin and Trotsky were terrorists. Lenin was an outspoken proponent of terrorism. The founder of the Lukid Party and sixth Prime Minister of Israel was an Irgun terrorist. Study its history. No nation in the world cares more about its own interests and less about those of the United State than Israel.

The bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946, was a stunning example. The attack on the USS Liberty and Israel’s bombing of its own Embassy and Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 are other illustration.

Those who study 9/11 are all too aware of the role of the Neo-Cons and the Mossad. But the American press covers it up-and Congress is controlled by AIPAC. As Bill Casey, former CIA Director, observed, “Our disinformation program will be complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Sandy Hook is the latest example.
Not surprisingly, current PressTV headlines include one about PressTV's banning by satellite network Hispasat. Update: Two more headlines in this vein from PressTV: "Israeli death squads involved in Sandy Hook bloodbath: Intelligence analyst" and "School killings, first shock, then blame and conspiracy." That last one is cute since it suggests the article is going to be about conspiracist reactions to the tragedy instead of promoting conspiracy theories.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Commander Urges Int'l Community to Rescue US Oppressed People" (Fars News-Iran)

Such touching concern, Commander! In the course of this little item, we learn, among other things, that "the US regime . . . is supported by only 1% of the Americans."
Commander of Iran's Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said that the international community does not pay enough attention to the sufferings of the American nation who have been victimized by their rulers.

Speaking in Iran's Northwestern province of Zanjan today, Naqdi pointed to the reactions shown by the world and the international community to the terrorist crimes committed by the US backed terrorist groups in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Gaza or Syria, and lamented that the world has unfortunately neglected the sufferings of the American people inside the US.

"What has been neglected is the United States' oppressed people, specially the oppressed and innocent American children who are the main victims of the US regime which is supported by only 1% of the Americans, and no one in the world cares for them," he said.

"It is true that saving the Palestinian people is a top necessity of the Islamic Awakening movement, but liberation of the US people shouldn't be neglected and the international community should rise to save and free oppressed people of the US, specially its youngsters and kids," Naqdi underscored.

His remarks came a day after protesters marched on the headquarters of the US gun lobby as the clamor for tighter firearm controls grows in the wake of the Newtown school massacre.

Twenty school children were slaughtered by a heavily armed gunman who opened fire at a suburban elementary school in Connecticut last Friday, killing at least 28 people including himself in the one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

The 20-year-old gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, fired what witnesses described as dozens of shots at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which serves children from ages 5 to 10.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School appeared to be the US' second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, in which 32 people, including two Indians, were killed and 17 others wounded.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Intelligence Minister Stresses Iran's Full Control over Enemy Moves" (Fars News-Iran)

An interesting example of Iranian rheotoric. All enemy plots are "under control." I suppose that means that the threats posed by enemy "moves, plots and security threats" are under control, but somehow the phasing they used makes it sound more, well, Iranian:
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi underlined Iran's power, and said all enemies' moves, plots and security threats are under control.

"The measures adopted by conspirators and the plots targeting security of the nation and the ruling system could have economic implications for us," Moslehi said, addressing Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in Tehran on Tuesday.

But, enemy's plots have been thwarted and the country's intelligence and security organizations are in full control over enemies' moves.

Moslehi had earlier warned that the US and its allies continue plots against Iran to harm its security and stability, although to no avail.

[He] said that foreign intelligence services recruit and revive terrorist groups like Jundollah - a CIA backed organization notorious for its terrorist operations in Southeastern Iran.

"The foreign (intelligence) services form certain groups to stir sectarian war and create rift between the Shiites and Sunnis as their main agenda, and it is clear that when the ringleader of a group is arrested in a big operation, they move to reconstruct the group," Moslehi said, referring to the February 2011 arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi, the ringleader of Jundollah.

Meantime, he underlined the failure of the western intelligence services in their attempts to create insecurity in Iran, and said, "Due to the vigilance of the (Iranian) security bodies, they have always failed to attain their goals." [...]
I wouldn't like being invincible. It would take all the mystery out of life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"DPRK Workers Encouraged by Successful Satellite Launch" (Korean News)

About half the headlines at Korean News are about their "successful satellite launch." This one is overcome with uncontrollable joy, that one sees a bright future, etc. (The rest of the headlines are the usual swill: "Kim Jong Il, Peerlessly Great Man," "Members of Women's Union Vow Loyalty to Kim Jong Un," etc.) According to this one, the Juche masses were so encouraged by the great news that "railway workers are working overtime irrespective of shifts" --out of joy, you understand. And, of course, the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex is never out of the news for long:
The news of satellite launch in the DPRK has encouraged the workers in the economic construction.

Jo Jin Hyon, deputy head of a workshop of the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, told KCNA:

"The news has greatly encouraged us in the drive for increased production.

Today my workshop raised the production results two times higher than usual. The case will be the same with other workshops."

