ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for December 2009

New Year and Bits.

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Worst gadgets?

Beta 3 of Simply MEPIS.

10 Greatest Open Source Software Of 2009

Five games, for old kids.

A historical perspective on some IT news.

Fennec soon enough, but Opera Mini beta is pretty handy too.

Stuff on Planet Ubuntu.

XO-3? I doubt it.

Help Wikileaks, they are most worthy!

A Google netbook? Sounds good.

Those useless ID cards, don’t travel.

Written by modernityblog

29/12/2009 at 14:15

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The Cattle Prods Of Anti-imperialism?

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The proud anti-imperialist regime of Ahmadinejad and the theocratic ruling classes are bludgeoning Iranians again.

Their crime? Protesting against a brutal regime, their own.

BBC radio news suggested that they were even using cattle prods against the demonstrators. I’m not sure that is true, but it is certainly possible, we know how they act.

They will employ the militia on motorbikes with truncheons, they will run people down in the street. They will occasionally shoot them. All to keep themselves in power.

The current rulers in Iran do not look terribly different from any number of dictatorships, which have come and gone in the world.

Their modus operandi is similar. Ban anti-government protests, send in the security forces, shoot a few people, and batter many others into submission. Make some arrests. Torture people in jail. Murder a few dozen in jail. Tried to break the will of the protesters. Organise show trials. Lock people up on trumped up evidence, and keep the security apparatus on your side with plenty of bribery. Etc., etc.

That is what the anti-imperialist regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does.

Nevertheless, Ahmadinejad is really just a front man for rather unsavoury types within the Revolutionary guard, allied companies, the militia and part of the theocracy. Their role is to keep power, for themselves and they will happily bludgeon, rape, murder and exercise the full power of the State against the Iranian people, when it suits them.

The Observer has more:

”Iran today faces the prospect of a bloody Sunday after opposition supporters clashed violently with security forces yesterday at the start of a key religious ceremony that had been identified beforehand as a dangerous flashpoint.

Government forces were said to have smashed the windows of cars whose drivers honked their horns in support of the protest. Security forces chased protesters into the premises of the student news agency ISNA, off Enghelab Square, and beat them with chains and batons, Rah-e Sabz reported. The Iranian Human Rights Activists news agency said there had been at least 10 arrests.”

Read the account of a member of the Basij militia, horrific, as he discusses the rapes and murders carried out by State operatives in Iran.

More from CODIR, the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.

Update 1: We shouldn’t forget that this is against the background of protests, last week, at the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

Update 2: The Guardian has whole section on Iran, which is rather good. The page on the detained and disappeared in Iran makes grim reading.

Update 3: AFP also reported clashes earlier on:

“TEHRAN — Iranian riot police fired teargas in clashes with thousands of opposition supporters who shouted anti-government slogans during a Shiite mourning event on Saturday, witnesses said.

The skirmishes broke out in north Tehran despite authorities having warned of a crackdown on attempts to use processions marking the solemn Ashura rituals to stage more protests against the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

Update 4: rahesabz.net has more up to date information, this is a Google English translation.

Update 5: Previously, I correlated together Links of Iranian Links, many of them, particularly the ones to news sites, may have more up to date information on unfolding events.

Update 6: The FT on these recent events:

“Central Tehran turned into a rare conflict zone on Sunday when security forces clashed with hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters.

The opposition used Ashura, the day that Hossein, the third Imam of Shias and the grandson of prophet Mohammad, was killed in the 7th century.

Demonstrators marched a 10km stretch from Imam Hossein Square in eastern Tehran toward Azadi Square in the western end. They held victory signs and wore green wristbands and scarves, the symbolic colour of the opposition. Streets leading to the main route were also packed, according to eyewitnesses.

Police used tear gas, batons and gun shots in the air to disperse the crowd. Jaras, a reformist news website, claimed three were killed. The report could not be independently confirmed and a senior Iranian police official denied the report.

”So far there have been no reports of killings and no one has been killed up to now,” Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh told the news agency ISNA.

The Sunday rally was the biggest since June 20, the bloodiest day when at least 10 people were killed. After that incident protest numbers shrank from hundreds of thousands to thousands.”

Written by modernityblog

27/12/2009 at 02:30

Enemy Of The People: Liu Xiaobo

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No doubt, the apologists and intellectual lackeys of the Chinese ruling classes will argue that Liu Xiaobo was an agent of Western imperialism, or maybe even the Dalai Lama, etc., or some such nonsense, but the Guardian has more on him:

“One of China’s most prominent human rights activists was condemned today to 11 years in prison, prompting a furious backlash from domestic bloggers and international civil society groups.

