Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rewind a Bit

Ponder this.

Egypt is supposed to be doing its best to stop the flow of weapons across the border at Rafah into Gaza. Egypt claims it is difficult to seal the border.

The amount and type of weaponry and ammunition smuggled is believed to be getting worse with time. There are recent reports of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles being transported.

Rewind the process a bit, and consider these questions:

  1. From where did all this weaponry originate?
  2. Through which sovereign country did all these anti-tank missiles and weapons travel before arriving at the border?
  3. What efforts were made to stop them?
  4. What efforts were made to support the transportation and by whom?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Educate to Hate

Little Green Footballs showcases some good ole-fashion anti-Semitic hate speech in the post titled UC Irvine: "One Person’s Hate Speech is Another Person’s Education":

The University of California Irvine ... plays host to one of the most unabashedly radical Muslim Student Union groups in the US. And now the anti-Jewish incitement has reached such a fever pitch that on the weekend of October 8, a student housing building was defaced with swastikas.
In response to this event, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez held a meeting where some enlightening comments were made by him. LGF continues:
Some of the Jewish students at the meeting revealed that they and others had been subject to verbal and physical intimidation at the hands of MSU members, and that they had previously reported these claims to campus security. In light of this, some students asked that Drake place restrictions on where MSU events are held, saying that if their events were held in classrooms as opposed to public spaces, their effect would not be as broad. However, Chancellor Drake told Jewish students at the meeting that he cannot restrict any club, that it would be “violation of law to prohibit certain speech.” Gomez emphasized that though hate speech may be present, he would not seek to curtail it, as “one person’s hate speech is another person’s education.”
Gomez is literally correct: one person's hate speech is another person's education. Hate isn't genetic - it needs to be taught.

Reminds me of the educational indoctrination highlighted by Palestinian Media Watch.

El Baradei and the End of Days

To set the scene:

  • Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and started their programme while in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  • Iranian President Ahmadinejad is a millenarian Shia who believes the 12th Imam's messianic rise from the well can be accelerated by creating havoc and destruction through world conflict
  • While mayor of Tehran, and at great cost, Ahmadinejad widened the road to the said well to ensure people could go there
  • Ahmadinejad flip-flops between questioning the Holocaust ... and denying it
  • Ahmadinejad has said he wishes Israel to be wiped off the face of this Earth, or something to that effect. Many times.
  • North Korea has nuclear weapons
  • North Korea developed these while under the NPT
  • Kim Jong Il's North Korea rewards people with food in proportion to their loyalty
  • Libya developed a nuclear weapons programme while in the NPT
  • Libya and Iran both sponsored terrorism throughout the 80s and 90s (Libya has given up on this after the Iraq war in 2003)
With that out the way, here's an excerpt from an Opinion Journal article titled Secretary of State ElBaradei:
Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, is supposed to be the Jack Webb of the nuclear nonproliferation scene, a "just the facts" man who reports his findings to his political superiors in the U.N. Security Council. Lately, however, he's been sounding more like the real life Jimmy Carter than the fictional TV detective.

"I don't think sanctions work as a penalty," Mr. ElBaradei opined after meeting with Condoleezza Rice on Monday.
ElBaradei, the master strategist.
The director general was talking about North Korea, of whose leaders he took the forgiving view that they are testing nuclear weapons because "they feel isolated, they feel they are not getting the security they need."
ElBaradei, the psychologist.
As for Iran, "the jury is still out on whether they are developing a nuclear weapon."
ElBaradei, the judge.
However, he was quite certain that "at the end of the day, we have to bite the bullet and talk to North Korea and Iran."
ElBaradei, the World President.

On an unrelated matter, Libya developed their clandestine nuclear weapons programme during ElBaradei's time as director general.

Perhaps that last sentence should read "At the end of days, there won't be a bullet to bite or need to talk to North Korea and Iran".

UPDATE: The comment from Anonymous was removed due to its offensive content.

