Archive for July, 2005

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

At Armies of Liberation: Petition from Yemen for a Yemeni Kid in Jail
Jane writes,

Though he was reportedly not directly involved, Ibrahim al Saiani was reportedly injured by shrapnel during the clashes in Sa’da, north of Yemen, between government forces and followers of Hussain Badr al-Din al-Huthi, a cleric from the Zaidi community. His right arm is said to have been amputated, a piece of shrapnel is lodged in his skull, and he has an injury to his right leg. He is said to be completely dependant on his family to carry out daily activities.

So please consider signing THIS PETITION, all it asks is for a doctor and, if he’s innnocent, to release him.

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

Carnival-small
SmadaNek‘s hosting this week. Thank you Ken!

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Fidelugo-TV: Telesur signals to alliance with al-Jazeera
It’s all for the sake of diversity, of course.

Since the Bolivarian revolution will be televised, Fidel’s and Hugo‘s latest joint project, Telesur, began broadcasting from Caracas on July 24, the anniversary of the birth of 19th century South American independence leader Simón Bolívar. Telesur is broadcst through Direct TV (article in Spanish).

Telesur is wasting no time in its path to diversity by becoming the next al-Jazeera: According to former Venezuela’s Minister of Communication and Information and now Telesur president Andrés Izarra (via El Liberal Venezolano article in Spanish), Venezuela/EEUU.- El canal Telesur anuncia una posible alianza con la cadena árabe Al Yazira (Venezuela/USA – Telesur channel announces a possible alliance with the Al-Jazeera Arab network)

Caracas, 27 Jul:
Tres días después de comenzar sus transmisiones, el polémico canal Telesur, promovido por el Gobierno de Hugo Chávez, avanza en una posible alianza estratégica con la cadena de televisión árabe Al Yazira, según anunció hoy el presidente de la empresa, Andrés Izarra.
“Hay una posibilidad de lograr un acuerdo con Al Yazira, pero nuestro interés, más que todo, está en buscar mayor diversidad y visiones más profundas sobre los temas”, señaló Izarra en rueda de prensa.
Izarra indicó que la cadena árabe es la única que tiene en el mundo 18 equipos en Irak, la mayor cantidad de corresponsalías en el Medio Oriente y resaltó que esta abriendo un servicio en inglés, que “va a potenciar todas sus capacidades de distribución de información”.
Asimismo, el presidente del canal aseguró que “una alianza estratégica” con Al Yazira sería la misma que tienen con otras agencias noticiosas para “buscar más materiales, buscar profundizar en la información”.
Telesur comenzó el domingo sus transmisiones a varios países sudamericanos con una programación regular inicial de cuatro horas, hasta alcanzar en los próximos meses las 24 horas de transmisiones diarias.

La televisora venezolana tiene también como socios a los gobiernos de Argentina, Cuba y Uruguay, quienes han contribuido con material cinematográfico y documentales, además de la infraestructura de las corresponsalías en sus respectivos países. (my translation:)
Caracas, July 27, 2005
The days after starting to broadcast, the controversial Telesur channel , sponsored by Hugo Chávez’s goverment, advances towards a possible strategic alliance with the Arab TV network al-Jazeera, according to the organization’s president, Andrés Izarra.

“An agreement with aj-Jazeera is possible, but our interest, above all, lies in searching for more diversity and depth of vision on the issues”, stated Izarra at a press conference.

Izarra pointed out that the Arab network is the only one in the world with 18 tems in Iraq, the largest number of correspondents in the Middle East, and pointed out that it’s opeming a service in English, which will “harness its information distribution capacity”.

Telesur started to broadcast to several South American countries with an initial 4 hours of programming, which is scheduled to increase within the following months to a daily 24 hours.

The Venezuelan station’s partners are the governments of Argentina, Cuba, and Uruguay, which have contributed film and documentary material in addition to the infrastructure for correspondents in each of these countries

You can also read about it at al-Jazeera, which mentioned in a different article that Telesur has “advisory board of international left-wing intellectuals and celebrities.” Actor Danny Glover’s happy to be on the Telesur advisory board, saying

“Certainly the television station itself is not a tool that would be used to demonize the north,” said Glover, according to AP. “It is a tool to be used to celebrate the extraordinary diversity of this hemisphere.”

