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daily archive: 01/07/2005
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Denial (Of Service) Isn't A River In Egypt
S'kiddiots struck the Hostmatters network again, bringing down some of the internet's most essential websites, such as Discarded Lies and Colt's Eurabian Times.

Also affected were lesser hangers-on, assorted wannabes and various quaint relics such as "Little Green Footballs" and "Instapundit", but their reader, or possibly readers, didn't notice.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Osama's Insurance
There are a few thousand royals in Saudi Arabia that are completely useless. So, if one of al-Qaida's goals is to overthrow the Saudi monarchy, as some analysts believe, then I would think that Osama's Children would have blown up the occasional prince or two by now. So why haven't they? Here's an interesting hypothesis by Stephen Schwartz:
...it comes as no surprise to close and undeceived observers of Saudi reality that dissident Saudi subjects firmly believe al-Qaida enjoys some form of official protection or support from within the royal family. It is often alleged in the West that the Saudi royals buy off the radicals to prevent the destruction of their reign, but other explanations are offered by the kingdom's ordinary residents. They frequently assert that the Saudis play a double game, to prevent either the country's middle class -- the largest in the Arab world -- or the Bush administration from pressing for meaningful change in the most reactionary and repressive state in the world. The message: if the House of Saud and the subsidized Wahhabi clerics who administer the official "religious" ideology are weakened, the alternative to their power may be something inconceivably worse -- the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most feudal, most exclusionary, and most expansionist representatives of Saudi-Wahhabi "desert Islam," i.e. rule by al-Qaida, or pure Islamofascism.

But disaffected Saudis, who support liberal reform, say there could be no regime worse than that under which they live. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women to drive; its religious militia whips women who, in public, violate its extreme rules for bodily covering and obligatory accompaniment by male relatives. The same thugs assault Muslims who fail to observe all their prescribed forms of Islamic observance, and confiscate "unapproved" Islamic religious literature brought into the country by foreign Muslims making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The government interferes with or bans public worship by non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who find themselves on Saudi territory. In the latter case, the burden falls heavily on the quarter of the populace that have come to the kingdom as guest workers, including millions of Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists from South Asia, the Philippines, and South Korea.

Even Iran, Sudan, and Syria are less oppressive. And Saudi Arabia is now bordered by a crescent of Arab and Muslim countries that, although they can hardly be compared with a Western democracy, are more or less normal. From Kuwait through the Emirates to Yemen, women drive cars, and many of them can dress as they see fit; Christian churches and Hindu temples function openly, and Bahrein and Yemen even have small Jewish communities, and synagogues. The examples of such modernized states close by are increasingly tantalizing to Saudi liberals.

Thus, the Saudi kingdom may need al-Qaida to protect itself against the demands of its own people. But Bin Laden's terrorism has other uses as well; above all in Iraq, today, bloody jihad is a safety valve for disposing of discontented youth, and the Wahhabis have always harbored the ambition to completely dominate Sunni Islam worldwide. Wahhabi terror in Chechnya, Israel, Central Asia, and elsewhere serves to mobilize volunteers for this campaign. And Wahhabis despise Shia and Sufi Muslims even more than they hate Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. Nothing on earth is more frightening for the Wahhabis and their royal patrons than the spectre of an Arab Shia democracy on their northern border.

In this context, Bin Laden and al-Qaida, in my view -- and that of Saudi liberal reformers -- serve to protect the monarchy and Wahhabism, and will not undermine it. But what evidence do we have for this analysis, so counterintuitive in comparison with the certainties heard from Western media, academic, and government experts?
Does Bin Laden Seek to Overthrow the Saudi Monarchy?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Nonie Darwish in Israel
Nonie Darwish attended a conference in Jerusalem and wrote about her experience in Israel:
As an American of Arab origin, born and raised in Egypt and Gaza, just being there was a giant step and breaking an Arab taboo to never deal with Israel. The Arab governments that make up the Arab League forbid their subjects from ever visiting, doing business or interacting with Israel or Israelis. Israel has been the "Forbidden Nation" to Muslim and Christian Arabs ever since its creation; even the peace treaty with Egypt did not end the ban for Egyptians.

Because of that boycott, Muslims and Arabs have no idea what Israel or the Jewish people are really like. That boycott also succeeded in spreading lies, misinformation and hatred towards Israel. Having never seen Israelis, Arabs then believed anything about them. Israel is not perfect, but it is time for Arabs to lift that ban and start down the road of reconciliation to normalizing their relationship with that tiny neighboring country. That would be a gesture of good will, if only Arabs were serious about wanting peace with Israel.

An anecdote will illustrate how deep this prohibition runs. Before departing the USA for Tel Aviv, I was asked by several Christian and Muslim-American Arabs, "Are we allowed to visit Israel?" I answered that American citizens, regardless of origin, do not even need a visa and are welcome to visit there. My friends were stunned. Many Americans of Arab Christian origin are still in a self-imposed psychological boycott of Israel, preventing them from fulfilling their dream of visiting the Holy Land. In their minds, they are still forbidden by their tyrants back in their former countries and at home.

I was happy to visit Israel and I encourage all good people, Arabs included, to visit. Israelis are very welcoming and happy to receive tourists. Israel is a country that combines the charm of both East and West. I felt as safe as anywhere. As I mentioned, Israel is not perfect and has its problems and challenges like, or a little more than, other nations. However, I believe that visiting that country, and particularly Jerusalem, is a life-changing experience that will alter many of the misconceptions about Israel being spread around these days.

Let me tell you about my visit.
Read the rest, it's wonderful: An Arab-American Discovers Israel
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The United Nations estimates between 800,000 and 2 million Afghans suffer from a disability.

A quarter were caused by Afghanistan's 25 years of war but specialists are slowly coming to the conclusion that many of the rest result from arranged interfamilial marriages.

"In Afghanistan disability is caused by war, accidents, poverty, diseases for mother and children and forced marriages between cousins," said Parween Azimi, an official at the ministry for martyrs and the disabled, recently.

"Hundreds of families have disabled children for that reason," she said, adding that it remained a highly sensitive subject.

Masooda Jalal, Afghanistan's new minister for women, who is also a pediatrician, said: "More than 13 years ago I remember a survey that said that hundreds of thousands of Afghans were mentally disabled."

According to the survey "intermarriages were the first cause of this disability", she said.
Cousins, forced marriages and blind children
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
A Foolish, Stupid, Greedy Loser

THE two men who stood in the presidential suite overlooking Newark airport gazed through the window at aircraft landing and taking off. They smiled at the prospect of blowing the aircraft out of the skies.

Their conversation was conspiratorial and filled with hatred for the United States. “The Americans are bastards,? said Hemant Lakhani, a Londoner who had flown in the night before from Heathrow.

His host spoke of how he wanted to start a jihad (holy war) by blowing up passenger aircraft across America.

The meeting between Mr Lakhani, 69, an Indian-born Briton who posed as the supplier of ground-to-air missiles, and his companion, who used only his middle name — Haji — lasted for almost three hours and was the culmination of nearly two years of careful planning.

Haji claimed to be acting on behalf of Muslim extremists, originally from Somalia, who had formed a terrorist cell in the United States. He said that he wanted to buy Soviet-made weapons. Mr Lakhani told Haji that with the missiles he could provide, it would be possible to co-ordinate a series of attacks.

“If 15 planes come down at the same time, they will be shaken,? Mr Lakhani boasted.

The handover never took place. Instead, FBI agents, who had been in the neighbouring room listening, poured into the $550-a-night hotel suite to arrest Mr Lakhani.

He was charged with a series of terrorist offences, including smuggling ground-to-air missiles into America. He was also charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorism and with money-laundering.

The trial will open in New Jersey tomorrow, but his local lawyer believes that Mr Lakhani, who has no criminal record or known ties to terrorism, was the victim of entrapment by American and Russian agents working on behalf of the US. Haji, later discovered to be a double agent working for the FBI, walked free.

The apparent success of the arrest was praised by President Bush, who took an unusually close interest. “We got a significant arms-dealer and a dangerous terrorist,? he said. “This is a major step in the global war against terrorism.? His praise was, in part, reassurance to the American people, who had become increasingly paranoid. Yet despite the infusion of $18 billion to combat terrorism and the introduction of tougher laws, such as the Patriot Act, there have been few terrorist convictions in the US.

Far from being a leading terrorist, Mr Lakhani was allegedly, at best, a minor if unscrupulous trader who has failed at virtually every deal that he tried to set up. Henry Klingeman, his lawyer, will argue that he is a victim of entrapment and “if there was any crime committed, it was only because of the extraordinary steps taken by the US government agents?.

In London’s West End rag trade, people who know Mr Lakhani describe him as “more Del Boy than Del Boy?, after the character in Only Fools and Horses. Martin Greene, a businessman who has known Mr Lakhani for 35 years, said: “Everything Lakhani touches has turned to dust. He always had big ideas, big plans and was always working on the ultimate deal. Trouble is, the man’s a complete loser.?

Hemant Lakhani is dwarfed by the prisoners and guards in Passaic County Jail in New Jersey, where he has been held for 16 months. His hair, once neatly cut and dyed black, is now almost entirely white and cascades over his ears.

In interviews Mr Lakhani pleaded his innocence. “I am not a terrorist, and not associated with any terrorist group,? he said. “If I am guilty of anything, it is stupidity and greed. All I wanted to do was to make money, but I got myself into something I didn’t know much about.

“Yes, I said those terrible things. But I didn’t mean them. Haji made me say these bad things. He had a way of opening a conversation for me and then expecting me to say bad words. Haji knew our conversations were being recorded, I didn’t. He played me along to say these bad things because I thought that was what he wanted to hear from me.?

Mr Lakhani, originally from Gujarat in India, arrived in London as a lawyer in 1958. He joined the expanding fashion industry in the West End. In prison he spoke of his connections to “important people and those with real status?.

His life changed, he said, after he was introduced to Haji by a business acquaintance in Dubai in 2001. Although Mr Lakhani claimed not to be an arms-dealer, he admitted brokering a deal in 2003 that involved the sale of 11 armoured vehicles to the President of Angola.

“Yes that is true,? he said, “but that was different, that was as a favour to a friend. I simply brokered that.?

Catalogues of Soviet-made armaments were discovered by Scotland Yard anti-terrorist officers at his home in Hendon, North London, soon after his arrest in August 2003. But he said: “Haji asked me for these catalogues, I got them from the suppliers. I was just trying to impress him.?
I don't care if he was entrapped, the sonofabitch deserves what he gets. What if Haji was for real and fifteen planes dropped out of the sky? About four hundred people in a Boeing, this bastard was getting ready to abet the deaths of 6000 American men, women and children for the crime of getting on a plane. Throw the book at 'im. He's 69 and faces fifteen years, so I'm hoping he dies in prison.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
I married him but do I really love him?
The American public is deeply ambivalent about President Bush as he begins his second term and his approval rating is lower than any recent two-term presidents, a troubling sign for his ambitious agenda, an Associated Press poll found.

Please take note that we are deeply ambivalent. The AP decided that just plain ambivalent does not aptly demostrate the seriousness of this ambivalence.

But thankfully, the brilliant scientists who conduct these polls found the reason for our angst:
The nation's sharply partisan split is responsible for Bush's job ratings.

Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Bush's job performance and Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove — a split found to a lesser extent in the congressional numbers.

Only one in six Democrats say they approve of Bush's job performance, the poll found. In January 2002, six in 10 Democrats approved of the job done by Bush, contributing to an overall job approval rating near 80 percent four months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In January of last year, about one-quarter of Democrats approved of the job done by Bush.
Americans Ambivalent About Bush
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Aircraft Carriers and Other Dumb Things
"See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, theres a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier..."

After which he and many of my Euro collegues laughed out loud.

and then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -

Read it all: Varifrank: Today, I was "Unprofessional"...

Via Marlowe's Shade
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Continual Embrace of Jihad
Saudi Arabia will host an international conference against terrorism in February. How ironic is that?
Whereas the conference’s stated goal is to “eradicate the roots and causes of terrorism,? the Saudi royal family’s government has in fact done very little to pursue this – outside of the Kingdom. The Saudi war on terror has exclusively focused on fighting only the wing of al-Qaeda within Saudi Arabia. As Saudi writers, TV commentators, professors, clerics, and members of the royal family often explain, Jihad is acceptable as long as it is not within or against the Kingdom.

Writing in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh on April 26, 2004, Abdul Waheed Al-Humaid referred to the attacks of that week in the Saudi capitol Riyadh as unjustifiable terrorism. He explained, however, “if there are people who want to wage Jihad and fight the enemy, there are more than a thousand [legitimate] ways to do so.?

Saudi Sheikh Abdallah Al-Muslih, Chairman of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Koran, Sunna of the Muslim World League, and former Dean of Islamic Law in the Saudi city of Abha appeared on Iqra TV on May 20th, stating that jihad - inside the Kingdom - is not allowed. He also addressed the current debate amongst leading Saudi clerics about suicide bombings against U.S. troops. He cited teachings from Islamic history giving precedents to such actions that as long as soldiers from Dar Al-Harb (countries outside Muslim rule) are targeted, “there is nothing wrong with suicide attacks if they cause great damage to the enemy.? Al-Muslih ended by emphasizing, “[When] we speak of [attacks] in Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia…this is forbidden…This is the land of the Muslims. We must never do this in a Muslim country.?
Iraq isn't a Muslim country? Who's getting killed by the suicide bombers if not Iraqis? Read the rest for your weekly dose of Saudi hypocrisy: Saudi Arabia's Terror Conference
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Gere Intifada
A must read Andy Borowitz: Palestinians rise up against Richard Gere
One day after actor Richard Gere released a television commercial in which he ordered the Palestinian people to go out and vote, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip staged a violent uprising against the Hollywood star.

Mr. Gere's commercial, in which he said, "Hi, I'm Richard Gere and I'm speaking for the entire world," infuriated Palestinian militants, who were seen smashing "Pretty Woman" DVDs and shouting anti-Gere slogans throughout Gaza today.

While Mr. Gere's high-handed command may not succeed in motivating Palestinians to go to the polls, it could ultimately foster peace in the Middle East, since many Palestinians now hate Richard Gere more than they hate Israel.

"For years, I thought that Ariel Sharon was the enemy," said Abed Zobaidi, 29. "Now I realize that the real enemy is that 'American Gigolo' bastard."
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