These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 25, 2007.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Home at last, after eight years of hell in a foreign prison
From The Times
It was only the photograph of her granddaughter that kept Snezhana Dimitrova going.
The picture of the little girl were her comfort through eight terrifying years in a Libyan jail, three of them under sentence of death by firing squad.
The 54-year-old nurse had gone to the North African country to pursue her vocation as a childcare specialist.
But after forced confessions arising from alleged torture, including beatings and electric shocks, she was convicted, along with five colleagues, of deliberately infecting 438 Libyan children with the Aids virus.
Yesterday morning on the tarmac at Sofia airport, Mrs Dimitrova tearfully hugged her two children and the seven-year-old granddaughter she thought she would never live to see.
“I waited so long for this moment,” she said as the Bulgarian capital came to a standstill to savour the news.
Within an hour she and her colleagues — four other Bulgarian nurses and an Egyptian-born trainee doctor — had received a presidential pardon.
“I still cannot believe that I am standing on Bulgarian soil,” said Kristiana Valcheva, the nurse accused of being the ringleader of a Mossad plot to undermine Libya.
Bulgarians have asked repeatedly why their citizens were singled out for prosecution. There were other foreign nationals working at Benghazi’s al-Fateh paediatric hospital, which employed nurses from as far afield as France and the Philippines. But when the infection of hundreds of children with HIV was discovered in the 1990s, Bulgarians believe that their country was vulnerable to Libya’s search for a scapegoat to cover up poor hygiene and the re-use of needles.
Georgi Milkov, a journalist who has followed the case, said: “Bulgaria at this time had become a big friend of the US. The Libyans wanted to find somebody from abroad to blame because it much easier to explain in such a society that the problem was coming from Mossad or the CIA.”
More here, including a pen picture of each nurse and doctor and an overview of the history.
Posted on 07/25/2007 2:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Schoolboy guilty of terrorism offences
I can no longer keep track of these young men recruited for jihad and apprehended by police and security services. From The Telegraph
A schoolboy who ran away from home to become a Muslim martyr and three students who recruited him are facing jail after a jury found them guilty of terrorism offences.
Mohammed Irfan Raja was supposed to be on his way to school in Essex when he ran away to join a group of radicalised students in Bradford.
Raja, from Ilford, who was then 17, caught a bus to West Yorkshire as part of a plan to travel to Pakistan for terrorist training.
He left his parents a note which said: "If not in this (world) we will meet in the Garden of Paradise, Inshallah [God willing]. The situation is such that you will live another 30 years, maybe 40 years. When death will befall you, maybe then you will appreciate what I have done now."
A "PS" added that he was going abroad. Raja's distraught parents called the police in February last year.
Yesterday Raja and three others were found guilty of possessing articles useful for terrorism after a three-month trial at the Old Bailey.
Officers found a "profusion of Islamic propaganda" on the schoolboy's computer which showed he had been talking to Bradford University students in a chatroom.
"Irfan Raja was not as firm in his purpose as he hoped he would be, and as the people in Bradford hoped he would be," said Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting.
Raja had been introduced to Aitzaz Zafar, 20, from Rochdale, Lancs, over the internet by a 17-year-old student called Ali, from New Jersey, who was planning to join them.
The court heard how Zafar and Akbar Butt, 19, from Southall, West London, discussed travel arrangements over the internet with a contact called "Imran" in Lahore, Pakistan.
Butt used a computer in Bradford University library to plan a trip to a training camp on Pakistan's North-West Frontier.
But Raja was arrested when he went home on February 26 and counter-terrorism police soon rounded up the Bradford ring, which also included Usman Ahmed Malik, 21, from Wolverhampton, West Mids.
During raids on their homes officers found material on their computers which included al-Qa'eda manuals, speeches by Osama bin Laden and justifications for suicide bombings.
The other members of the gang denied plotting to train for jihad.
The defendants, who had spent much of the trial laughing and giggling together, looked shocked as the verdicts were announced.
Posted on 07/25/2007 2:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Behind the wire
In the wake of the No 10 Downing Street response to the recent petition about the London Markaz, aka the Mega Mosque I took this picture of the site the other day showing the new wire fence that encircles the current buildings.
No 10 says that “Newham Council have confirmed that they have granted no such planning permission or received an application for a mosque as described in this petition”.
I commented that “it is disingenuous to merely say that there is no application for planning under consideration. There is no point in engaging new architects if the intention is to continue in makeshift accommodation for ever. In any event the temporary planning permission for that use expired some time ago.