Another board member is Tariq Ali (see bio).

According to Atina Chile! blog, Telesur, whose motto is “Nuestro norte es el sur” (Our North is the South) [uh??] is 51% financed by the Venezuelan government, with the remaining funds coming from the goverments of Argentina (20%), Cuba (19%), and Uruguay (10%), but other sources show that the Venezuelan government provides 70% of funds — it’s all the same, as an Hispalibertas commenter noted, Cuba’s portion is financed by Venezuela. Journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner states that Venezuela sends Cuba an estimated $4-$5 million dollars daily (link in Spanish, via Venezuela News and Views). Al-Jazeera, as readers of this blog know, is 100% owned by the Emir of Qatar.

Undoubtedly having a cable TV network that is fully owned by the governments of four countries forge an alliance with a network fully owned by the rulers of yet another country should add “more diversity and depth of vision on the issues” to the already existing MSM bias. That way we can “celebrate the extraordinary diversity of this hemisphere” all we want, although Venezuelans just aren’t being allowed much freedom of the press.

As if all this talk of diversity weren’t enough, according to this article, Telesur’s format will be 30 to 40 percent news and the rest cultural programming.

That won’t make it a competitor to CNN en Español. Nonetheless, you can be sure it’ll be all-propaganda, all the time.

Last April I posted a report on Al Jazeera: How It Sees the World, where I quoted directly Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera’s New York Bureau Chief:

“the Arab world is anti-American — because being ‘anti-something’ sells.”

Fidelugo and associates hope that will make people tune in.

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Good news from Iraq
Chrenkoff isn’t the only one; read what Luis I. Gomez of Hispalibertas has to say,

El desempleo después de la guerra estaba entre el 50 y 60 %. Ahora se sitúa entre el 30 y el 40 %. Se desconoce el nivel de paro bajo Saddam, pero las estimaciones iban desde el 30 al 50 %. El crecimiento económico se sitúa entre el 10 y el 12 %, esto es, mayor que en China. El progreso es también aquí indudable. El transporte en las carreteras iraquíes aumentó un 400% en comparación con la era Saddam.

Los medios de comunicación tambien crecen. Desde enero de este año, han aparecido 70 nuevos medios independientes. Estamos hablando de 170 publicaciones en total. Bajo Saddam no había ninguno. El número de canales comerciales de televisión aumentaba un 200%, desde los 10 a principios de 2005 hasta los 29 que existen hoy. Contamos 80 emisoras de radio independientes, bajo Saddam tampoco había ninguna. Antes de la guerra, se contaban en Iraq 0,8 millones de teléfonos. En enero de 2005, eran ya 2,4, ahora 3,8 millones. Antes de la guerra, Irak tenía 4500 conexiones Internet. En marzo de 2005, eran 150.000 y sin censura.

En el 2000 acudían 3,6 millones de niños a la escuela. En la actualidad, son 4,3 millones.

(my translation:)
Post-war unemployment was between 50%-60%. Now it’s between 30%-40%. It’s unkown what it was under Saddam, but estimates vary between 30% to 50%. Economic growth is between 10% to 12%, that is, greater than China’s. The progress on this is also beyond doubt. Transportation on Iraqi roads increased by 400% compared to the Saddam era.

The media’s also growing. From January this year 70 new media have appeared. We’re talking 170 publications in total. The number of commercial TV channels increased by 200%, from 10 early in 2005 to the current 29. There are 80 independent radio stations, while under Saddam there were none. Prior to the war, Iraq had 800,000 telephones. In January 2005 there were 2.4 million, now, 3.8 million. Before the war, Iraq had 4,500 internet connections. In March 2005, there were 150,000, uncensored.

In 2000, 3.6 million children attended schools. Currently, there are 4.3 million.

Hispalibertas got its data from Iraq Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction and Security in Post-Saddam Iraq, and Iraq Weekly Status Report (both PDF files).

Too bad the MSM can’t seem to find time to read those reports.