Pyon Song Chol, a dispatcher at the Kaechon Railway Bureau, said:

"Joyful over the news, our railway workers are working overtime irrespective of shifts. The news has also excited the railway travelers.

The transport workers' zeal for increased carriage is running higher. It is likely that the current month's quota of the bureau would be hit earlier than scheduled."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Fifth Night of Chanukah!

There is a Chassidic custom to regard the fifth night of Chanukah as special. It is the first night when most of the lights are lit. A more technical version of this point is that it is the first night when following the opinion of Beis Hillel to start with one candle and add one every night results in more flames than following the opinion of Beis Shammai (to light all the flames on the first night and take one away each day). The fifth night of Chanukah can never fall on Shabbos, which might be regarded as something negative, but one way of looking at it is this: The light of Chanukah can even overcome the darkness of never falling on Shabbos. One of my favorite stories about the Lubavitcher Rebbe includes this thought. Read it here. Another story about the fifth night is here.

"Hamas: Enemy Plot against Iran-Hamas Ties Thwarted by Supreme Leader" (Fars News-Iran)

Usually the Supreme Big Guy urges his followers to show vigilance and foil all enemy plots, but sometimes he has to just step in and do it himself:
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, appreciated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's recent remarks about support for the Palestinian nation and resistance groups, and stressed that his statements foiled the plots hatched to sow discord between Iran and Hamas.

"Right at a time when the region is passing through the most difficult times and faces different plots, religious schemes at top of them, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei with his unifying and insightful statements in the International Conference of Muslim Scholars and Islamic Awakening, drew attention to the main problem in the region and the source of plots and devilishness, that is the filthy Quds Occupying Regime (Israel)," Hamas office in Tehran said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ayatollah Khamenei's righteous appreciation for the unique resistance of Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas, defused the plots hatched by the enemies to sow discord between the group and the Islamic Republic of Iran, spread rumors about the closure of Hamas office in Tehran and raise "unfounded" allegations against Hamas' leader, the statement read.

During the International Conference of Muslim Scholars and Islamic Awakening held in Tehran on Tuesday, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei lauded Palestinians for their recent victory over the Zionist regime in the 8-day Israeli war on Gaza, and said the war once again showed the necessity for unity among Muslims.

He also praised the "braveries" shown by the Palestinians groups, specially Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movements, in the Gaza war.

The Leader said that the Gaza war had important lessons for the Palestinian people and other Muslims, and stated, "The Gaza war showed that if all sides unite with each other and be patient against hardships, God's promise for emergence of comfort after termination of hardships will come true."

Israel triggered an 8-day fighting by assassinating the military chief of the ruling Hamas group on November 14 followed by dozens of airstrikes on Gaza.

In response, Palestinian groups fired over 1,500 missiles and rockets at Israel.

Palestinian resistance groups targeted Tel Aviv and areas near Jerusalem for the first time in the history of confrontations between the two sides, launching a rocket attack in a major escalation of hostilities as Israel pressed forward with relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Israel called up thousands of reservists and massed troops along the border with Gaza, signaling a ground invasion of the densely populated seaside strip could be imminent.

But the rocket attacks on areas deep in the occupied territories (Israel) frightened the Israeli regime, and made it drop its aggression plans and ask for third party mediation. [...]
In the world of Fars News, the entire country is occupied.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

"Congratulations to Palestinian President" (North) Korean News

Wow, "justice dynamically advancing"--that sounds like Juche rhetoric:
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, Thursday sent a congratulatory message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the adoption by an overwhelming vote of a resolution of the 67th UN General Assembly calling for according to Palestine the status of observer state.

In the message Kim said that the victory achieved by Palestine at the UN General Assembly clearly proves that nothing can stem the trend of justice dynamically advancing towards independence and peace against all forms of aggression, interference and arbitrary practices.

Reiterating the full support and solidarity of the DPRK to the Palestinian people in their just cause of taking back their legitimate national rights including the founding of an independent state with Kuds as its capital, the message wished the Palestinian president fresh and greater successes in his future work.

NY Times on "True Meaning of Hanukkah"

Predictably, this NY Times article is a well-meaning mess. It does point out that the military victory is an important part of why we celebrate. All you need for that, of course, is the text of Al-Hanism. Here is how the article ends:
[...] Many believe the rabbis in the Talmud recounted the miracle of the light alongside the military victory because they did not want to glorify war. That in itself is an important teaching, as are the holiday’s related messages of renewal, hope and turning away from darkness.

But it’s a story with dark chapters as well, including the Maccabean leaders’ religious zealotry, forced conversions and deadly attacks on their neighbors. These transgressions need to be grappled with. And that is precisely what the most important Jewish holidays do: Jews on Passover spill out wine from their glasses to acknowledge Egyptian suffering caused by the 10 plagues, and congregations at Rosh Hashana read and struggle with God’s order to Abraham to bind his son Isaac as a sacrifice.

