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

Archive for August 2009

Hamas Lying.

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“GAZA, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Hamas condemned the United Nations on Sunday, saying it planned to teach Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust — but the U.N. agency which runs schools in the enclave would not confirm any change.

Branding the Nazi genocide of the Jews “a lie invented by the Zionists”, the Islamist movement which runs the Gaza Strip wrote in an open letter to a senior U.N. official that he should withdraw plans for a new history book in U.N. schools.

A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which educates some 200,000 refugee children in Gaza, said the Holocaust was not on its current curriculum. He would not comment on Hamas’s statement that it was about to change.

Palestinians resent the way world powers reacted to the Holocaust by supporting the establishment of Israel in 1948, a move that left half the Arab population of then British-ruled Palestine as refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and abroad.

Hamas said it believed UNRWA was about to start using a text for 13-year-olds that included a chapter on the Holocaust.

In an open letter to local UNRWA chief John Ging, the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees said: “We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said: “There is no mention of the Holocaust in the current syllabus.” Asked if UNRWA planned to change that, he declined to comment.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, run by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, teachers said there was no official guidance on teaching about the Holocaust.

Israelis are angered by denial of the Holocaust among some in the Middle East, notably lately by leaders in Iran, who provide support for Hamas. Abbas, who has engaged in negotiation with Israel, has had to distance himself from his own 1980s doctoral thesis, which cast doubt on the scale of the Holocaust.

Hamas’s official spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said he did not want to discuss the history of the Holocaust but said:

“Regardless of the controversy, we oppose forcing the issue of the so-called Holocaust onto the syllabus, because it aims to reinforce acceptance of the occupation of Palestinian land.” “

Update 1: Previous posts on Hamas:

Hamas Moderates Discuss Peace?

Maps, Guns and Butter?

Hamas Recognizes Israel?

Hamas and the Holocaust.

Hamas Out Duke David Irving.

Psychopaths or Legitimate Resistance?

Wrong Answer To The Wrong Question

Slip Of The Tongue from Hamas?

Update 2:
It get worse:

“Hamas’s Younis al-Astal lashed out after hearing that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) planned to teach pupils in Gaza about the Holocaust. Mr Astal wrote in a statement that this would amount to “marketing a lie and spreading it”.

“I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonisers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies,” he wrote. ”

Update 3:
More from the Hamas leadership (sorry, iffy link):

“Ismail Haniyya of Hamas, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, stated that the vow of his government to the Palestinians people is “not to give up the Palestinian right to liberate Jerusalem, not to sellout the blood of the martyrs, and not to recognize the Zionist entity”.

Haniyya added that the resistance, and its victory against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, will prevail and will lead the Palestinians to liberation.

He also said that the Palestinian detainees would be freed due to the steadfastness of the people and the resistance.

“Resistance will remain steadfast, we will never recognize the Zionist entity”, he said, “Our people in Gaza re the freedom fighters who defend the country, and sacrifice themselves to achieve liberation and a better future for their people, they defended their religion and their homeland”.

He also said that “God willing, we will gather in the yards of the Al Aqsa mosque, and pray after liberating it from the occupiers”. “

I suppose “liberating it” is some form of euphemism?

Written by modernityblog

31/08/2009 at 01:18

Western Hypocrisy.

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There’s no more an amusing political spectacle than watching Western politicians and members of the ruling establishments sucking up to oil rich dictators.

From the various George Bush’s holding hands with Saudi leaders to the deference which is currently being shown to the Leader and Guide of the Revolution by that crook and occasional Prime Minister, Berlusconi.

I am sure that many Western establishment figures envy Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, 40 years unencumbered by even the smell of democracy or the wishes of the Libyans.

Forty years ruling one country, unelected, is hardly something to celebrate, but many of the guests from the West have cried off, lest they be engulfed in a PR disaster.

