Friday, March 31, 2006

They're Only Dead Jews

Yesterday, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed four Israelis. Every media account that I've seen, except for those from Israel, said nothing more about the victims. Just about every article did identify the killer. Why does there always seem to be more of a focus on the murderer rather than on the murdered, when it is Israelis being killed?

Thankfully, we have the Jerusalem Post:
Two of the four Israelis killed included an elderly couple - Rafi and Helena Halevy - who lived in the settlement for 20 years. Their funeral was scheduled to be held in Kedumim on Sunday. They are survivied by their four children, one of whom is a Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF.

Another victim was Reut Feldman, a 20-year-old youth from Herzliya who volunteered for national service in Kedumim. Her funeral was conducted in Herzliya on Friday afternoon.

Israel Radio reported that Feldman was on her way from a course in Ra'anana back to Kedumim to work a night shift in the West Bank town, when she was killed by the suicide bomber.

Feldman's aunt revealed that Reut's mother objected to the youth's request to extend her national service by an additional year, for fear of terrorist attacks. Reut's friends told Israel Radio that several months ago she brought her family great pride when she identified a terrorist on his way to perform an attack on Kedumim.

The fourth victim was Kedumim resident, 16-year-old Shaked Laskar. His funeral ceremony took place in the settlement on Friday afternoon.
Follow the link for pictures of the victims. I doubt that you'll find them anywhere else.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Appeasing Fascists

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.
In other words, the threat of violence trumps freedom of expression. Once again, the message is sent that threats work.

An employee at a Borders store sent an e-mail to LGF:
I was shifting rows of books in our religion section and it happened to be that all of our Koran books (a section on its own) ended up on the bottom shelf. The next day I was informed by my General Manager that it is Borders policy as a whole (not my particular store) that due to complaints in the past from Muslim customers, we are not allowed to put our copies of the Koran on any shelf other than the top.

When I heard of this I became so infuriated that the company I work for (and I do love working for it) has caved in to Islamic pressure and is still continuing to do so. I love my job and my company but it does deeply disturb me to see what is happening to it.
Update: Robert Bidinotto posts an open letter to Borders.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Questions About Islam

This column from Investor's Business Daily has been making the rounds today, and for good reason.
What better time for CAIR and other Muslim leaders to step up, cut through the politically correct fog and provide factual answers to the questions that give so many non-Muslims pause?

Generally speaking, those questions focus on whether the Quran does indeed promote violence against non-Muslims, and how many of the terrorists' ideas — about the violent jihad, the self-immolation, the kidnappings, even the beheadings — come right out of the text? But even more specifically:

Is Islam the only religion with a doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates warfare against unbelievers?

Is it true that 26 chapters of the Quran deal with jihad, a fight able-bodied believers are obligated to join (Surah 2:216), and that the text orders Muslims to "instill terror into the hearts of the unbeliever" and to "smite above their necks" (8:12)?

Is the "test" of loyalty to Allah not good acts or faith in general, but martyrdom that results from fighting unbelievers (47:4) — the only assurance of salvation in Islam (4:74; 9:111)?

Are the sins of any Muslim who becomes a martyr forgiven by the very act of being slain while slaying the unbelievers (4:96)?

And is it really true that martyrs are rewarded with virgins, among other carnal delights, in Paradise (38:51, 55:56; 55:76; 56:22)?

Are those unable to do jihad — such as women or the elderly — required to give "asylum and aid" to those who do fight unbelievers in the cause of Allah (8:74)?

Does Islam advocate expansion by force? And is the final command of jihad, as revealed to Muhammad in the Quran, to conquer the world in the name of Islam (9:29)?

Is Islam the only religion that does not teach the Golden Rule (48:29)? Does the Quran instead teach violence and hatred against non-Muslims, specifically Jews and Christians (5:50)?

There are other questions, but these should do for a start. If the answers are "yes," then at least Americans will know there's no such thing as moderate Islam, even as they trust that there are moderate Muslims who do not act out on its violent commands.

