discarded lies: sunday, april 22, 2018 6:52 pm zst
woe is we
daily archive: 02/18/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Exorcists
A Vatican-recognized university is offering a course in demonic possession and exorcism to help priests understand more about the occult. The class, the first of its kind, offers instruction in Satanism and the occult by exorcists, psychologists and a police criminologist.

My first thought of course, being the religion-hesitant person that I am, was "possessed" people are in dire need of psychiatric help. But since when does psychiatry have all the answers?
The class debuts as an Italian court prepares to try eight people believed to belong to a Satanic sect for their alleged role in three ritual killings. Sect members belonged to a heavy metal band called "Beasts of Satan."

One of the victims was a 19-year-old stabbed to death in 1998. She may have been targeted because her killers believed she was a personification of the Virgin Mary, prosecutors allege. Another victim was shot last year and buried alive.

Beyond the violence, Italian officials are concerned about young people who develop personal forms of Satanism, outside the sects closely monitored by police. They often learn about the devil through the Internet.

"It's a more spontaneous and hidden phenomenon, a problem of loneliness and isolation, a problem of emptiness, that is fulfilled by the values of Satanism," said Carlo Climati, an author who will teach a course on the devil's lure to young people.

The class at the academy — run by the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative order — drew both Italians and foreigners. Rev. Christopher Barak, who came from the Lincoln, Neb., area at his bishop's request, senses a renewed concern about the devil among Roman Catholics.

"In the '60s and '70s, people got away from that," Barak said. "Even theologians said, 'No, the devil is just a myth.'"

The course ends in April with the culminating lesson: "Testimony of an Exorcist." Two of Italy's some 400 exorcists are to tell their stories.

Widely accepted signs of possession — some of which were depicted in the 1973 movie, "The Exorcist" — include speaking in unknown tongues and demonstrating physical force beyond one's natural capacity. In 1999, when the Vatican issued its first new guidelines since 1614 for driving out devils, it urged priests to take modern psychiatry into account in deciding who should be exorcised.

The updated exorcism rite, contained in a red, leather-bound book, was a reflection of Pope John Paul II's efforts to convince the skeptical that the devil is very much in the world. At the time, he gave a series of homilies denouncing the devil as a "cosmic liar and murderer."

A former papal aide, the late Cardinal Jacques Martin, wrote in his memoirs that John Paul performed the exorcism rite in 1982, on an Italian woman who was screaming and writhing.

Priests Get Refresher Course on Exorcisms
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kianb in Discarded Lies:
How South African Sasol firm sold WMD chemicals to Iran
Here [reg. req.], from a local South African news site:
A Sasol group company, African Amines, has illegally exported chemicals to Iran that could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons.

This emerges from a plea bargain agreement in the Durban Regional Court, struck last November, which appears to have saved the multibillion-rand petrochemical company from international embarrassment.

As part of the plea bargain, African Amines — based in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal — was ordered to pay a R100 000 fine for contravening the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act.

Among the reasons why the company got off lightly was that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) accepted in the written plea agreement that the chemicals were exported “in the ordinary course of business to commercial end users" and that they “were not supplied to a military or terrorist entity for use as chemical warfare agents".

However, this is partly contradicted by information that the Iranian company which received the chemical consignments from African Amines, has sparked proliferation concerns abroad.

The company, Sasadja Moavenate Bazargani, has reportedly been listed by the German government as “a risky end-user". A Japanese government website includes the firm on a weapons of mass destruction end-user watch list relating to missile proliferation concerns.

John Black and Associates, a global trade consulting company, advises clients on its website to screen their transactions against the Japanese government’s end-user watch list.

It is not known whether the NPA knew this when it entered into the plea bargain.
Sasol is a global player, with a market capitalisation of well over R55-billion. The company is listed on both the JSE Securities Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

The revelation that a company in the Sasol group illegally exported sensitive chemicals to Iran may complicate the company’s relationship with Western investors, particularly in United States, which brands Iran a “rogue state" and accuses it of having a covert nuclear weapons programme.

Iran, which has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, admits a civilian programme, but denies military intent.

The South African government subscribes to non-proliferation treaties relating to weapons of mass destruction. According to the plea agreement, “the sincerity of the South African government’s undertaking in [this] regard is monitored by the United Nations and bodies created under its auspices".