Super Solana Spin

Your challenge: keep a straight face as you read this excerpt of an article in the Jerusalem Post titled 'Hamas doesn't want to destroy Israel':

Hamas wants to "liberate the Palestinians," not to destroy Israel, Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Steady ...
In an interview following his talks in Tel Aviv with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Solana insisted that it was "not impossible" for Hamas to change and "recognize the existence of Israel."
Almost as not impossible as the UN treating Israel to be like any other country and allow it to be on the UN Security Council. Consider that Fatah couldn't bring itself to ratify the changes to its charter in the 1990s, mainly because it didn't want nor have to. And they are allegedly more moderate than Hamas.
History had shown that people and nations "adapt to reality," he said. "I don't want to lose hope."
Mr Solana should marry his hope to reality by migrating to Israel with his family. And then reflect on his words.
Pressed as to whether he was underestimating the fundamentalist religious imperative at the heart of the Hamas ideology, Solana said, "I cannot imagine that the religious imperative, the real religious imperative, can make anybody destroy another country... Therefore that is an abuse of religion...
Mr Solana's imagination seems to have been cryogenically frozen on the 10th of September 2001. Arguably a long time before that.
"I don't think the essence of Hamas is the destruction of Israel. The essence of Hamas is the liberation of the Palestinians," he added. "The liberation of their people, not the destruction of Israel."
Enter stage left: the Hamas Covenant.
Solana, who said he saw himself as "a good friend of Israel,"
... as they say, with friends like these ...
also said that he was concerned that, given the various demographic, security and other considerations, "some of the positions of some leaders of Israel may not be the best recipes to guarantee the security of Israel."
He said, for instance, "I never thought the construction of the security wall was a good idea."
I presume it wasn't because it saved Jewish lives, as a French diplomat has realised.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Headlines Go AWOL

Check out the ABC News Online Middle East Conflict headlines covering the violence in Gaza over the last couple of weeks:

Palestinians killed in Gaza battle: Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians ...
Gunmen fire on Hamas PM's convoy, no casualties
Israeli troops push into Gaza, 4 Palestinians killed
Israeli air raid kills two
7 killed in Gaza as Israeli offensive continues
Israeli attacks kill 9 in Gaza Strip
Four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strike
Israeli strike hits home of Hamas politician in Gaza
You'd never notice something was missing, unless you read the last line buried at the bottom of the most recent article:
At least 21 Palestinians have been killed in internal violence in the Gaza Strip this month, part of a power struggle between Hamas movement and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
Fortunately, all of the ABC's readers devour every single article down to the last line, so it doesn't matter it's not obvious from the headlines, right?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hamas Green House

For those of you who thought Disengagement would advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza ...

Little Green Footballs has cleverly highlighted two contrasting pictures: before and after snapshots of the greenhouses. Built by Jews in Gaza. Purchased by rich We-Are-The-World Western types like Bill Gates and James Wolfensohn and left as a legacy for the Palestinians in Gaza to reap some economic gain.

That's an IDF Soldier. And an entrance to a tunnel. Presumably for smuggling weapons and explosives, given its close proximity to the southern border with Egypt.

So since the Disengagement, we have had:

  • Kassam missiles fired at Sderot
  • A (more) radical, terrorist party elected to government by the majority of the Palestinians
  • Corporal Gilad Shalit kidnapped
  • Increased smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza
  • Possible introduction of al-Qaeda cells into Gaza
Does anyone still think concessions raise the chance for peace, harmony and campfire songs?

Other than Europeans, that is.

International Community: Middle-men or Meddle-men?

The Washington Times editorial describes the latest efforts to bolster Mahmoud Abbas as a bad move, citing earlier failed examples:

Since the mid-1990s, for example, the Europeans provided massive financial and political support for Arafat. The United States tried to train a Palestinian police force, only to see many of the police utilize the training to join terrorist militias targeting Israel.
It continues:
It is a disservice to the Palestinians to continue to pretend that failed, bankrupt leaders like Mr. Abbas are part of the solution to their plight. In reality, they are part of the problem.
While we're at it, the impact of having international actors involved in the peace process should be considered.

