Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Downer on Lebanon reporting

Again and again, if you want to hear public officials daring to state the uncomfortable (for some) obvious, you have to go to Australia. Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer:

What concerns me greatly is the evidence of dishonesty in the reporting out of Lebanon and the tendency to report every casualty on the Lebanese side of the conflict as a civilian casualty, despite indisputable evidence that many of the injured from the Israeli offensive were Hezbollah combatants.
Via Instapundit

Monday, August 28, 2006

Western guilt and Islamic extremism

From an article by Shelby Steele in WSJ.com.

The West is stymied by this extremism because it is used to enemies that want to live. In Vietnam, America fought one whose communism was driven by an underlying nationalism, the desire to live free of the West. Whatever one may think of this, here was an enemy that truly wanted to live, that insisted on territory and sovereignty. But Osama bin Laden fights only to achieve a death that will enshrine him as a figure of awe. The gift he wants to leave his people is not freedom or even justice; it is consolation.

White guilt in the West--especially in Europe and on the American left--confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don't hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely because the end of oppression and colonialism--not their continuance--forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Jidadists are doomed!

"I hate f__ terrorists!".

This from Son No 1 (aged 21) surprised me for its vehemence. He is not given to pronouncing on the greater questions (save the existence of aliens). Dutifully, I enquired further.

"There's no weed. You can't find a shred. No-one's got any. They've started doing their searches seriously and you can't get any into the country. Everyone's going crazy. And they all hate the f__ terrorists."

(I have suppressed certain modifiers.) This could be the turning point. Thanks to the law of unintended consequences, the Jihadists have brought about a shortage of weed that is warping minds and enraging scallies across the land. There's no telling where it may end.

Reuters - Israeli missile - Again?

This BBC report of the missile attack on the Reuters van is curious for 2 reasons.

1. They report the attack as a fact despite the mounting evidence of fraud in reports, photos and videos from Lebanon and Gaza. For example, the Red Cross ambulance, Beirut burning, Martyr's Crossroad, Lebanese Pietà, Flat Fatima, Green Helmet, etc.

2. Both the photos on the BBC page have been uploaded not as JPGs or GIFs, but as PaintShop Pro files. This is not evidence of tampering, but it is curious. It is rather shoddy practice, if nothing else.

Little Green Footballs has a lot more on this.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Eyeless in Gaza

What a weapon the Jihadists have.

Twenty people intend to use a liquid-based explosive on ten planes. Immediately, millions of people must change their plans and their behaviour all of which involves the unforeseen expense of billions of pounds and the collective loss of years of time. How often will they have to do it to bring about the chaos they yearn for?

Shackled up with utopian delusions, few people can do so much. Unmoveable conviction is powerful. What a shame there is no link between conviction and truth. How easily is rationality banished and replaced with fear and desire, in them and us. This is how we end up where Matthew Arnold imagined us,

on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Hemaplegic delusions - Disproportionate response

André Glucksmann asks some pertinent rhetorical questions. Excuse my highlighting but I want to shout.

On the scales of world opinion, some Muslim corpses are light as a feather, and others weigh tonnes. Two measures, two weights. The daily terrorist attacks on civilians in Baghdad, killing 50 people or more, are checked off in reports under the heading of miscellaneous, while the bomb that took 28 lives in Qana is denounced as a crime against humanity...Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don't count - whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the west? This conclusion has its weak spots, because if the Russian Army - Christian, and blessed by their popes - razes the capital of Chechnian Muslims (Grosny, with 400,000 residents) killing tens of thousands of children in the process, this doesn't count either. The Security Council does not hold meeting after meeting, and the Organization of Islamic States piously averts its eyes. From that we may conclude that the world is appalled only when a Muslim is killed by Israelis.
Tagged: , ,

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Photo Fraud selection

A selection of the photo frauds mutiplying by the day in a slide show with audio. It covers these cases:
Smoke over Beirut
Beirut woman loses home twice
Lebanese Pietà
Hizbollah fighter and "downed Israeli plane"
Photos with touching everyday objects, all surprisingly clean

Tagged: ,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hizbollah - The Opera

Richard North of EU Referendum analyses a series of photos and video screengrabs of the Qana attack. He offers a convincing argument that some of the dramatic shots that graced the world's newspapers the next day were posed by a Hizbollah stage manager and lead actor with a talent for providing the world's media with just the imagery they want.

Over on the Telegraph Blog site, Shane Richmond hits back. Very weakly. He takes one unessential and minor detail from North's argument, shows it is shaky and concludes from this that the whole affair is the over-wrought imaginings of a conspiracy theorist. It is a pathetic rebuttal.