Last September a South African and two foreigners resident in South Africa were arrested in Gauteng for allegedly conspiring to supply nuclear equipment to Libya. The matter is before the courts and has attracted much publicity.

The case against African Amines was brought before the Durban Regional Court two months later, but without the attendant publicity because a plea bargain had been struck. Sasol’s relationship with African Amines was not reported at the time.
Sasol’s website states that it owns a 50% stake in African Amines. Company registration records show that Sasol is represented on the board. The remaining shares are held by a company called Air Products South Africa.

African Amines, according to Air Products’s online newsletter, is “Africa’s only producer of alkyl amines such as methylamines and iso-polyamines, which are used in the explosives, water treatment and agrochemical industries".

The charge against African Amines — to which the company pleaded guilty — is that it knowingly exported 120 tonnes of a substance called dimethylamine to Iran in March 2003 without a permit issued by the Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Another 12 tonnes were exported to an Australian company, Tennant Limited, in May 2003. Tennant is a public corporation with business interests in the supply of raw materials and fertilizers to companys. It has an ISO 9002 quality assurance accreditation.

Dimethylamine can be used in agricultural herbicides, but is also used as a precursor in the chemical warfare agent tabun. The latter is a nerve agent with which South Africa’s own “Dr Death", Wouter Basson, experimented.

The plea agreement states that African Amines contracted with the Iranian and Australian companies to export the consignments before it was listed as a substance that needed an export permit from the non-proliferation council. But it was listed before the actual exports took place. Although African Amines was aware of this, and began moves to obtain a permit, it exported without one.

However, the impetus for a prosecution did not come from South Africa. The plea agreement states that: “Knowledge of the two exports came to the attention of a foreign state with which the republic has bilateral agreements. This resulted in a formal complaint being lodged with the republic’s Foreign Affairs Department."
At the time of going to press, it was not clear which country blew the whistle.

Another Sasol subsidiary, Sasol Polymers Germany, is involved in a $900-million (about R5,4-billion) joint venture with an Iranian state company to build a petrochemical plant. It is due to come on stream late this year.

Sasol spokesperson Johan van Rheede said: “The goods were exported in the ordinary course of business to commercial end users. The goods were not supplied to a military or terrorist entity for use as chemical warfare agents."

Please, add South Africa to the list of the countries that support terrorists!
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Converting the Jews
Whoa, where to start...Let me have a shot of cognac here...Ok, first of all, why are some people so intent on converting Jews? Did they run out of Africans? And what is this: "If you are really a Jew in your heart and study the Word of God, you’re supposed to run to Jesus." Um...wouldn't that mean you wouldn't be a Jew any more? Is this replacement theology? And what the heck is a Messianic Jew?

Sorry, I'll try to make some sense here: Meno Kalisher is a Southern Baptist who leads the Jerusalem Assembly House of Redemption in Israel. While noting that he's enjoying total freedom of religion in Israel, he complains that Yad L'Achim, an Orthodox Jewish group that he calls "anti-Christian," is harassing him and his congregation.

Messianic Jews persecuted in Israel, seen as impure

Yad L’Achim, which operates from a combination of private and government funds, sees its mission as preserving the spiritual purity of the Jewish people by fending off the advance of Christianity, Kalisher said.

Yad L’Achim believes that when Jewish people place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they are effectively “killing the Jewish nation," Kalisher said. “It’s taking the souls of the Jewish nation into idol worshiping. They believe that what we are doing is eliminating the Jewish seed. And they really feel ... that they are keeping the purity of the nation."

Yad L’Achim views evangelistic efforts among Jewish people as tantamount to spiritual genocide and believes that Jewish evangelism must be stopped by any means necessary, Kalisher said.

The views of Yad L’Achim are incorrect, he noted, because a Jewish person who studies the Old Testament should realize that Jesus is the culmination and the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. Rather than killing Jewish religion, belief in Christ takes Jewish faith to its logical extension, he said.

