* The Guardian depicts President Bush having sex with a goat
* PLO’s ambassador to Poland visits Auschwitz
1. Al-Jazeera: “U.S. Air Force, carrying tactical nuclear weapons, flew with Israel during raid on Syrian nuclear site”
2. Lebanese TV: “Jews are annihilating the peoples of the world using drugs”
3. The Guardian’s cartoon today again shows President Bush having sex with a goat
4. PLO’s ambassador to Poland visits Auschwitz
5. Annapolis: “This meeting is going to be a quickie”
... AND SOME STORIES AWAY FROM THE MIDDLE EAST
6. Human species may split into two
7. The classic Swedish welfare model at work
8. Mafia “plotted to whack Giuliani”
9. Jane’s: Russian security agencies begin to fall out with each other
10. Journalism: the love of the game
[Note by Tom Gross]
Below are some of the items I have written for the National Review’s Media Blog in recent days. These are the ones relating to the media itself, to Arab views of the Holocaust, and to politics and society in general, as well as to the Sept. 6 raid on Syria.
By separate dispatch yesterday, I attached items relating to Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt.
Friday, November 2, 2007
AL-JAZEERA: “U.S. AIR FORCE, CARRYING TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS, FLEW WITH ISRAEL DURING RAID ON SYRIAN NUCLEAR SITE”
The mystery deepens around the air raid on September 6 on what was said to be a Syrian nuclear site.
Israeli and Arab sources have been quoted on Al-Jazeera this morning as saying that Israeli Air Force jets provided cover for the American planes that were armed with tactical nuclear weapons.
This is from Al-Jazeera – so it may not be true, of course.
It is also possible that Syria is behind the story on Al-Jazeera. The Baath party can clean up the site as much as possible but traces of radiation will remain. The regime needs an alibi for their activities there, so why not blame it on the Americans?
The Syrian propaganda machine may also be trying to suggest that Israel is not capable of defending itself without American help.
“Al-Jazeera”: US Air Force carried out raid on Syrian nuke site
Nov. 2, 2007, The Jerusalem Post
The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday morning. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets carrying tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.
The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.
The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.
The statement seemed to be in line with previous remarks by a Syrian source that six planes had participated in the strike in the area of Dir a-Zur. The Syrian source had claimed that Syrian radars picked up six planes that took part in the raid, in addition to 25 planes that flew over Cypriot airspace at the time of the attack.
Tom Gross adds: The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Watan reported last month that “U.S. jets provided aerial cover for Israeli strike aircraft during the attack on Syria,” without giving details. For more background, see here.
For “before and after” photos of the Syrian site, see here.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
LEBANESE TV: “JEWS ARE ANNIHILATING THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD USING DRUGS”
Lebanon’s NBN TV channel – which is affiliated with the influential Pro-Syrian Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Beri – has just aired a program stating that “Jews use drug trafficking to control the world and subjugate other nations.”
The program’s narrator continues: “Drugs were also the Jews’ method of wearing down the German people, which led to the Nazi extremism, in which the Jews themselves played a role. In addition, they carried out widespread drug dealing in Czarist Russia, from the 17th century. This was in accordance with the Jewish Talmud.”
The program, based on the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which, as a new report yesterday found, is also being distributed using Saudi money in mosques in London and elsewhere in western Europe) was shown on Lebanon’s NBN TV on October 22, 2007.
Among other excerpts that MEMRI has translated:
* “Isn’t it true that these Jewish plots to corrupt the peoples were described by American ‘plot-disrupters,’ such as Benjamin Franklin and Henry Ford, and even by some Jews, like Alfred Lilienthal, and even Karl Marx, who, more than 150 years ago, exposed in his book On the Jewish Question that there was an instinct within the Jewish individual that drives him to take control of the world, by means of illegal money – which is known today as ‘money laundering?’”
* “The Koran said about them: ‘They strive to spread corruption throughout the land.’ Spreading corruption throughout the land is the declared goal of the Zionist hands of evil, which are infiltrating the world. The Zionists have summarized their destructive principles in what has become known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which contains their secret plan to subjugate the entire world by spreading chaos and promiscuity among the nations, by imposing corrupt and depraved ideologies on human minds, and by destroying the foundations of religion, nationalism, and morality.”
* “Moreover, the third Zionist protocol states that other nations must be left sick, poor, and lacking any determination or strength. Naturally, drugs are the most effective means to accomplish this goal. The American thinker Benjamin Franklin, in his famous 1789 manifesto, the American industrialist Henry Ford, who wrote The International Jew, and others like them warned of the danger posed by the Jews, who destroy morals.”
* “I believe this is true, we [the Lebanese] must consider our responsibility – what we should do to overcome this plague, which is killing our society.”
(You can view a fuller clip of the program from Lebanese TV here.)
Equally worrying is the way in which some western media are playing a role in this increased anti-Semitism. Yesterday BBC World Service Radio interviewed an American woman who stated that there was “no problem with anti-Jewish or anti-gay discrimination in countries like Saudi Arabia”. It was, she said, all merely “propaganda that American Jews had made up”. True to form, the BBC presenter didn’t challenge her on her remarks but merely thanked her for her insights.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
THE GUARDIAN’S CARTOON TODAY AGAIN SHOWS PRESIDENT BUSH HAVING SEX WITH A GOAT
People outside the U.K. sometimes wonder how the BBC became so viciously anti-Israel.
One important factor is that the BBC news staff’s daily paper of choice is The Guardian, whose coverage of Israel has on more than one occasion verged on spilling over into outright anti-Semitism.
The Guardian doesn’t have a particularly high circulation (it attracts considerably fewer readers than The Times and The Daily Telegraph, for example) but Britain’s liberal elites at the BBC and in higher education, view it as something of a bible. (That explains, for example, why it is in Britain rather than in other countries that misinformed university lecturers are constantly arguing for a boycott of Israeli students.)
Among the daily dose of anti-Israel invective in The Guardian, the following letter therefore comes as a welcome surprise:
“Colin Green claims lawyers threatened to bankrupt anyone who criticises Israeli policy. In fact Alan Dershowitz threatened to sue anyone who initiated an exclusion of scholars who work in Israel from British campuses. Anthony Lester confirmed that such an exclusion would violate British anti-discrimination law.
“Criticising policy is not the same as setting up a racist exclusion. The Guardian should not print self-evident falsehoods. The Guardian should be extra careful when the falsehoods it prints constitute part of an antisemitic narrative of global Jewish conspiracy. The incurables will read this letter as a threat from the “Israel lobby” against a paper which “courageously” allows criticism of Israel. Others will read it as a warning, from someone who is, himself, a critic of Israeli policy, against the accelerating contemporary danger of anti-Jewish racism. If the left can’t recognise the threat, then we are in trouble, because nobody else can be relied upon to oppose racism. The Guardian needs to stop hosting a debate between antisemitic and antiracist points of view. It is time to take sides.
David Hirsh, University of London
Tom Gross adds: The Guardian – like the BBC – is trying to increase its audience in the U.S. This is partly for commercial reasons but it is also, say the editors, because it wants to influence U.S. politics and society which they believe (wrongly, of course) to be in the grip of “Zionists” and “neo-Conservatives”.
To further this aim The Guardian last week launched an American edition, with an initial team of eight journalists based in Washington.
But if you want to know just how nasty The Guardian can get, consider the paper’s cartoon strip today when for the second time in three days, The Guardian’s award-winning cartoonist Steve Bell draws President Bush having sex with a goat. (To see them on The Guardian’s site, scroll back to the cartoons of Oct. 29 and 31. You can also see one of the cartoons directly here.)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
PLO’S AMBASSADOR TO POLAND VISITS AUSCHWITZ
This is an extremely rare move, given the Holocaust denial pervasive throughout the Arab world, along with all kinds of other conspiracy theories ranging from what happened on 9/11 to a belief that Israeli melons have AIDS.