Meanwhile, for more visually literate suffering,

Hurt Dead Man
From a New York Times photo essay, the original caption for this photo read

The mayor of Tyre said that in the worst hit areas, bodies were still buried under the rubble, and he appealed to the Israelis to allow government authorities time to pull them out. (Photo Tyler Hicks The New York Times)
Undeniably, a stunning image with a splendid male torso that sends you back to the Greeks and the infidel imagery of Renaissance Rome. The message, of course, has nothing to do with the Greeks. It has much more to do with those genocidal Israelis, who know no pity and no shame.

Blogswarm. NYT corrects. New caption:
After an Israeli airstrike destroyed a building in Tyre, Lebanon, yesterday, one man helped another who had fallen and was hurt.

One man helped another who had fallen and was hurt! But, of course, he wouldn't have fallen and hurt himself if not for those inefficiently genocidal Israelis.

Lots more here.

(via Dinocrat)

Tagged: , ,

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another one, corrected

A good photo. Spoilt by the truth.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Please stand firm

The start of a letter from Denis MacEoin published in the Jerusalem Post.

Dear Mr. Blair,
I'm writing to encourage you to continue to do your utmost to see a just and realistic end to the fighting in Lebanon, and to support you in your determination to ensure that Hizbullah, an organization with a long history of terrorist activity against Israeli and Western targets, be not allowed to emerge from this conflict still intact and capable of regrouping, re-arming, and, in the end, growing strong enough to accomplish its long-stated goal of destroying the state of Israel.

Let me say, very briefly, that I take a particular interest in this conflict.

I used to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University, but my specialization has always been in Iranian affairs, specifically aspects of Shi'ite Islam. I am also a regional coordinator for the Israel Peace Forum, and much involved in presenting an accurate and nuanced picture of the Middle East conflict as a whole.

I believe that your analysis of a wide arc of terror is entirely accurate, and that failure to act now against the spreading evil of radical Islam may expose this country, its allies, and many other nations round the globe to increasingly severe acts of terror that will shift, given time, to more conflict of the kind now seen in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

I know that international pressure for a cease-fire in Lebanon is intense, and I realize that time must be running out for you and those few nations who have seen the real danger Israel now faces. Please stand firm.
It is quite long but worth reading.

(via Jihad Watch)

Tagged: , ,


Photo of Beirut published and withdrawn by Reuters
Further to yesterday's theme of manipulating the media to magnify the suffering, Reuters have had to withdraw this photograph of buildings burning in Beirut after an Israeli bombing. It turns out to have been crudely photoshopped to beef up the bang.

Reuters had published it with the caption,

"Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut’s suburbs August 5, 2006. Many buildings were flattened during the attack. REUTERS/Adnan Hajj".
How many buildings?

Go to Little Green Footballs for some animated gifs that highlight the touch-up job. There's an article from ynetnews here.

There are also questions being raised about Qana. And yet another example.

Hizbollah in the barracks
And then there is this photo of Hizbollah 'militants' ready to roll. While they are alive, they fight the good fight. When they are dead, they are innocent civilians cruelly massacred by brutal Israelis. More here.

(via Harry's Place)

Tagged: ,

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Speaking of how to win the war for hearts and minds, and the battle for the heights of victimhood, watch this video at Samizdata.

Peace and War

Terry Glavin on straight.com, Vancouver, writes about the Peace Movement.

Things started at a July 18 demonstration in Montreal, when a small group of young Lebanese showed up with a sign that read “Peace for Lebanon and Israel”. They were shouted at and shoved around and driven off. Their sign was torn up. The event then proceeded, with people carrying placards that bore the flag of the fascist organization Hezbollah and pictures of Hezbollah’s rabidly anti-Semitic leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the StopWar Coalition organised a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Their main speaker was Rafeh Hulays, who just after this event wrote to Haaretz to say that he didn't believe in peace and that “There are many monsters that need to be dealt with. Israel happens to be the biggest, ugliest, and most dangerous.”

Glavin points out the obvious.
But this isn’t about peace at all — peace is just code for opposing Israel. This is about war.

Actually, two wars.

One is the just struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, for their own state, and for peaceful coexistence with Israel. The other is an Islamist war against modernity, against liberalism, and, as always, against the Jews. In that larger war, the Palestinian cause is a cover, the Palestinian poor are fodder, and there is no shortage of useful idiots to make light work of it all.
He is right, but it is not the usual idiots that worry me. It's the rest of us, those whose contact with the catastrophe of the Middle East is in the form of news bulletins, or opinions overheard in the pub, or in jokes over a coffee.