Things are happening on the site – a new perimeter fence has gone up and machinery has appeared”.
The fence may be solely to keep children away from the rivers edge, or to direct parking (always lots of cars there, and always a white van. I wonder if he reads The Sun?) but it shows an intention to continue to develop use. "Before" picture here.
Posted on 07/25/2007 3:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha
Guidance for Guides, reported in The Times:
There was a time when the essential skills acquired by Girl Guides included semaphore, making beds and lighting fires.
Today's Guides, however, have produced a "guide to living for modern girls" which includes how to master Microsoft Word, assemble flat-pack furniture and making sure they practise safe sex.
Should that be "flat-on-back furniture"? Either way, there's always a screw missing and one that won't fit anywhere.
It is a far cry from past Guiding days, when the only reference to sex was a line in one camp song: "You cannot get to heaven on a boy scout's knee/cos you never know where his hands might be."
There was also a verse that went: "You'll never get to heaven in a Playtex bra/Cos a Playtex bra won't stretch that far/And you'll never get to heaven in a biscuit tin/cos the Lord don't let no crummy ones in."
The move is part of the Guides' attempt to make itself relevant to younger generations. To compile its guide, the 580,000-strong Girlguiding UK polled 1,000 members aged seven to 25 and asked them to draw up the "top skills that every modern girl should have under her belt".
Interestingly, for those over 16, "money management" came first (93 per cent). The next most important skill was considered to be performing resuscitation (85 per cent).
Is that before or after the safe sex? And how long do today's Guides need to practise safe sex before they are perfect and get a badge for it?
Modern Guide badges include Communicator, Computer, Healthy Lifestyles, Independent Living, Outdoor Pursuits, Party Planner, Personal Safety and World Traveller.
Badges from 1957 included Homemaker (lay and light a fire, make beds, make a jam or pickle), Commonwealth (keep a scrapbook about a colony) and rabbit keeper.
Rabbit keeper? That's one way to learn the facts of life in a more buttoned-up age.
Posted on 07/25/2007 4:17 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
So you think you own me
I've always wanted a share in a thoroughbred horse, and now I have one thanks to Gae who presented me with a share of Ogygian for my birthday earlier this month. Handsome steed, this:
Ogygian—from the Greek myth surrounding "Ogygian's Deluge"—is, according to his keepers at Old Friends Stable, "the last son of Damascus, a Horse of the Year and the 16th ranking greatest Thoroughbred of the 20th century. He hails from the celebrated Tartan Farms and was trained by Jan Nerud, son of great Dr. Fager trainer, John Nerud. During his career, the handsome bay was one of the top runners of his generation."
Posted on 07/25/2007 5:26 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
The faux content of no context
Astrophysics, vulcanology, plate tectonics, paleontology: science classes Al Gore seems to have skipped on his way to becoming the prophet of the age. Ditto for most journalists. It's no wonder that thinking people who don't indulge in conspiracy theories persist in questioning so-called consensus science.
Why the fog? A Jacksonian thinks he knows the answer (from a post last year upon which he continues to build):
I have been pointing out the lack of actually putting in context and accountability into 'news' reporting for quite some time going back with my analysis of the 'fauxtography' scandals and moving forward to misreporting and misrepresentation of actual, factual numbers in ways that they cannot be reported by such luminaries as the Washington Post.
I have covered a number of topics on this, such as: global warming, who actually 'made Saddam' and supported him and the actual facts that Congress used to support a war in Iraq, 'sanctuary cities' and the meaning of secession, what a science is or is not and why it matters, 'guest workers' and why they aren't needed, the entire lack of context for NOLA and why it is a fool thing to 'rebuild', Generals with sour grapes making poor whine, what the Preamble of the Constitution actually means in context of that document, what the upcoming disasters are that we cannot stop, the NYT was formed to counter 'yellow journalism' and now is its own shade of 'yellow', using real definitions to actually define what is going on in Iraq, looking at negative numbers out of context rendering them meaningless as social indicators, the media not even *questioning* what it takes to make...well... media, what some have called my call to a 'code of photojournalistic ethics', examining the depth it takes to properly understand how 'fauxtography' and false scenes happen and identify them, why the media reaction to 'fauxtography' is disingenuous, the Washington Post unable to even understand the Federal budget and so making their reporting meaningless, the devaluation by the Media of protests so that it is now mere street theater, why 'armed political parties' are not legitimate, the Washington Post proving that it has no investigative reporters left and is mere partisan attack rag, the lack of real 'police blotter reporting' in Iraq and why that we see is biased, if the media wants to create fictitious news then can we hold them to the standards of fictitious reporters?, how the individual Editor & Publisher put up to respond is flawed BEYOND his admitted creation of past news items, the hard disconnect between any of the 'Elites' and the common man, the entire lack of context on the length of wars, the lack of any context on what running from wars does, zero reporting or analysis of the end-game of al Qaeda, terrorism is illegitimate war *not* civil crime, looking at those things known as 'events' in a time sequence to determine what the strategy in Iraq actually is, how it appears that no one in the Media (not even its grey-headed retired military folks) can address what it takes to make an Army, 'Realpolitik' and how it is out to kill us if we don't let it go, and then the huge summary meme spanking for all of the folks who needed it on 'post-Warism'.
