Day by Day

Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraq Elections - Selective skepticism

Harry's Place has some thoughts on selective skepticism.

I've been listening to segments of Monday's "Democracy Now," a "progressive" radio show, featuring interviews with George Galloway and Robert Fisk about Sunday's Iraqi election.

Galloway was breathtaking. He called Sunday's election a "farce," "rigged," and "flawed beyond redemption." He predicted the war will go on ("I'm sorry to say") until the US and UK negotiate terms of withdrawal with the "resistance." Is Galloway still going to be a leading voice of what's left of the antiwar movement in the UK? I can't think of anyone better suited to discredit it among those with at least one foot in reality.

Fisk, in Baghdad, was downright reasonable by comparison. He called the turnout of Shi'a voters "moving" and "impressive," while spinning it as more of a rejection of the coalition than an embrace of democracy.

After hearing the skepticism voiced by host Amy Goodman and her guests about the fairness and significance of the election, my mind raced back October 2002, when the same host and the same program offered an utterly non-skeptical report on Iraq's previous "election," which featured a 100 percent turnout and a 100 percent vote for the only candidate, Saddam Hussein.

It's funny in a way. Galloway and Michael Moore are doing more good for the right than they can possibly imagine.
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Iraq Elections - Democrats Unhappy

John Podhoretz takes the Democrats to the woodshed over the Iraqi elections.

Man that felt good!
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Iraqi voters stand up to terrorists. Posted by Hello

Muslims vs Free Speech

While Iraqis are celebrating their new found freedom of expression, the Dutch are losing some of theirs.

In Amsterdam, a city known for its ebullient cultural life, local people say threats to painters have not been heard since the occupation by the Nazis during World War II.

Britain is losing some freedom of expression as well. And here.
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Iraq Elections Video Slideshow

Here is a great video slideshow of Iraqis voting.

Breathtaking.
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Iraq - Terrorists Defeated

I remember an old saying that goes something like this: You don't have to defeat the man, just his idea. Sunday the Iraqi people defeated Z man.

Here is more proof the terrorists are defeated.

KHANAQIN, Iraq -- When Iraqi Col. Hesham Ismael spoke about the heroes behind Sunday's historic elections, it did not take him long to produce a tattered army identification card belonging to Haider Al Arkawazi. The Iraqi man joined the army in order to help his country win its freedom, but he died in a suicide bombing less than 24 hours before he was to vote in the nation's first democratic elections in 50 years.

"Freedom is not free," Col. Ismael, an Iraqi commander who lost two soldiers including Mr. Arkawazi in the suicide bombing here, said through a translator.

"Freedom needs a lot of blood," the colonel said Sunday. "We have to give something to get some, and those people who died are the blood. They are building freedom for the next generation."

One day after eight Iraqis died in Saturday's suicide bombing outside the Joint Command Center operated by both Iraqi security forces and the 278th Regimental Combat Team, citizens of this largely Kurdish town responded to the carnage by turning out in large numbers for the country's elections.

Lt. Col. Ali Kakee of the Iraqi army said the deaths hardened his resolve to exercise his new right.

"We saw a lot of those tragedies in the time of Saddam," he said, referring to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. "They don't want this country to stand on its feet. But this is our chance to make voting successful so we won't go back."


Once Z's followers see him as a loser they will desert him like rats off a sinking ship.
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Iraq - The People Have Won

Iraq the Model shares his thoughts on the elections.

I couldn't think of a scene more beautiful than that.

From the early hours of the morning, People filled the street to the voting center in my neighborhood; youths, elders, women and men. Women's turn out was higher by the way. And by 11 am the boxes where I live were almost full!

Anyone watching that scene cannot but have tears of happiness, hope, pride and triumph.

The sounds of explosions and gunfire were clearly heard, some were far away but some were close enough to make the windows of the center shake but no one seemed to care about them as if the people weren't hearing these sounds at all.

I saw an old woman that I thought would get startled by the loud sound of a close explosion but she didn't seem to care, instead she was busy verifying her voting station's location as she found out that her name wasn't listed in this center.

How can I describe it!? Take my eyes and look through them my friends, you have supported the day of Iraq's freedom and today, Iraqis have proven that they're not going to disappoint their country or their friends.

Is there a bigger victory than this? I believe not.

I still recall the first group of comments that came to this blog 14 months ago when many of the readers asked "The Model?"… "Model for what?"
Take a look today to meet the model of courage and human desire to achieve freedom; people walking across the fire to cast their votes.

Could any model match this one!? Could any bravery match the Iraqis'!?
Let the remaining tyrants of the world learn the lesson from this day.

The media is reporting only explosions and suicide attacks that killed and injured many Iraqis s far but this hasn't stopped the Iraqis from marching towards their voting stations with more determination. Iraqis have truly raced the sun.

I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.I put the paper in the box and with it, there were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said "brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn".

Yes brothers, proceed and fill the box!
These are stories that will be written on the brightest pages of history.

It was hard for us to leave the center but we were happy because we were sure that we will stand here in front of the box again and again and again.
Today, there's no voice louder than that of freedom.

No more confusion about what the people want, they have said their word and they said it loud and the world has got to respct and support the people's will.

God bless your brave steps sons of Iraq and God bless the defenders of freedom.

Aasha Al-Iraq….Aasha Al-Iraq….Aasha Al-Iraq.

Mohammed and Omar.

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Iraq - Legitimacy Versus Informed Comment

The Belmont Club takes a look at Juan Cole. Now you just know this is going to be good.
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Muslim web site tracks Christians. Here are Jihawatch's comments on the banner. "Even barsomyat.com's banner displays its hatred of Christians. The banner displays a crucifix crossed out by a violent red "X," and the main heading reads in Arabic, "Christians: Revealing the Truth Behind Our Belief."
It also depicts a sheep getting its throat slit. The sheep is obviously a symbol of Christianity. It is saying, "Don't I have seven lives?"
 Posted by Hello

Muslims Track Chritians via the Internet

Jihad Watch is reporting "Christians on PalTalk Chat Service Tracked by Radical Islamic Web Site".

An explosive New York Sun article reprinted at the Counterterrorism blog. As you can see, I was consulted on this story, and I will be posting more about it momentarily:

A radical Islamic Web site systematically tracks Christians on PalTalk.com, an Internet chat service on which a New Jersey man received a death threat two months before he and his family were murdered. The password protected Arabic Web site, at the address www.barsomyat.com, features pictures and information about Christians who have been particularly active in debating Muslims on PalTalk.

One page from barsomyat.com features a group of photographs of a Syrian Christian, "Joseph," who now lives in Canada. Barsomyat.com's users have posted personal information about Joseph, including his brother's parole status, and make clear that they are actively trying to track down his current address.

Subscribers also post explicit warnings to Joseph. One comment states, "Know, oh Christian, that you are not far from us and you are under our watchful eyes!" Another user remarks, "Laugh, oh Chrisitan, and soon you will see a big hit."


The religion of peace at work.
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Iraq Elections - Victory for the Iraqi people. Defeat for the terrorists and their anti-war supporters. Posted by Hello

Iraq Election in Pictures - Note the US flag. Posted by Hello

Iraq's real resistance fights back

This is interesting and surprising that it is in the Sydney Morning Herald.

On Sunday, the real resistance in Iraq revealed itself. Namely, the resistance of courageous Iraqi men and women to the prevailing terror of Saddam Hussein loyalists and the al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist forces led by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In spite of specific attacks on electoral officials, voting places, candidates and electors, a surprisingly large number of Iraqis went to the polls to exercise their new-found rights.