If we’re going to magnify Hanukkah, we should do so because it offers the deeper meaning and opportunity for introspection that the major Jewish holidays provide.
Earlier in the article, the author explained that
Though Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday, 19th-century activists in America promoted it to encourage their coreligionists to take pride in their heritage. During the 20th century it was embraced more broadly by Jews who wanted to fit in with other Americans celebrating the holiday season . . .
It may be that these things happened among assimilated Jews because Chanukah was perceived as "minor," but it lasts eight days, Al-Hamisim (a good source of the "true meaning of Chanukah") is added to every Shmoneh Esrei and Bentching, there is Whole-Hallel every day, a Torah-reading every day, the Menorah lighting itself. If you take your religious life seriously, it is bound to have a major impact. And what does it all mean?
In the days of Matityahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, when the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights, and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah.

You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day. Then Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Chanukah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.
Sounds like a major holiday and major meaning to me. Perhaps some introspection is called for, but in a mode of joyous celebration, not the politically correct introspection promoted by this article.

LA Times laments "Big Soda's victory"

According to this story, ballot measures instituting a soda tax were defeated in the Richmaond district in San Francisco and in El Monte, California. Sounds like good news to me, but not only is the author unhappy with the outcome of the ballot elections, he can't talk about it in terms of whether the actual tax would be beneficial or not. Instead (according to the graphic accompanying the article) he talks about all the good things that could have been done with the money spent (by something called "Big Soda") on the advertising campaign to defeat the measures--so many playgrounds, so many jump-ropes--if it had been spent on truly civic-minded (I guess) things instead.

How about not trying to solve all problems by raising taxes? The author seems genuinely bothered by the prospect of money in private hands and not subject to government confiscation. That's the only way I can explain the strange argument made here. People spending their own, hard-earned money also buy jump-ropes and organic vegetables.

LA Times pushes "ethical" chocolate Chanukah gelt

The idea is that the chocolate is produced under good working conditions. One of the things we learn is that chocolate gelt coins are "meant to represent the coins that once were given to children as an encouragement for their Jewish studies." I don't know about that, but I'm sure the "once given" part is wrong. Actual spendable money is currently, right now, given by many Jews to other Jews (especially but not exclusively, parents to children) on Chanukah. Why not start doing that if you don't do it yet?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

"Where are you?" A story for 19 Kislev.

On the 19th of Kislev, the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad, was released from prison. See here to learn why this day is known in Chabad as the "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism." Here is a story:
In 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was imprisoned on charges, put forth by the opponents of Chassidism, that his teachings undermined the imperial authority of the czar. For 52 days he was held in the Peter-Paul Fortress in Petersburg.

Among the Rebbe's interrogators was a government minister who possessed broad knowledge of the Bible and Jewish studies. On one occasion, he asked the Rebbe to explain the verse (Genesis 3:9): "And G-d called out to the man and said to him: 'Where are you?'" Did G-d not know where Adam was?

Rabbi Schneur Zalman presented the explanation offered by several of the commentaries: the question "Where are you?" was merely a "conversation opener" on the part of G-d, who did not wish to unnerve Adam by immediately confronting him with his wrongdoing.

"What Rashi says, I know," said the minister. "I wish to hear how the Rebbe understands the verse."

"Do you believe that the Torah is eternal?" asked the Rebbe. "Do you believe that its every word applies to every individual, under all conditions, at all times?"

"Yes," replied the minister.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman was extremely gratified to hear this. The czar's minister had affirmed a principle which lies at the basis of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the very teachings and ideology for which he was standing trial!

"'Where are you?'" explained the Rebbe, "is G-d's perpetual call to every man. Where are you in the world? What have you accomplished? You have been allotted a certain number of days, hours, and minutes in which to fulfill your mission in life. You have lived so many years and so many days," -- here Rabbi Schneur Zalman spelled out the exact age of the minister -- "Where are you? What have you achieved?"

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Angry Arab on "Zionist Sexism"

I think Angry Arab is a fairly intelligent person. As I have observed before, however, he hates Israel and hatred is the functional equivalent of stupidity. Here is his post:
Did you know that when the Zionists under Hertzl held their first conference in Basel, Switzerland (in the municipal casino, incidentally) they did not allow the Zionist women in attendance to vote?
That was when? 1897. When was the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was finally ratified by enough states to make it US law? 1920. California, the state where AA teaches Political Science, "granted women's suffrage in 1911." Herzl-era Zionists were like other late 19th century people in most respects. How shocking. (By the way, this is a great example of what I call taking facts out of context.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ghada Nayfeh demurred.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CAIR Canada attacks Jewish textbook

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The message said:

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 09, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 03, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 01, 2012

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

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

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

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

Long Live His Eminence the Supreme Leader;

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

Salamon Aleykom

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

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

Sadeq Amoli Larijani
Cool unifying comments, exalted Big Guy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Construction of Mansugyo Soft Drink Restaurant Completed" (Korean News)

It's "fully furnished with modern equipment and sales conditions needed for the service of a variety of soft drink." The future is certainly rosy for the DPRK:
The Mansugyo Soft Drink Restaurant has been built on the bank of the River Pothong in Pyongyang.