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

The Spanish leaking scandal
Barcepundit explains,

Someone doesn’t like that newspaper El Mundo has been publishing embarrasing information (such as this, this, this, this, this, this and this, to point out just a few, and don’t miss the last one: “the wife of Syrian-born PSOE member and imprisoned terrorist Mouhannad Almallah in 2003 charged her husband with domestic abuse, and informed police about her husband’s plan to blow up the Kio Towers office buildings in Madrid”; more here) so they’re threatening the editor with jail unless he hands the judge all the information he has on the case.

In some cases it means that the internal code in documents and data DVDs originally given by the court to the affected parties and their attorneys will allow the judge to know who the leaker is.

Previous leaks published by El Pais, virtually the Socialist party house organ, which helped the Socialist government’s case naturally were not theatened with prosecution (link in Spanish)

More details to come, that is, if the editors aren’t in jail by then.

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Cake Eater Chronicles post on the McCartney sisters
Last March I posted about Paula, Catherine, Donna, Claire and Gemma McCartney, and Bridgeen Hagans. Cake Eater Chronicles posts on terrorism and the McCartney sisters:

again, it’s been speculated that it’s because these moderate Muslims are afraid to speak up, for fear that the Islamofascists will turn on them.

Well, it appears that six women—who loved a man as a brother and a fiancee—proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to the IRA. Robert McCartney, a Belfast Catholic, was murdered for no other reason than he was critical of the IRA and had the guts to speak truth to power. When the IRA offered to “take care of the matter” the women who loved him refused, and instead opted to speak out. The IRA is an organization that used as much terror on its supporters as it did the British.

It should be a lesson to those moderate Muslims we only hear from when they’re worried about being attacked themselves that only by speaking out and denouncing the Islamofascists acts—by refusing to play the game the Islamofascists way—will they spare themselves an IRA-like rule of terror. They have got to start denouncing these actions now, and they must do it loudly. They cannot only be worried about the racial profiling of their community, but rather must integrate further into their communities. They must learn that there can only be respect for their faith when they are not silent about the acts that some would commit in the name of it. This will spare them a reign of terror like that of the IRA’s. Because, if 7/7 wasn’t a message to moderate Muslims to get with the program, it should be said that that message is already being played daily in Baghdad. And that’s the message we really don’t want to be played in the streets of London or New York or D.C.—or anywhere for that matter.

It’s past time for them to choose.

Terrorism is terrorism.

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Sharon, and the bullets
Here’s a story that wasn’t exactly making headlines: ARIEL FACES GAUL-ING ARMS TWIST

How mixed up is the Mideast these days? So mixed up that the United States wants the Israelis to give bullets to their good friends — the Palestinians.

And to persuade the Israelis to do this, the Bush administration enlisted the help of its good friends — the French.

The American position is that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs all the help he can get in his power struggle with Palestinian terrorists.
. . .
But the big surprise came this week in Paris, when Sharon heard Jacques Chirac ask, “Why don’t you strengthen President Abbas by giving ammunition — as the U.S. has been asking you?”

Sharon was also squeezed by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.

What Sharon told them was: “Why does Abbas need our bullets? He can get all he wants — by taking them away from Hamas.”
. . .
Sharon replied that if Abbas finally reforms his notoriously corrupt and inept security, then Israel will talk about bullets.

And just to make the point clear, he told Chirac about the latest Israeli victims: Dov and Rachel Kol, a Jerusalem couple slain last week by two gunmen — one of them a Palestinian policeman.

International diplomacy — need I say more

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Dr. K says “Give Grandma a Pass”
Read Charles Krauthammer’s article, Give Grandma a Pass. Politically Correct Screening Won’t Catch Jihadists

The fact is that jihadist terrorism has been carried out from Bali to Casablanca to Madrid to London to New York to Washington by young Muslim men of North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian origin.

This is not a stereotype. It is a simple statistical fact. Yes, you have your shoe-bomber, a mixed-race Muslim convert, who would not fit the profile. But the overwhelming odds are that the guy bent on blowing up your train traces his origins to the Islamic belt stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.

Yet we recoil from concentrating bag checks on men who might fit this description.

While Dr. Krauthammer is partially correct (he says “Then we could exempt whole ethnic populations, a list that could immediately start with Hispanics, Scandinavians and East Asians”, but there is at least one Hispanic jihadist: José Padilla, who’s being defended by — you guessed it! — the ACLU), the fact remains that profiling is justified.