I doubt they are truly concerned with the status of Colonel Qaddafi or the Libyans, and probably hold rather reactionary views concerning the watered-down social democracy found in much of the West, however, they don’t mind sucking up to the dictator controlling the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, instead they are afraid of embarrassment.

Still, I imagine that a few brass necked politicians will turn up, slap Colonel Qaddafi’s back and praise his supposed benevolent rule and try to cut some business deals during the celebrations, whilst many Libyans live in poverty.

There’s nothing quite like Western hypocrisy at its best. Yuck.

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31/08/2009 at 00:57

News And Lazy Blogging.

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It is lazy blogging time, but various bits of news came to my attention:

Three minutes to arrest a blind man, the police must be very proud of themselves.

Deal or no deal, you decide.

Colombia, FARC kills indigenous tribes.

Care and mistreatment of the elderly.

Staples and diabetes.

Too much bran?

The show trials in Iran.

Daniel and Enoch, who’s surprised at this Tory neanderthal.

Countdown to World War Two: Wednesday 30 August 1939

Update: Tendance Coatsey on Iran.

Update 2:
Prison or hospital food?

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30/08/2009 at 23:15

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Matt reviews Inglourious Basterds.

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29/08/2009 at 21:32

Flesh on Iran.

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28/08/2009 at 16:15

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Skateboards And Politics.

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Radio 4’s book of the week is When Skateboards Will Be Free by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, I’ve only listen to bits of it, but it is amusing for those familiar with the goings-on of politicos. The New York Times reviewed it too.

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28/08/2009 at 02:03

Far Right And Placards.

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Over at Demotix there is a peculiar placard being held by someone who I can only suppose is from the Far Right, as he seems to believe in the Offal Libel, that Israelis harvest the organs from dead Palestinians. Unbelievable.

Far Right crank and demented placard.

Far Right crank and demented placard.

(HT: HP)

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26/08/2009 at 23:45

Technical Bits Late August 2009.

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More bits from around the web.

Literacy and computers, nice combo.

Moon sized broadband.

64 bits too much? Bigger Chrome.

Opera 10.00 is getting closer and even runs on Linux!

Wanna be James Bond?

Wine is ever increasing and some tips on Firefox, which seemingly “…takes a snapshot of all of your open tabs every ten seconds, so that if you close your browser, you can open it to where you left off.”

Roll on Chrome.

10 habits of superstitious users.

Need speed? How about 12 cores?

Finally, Sony’s new e-books. If only they get text to speech.

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26/08/2009 at 17:22

Guesting at CifWatch.

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I have a guest post up at CifWatch.

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25/08/2009 at 22:10

Maziar Bahari.

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Maziar Bahari is another victim of excessive repression in Iran, he’s been locked up without charge for 64+ days.

I urge people to publicise his plight.

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25/08/2009 at 00:41

Have Their Work Cut Out For Them.

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If you were, say 20 or 30 years ago, to argue that one of the mainstream liberal newspapers in Britain, the Guardian, often allows its facilities to be used for the propagandarising of anti-Jewish racism then no one would have believed you.

Yet it is perfectly possible to scan articles on Comment is Free and find numerous instances of anti-Jewish racism, which is all the more surprising given the Guardian’s alleged opposition to racism and its use of moderators.

Nevertheless, CiF has become a hotbed of anti-Jewish racism and depressingly so, but pinning down exactly which bits are vulgar criticisms or crude generalisations from the entrenched anti-Jewish racism is hard, as comments are often deleted retrospectively and the volume of articles on CiF makes it hard to keep up with the worst offenders.

Therefore, I was gratified to see CiF Watch start up.

I feel they will have a very difficult task ahead of them, tackling anti-Jewish racism on CiF is a mammoth endeavour, I wish them luck and fortitude. They’ll need it.

Written by modernityblog

24/08/2009 at 22:56

Scoop: Swedes Harvest Norwegian Fishermen’s Feet.

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Scoop. An investigation by Israeli journalists has revealed that Sweden is harvesting the feet of Norwegian fishermen in an effort to compete with Norwegian salmon products.

The original Hebrew version is here from Ynet. This is a JPost summary of that startling news story:

“In an article in the opinion section of the paper’s Website Sunday afternoon, a journalist under a pseudonym penned a story, complete with dateline, research and witness accounts in quotation marks, alleging that Sweden, in an effort to compete with salmon products from neighboring Norway, harvested the feet of Norwegian fishermen to extract the secret ingredient that – according to the article – makes the Swedish salmon dish more palatable: the fungi growing on Norwegian fishermen’s feet.

The Yediot story even names the Swedish army’s secret unit whose job it is to harvest the organs: Stinkande strumpor [Swedish for ‘smelly socks’]. “

Below is an imperfect Google translation into English which gives you the meat of these terrible allegations against the Swedes.

Obviously, there has been no comment from the Swedish government yet. Carl Bildt is notably silent on the matter.

An English version has been released:

“Arnolf Lillehammer, a resident of the Norwegian village of Idiben, located near the Swedish border, will never forget the last time he saw his father alive. “It happened just before the last summer,” Arnolf recounted. “The lake was about to freeze, and dad went out to fish in the afternoon. He asked me to help him clean the fish when he returns. After three hours we started to worry. The next day, after we found his boat, we realized something terrible had happened.”

Three weeks later, Arnolf’s fears were replaced by pure horror, after finding his father’s corpse buried in the snow, with both his feet cut off.

This was not the only disappearance in the area. In fact, dozens of cases of fishermen failing to return home at the end of the day were recorded in eastern Norway in recent years. The locals attributed the many disappearances to the harsh winter conditions; fierce snowstorms did not leave any hope for finding the bodies. However, the horrible fate of Arnolf Lillehammer’s father, Videkon, made it clear this was a much more sinister affair than previously thought.

The bizarre death was extensively covered by local media and police officials devoted great efforts to solving the mystery, but answers were not forthcoming. However, the Lillehammer family finally received some unexpected help: One clear summer day, a man by the name of Bjorn B. (the full name is being withheld) appeared at the family’s door and presented himself as a Swedish army defector.”

[Hat tip: Petra MB]

Dictatorship Learn From Each Other.

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The ruling elite in Tehran have been quick to follow China’s example of locking up human right’s lawyers, the LA Times reports:

“According to his colleagues, Dadkhah has been under heavy pressure to publicly confess to being involved in a nefarious plot against the Islamic Republic

Specifically, his interrogators wanted him to betray the the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the small nonprofit organization he runs with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, and to state that Ebadi was a traitor.

According to fellow lawyers who got a chance to meet with him, he was severely abused during the first days of his imprisonment in solitary confinement in early July.

For two days, he was deprived of food. Then he was blindfolded and thrown down a spiral stairwell. For a few days, he was barred from using the bathroom.

He was told that his teenage daughter was also under arrest, only to find out later it was a lie.

Still, he refused to budge.

After a while, the interrogators gave up. They allowed him to leave solitary and stay in a ward with other prisoners. “

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22/08/2009 at 17:24

Taliban Chop Off Fingers.

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The Taliban have shown their barbaric side, again, as CNN reports:

“KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Making good on a threat of election day violence, the Taliban sliced off the index fingers of at least two people in Kandahar province, according to a vote monitoring group.

After they cast their ballots, the fingers of Afghan voters are stained with ink to prevent them from voting multiple times. The fingers of the two women in Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban, were cut off because they voted, said Nader Naderi of the Free and Fair Election Foundation.”

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22/08/2009 at 13:31

The Home Office And Dana Ali.

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Incompetence is almost an Olympic sport at the Home Office, but we tend to forget the human side to their liturgy of mistakes.

The Third Estate covers the plight of Dana Ali, have a read.

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21/08/2009 at 22:42