The peculiar restaurant is a fashionable catering service base provided by the dear respected Kim Jong Un who is carrying out Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il's intention for believing in the people as in Heaven.

The restaurant with a total floor space of more than 3,000 square meters is fully furnished with modern equipment and sales conditions needed for the service of a variety of soft drink.

An inaugural ceremony took place on Tuesday.

Present there were Kim Jong Gak, Mun Kyong Dok and officials concerned, soldier builders and employees of the restaurant.

Mun Kyong Dok, alternate member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the C.C., the Workers' Party of Korea and chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee of the WPK, in his address said that the completion of the restaurant is a significant event bringing joy to the army and people of the DPRK.

He called upon the employees of the restaurant to make positive efforts to put the level of dietary life and food culture of the Korean people on a higher level in the spirit of serving the people and thus translate into reality the intention of Kim Jong Un.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Al-Qaeda manipulated by US, Israel: Analyst" (PressTV-Iran)

The "Analyst," turns out to be one Kevin Barrett. Wikipedia identifies him as a founding member of something called the "Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance" which this article refers to as the "Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth." Hmmm:
A political analyst says the al-Qaeda mercenaries in Syria are manipulated by the US and Israel into spreading sectarianism in the Middle East, Press TV reports.

“Al-Qaeda is really a manipulated group that serves to smear Islam. It’s created a negative brand name that only about seven percent of Muslims like, and the other 90 percent-plus don’t like. It’s destabilizing the Middle East on behalf of the Zionism and the US empire,” said author and Islamic Studies expert Kevin Barrett.

“These people are tasked by the Zionist and the [US] empire with spreading sectarianism in the Muslim world; that is breaking up Muslim countries into different sects and different nationalities,” he added.

Referring to the Syrian insurgents’ violation of the temporary ceasefire in the Arab country, Barrett said the al-Qaeda is trying to destabilize the situation by supporting the foreign-backed insurgents.

“That’s exactly the... Israeli plan, to destroy the Middle East by breaking it into tiny little pieces along ethnic and sectarian lines,” he said. “That’s exactly what these al-Qaeda people are working for. If one didn’t know better, one would think al-Qaeda was a brand invented by the Israelis themselves.”

The four-day ceasefire, which was brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), took effect on Friday.

The Syrian army has said that it is fully committed to the truce but will respond to attacks by armed groups that were in violation of the ceasefire. The Syrian army had repeatedly warned that it would react if armed groups carried out attacks or reinforced their positions, or if fighters crossed into the country.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the violence.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Al-Qassam Brigades Vow to Retaliate against Israeli Aggressions" (Fars News-Iran)

This article refers, using standard Iranian Press rhetoric, to "Israeli air raids on the defenseless Palestinians," but the article certainly suggests that those killed were members of the Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades, which seems to be confirmed elsewhere. See this and this.
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas Movement, warned the Zionist regime against the dire consequences of its new aggressions against the Gaza Strip, stressing that the Palestinian resistance movement will not leave any Israeli aggression unanswered.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Al-Qassam Brigades reiterated that the Zionist regime will pay for its aggressions which killed two Palestinians and injured five others on Monday.

"The Zionist enemy continues its crimes and aggressions against the Palestinian territories and people and it does not stop shedding the blood of the Palestinians. It (the Zionist enemy) is trying to create a tense situation to project its crisis (to the outside world)," the statement read.

On Monday, Israeli fighter jets targeted the village of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip which killed two Palestinians and injured five others.

On October 14, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades also condemned the Israeli air raids on the defenseless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip which killed at least five Palestinians, and vowed that the attacks would be retaliated with a crushing response to the Zionist regime.

"Al-Quds Brigades is committed to taking revenge and supporting the children of the Palestinian nation irrespective of their political affiliations," Al-Quds Brigades Spokesman Abu Ahmad told Ma'an news agency.

He also reiterated that Al-Quds Brigades and the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas Movement were both ready to respond to any stupid Israeli move against the Gaza Strip.

Spokesman of Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obadiah, also said on Sunday that "carrying out joint military operations between Al-Quds and Al-Qassam Brigades indicates the high level of coordination between them."

Hamas officials, including its former Political Bureau Chief Khalid Mashaal have on many occasions stressed that resistance of Palestinian groups would continue until the ultimate removal of the Gaza siege and re-opening of crossings into the territory. [...]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Tunisian Islamist leader says Salafis must not be demonized" (Maan News)

What are the alternatives to "demonizing" them? There is some interesting maneuvering in this article:
Demonizing ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists is a mistake that will only lead to them eventually winning power, said the leader of Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi.