It is too early to judge the extent of the success of this election. But it does appear to have been successful - measured in terms of voter participation in a climate of extremely high levels of intimidation. There is a possibility that Iraq might become one of the few representative governments in the Middle East - along with Israel and Turkey. The Palestinian Authority is also elected.


He goes on to take the anti-war movement to task and concludes with this.

Yet the position of some European critics of the Bush Administration is not obvious. Most notably France. Does President Jacques Chirac really want the US and Britain to withdraw immediately from Iraq and leave the country at the mercy of insurgents? If not, what is France proposing? The UN is so discredited over the oil-for-food scandal that it seems incapable of playing any significant role in Iraq.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the parameters of the debate are clear. The Prime Minister performed well at the Davos economic forum last weekend in stating a clear, albeit unfashionable, position - that Australia continues to support the Bush/Blair stance, which happens to have the support of a majority of Iraqis (including at least some of the Sunni minority). What's more, Labor's leader, Kim Beazley, has junked the ALP's all-troops-out-now policy and acknowledges that the Australian Defence Force has to remain in Iraq for as long as Australia has diplomatic representation in Baghdad.

There is still a long way to go in Iraq. However, President Bush's advocacy of freedom during his second inaugural address seems more realistic today than it did a couple of weeks ago. The television news on Sunday carried the story of an Iraqi woman who said she wished to thank the Prophet Muhammad and President Bush for being granted the right to vote in a free election. She represents the real resistance in Iraq - the soldiers and citizens who have defied the insurgency.


Well worth a read.
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Kerry blames defeat on Bin Laden

Strange, just after the election Kerry and the Democrats blamed "moral issues" and the religious right.

Nowhere in this BBC article are the Swift Boat Veterans mentioned or Kerry's lies about his Vietnam service. Seems the BBC failed to report for duty.
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Iraq - Good News Iraq

Chrenkoff's Good News Iraq Part 20 is up.

Go see what legacy media fail to report.
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Iraq Elections - Free and Fair

So says The Turkish Press.

A group that organised 10,000 independent observers said there had been little fraud.

"In general the elections went ahead in an excellent way and there was very little fraud or violations," a spokesman for the Ain (Eye) non-governmental organisation said.

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BBC - Fake But Accurate

The BBC continues the Dan Rather "fake but accurate" tradition.

Paxman also said that the Hutton report, and the resignation of director general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies had been "very unsettling".

However, he spoke out in defence of journalist Andrew Gilligan's original story on the Iraq dossier.

"The issue came to be about all sorts of other things. But on the core issue there was clearly something there, and there was clearly unhappiness about the way intelligence was presented," he said.


Yes there was - BBC bias.
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq Elections Huge Success

Reported by The BBC no less.

Here is a sample.

Issam al Ainachi : Basra : 1223 GMT
People have been literally streaming towards polling stations. I have never witnessed this huge turnout for long time.

I heard some people said they want the voting period extended because they do not think all people will have a chance to do so by 1700 local time when polls are due to close.

Christian Fraser : Al Amarah : 1035 GMT
We were told the Shia would turn out in big numbers and so it has proved. From Basra to Al Amarah, to the northern most sections of the British zone, thousands of people are lined up on the streets.

Even in the smaller provincial towns 400 kilometres from Basra, towns like Ali al-Ghabi and Komait, where there are only a handful of polling stations, the queues are several hundred deep.

From the air we could see thousands of people heading to the towns, some in groups, some on buses coming from all directions.

Mohammad Hussein : Najaf : 1018 GMT
A lot of women turned out and their numbers dwarf those of the men. I have seen very old people unable to walk, I have seen blind people being led to the polling stations.

Some of them told me they are taking part in the elections because the Grand Ayatollah has issued an Islamic decree which makes voting a religious duty.

Ben Brown : Basra : 0905 GMT
Turnout here has been extraordinary. We've been to a few polling stations in the city centre and we've seen huge queues of men and women who were searched separately.

Some have had to wait for an hour before casting their ballot. For the majority Shias down here in the south, who were repressed by Saddam Hussein, the taste of democracy today is particularly sweet. They are relishing this opportunity to get out onto the streets and vote.


There is a great sub story here - huge numbers of Iraqi women voting.

Congratulations to the brave Iraqi people, a hearty well done to the coalition forces and a huge thank you to the America and Britain.

Hopefully we will soon see the same freedom granted to all the countries of the Middle East.
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Iraq elections - Syria and Iran nervous

Democratic elections have been held in Afghanistan and for the Palestinians. Now it is Iraq's turn and the sound of ballots hitting is louder than any insurgent's bomb. The sound is heard all over the entire Middle East.

Some people may not realize that expat Iraqis can vote in Syria and Iran. One can only imagine how ordinary Syrians and Iranians must feel as they watch Iraqis freely cast their ballots for who they want to govern them. These elections have lit the fire of freedom and the regimes can't easily extinguish it now.

The huge turnout in the Iraqi elections is sending shock waves throughout the region and putting to rest the notion that these were phony elections.

While all eyes are on Iraq at this historic moment, keep an eye on Syria and Iran for unrest or more signs of a crack down.
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Iraq - Kofi Annan’s son admits oil dealing

Nice to see legacy media paying more attention to the UN oil for food scandal.

THE son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein.

Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme.

The alleged admission will increase pressure on Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who is already facing calls for his resignation over the management of the humanitarian programme.

The oil for food programme allowed Saddam to sell oil to buy humanitarian supplies under UN supervision. However, it has emerged that the programme was riddled with corruption as Saddam used it to buy influence around the world.


Shame they don't name France, Russia and China outright.

It would also be nice if they would report on the now discredited "US led sanctions killed thousands of Iraqis".
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Iraq - BBC admits it lied about Iraq war casualties. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4219451.stm This is not just a simple mistake. This report is from John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor. Posted by Hello

Iraq - BBC admit it lied about Iraq war casualties. Posted by Hello

Iraq - BBC Lied about casualty figures

I posted yesterday about the BBC's John Simpson and Iraq casualty figures. I raised several questions about the accuracy of these figures, asked how they could "differentiate between those killed by coalition forces and insurgents" and I questioned John Simpson's integrity. I said this:

Now that windbag Simpson is on the case in Iraq, watch out or a lot more bullshit from the BBC.

Panorama's film Exit Strategy, reported by BBC world affairs editor John Simpson from Baghdad, will be shown at 2215 GMT, Sunday night on BBC One.

Told you.


Today the BBC admits it lied.

Iraqi health ministry figures for deaths in violence cannot differentiate between those killed by coalition forces and insurgents, officials say.

The BBC's Panorama programme reported coalition and Iraqi security forces were responsible for most civilian conflict deaths in the past six months.

But the health ministry says that its figures were misinterpreted. [Bullshit, the BBC and Simpson lied]

"The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports," said a BBC spokesman. [...]

But the health ministry says those recorded as dying in military action included people killed by insurgents, not just those killed by troops from the multinational force or Iraqi security bodies.

The deaths recorded included those of militants as well as civilians, officials said.


I told you.

If the BBC regrets its mistakes so much why isn't there a correction on their vaulted News Watch page? Not that anyone reads the corrections page.

This isn't just a simple mistake. John Simpson is the BBC's world affairs editor. Simpson should issue and on air apology and resign.

UPDATE:

In my post yesterday I forgot to put the link to the BBC story. The BBC have now changed that page anyway to a "clarification" but the original is cached at google.
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iraq - "Iraq is a completly incorrect country?"

The New York Times Paul Krugman, emails Tim Blair.