Until Arab societies rid themselves of these kinds of conspiracy theories, they will not fully integrate into the modern world. Khaled Soufan’s visit is a welcome start. Lets hope other Arab and Islamic leaders don’t condemn him for it.
The following article is from Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s best selling newspaper:
PLO’s ambassador to Poland visits Auschwitz
By Roee Nahmias
The PLO’s ambassador to Poland, Khaled Soufan, has visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
He was accompanied by David Peleg, the Israeli ambassador to Poland. The two spent some two and a half hours in the camp, during which Soufan told Peleg that only when one visits Auschwitz, can one grasp the scope of the Holocaust.
Soufan, a former PLO ambassador to Hungary, befriended the Israeli ambassador in Budapest and expressed his interest in visiting the concentration camp.
After signing the camp’s visitors’ journal, Soufan told reporters he was there to convey his solidarity with the Jewish people’s suffering during World War II.
The PLO ambassador is not the only unlikely visitor to the camp: The Pakistani ambassador to Poland visited Auschwitz earlier in October and several of the Pakistani military officials are scheduled to visit it in the next few weeks.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
ANNAPOLIS: “THIS MEETING IS GOING TO BE A QUICKIE”
Yoel Marcus, like other columnists at the liberal Tel Aviv daily, Ha’aretz, is usually very encouraging when he sees any sign of a prospect for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
So his column today is a reminder of just how low expectations are of any real breakthrough at the big peace conference Condoleezza Rice has called in Maryland scheduled for November 26.
Among the points Yoel Marcus makes in Ha’aretz today:
* The Annapolis meeting is the private initiative of U.S. Secretary of State Rice. She wants to give Bush a farewell gift, a little something from our neighborhood.
* This meeting is going to be a quickie. An international brief encounter, not an international conference. It will be a forum not for negotiations, but for speeches, as well as a summarizing declaration of principles that will serve as a guideline for talks on the establishment of two states for two peoples.
* The trouble is that, in practice, any agreement that Olmert and Abbas sign at Annapolis will obligate only half of the Palestinians. Abbas will be stronger in the eyes of the world, but not in the eyes of most of his people. The Israeli public does not have the strength, emotional or otherwise, for another dummy compromise with the Palestinians.
* What happened after the withdrawal from Gaza, with its removal of settlers by force, has left us deeply wounded and disappointed over the outcome. Sderot and other towns near Gaza have not enjoyed a moment’s peace. It is hard to believe that a country as powerful as Israel is just sitting there and watching its cities being pounded by rockets day after day, year after year.
* Intelligence sources in Israel are shocked at the transformation of Hamas gangs into a genuine military force in Gaza, complete with uniforms, arms, instructors and Iranian ideology that may soon seep into the West Bank, whose control could fall into Hamas’ hands.
* Olmert must go to Annapolis as Mr. Peace, but play Mr. Security when he gets there. Annapolis is good, but not at any price.
... AND SOME STORIES AWAY FROM THE MIDDLE EAST
Friday, October 26, 2007
HUMAN SPECIES MAY SPLIT INTO TWO
Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry produced this remarkable report for the British men’s satellite TV channel “Bravo,” as reported here by the BBC.
Human species may split into two
October 25, 2007
Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years’ time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.
Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge.
The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said – before a decline due to dependence on technology. People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.
The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the “underclass” humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.
But in the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.
Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws and deeper voices.
Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.
However, Dr Curry warns, in 10,000 years time humans may have paid a genetic price for relying on technology. Spoiled by gadgets designed to meet their every need, they could come to resemble domesticated animals.
Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect. People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
THE CLASSIC SWEDISH WELFARE MODEL AT WORK
As reported in today’s Financial Times:
System comes under scrutiny as welfare net frays
By David Ibison in Stockholm
October 30, 2007
To say Roger Tullgren likes heavy metal would be an understatement. The committed headbanger used to take time off work whether his boss liked it or not, to go to gigs; he also listened to music the entire time he was at work. “My friends used to ask me to say anything – just one thing – that was not to do with heavy metal, and I couldn’t,” he admitted.