My wife was in the kitchen at work the other day when two of her colleagues (old friends these two who have known each other for years) started horsing about. She flicked some water from the top of her glass at him. He was standing by the sink and launched an overwhelming attack of suds and dishwater. She was soaked and protested. He smirked, "The Israeli response."

The Islamists are winning that war for they are seemingly impregnable in the fortress of victimhood. They are victims of the societies that will not save them from themselves. They are victims of a culture they cannot compete with. They are victims of the wars that they have started. In their self-hatred, they have found a like-minded response in the innards of their enemy and so they strike home.

(via Harry's Place)

Tagged: , , ,

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A ceasefire? What then?

As the righteously indignant cry out for a ceasefire 'immediately and unconditionally', what do they imagine is going to happen afterwards? Will Hezbollah turn their Katyushas into ploughshares and settle down to till their fields in peace with their neighbours? Will they hunker down and concentrate on their social work with a little political dabbling in Beirut? Will the Iranians take their rockets, advisors and soldiers and shuffle off to Tehran muttering, 'Well, we tried'?

Wouldn't it just be like what happened the other night when Israel observed a ceasefire only to be attacked with an even greater number of rockets the moment hostilities were resumed? An agreement with Hezbollah that leaves it in a dominant position in Southern Lebanon would merely give it a chance to plan better for the next time. It would give Nasrallah a platform from which to crow victory over the great enemy of all Muslims and would confirm the growing regional power of Iran. The Israelis should not stop until Hezbollah is very badly hurt and incapable of reasserting its power in the area. If Israel achieves that, they will have done the best possible in the circumstances.

It is difficult to see anything of deeper importance being settled. The feeble signs of normalisation that were present before the earlier, Palestinian kidnappings have been crushed. Abu Mazen's moves to force Hamas into a referendum over the recognition of Israel have been swept away in the whirlwind just as the recovery of Lebanon, so bright a beacon in that benighted region, has been smothered and snuffed out. Exactly as so often before. The Islamists have returned the situation to a state in which they can deal with it - on the verge of complete social collapse, desperate so that only desperate voices are heard. Nothing Israel does can alleviate this because the real problem is not theirs. To quote Boris Johnson in today's Telegraph

The real problem in the region is not Israel, but what it represents to the Islamicists who surround it. The difference between Israel and her neighbours is that Israel is a capitalist democracy, with all the freedom and tawdriness that entails. They don't give a monkey's in Teheran about the fate of the poor Palestinians. Israel incarnates everything the mullahs hate, not least the spectacle of liberated womanhood that they find so appalling and so shamingly tempting. Israel provides a focus for the resentment of a Muslim civilisation that finds itself materially and intellectually humiliated by the achievements of America and the West.
Tagged: , , ,

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The sympathetic eye 2

(Continued from this) If we the public insist that Tony Blair (or George Bush) think only of the children (the victims), then we the nation are doomed to lose all power over our fate. It is not that it is a bad thing to think of the children, it is only that others who do not think of the children but rather of their long-term aims will always have the ascendency. They will win; we will lose. That would be be unfortunate for our children and, I would maintain, for lots of others' as well.

Many have commented unfavourably on the influence the media has on the present British government saying that it leads to short-term, headline-grabbing initiatives that do nothing but allow ministers to claim that they 'are doing something'. There is justice in this accusation, especially as regards national issues such as crime and public disorder. One of the bitterest lessons that Labour had to learn in its long winter of exclusion was the importance of Middle England opinion and the influence of the media on that opinion. They have bent over backwards and licked their boots to keep Middle England onside for the last ten years. The Tories have had to relearn the same lesson.

In foreign affairs, however, Blair has usually trodden a very different path, one that put the interests of the country first however difficult it was to sell to the country itself. I admire his bravery and I think him to be right on most of the great international questions. The worry is that the next premier, or the one after that, may adopt the focus group approach to foreign affairs as well as to domestic ones. The ebb and flow of public opinion since the 11th of September have shown that it is swayed as much by sentiment and the need to have a good view of itself as by rational considerations.

The desire to retreat into a cosy cocoon and shut the blinds to the advancing conflagration is the consequence of our comfortable lives and is probably one of the reasons that those on top never stay there for long. A democracy is always prone to the humours of its electorate, and one that has been educated like ours and that is fed the emotionally charged imagery of the evening news is not in a position to make the imposed decisions between a rock and a hard place that may save it. The illusory choices of a pleasant view of oneself or of inaction are often irresistible. I fear our perfectly understandable desire not to be bothered by the intemperate actions of far-away people. But if we who have the power do not act, who will? Whoever it is, they won't do it for our benefit. I fear our desire for a quiet life because in certain circumstances it can lead to nothing better than a quiet and desperate survival.

Tagged: , ,