Another question for you again: when do you think Australians will FIANLLY realize Iraq is a completly incorrect country?

Incorrect? Incorrect - not correct; not in conformity with fact or truth.

Yep, just checked with the map, Iraq is there alright.
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Saudi Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques

"Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom released today a new report exposing the dissemination of hate propaganda in America by the government of Saudi Arabia."

The report concludes that the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a “totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence,” and the fact that it is “being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention.” The report finds: “Not only does the government of Saudi Arabia not have a right – under the First Amendment or any other legal document – to spread hate ideology within U.S. borders, it is committing a human rights violation by doing so.”

Sample:

Various Saudi government publications gathered for this study, most of which are in Arabic, assert that it is a religious obligation for Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and warn against imitating, befriending, or helping them in any way, or taking part in their festivities and celebrations;

· The documents promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law. They condemn democracy as un-Islamic;

One insidious aspect of the Saudi propaganda examined is its aim to replace traditional and moderate interpretations of Islam with extremist Wahhabism, the officially-established religion of Saudi Arabia. In these documents, other Muslims, especially those who advocate tolerance, are condemned as infidels. The opening fatwa in one Saudi embassy-distributed book, published by the Saudi Air Force, responds to a question about a Muslim preacher in a European mosque who taught that it is not right to condemn Jews and Christians as infidels. The Saudi state cleric’s reply rebukes the Muslim cleric: “He who casts doubts about their infidelity leaves no doubt about his.” Since, under Saudi law, “apostates” from Islam can be sentenced to death, this is an implied death threat against the tolerant Muslim imam, as well as an incitement to vigilante violence;


Read the rest.

I'm sure you would find the same in mosques here in the UK and elswhere.
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Bush Re-election - HUMAN EVENTS has learned that a billboard blitz “thanking” Hollywood for the reelection of President Bush will be unveiled early next week.
The advertisements feature the faces of liberal Hollywood icons Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Martin Sheen, Chevy Chase, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Penn, and offer thanks to Hollywood their help getting President Bush reelected.
 Posted by Hello

Iraq - Terrorism Backfiring?

Amir Taheri thinks so.

Are the insurgents and their terrorist allies in the Sunni Triangle doing Iraq a favor without knowing it?

The question is not fanciful. The violence unleashed by the insurgency has concentrated most minds on a single issue: Security. It has brought together communities and political parties that would otherwise be fighting one another over faith, ideology, and economic interest.

In the current election campaign Communists, monarchists, and Islamists often find themselves on the same side when it comes to defeating the insurgents and ridding Iraq of terrorism.

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Iraq - Skeptics Question Worth of Election

So says the AP.

Powerline takes this anti-American bullshit apart.

UPDATE:

And as Power and Control notes:

Perhaps Sullivan can explain how America had democratic institutions (a Congress even) from 1775 on despite a revolutionary war.
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'Mad cow' disease found in goat

"A French goat has tested positive for mad cow disease - the first animal in the world other than a cow to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)."

Not good.
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Iraq - BBC obtains casualty figures

When I read that veteran BBC reporter John Simpson was going to Iraq I knew we were in for some of the worst bias from the BBC. I was right.

Coalition troops and Iraqi security forces may be responsible for up to 60% of conflict-related civilian deaths in Iraq - far more than are killed by insurgents, confidential records obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme reveal.

Note the qualifier "may" but that doesn't stop good ole John from his pronouncement does it?

How is it that everyone on the planet has been trying to get these figures and John just shows up and magically they are his?

The data covers the period 1 July 2004 to 1 January 2005, and relates to all conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries recorded by Iraqi public hospitals. The figures exclude, where known, the deaths of insurgents.

Well John, what is the percentage of unknown? He doesn't tell us. How convenient.

The period used covers the battles of Falluja, Najaf and Sadr city; some of the worst fighting and therefore, the highest casualties since the downfall of Saddam. Gee, I wonder why John is only using these figures?

I'd say so far it looks like John is being very selective about what information he shares with us.

The figures reveal that 3,274 Iraqi civilians were killed

There were over 1500 killed in Falluja, 1000 in Najaf and hundreds in Sadr city. How can you tell which are "innocent" civilians and which are insurgents?

If you subtract these figures from Simpson's you get a much lower and accurate figure.

Watch how Simpson tries to set up US Ambassador John Negroponte as either uninformed or worse lying.

Panorama interviewed US Ambassador John Negroponte shortly before it obtained the figures. He told reporter John Simpson: [Bullshit alert!]

"My impression is that the largest amount of civilian casualties definitely is a result of these indiscriminate car bombings.

"You yourself are aware of those as they occur in the Baghdad area and more frequently than not the largest number of victims of these acts of terror are innocent civilian bystanders".


Now that windbag Simpson is on the case in Iraq, watch out or a lot more bullshit from the BBC.

Panorama's film Exit Strategy, reported by BBC world affairs editor John Simpson from Baghdad, will be shown at 2215 GMT, Sunday night on BBC One.

Told you.

UPDATE:

It would have helped if I had posted the link to the BBC article. Doooh. However the BBC have now changed it to a "clarification" of the original story. Thankfully the original is cached at Google.
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Iraq - Terrorists' Unprecedented Confessions!

Hammorabi has some interesting facts on terrorists caught in Falluja.

Here is a sample; be sure to read it all.

First: Syria was the point from which the terrorists enter Iraq and in which they gather and organize themselves.

Second: They used Syrian telecommunication while inside Iraq and they used various hotels, hostels, houses and apartments in Damascus. They met inside these places and in the public places in a way which is not difficult for any ordinary Intelligence services to disclose.

Third: The terrorist group financed by the Saudis as well as trained and prepared (brain washed) by Saudis. This brain wash started inside their original countries for some time

Fourth: There are Saudis, Syrians and Iraqis from previous regime in Syria to coordinate and rallying with agents in the Arab and foreign countries to get the duped youths and bring them to Syria. This occurs under supervision of Saudis who travel from and to Syria.

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Iraq - View From the Ground

Here is another view from boots on the ground in Iraq.

I found it quite ironic to hear her say she couldn’t wait to get back to Baghdad. I called her on the irony, and we both acknowledged the changes we had gone through since leaving home. We were accompanied on our trip north by the celebrity news anchor Peter Jennings. I’ve never been a fan of his slanted commentaries, but it was nice to meet the man.

I introduced him to my commander, and true to what I believed, he attempted in conversation to get her to say something adverse about the war. Boy, was he talking to the wrong person. She accurately and with passion described what most soldiers here believe: what we have done and are continuing to do will make a positive difference in the country of Iraq, the region, and the world. I don’t believe he will air her point of view.


You can bet your pay check on it.

At one of the hangars that I spent time in waiting on a flight, I spoke to an American civilian whose mission was to establish police academies in the country. He spoke of the complete difference the Iraqi men have in comparison to us. It was his experience that when the Iraqis receive positions of authority, they perceive it as a right to profit from that position and from those they are to lead. That is opposed to our leadership, which in positions of authority means the responsibilities to care for those we lead. I could tell he was struggling with the solution to this problem, and I admired his commitment to make it work.
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Iraq - Embeds Telling the Whole Story

Legacy media continue their anti-war drumbeat but thanks to bloggers and some embedded reporters we can get a more accurate picture of the war in Iraq.

I don’t want to go home.

There is a strong pull to stay with these guys. Now I can understand why the man next to me re-enlisted after finishing his duty with this Marine unit. Over breakfast Anthony told me of his family: he has a wife and 2 young children. He had started a building business as he finished his reserve duty and every indication was that his future was as a civilian. He had put in his time. But within days the 1/23 Marine Reserve unit was called up to go to Iraq. The men he had drilled and trained with for years were going into battle. Anthony re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. [...]