“To believe in Christ Jesus is really to behave like a biblical Jew," Kalisher said. “Not to believe in Jesus as Savior is admitting that you really did not study the Law and you didn’t really understand it .... If you are really a Jew in your heart and study the Word of God, you’re supposed to run to Jesus.
He also believes that American Christians "should make sure that any funding they send to Israel is not being used to advance causes that are antithetical to the Gospel."
Sometimes I’m amazed that Christian groups ... will donate money to build synagogues," Kalisher said. “I really ... cannot understand that. I’m not saying they should hate these [Jewish] people. They should pray for them to be saved."
I need more cognac, somebody...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Cassock They Wear
The church scandal that erupted last month in Greece, has shaken the country to its core. There's been mounting criticism and suggestions of stripping the church of its status as the official state religion, something almost unheard of in a country where church and politics have seldom been separate.

Internal church scandals are nothing new of course, and the sexual escapades of priests, frankly bore me. But this goes much deeper than that. There are allegations that the election of the patriarch of Jerusalem was influenced. If that's the case, then the Greek Church has purposefully sown more hatred in the Middle East by helping elect a patriarch who supports suicide bombings, blames Jews for deicide and advocates the destruction of Israel.

It's high time for separation of church and state in Greece. It would take changing the constitution, and I'm all for it.

Read the whole article after the jump.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Will W Put His Money Where His Mouth Is?
My guess: yes. But this Egyptian human rights activist, Saad Eddeen Ibrahim, has good reason to doubt Bush's word so far. An Egyptian MP who was sharply critical of Hosni Mubarak's slow-motion ruination of Egypt to that strange harpy Madeleine Albright was stripped of his parliamentary immunity, arrested by the Egyptian mukhabarat, and his home and party headquarters raided, and the state-controlled media immediately began an orchestrated, vicious vilification campaign. Sound a bit like totalitarianism? Now he's in solitary for 45 days. The best part is that the author highlights how Mubarak's near-total destruction of Egypt's civil society and trampling of the people's right to voluntarily associate-the only kind of force that could present a viable and formidable alternative to Islamists-is excused and explained away by Westerners and regime apologists alike as necessary to keep Islamists in check. Actually, it's provided the Islamists with a competition-free environment.
Questions for Mubarak
Last month former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright visited Egypt on a fact-finding mission for the Council on Foreign Relations. While there, she met with officials and civil society leaders, including an opposition member of Egypt's parliament, Ayman Nour, who heads a new political party called El Ghad, or Tomorrow. In his assessment of the situation in Egypt, Nour was sharply critical of President Hosni Mubarak's failing policies.

Shortly afterward -- as soon as Albright and company had left -- the parliament met in emergency session to approve a government-sponsored motion stripping Nour of his parliamentary immunity. Minutes later, as he was leaving the parliament building, he was arrested by members of the notorious State Security Agency. His home and party headquarters were raided and searched, and computers and many of his papers were seized.

In the days that followed, the state-controlled media competed in denouncing Nour, calling him a crook and accusing him of forgery and of lying about the membership of his party. The state security prosecutor ordered him held in solitary confinement for 45 days.

As I followed this story from the United States, I was vividly reminded of my own arrest and detention at the hands of the same state security forces five years ago. At midnight on June 30, 2000, more than 30 armed agents stormed into my house, arrested me and carted away personal computers, family property and personal papers. Twenty-seven of my research associates at the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies were also rounded up. All of us were detained without bail for 45 days. Again, the state-controlled media had a field day with character assassination -- I was alleged to have embezzled millions of dollars, spied for foreign powers and -- just as now with Ayman Nour -- to have defamed the image of Egypt abroad.

It took three years, two sham trials before state security courts and one real trial by Egypt's High Court of Cassation before all 28 of us were finally acquitted of all charges. In our highly publicized case, the ultimate High Court ruling contained a sharp reprimand to the Egyptian investigative authorities for having fabricated the case. It went even further, and certainly beyond the call of judicial duty, to criticize the political arrangements that give inordinate power to the presidency.

Why does the Mubarak regime continue to resort to these heavy-handed tactics against its peaceful opposition? Here is an attempted answer. Over nearly a quarter of a century, it has perfected the art of scare politics, at home and abroad. Those in Mubarak's regime argue that if he allowed democratization to proceed unchecked, with fair and honest elections, Islamists would undoubtedly take over.

None of his Western listeners ever answer this argument with some very pertinent questions: What, Mr. Mubarak, have you done to preserve the popularity of non-Islamist forces in the country? What has your regime done with more than $100 billion in foreign aid and remittances from Egyptians working abroad? Why has Egypt's ranking during your rule steadily worsened on every development index -- from that of the U.N. Development Program to the World Bank to Freedom House? And why does Egypt now rank with Russia, Syria and Nigeria among the most corrupt countries in the world?

Isn't it these dismal failings that feed popular discontent and contribute to the Islamists' growing numbers? And isn't it Mubarak's repression of secular civil forces that has kept the field empty for the Islamists in Egypt, where there are now more than 100,000 mosques where they can freely preach their message -- but only a handful of registered political parties and human rights groups?

Recently, as calls for political liberalization mounted from pro-democracy activists such as Ayman Nour and from the Group of Eight initiative for the Middle East, Mubarak has geared up his propaganda machine. The newspapers and newscasters now repeat endlessly the argument that economic reform and a settlement of the Palestinian question must take precedence -- as if a choice has to be made between these things and a genuinely democratic government for Egypt. (Lately Mubarak has added Iraq to this priority policy list.)

The free and fair elections in Iraq and Palestine, which would have to be regarded as premature by this standard -- both countries are, after all, under military occupation -- must have come as something of an embarrassment to Mubarak.

Western countries owe Egypt's budding democratic movement their attention and support. I was dismayed by the faint "we take note'" reaction of State Department spokesman Richard Boucher to Nour's arrest and the trumped-up charges against him. There are hundreds of dissidents like Nour in Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia -- the three countries that are at the hard core of Arab authoritarianism.

President Bush has repeated that the United States will stand by those who work for freedom in their countries. Scores of courageous Arab dissidents have taken a stand for freedom, and many face pending trials or have spent years in prison. But the United States has yet to be heard from in their defense.

What we have so far from George W. Bush is fine language in his inaugural and State of the Union speeches. That message was loud and clear. The credibility of the messenger is what is still in doubt.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Historical resonance and the clash of civil wars
The idea that the slaking of man's spiritual thirst can redeem acrimoniously-debated wars and better root their legitimacy in the popular imagination is powerful.

It's called the Civil War, the War Between The States, the War of Northern Aggression. The terrible War that rent this nation apart and soaked its soil in blood from 1861 until 1865, killing 620 thousand Americans and maiming 50 thousand survivors, will always be remembered in two different traditions, both true. One called it a war over states' rights and one called it a war to liberate men from slavery. It started as one, but became more legitimate in the eyes of both contemporaries and history's judgment when it became the other. With the war going poorly and in some of the darkest days, Lincoln expressed an amoral stance towards slavery in his official role as President:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
But the official pretense of amorality was self-admittedly colored by a personal preference (and a lifetime of writing and speeches) that indicated his fierce desire to liberate men. Still, the formality of pretending that the war was about the Union had to be observed at the start. Yet 1862 was the same year that Julia Ward Howe's The Battle Hymn Of The Republic was first published in Atlantic Monthly (and it was the best $5 that magazine has ever spent). Penned to replace a song called "John Brown's body", sung by Northerners in admiration of the white man who gave his life to free slaves and by Southerners in rejoicing at his death, it quickly became the North's rallying cry. When it was first performed in front of Abraham Lincoln he had tears in his eyes and said "Sing it again!", and they did. The character of the war quickly transformed into a moral crusade, and what could have been another grubby, bloody, senseless war became the American people's Iliad, an epic myth that defines us as a people. So it's no surprise to me to realize that there are many echoes of our Iliad with the situation in Iraq today.

Like the Civil War, the Iraq war was falsely premised on a formality-in Iraq's case, weapons of mass destruction. Perusing the actual words spoken to precondition Americans for the war shows that liberation was always a preoccupation of the Bush administration, just as it was for the Lincoln administration. But the spiritual thirst to liberate nations wasn't fully formed yet; and the practical necessity of obtaining an 18th Security Council resolution to ensure the political survival of our ally, Tony Blair, meant that we emphasized the weapons of mass destruction argument in order to make it seem like prudent self-defense, nothing so embarrassingly gauche as a war of popular liberation, no sir.

Meanwhile, like landed Southern gentry profiting off the sweat and blood of slaves, the European nations were arrayed in fierce opposition to us, because they were all profiting off their obscene role as fat middlemen in the impoverishment and chains of the Iraqi people, and the enrichment of the tyrant.