Would the Israelis and Palestinians be more or less advanced in obtaining peace if there had been no international middle-men?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Unravelling of the al Durah Killing

Remember that boy in 2000 who was allegedly killed in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers, as he and his father hid next to a wall? This killing enraged many Palestinians at the start of the second intifada, and brought worldwide condemnation of Israel.

Trial proceedings have commenced in France: Charles Enderling (who covered the story) and France 2 are pitted against Phillipe Karsenty. Karsenty called Enderlin a liar for the coverage of this alleged non-event, and called for Enderlin and his boss, Arlette Chabot, to resign.

Richard Landes, an expert witness, has written about this here. Most damning is this section, when he describes viewing unedited footage never shown on TV:

And second, when I saw the raw footage in the summer of 2003--especially when I saw the scene Enderlin had cut, wherein the boy(allegedly shot in the stomach, but holding his hand over his eyes) picks up his elbow and looks around--I realized that this was not a film of a boy dying, but a clumsily staged scene.

On October 31, 2003, at the studios of France2 in Jerusalem in the company of Charles Enderlin and his Israeli cameraman, I saw the raw footage of Al Durah from the only Palestinian cameraman who actually captured the scene on film--footage France2 still refuses to release for public examination. I was floored. The tapes feature a long succession of obviously faked injuries; brutal, hasty evacuation scenes; and people ducking for cover while others stand around. One fellow grabbed his leg in agony, then, upon seeing that no one would come to carry him away, walked away without a limp. It was stunning. That was no cameraman's conspiracy: It was everyone--a public secret about which news consumers had no clue.

But the real shock came when I mentioned this to Enderlin, who said he trusted this cameraman. "They always do that," he said. "It's a cultural style." So why wouldn't they have faked Al Durah? "They're not good enough," he said. A year later, the higher-ups at France2 made the same remark to three French journalists who also noted the pervasive staging: "You know well that it's always like that," they said.

Nothing like excusing media manipulation and deception by acknowledging it's prevalent elsewhere.

(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE: LGF reports that Enderlin and France 2 have won the libel case, although Karsenty has said he will appeal. The victory can mean one of two things: either Karsenty had insufficient evidence to persuade the court, or the court is indifferent to the evidence. Enderlin and France 2 were clever to seek only 1 Euro in damages, to promote their victimhood status.

UPDATE 2: Jersualem Post's Caroline Glick covers the story here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Litmus Test for the West

Remember this name: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.

He is the editor of a Bangladeshi newspaper. He is a Muslim.

He faces trial tomorrow in Bangladesh - among other things - for treason.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

His treasonous acts: attempting to fly to Israel to deliver a speech on promoting mutual understanding between Muslims and Jews; and connection to articles critical of Islamic extremism and favorable to Israel.

Richard Benkin, US human rights activist and Choudhury's Jewish friend, best sums it up in the Jerusalem Post article:

"Choudhury is unique because he has not fled to the West, but continues to oppose militant Islamists from inside the Muslim world," Benkin told the Post. "He feels that if he can defeat the radicals in their own back yard it will be a victory for peace and justice unlike any other thus far."

"More and more Muslims are looking at this case," Benkin said. "They want to see if Shoaib will get the support and protection he needs from the West. If he is victorious, other Muslims will try the same; if we allow him to go down, they will remain silent."

Don't hold you breath for justice to be done in Bangladesh, nor for many human rights activists around the world appealing to Western governments to apply pressure to Bangladesh.

A true litmus test for the West to support a brave, brave man.

Five minutes to midnight - who is asleep and who is awake?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The ABC of bias

Full credit - and lots of luck - to Mark Scott, Janet Albrechtsen and Keith Windschuttle for trying to sweep the bias from out of the ABC.

Unsurprisingly, anti-change agents were quick to jerk knees, as noted in The Australian article New ABC boss vows no more bias:

"This is outrageous. It's just another attack upon the ABC and its independence," said Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Stephen Jones. "It's also a little bit demoralising.
One needs no more than Union outrage to confirm it is a great idea.