The radio show today was held in the chow hall and it was very difficult to describe the last days. I did the best I could and tried to give a complete story not only of the Marines casualties but the victories of the 10 KIA’s, top 2 bad guys out of action, additional high value target captured, and more intelligence taken in as well.

Why do the media not report that? I video taped the live ABC news report from the dam – no mention of the Marines victories – only the losses.

In addition I told our listeners of the stories of Fallujah where the insurgents committed cold blooded murder on the civilians and blamed it on the Marines.

Col. Miller had told me of one thug with an AK47 was shooting while holding a child in front of him as a shield. The Marines took care of that one in a typically effective way – 2 snipers put this plan together in seconds – the first shot the wall next to him which startled him and he dropped the child. The second sniper put a round between his eyes. Marines love good shooting as they are all riflemen.

More stories from a tank commander who told of the insurgent thugs putting a small child in the back of a booby trapped car. The cries of the child did attract the Marines but they efficiently cleared the vehicle and were protected when it was set off and vaporized the “bait”. The Marines were unhurt.


Legacy media don't report that because it doesn't fit their anti-war agenda.
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Iran to ban Yahoo messenger?

Maybe according to Hoder.

In no other country but Iran you'll hear politicians use "Orkut" and "Yahoo Messenger" in their sentences.

Nasser Nassiri, a radical MP last week called for a ban on Orkut and Yahoo Messenger, both extremely popular among Iranians, and suggested the parliament will start work on a bill to officially ban them. As always, the reason was to destroy the ethical foundations of the society.

Now another radical but connected MP, Emad Afroogh, who is the chair of the cultural committee of the parliament, has officially denied that they are going to ban Orkut and Yahoo Messenger.

However, people's comments have it that the Iranian Telecom has already filtered Orkut. OpenNet initiative guys have confirmed it in an email to me.

What a lovely dysfunctional and chaotic country Iran has become.


The crack down continues.
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Iraq - Contrast how CNN portrays the Iraqi elections with the BBC. CNN "...began voting today in the first democratic elections in almost 50 years". CNN has a picture of a smiling Iraqi woman voting while the BBC show a car bomb. Posted by Hello

Iraq - Notice the caption on the top left next to the burning car. It says "Extra security measures are being introduced in Iraq ahead of Sunday's election - the first since the invasion. " First since the invasion?!? The first in over 50 years more like! Now look to the right under "Other top stories" and you will see this: "BBC 'needs external watchdog'. You got that right! Posted by Hello

BBC guilty of pro-Europe bias

This, BBC guilty of pro-Europe bias, probably has a lot to do with this, Britons 'ignorant over EU.

The BBC's balant bias has a lot to do with anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment in this country and around the world.
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Iran - Free the Bloggers II

I posted earlier today about the imprisoned Iranian bloggers. Here is an email I sent to:

Edoardo Bellando
Focal point for information technology
UN Department of Public information
(212) 963 8275

In regards to The Working Group on Internet Governance (http://www.wgig.org/)which has an Iranian on the group.

Reporters Without Borders has strongly protested against the Iran's relentless efforts to stifle free expression online after the arrest of five webloggers in less than two months, the latest on 28 November 2004.

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=11978

I trust you will be taking steps with the Iranian representative to secure the release of these individuals. It is outrageous that,

"At the same time, an Iranian delegate is sitting on a UN-created working group on Internet governance. The international community should condemn this masquerade," it added.

We do condemn it, do you?


His reply.


The Working Group on Internet Governance (http://www.wgig.org/) was set up
because UN member states, at the first phase of the World Summit on the
Information Society in Geneva last December, asked UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan to "set up a working group to investigate and make proposals for
action, as appropriate, on the governance of Internet by 2005."


The task of
the group is to produce a report to facilitate the negotiations at the
second phase of the World Summit in November 2005.
The members of the Geneva-based Working Group were appointed by the
Secretary-General in their personal capacity and they don't represent
countries nor institutions.
But given the close interaction between the
Working Group and the World Summit, its members represent all opinions that
were voiced at the Geneva phase of the Summit. The group also reflects the
geographical variety of the UN membership.


Your message -- and the four others I received on the same topic -- will be
sent to the Iranian embassy in Geneva and hopefully will help release the
five bloggers. Unfortunately the United Nations is the servant of its
member states, not their boss
. We take orders from all 191 member states.
At the same time, in the field of human rights, we are supposed to chastise
our bosses -- a situation that always creates all kinds of tensions
.


In spite of this, the UN tries to do all it can to protect human rights --
just have a look at http://www.ohchr.org/english/. UNESCO, in particular,
is very active in the protection of journalists -- see
http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=2493&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

I have been dealing for years with human rights at my job in public
information, and I have come to the conclusion that just condemning doesn't
help
. We could condemn the arrests and expel the Iranian member (who by the
way is an information technology expert, like all other members). But
keeping Iran engaged and working with it will be more profitable.


I have also been a member for many years of Amnesty International (in the
US and in Italy) and more recently of Human Rights Watch. Human rights work
is hard and often disappointing. Reporters without Borders is known for its
harsh, high-profile criticism, and we need that. But we also need the more
patient and diplomatic work of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the
International Federation of Journalists, which (like Amnesty and HRW)
engage the authorities and in the end obtain results -- just see the
announcement of the release of a Cuban journalist on the CPJ web page --
http://www.cpj.org/

With best regards,
Edoardo Bellando
UN Department of Public Information.


Sorry, Mr. Bellando, but if you think the members don't represent their countries, especially in light of the Internet crackdown in Iran, you're fooling yourself.
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Iran - Free the Bloggers

The Committee to Protect Bloggers has started a campaign to free the bloggers imprisoned in Iran.

Second, if you are in the United States, contact either the Representative at the Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy or the Ambassador to Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. (Iran has no embassy in the United States.) Here is the contact information.

Dr. Zarif Mohammad JavadAmbassador and Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017Tel: (212) 687-2020 / Fax: (212) 867-7086E-mail: Email the ambassador


Iranian RepresentativeEmbassy of PakistanInterests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20007Email the Interests Section

If you are outside the U.S., as many of you will be, you can contact either the Permanent Representative to the United Nations or the Iranian ambassador in your own country.

You can also email Edoardo Bellando he is on the UN's Working Group on Internet Governance
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Iraq - Civilian deaths 'reaching 10,000'

That is according to the UK Telegraph. Keep that term "civilian" in mind as you read.

Hang on a minute! The BBC just told us "There are no official figures on Iraqi civilian deaths, but unofficial estimates range from at least 15,000 to almost 100,000 since the March 2003 invasion."

That's a hell of a swing and from some unnamed "unofficial" sources. But the Telegraphs "estimate" is even lower than the BBC's low end figure.

And according to this post both are lacking in the details. Scroll down to this:

The Iraq body count website is here. The total civilian casualty meter is at 17,299 as of this morning.

Their first problem is that they do not distinguish between casualties inflicted by the insurgents/terrorists and those inflicted by the US, coalition forces, or Iraqi security forces. Second, their methodology labels all Iraqi dead who are not positively identified as insurgents as civilians. Third, they do not include any context. As this article shows, the average violent death rate under Saddam Hussein's 20+ years of rule was 70-125 per day. Using the lower end figure of 70 and multiplying by the approximately 700 days the US has been in Iraq projects to 49,000 violent deaths at the Hussein rate; a savings of over 30,000 lives under the U.S. occupation.

It further does not take into account the other ways in which the defeat of Saddam Hussein has saved Iraqi lives. Under the sanctions regime and with Hussein diverting the oil for food money to bribes, his personal use, and his security forces, UNICEF estimated that 4,500 Iraqi children per month were dying of otherwise treatable medical and nutrition related ailments. That toll has ended with the invasion and the provision of food and medicines in adequate amounts to the Iraqi people. Based on the UNICEF rates, that means over 100,000 Iraqis--mostly children--are alive now who would have died if Saddam Hssein had remained in power over the past 21 months.


There is no doubt that innocent civilians are dying in an attempt to gain their freedom. Many more would die under tyranny.
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Seymour Hersh - Exposed

The BBC recently ran a story concerning Hersh's claims that "US special forces 'inside Iran'"

They were so taken by Hersh that the BBC added this to the piece.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says that while Hersh could be wrong he has a series of scoops to his name, including the details of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal last year.

His track record suggests that he should be taken seriously, our correspondent says.


And the BBC's track record doesn't suggest, it screams we should not take them seriously.

We are talking about the vaunted world wide BBC after all. So how come they say Hersh scooped the Abu Ghraib story? They should know better.

How does this square with the fact that the Abu Ghraib scandal — like the My Lai massacre — was uncovered first not by Hersh but by Army investigators?

Hersh also said he hadCD roms full of additional photographs. To this date none have been found.

Continue reading Hersh's track record and you will see why the BBC are so anxious for you to trust him. He fits their agenda.
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UN Tsunami Relief - Taking the Credit

This isn't about bravado or look how great I am. This is about a shamelessly corrupt organization trying to take the credit for a humanitarian effort it played little part in. In fact, if left alone, the UN's "efforts" would have killed thousands more.

The Diplomad is not amused.
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BBC - Is Anyone in Control?

Is anyone in control at the BBC?

Last Saturday the BBC ran 3 stories with 3 different stands on the same subject.

Arabs indifferent to new Bush term

Arab press scorns Bush speech

World press electrified by Bush vision

Today I fisked their "the sky is falling" report on Iraq - Post Saddam.

Now the BBC has a story in the Business section saying the exact opposite!

But some progress has been made, largely thanks to the country's oil revenues which have exceeded $22bn since June 2003.

Iraq's infrastructure is on the mend, with notable improvements having been made in areas such as electricity supply, irrigation, telephone networks and the re-opening of hospitals.

Iraq's oil revenues, June 2003-January 2005: $22.89bn

90% of hospitals have been restored to pre-war level of operations

Almost 80,000 mega watt hours (MWH) of electricity is being generated daily - two thirds of the stated goal of 120,000 MWH

About 80% of its irrigation canals have been cleared

2.15 million telephone connections have been made and internet connections have risen tenfold to 110,000

Source: Iraq Index


See what you can do, Beeb, when the people get to keep the oil money?

Absolutely unbelievable!
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Iran's Killing Fields. Women sentenced to death by stoning are buried in the ground up to their necks. Iranian law regulates the size of the stones used by the executioner crowd; stones cannot be big enough to kill the sentenced woman too quickly, as the purpose of this barbaric ritual is to inflict as much pain as possible before death. On the other hand, stones cannot be too small, as each blow must be dramatically painful.
 Posted by Hello

Tehran’s Killing Fields

From Front Page via a commenter.

Conservative estimates by Iranian opposition movements and various human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, put the number of women stoned to death in Iran since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in the neighborhood of fifty. One can only imagine the cases that have gone undetected -- as many Islamic "punishments" are carried out in small and remote villages.

Women sentenced to death by stoning are buried in the ground up to their necks. Iranian law regulates the size of the stones used by the executioner crowd; stones cannot be big enough to kill the sentenced woman too quickly, as the purpose of this barbaric ritual is to inflict as much pain as possible before death. On the other hand, stones cannot be too small, as each blow must be dramatically painful.


Read the rest.
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Iraq - Post Saddam

The BBC takes a look at Iraq - Post Saddam. This should be good given the BBC's abysmal coverage and doom and gloom outlook on Iraq.

Reconstruction

Wars and years of sanctions have devastated the oil-rich country's infrastructure.

Yep, off to a good start blaming America.

As usual the BBC hopes you zip right by that and ignore the truth.

"Devastated by sanctions" was it Beeb? Saddam sure managed to build some elaborate palaces and buy gold plated guns and cars with all that "sanctioned" UN oil for food money.

Excuse me Auntie but aren't we forgetting something? You know like "decades of complete and utter neglect by the regime."

Then the Beeb tells us:

By September 2004 only $2.5bn had been released, largely because the security situation has not allowed rebuilding work to proceed.

Then what are all these people doing?

Reconstruction is picking up pace, according to Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division:

"1,550 construction projects are under way throughout the country -- compared to just 200 projects under way in June [2004]...

"These reconstruction projects include large, long-term capital projects that address water and sewage treatment facilities, power plants and the oil- distribution infrastructure. They also include smaller community projects that are more visible to the Iraqi people and have an immediate impact on their lives, he said. The focus of these projects is schools, clinics, hospitals, rail stations and police stations, many being rebuilt with funds from Commander's Emergency Response Program funds...

"He estimated that some 130,000 Iraqis are working on the wide range of projects under way throughout the country. The true number is actually larger, he said, when factoring in the behind-the-scenes workers who manufacture the products used on the construction sites."

Note the above is taken from Chrenkoff's Good News Iraq series - Part 19! Read the first 18 for more on all the construction work and other good news from Iraq.

Security

There are no official figures on Iraqi civilian deaths, but unofficial estimates range from at least 15,000 to almost 100,000 since the March 2003 invasion.

That's quite a range Auntie and who are these "unofficial" sources? Is this your idea of good journalistic practices?

This report just appeared on today's Middle East webpage and one would presume current information. Right?

Post-Saddam Iraq has also seen a number of violent Shia uprisings by fighters loyal to the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who feel their grievances have not been met.

Well gee Auntie, don't leave us in suspense, what happened to these "loyal fighters" to Sadr after these "violent uprisings"?

Once again we turn to Chrenkoff for the answers.

"Just months ago, Fattahlah Ghazi al-Esmaili was penning articles in support of Iraq's Shi'ite uprising as editor for Ishriqat, a newspaper for rebel cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi's Army militia.

"Now the 38-year-old has abandoned his Arab head scarf for a neat beige suit and is out pumping the flesh in his run for parliament at the head of a 180-candidate list representing the impoverished Shi'ites of Sadr City."

'Before, we were men of the Mahdi's Army. Now we are men of politics,' says the journalist, who goes by the pen name Fattah al-Sheikh. 'Yesterday, we were out on the streets. Today, we are here campaigning, and hopefully tomorrow, we'll be in the presidential palace'."It has been a stunning transformation: "Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond of the 1st Cavalry Division, says Sadr City is the safest place in or around Baghdad. About 18,000 people have reconstruction jobs, he says, earning about $6 a day. 'Sadr City is what the future of Iraq can look like,' he says. Those who were once taking up arms are now talking democracy. 'Before, the men were buying black cloth for their (martyrs') banners. Now for the election, we are buying white cloths' for posters, says candidate Fatah al-Sheikh."

Am I seeing a pattern here Auntie? Why don't you hire Chrekoff? He's doing a much better job than you. What's that Auntie? Oh, yeah, my bad, he writes the good news and you write the bad.

Oil

Watch what follows next. This is a trick Auntie is fond of - set the bar high and then set up the fall.

But its oil industry, according to a 2000 report, has serious technical and infrastructure problems. Under optimal conditions, it is estimated Iraq could produce up to 6m barrels a day - almost double its peak of 3.5m, reached in 1979 before the war with Iran.

Auntie, "infrastructure neglect" by Saddam would more accurate, don't you think?

Notice how high the bar is set at 6 million barrels a day; twice the amount Iraq ever achieved. So what is it now?

In 2004, production is reported to have averaged 1.9m barrels.

Quite a come down from 6 million heh? Except it was 2.5 million just before the war and therefore is not so far off pre invasion levels. Remember these are "averages".

But Auntie (raises hand), Auntie, [Oh, what now!], but now the Iraqis get to keep all the oil whereas before Saddam sold it to France, Russia and China and kept all the money for himself. He squandered all the money on luxuries while his people starved and died.

Health

Sanctions and budget cuts have been blamed for a huge rise in mortality rates.

Blamed by whom, Auntie? You? Now we know the truth; it wasn't the sanctions, it was the UN oil for food scandal. Saddam had billions from the illegal sales to France, Russia and China aided by the UN.

Medical charities say the health system is in a worse condition than before the invasion. According to Medact, 12% of hospitals were damaged during the fighting and the two main public health laboratories destroyed.

Hang on a minute, seems I've heard something like this before from the BBC.

Now I remember - MEDCAT! Auntie, you should be ashamed of yourself. Caught twice using anti-war activists to fabricate stories about Iraq and now caught twice using an anti-war group to fabricate more stories. Shame on you Auntie!

Medcat

Medact was formed by a merger of two older organisations in 1992. The first, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, was founded by Sir Richard Doll, Horace Joules, Lionel Penrose and others in 1951 during the Korean War as a medical lobby for peace. The second, the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, was founded in 1980 and was instrumental in undermining the idea that nuclear war was "survivable". Medact's work on war and weapons continues today, and is now complemented by action on the health impacts of poverty and environmental change.

Things that make you go, hmmmm. "Medact's work on war and weapons continues today". What does this statement mean? Well since Medcat is a merger of two well known former anti-war groups, the answer is anti-war work. But hey, it fits the BBC's anti-war and by extension, anti-American crusade.

Medcat has been exposed before.

Why Auntie, you evil, lying scumbag.

UPDATE:


Is anyone in control at the BBC? They have an article in the business section that says the exact opposite! I kid you not!
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BBC - The invisible Americans

EU Referendum has the story.

We’ve heard of the ugly Americans. We’ve heard of the quiet Americans. Now, courtesy of the BBC, we have the invisible Americans.

The BBC are quick to point out America's mistakes or make them up if they can't find any. If America does good it didn't happen according to the BBC.

Check it out.
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Condi Rice - What the Democrats Fear

There has been a lot of speculation on why the Democrats gave Rice such a hard time. Especially since there was no way to block her nomination.

Some say it was a legitimate debate others say it was just political grandstanding. Either way the Democrats looked bad.

The attacks were led by veteran Democrat buffoon Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy keyed the Democratic attack in the Senate with charges that Rice, as Bush’s national security adviser, provided Congress with "false reasons" for going to war. Had she not, he said in a speech, "it might have changed the course of history."

I guess he means he prefers Saddam in power. Anyway this is the exact opposite of what he said before the war.

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

The BBC said the same thing until they realized Bush was going to use WMD's as one reason for toppling Saddam. They quickly reversed course.

So, why the all out assault on Condi? Why do the Democrats fear her so much?

Roger Simon has the answer.

The just resolved Condi nomination struggle of 2005 somehow reminded me of the great Giuseppe De Santis movie of 1949. Maybe there's something about the name Rice that makes people angry. But I have had another thought about why Condi became such a lightening rod. The Dems are afraid of her as a presidential candidate in '08 and wanted to take her down a peg as soon as possible. After all, according to Forbes anyway, she is the most powerful woman in the world -- and that was before she was Sec'y of State (No. 2 - Wu Yu of the Chinese Politburo; No. 5 - Hillary Rodham Clinton; No. 10 - Carlton Firoina of Hewlett-Packard).

Even if they don't fear her as a presidential candidate they fear her as a vice presidential candidate.
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BBC Bias Caught on Air

This is absolutely priceless.

According to our dear B-BBC commenters, this morning Radio 5 Live did a 'text' poll asking for people's opinions on whether or not the UK should sign-up to the new EU constitution. The result of the poll was cheerily reported by the presenter as being 67% in favour of Britain signing up, with 33% against - which is, as anyone who reads the newspapers knows, almost the exact opposite of properly conducted polls.

Cheerily that is, until this bit:

And so far, the voting in our straw poll is as follows, 33% of you [intake of breath, long pause], uh, is this right? This is the wrong way, this is, er, opposite to what we were saying an hour ago, ah, I'm gonna just check those figures for you. Apparently, no, you don't want to join 67% of you, and yes, 33%. Which, I have to admit, is absolutely opposite to what I reported to you about twenty minutes ago to Eric Forth, so we'll clarify that for you, I do apologise, but a lot of people are saying that our unscientific vote isn't fair because it's skewed towards younger people who have mobile phones and are more likely to text us, so we'll find out about what proper scientific polls say about the subject a bit later in the programme, although I do think that is ageist because my mum's over fifty and she knows how to text.


Be sure and read Biased BBC's take on it.

Here is the audio clip http://upload4free.com/files/1810.mp3.

Priceless.

Be sure and read The Case Against the BBC
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Iran - Let the Revolution Begin II

Yesterday I posted about CBS News of all people reporting on the coming revolution in Iran.

The hardliners can always launch another temporary crackdown. But in the end, the 1970s Islamic revolution seems certain to be undone by its own children.

And I said this:

The torch of freedom is lit and burning in Afghanistan and in the Ukraine. The torch will be lit in Iraq this weekend and its glow will be seen across the border in Iran and Syria.

Seems I was right.

Reports from across Iran are stating about the massive welcoming of President George W. Bush's inaugural speech and his promise of helping to bring down the last outposts of tyranny.

Millions of Iranians have been reported as having stayed home, on Thursday night which is their usual Weekend and outgoing night, in order to see or hear the Presidential speech and the comments made by the Los Angeles based Iranian satellite TV and radio networks, such as, NITV or KRSI.

Many were seen showing the " V " sign or their raised fists. Talks were focused on steps that need to be taken in order to use the first time ever favorable International condition. [...]

Various reports from underground groups are stating that Iranians will be increasing the Civil Disobedience Movement by making more strikes and demos in the days ahead.


I reported earlier today Jordan is to introduce democratic reforms.

The world press in their anti-American zeal are trying to force the world to adopt a myopic view of the violence in Iraq. They sneer, there will be elections in Iraq but will the Iraqis vote, will the election be legitimate and will it end the bloodshed?

Turn the telescope around and you see the flame of democracy spreading like wildfire in the Middle East. The torch that George Bush lit cannot now be extinguished.

All the efforts of the communist led anti-war movement, aided and abetted by the liberal press, and people like the loathsome George Galloway, cannot extinguish the flame of democracy.

The American elections, like the Iraqi elections, are about something much bigger than the spread of democracy to the corners of the world. Just as the rise of the blockers is much bigger than just a fact check on legacy media.

There is something new in the world; a new revolution. That should give us pause, for it rarely happens.

The Belmount Club noticed it too.

Abramson shuddered and well she should. But at what? What was out there in the dark about which these conference participants are talking? It is a something that has already swallowed Brittanica. No one is quite sure what it is, but everyone should be quite certain that it will strike again.

I replied, "It" is the citizens taking back their freedom of thought; a new revolution.

And with that comes a new awakening; a realization that the left have been lying for years. America, under Bush's leadership, has thrown off the yolk of Vietnam imposed by the lying liberal press led by the likes of John Kerry. Billions have suffered around the world under tyranny's boot because of them. No more; there's a new revolution.

Sometimes in the grand scheme of things all the right pieces appear on the world stage at precisely the same time; as if the cosmos came into perfect alignment.

Just look at the last four years. Bush is elected, bin Laden's massive attack on American soil, Afghanistan is freed, the rise of the bloggers challenges MSM, Saddam is toppled, Arafat dies, Ukraine overturns stolen election, Palestinians hold elections, Iraqis hold elections, the tsunami disaster shows America's greatness - UN's weakness, UN oil for food scandal exposes corruption in UN, France, Russia and China, and on it goes.

No one man can take credit for all of this. But one man can take credit for having the vision, steadfastness and courage of his convictions to remain calm and keep his head "while all around him others were losing theirs" - George Bush.

Welcome to the new revolution.
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Iran Must Dismantle Nuke Program - EU

Yesterday I noted how Iran and the EU were deadlocked over this issue.

Now comes the foot stomping.

VIENNA (Reuters) - France, Britain and Germany have told Iran they will not settle for anything less than an end to sensitive nuclear processes key to the production of atomic bombs, according to a confidential EU document.

Since Britain's Jack Straw has already said "Britain would take no part in any military action against Iran" I suppose the next step will be to issue a statement condemning Iran's actions.

Put your foot down hard this time Jack and tell them you won't settle for anything less. That ought to do the trick. If that doesn't work issue another statement condemning, "in the strongest terms possible", Iran's actions.

And if that doesn't work you can always go to the UN, get 17 resolutions, wait ten years for nothing to happen and then - ? Too late then Jack.

The London Times thinks it's just a case of playing good cop versus bad cop. Guess who gets to be the bad cop?
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Jordan to introduce democratic reform

I wrote yesterday about the spread of democracy in the Middle East and said this:

The torch of freedom is lit and burning in Afghanistan and in the Ukraine. The torch will be lit in Iraq this weekend and its glow will be seen across the border in Iran and Syria. Freedom's light burns brighter, is seen from ever afar, and it beckons ever stronger. It has exposed the failure of radical Islam and lights the path to freedom for all its prisoners.

Seems some of that light is shinning on Jordan.

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — King Abdullah II, while urging citizens in neighboring Iraq to vote in this weekend's elections, said he would introduce some limited democratic reforms in his kingdom. In a televised speech, Abdullah said he wanted to "address all our brethren in Iraq, of all groups and spectrums, and call on them to take part in the elections to be held in a few days."

The king then unveiled plans to establish elected councils to oversee development in Jordan. He did not explain how the new councils would work with existing local authorities, half of whose members are appointed by the government.

"I assert here that political development should start at the grass roots, then move up to decision-making centers, and not vice versa," the king said.

Abdullah spoke only hours after President Bush urged him at a Washington press conference to "make sure that democracy continues to advance in Jordan."


Let the light shine on.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Iraq - Denying Them Freedom

Scott has some questions for The Independent's Mary Dejevsky.

The Independent's Mary Dejevsky makes it explicit (paid link) - she doesn't think that Saddam's overthrow was a good thing (emphasis added):

"My bet is that more Iraqis may defy the risks to vote than has been forecast. Such an outcome would be the first positive turn of events in Iraq since the disastrous US and British invasion of 2003."

But a successful election would be a good thing, right? Well, not entirely - other people might want to have democratic elections as well!

"The illusion would be propagated that, if Iraq in its present state can hold a plausible election, then pretty much every country can proceed on the high road to democracy too: they only have to accept how eminently superior democracy is to all other forms of government."

We sure wouldn't want that to happen!


As I asked in an earlier post, why do people deny the Iraqi people, and others, the freedom of democracy they enjoy?

And Mary, that's a suckers bet as over 80% of Iraqis have said they will vote.
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Iran - Let the Revolution Begin

CBS News of all people is reporting on the coming revolution in Iran.


(CBS) The Iranian students storming the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 became icons of worldwide Islamic revolution.

Twenty-five years later, Iran's youth is rebelling again. But as CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports, this time against the Islamic government itself.

Fully 60 percent of Iranians are under the age of 30, and they have had enough of strict Islamic rule. Everywhere there are signs that the religious authorities are losing control.

Yet there are signs the mad mullahs are not ready to give up.

Iran - Crackdown on Girls under 14

And

Iran - Torturing Bloggers

Surprisingly CBS seems very upbeat about their chances.

"Our young people are as well informed as young people in China or Britain or America. Anyone who tries to limit them is bound to fail," he says.

The hardliners can always launch another temporary crackdown. But in the end, the 1970s Islamic revolution seems certain to be undone by its own children.


The torch of freedom is lit and burning in Afghanistan and in the Ukraine. The torch will be lit in Iraq this weekend and its glow will be seen across the border in Iran and Syria. Freedom's light burns brighter, is seen from ever afar, and it beckons ever stronger. It has exposed the failure of radical Islam and lights the path to freedom for all its prisoners.
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Zimbabwe's Elections Descend Into Chaos

The London Times is reporting on voter intimidation in the run up to Zimbabwe's elections.

Contestants have deployed mobs of youths to attack each other, and in Harare riot police had to break up the clashes.

Didymus Mutasa, the Anti-Corruption Minister, led a three-day rampage against his challenger, leaving a trial of smashed limbs, burnt-out cars and ransacked homes.

To get their names on to the list, party heavyweights scattered money and food among Zanu (PF)’s poorgrass-roots supporters. Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister, was reported to have ordered the distribution of maize seed and fertiliser from government stocks. Paul Mangwana, the Social Welfare Minister, reportedly set fire to ballot papers when he saw he was losing.

The selection process was preceded by a purge of senior party officials after Mr Mugabe discovered a plot to foil his plan to make Joyce Mujuru, the loyal head of the party women’s league, the party’s vice-president, thereby ensuring he can manipulate the transfer of power whenever he retires.


Go to the BBC's Africa webpage and you will not find a single article about violence in Zimbabwe's elections.

As of this writing there are 6 articles on the Iraqi elections on the BBC's Middle East webpage.

Oh, I get it! The US isn't involved so there is nothing to report.
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Global Alliance for Vaccines - Upmanship

Check out this story from The London Times.

Chancellor trumps Gates pledge with £1bn for vaccines

GORDON BROWN will today pledge almost £1 billion to funding vaccines for children in the poorest countries.

The Chancellor’s extraordinary commitment is more than double the money donated to the same fund yesterday by Bill Gates, the world’s richest man.


A country giving double what one man gives; is this something to brag about? Even if he is the world's richest man he is still only one man.

Shouldn't the article be about how generous the rich can be; how generous a rich capitalist can be; how generous a rich capitalist American can be.

Naw, it wouldn't fit the agenda.

Still, I'm glad their getting the aid they need.
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Iran - EU nuclear talks deadlocked

The Daily Times is reporting "Confidential talks between European powers and Iran are deadlocked on the key issue of uranium enrichment, with Iran refusing to consider scrapping such programmes, diplomats said on Tuesday."

Their views are reflected in a summary of the last meeting between representatives of France, Britain, Germany and Iran. The summary states that Iran intends to maintain its enrichment programme, whereas the European powers continue to insist on its “cessation” or “dismantlement”. Diplomats familiar with the talks said no progress is being made on the EU insistence that Iran’s temporary suspension of enrichment programs be turned into a commitment to permanently mothball all such activities.

Now over to Britain's Jack Straw.

Mr Straw has already said Britain would take no part in any military action against Iran. Britain, France and Germany are spearheading diplomatic efforts with Tehran.

Hey Jack! Want to play some poker?

UPDATE:

The London Times thinks it's just a case of playing good cop versus bad cop. Guess who gets to be the bad cop?
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Iraq - Palestinian Suicide Bomber Payments Posted by Hello

America - We're Sorry World

We're Sorry World.

"The United States is not the 'Superman' of the world."

OUR CANADIAN FRIEND CHRIS ALEMANY comments in a post below:

"Freedom is a Human Right"

That's exactly right... but no Human being should be subjected to all out war by foreign country in order to gain that right.

*Some* Americans need to learn that the United States is not and need not be the "Superman" of the world.

Chris has a point -- the United States needs to stop "playing Superman." Furthermore, we should apologize to each of those nations that we have “liberated” by force of arms.

To the good people of...


I won't spoil it; you have to read it for yourself.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Iraq Elections - Fierce Determination

A round up of feelings from the Middle East by the San Francisco Chronicle

Compare this to the doom and gloom brought to you by the BBC.


As Iraqis count down the days until next Sunday's U.S.-backed elections, a sense of fierce determination -- to carry out a historic, if very uncertain exercise in democracy -- is in the air.

A recent cartoon in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada, for example, showed a voter slipping his own sliced-off head, instead of a paper ballot, into the slot of a ballot box. Its somewhat obtuse meaning: despite threats by insurgents to kill anyone who takes part in the elections scheduled for next Sunday, determined citizens will go to the polls, whatever the real or imagined risks they may face. (Iraqi Press Monitor; click on link for Jan. 19)

As Middle East Online op-ed columnist Ben Tanosborn noted, "Whatever happens on [election day] in Iraq, the people there will have their say, will have their vote ... whether by turning in their ballots at the polling places, or by staying home." And although Iraq's American overseers intend for the forthcoming vote to be "a full-fledged national and provincial multiparty election," Tanosborn believes that its results "will boil down to a simple referendum" to decide whether Iraq "remains a geopolitical[ly] indivisible nation" or whether it will undergo a process of "Balkanization" leading to "its fragmentation and a possible civil war."

In Iraq, the newspaper Al-Bayan advised "[t]hose who are convinced ... the election is the only salvation from the political, economic and security chaos" that now prevail in the war-ravaged country to "make sure they are well prepared for the vote ...." It added, "Those ... who believe this process will come to nothing should make up their minds and offer an appropriate alternative" and reminded readers that "[a]ny team that can win a majority will succeed, and its rival should then succumb to the will of the majority." (Al-Bayan, quoted by BBC)

In the United Arab Emirates, the newspaper Al-Ittihad looked ahead encouragingly to election day by noting that, so far, "the terrorists have not succeeded in terrorizing the Iraqi people. In fact, they have strengthened their resolve to move forward with a national political program [that] will ensure that foreigners leave their country, and that a new era begins based on democracy." (Al-Ittihad, quoted by BBC)

Noting that, in fact, "[t]here are indeed two occupations in Iraq," that of the U.S.-led coalition forces and that of the terrorists who oppose them, Saudi Arabia's Arab News observed that, although the insurgents "say they reject the election because it is a tool of Washington, designed to prolong [its] occupation," the truth is "that if enough voters brave threats such as the terrorist graffiti reading 'Vote and Die,' and a representative government does emerge from Sunday's process, the men of violence will have received a worse defeat than any that Iraqi security forces and coalition troops could inflict upon them on the battlefield."

The Arab News, published in a country that isn't exactly well known for a very open, full democracy of its own, added, "That is why Sunday is so important, because it will be the first chance ... ordinary people will [have] to make their voice[s] heard among the gunfire and bomb blasts."
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BBC Chairman Attacks News Output

You can't get well if you don't admit you're sick; a position the BBC finds itself in.

Since the Hutton report people have come and gone but nothing has changed. The BBC's unabashed attacks on America and Israel continues unabated. Their cheerleading of the Palestinians while downplaying the Iraqi elections are evident daily.

BBC chairman, Michael Grade, just gave a speech to the London College of Communications, praising his organization. I'll get to my take in a minute.

First, here are some notes from The Telegraph.

Grade in attack on BBC news output

The BBC chairman, Michael Grade, vented his frustration with BBC1 news last night, effectively acknowledging that it had "dumbed down" in a misguided attempt to improve ratings.

Michael Grade said that journalists and editors were ‘confused’.

In his first major speech on the state of BBC news, Mr Grade said the corporation had "unwittingly contributed" to the decline in serious news values because of its preoccupation with audience accessibility.


"Vented his frustration", BBC1 News "dumbed down", "journalists and editors" confused and a "decline in serious news values".

Before you go thinking Grade has admitted his beloved propaganda machine is unwell you might want to read his speech.

This crisis originated in a failure in the BBC's journalism. In a way, it's a measure of the weight and significance attached to BBC journalism that a single mistake, in a single report, broadcast very early one morning, should be able to precipitate such a cataclysm.

Got that? Someone at the BBC was up early and made a single mistake that resulted in a journalist firing and the two top executives at the BBC leaving (fired). Can you say denial?

But as the the Hutton Report sets out and the BBC acknowledged at the time, there was a systematic failure not just a single failure. That same system is still in place today.

Editorial system at BBC was defective in allowing Mr Gilligan's report to go to air without editors seeing a script

BBC management failed to make an examination of Mr Gilligan's notes of the interview with Dr Kelly


There was a defect in the BBC's management system relating to the way complaints were investigated

BBC governors failed to investigate Mr Gilligan's actions properly


Grade's own back slapping continues with his praise for "The complaints handling system across the BBC has been changed to make it speedier, fairer and more accountable. "

Bullshit.

There's now also a valuable Notes and Corrections section of the NewsWatch website. So if the BBC gets things wrong, there's now a place where corrections can rapidly be posted.

Go there now and you will not find a single "correction". You will find, under "Notes", 5 articles defending the BBC's position.

Incredibly, Grade uses the blatant bias of one of the BBC's Middle East correspondents, as proof that the BBC is more accountable.

Three months ago, a BBC correspondent in the Middle East - a good correspondent with a strong record - made an inappropriately personal remark about the death of Yasser Arafat in an edition of From Our Own Correspondent. [Note the defense of the correspondent]

The BBC received many complaints [Over 500] . Its first response was the old one - a public statement that defended the output come what may. That was the wrong response - it reflected the instincts of the old culture.

When the new Director of News, Helen Boaden, heard the statement she was surprised. It did not reflect her expressed view about the piece or that of her senior team.

So she changed it - to make clear that aspects of the broadcast had been misjudged. And knowing that would raise eyebrows, she went on Radio 4's Feedback programme to explain herself. It was time, she said, for BBC News to have an adult relationship with its audience. That was in October.


You see? The correction wasn't made because of over 500 complaints from the public, it was made because it did not reflect Boaden's views. Riiiiight.

What was the "inappropriately personal remark" and who was the good BBC correspondent?

The Telegraph reports how the BBC was swamped with complaints about its' Middle East correspondent, Barbara Plett's on air admission that she cried when Arafat left for France.

"When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning," she said.

Plett still works for the BBC.

If anyone has any illusions that the BBC, under Grade, is going to morph into bastion of journalistic integrity, I've got some "genuine" Bush national guard memos I'll sell you.
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Brain Bliss