Like the Civil War, opponents of the liberation are arguing from a position of states' rights and sovereignty (how dare we violate Saddam's sovereignty? How dare we deny the States their right to decide who is a slave, or their right to secede from the Union?) while advocates see it as besides the point because the moral fury of the liberator in the face of the slaver can't be stared down, and can't be intimidated.

Like the Civil War, the religious fervor of liberation has come to color the conflict. As Americans bask in their successes in Iraq and Afghanistan (and to a lesser extent Ukraine and Palestine), success has emboldened the reelected President, who, flush with a great popular mark of legitimacy-reelection with greater margins and even coattails-reacts, when faced with an Iranian WMD threat far more potent than Iraq ever threatened to pose-actual nuclear weapons-is preaching freedom, dignity and self-determination of peoples, in his Inauguration and State of the Union speeches and subsequent press conferences. The sense is of a positive agenda of liberation rather than a negative one of self-defense. The two are uniquely intertwined because the security of America depends on the continuing spread of freedom; still, the change in emphasis is marked and notable, and I think it means something. The American people have once again tasted the spiritual power of freeing the oppressed and we are intoxicated; as The Battle Hymn Of The Republic has it, "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free".

This is why I consider Iraq to be a battle in a war that is, essentially, the American Civil War resonating across centuries; we're exporting our long-dormant, but never-forgotten and often-retold Civil War to the entire globe in the form of liberation. In the same way, Saudi Arabia is exporting its live civil war to the entire planet in the form of terrorists and Wahhabi ideology. Both are spiritually tinged; Americans have a spiritual thirst to free men and give them the equality of dignity before each other that we believe the Creator has bestowed upon them, and avenge the wrongs done to them by petty tyrants. The Wahhabis have a spiritual thirst to conquer lands and peoples for Allah and impose the radical equality of brothers that Islam promises all men, while avenging the wrongs done by the great infidels, America and Israel. The similarity is superficial, of course-Salafist/Wahhabi Islam imposes a radical equality in slavery while the religion of Americanism requires a radical equality in freedom and dignity; still, the power of the Wahhabi Islamist vision is undeniable in the oppressed autocratic societies of the Middle East. The fact that the animating spirit of our Civil War reawakened in order to face the animating spirit of Saudi Arabia's is proof enough of the attractiveness of the Islamic vision.

Perhaps a future moderate Islam will evolve from all this that will fulfil the promise that Wahhabi Islam so cruelly proffers in theory and then denies in practice. I see hope in Iraq's Shi'ite Islam. The Shi'ites have gained a sense of inevitability to their rule by their morally superior attitude of non-retaliation to even the most brazen Sunni provocation. It's almost...Christian.

Shi'ites venerate the prophet Muhammad's original choice of successor, Ali, who was denied the Caliphate by early competitor leaders of Islam. Like him, they were denied their rightful place at the ruling table in Iraq; now they have it, and it's all the more legitimate for their forbearance in the face of intolerable provocation. The majority of Shi'ites refused to throw their lot in with Moqtada al Sadr when he led his rebellion for theocracy, despite the veneration he commanded for his heritage. And when given the choice to freely vote, they gave him a mere two seats in the new National Assembly, demonstrating that they have no appetite for religious tyranny (if it wasn't for the evils of proportional representation, he'd likely have no seats at all). Shi'ites admirably stayed the course, despite decades of torture, mass murder, terrorism both state and unofficial from Sunnis and secular Ba'athists, and heeded their leader Sistani's call to forbear and wait just a little longer for their day in the sun. I am so full of admiration for Iraq's Shi'ites; I think it's not hyperbole to compare them to our Founding Generation in the fervor of their faith and at the same time, their understanding that they want no part of mixing their faith and the power of the state.

We will see whose Civil War will impose its moral framework on the future. I think the signs are good that the American people's Iliad of equal liberation is far more powerful than the Wahhabis' Inferno of equal damnation.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Who Knew Gentiles Could Be Funny?
Ssh! Stolen jokes - don't tell anyone. Pass a thimbleful of cognac to Semite5000, though.
A Gentile goes into a clothing store and says, "This is a very fine jacket. How much is it?" The salesman says, "It's $500." The Gentile says, "OK, I'll take it."