Liu Xiaobo, the founder of the Charter 08 campaign for constitutional reform, was given the unusually harsh jail term on Christmas Day in an apparent attempt to minimise international attention.

The case has raised fears that other drafters of Charter 08 could also face retribution from the authorities.

Following a year in detention and a two-hour trial, it took the No 1 intermediate people’s court in Beijing just 10 minutes to read out the 11-page sentence.

Liu was found guilty on Wednesday of subversion, the vaguely defined charge that Communist party leaders often use to imprison political opponents.

In a statement released by the state-controlled Xinhua news agency, the court said it had “strictly followed the legal procedures” and “fully protected Liu’s litigation rights”.

However, the author and academic had been detained without trial for a year. His wife, Liu Xia, was not allowed into an earlier hearing, nor were foreign diplomatic observers. Liu’s lawyers have been warned not to discuss the case.

But the defence team said they were prepared to appeal against the verdict.

“We cannot accept this sentence because we have argued in court that Liu is innocent,” said one of his lawyers, Mo Shaoping. His wife could not be reached as her mobile phone was suddenly out of order.

Amnesty International expressed outrage at the sentence, which it said was the harshest in 35 subversion cases since 2003.”

I wonder how that will be spun?

Update 1: The Age has more:

“IN AN unequivocal rebuke to those pursuing political reforms, a Chinese court has convicted Liu Xiaobo, one of the country’s best-known dissidents, of subversion and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.

Liu, 53, a literature professor and a vocal critic of China’s single-party political system, was detained in December 2008 after he helped create a petition known as Charter 08 that demanded the right to free speech, open elections and many other liberties.

The 11-page verdict, largely a restatement of his indictment, was read yesterday morning at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court by a court official, said Liu’s lawyer, Shang Baojun.

In addition to his prison term, Liu will be deprived of his political rights for an additional two years,which will prevent him from writing or speaking out on a wide range of issues.”

Update 2: I forgot I had covered some of these issues coming up on this topic before, under Sinophobia Or Legitimate Political Criticism?

Written by modernityblog

25/12/2009 at 14:53

Open Nook And Bits

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Rooting the Barnes and Nobles Nook.

Explained here, another way.

BusyBox law suits.

Busybox bloke not happy.

Best update your Firefox to 3.5.6.

Beta 2 of of SimplyMEPIS 8.5 is out.

Bags of Ebooks.

What NO ID card?

No more Mac OS X on non-Apple machines, Apple dictates.

Aussies filtering the Web and Google, China, you say?

$99 Cherry?

Changes at Ubuntu.

Keyboard as PC? Sounds good.

More Wine for the winter, at 1.1.35 dev.

Web winners or not in 2009.

Make a Wine launcher.

Using Office 2003? Don’t encrypt anything!

I always wondered how to do this,

Not a bad idea.

Written by modernityblog

24/12/2009 at 11:27

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Hamas’s Brass Neck.

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The story concerning the potential arrest of Tzipi Livni is unravelling. Unable to keep quiet Hamas brag of their involvement.

Diya al-Madhun, head of a Hamas committee, boasted:

“We provide documents, reports and evidence of crimes to all international bodies aiding the Palestinian people in bringing Israeli civilian and military leaders to trial and issuing warrants for their arrest,”

“We have provided a group of independent lawyers in Britain with documents, information and evidence concerning war crimes committed by Israeli political and military leaders, including (Tzipi) Livni.”

Now we should not imply that the British lawyers are colluding with Hamas, but it is a bit rich of Hamas to complain about human rights, lest we forget:

There’s that and a lot more. I would hope that the British lawyers would know about Hamas, but in case they don’t here’s a clip from the Hamas covenant:

”With their money they [Jews] stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.”

Or

”The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

Yes, that’s right. Hamas believe that Jews are behind the French and Russian Revolutions.

Not only that, but Hamas are convinced that Jews started the First World War to break up the Ottoman Empire, and instigated WW2 to make money. Also, that Jews control the media and world finance. All basically antisemitic filth, that any neo-Nazi would feel happy with, that’s what Hamas believe.

I just wonder how these British lawyers reconciled themselves assisting to a genocidal antisemitic organisation, Hamas?

PS: Lest we are told that Hamas have changed and don’t really hate Jews, perhaps those British lawyers would like to explain away the Holocaust revisionism recently pushed by a Hamas leader?

The Guardian: ‘Brits harvest organs’.

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Yes, that is a sensationalist title and although the Guardian did not use it, it might have, had Brits been Israelis.

In another example of dodgy journalism coming out of the Guardian, they originally chose to run a by-line of “Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs.”.