However, two sentences in the same article seem at odds with each other. First:
ABC managing director Mark Scott last night admitted the national broadcaster had to respond to claims it was politically biased in its news, current affairs and other programming, by launching new editorial guidelines.
followed a little later by:
Mr Scott chose the conservative think tank run by ABC critic Gerard Henderson to unveil a tough new editorial policy that subjects all radio and television programs to the same editorial scrutiny as news and current affairs.
The first sentence implies there is bias in the news and current affairs which merits some response. The second sentence implies the focus of change is on radio and television programs and not on news and current affairs.

Will news and current affairs remain unchanged and therefore biased? And will other programs be brought up - or should that be down - to the level of news and current affairs?

Another positive move is outlined in The Age's article, If ABC stands for Applying Better Control, it's not enough:
The main changes include defining four categories of content — news and current affairs; topical and factual; opinion (a new category, previously part of factual); and performance (including music, drama and satire) — and the principles by which they must all abide.
The toughest is likely to be the topical and factual. For the ABC, this is unchartered territory.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Keeping it Simple

In the previous lengthy post, evidence was given to demonstrate the bias in the ABC News Online's coverage of the Middle East Conflict.

For the news headline Israeli air raid kills two, the summary line made it simpler to identify the bias (emphasis added):

An Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip killed two Palestinian militants as the Jewish state showed no let-up in its pounding of the territory that has seen 22 people killed in barely 48 hours
The securalist left-wing media organisation has shown no let-up in its pounding of the Jewish state by publishing a host of slanted articles in barely 48 hours.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Summary Slant

In ABC News Online's Middle East Conflict homepage, each news headline is followed by a single summary line.

For those that involve an Israeli attack on 'militants', here are some examples, along with relevant lines deep within the article:

Summary line: A series of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have killed nine people, including an eight-year-old girl.
Inside article: ... the attack, which was made on the home of a Hamas commander and ... after clashes with Israeli soldiers which left six people dead, including four militants.

Summary line: Four Palestinians, including a 13-year-old child, were killed in an air strike supporting an Israeli Army incursion into the Gaza Strip, medical and security officials say.
Inside article: "There were several exchanges of gunfire with armed men," [the IDF spokesman] said. The boy and another civilian were near the gunmen when the missile hit.

Summary line: An Israeli military strike in the northern Gaza Strip has killed two teenage brothers, Palestinian security services and witnesses say.
Inside article: An army spokeswoman says the two were hit as they were collecting a rocket launcher that had been used over the past week to fire rockets from northern Gaza into Israel.
For the first two, the 'includes' don't mention the primary target nor the success in hitting the primary target.

The third summary line ignores the intent. Melanie Philips wrote about this with reference to the recent Lebanon conflict, but it applies equally here:
But the moral crisis in Britain extends far wider and deeper than the wretched BBC and other media. The surreally distorted response by so many to Israel’s attempt to destroy the would-be purveyors of genocide raises the question of whether Britain will ever again support a just war — because it no longer knows what a just war is, and no longer has the intellectual capacity to know. This is in large measure because moral agency has disappeared altogether from the analysis. Intention, the essence of moral actions, is now tossed aside as of no significance. All that matters are the consequences of an action. This is in accordance with the prevailing amoral consensus which has negated moral agency altogether in order to remove the burden of personal responsibility. What someone intends to do is therefore held to be of no account. All that matters is the consequences of their action.
The ABC will claim that the article has all the necessary information. Analagous to their use of moral equivalence, there is no equivalence between the impact of the summary line and a line buried deep in the article.

But now the plot thickens. When ABC Online reports about the Palestinian infighting between Hamas and Fatah, the summary line becomes:
Summary line: Rival Palestinian security forces have clashed across the Gaza Strip, killing three and injuring 45 others, in the biggest outbreak of internal fighting in months over unpaid wages and stalled unity government talks.
Inside article: Medics say most of those wounded in Gaza City and the town of Khan Younis are civilians, and include school children and a cameraman for Al-Arabiya television. Ala Jaras, 36, described by witnesses as a civilian, was killed ... Hassan Abu Hatal, 15, was killed ...
Two of three killed were reported civilians, but this is ignored in the summary. (As an aside, there is ambiguity in the summary which may lead one to conclude the three killed were part of the security forces).