Two Gentiles meet on the street. The first one says, "You own your own business, don't you? How's it going?" The other Gentile says, "Just great! Thanks for asking!"

Two Gentile mothers meet on the street and start talking about children. Gentile mother 1 (said with pride): "My son is a construction worker!" Gentile mother 2 (said with more pride): "My son is a truck driver!"

A man calls his mother and says, "Mother, I know you're expecting me for dinner this evening, but something important has come up and I can't make it." His mother says, "OK."

A Gentile couple goes to a nice restaurant. The man says: "I'll have the steak and a baked potato, and my wife will have the julienne salad with house dressing. We'll both have coffee." The waiter says, "How would you like your steak and salad prepared?" he man says,"I'd like the steak medium......the salad is fine as is." The waiter says, "Thank you."

A Gentile man calls his elderly mother. He asks, " Mom, how are you feeling? Do you need anything?" She says, "I'm feeling fine, and I don't need anything. Thanks for calling."
And get Paco from Sefarad a thimbleful of cognac for the 100 funniest jokes of all time.

And a thimbleful for Jefe as well, for introducing us to the lip-synching dude.

(This post reeks of alcohol...)
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zorkmidden in Bloggies Of Our Lives:
Episode 301,434,751
militarybrat household, somewhere in America...

In the basement Thousand Sons is calmly eating a potato while contemplating the effects of intergalactic conspiracies on human peeing processes. He comes to the conclusion that there is nothing conclusive about it and dejectedly eats his potato peels.

In the militarybrat living room, the family is doing family pushups. militarybratkid is whispering into the bra strap hanging from his head.

militarybrat: honey (one-one thousand) why are you (two-one thousand) wearing a bra on your head (three-one thousand)?

militarybratkid: mom, you just don't understand.

militarybrat: try me (six-one thousand)

militarybratkid: mom, it's not a bra, it's a communication device! Mr. Sons has one too.

militarybrat: Mr. Who? (twelve-one thousand)

militarybratkid: here we go again... Mr. Sons, mom, the guy in the basement. He's gonna kill Fred.

militarybrat: Who's Fred? (nineteen-one thousand)

militarybratkid: Fred, mom! He's cba's friend!

militarybrat: It's Mrs. cba to you, young man! Mind your manners!(twenty eight-one thousand)

militarybratkid: I did say Mrs. cba, mom, you just didn't hear me! Anyway, some people want to kill Fred and some other people want to kill him too except some other people don't want to kill him and Mr. Sons is gonna kill him and I'm gonna supervise the whoooooooole thing! Mom, why do aliens like potatoes?

Meanwhile on Mount Everest...

papijoe and Thom are calmly eating some halvah.

Thom: Another ten minutes at most.

papijoe: You realise Charles is going to be really pissed off about this.

Thom: If he can afford a dedicated server, he can afford a helicopter ride.

papijoe: Yeah, but not because we turned left instead of right and now we're at 3,000 something...

Thom: Why are you always complaining?

Meanwhile in Washington...

monkeyweather: Sir, duck.

George: What?

monkeyweather: Sir, duck!

George: Oh yeah, I see it! And it's a pretty one too! I like the white ones, they remind me of Laura, all fluffy and bobbing like that...

monkeyweather whispering in her walkie-talkie: ok, we're approaching the elephant area.

George: So anyway Pete (Alois), I told Condi, that's not how Arik does it! He melts the cheese first, then he toasts the bread, and then he cuts a tomato and...

monkeyweather whispering in her walkie-talkie: ok, now we're near the flamingos.

Meanwhile in Mali...

lazytart: Hello? Yes, I would like to hire a killer, please...