It was subsequently changed, but the Guardian’s original headline was rather revealing of the prejudices found at that newspaper. In the article you will notice that the pathologists took organs from nearly everyone.

But that alone would not make a sufficiently dramatic headline, nor does it point out that the Israelis themselves brought up this issue and investigated it in a TV programme. The evidence is a bit obvious as the sources are written in Hebrew, and I am sure that even Guardian journalists realise which nation has that as its language?

The problem is, that the Guardian did not make any effort to give this story any context because that would require a degree of objectivity and journalistic competence from the Guardian, which it does not have around the subject of Israel or Israelis, so instead the article is used to slate Israelis.

It could have simply said, that there were insensitive and clumsy pathologists extracting organs from dead bodies that crossed their paths, including Israelis, IDF soldiers, etc.

However, that would not have been enough to make it into an issue for a national paper, so it was dressed up to have a quick swipe at Israelis along the way.

This is territory where we have been before.

Older readers will remember that British doctors did this very same thing, but with children.

Even though the activities at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool caused outrage, I doubt the Guardian would have run an article entitled “British harvest organs of young children”.

That is the type of headline more suitable for tabloids or other rags.

In fact, the Guardian has a section dealing with the Alder Hey issue, but contrast their carefully considered language there, as opposed to the startling by-line that sought to indict Israelis and only Israelis for this practice.

Rather than merely criticise pathologists involved the Guardian attempted to widen the accusation against all Israelis.

That is the problem, the Guardian can write considered and thoughtful articles on the Alder Hey scandal, but when a similar situation arises in Israel it is used as a political stick to beat Israelis with, and any notion of thoughtful journalism is thrown out of the window.

I do wish the Guardian would ditch these prejudices and go back to quality journalism.

Anyone interested in the history of Alder Hey children’s hospital and the organs removed from children, without permission, should read the Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry Report summary of key findings and the main recommendations, with the fuller findings here.

Update 1: Organ removal and the illegal storage of the body parts are still an issue in Britain, as the Torygraph reports:

“More than 200 hospitals have been instructed to account for all the organs and human tissue being held in mortuaries and pathology labs, because of concerns that body parts are being stored illegally, without the consent of bereaved relatives.

The HTA has ordered the probe after finding five cases in which bodies which had been examined for post-mortem were released for burial or cremation without their brains.”

Update 2: A section at the Scotsman newspaper shows how important this issue is as an on-going problem and the natural distress that it causes parents and families.

Update 3: The BBC news site has a piece from 1999 concerning Bristol hospital:

“The Bristol Childrens’ Heart Action Group, a parents’ campaign group, says the hospital removed and retained the hearts of at least 170 hearts from children who died in operations over a 12-year period.”

Also, Organ removal: the legal background from 1999 too.

Update 4: I came across a version of this story on msnbc, but it seems that the feed could have come directly from AP. It is possible that the Guardian “tidied” it up before publishing. Astute readers will notice the wording here, compared with the AP story:

“Israel has admitted pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families – a practice it said ended in the 1990s – it emerged at the weekend.”

The Guardian could have written “a practice that ended in the 1990s”, but rather they chose “…a practice it said ended in the 1990s…”. Insinuating that it is not a fact, just that it was “said”. Same old tricks.

Update 5: If you want to see how the racists come out and use this topic you need to look no further than this Anthony Lerman article.

Update 6: Yaacov Lozowick has more:

“Antisemitic allegations almost always start from some grain of fact. What makes them antisemitic (or even merely slander) isn’t the original grain of truth but the edifice built on it. In the Rostom blood libel earlier this year the slander was that IDF forces were regularly killing Palestinians so as to harvest their organs. The grain of truth uncovered here (which actually isn’t news at all, it has been known in Israel for years, which is one reason Hiss no longer heads the Abu Kabir institute) has nothing to do with those allegations, and doesn’t substantiate them in any way.

Actually, what we’ve got here is a fine litmus test to discover antisemites. Anyone who spins the true story in the direction Rostom took it are essentially setting themselves up. They need to be asked why they took that particular grain of truth in that particular direction.”

Sharp And To The Point.

with 2 comments

One of the side benefits to blogging is seeing someone take an idea or thought and doing it real justice, expressing it in a fashion that it deserves, with lucidity and a certain pointed edge, so I was very pleased to read IsraeliNurse’s recent post at CiF Watch pointing out the weaknesses in a Guardian editorial on arrest warrants and international law.

As an aside, I wonder how many Guardian editorials have been written criticising only Israelis, compared to the other 190+ nationalities in the world?

Written by modernityblog

21/12/2009 at 04:33

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