Israeli soldiers target Palestinian 'militants': ABC News Online's summary explicitly mentions the minority of civilian casualties.
Palestinian 'militants' attack each other: ABC News Online's summary does not mention the majority of casualties were civilians.


Friday, October 13, 2006

There's Nukes and Then There's Nukes

Ponder this:

  • Israel develops nukes (allegedly) over 30 years ago. Up until now, no urgency from Egypt or Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons
  • Iran says it has a nuclear enrichment program. North Korea test fires nuclear weapons. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now contemplate acquiring or developing nuclear weapons
  • Polls show Europeans believe Israel is the country posing the biggest threat to world security
Go figure.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Trinity of Toothless Tigers

ABC News Online reports:

Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has appealed to United Nations chief Kofi Annan to put pressure on Israel to stop its warplanes from overflying Lebanon and withdraw from a village, his office says.
I bet the "Jewish state" is shaking in its "Jewish" boots.

ABC News Online continues in its whining tone (emphasis added):
Israeli aircraft have continued to overfly Lebanon since the Jewish state withdrew its forces earlier this week from all of southern Lebanon barring Ghajar village.

Ghajar, which straddles the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied (Ed. - annexed) Golan Heights, has been wholly occupied by Israeli forces since the end of its offensive (Ed - counterattack) against the Shiite militant group (Ed. - terrorist organisation) Hezbollah.
The Trinity of Toothless Tigers - ABC, Lebanon and the UN - are focussing their concerns on Israel.

Minor point missed: Hizbollah are rearming.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The UNIFIL are in Lebanon with a mandate to ... err ... protect themselves.

Or so it says in the ABC online article UNIFIL sets rules of engagement in Lebanon:

Their mandate is "to protect UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment; to ensure the security and freedom of movement of UN personnel and humanitarian workers; and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in its areas of deployment, within its capabilities".
Cool. So that's UN Security Council Resolution 1701 implemented then.

Hang on. There was something else in UN SCR 1701 about disarming Hizballah, no?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Zawahiri watching too much Western News

In Zawahiri's latest video, the al Qaeda #2 announces:

"Bush you are a lying failure and a charlatan. It has been three-and-a-half years (since the arrests) ... What happened to us? We have gained more strength and we are more insistent on martyrdom," the Egyptian militant leader said.

"Bush, O failure and liar, why don't you be courageous for once and confront your people and tell them the truth about your losses in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
The guy should get out a bit more, instead of sitting around watching the ABC or SBS News.

A Rich Vein

Always plenty one can get from the ABC coverage of anything to do with Israel.

Their online article Lebanon army deploys on border, warns Israel opens with:

The Lebanese army has warned it will confront any new Israeli "aggressions", as it deploys along the southern borders for the first time in almost 40 years.

Army Commander Brigadier General Michel Sleiman has addressed conscripts during a ceremony in which the Lebanese flag was hoisted on a hilltop in the border village of Labbouneh for the first time since 1970.

"I call on you to confront any Israeli aggressions and violations," he said.

I wonder if they can multitask - confront Israeli aggressions and disarm Hizballah.

The army deployment comes a day after Israel's near-complete withdrawal of several hundred soldiers who had remained in southern Lebanon after the August 14 cease-fire.
ABC are surprisingly on the mark for once: near-complete because at least two soldiers are not part of the withdrawal: hostages Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The cease-fire, brokered by the United Nations, put an end to a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Before anyone celebrates the inaugural action taken by the United Nations to avert conflict, it's worth remembering that credit should go to Condi Rice for brokering the ceasefire. The UN was the stenographer.

Moving on, the article ends:
Hezbollah has agreed to abide by the August 14 cease-fire, but it has resolutely refused to lay down its arms until it is satisfied Israel has ended its occupation of Lebanese territory.
Err, isn't that sentence cut'n'paste from an article covering the Israeli withdrawal in 2000?