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the larger issue of the war in his article, Reformation or Civil War? The jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated.

The father of Mohammed Atta is emblematic of this crazy war, and we can learn various lessons from his sad saga.

First, for all their braggadocio, the Islamists are cowardly, fickle, and attuned to the current political pulse.
. . .
The other lesson is that the war the Arab autocracies thought was waged against the West by their own zealots has now turned on them.
. . .
Quite simply, Islam is not in need of a reformation, but of a civil war in the Middle East, since the jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated. Only with their humiliation, will come a climate of tolerance and reform, when berated and beaten-down moderates can come out of the shadows.

Hanson also looks at history, both in this article, and in The past as today’s politics: When references to history totally confuse the point. While profiling might raise complaints of racism, and all sorts of historical references, Tunku Varadarajan of the WSJ That Feeling Of Being Under Suspicion: What of “profiling” as an anti-terrorism forensic tool? explains,

But what of “profiling” as a forensic tool? Here, one must be satisfied either that profiling ought to be done or at least–per Bentham–that it isn’t something that “ought not to be done.” I am satisfied on the second count. The practice cannot be rejected with the old moral clarity. The profiling process is not precisely racial but broadly physical according to “Muslim type.” (Does that make it worse or better?) The process under way now does not constitute racial profiling in the classic sense–Muslims, after all, come in flavors other than Pakistani, including white Chechens and black Somalis.

But there is no getting around profiling, surely, because of the life-or-death, instant decisions involved. So we have to ask one section of society to bear up under heightened scrutiny, asking them also to work extra hard–visibly so–to expunge the threat. Meanwhile, and just as important, we must ask the rest of society not to stigmatize those who conform to the broad physical category while also not allowing feelings of racial and moral guilt to slow our society’s response to danger.
. . .
Do I like being profiled? Of course not. But my displeasure is yet another manifestation of the extraordinary power of terrorism. I am not being profiled because of racism but rather because Islamist fanatics have declared war on my society. They are the dark power that leads me to an experience in which my individuality is corroded. This is tragic; but it strengthens my resolve to support the war that seeks to destroy terrorism.

It is war, after all.

Update Wake up, folks — it’s war!

(technorati )

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Livin’ la vida loca idiota
Back when I was growing up in Puerto Rico I was “raised proper”; as such, I was told that when your host publicly gives you a gift you accept it as graciously as possible, almost enthusiastically (with enthusiasm but remaining within the bounds of decorum). I believe the singer Ricky Martin was probably “raised proper”. What little I’ve seen of him shows him to be polite, and calm — I read somewhere he’s a Buddhist.

Unfortunately for him, he’s been played for propagandistic purposes by his hostess, media-savvy Queen Rania of Jordan. Queen Rania just last month was on the cover of ¡Hola! magazine which featured a 10-page color spread and interview of her, immediately followed by a 10-page color spread advertisement of Jordan. Rania knows her PR. (via Chrenkoff. Emphasis mine):

The LIVIN’ LA VIDA LOCA singer was in Jordan yesterday (25JUL05), where he attended the silver jubilee of the Arab Children’s Congress, which was set up 25 years ago by the country’s QUEEN NOUR to promote creativity, peace, cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.

And at one point while posing for photographs with fans, he draped the kaffiyeh over his shoulders, without being able to understand the statement it carried.

The kaffiyeh had the slogan “Jerusalem Is Ours” written in Arabic on it.

I’m certain that photo will be making the rounds of the anti-Israel media for a long time, thanks to Queen Rania. Nothing like the-hostess-with-the-mostess to creatively make an idiot of her guests in the name of “peace, cross-cultural understanding and tolerance”.

Martin’s trip to Jordan was for the purpose of trying to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West, and, before the scarf was planted on him, had declared he will become a spokesperson for the Arab youth in the West.

On his way to Thailand, where his organization, the Ricky Martin Foundation, has built 225 homes to protect children orphaned by 26 December’s (04) Indian Ocean tsunami, Mr. Martin apologized for the incident.

Web India quotes Israeli general consul in New York, Arye Mekel, who said, “This incident proves once again that singers should stick to singing, and leave politics to those who really understand it”.

Listen to Mr. Mekel, Ricky.

(technorati ) )

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

We are at war

We are at war.