Thursday, November 30, 2006

UN Encourages Israelis to Consider Non-State Terrorism

When the IDF's tragic error of Beit Hanoun occurred, the UN ignored the fact that terrorists were using civilian areas from which to attack, and civilians to hide among and shield themselves. Covered previously here.

The UN passed a resolution criticising both the Beit Hanoun shelling by the IDF and the Qassam rockets fired by the Palestinian terrorists (my words, not theirs).

The UN decided to set up a committee to investigate the deaths as reported by Ynet:

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday night decided to establish a committee "to look into the facts" of the killing of 19 Palestinians in Beit Hanoun.
The key question is: why was there no committee set up to investigate the Qassam rocket firings?

When Fatima (Fa'ina) Slutsker was killed by a Qassam, why was there no committee set up to investigate this atrocity?

When each suicide bombing in Israel took the lives of civilian men, women and children, why was there no committee set up to investigate each atrocity?

When Palestinians soldiers or security service personnel attacked Israeli civilians during the first few years of this century, why was there no committee set up to investigate each atrocity?

Either or both of two rules of thumb can be inferred:
1. if you are a nation-state, you will be investigated. If you are a non-state terrorist organisation, you will not.

2. if Palestinian civilians are killed, you will be investigated. If Israeli civilians are killed, you will not be investigated.
(Recall that the withdrawal of all Jews from Gaza and offers of land-for-peace eliminate "occupation" as a mitigating factor)

The UN are either ineffectual in today's fight against global terrorism, or anti-Israel, or both.

But it's actually worse than that.

Using the UN's perverse logic, they send a message to Israel: if non-state actors in your country attack Palestinian civilians, we may not investigate you.

What is it that leads Palestinians - but not Israelis - to exploit this?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tomorrow's News

Here's some predictions (some obvious, some not):

1. The Gazan ceasefire breaks down
2. Another key figure is assassinated in Lebanon or resigns. The Lebanese government falls. A Hizballah-sympathetic government replaces it.
3. Israel's peace and concession overtures to Palestinians and Syrians string the "peace process" along with no progress for months.
4. The US finds a way to declare the Iraq mission complete and announces a timetable for troop drawdown.
5. Iraq moves closer politically to Iran
6. More Russian assassinations.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Associated Press: Gotcha!

Flopping Aces is covering a story that may do to Associated Press (AP) what the smoky Beirut photos did to Reuters.

AP has been using an Iraqi policeman called Captain Jamil Hussein as a single source for reporting the atrocity of the horrific burning of six Sunni worshippers using kerosene, and the burning of four mosques.

This story was run by many MSM outlets including Jerusalem Post:

Revenge-seeking Shi'ite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near an Iraqi army post. The soldiers did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaughter of 215 people in the Shi'ite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood, Hussein said.

Gunmen loyal to radical anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began taking over the neighborhood this summer and a majority of its Sunni residents already had fled.

The militiamen attacked and burned the Ahbab al-Mustafa, Nidaa Allah, al-Muhaimin and al-Qaqaqa mosques in the rampage that did not end until American forces arrived, Hussein said.

The gunmen attack with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and automatic rifles. Residents said militiamen prevented them from entering burned structures to take away the bodies of victims.

The Shi'ite-dominated police and Iraqi military in the area stood by, both residents and Hussein said.

Later Friday, militiamen raided al-Samarraie Sunni mosque in the el-Amel district and killed two guards, police 1st. Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said. Two other Sunni mosques in west Baghad also were attacked, police said.

The Sydney Morning Herald also got in on the action:

Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking Baghdad today.

The attack in the Iraqi capital came a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed more than 200 people in Baghdad's main Shi'ite district.

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in yesterday's assault by suspected members of the Shi'ite Mehdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same area, the volatile Hurriyah district in north-west Baghdad, said police Captain Jamil Hussein.


In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.
To their credit, SMH did put this "fake but accurate" disclaimer in their article:
Such claims cannot be verified but speak to the deep fear that grips Baghdad, where retaliation has become a part of daily life.
Using Googles News Search, other MSM outlets covering this include Chicago Tribune, Guardian (UK) and Scotsman.

It turns out that Captain Jamil Hussein is not an official spokesman for the Iraqi Police.

In fact, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has confirmed there is no such policeman as Captain Jamil Hussein.

And there is growing doubt on the veracity of the above atrocities.

Read it all here, as well as some coverage here and here. It's pretty damning for AP.

And the MSM outlets that use AP.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The ABC's Wackopedia

The ABC News Online seem keen to compete with Wikipedia, or perhaps

By re-defining words and events of interest.

Check out their choice of words in the Middle East Conflict article:

Security and medical sources say an armed Palestinian activist and a woman were killed in an Israeli army operation near Jenin in the north of the West Bank.

The sources say Abdel Razek Nasser, 25, a local head of the Popular Resistance Committees, died in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers in Kabatiyeh.

Hence ABC's Wackopedia might define:
activist: noun, person actively against the evil Zionist occupying force. Sometimes carries a gun. And tries to kill Israelis. Israeli Jews actually.
In contrast, Wikipedia provides some enlightening information about the Popular Resistance Committee:

The PRC have been involved in a number of bombing attacks on military and civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, including the following:

* The November 20, 2000 bombing of a bus full of children as it passed near Kfar Darom killing two.
* The October 8 shooting attack on a bus carrying airport workers near the Rafah terminal on October 8, 2000, wounding 8 civilians, and a similar attack on a car on the road from Kerem Shalom to the Rafah terminal, killing the woman driver
* Mortar attacks on April 28, 2001 on the Netzer Hazani agricultural Israeli settlement the Gaza Strip (wounding five, one seriously), and similar attacks on Kfar Darom on April 29 and on Atzmona on May 7 of the same year.
* The February 14, 2002 killing of three Israeli soldiers using large explosive charges meant for tanks, and similar killings of three more soldiers on March 14 and one more on September 5 of that same year.
* The May 2, 2004 killing of the unarmed and pregnant Tali Hatuel, and her four daughters aged 2 to 11, on Kissufim road. The PRC and Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility, also claiming that the attack was in retaliation for earlier Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killings of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi.[1]
* The January 13, 2005 killing of 6 Israeli settlers at the Karni Passage near Gaza, carried out together with Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. [2]
My word, they have been active activists.

Continuing on with the ABC article:

The woman, a neighbour aged 50, was killed in error as she rushed to help, they added.

Consult ABC's Wackopedia and we would get:
Help: verb, to offer one's assistance to someone, before being murdered by the bloodthirsty Zionist soldiers in the process.
Jerusalem Post offers some contrasting descriptions of the help offered:
The woman took the dead PRC commander's weapon and tried to run off, the army said, saying that troops did not immediately identify her as a woman because she was wearing trousers in pre-dawn darkness.
Though not verified, this is a somewhat different explanation of events.

Keep looking out for more Wackopedia entries as they build up their knowledgebase.

Or should that be base knowledge?

Avoiding the Light

The idea that Israel is a light unto other nations must really get up the nose of some people.

Most of all the mainstream media which (a) don't like good news, and (b) are not the biggest fans of Israel.

Imagine if you will, the lethal combination of good news from Israel that is unrelated to war or even peace.

Israel 21C is an organisation that provides interesting info about Israel and Israeli advancements in health, technology and democracy.

Some recent articles:

Read. And enjoy.

It may be the only place to do so.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


They say a week is an eternity in politics.

In the case of Islamofascist terrorism, 57 minutes is more than enough.

The ceasefire of rockets from Hamastan commenced at 6am this morning.

By 6.57am a rocket was already making its way across the border.

Two more rockets arrived by 8am. Just in case there was any doubt.

Plenty of coverage here: JPost, Ha'aretz, The Australian, ABC News Online and Tim Blair.

Little Green Footballs were bold enough to predict beforehand that it might not last long.

If terrorists are comfortable intentionally targetting and killing civilians, what chance keeping their word?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gemayel Assassination: Root Cause is Iraq Study Group

Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel has been assassinated.

This may be one of the many knives being unsheathed as the camel falls.

Would this assassination have happened if the Iraq Study Group did not exist?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What's Being Fought & Fought For

Andy Scut's video on YouTube illustrates the answers to these two questions; Islamofascist terrorism and Jewish life respectively.

WARNING: Graphic scenes may disturb.

Does the CIA Remain Dangerously Hopeless?

From ABC News Online's article, CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive: report:

A top US investigative reporter says a classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House.
Who needs double-agents when these guys are on the team?

However, on closer inspection, things are not all that bad. Once we discover in the next sentence exactly who is that "top US investigative reporter".
Seymour Hersh, writing in an article for the November 27 issue of the The New Yorker magazine released in advance, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after the Democrats won control of the US Congress last week.
Phew. For a moment there I thought this could be credible. Time to relax, kick back, and enjoy the parody.
"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.
Presumably, the CIA will wait for the second set of lab test results back on the air samples taken from the mushroom cloud before confirming the existence of a nuclear weapons program.

Or perhaps the reverse psychology of Ahmadinejad's public boasts about their nuclear enrichment program and desire to wipe Israel off the map in a storm has confused the CIA.

After all, if it's not a secret, it's out of the CIA's comfort zone.

A Falling Camel Attracts Many Knives

Not a bad saying to describe how Islamofascist and totalitarian enemies respond to offers of goodwill. Credit initially to Mark Steyn who mentions it on page 194 of his book, America Alone. In turn, Steyn credits Robert Ferrigno in his novel Prayers for the Assassin. Ferrigno in turn credits it to an old Arabic proverb ... [Ed. - get on with it!]