The situation got so bad that, with the backing of his boss, he consulted a psychologist who concluded that Mr Tullgren was not just an ardent rock fan but was in fact addicted to heavy metal – and signed an official diagnosis stating as much.
It was a finding that allowed Sweden’s famously generous welfare system to craft a unique and illustrative solution: as Mr Tullgren was suffering from a medical problem, he qualified for income support.
The government now pays 20 per cent of his salary and he is permitted to listen to heavy metal at work and go to any gigs he likes, as long as he makes up the time later. “For me, it’s great,” said the genial and tattooed rocker.
… Stefan Fölster of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise said: “The welfare system is generous and that gives people a greater incentive to abuse it. Swedes are much more prone to cheat today than they were 30 years ago.”
Thursday, October 25, 2007
MAFIA “PLOTTED TO WHACK GIULIANI”
From today’s (London) Daily Telegraph:
NY mafia “planned to assassinate Rudy Giuliani”
By Sally Peck and agencies
October 25, 2007
New York mafia bosses plotted to assassinate Rudy Giuliani in 1986, when he was a mob-busting federal prosecutor, according to testimony in the murder trial of a former FBI agent.
Mr Giuliani narrowly escaped death after bosses from the city’s five mafia families voted on a 3-2 margin not to hit the future mayor.
Details of the plot – which never took shape – were given to ex-FBI agent Roy Lindley DeVecchio by the late Gregory Scarpa Sr., an FBI informant known as the Grim Reaper, according to the testimony of FBI agent William Bolinder in Brooklyn supreme court.
DeVecchio, 67, faces life in prison for allegedly arranging at least four killings by leaking information to his own informant.
… In the same year mobsters purportedly discussed the hit, the future Republican presidential candidate indicted the heads of the five families in the celebrated “Commission” trial.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
JANE’S: RUSSIAN SECURITY AGENCIES BEGIN TO FALL OUT WITH EACH OTHER
Jane’s, the knowledgeable security and intelligence publication, reports today that:
Russia’s Byzantine security community, so long united in their mistrust of the West and support for President Vladimir Putin, are increasingly parading their rivalries more openly as the prospect of political change opens up new opportunities for empire building and the settling of personal and institutional scores.
On 1 October, three officers of the Federal Drug Control Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Narkokontrolya Rossii: FSNK), including operational support department head General Alexander Bulbov, were arrested at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport by a joint team from the Federal Security Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti: FSB) and the General Prosecutor’s Investigations Committee.
Accused of illegal wire-tapping, protection racketeering and bribe taking, they were quickly arraigned and placed in pre-trial detention. They are awaiting trial and have denied the charges. Viktor Cherkesov, director of the FSNK, promptly wrote a lengthy article for the respected newspaper Kommersant in which he suggested the arrests were actually part of a struggle between security agencies, especially intended to discredit investigators working on the so-called “Three Whales” smuggling case.
This Three Whales scandal first broke in 2000, but was reopened in 2006, with FSNK investigators involved simply because it had become a jurisdictional battleground between police, prosecutors, the FSB and the Customs Service. In Cherkesov’s final confidential report, he claimed several senior FSB officers were involved in smuggling.
Whatever the outcome of the Domodedovo case, it has attracted unprecedented attention to fault-lines within the security apparatus.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
JOURNALISM: THE LOVE OF THE GAME
John Robinson responds to a recent report from Forbes that lists journalism as one of the 21st century’s worst jobs:
“What a crock. The report ignores the two reasons that everyone I’ve ever met in print journalism got into the business: they love the work and they want to change the world.
“I’ve been in newspapers for 30 years, and the pay has always been lousy to mediocre, the hours long and the pressures intense.
“No one gets into it to get rich. It’s tough on the home life. You’re on call 24/7. Does it have to be that way? No, and when I win the Powerball and start a news company, I will change it, but meanwhile, it is what it is. Still...
“You get into it to do something different and exciting every day, to meet fascinating people and to write about intriguing things, and to make a difference by telling people things that are important. It’s a damned exciting way to make a living.”