And all of that summed up by the lack of division between analysis, news, the 'story' and facts by the Media.
Read the rest here.
Posted on 07/25/2007 6:08 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
A new style guide for the Wall Street Journal?
Well, this acorn seems to have fallen some distance from the Murdoch oak (from today's NY Sun):
The pro-Israel outlook of the Wall Street Journal and many News Corp. outlets could waver if one of Rupert Murdoch's sons, James Murdoch, takes the helm of the publishing and broadcasting company, a new book suggests.
The just-published diaries of a communications director for Prime Minister Blair, Alastair Campbell, indicate that James Murdoch launched into a foul-mouthed tirade that suggested that the behavior of Palestinian Arabs was justified by their poor treatment by Israelis. The outburst occurred at a private dinner with his father, his brother, Lachlan, Mr. Blair, and others at no. 10 Downing St. in January 2002.
The elder "Murdoch was at one point putting the traditional very right-wing view on Israel and the Middle East peace process and James said that he was ‘talking f— nonsense.' [Rupert] Murdoch said he didn't see what the Palestinians' problem was and James said that it was that they were kicked out of their f— homes and had nowhere to f— live," Mr. Campbell recorded, adding that the News Corp. chairman was "very pro-Israel, very pro-Reagan."
Posted on 07/25/2007 6:52 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Guide to Nowhere
Slate is running a guide to "Islam in America" in conjunction with the Washington Post's series we sampled yesterday.
Here we learn that "if we unreflectively adopt the European view of Muslims as the perpetual "other," we risk making this true," and we'll end up just like Europe with large populations of unassimilable and angry Muslim youths rampaging in the streets and it will be all our fault because of our "attitude."
Here we learn that the reason terrorist organizations recruit among doctors is to purposefully make us suspicious of Muslims. The terrorists want to provoke a backlash, you see, and then they'll have all Muslims on their side and so we better not be suspicious or profile Muslims or anything like that because it will just make things worse.
Here we learn that the reason Muslims aren't joining in with other American polygamists to press for change in the law concerning marriage is that during this time of increasing suspicion in America, Muslims think "championing polygamy hardly seems like a winning strategy." But we learn:
American Muslim polygamists are unafraid of prosecution, and they sometimes seem almost puzzlingly unconcerned with the illegality of their conjugal life. [Muslim polygamist blogger Aneesa] Azeez takes only minor steps to conceal her husband's identity, and only then to ensure his job is not jeopardized. "It's not like everyone is being rounded up and thrown in jail," she says—in stark contrast to fundamentalist Mormons who recall the raid of the Short Creek, Ariz., polygamist community in 1953. Similarly, Senegalese-American hip-hop star Akon casually revealed to a New York radio host in late 2006 that he not only had four mothers growing up but also currently has several wives at home in Atlanta...
And prominent American Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was the first Muslim cleric to ever offer the invocation at the U.S. House of Representatives, was quoted in Paul Barrett's 2006 book American Islam as saying that he performs polygamous unions at his Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y...
Posted on 07/25/2007 8:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Jonah Goldberg's argument on Iraq
—basically, that, as some Secretary of State or other said, we broke it, so we oughta fix it—is nontrivial. It lacks general appeal, though, and is probably a big vote-loser.
I think it quite likely that an abrupt U.S. withdrawal would be followed by some widespread violence, though I doubt it would rise to a Rwanda or Cambodia level of nastiness. There are so many groups willing to do violence to each other that the resolution, once the restraint of U.S. presence was removed, would likely be swift and Darwinian. If it was sufficiently swift, net fatalities might well be less than from another 5 years of occupation. It's a grisly calculus, I agree, but when people are as determined to kill, cook, and eat each other as Middle East Muslims are, there is a case for letting them get on with it—our own national interests duly allowed for, of course.