It's in the same conceptual ballpark as Osama bin Laden's "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse" (who is still yet to do a book signing - still in hiding for fear of being swamped by fawning Western journalists and intellectuals.)

Anyway, we are in a special (albeit not unique) moment where the future could go either way. Using the lens of the horses and camels, here are reflections of some events and decisions in our time:

For the US:

  • Flight 93: strong horse
  • Invading Afghanistan: strong horse
  • Invading Iraq: strong horse
  • Capture Saddam, complete with pictures: strong horse
  • Pulling back from Falluja: weak horse
  • Eventually retaking Falluja: strong horse
  • Inaction over foreign fighter infiltration over Syrian and Iranian border: weak horse
  • Killing al Zarqawi: strong horse
  • Decline to arrest/capture Sadr: weak horse
  • Proliferation Security Initiative: strong horse
  • Six-Party talks with North Korea, EU talks with Iran: weak horse
  • Withdrawal from Iraq: falling camel
  • Media: a farm full of weak horses and falling camels, with their own supply of knives
For Israel:
  • Oslo: weak horse
  • 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon: falling camel
  • Operation Defensive Shield: strong horse
  • Targeted assassinations: strong horse
  • Roadmap: weak horse
  • Gaza Disengagement: falling camel
  • Minimal retaliation for Hizbollah rockets and Gazan Qassams: weak horse
  • Witholding funds from PA/Hamas: strong horse
  • Olmert's "we are tired of winning": falling camel
  • First week of 2006 Lebanon conflict: strong horse
  • Next three weeks of 2006 Lebanon conflict: weak horse
  • Convergence: falling camel
Strong horses don't necessarily succeed every time. Nor do weak horses guarantee failure. There are other considerations. However, will is arguably the biggest driver in the high-stakes geopolitical arena.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The tragedy of the Beit Hanoun error is devastating for those civilians directly involved.

The chances of these tragedies occurring and recurring remain high while terrorists hide among civilians and launch missile attacks at Israel from within civilian areas.

While every effort should be made to reduce the incidence of such civilian deaths, the ultimate responsibility for these deaths is back with the terrorists, as implied by the Geneva Convention:

"The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations."

Point 7 , Article 51: Protection of Civilian Population
Chapter I: Basic Rule and Field of Application
Section 1: General Protection Against Effects of Hostilities
Part IV: Civilian Population
Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977
Further, the use of this tragedy for political gain is both despicable and predictable.

Some noteworthy points of interest in the current political festival at the UN:

1. The most ironic headline goes to the UK's Independent (a misnomer in itself): US vetoes 'biased' UN resolution attacking Israel's Gaza bloodbath.

'Biased' and bloodbath in the same sentence. That's a bit rich.

2. Kudos to the following countries for voting against the biased resolution (via Haaretz): United States, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

Some credit to those that abstained:
Canada, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

My prediction is that within twelve months, Canada will do as Australia has and make a principled move from abstaining from such anti-Israel resolutions to voting against them. One can only hope.

3. Haaretz continues:

Europe's envoys cast their votes unanimously in favor of the resolution.
It is time to start shedding a light on the voting patterns of the different blocs at the UN. From Mark Steyn's most prophetic profound book America Alone, some interesting analysis of voting patterns in 2003:
  • The Arab League members voted against the US position 88.7 percent of the time
  • The ASEAN members voted against the US position 84.5 percent of the time
  • The Islamic Conference members voted against the US position 84.1 percent of the time
  • The African members voted against the US position 83.8 percent of the time
  • The Non-Aligned Movement members voted against the US position 82.7 percent of the time
  • European Union members voted against the US position 54.5 percent of the time
I would hazard a guess that the EU's 54.5 percent of 2003 is higher in 2006.

4. From Jerusalem Post:
US Ambassador John Bolton said the United States was "disturbed" that the Arab-backed draft resolution was "biased against Israel and politically motivated."
Why narrow this description to the UN Resolution alone?

5. From the UN's website:
“We must condemn the assassination of Palestinian and Israeli civilians without distinction because such arbitrary killings are contrary to the rules of international humanitarian law,” said Assembly President, Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa of Bahrain in opening the debate, which saw the participation of over 20 speakers.
This moral equivalence is morally reprehensible. Israelis assassinates terrorist leaders who are planning future attacks. The civilian deaths at Beit Hanoun were a tragic error. Contrast that with Palestinian terrorist attacks where civilian deaths are deemed a success by their perpetrators. Recall the words of Hamas after killing Fatima Slutsker:
"The Zionist enemy has admitted a Zionist was killed as a result of the Qassam Brigades bombardment of Sderot," the Hamas armed wing said in a statement. A Hamas movement spokesman defended the rocket attack.
There should be distinction between deaths in war, according to intent. This was described brilliantly by Melanie Phillips with reference to the Lebanon conflict (covered previously 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.