Secular opposition politicians in Tunisia said last week that a leaked video of a secret meeting between Ghannouchi and puritanical Salafis showed the government was not the moderate Islamist force it claimed to be.

Dismissing those claims, Ghannouchi told French daily Le Monde that Tunisia should learn from past mistakes, when cracking down on opposition forces radicalized them and emboldened some to try to overthrow the government.

Some elements within Salafi movements should be allowed to participate in Tunisia's transition toward democracy as long as they act within the law.

"One must distinguish between the fundamentalists that turn to violence and the others," Ghannouchi said in remarks published on Thursday. "If we demonize the Salafis, then in 10 or 15 years they will be in power."

Tunisia, where an uprising against secular strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali provided the first spark in last year's "Arab Spring" revolts, is now ruled by an Islamist-led government that has promised not to impose strict Muslim rules and to respect women's rights.

Liberals say policies touted by Salafis threaten human rights in a country once seen as a beacon of Arab secularism, but which is now under siege from religious hardliners who have attacked cinemas and artistic performances, arguing that they violate Islam.

In a video aired last week, Ghannouchi is heard discussing which parts of the state have fallen into the hands of Islamists and advising Salafis on where they should focus their efforts to spread their influence further.

Ghannouchi said the recording had been taken out of context and manipulated by opposition parties to influence Tunisian and Western public opinion to destroy the idea that there could be a distinction between moderate Islam and radical Islam.

"They wanted to put the two in the same bag," he said, adding the meeting was an attempt to persuade Salafis to work peacefully for change within a political framework.

Salafis also led an attack on the US embassy in Tunis last month that killed four people, after an anti-Islam film made in California sparked anger across the region.

Human Rights Watch said Monday the government was failing to crack down on Islamist violence against advocates of secularism including journalists and artists.

Ghannouchi said that those events had been significant, but not enough to transform Tunisian political life.

"Despite what is said, there is no impunity," he said. "It's a dangerous and complex phenomenon that stems from a mix of religious, political and social factors."

"Republicans, Democrats attacking Americans in bipartisan push for savage austerity" (PressTV-Iran)

I must have missed this story:
By all indications, the US ruling class of Wall Street financiers is determined to follow Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain down the road to drastic austerity. The financiers of lower Manhattan are thus ignoring the evidence offered by these other countries showing that austerity policies reduce employment, lower production, cause severe mass privation, introduce powerful elements of chaos into society, and actually increase the government budget deficits in future years -- meaning that austerity fails even in its own terms.

Since the 1930s, it has been widely recognized that a policy of deflation with severe cuts in government spending and in expenditures for social services will plunge a country deeper into depression. Once the depression has hit, usually as the result of the collapse of a speculative bubble like the $2 quadrillion derivatives mania of 2000-2008, the private economy shrinks rapidly, leaving government spending as the principal form of economic activity. If the government budget is nevertheless cut, this lowers the overall rate of economic activity; working people paying taxes are turned into recipients of public assistance, and the budget deficit grows rapidly. The classic case is the German government of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning in 1930-32, whose brutal austerity policies shrank the national economy by about 25% over the course of two years, but still could not prevent the German budget deficit from growing.

Despite all this, there is today a consensus between Wall Street and Washington that draconian austerity must be imposed in the United States. This will be the case no matter whether Obama or Romney wins the upcoming election. Romney has been very open about his determination to rule in the name of the top 1% of financiers and oligarchs, while imposing hardships and sacrifices on the rest of the population. Obama is somewhat more discreet, but he also has clearly signaled his desire for a sweeping austerity program to be agreed on by the two major US parties as soon as possible, probably before the end of this year.

Observers have noted that Obama and Biden, in their three debates held so far with their Republican rivals, have never mentioned the traditional Democratic Party platform planks of raising the minimum wage; preserving the funding of the food stamp program (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of the US Department Of Agriculture) which keeps some 50 million Americans alive; maintaining and extending unemployment insurance payments to the jobless; or making it easier for trade unions to organize.

"Iranian FM Blames Israel for Beirut Terrorist Blast" (Fars News-Iran)

"[A}lthough the vigilance of the Lebanese people and parties who are aware of this plot will not allow Israel to obtain its goal":
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi blamed Israel for the Friday deadly blast in Beirut, and said the Zionist regime has carried out the terrorist attack in a bid to take the world's attention off its humiliation by a Hezbollah drone which penetrated deep into Israeli airspace earlier this month.

On October 12, Secretary-General of Hezbollah Seyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that the movement had sent a drone deep into the Israeli airspace, and stressed that the move demonstrated part of Hezbollah's capability.

The operation code-named Hussein Ayub saw Hezbollah's drone fly hundreds of kilometers into the Israeli airspace and getting very close to Dimona nuclear plant without being detected by advanced Israeli and US radars, Nasrallah said.

Salehi said the drone's penetration into Israel has caused deep fright among the Zionists.

"The (Hezbollah) drone which managed to penetrate into the occupied territories, frightened the regime and its weakness and inability was fully evident," Salehi said in a joint press conference with his Central African counterpart Antoine Gambi in Tehran on Sunday.

"Hence, it (Israel) committed such a big crime and martyred and injured a considerable number of the Lebanese citizens to divert the public opinion of the region from its weakness and inability to deal with its internal conditions," he continued.

Salehi warned that the Israeli plot "will make the regional conditions more complicated, although the vigilance of the Lebanese people and parties who are aware of this plot will not allow Israel to obtain its goal".

In relevant remarks on Saturday, a prominent Lebanese expert also took the Zionist regime responsible for the Friday blast in Beirut, calling it a plot to ignite civil war in the Middle-Eastern country.

Friday's blast left ten people dead and wounded dozens. It occurred in the mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya. Internal intelligence head Wissam al-Hassan was among those killed in the bomb explosion.

"Israel took revenge from Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan because of his active role in the many operations carried out to identify and arrest the Israeli Mossad spies," Professor of Beirut University Hassan Jouni told FNA on Saturday.

He underlined that the Friday blast in Beirut was meant to destabilize Lebanon and ignite sectarian strife in the country.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Ahmadinejad: Arrogant Powers Looking for Conflict among World Nations" (Fars News-Iran)

Some Irangrish:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the arrogant powers for their bullying policies, and said that these power seek to stir strife and conflict among other world nations.

"To continue their rule and dominance over the world, the arrogant powers are after sowing discord and conflict among (other) nations," Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kuwait on Wednesday.

He stressed that if all the world powers want to make use of the apparatus that they have at hand against others, there will be no longer any trace of tranquility and security in the world.

The Sri Lankan president, for his part, reiterated his country's determination for expanding ties with Iran, and called for the removal of obstacles and problems blocking the path of broadened cooperation between the two countries in different fields, specially the energy sector.

President Ahmadinejad and the Sri Lankan president are in Kuwait for the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit. [...]

"Taking Iran channels off air is cultural terrorism, IRIB chief says" (PressTV-Iran)

Besides the world's cheapest use of the word "terrorism," how many examples of hypocrisy can you spot?
The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has criticized the ban on Iranian TV and radio stations as “cultural terrorism.”

Ezzatollah Zarghami made the remarks at the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in the South Korean capital Seoul on Wednesday, Mehr news agency reported.

He called on international organizations, especially UNESCO, which do not have “deterrent laws for this type of cultural terrorism”, to adopt concrete laws to prevent such illegal actions.

Zarghami also said the ban on Iranian stations is meant to silence alternative media despite the fact that “the era of news censorship has come to an end.”

In a blatant violation of freedom of speech, European satellite provider Eutelsat SA ordered media services company, Arqiva, to take the Iranian satellite channels off one of its Hot Bird frequencies on Monday.

The channels include Press TV, al-Alam, Jam-e-Jam 1 and 2, Sahar 1 and 2, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Quran TV, and the Arabic-language al-Kawthar.

The decision followed months of jamming of Iranian channels by European satellite companies.

Following the move by Eutelsat, Press TV launched a Facebook petition to protect the news channel across Europe.

Observers say the illegal move by Eutelsat SA is a step to silence all alternative news outlets representing the voice of the voiceless. [...]
I have never heard a dictatorship described as "voiceless."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Leader Asks People to Avoid Western Life Style" (Fars News-Iran)

In which we learn that the Islamic Republic is the "most important target of this invasion":
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei asked people to avoid the western life style, warning that the western culture annihilates the culture and identity of the host nations.

"Of course, we do not intend to fight the West (in every move and aspect) but we emphasize according to the researches and studies carried out (in this field) that imitating the West will take nations to nowhere," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large number of people in North Khorassan province on Sunday.

"Basically, the western culture is aggressive and if it (the western culture) prevails in any given country for any given reason, it will gradually annihilate that nation's culture and identity," he cautioned.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to such great sins as homosexuality, the collapse of family foundations and other deep crises and problems as among abnormalities in the West which have turned into norms in the western societies.

He cautioned about the prevalence of certain aspects of the western culture in Iran, and asked officials to promote Iranian and Islamic culture to gradually correct these certain aspects of life style in the Iranian society.

In relevant remarks in June 2011, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution had also called on the Iranian nation to keep vigilant against the enemies' cultural invasion.

"The extent of the cultural invasion of the arrogant powers encompasses all the countries in the world, but the most important target of this invasion is the system of the Islamic Republic because the Islamic system has stood up to the arrogant powers and has proven through its steadfastness that is capable of resisting and making progress," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing members of Iran's High Council for the Cultural Revolution at the time.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that given the significant developments in the field of communications, the cultural war has expanded into a complicated field with various dimensions.
Gotta stay vigilant.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"MP: Zionists Buying Turkey's Bordering Areas with Syria" (Fars News-Iran)

"Zionists" could mean anybody:
Zionists have bought half of Turkey's bordering areas with Syria in Hatay province, a senior Turkish legislator revealed, warning that the move has posed a great danger to his country's national security.

Hatay Province's Representative at the Turkish parliament Mohammad Ali Adiboglu said that he discovered the danger after studying the documents in Hatay's Real State Registration Organization.

He further cautioned Turkey's Minister of Environment and Urbanization Erdogan Bayraktar that he'd better have a strong reasoning for selling the country's territories to the foreign nationals. [...]

Mondoweiss objects to calling Netanyahu "Bibi" because "A nickname humanizes a politician"

You can't make this stuff up:
The media should stop calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his nickname, Bibi.

A nickname humanizes a politician. It makes them seem more affectionate. Very few if any politicians are referred to by their nicknames. Do the media call Prime Minister Cameron David? Do they say, Francois, the president of France? They don't.

When Joe Biden repeatedly called Netanyahu Bibi last night in the debate, yes it bothers me, because our politicians are way too soft on Israel. [...]
Isn't "Joe" a nickname for "Joseph"?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cool Wikipedia page: List of Jazz Contrafacts

A "contrafact" is a melody written based on the chord-changes of a different tune. The Flintstones Theme (according to this) is contrafact of the Gershwin tune "I Got Rhythm." (Many Jazz tunes, as a matter of fact, use these chord-changes, and they are known as "rhythm changes.")

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good Yom Tov!

Sukkos is called "Zeman Simchaseinu"--the "time of our rejoicing." Thus, the holiday is particularly associated with rejoicing, and I hope you have an especially joyous one. I usually don't post on Chol Hamo'eid--see you after Simchas Torah.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"'We are no less than Jews who defend their religion,' Egypt minister" (Ahram Online)

I don't think I've ever called an "insulator" anti-Semitic, but if one was, I'd be the first:
Minister of Endowment Talaat Afify said Muslims are no less than "Jews" who, when insulted, "get up in arms and accuse insulatorsof anti-Semitism," referring to a recent anti-Islam film and offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

In a speech in a conference held Saturday in the city of Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, Afifi also condemned defending the Prophet Mohammed by "extremism, violence and torching embassies." These methods, according to him, do nothing but inflame an already explosive situation.

"That's why we had approached the UN to swiftly pass legislations criminalising blasphemy and sacrilegious acts to religious figures.

Early in September, an American-made movie portraying the Prophet Mohammed as a womaniser and a fool sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and dozens of other Muslim countries over the past two weeks, resulting in attempt to storm the US Embassy in Egypt and the death of the US ambassador to Libya.

Days later, obscene cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed naked were issued in the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo which further inflamed tension across the Muslim world.
This story illustrates that someone is a little too obsessed with Jews. Wouldn't it be great if all that resulted from the "Innocence of Muslims" or the Charlie Hebdo cartoons was Muslims complaining about "Islamophobia"?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Pakistani leaders demand execution of anti-Islam filmmaker" (IRNA-Iran)

These articles always try to make the offense sound generic: "blasphemy twoards the divine Prophets of God," but Moses appears in cartoons all the time and I have never seen evidence of any Muslim offense--not to mention the fact that one also sees representations of the Al-mighty in cartoons and movies. We are also told that the movie "hurt the feelings of billions of Muslims," as if the Muslims are saying "How can you hurt our feelings like that O West after all we've meant to each other." That doesn't seem to be quite the nature of the reaction and I am more than a little reminded of the volcanic anger expressed by the North Korea press agency after South Korea was less than respectful about Kim Jong Il.
Codenaming the US-made movie, Pakistani religions and political leaders on Wednesday unanimously demanded execution of all those who have made the blasphemous film.

The leaders at a conference said that the entire Muslim Ummah is shocked at the film and the statement by President Barack Obama that the sacrilegious film cannot be banned indicates that the US government is unfortunately involved in the shameful act.

The All Parties Conference was organized by Qaumi Majlis-e-Mushawarat to pay respect to the Holy Prophet (P).

A joint statement issued at the conference said that such anti-Islam actions could cause clash of civilizations and trigger a third world war.

It said that all Muslim countries should play their role for passing a law criminalizing the acts of blasphemy towards the divine Prophets of God(P).

The statement further said that the Muslim countries should form 'their own United Nations' to protect sanctity of their religious beliefs, conveying the fact that the present day UN is not that of the world naitons, but of the five of them alone.

It also condemned publication of blasphemous cartoons by a French magazine adding that freedom of expression has become a tool against the sanctities of the world Muslims.

The statement said that the Christian Pastor Terry Jones and the makers of the film 'Must Be Hanged' over the act and the US envoys 'Must Be Expelled' from all Muslim countries in protest against the sacrilegious movie.

It added that the haughty west has hurt the feelings of billions of Muslims by making the movie and they should quit their negative policies immediately, or face the inescapable aftermaths of them.

The statement also called for closing of NATO supply routes in Pakistan and urged the owners of containers to stop transporting the NATO goods to protest against the blasphemous acts.

It asked leaders of Pakistan to come on to the streets to record their protest over the anti-Islam movie.

It further said that demonstrations will continue across Pakistan against the sacrilegious movie.

Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Senator Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Chief National Solidarity Council Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Chief Syed Munawar Hasan, Chief of the DPC, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, Awami Muslim League Chief, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Hafiz Hussian Ahmad of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Defense analyst Lt. General (Retd) Hamid Gul, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Agha Murtaza Poya and former minister Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq attended the conference.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur

Gemar Chasimah Tovah!

Easy Fast!

Here is "Yom Kippur in a Nutshell" from
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year--the day on which we are closest to G‑d and to the quintessence  of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement -- "For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d" (Leviticus 16:30).

For twenty-six hours--from several minutes before sunset on Tishrei 9 to after nightfall on Tishrei 10--we "afflict our souls": we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather shoes, and abstain from marital relations.

Before Yom Kippur we perform the Kaparot atonement service; we request and receive honey cake, in acknowledgement that we are all recipients in G-d's world and in prayerful hope for a sweet and abundant year; eat a festive meal, immerse in a mikvah, and give extra charity. Late afternoon we eat the pre-fast meal, following which we bless our children, light a memorial candle as well as the holiday candles, and go to the synagogue for Kol Nidrei services.

In the course of Yom Kippur we hold five prayer services: Maariv, with its solemn Kol Nidrei service, on the eve of Yom Kippur; Shacharit--the morning prayer; Musaf, which includes a detailed account of the Yom Kippur Temple service; Minchah, which includes the reading of the Book of Jonah; and Ne'illah, the "closing of the gates" service at sunset. We say the Al Chet confession of sins eight times in the course of Yom Kippur, and recite Psalms every available moment.

The day is the most solemn of the year, yet an undertone of joy suffuses it: a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day and expresses the confidence that G-d will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health and happiness. When the closing Ne'illah service climaxes in the resounding cries of "Hear O Israel... G-d is one" and a single blast of the shofar, followed by the proclamation, "Next year in Jerusalem." Then joy erupts in song and dance (a Chabad custom is to sing the lively "Napoleon's March"), followed by the festive after-fast meal, making the evening after Yom Kippur a Yom Tov (festival) in its own right.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Plot to Sabotage Iran's Nuclear Equipment Fails" (Fars News-Iran)

This one is fascinating:
Senior Iranian parliamentary officials revealed on Saturday that German company Siemens intended to sabotage Iran's nuclear program by selling a booby-trapped equipment to Tehran.

Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told the Parliament's news agency, ICANA, Iranian security experts discovered small explosives embedded in equipment Tehran bought from Siemens for its nuclear program.

Boroujerdi said Iranian security experts discovered the explosives and removed them before detonation. The authorities believe that the booby-trapped equipment was sold to derail uranium enrichment efforts, he said.

Boroujerdi said, "The equipment was supposed to blow up after installation in order to destroy our (nuclear) systems."

"But the wisdom of our experts thwarted the enemy conspiracy."

Siemens said its nuclear division had had no business with Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Some Iranian officials have also suggested in the past that specific European companies may have sold faulty equipment to Iran with the knowledge of American intelligence agencies and their own governments, since the sales would have harmed, rather than helped, the country's nuclear program.

The campaign against Iran includes the abduction of scientists, the sale of faulty equipment and the planting of a destructive computer worm known as Stuxnet, which sought to disrupt Iran's uranium enrichment activity in 2010.

Iran's nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, said Monday that separate attacks on Iran's centrifuges - through tiny explosives meant to disable key parts of the machines - were discovered before the blasts could go off on timers.

Abbasi also told the UN nuclear agency in Vienna that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency, after the watchdog's inspectors arrived at the Fordo underground enrichment facility shortly after power lines were blown up through sabotage on Aug. 17.

Iran has several times complained that the IAEA is sending spies in the guise of inspectors to collect information about its nuclear activities, pointing to leaks of information by inspectors to US and other officials.

Five nuclear scientists and researchers have been killed in Iran since 2010. All the Iranian scientists have been assassinated by Israel's Mossad spy agency as well as the CIA and Britain's MI-6, according to Iranian intelligence ministry.

Boroujerdi said repeated leaks of nuclear information to Iran's adversaries by the IAEA would justify a cut of Tehran's ties with the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

"Iran has the right to cut its cooperation with the IAEA should such violations continue," he said.
Many Iranians would not want to see nuclear-armed Mullahs. I somehow can't imagine Siemens selling them booby-trapped equipment.