And the argument that moral responsibility for whatever happens rests on us is not clear to me. Where were our intentions not honorable? At which point during the last four and a half years were we trying to incite Iraqis to kill Iraqis? At which point were we doing anything other than try to help them—however clumsily and sometimes wrong-headedly—to get their act together as a nation? How long do we have to struggle with such efforts before our moral responsibility can fairly be considered to have been discharged?
Goldberg seems to be making an argument of unlimited moral responsibility. I doubt there is a market for that. Most voters, in their everyday lives, feel that if they make a blunder that causes someone distress, there is some finite and proportionate action they can take as recompense. That is the common understanding of moral responsibility. It seems, in any case, to have been the one that American voters applied to the horrors of post-1975 SE Asia. My guess is that they will apply it to post-2008 Iraq likewise.
Posted on 07/25/2007 8:47 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
John Doe Protection Passes
Here is the Press Release from The Center for Security Policy:
Washington, D.C.): The Center for Security Policy is gratified that its efforts, those of innumerable bloggers, radio talk show hosts and other public-minded citizens translated into an important legislative victory late last night. Thanks to the leadership of Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and especially that of Rep. Pete King, Sen. Collins’ counterpart on the House Homeland Security Committee, legislation along the lines of that adopted by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives last May at Rep. King’s initiative will shortly become law.
The language will provide protection against the sorts of harassment lawsuits filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after several unidentified individuals reported six Muslim imams engaged in suspicious – and frightening – behavior prior to boarding a USAir flight in November 2006. CAIR has been identified as a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood and is an un-indicted co-conspirator in an alleged terrorism-financing plot.
Center President Frank Gaffney said on learning of this extraordinary development:
Thanks to courageous, principled and tenacious efforts by key legislators like Rep. King and Sens. Lieberman and Collins, the American people are going to be free to do their part in the War for the Free World – serving as indispensable eyes and ears for those trying to protect us against terrorism – without fear that the likes of CAIR will be suing them for doing so.
We are extremely grateful to these lawmakers and also to members of the Democratic leadership who opposed such efforts, but eventually relented in the face of an outpouring of public demands that the King amendment be enacted into law. We are even more appreciative of the efforts made by all those who helped alert the public to the need to engage so directly and, ultimately, so decisively.
Posted on 07/25/2007 8:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Latest Pew Survey Means Nothing
This survey means nothing, except insofar as it has the ability to mislead and console the unwary. Why? Suicide bombings are now taking place not against the Americans -- who mostly suffer casualties from I.E.D.'s, but against other Muslims, in both Iraq and Pakistan, where they are directed against the government. And there have been other cases in Lebanon and in Saudi Arabia. And it may have spread to the Maghreb. Muslims are well aware of this. They are well aware that suicide bombings may be a threat to them, to their own wellbeing, as they walk down the streets of Cairo or Damascus or Beirut or Algiers or Riyadh.
And they are also well aware of what damage, not all terrorism, but a particular kind of terrorism -- suicide bombing -- does to the all-important "image" of Islam. It is too easy to put into a political cartoon a suicide-belted fanatic. That can be easily grasped by the viewer. A growing number of Muslims obviously feel keenly the public-relations problem, which for them is quite different from moral abhorrence.
Imagine, if you will, that there were no suicide bombs going off in Iraq, or now in Pakistan, or in Algiers, or, here and there, even in Lebanon, or Morocco. Imagine that you are a Muslim living in Doha or Dearborn. If in Doha, you probably don't like the idea that suicide-bombers could suddenly decide that the Al-Thani family has been too friendly to Infidels (it's nonsense), or that the wife of the reigning ruler is a bit too fashionably got up and too "feminist" in her leanings. And these suicide-bombings, you might feel at this point, are something to be discouraged, for they might come to you. And if you are a Muslim in Dearborn, and are keenly aware of the need to lie low for now, and to proceed softly-softly so as tn ensure you have the time to solidly insinuate yourself into the American landscape, not least through constant repetition of phrases about "three abrahamic faiths" and a deliberate emphasis, with which the media plays eager ball, on how family-oriented (you bet!) Muslims are, and what good incomes Muslims make in this country (a sign which we are apparently to interpret as making them more American, Just Like Us, Nearer My God to Thee) and all kinds of other things -- which have nothing to do with the texts or tenets or inculcated beliefs, such as sole loyalty being owed only to Islam and fellow members of the Umma, and a disbelief in pluralism (save where, in countries still controlled by Infidels, such "pluralism" can be exploited to Muslim advantage), individual rights and autonomy (Islam is a collectivist faith; the individual does not matter, and he certainly is not to be permitted the Western ideas of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech).
