ModernityBlog

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

Archive for June 2010

Ahmadinejad’s Regime Kidnaps Trade Unionists.

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After fiddling the Presidential election Ahmadinejad’s regime has taken to kidnapping trade unionists and their relatives, and holding them incommunicado as LabourStarts shows.

In their latest affront they have taken to attacking Mansour Osanloo’s family:

“According to reports received by “Human Rights and Democracy activists of Iran Roya Samadi, daughter-in-law of Mansour Osanloo, president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was kidnapped and savagely tortured by three agents of Intelligence Ministry.

On Wednesday 2nd of Tir (June 23, 2010) Ms. Samadi, while going home from work around 5:30PM, was attacked by three men as soon as she got off the metro train in Karaj. The agents grabbed her by hair and while pulling her by her hair were kicking and punching her. All of this in broad day light in front of all other shocked commuters. Ms. Samadi while crying for help kept repeating that she’s Mr. Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. The agents put a tape over her mouth as to silence her pleas, and kidnapped her to an undisclosed location.

At the undisclosed location she was put inside a cell, cuffed at hands and feet, with her eyes also covered, and was savagely tortured for a long while. The blows were concentrated on her face and head. Her head was repeatedly hit against the wall. Scars from the beating are evident all over her body. Her gums are torn, teeth broken, swelling of head, wound on her arms and the right foot, and bruises all over her body.

While being tortured the agents kept shouting at: “You have to promise to us if Osanloo is freed from jail, he can’t stay here, and should not do a thing.”

After hours of savage torture, beating and abuse around 9:45 PM, the agents left her shocked body under Sayed Khandan Bridge, and left her. They also emphasized to her that she shouldn’t complain about this to anyone, and if she does she’ll face the consequences.

Although almost 24 hours has passed Ms. Zoya Samadi is still in shock and has not recovered.

For some months now she has been intimated by phone calls from Intelligence Ministry interrogators, she was once even ordered to show up at the 14th District “Islamic Revolutionary” ( read reactionary) Court. When the family showed up in the court they were told that such orders had never been issued. She was also beaten up last year and they attempted to kidnap her back then.”

Update 1: Entdinglichung has more:

“Zoya Samadi also suffered a miscarriage after the attack: http://iranlaborreport.com/?p=967 … and their are reports, that Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab jalalian is in danger of execution: http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2010/06/28/un-must-interfere-to-save-zeynabs-life/

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30/06/2010 at 10:51

Atzmon In New York

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That well known anti-Jewish racist, Gilad Atzmon, is back.

He’s in North America, more precisely up-state New York and surprise, surprise, in the company of a Holocaust denier, Daniel McGowan, [Warning, linked to cached copy of Rense, a racist web site].

Mystical Politics has more.

Update 1: Other related (or slightly related) posts.

Gilad Atzmon’s Holocaust Denial And Other Stupid Questions.

Gilad Atzmon, Brockley And Racism

A Racist Speaks Out On YouTube.

The Curious Case Of Rupert And Gilad.

Update 2: I had forgotten, but Seismic has pointed out the nature of Atzmon’s racism before in Gilad Atzmon: Israel Has Christ-Killing Ideology.

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30/06/2010 at 01:24

Silo Nation.

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Max Dunbar writes lucidly and in this particular piece takes on localism and the issue of immigration in a very persuasive fashion:

“During the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a lot of buzz about an economics writer called Thomas Friedman. Friedman was the Pangloss of globalisation. His books and journalism constituted one breathless paean to global free markets – an endless parade of twenty-year-old dotcom millionaires interviewed in Singapore coffee houses. There’s one passage where he has his shoes shined by an elderly beggar woman, and then speculates on her pride at being able to contribute to the global economy – written in prose so self-satisfied that Francis Wheen wondered how the woman restrained herself from punching him in the face.

Post-crash, Friedman’s work seems strikingly naive. In the protectionist backlash people are increasingly suspicious of globalism. The average UK citizen wants more immigration control, troops pulled out of Afghanistan, withdrawal from the EU and locally sourced food. Read the comment threads on any national or regional newspaper website and you’ll find our collective dream is of a silo nation: nothing gets in, nothing gets out.

For localism has a dark side. As well as Prince Charles’s babble about British cheese subsidies and supermarket regulation it has produced a fierce hostility to migrants. People think of economics as zero sum. Let too many migrants into the UK, they reason, and soon there won’t be enough food or money for the rest of us. If a migrant gets a job, someone else must lose theirs. If a migrant applies for housing benefit, it goes straight out of your paycheque. It is fair to say that loathing of immigrants has become a national pathology.
…”

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29/06/2010 at 00:15

Hanover, Germany.

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The BBC has an appalling story from Hanover in Germany:

“German police are investigating the stoning of a Jewish dance group trying to perform on the street in the city of Hanover.

Youths reportedly shouted “Juden Raus” (Jews Out) as they attacked the dancers of the Chaverim (“Friends” in Hebrew) dance troupe last weekend.

One of the dancers was injured in the leg and the troupe cancelled the performance after the attack.

Police said one German suspect aged 14 and a 19-year-old of North African origin were being questioned.

Alla Volodarska, of the Progressive Jewish community of Hanover, told Associated Press news agency she had spoken to the dancers involved.

“What happened is just so awful. The teenagers started throwing stones the moment our dance group was announced, even before they started dancing.”

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Die Welt newspaper that anti-Semitic feelings were widespread in both far-right and Muslim communities in the country.

“It particularly saddens me that those anti-Semitic views can already be seen with such vehemence among children and youths,” she said.”

[PS: I am off for a few days, so if your comment doesn’t appear that’s why, nothing sinister.]

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25/06/2010 at 12:57

Gilad Shalit.

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Despite a lot of arm waving concerning human rights in bits of the Middle East there isn’t much real concern in the West for the fate of Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit was, you will remember, kidnapped four years ago.

Gilad Shalit is now held by Hamas.

Gilad Shalit is not allowed access to any visitors or even the Red Cross, contrary to all accepted norms of human rights and the Geneva conventions.

Gilad Shalit is locked up in some hole by Hamas and has been for years, not that you will hear much of that in the Western media.

Gilad Shalit banner

Here’s some of my previous posts on this topic:

Ingrid Betancourt and Gilad Shalit

1,195 Days – Compare and Contrast

Gilad Shalit – One Forgotten Israeli

That’s Alright, Keep Your Guns

Update 1: HRW apparently has commented on Gilad Shalit, but will the issues surrounding he is kidnapped, imprisonment and being held incommunicado be dealt with in the Western media? I somehow doubt it, but HRW’s contribution is welcome:

“JERUSALEM — Human Rights Watch on Friday demanded that Hamas end its “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Gilad Shalit as Israel marked the fourth anniversary of the soldier’s captivity at the hands of the Islamist movement.

“Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family,” the New York-based group HRW said, adding that the young soldier’s prolonged incommunicado detention “may amount to torture.”

Thousands of yellow balloons were to be released across Israel for the anniversary, a candle-lighting ceremony was planned in Tel Aviv and a major newspaper distributed yellow ribbons to its readers.

Amid growing public backing in Israel for a prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, demonstrations of support for Shalit also have been held in several capitals this week, including Rome and Paris.

On Sunday, the Shalit family accompanied by thousands of supporters will set off on a march from their home in northern Israel to Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, a distance of about 200 kilometres (120 miles.)

Shalit, then a 19-year-old corporal, was captured by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in a deadly cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006.

He is believed to be held in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where he has had no contact with his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Regardless of Hamas?s grievances against Israel, there are no grounds to cut Shalit off completely from his family,” HRW said.

“Hamas authorities in Gaza should immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit,” it said.

The Islamist movement has said allowing outside access to Shalit could reveal his location to Israel.

HRW pointed out that Israel has prevented detainees from the Gaza Strip from having family visits since Hamas seized power in the Palestinian territory in 2007.

They are however allowed periodic Red Cross visits.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip four years ago a bid to force Hamas to release Shalit, but eased the sanctions this week amid international pressure fuelled by a deadly commando raid on an Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla.

Negotiations for a prisoner swap, mediated by Egypt and Turkey, have hit a brick wall.

Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of prisoners, including several top militants responsible for killing scores of Israelis, in exchange for Shalit — a price the Jewish state has been reluctant to pay.

A majority of Israelis are in favour of such a swap, according to a poll published by the Yediot Aharonot daily on Friday.

Seventy-two percent said yes when asked if they would support “a prisoner exchange deal in which hundreds of terrorists, including murderers, are released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.” “

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25/06/2010 at 01:05

Weakening National Morale.

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Can you imagine being jailed for “weakening national morale”?

Can you imagine how many people might be caught up with such a spurious charge?

Can you imagine the outcry if that were to occur in the West?

No, instead a human right’s lawyer in Syria is being jailed for that most tendentious of charges. The BBC has a little more:

“An award-winning lawyer and activist has been jailed for three years in Syria, human rights groups say.

Mohannad al-Hassani, head of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights, was tried for spreading false information and “weakening national morale”.

He was arrested in July last year after being repeatedly summoned by the security police for questioning.

Hassani has defended a number of pro-democracy activists and campaigned for the repeal of the law used to jail him.

In May he won the Martin Ennals Award, named after the first head of Amnesty International, for his work in defending Syrian political prisoners and the rule of law.

Crackdown

The Damascus Criminal Court sentenced Hassani, 44, to three years in prison after convicting him of “weakening national morale” and “conveying within Syria false news that could debilitate the morale of the nation” .

That term is often used against those who challenge the Syrian government.

The Syrian Human Rights League (SHRL) expressed grave concern over Mr Hassani’s sentencing, saying “none of the minimum conditions and criteria for a fair trail” were met.

The organisation called for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Syria.

Arrests of pro-democracy activists are common in Syria, where several prominent political activists and writers remain imprisoned.”

Amnesty International covers it too:

“The charges were brought against Muhannad al-Hassani after he drew public attention to unfair trials of political prisoners before the notorious Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) and a death that may have been caused by torture or other ill-treatment in detention, and met foreign embassy officials to discuss human rights.

He also played a leading role in Sawasiyah, a local human rights organization which, like others, has not been legally authorised by the authorities. He was arrested on 28 July 2009, days after he observed a trial before the SSSC during which an official seized and destroyed his notes.

“Muhannad al-Hassani’s contribution to human rights has been internationally recognized,” said Malcolm Smart. “Yet, in Syria he has been prosecuted and jailed as if he were an enemy of the state.”

FIDH has a piece on his disbarment last year.

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24/06/2010 at 10:28

Franco And The Nazis.

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I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at any revelation concerning Franco.

The old Fascist bastard had his fingers in so many pies that it’s hard to really work out what went on, as fascists don’t particularly like transparency.

Some years back there were even suggestions that Franco was bribed to stay out of the Second World War, but Ynet reveals an even darker side:

“When former Prime Minister Golda Meir thanked Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco for his “humanitarian attitude” and for protecting the Jews in his country during the Holocaust, she was not aware that he had ordered his officials to draw up a list of thousands of Jews living in Spain to be handed over to the Nazis.

The list, which was published in the El País newspaper on Sunday, would have sent thousands more Jews to their deaths in the Nazi extermination camps.

The list was handed over to the Nazi architect of the “final solution”, German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, at a time when the two countries were discussing Spain’s possible incorporation into the axis powers that included Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

The Spanish newspaper published the original order, which was recently unearthed in the Spanish government’s archives and instructed provincial governors to provide detailed lists of “all the national and foreign Jews living in the province… showing their personal and political leanings, means of living, commercial activities, degree of danger and security category.”

The governors were ordered to keep a close eye on Sephardic Jews, as their language and appearance enabled them to blend in with Spanish society.

“Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origins more easily,” said the order, sent out in May 1941.

The order describes the Jews as a race, and not a religious minority. “This notorious race”, the order said, “remained unnoticed, with no opportunity of preventing their easily-carried out attempts at subversion.”
…”

(Hat tip: Andrew Murphy)

Update 1: I can’t say I am too familiar with Paul Johnson’s view of Franco, but I found this truly appalling piece from William Norman Grigg, as a PDF.

I only skimmed it but my, what a pile of dross, anyway readers can make their own minds up on Grigg’s disgustingly flattering account of Franco’s life.

Update 2: My gratitude to Miguel for pointing out the original article in El Pais.

Below is an extract and rather poor Google translation:

“At the end of World War II, the Franco regime in a relatively successful attempt to mislead the world public opinion with the fable that had contributed to saving thousands of Jews from Nazi exterminator quest. Not only was false propaganda that Franco sought to establish. In Spain, the dictator was tempted to help end the “Jewish problem” in Europe.

The patient work of a Jewish journalist, Jacobo Israel Garzón, has made which shows the only known document on the matter, kept by the work of chance in the National Historical Archive, and from the Civil Government of Zaragoza. He published in the journal Estate. From that work, the country has continued the investigation and has reconstructed the complete history of the failed collaboration with the Holocaust. Who were the protagonists and their accomplices. A story that changed history.

On May 13, 1941, all Spanish civil governors receive a circular sent on day 5 by the Directorate General of Security. They were ordered to send to the central individual reports of “domestic and foreign Israelites settled in that province (…) indicating personal and political affiliation, social, livelihood, business activities, current status, degree of danger, definition police. The order was signed José Finat Escriva de Romani, Earl of Mayalde, the last day of his tenure, because it will be relieved by Colonel Galarza.
…”

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23/06/2010 at 09:21