To be continued...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
My Hatred Knows No Bounds
Lewy14 and I, aka the Hatewatch team at Winds of Change.Net, are proud to present this month's hate-hate-hate. Here's a short and hateful summary:

Freedom House report on Saudi religious hate; Saudi indoctrination in Germany; Saudi cleric: The Jews and Christians are enemies of God; A horrific murder of a 13-year-old Kuwaiti girl by her father; in Pakistan, new cases of violence and torture against Christians; persecution of Assyrian Christians continues in Iraq; a young man with Down's syndrome was used as a suicide bomber in Iraq; Rabbi: God caused tsunami to punish nations not supporting Israel; Christian “Reconstructionists"; Dutch schools ban students from displaying the flag as not to anger Muslim minorities; Bombed Israeli bus: rally and counter protest at UC Irvine; Rounding up Ward Churchill; Terrorist’s lawyer convicted of terrorism; European Roma are still facing discrimination and harassment; violent anti-Semitic attacks reaching alarming levels in Britain; London mayor calls a Jewish journalist "a concentration camp guard"; honour crimes in the E.U.; anti-Semitic patterns in U.N. voting; Kuwaiti article slanders Franklin, Jews; Neo-Nazis play victim, Wagner; American Nazi Party “adopts a road"; PA TV still advocating destruction of Israel; an Iranian professor suggests educating Muslims about the Holocaust will help achieve peace in the Middle East; a Yemeni judge engages in theological dialogue with terrorists with some surprising results.

Go read the whole thing and stock up on hatred until March. Oh, and while you're there, look in the sidebar for a certain name that starts with z and ends in n. Well, actually it starts with " and ends in ". That's because Armed Liberal was making bunny ears behind my head when they were taking the glamour shots for the Winds crew. But no worries, revenge will be mine on Monday's episode of "Bloggies of Our Lives."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Children of the Stoplights - Part 5
Note-this continues the Children of the Stoplights series, begun here: Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 1, Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 2, Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 3, Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 4 and simulcast over at Winds of Change.NET, as our weekly feature.

While boys and girls are used to earn money through begging and selling small items, teenage girls from Eastern Europe are exploited in prostitution. From the 20,000 prostitutes who were trafficked in Greece in the last few years, 10% were minors. Out of these minors, 75% are Albanian. Girls who were originally trafficked for economic exploitation are passed to sexual exploitation by the age of 12.
When a new law on trafficking in human beings was under discussion in Greece during 2002, there was a proposal that men paying for sex with trafficked women should be penalised. The proposal was rejected, reportedly on the grounds that too many men in the country engaged in commercial sex and would potentially be penalised. The law eventually adopted makes it an offence (punishable by six months’ imprisonment) to knowingly accept the services of a trafficked person. It was also made an offence to pay for sex with a child of any age, with the offence being considered more serious if the child concerned was under 15, and most serious if under 10.

Terre des Hommes: Study on Child Trafficking (PDF)
Gina was 15 years old and Camelia was 16 when they came to Greece from Romania with promises of a job.
The two girls' adventure began in September 1998, when a Romanian man, Katalin Morea, convinced them that there was a future in Athens and steady jobs in a café.

Morea handed the two girls over to a trafficker, Florin Abitsigae for a sum, and the two girls set off for Athens. Shortly before entering Greece, their papers and identity cards were taken from them. Florin took Gina and Camelia by bus to Florin's house in Voula, where they also "met" Albanian Ilia Toska.

Twelve-Hour Workday. They were placed at the “Mira Mare? hotel in Voula, from where they were taken daily to an apartment at 39 Vouliaghmenis masquerading as a "massage parlor". They were forced to "work" 12 hours a day, and the money they made was collected by Isavella Zouli. According to the indictment, the operation was headed by Greek national Sotiris Manis.

Police Officers - Clients. The charges pressed by the two girls brought to light a wide prostitution network that used apartments spread throughout Athens. In fact, the two girls worked in a "house" directly opposite the Glifadha Police Station, while officers serving at the police station are also defendants in the case as they were "clients who received special treatment". The case became known in early 1999. The inquiry was completed in the same year, charges were pressed and the defendants were arrested and released on restrictive conditions.

Ioanna Kurtovic, attorney to the two young women, stated that the case is one of the most difficult cases of kidnapping and sexual exploitation of underage girls. The case involves a total of 27 defendants, including foreigners. All but three of the foreign defendants, meanwhile, have escaped abroad. Two of the key defendants, Ilias Toska and Isavella Zouli, remain in custody, while "middleman" Florin has disappeared. K. Adhamopoulos, who was commander of the Ghlifadha Police Station at the time, as well as police officer Stilianos Poulos have been indicted for dereliction of duty. Officer Konstandinos Sardhenes has been indicted as an accessory to rape.
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Next week we conclude our series on this topic.
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