That's it. Some of those answering the survey of Muslim "opinion" surely have learned by now that they can answer any damn way that suits the interests of Islam, and would naturally wish to put the best face on Islam for the Infidels that they can. So the lying, which we shall primly describe as the "margin for error," only goes one way -- and the size of that "margin" in a culture of lying for Islam must be very large, and certainly can not possibly be estimated in any plausible way.
All such polls of Muslims, when they have at hand a worked-out doctrine of religiously-sanctioned dissimulation (taqiyya and kitman, both of which are ultimately derived from Muhammad's declaration that "war is deception" -- a statement taken to heart over the past 1350 years of Islamic history) are silly. Or rather, they are useful only in establishing the absolutely minimum number of Muslims who might support something hideous. If 29% of Muslims living in Great Britain, for example, reply to a poll that they support acts of terrorism within Britain itself, then one has a base line -- 29% -- and can conclude, with confidence, that at least 29% of Muslims in Great Britain would support domestic terrorism. But that is all one can say. One cannot say, with equal confidence, that 71% of Muslims living in Great Britain are unalterably opposed, or even opposed, to acts of terrorism within Great Britain. One cannot say that those who are opposed to such acts of terrorism within Great Britain are also opposed to such acts in, say, New York or Washington, D.C. or for that matter Jerusalem or Delhi or Bombay.
And the main point is this: is any declared opposition to a particular kind of terrorism -- as suicide bombing -- based on fear that this weapon could easily be used, as in Iraq and Pakistan, against Muslim regimes, and so be a threat, given the nature of the weapon, to the security of Muslim streets in Muslim cities, combined with a worry over Islam's "image" - or is it a principled opposition, to the random killing of non-combatants, and does it extend to Infidels, and if so, to all Infidels, or only those who live in cities where there are also Muslims who might suffer?
Without knowing the answers to these questions -- and polling is an exceedingly clumsy way to find out the truth about what Muslims think (which surely must come from what they are taught to think, in environments in which Islam informs every area of life, in a way that no other faith does or ever has, but that can only be compared, in its overwhelmingness, to living in a totalitarian state, with the ruling ideology that is in the very air one breathes) -- these polls are, and will remain, guides to nothing and nowhere, but -- still worse than that -- will be taken seriously, and misused, in order to prolong naiveté, unwariness, a willful ignorance, a willful refusal to study and to think, about the unprecedented problem of millions of Muslims allowed to live, without anyone having thought much about it, in the countries of Western Europe and North America, and the consequences of that heedlessness, that nearly criminal negligence, that civilizational frivolity.
Posted on 07/25/2007 10:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
British Motorcycle Racing Club GP
at Brands Hatch last weekend. My husband took lots of photos of which these two below are my favourites. Interest was kindly expressed about the technicalities of the photograph of the dragonfly that I posted a week or two ago. I am told S - 1/250 sec F6.3 which I do not profess to understand.
Posted on 07/25/2007 1:54 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Fellow Men of Faith
Jimmy Carter once addressed the newly installed Ayatollah Khomeini as a "fellow man of faith" and on that basis was not as concerned about the overthrow of the Shah as subsequent events proved he should have been.
Now we have the spectacle of Bush and Maliki smoozing by videophone, once again as "fellow men of faith."
New Duranty: WASHINGTON, July 24 — Once every two weeks, sometimes more often, President Bush gathers with the vice president and the national security adviser in the newly refurbished White House Situation Room and peers, electronically, into the eyes of the man to whom his legacy is so inextricably linked: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq.
In sessions usually lasting more than an hour, Mr. Bush, a committed Christian of Texas by way of privileged schooling in New England, and Mr. Maliki, an Iraqi Shiite by way of political exile in Iran and Syria, talk about leadership and democracy, troop deployments and their own domestic challenges.
Sometimes, said an official who has sat in on the meetings, they talk about their faith in God.
“They talk about the challenges they face being leaders,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations. “They, of course, also share a faith in God.”
The official declined to elaborate on the extent of their religious discussions, but said, “It is an issue that comes up between two men who are believers in difficult times, who are being challenged.” ...