Quote of the Day

From Hamas member, and member of the Palestinian parliament, Hamed Bitawi: "The Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration."

Monday, March 27, 2006

More On The Yale Taliban

Malalai Joya, a female member of the Afghan parliament, spoke at Yale last Thursday. She had plenty to say about the school enrolling a former Taliban official.
"All should raise their voice against such criminals," she told a crowd of 200. "It is an unforgivable insult to the Afghan people that he is here. He should face a court of law rather than be at one of your finest universities." The Yale Daily News reported that the large attendance at her speech showed that the former Taliban official "continues to be widely controversial." Last night the Yale College Council, the undergraduate student government, began debating a resolution urging the university's administration not to admit Mr. Hashemi as a regular sophomore in the fall.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Case Of The Afghan Convert

NY Times:
Afghan clerics used Friday Prayers at mosques across the capital to call for death for an Afghan man who converted to Christianity, despite widespread protest in the West.
The case had fueled feelings among many here of a sense of assault against Islam worldwide...
Dr. Mohammad Ayaz Niyazi, an Egyptian educated in Islamic law, who attended one of the gatherings today, said, "There have been serial attacks on the Islamic world recently, starting with insulting the Holy Koran Quran, insulting the prophet of Islam, and now converting to Christianity by an Afghan."
Eugene Volokh:
Trying to prevent people from being killed for their religious beliefs is not an "assault against Islam." It's defense against Islam, or to be precise against a certain strand of Islam that regrettably cannot be dismissed as just some unimportant lunatic fringe.

The Yale Taliban

I haven't posted before about Ramatullah Hashemi, the former Taliban spokesman, who is now a student at Yale. If Yale wasn't looking bad already, this makes it look worse:
A statement from Yale University, defending its decision to admit former Taliban spokesman Ramatullah Hashemi, explained that he had "escaped the wreckage of Afghanistan." To anyone who is aware of the Taliban's barbaric treatment of the Afghan people, such words are offensive--as if Mr. Hashemi were not himself part of the wrecking crew. It is even more disturbing to learn that, while Mr. Hashemi sailed through Yale's admissions process, the school turned down the opportunity to enroll women who really did escape the wreckage of Afghanistan.

In 2002, Yale received a letter from Paula Nirschel, the founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. The purpose of the organization, begun in that year, was to match young women in post-Taliban Afghanistan to U.S. colleges, where they could pursue a degree. Ms. Nirschel asked Yale if it wanted to award a spot in its next entering class to an Afghan woman. Yale declined.

Hamas Will Not Arrest Terrorists

Do they get points for being honest?
Incoming Palestinian interior minister Said Seyam, chosen by Hamas to oversee three security services, said on Thursday he will not order the arrest of militants carrying out attacks against Israel.

"The day will never come when any Palestinian would be arrested because of his political affiliation or because of resisting the occupation," Seyam told Reuters in an interview. "The file of political detention must be closed."
Well, honest to a degree, since "resisting the occupation" includes killing women and children.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A "Moderate Cleric" Speaks Out

Jerusalem Post (AP):
Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity should be killed regardless of whether a court decides to free him.

Diplomats say the Afghan government is searching for a way to drop the case, and on Wednesday authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial.

Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that Rahman must be executed and if the government caves into Western pressure and frees him they will incite people to "pull him into pieces." Four senior clerics interviewed by The Associated Press in their mosques in Kabul agreed Rahman deserved to be killed for his conversion.

"He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.

"The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed."

"He is not mad. The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled," said Abdul Raoulf, cleric at Herati Mosque. "This is humiliating for Islam. ... Cut off his head."

Raoulf is considered a moderate cleric in Afghanistan.

Media Watch 2

Is it just me, or is this a completely inappropriate comparison?
The strong Western response to a threatened death sentence for an Afghan convert to Christianity looks something like a mirror image of the Muslim reaction to the Prophet Mohammad caricatures printed in the European press.

There have been no riots or sackings of Afghan embassies, unlike the violence that marked the uproar in Muslim countries after the Danish cartoons were published, but the shock and mutual incomprehension expressed in both cases are similar.
The subtext is that there is a clash of cultures. Is that all it is, or is it a struggle between freedom and tyranny? We in the West believe in freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc. Islamism is anathema to our beliefs. All belief systems are not morally equivalent. Nazism was not just another belief system as worthy as consideration as any other. It was wrong; it was evil. Islamism fits the same mold. It is today's fascism.

Update: As Matthew M. says in the comments, a new version of this article has appeared:
Western political leaders and the media have reacted with mounting indignation to the news that a Kabul court threatened to impose the death sentence on an Afghan man who abandoned Islam and coverted to Christianity.

Two months ago, political and religious leaders in the Muslim world were rounding on Western European media and governments for printing and defending caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad that they considered blasphemous.

The cases are clearly different. Western leaders from President George W. Bush down have spoken up to save the life of a man whose religious freedom is a universal human right which his judges say is secondary to Islamic law.

In the cartoons case, demonstrators sacked Western embassies in Damascus and Beirut, lives were lost in unrest and Muslim leaders demanded apologies and curbs on Western press freedom.

Media Watch

Did AP make a mistake by referring to Kadima party members as "militants" or are they really equating centrists with these folks?

(Via Israellycool).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

NY Times Watch

I wonder what Nicholas Kristof thinks about this? (I'd link to one of his columns about the Darfur genocide, but he is kept behind the wonderful Times Select firewall). The NY Times has accepted
an eight-page advertising insert singing the praises of the government of the African nation [Sudan], which is widely considered responsible for genocide against its own citizens. The supplement lauds Sudan for facing a “peaceful, prosperous and democratic future,” and, according to criticizes the media for being “focused almost exclusively on the fighting between rebels and Arab militias.”


Here's one from last Sunday:
Bush Marks Anniversary, Never Says 'War'
From the article:
President Bush marked the anniversary of the
Iraq war Sunday by touting the efforts to build democracy there and avoiding any mention of the daily violence that rages three years after he ordered an invasion.

The president didn't utter the word "war."
My inclination after reading this is to ask, "So?" Callimachus delves deeper.

Next up is the Headline of the Day:
Clinton vows to block bill criminalizing illegal immigrants
You gotta love it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Looking Back On Iraq

Andrew Sullivan provides some thoughts on the inadequacies of the administration:
I still find baffling the enormous gap between the stakes the president enunciated and the casual, on-the-fly, on-the-cheap way in which this war was waged. I can see why it might provoke conspiracy theories and paranoia. I have come to the provisional conclusion that it is a function of the president himself. He is interested in the grand idea but utterly bored by its execution. He is also incapable of good management. The more you read about the screwing up of Iraq, the more you see that a lot of it was due to internal administration squabbles that the president was unwilling or too personally uncomfortable to resolve. He seems terribly awkward in the face of complexity and difficulty, of grappling with his own errors, as if he can simply will them away, rather than actually grapple with them.
Then, he illustrates the failings of Democrats:
I found out that John Kerry focus-grouped the question of whether he should bring up Bush's legalization of torture in the presidential debates.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Islam Or Death In Afghanistan

A man who converted from Islam to Christianity may face the death penalty in Afghanistan:
Islamic sharia law proposes the death sentence for Muslims who abandon the religion. Afghanistan's new constitution says "no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam".

Supreme Court judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada said the suspect, Abdur Rahman, was arrested after members of his family informed police of his conversion.

He would be charged with abandoning Islam, Mr Mawlavizada said.

"The prosecutor says he should be executed on the basis of the constitution," Mr Mawlavizada said, who added that Mr Rahman could come back to Islam.

"If he does not ... he will be punished," he said.
Update: Here's a great quote from the trial judge:
"We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him."
Yes, come back to the great, tolerant religion of Islam, or we will kill you.

Three Years In Iraq

The Washington Post reports on interviews of 100 veterans who spent time in Iraq:
What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."
Strategy Page examines the current state of affairs in Iraq:
Most Iraqis understand that a clean, cohesive government is the key to future peace and prosperity. But the cooperation and compromise required to make this all happen has so far eluded Iraqis. American and European diplomats and advisors constantly hover about with suggestions and advice. The key to peace in Iraq is not a military problem, the terrorists and Sunni Arab rebels are beaten. The key to peace is political, and the ability of Iraqi factions to work together.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Falling Man

Michelle Malkin reports on what is possibly the best known, and most moving photo taken on 9/11.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

He Did It For Love

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who is charged with nine counts of attempted murder for his SUV attack on March 3, explains his actions:
The U.S. government is responsible for the deaths of and the torture of countless followers of Allah, my brothers and sisters. My attack on Americans at UNC-CH on March 3rd was in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated by the U.S. government on my fellow followers of Allah in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic territories. I did not act out of hatred for Americans, but out of love for Allah instead.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Disappearing Telegraph Article

Alasdair Palmer wrote a piece for the Telegraph that featured the views of Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, who is warning of the day when parts of Britain will be ruled by sharia law.
'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.
The article was removed from the Telegraph web site for "legal reasons". It was removed from Google's cache. The link above is from Yahoo's cache. Why was it pulled? More here.

A Cuban Missile Crisis For A New Generation?

Graham Allison in the Boston Globe:
As Henry A. Kissinger has noted, a defining challenge for statesmen is to recognize ''a change in the international environment so likely to undermine national security that it must be resisted no matter what form the threat takes or how ostensibly legitimate it appears." Iran's emergence as a nuclear armed state would constitute just such a catastrophic transformation for the United States. But just as JFK refused to choose between accepting nuclear weapons in Cuba or attacking the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis, the challenge today is to find additional options, short of war, to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms.

Summers Over

Jeff Goldstein has a couple of good posts about the resignation of Lawrence Summers at Harvard. The second link includes the full text of the sickening, politically correct introduction to the faculty's no-confidence resolution. (The introduction was removed from the final resolution).

Arson At The Holocaust History Project

Here is part of a press release that doesn't seem to be getting much attention:
In the early hours of March 6, 2006, a fire broke out at a warehouse complex near San Antonio International Airport, causing extensive damage to the offices of The Holocaust History Project (THHP), an organization that has been, for the last ten years, in the forefront of confronting Holocaust denial online, in addition to providing educational materials to students throughout the world. Arson investigators now have confirmed that the fire was intentionally set and are continuing their investigation.

It was just the latest in a series of attacks with the apparent intent to silence THHP. For the past 18 months, the THHP website has been under an unprecedented Distributed Denial of Service attack. This cyber attack began on September 11, 2004, and is being carried out by a specially modified version of the MyDoom computer worm, programmed to target the THHP web server. See the THHP statement:

Harry Mazal, the Director of THHP said, "We have been able to defend our work against these cyber attackers. They tried, but couldn't shut us down. We have strong indications that this arson is the next step in a series of attacks against our educational and scholarly work. Although the fire caused significant damage to our offices, there is no way we will be silenced. Our web site has not been affected, and our work will continue."

While an arson attack such as this cannot be specifically anticipated, THHP has long ago taken steps to minimize the impact of any attacks, physical or virtual. Several mirror sites ensure that even as serious an attack as occurred Monday morning will be unsuccessful in forcing THHP to go offline.
(Via LGF).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Totten In Iraq

Michael Totten visits Biara, a village on the Iranian border that was occupied by Zarqawi and Ansar al Islam before the U.S.-led invasion. Totten explores a mosque that was once the terrorist leader's home:
“Zarqawi destroyed the tombs,” the caretaker said. “He and his men turned this room into a toilet.” He shook his head in disgust at the filthy Islamists who fouled their Islamic shrine. Muslims who say Al Qaeda is not really Islamic may have a point.

“You see that there in the floor?” he said. “That’s where they began to install plumbing.”

I braced myself. “How do you feel about the U.S. bombing this mosque?” I said.

“I don’t know,” he said, as if he had never even pondered the question. “It’s okay, I suppose. I am grateful. If they had not done it this place would still be a toilet.”

Lighter Thoughts

From NY Mets training camp:
Mike Venafro, scratched from yesterday's relief appearance, finally has an explanation for the back discomfort that has hampered his career. The southpaw, whose legs are slightly different in length, has been wearing a one-third-inch pad in the wrong shoe for years - essentially doubling the difference between his leg lengths rather than correcting it. Mets doctors discovered the trouble and are easing him into the proper padding. Venafro was in good spirits yesterday, though he confessed: "I was furious, but what can you do?"

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thoughts On Iran

There are three ways to deal with Iran. Two of these options have been discussed and debated at length in the mainstream media, and in the blogosphere. Negotiations led by the U.N. and the E.U. seem destined to fail to restrain Iran from developing nuclear weapons. A military strike would be risky in many ways.

Christopher Hitchens examines the third option: "Nixon goes to China".
The overwhelmingly young population-—an ironic result of the mullahs' attempt to increase the birth rate after the calamitous war with Iraq-—is fed up with medieval rule. Unlike the hermetic societies of Baathist Iraq and North Korea, Iran has been forced to permit a lot of latitude to its citizens. A huge number of them have relatives in the West, access to satellite dishes and cell phones, and regular contact with neighboring societies. They are appalled at the way that Turkey, for example, has evolved into a near-European state while Iran is still stuck in enforced backwardness and stagnation, competing only in the rug and pistachio markets. Opinion polling is a new science in Iran, but several believable surveys have shown that a huge majority converges on one point: that it is time to resume diplomatic relations with the United States. (The vast American Embassy compound, which I visited, is for now a stupid museum of propaganda. But when one mullah recently asked if he could have a piece of the extensive grounds for a religious school, he was told by the authorities that the place must be kept intact.)

So, picture if you will the landing of Air Force One at Imam Khomeini International Airport. The president emerges, reclaims the U.S. Embassy in return for an equivalent in Washington and the un-freezing of Iran's financial assets, and announces that sanctions have been a waste of time and have mainly hurt Iranian civilians. (He need not add that they have also given some clerics monopoly positions in various black markets; the populace already knows this.) A new era is possible, he goes on to say. America and the Shiite world have a common enemy in al-Qaida, just as they had in Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, and the Iraqi Baathists. America is home to a large and talented Iranian community. Let the exchange of trade and people and ideas begin!
Is this possible? Some of the best ideas sound crazy when you first hear them.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Preacher Of Hate

Fred Phelps is a pastor in Kansas. A large percentage of his congregation is his family.
He describes himself as an "old-time" gospel preacher who says, "You can't preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God."
He and his family have picketed and heckled military families at more than 100 funerals since June. They say the soldiers are fighting for an army that represents a country that accepts homosexuality.
(Via Donklephant).

Pants On Fire

This past November, Saudi Arabia was granted entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which promotes free trade. WTO members have a responsibility to treat all other members equally. Israel is a member. Can you see where this is going?

Jerusalem Post:
Despite a promise made to Washington last November to drop its economic boycott of Israel, Saudi Arabia plans to host a major international conference next week aimed at promoting a continued trade embargo on the Jewish state, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The Post also found that the kingdom continues to prohibit entry to products made in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components, in violation of pledges made by senior Saudi officials to the Bush administration last year.
That's not all.
"Next week, we will hold the ninth annual meeting for the boycott of Israel here in Jidda," Ambassador Salem el-Honi, high commissioner of the Organization for the Islamic Conference's (OIC) Islamic Office for the Boycott of Israel, said in a telephone interview.

"All 57 OIC member states will attend, and we will discuss coordination among the various offices to strengthen the boycott," he said, noting that the meeting is held every March.

The OIC, consisting of 57 Muslim countries, is based in Jidda, as is its boycott office.

Double Standards

Supporters of Israel are quite aware of the different standards that are often applied to Israeli actions. Some accusations of double standards are ridiculous. Is it valid to compare controversial cartoons to Holocaust denial?

There are times when double standards are needed. In our personal lives, we often apply different standards to friends and family than we do to strangers, or to people who we have had conflict with in the past.

Richard Cohen:
The invocation of the term "double standard" is often applied where Israel is concerned. Israel is presumed to have a nuclear arsenal. Why should the United States look the other way at Israel's bomb and go nuts over Iran's effort to get one? The answer ought to be clear: Because Israel has not threatened to blow Iran off the map; because it is vastly outnumbered in a tough, belligerent neighborhood; and because it is the lone real democracy in a region run mostly by thugs.
The Israeli bomb threatens nobody. An Iranian bomb does. India has transferred its nuclear technology to no one. Pakistan has. No one worries about India or Israel making the technology available to terrorists. Everyone worries about Iran doing that. These are distinctions with great differences. They are, as critics charge, double standards, but to apply a single standard to both friend and enemy, while it might be fair, would be singularly stupid.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Thoughts On Foreign Policy

We live in a country with a great deal of diversity. We live in a superpower that does not always know how to deal with the rest of the world. There are a number of schools of thought pertaining to foreign policy. We've got liberals, neo-cons, paleo-cons, and realists.

Michael Reynolds:
We have these different points of view, each of which has a bit of the truth, and each of which includes a fatal virus. We need the liberal’s eagerness to understand, but not the impotent self-flagellation; we need the neo-con’s faith in freedom, without the credulousness and naivete; we need the paleo-con’s reluctance to leap into every fray, without the head-in-the-sand isolationism; and we need the realist’s readiness to occasionally accept moral ambiguity, but without their eagerness to embrace moral blindness.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Advice For Democrats

Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times:
Could a Democrat outmanoeuvre Bush? Think of this as a possible campaign platform: get our troops out of Iraq and Arabs out of our ports. Stop the corporate power structure from depressing American wages and enforce real border control. Invest in energy independence and get the oil from Canada. Bring our boys home and keep our borders safe. Screw the Saudis and their best friends, the Bush family.

Think of it as a testosterone injection for the Democrats — an almost irresistible, if equally irresponsible, agenda to win back control of Congress in November.

Here’s my bet: if the Democrats don’t seize that platform, many Republicans will. And Bush will be powerless to stop them.

Iran Lies, Iran Deceives

The Telegraph:
In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.
How will the IAEA respond?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Totten In Iraq

Michael Totten reports from Suleimaniya, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Iraqi Kurds I met who have been to Iran wanted me to know – and they want you to know, as well – that the distance between the Iranian people and their hideous regime is galactic. I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”
Totten photoblogs his visit to one of Saddam's torture chambers that is now a genocide museum.

Privacy Concerns

J. Francis Lehman has posted a disturbing article. It seems that making a large payment on a credit card bill can get the attention of Homeland Security.
They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast.
(Via Andrew Sullivan).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NY Times Watch

How low can you go? The NY Times prints a human interest story about a member of a terrorist organization:
His family and friends traveled to a rainy checkpoint to greet him, pale and bearded in new black jeans and silvery running shoes, which he tried to protect from the mud.

His daughter, Hanin, 12, was in tears, burying her face in his waist; he lifted his son Basel, 5, a serious boy in a crew cut who stared around him. He hugged his wife, Fadia, brushing his lips along the embroidered brown scarf that covered her hair.

Mr. Barghouti, 39, an active member of Hamas, was released at 5:30 a.m. from Ketziot prison...
Don't forget; terrorists are people, too.