So the fact that Israel is at war solely to prevent the deaths of innocents is dismissed. All that matters is that the consequences of its actions are that Lebanese civilians are dying. The fact that the Israelis do not intend them to die is irrelevant. Those deaths are deemed to be the equivalent of the deaths caused by Hezbollah. The fact that Hezbollah deliberately sets out to murder innocent Israelis is irrelevant. Thus the only thing that matters is which side has more dead people. The fact that there are more dead Lebanese than dead Israelis settles the matter. The Israelis are in the wrong, are behaving disproportionately, are committing war crimes, are the villains of the piece. The fact that they are actually the victims of unprovoked genocidal aggression is deemed irrelevant. Thus the moral bankruptcy of Britain’s post-modern cultural desert.

Support Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Background is here and here.

US citizens should email their Congressman to support House Resolution 1080. The American Jewish Committee has a form here to assist in this.

Aussies should email their MPs. Find your MP by your electorate here.

Choudhury is on trial now. His life may depend on pressure from outside Bangladesh.

Spread the word. Now.

Aus'ballah Funding Terrorists

United Press International report that Australian Federal Police are investigating the funding of Hizb'allah:

The transfers reportedly involved thousands of dollars and occurred during the recent 57-days conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.

The Australian reported Friday that the head of the regulating organization, Austrac, confirmed an investigation was underway into a "network" of suspects and "the people in that network have been picked up." But John Visser, also declined to give additional information.

Coverage from News Ltd here and even Sydney Morning Herald covers it briefly here.

ABC has no coverage about it. Zero.

From the News Ltd article, a noteworthy aside:

Last year, domestic spy agency ASIO assured federal parliament's joint intelligence committee that the Hezbollah organisation had no active links to Australia.

The head of the Supreme Islamic Shia Council of Australia, Kamal Mousselmani, told The Australian yesterday he had also assured ASIO right at the beginning of the conflict that the Shia community would not provide any financial support to Hezbollah. He said his community often sent money to relatives in Lebanon, but not to Hezbollah.

He added that he was confident there was no organised financial support for Hezbollah in Australia.

"That's what we told ASIO," he said.

"There is no benefit in being with Hezbollah. We support our people in Lebanon, but not Hezbollah."

The ASIO comment is surprising and concerning.

Concerning yet unsurprising is the assurance from Mousselmani.

Especially when reconciled with this (taken from Andrew Landeryou's highly recommended blogsite, The Other Cheek).

Friday, November 17, 2006

Not Forgotten

In the September post Lest We Forget the following observation was made:

From Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini, the commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon:
"UNIFIL does not plan to deploy along the border between Lebanon and Syria," he said. "This border is airtight and hermetically closed by the Lebanese army."
There is something about his absolute certainty that makes one think it'll come back to haunt him. It is the Middle East, you know.

The only question is how long before it boomerangs.

Well, this hasn't been forgotten. In fact, it's currently the lead article on the Jerusalem Post website:
Lebanese civilians close to the border with Syria told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that weapons for Hizbullah were being brought in by the truckload at night. Lebanese Army troops on duty at the border refused to confirm the claims.

Saad, who had watched this correspondent from the other side of the road for some time before signaling for me to come over, added that "It's much easier for them to drive at night." He nodded toward the distant Syrian mountain range.

"There's not so much traffic on the road. And I can tell you" - his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper - "they might be going in with produce, but they're coming out with weapons. They hide the rockets under the goods and that's how they're able to bring them into the country."


Fifty-three year old electrician Hassan Taha, a strident Hizbullah supporter who lives opposite one of the areas the Israeli Air Force bombed last summer - a crater marks where a school, supermarket and hotel once stood - was emphatic, however. "Of course weapons are coming from the border," he said. "Everybody here knows that. They're coming from both Iran and Syria and also China and Russia. We need the weapons. We are ready now if Israel strikes us.

Nice one, Alain, you've done a good job of maintaining the UN's current reputation.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Keeping the Interfaith by Midnight

Initially covered in The Litmus Test for the West, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi journalist who has advocated relations with Israel, went on trial on Monday for sedition, treason, and blasphemy. He is accused - among other things - of "praising Jews and Christians". Bangladesh is allegedly a moderate Muslim country.

The question was asked then:

Five minutes to midnight - who is asleep and who is awake?
The answer is: not enough are awake. Exceptions include:

1. The New York Sun interviewed Choudhury last week prior to the commence of his trial. They also had an Editorial here.

2. Janet Albrechtsen wrote about Choudhury in The Australian here.

3. Michael Freund's article Bangladeshi editor says little chance of him receiving fair trial appeared in The Jerusalem Post

4. Canada Free Press published this piece by Anitha Mathur

... and a handful of others.

It's now one minute to midnight and barely a peep.

Will those who advocate interfaith relations and tolerance of other religions stand up and support Choudhury?

UPDATE: Sign the petition to free Choudhury here.

Global Warring

Given its author, it should be treated with caution, but a new UN report highlights a genuine downside to globalisation. From the New York Time article U.N. Says Somalis Helped Hezbollah Fighters:

More than 700 Islamic militants from Somalia traveled to Lebanon in July to fight alongside Hezbollah in its war against Israel, a United Nations report says. The militia in Lebanon returned the favor by providing training and — through its patrons Iran and Syria — weapons to the Islamic alliance struggling for control of Somalia, it adds.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad supported by Iran. Hamas - an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - supported by Syria, and bankrolled by Saudi Arabia. Hizbollah supported by Iran, Syria and now backed up by Somalia.

Does anyone still hold the view that conflicts against Israel are disconnected from the global war between the infidels and the believers?

The Victim with No Name

There has been a lot of media interest and interest about the media regarding the tragic death of a 57-year old Israeli woman, a victim of the 'homemade rockets' (as the ABC News Online has previously called them) launched by the no-longer-occupied Palestinians in Gaza.

Some updates:

1. Israellycool has a good summary here.

2. There is some confusion over her name - is it Faina or Fatima? Reader Maksim-Smelchak writes:

I beleive [sic] that her name is: Faina Slotzker. Not Fatima.
But Jerusalem Post writes here that:
[Fatima] Slutsker was a Muslim woman who came from the Caucasus Mountains in the Former Soviet Union just three years ago with her Jewish husband.
Could it possible that her real name was Fatima, but she had a shortened or nickname of Faina?

3. ABC News Online, after predictably omitting the woman's name in the shoddy first article, then surprising many by mentioning the woman's name in this article, reverts to the mean by avoiding her name in the more recent article.

4. Reuters are up to at least their third version of their article on the attack, but still just can't bring themselves to name the victim.

5. Likewise for the BBC here.

6. CNN goes one better here: within one paragraph of avoiding the Israeli victim's name, they mention the names of Palestinians whose houses were on the receiving of targeted Israeli attacks:

The sources said the missiles struck the western Gaza City home of Issa Shrafi, whose son, Aziz Shrafi, is a member of the Popular Resistance Committees. The sources said a half-hour warning was given before the missiles were launched just after 11 p.m. Wednesday.

About 30 minutes after the first strike, an Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the home of Nehru Masoud, a member of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade -- the military wing of Hamas -- in a different refugee camp
In case anyone was thinking equivalence on the rockets, the Palestinians are terrorists in the terrorist wings of terrorist organisations.

7. Fox News' original article - via their AP news feed - did not mention the woman's name, but the more recent article does, and has a moving photo of the husband at her burial:
Husband of Fa'ina Slutzker mourns during her burial in Sderot.

8. If it's hard to find the woman's name in the mainstream media's coverage, then you can forget finding the name of the 24-year old security guard. Incidentally, his name is Maor Peretz, and according to Jerusalem Post, he is in a "serious but stable" condition.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dehumanisation Prediction

The latest barrage of Qassams to hit Sderot killed a 57-year old woman named Fatima Slutsker, and a 24-year old bodyguard lost both his legs while guarding Defense Minister Amir Peretz's home.

Articles in Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post, both mention the middle-aged woman by name.

Given past form, the prediction is that the ABC News Online will not mention the name of the dead Israeli woman from what they have in the past called 'homemade rockets'.

Prior ABC excuses for not mentioning dead Israelis from suicide bombings include that there were too many casualties to mention in a brief news article. Amen to the 'too many'. Not sure what excuse they will come up with this time.

Reuters - one of ABC's news wires - has yet to update its article with the woman's name. Instead it features:

1. The opening quote given to Hamas:

"The Zionist enemy has admitted a Zionist was killed as a result of the Qassam Brigades bombardment of Sderot," the Hamas armed wing said in a statement.
It appears as though Reuters has a closer connection to the Hamas armed wing than to the Israeli authorities who released the woman's name.

2. A change of topic by bringing up the Beit Hanoun incident:
Last week 19 Palestinian civilians were killed in an artillery barrage on the town of Beit Hanoun, which borders Sderot.
Reuters will likely explain that it sets the context of the cycle of violence.

Same for BBC. And CNN.

Still waiting for the ABC News Online to cover the story. Their photos update frequently, but they have yet to post a news article in their Middle East Section since Monday night.

Presumably they will source it from Reuters or BBC or CNN rather than Ha'aretz, so they don't have to omit the woman's name.

Fatima Slutsker. 57 year old woman. Killed because she is a Zionist. The Zionist with no name.

UPDATE 1: Reuters have updated their article in the last ten minutes, well after Slutsker's name was released, but have not included her name in their article.

UPDATE 2: Sadly, I am right. ABC News Online have just posted a poor-quality article covering the attack but omitting Slutsker's name, having used the BBC as their source.

UPDATE 3: Maybe the ABC had second thoughts (or were just very slow), but they have finally posted an article that mentions Slutsker's name. A pity though that the article doesn't mention a 24-year old man lost both his legs. And the article soon switches to the recounting of a 'massive [Israeli] offensive'. Couldn't help themselves.

Reuters Fog of War

Sometimes the deception is obvious.

Sometimes its more subtle, like this photo from Reuters in its UK Photos website along with its caption:

An Israeli soldier fires towards Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron, during a protest against Israeli army shelling in northern Gaza November 8, 2006. Israeli artillery shells killed 18 civilians in a town in northern Gaza on Wednesday, the deadliest strike in the territory in four years, Palestinian officials and witnesses said.

07 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

That was Photo #2 in their slide show today.

Before you read on, what do you think the soldier is firing?

OK, let's move on to Photo #11:
An Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister towards Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron, during a protest against Israeli army shelling in northern Gaza, November 8, 2006. Israeli artillery shells killed 18 civilians in a town in northern Gaza on Wednesday, the deadliest strike in the territory in four years, Palestinian officials and witnesses said.

07 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

Revisiting the first picture, what do you NOW think the Israeli soldier is going to fire at the Palestinian demonstrators?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Iran Discovers Chutzpah

chutzpah: noun; gall, cheek. Child kills both parents then appeals to the court for leniency as an orhpan.

Jerusalem Post's article Iran complains to UN over Sneh 'threat' provides another elegant example:

Last week, Sneh said that Israel "was not advocating Israeli preemptive military action against Iran" but that "even the last resort is sometimes the only resort."

Sneh's comments have ignited a flurry of responses, including the Iranian UN Ambassador Muhammad Javad Zarif's submission of a complaint to Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council on Friday.

As some talented dude once said, "All the world's a stage".

In this case, the main feature is tragic farce.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Magic Missiles

After Israellycool's disappointment that there was no Depleted Uranium in the Israeli shells used during the Lebanon war, there is still hope of Israel showing off some amazing weaponry.

The latest is a artillery shell that slowly "eats" away at a building wall AND morphs the house owners.

Verbal Caricature covers it here, explaining how Reuters, AFP and AP combined forces by using time-lapse and truth-lapse photography.

UPDATE: Israellycool - our Zionist Taxidermist in residence - has named it the Zionist Pacman shell.

Hizbullah's First Casualty

From Jerusalem Post's article Hizbullah man killed in cluster blast:

A cluster bomb exploded in south Lebanon on Friday, killing a member of Hizbullah and wounding another, Lebanese security officials said.
Looks like we have our first Hizbullah casualty of the Lebanon War. Every Lebanese and Iranian who was killed in fighting during July and August was a civilian.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Brought to you by ABC News Online, a story that couldn't be made up:

Saddam trial not independent or impartial: UN official

A United Nations judicial expert has criticised the trial which sentenced former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to death as neither impartial nor fair.

UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, says he has "strong objections" regarding the conduct of the trial and is concerned about "the consequences this judgment may have over the situation in Iraq and in the region".
This is bound to make Kofi Annan deeply concerned.
Mr Despouy says Saddam, who was sentenced to hang, should be tried on appeal by an independent and impartial court backed by the United Nations.
UN, independent, impartial. Steady ...
In a statement, he urged the Iraqi authorities not to carry out the death sentences handed down to Saddam and his half-brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan al-Tikriti, for their roles in the death of 148 Shiite villagers.
Saddam, you hired the wrong lawyer: you needed Despouy!
"Their application would represent a serious legal setback for the country and would be in open contradiction to the growing international tendency to abolish the death penalty," Mr Despouy said.
Apart from the growing international tendency to reintroduce the death penalty via fatwas and Shari'a courts.
"[The trial shows] the lack of observance of a legal framework that conforms to international human rights principles and standards, ...
Well, that just excluded the UN.
... in particular the right to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal which upholds the right to a defence."
I presume that Despouy didn't think much of Hussein's lawyers, including the US attorney Ramsey Clarke.
He also highlighted "its doubtful legitimacy and credibility".
That is what psychiatrists call projection.
"The tribunal has been established during an occupation considered by many as illegal, is composed of judges who have been selected during this occupation, including non-Iraqi citizens, and has been mainly financed by the United States," Mr Despouy said.
Considered by many insurgents as illegal. Invited by the sovereign government of Iraq to remain. But point taken about the finance - sounds like those Halliburton contractors did a lousy yet expensive job with the courtroom interior decor.
He underlined "the negative impact of the violence and the insecurity prevailing in the course of the trial and in the country".
Underlined it with a big yellow flouro marker. For those journalists who had trouble taking dictation.
"Since its beginning, one of the judges, five candidate judges, three defence lawyers and an employee of the tribunal have been killed," he said.
Sounds like more work for the Iraqi courts then.
"Moreover, another employee of the tribunal has been seriously injured."
And a workers compensation scheme. What's that scraping noise coming from that barrel?

He said the court has a limited jurisdiction, since it could only judge Iraqis.

I sense Despouy will be aiming to get Hussein off on a technicality by providing evidence of Icelandic nationality.

"[It does not have competence to] try the war crimes committed by foreign troops during the first Gulf War, nor the war crimes committed after 1 May 2003, [the date of the beginning of the occupation," he said.
Coincidentally this ties in with the dates US and Coalition boots were on the ground in Iraq.

Despouy prefers to leave swift justice to the International Court in the Hague, which did such a marvellous job trying Slobodan Milosevic.

UPDATE: Two positive reactions to the verdict here and here.


It has been said (can't remember who) that women are a better barometer of a society than men. Men do superficial things like fight, drink, watch sport, even play curling. Women's actions reflect what is happening in society: the backbone of the World War II industrial effort, voting for US civil rights in the 1960s and so on.

Building on the Israellycool post Women's Liberation ... of Occupied Lands, what should one make of the following:

    1. Women volunteering to be human shields to help terrorists escape from a mosque:
    Over the weekend hundreds of women heeded the calls of the local Hamas radio station in Beit Hanun and marched into the line of fire to rescue some 60 gunmen holed up inside a mosque. Most of the gunmen managed to escape in the ensuing chaos, and at least two gunmen could be seen wearing traditional female Muslim dress in the crowd of women.
    2. From the same article, women offering themselves as suicide bombers:
    ... a female suicide bomber blew herself up near troops in Beit Hanun Monday afternoon, lightly wounding a soldier ...
    3. Arrests of a women-only Islamic Jihad terror cell:
    The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), uncovered a female terrorist network which operated in the West Bank in August and September, it was released for publication on Tuesday.

    The women, from the Islamic Jihad movement, were allegedly affiliated with two terror cells - in Kafr Nima and Kafr Ein - which were reportedly responsible for several shooting attacks in the Ramallah area and for setting up an explosives laboratory in the city.
    4. Earlier this year, the infamous Maryam Farhat, aka Umm Nidal (who prefers to send her sons off to die as martyrs with explosives and weapons, rather than to school with their lunchbox) was elected to parliament as a Hamas candidate.

    What next?

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Right to Lie

    At a Halloween party, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann posed with a student, Saad Saadi, who was dressed up as a suicide bomber:

    (Photo courtesy of The Democracy Project where there are more photos)

    President Gutmann released a statement on November 3rd:

    Each year, the president hosts a Halloween party for Penn students. More than 700 students attend. They all crowd around to have their picture taken with me in costume. This year, one student who had a toy gun in hand had his picture taken with me before it was obvious to me that he was dressed as a suicide bomber.

    Big gun and bright red explosives. Not immediately obvious. Hmm. Another academic fooled.

    He posted the photo on a website and it was picked up on several other websites.

    The costume is clearly offensive and I was offended by it.

    As you can see from her smile in the photograph. It's oozing offense.

    As soon as I realized what his costume was, I refused to take any more pictures with him, as he requested.

    Courageous decision. And brave leadership.

    The student had the right to wear the costume just as I, and others, have a right to criticize his wearing of it.

    Just as she has the right to lie.

    I wonder if President Gutmann would stand up for student rights, had someone dressed up as a Klu Klux Klansman or Adolf Hitler?

    On second thoughts, let's not contemplate her stand on that one.

    UPDATE 1: Jerusalem Post's Michael Freund discovers that Gutmann might not exactly be telling the truth:

    But the Post found that in an interview on Friday with the campus newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Saadi offered an account that varied sharply from the one provided by Gutmann.

    According to the paper, Saadi said that Gutmann "did not seem to take his costume too seriously." He added that when he approached her for the photo, Gutmann joked with him about it, telling him, "How did they let you through security?", implying that the president did in fact realize what Saadi's costume signified before being photographed with him.

    This is a strange situation - whose version should be believed, a dressed-up suicide bomber or President Gutmann?

    UPDATE 2: As reported by Jerusalem Post, apology now offered:

    As many of you have heard or seen by now, there was a photograph from our annual Halloween party that has taken flight over the Internet. The photograph is embarrassing for the University and me alike. I posted a formal response on our website last week. However, I wanted to provide more context.
    Read as "the pressure has not dissipated since I put out my damage control press release".

    Following a long standing Penn tradition, I host an annual Halloween party at the President's House. Hundreds of students show up dressed in every imaginable costume -- witches and warlocks, Jasons and Michael Myers, ax murderers and Frankensteins. In keeping with the spirit of the event, I appeared as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. In this context, it's hard to imagine that someone could create an actually offensive costume, but at least one of our students did.

    Mitigating factors, your Honour!

    Part of the Halloween party tradition is the opportunity to be photographed with the President. This year, one student holding a toy gun was photographed with me before it was obvious to me that he was dressed as a suicide bomber. As soon as I realized the full extent of his costume, I refused his request for additional photographs.

    Gutmann and Saadi's stories still don't reconcile. Whose Lie is it Anyway?

    Some have mistakenly interpreted the photograph as my support for terrorism. Nothing could be further from the truth. I abhor terrorism, suicide bombers and everything they do. My record is unabashedly clear on this point.

    Yes, as clear as that smile in the photo.

    The student has since apologized, and I accept his apology. I too apologize for the offense this photo has caused. Some images are too horrific even for Halloween.

    And some people are too skeptical to believe this is a genuine apology.

    Can an apology be sincere if it comes in Press Release #2?

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    ABC's New Smoky Reuters Photo

    Remember the Reuters Beirut photo that ABC decided to use over twelve hours after it was debunked online by Little Green Footballs?

    The ABC has decided to run another smoky photo in its Middle East Conflict section:

    It's deja vu all over again.

    One Down, Plenty to Go

    Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death. By hanging, like a criminal, rather than his preference of a firing squad as a soldier.

    As proof of justice rather than bloodthirsty revenge being served cold, one of his co-defendants was acquitted due to lack of evidence. And Saddam can appeal the decision.

    It's worth re-visiting some of the things Saddam has done:

    1. ordered the massacre of thousands - probably hundreds of thousands - of Iraqis based on their ethnicity and loyalties, including the use of chemical weapons (Halabja) and human shredders (victims put in feet first to ensure they lived for as long as possible while being shredded)
    2. invaded Kuwait,
    3. oversaw the torture of countless Iraqis,
    4. paid US$25K to the family of Palestinian suicide bombers,
    5. attempted assassination of former US President George Bush,
    6. defied UN resolutions in the verification that all his WMD had been destroyed and no new WMD were held or being developed, and
    7. forced Iraqi men to adopt his Stalin-like moustache.
    Some others who need some justice served cold are:
    1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    2. Ali Khamenei
    3. Bashar Assad
    4. Kim Jong Il
    5. Osama bin Laden
    6. Ayman al Zawahiri
    7. Mullah Omar
    8. Hassan Nasrallah
    9. Khaled Meshaal
    10. Ismail Haniyeh
    11. Imad Muginyeh
    12. Moqtada al-Sadr
    13. Abu Bakir Bashir
    14. the taxman
    Oops, 14 was a Freudian slip.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    As Clear as Russian Vodka

    For such a short article in the Jerusalem Post, Russia defends missile sale to Iran, has so much to it:

    The Russian defense minister on Wednesday defended Moscow's deal to supply air defense missiles to Iran, saying they were purely defensive weapons with a limited range.

    "I wish to underline that these systems cannot be used in offensive operations," Sergei Ivanov told Russia Today television in an interview broadcast early Wednesday.
    It's one of those comments that might come back to haunt Ivanov. Assuming Ivanov has integrity.
    "Secondly, they have a limited use as they are capable of protecting a small part of the Iranian territory."
    Like maybe Lebanon?
    Moscow has refused to bow to Western pressure and cancel its US $700 million contract to sell 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran which was signed last December.
    December. In the middle of negotiations. Talk about voluntarily walking into a position of conflict of interest. Assuming the Russians have integrity.
    A Russian Defense Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that Moscow would fulfill the contract unless international sanctions against Iran make it illegal.
    Or if sanctions are vetoed by Russians. Amusing.
    UN Security Council members are deliberating on a draft European resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Russia and China, both veto-wielding Security Council members with strong commercial ties to Teheran, have consistently been reluctant to support sanctions.
    Anyone still not sure whose band they are playing in?

    Groundhog Day

    In the UK's Daily Telegraph, an article titled Hizbollah rebuilds its military force under nose of UN begins with the ominous summary:

    Hizbollah has stepped up the rebuilding of its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon despite the deployment in recent weeks of thousands of Lebanese troops and international peacekeepers to limit the Islamic militant group's activities.

    Stepping back a bit, we have:

    1999 - 2005: Conflict in Lebanon. Israel withdraws from Lebanon. UNIFIL move in. Hizbollah builds up its military capability.

    2006 - ?: Conflict in Lebanon.  Israel withdraws from Lebanon. UNIFIL move in. Hizbollah builds up its military capability.

    Bill Murray is about to wake-up in Groundhog Day. Again.

    Left Field