Posted on 07/25/2007 1:26 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association U. K.
At the website of the The Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association UK (M.D.D.A. UK) you will find the official self-description of this organization. If you are a patient in the U.K., if you are a citizen or resident of the U.K., if you are a non-Muslim patient in another country which now has a Muslim population, you might wish to inform yourself of the document of which I have chosen to reprint only the first and most important part -- the "Objects and powers."
Take a long look.
The name of the Association is Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association UK (the Association)
2. Objects and powers
2.1 The objects of the association shall be:-
2.1.1. To advance the Islamic religion in the practice of medicine in the United Kingdom
2.1.2. To advance medical education in relation to the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Islamic religion.
2.1.3. To promote research in various aspects of medical science and to disseminate and publish the useful results of such research.
2.1.4. To promote the preservation and protection of the good health of Muslims in the United Kingdom.
Posted on 07/25/2007 2:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
See Dick Nod, Nouri, or, Colour Me Kubrick
As Bush videoconferences with his new best friend Nouri Al-Maliki, new echoes of Dr. Strangelove:
"Hello?... Nouri? Ah... I can't hear too well. But the picture's great. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... yes... Fine, I can hear you now, Nouri... plain and coming through fine... I'm coming through fine, too, eh? And the picture? Can you see me waving? And Dick is waving too, Nouri, can you see that...he's right here beside me, and he's waving too... We're both waving... Good, then... well, then, as you say, we're all coming through fine... Good... Well, it's good that you're fine and... and I'm fine... I agree with you, it's great to be fine... a-ha-ha-ha-ha... Now then, Nouri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with that country of yours... Iraq, Nouri...... The country Iraq, Nouri, your country... Well now, what happened is... ah... well, you know, our people, Nouri, they're just a little funny on the subject...just a little funny in the head, and they don't always understand...just a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... they've gone and done a silly thing... Well, I'll tell you what they've done, Nouri. They've been protesting, Nouri....No, we have to let them, we don't have a choice....That's right, Nouri. No, really, they do have that right....Well, Nouri, I'm afraid they want us to stop supporting your government....Yes, Nouri, your government. They don't like your....No, Nouri, I don't think it is fair. I know you're trying....You don't like them, either, Nouri? I understand. I completely understand....Well, it's like this, Nouri. Some of them think that they don't see why our government should keep supporting your government. If you and the Sunnis...yes, Nouri, the Sunnis. You know...the other ones? Ah...yes, I know it's none of their business. Yes...but they think it is, Nouri.... They think that everyone should use their new-found freedom....What freedom, Nouri? The elections, Nouri. Have you forgotten? The purple thumbs, Nouri? You haven't forgotten the purple thumbs?....And the Constitution. And the referendum on the Constitution. That doesn't matter? Oh, I think it does. We have a Constitution here too, Nouri, and it matters. You don't care about our Constitution? I don't care that you don't care, Nouri, it's important to us...Oh, you didn't mean it that way. Okay, sorry. But what about that freedom, for ordinary moms and dads, Nouri, the freedom, you know, the elections, the purple thumbs, everybody marching? We've all done so much to bring it about, haven't we Nouri? Your people, and my people, together? What's that Nouri? You don't care about the Sunnis? They have it coming to them? They did it to you for a thousand years and now it's their turn? No, Nouri, that's not right. We are both men of faith, aren't we, Nouri? Don't we all worship the same God, Nouri? Just different routes to the exact same destination? No Nouri, I have faith too, just like you. Don't say that, Nouri, that's not nice. Well, let me finish, Nouri... Let me finish, Nouri...Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?... Can you imagine how I feel about it, Nouri?... Don't you think I want ordinary moms and dads to have freedom just the way you do? Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello?... Of course I like to speak to you!... Of course I like to say hello!... Not now, but anytime, Nouri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible is happening... It's a friendly call. Look, let me give you another wave. And Dick -- Dick's waving now too. We're both waving Nouri. Look at us. Both of us, both waving at you from here at the White House. Yes, I can see you are waving too. And the interpreter. Yes, he's waving too. And your bodyguards, yes I can see they are all waving. All of them. It's very nice, Nouri. I didn't mean to suggest you weren't nice, Nouri. Of course it's a friendly call... Listen, if it wasn't friendly... you probably wouldn't have even got it... They will not be able to turn our policy around for at least another few months, Nouri...I am... I am positive, Nouri ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador and with my generals. It is not a trick... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your folks a chance to make compromises, okay? ... That's right, Nouri. I think you should share power with the Sunnis. So you won't have to kill each other. What? You think they won't be able to kill you but you'll be able to wipe them out? You think they've miscalculated the new situation? That's not nice, Nouri. I don't think you should promise to do that, Nouri. Not all Sunnis deserve that, Nouri. What if we give you another hundred billion in mad money? Would that make you feel good, Nouri? Would that make you willing to give the Sunnis just a little something? And a little something for the Kurds, too? Or could we just give it to them directly? Is that all right, Nouri? Would that be....You don't have to get mad, Nouri. I am not insulting the Shi'as, Nouri... No, not at all. I know you've suffered terribly, Nouri. We.ve all suffered, Nouri. We're all suffering because of Iraq, Nouri. Listen, Nouri, I mean i-i-i-if you're unable to come to an agreement, then... I'd say that, ah... well, ah... we're just gonna have to stop helping you, Nouri....I know you need them, Nouri.. But they're our boys...and our planes, and our equipment. And our money.... C'mon Nouri, be reasonable. Dick, right now, is nodding, Nouri. Look at him nod. See Dick nod, Nouri. He agrees with me, Nouri. Everyone around this table is nodding, Nouri. We all agree. No, Nouri we don't owe it to you... No, Nouri, I don't agree with that columnist who wrote that "we broke it and we have to fix it." You know, Nouri, how broken it was before we came. Yes, you do. You know who persuaded us that everything would be fine if we got rid of Saddam Hussein, don't you Nouri? Nouri, do you know that another Iraqi who knew you in Syria reported last week that you've been boasting about how you supposedly tricked us into getting rid of Saddam? You never heard of that before, Nouri? You don't know the fellow at all? But he always was the biggest liar you ever knew? Oh, Nouri, don't tell me that. Don't try to trick me, Nouri. I wasn't born yesterday, Nouri. I'm the President of the United States. I'm the most powerful man in the world. And Dick, right here, he is Vice-President. So that means he's the second most powerful man in the world. Don't try to tell us that we have to stay longer or give you planes and tanks and night-vision goggles, Nouri. Don't tell us that. Don't tell us it is something we have to give you, or else...Stop talking like that, Nouri. That's not nice....Of course we won't leave till you tell us we can go. No, not in Iraq either. Promise....Okay, can you calm down? Did you calm down? ....Yes, I know it's a religion of peace, Nouri....Yes, and tolerance. Peace and tolerance, Nouri...Both together, yes, Nouri....No, I won't forget that for a minute, Nouri. I promise. Not for one minute.... Okay, are you calm, now? Nouri, can you please calm down? ....All right, we'll listen now. Who should we call?... Who should we call, Nouri? The sheiks at Al-Azhar? Al-Qaradawi...? Someone in Saudi Arabia? Nouri, are you definitely a Shi'a?... Why do I ask? Well, Nouri, I think it matters, doesn't it? Not sure, but I think you guys have some differences, isn't that right, Nouri? I just wanted to be sure. You know, in case you guys in Iraq decided you wanted to fit in with the other Arabs and become Sunnis...Wouldn't that just make things easier for everyone, Nouri? For you, for me, for Dick, for the Arab League, wouldn't it? ...You tell me, Nouri. You tell me what I should think you think...whatever you say goes...No, Nouri, I am not making fun of you. Believe me, Nouri....Nouri, listen, in these things you're the boss, okay? ...Oh, yes I should have known. Right, our new ambassador in Iraq, Crocker, he's on your side, isn't he? And General Petraeus, you know he's with you... Right, Nouri, hearts. And minds. Yes, you're right. He is the one who said that insurgencies last on average ten years. And this one is not even five years old. Yes, you are right, Nouri. Your arithmetic is right. So you should have five more years. Yes, I do know about algebra, Nouri, Yes, I know the Arabs invented mathematics. Yes, and optics too, Nouri.. Optics, I said optics, Nouri. Yes, and all of science. It's all in the Qur'an. I know about the greatness of the Arabs, Nouri. I just forgot. Sorry. I should have known....No, Nouri, I'm not being sarcastic....No, Nouri....Nouri, does that mean all Shias over there are just like the ones in Iran? No? So you're different. You wear ties and they don't. What's that got to do with it? Oh, I see. That's good, Nouri. That's very good. Glad to hear it, Nouri. That takes a big weight off my mind. And Dick, too, he's smiling now. Can you see Dick smile? It's a big weight off Dick's mind, too, Nouri. He's glad you are different Shias from those other Shias in Iran. Those guys are mean. Glad to know you're different. We didn't realize about the tie thingy.....No, I'm sorry, Nouri, I didn't mean any disrespect. Just trying to figure it all out.....Yes Nouri, it is complicated for us here.... Why does it matter? Well, you tell me, Nouri. Does it matter? Should it matter, Nouri? Should I think it should matter? I mean, do you get arrested and maybe executed if you are a former Ba'athist or a Sunni or just if you are a former Sunni Ba'athist?...What's that, Nouri? Oh, it doesn't matter? Not the least little bit? Not even the teeniest little bit? Same punishment? Gosh, Nouri, you guys really take it seriously, don't you?... No, Nouri, I didn't mean that. No, Nouri, I didn't mean to insult you. It's just that I didn't realize.... No, It's fine...Yes, Nouri. Yes, I apologize. I sincerely apologize. I won't say that again....No, Nouri, I'll never do it again...How sincerely, Nouri? Very sincerely, that's how sincerely...Is that alright?... No, the Vice-President won't either. No, I can guarantee it, Nouri. I promise, Nouri...Yes, Nouri, I'll have him call you on the video hook-up later and tell you him...Of course not...Yes, I know how you feel... No one in the American government will ever ever make fun....uh, you, sorry, your picture faded away for a minute there... Here you are again. See you just fine now. Here, I'll wave to you, Nouri. Wave back. That's right. You look good, Nouri. Been jogging? You don't jog? It's too dangerous in the Green Zone right now? Oh, I see. Sorry, I had no idea. So what's the best person to call about getting this whole compromise thing going with your Sunni brothers, Nouri...? They're not your brothers? You hate them, Nouri? They have to call you and beg to be allowed to stay in Iraq, Nouri? They have to apologize for everything they've done in the last 1350 years. And especially since modern Iraq was founded? Uh-huh... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you of Moqtada al-Sadr?... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Baghdad information... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm... I'm sorry, too, Nouri... I'm very sorry... All right, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well... I am as sorry as you are, Nouri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are... So we're both sorry, all right?... All right."
Posted on 07/25/2007 3:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Veil row woman must wear tag
MUSLIM woman at the centre of controversy after she insisted on wearing a veil in court has been ordered to wear an electronic tag.
Mother-of-five Zoobia Hussain 32, has been put under strict curfew for four months, given a six months' community order, and told she must pay £500 compensation for causing criminal damage to a housing association property from which she had been evicted.
At Manchester Magistrates Court, District Judge Diana Baker told her the curfew and tag were an `appropriate restriction' for substantial and deliberate damage.
At an earlier hearing, magistrate Ian Murray walked out after refusing to deal with Hussain because she wore a full-face veil.
At Hussein's resumed trial, she was allowed to give evidence behind a screen so nobody but the judge could see her face.
And at her sentencing, she again appeared in her niqab, which covers all her face except the eyes.
Judge Baker said she was convicted `after a long day's trial' - and.as she had a conviction for harassment, she could not be treated as a woman of previous good character.
She was told if she breached the 7pm to 6am curfew `you will be arrested... and there is a real risk of custody'. I didn’t think niqabed women went out after dark, or on their own.
Hussain, of Saddlecote Court, Crumpsall, was found guilty of causing criminal damage in January after housing officers evicted her from her former home in Longsight, for rent arrears.
The judge ordered the £500 should be deducted at £5 per week from the benefits she receives.
There is scant sympathy for her in the comments.
Posted on 07/25/2007 4:36 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Veil woman gives photographers identity dilemma in court 'snatch'
A case which centred on a Muslim woman who appeared in court wearing a full-face veil presented an interesting dilemma for photographers at the Manchester Evening News - who had to ensure that they 'snatched' a picture of the right person.
The woman, who was charged with criminal damage, made headlines after a magistrate refused to deal with the case against her because of concerns about her identity.
And the unusual situation also gave snappers from the MEN a challenge, who were keen to get a photograph of the woman despite being unable to see her face - and without risking a picture of the wrong person being published.
And with a little bit of work they did just that (left), waiting outside her house and then calling out her name and making conversation with her when she emerged.
MEN picture editor John Jeffay said: "Obviously we were unable to show her face, but we wanted to give readers an idea of what a niqab or full-face veil is and how she appeared. It is an interesting question to ask what would have happened if it wasn't her."
Posted on 07/25/2007 4:46 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax