discarded lies: wednesday, march 21, 2018 9:12 am zst
woe is we
daily archive: 07/25/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Il nemico che trattiamo da amico
someguy over at Mystery Achievement has translated Oriana Fallaci's latest article in Corriere Della Sera, "The Enemy We Treat Like A Friend." Here's part 1 and here's part 2.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Disengagement and the Holocaust
Holocaust comparisons bother me to no end. They're becoming increasingly more common and what that tells me is that the horror of the Holocaust is slowly being forgotten and minimised. There are still people among us who survived the camps and in my opinion, it is a dishonour to them and the six million dead to make such analogies.
If indeed, as implied by the symbolic analogies being used, this was the Holocaust, and the Jews sent to the camps had previously received millions of deutschmarks and reasonable alternative housing (my mother, as someone who came from there, for some reason insists this was not the case) - then in fact the Holocaust was not so terrible. Moreover, if indeed these are the prevailing comparisons - what will we, who were not there, remember after those people with the bluish numbers on their arms and a real memory etched in their souls disappear from our lives?
Verging on Holocaust denial
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Worthwhile Canadian Controversy
What's up, Canada? What the heck is so offensive about your top military guy calling Al Qaeda "despicable murderers"? Can't we even agree on that? Canada, we need to talk.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Whistleblower: FBI had advance notice of 9/11, did worse than nothing
Sibel Edmonds, the fired FBI whistleblower, has new stunning revelations.
Over four years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high- level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes, 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States, 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing “302" forms, and the translator, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, Thomas Frields, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to ‘keep quiet’ regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General. The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004 stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (Please refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004). Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information. I provided the 9/11 Commission with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this case.

For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists’ plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United States. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the ‘use of airplanes’, ‘major US cities as targets’, and ‘Osama Bin Laden issuing the order. ’ Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FBI Washington Field Office, in Washington DC.

In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from (city name omitted) field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This Special Agent, in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and retranslated verbatim, the field agent’s hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas (country name omitted). It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern languages, Mike Feghali, decided NOT to send the re-translated information to the Special Agent who had requested it. Instead, this supervisor decided to send this agent a note stating that the translation was reviewed and that the original translation was accurate. This supervisor, Mike Feghali, stated that sending the accurate translation would hurt the original translator and would cause problems for the FBI language department. The FBI agent requesting the retranslation never received the accurate translation of that document. I provided this information to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and to the Department of Justice Inspector General in May 2002.

The latest buzz topic regarding intelligence is the problem of sharing information, intelligence, within intelligence agencies and between intelligence agencies. To this date the public has not been told of intentional blocking of intelligence, and has not been told that certain information, despite its direct links, impacts and ties to terrorist related activities, is not given to or shared with Counterterrorism units, their investigations, and countering terrorism related activities. This was the case prior to 9/11, and remains in effect after 9/11. If Counterintelligence receives information that contains money laundering, illegal arms sale, and illegal drug activities, directly linked to terrorist activities; and if that information involves certain nations, certain semi- legit organizations, and ties to certain lucrative or political relations in this country, then, that information is not shared with Counterterrorism, regardless of the possible severe consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents cited ‘direct pressure by the State Department,’ and in other cases ‘sensitive diplomatic relations’ is cited. I provided the Department of Justice Inspector General and the 9/11 Commission with detailed and specific information and evidence regarding this issue, and the names of other witnesses willing to corroborate this, and the names of certain U.S. officials involved in these transactions and activities.

Now, after almost 4 years, we get to hear new bits & pieces: FBI & Midhar’s Case; FBI & Abdel-Hafiz Case; FBI & Saudi planes leaving just days after 9/11 without having the passengers questioned; FBI & Youssef Case;… and the list goes on.

Today, after nearly four years since 9/11, the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of ‘protecting certain foreign business relations.’ The victims family members still do not realize that information and answers they have sought relentlessly for almost 4 years has been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under ‘safeguarding certain diplomatic relations .’

Where is the so-called congressional oversight? Why has the 9/11 Commission intentionally omitted this info; although they’ve had it all along? Where is accountability?
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Saudis angry with Oprah
MEMRI has some interesting stuff, as usual. This one is a collection of responses by Saudi women to a segment on the Oprah Winfrey show dealing with women's lives around the world. It seems that Oprah didn't accentuate any of the positives for women in Saudi, she just chose to focus on one woman, a tv personality, who was bloodied by her husband. It looks like Oprah's producers ambushed Rania, 60 Minutes-style:
"Last week, someone mentioned that they had seen Rania Al-Baz on Oprah. After immediately checking local listings for the rerun, I called some of my cousins and friends to tell them to watch. After watching the first 25 minutes about happy women in different countries, I was convinced that I had misread the television schedule, and that the episode we were watching was not the one featuring Rania.

"This episode began with Aishwarya Rai, and then moved on to Iceland, [with] its glaciers and hot springs. Icelandic talk show host Svanhilder Valsdottir discussed social customs, while offering Oprah Icelandic delicacies such as rotten shark meat and sour lamb testicles. When Oprah began talking about Belgium's justly-famous delicious fried potatoes and chocolates with another woman, I called my mother and told her that I was sure that this was not 'my' Oprah episode.

"I told her, 'This isn't the type of show Oprah's producer told me about. Besides, Oprah is taking us around the world to different countries showing us how satisfied women in those countries are. It would be totally unbalanced and unfair to shift to Saudi Arabia to focus on Rania. It would be as if what happened to her is what our women most enjoy about Saudi Arabia. Her story is not a happy one, and wouldn't flow with the others on this program.'

"I was wrong. Rania, swollen, bloodied and bruised, flashed across the screen moments later, as Oprah explained what had happened to her and followed it with the usual unfair and uninformed diatribe that American audiences love to hear about how miserable Saudi women are and how free and happy American women are.

"The entire original interview with Rania (a copy of which I still have here in Jeddah) lasted 64 minutes. Oprah used three of those 64. In the 61 minutes that were not shown, Rania talked about how wonderful our religion and our country are, and she discusses women's rights and their lives in Saudi Arabia in a fair and realistic manner.

"Rania and I were used by the Oprah Winfrey Show to paint Saudi Arabia in an unfair and negative light.

"When I called the producer I had dealt with in Chicago for an explanation, the warm greetings and enthusiasm to speak with me that had existed prior to the taping had been replaced by a hurried and impatient attitude that clearly meant, 'I don't have time for you anymore now that I have gotten what I wanted from you.' I was referred to the media relations department at Harpo Studios and from them, I received the following official statement:

"'Rania Al-Baz's story was always intended for inclusion in a show that examined the different lives of women from various countries. We feel her story was presented accurately and we hope that her courage in sharing it with an international audience will help millions of other women around the world.'…" [8]

In another article, "An Open Letter to Oprah, " posted on Al-Sharq Al-Awsat 's English-language website, Al-Ghalib continued to express his dissatisfaction with the production team and with the statement he received from the media relations department: "Dear Ms. Winfrey… I was told you weren't available to actually reply yourself, which leaves me wondering if you personally are aware of the injustice that's been committed… It is fair to say that she [Rania] has been victimized yet again, and the catalyst was your show….

"I still have a copy of the entire interview that I sent you, here in Saudi [Arabia]. May I have your permission to release it to an Arab television network that can perhaps help undo some of the damage you did to Rania's reputation? Or would you yourself like to do something realistic, fair, and unbiased [that is] worthy of your name?

"Something has to be done – if not for Saudi Arabia, if not for your Arab fans, if not for your very reputation, then at least for Rania, who has suffered enough – really." [9]
On the other hand, if the burka fits...
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Mystery Illness Kills in China
This one's unrelated to bird flu. Still, it's really disturbing that people are catching a deadly illness in droves, merely by slaughtering (not even necessarily eating) an ill animal. China really needs an overhaul of its farming system. The pigs, cows, chickens, sheep and humans living together system has to stop before the next great epidemic emerges from it.

Mystery illness kills at least 17 Chinese - Boston.com
BEIJING --An unidentified illness has killed 17 farmers and sickened 41 in southwestern China after they butchered sick pigs or sheep, China's official news agency said Sunday.

Those affected had symptoms including high fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and "became comatose later with bruises under the skin," Xinhua news agency said.

Over the past four weeks, 58 people from areas around the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang in China's southwestern Sichuan province were hospitalized with such symptoms, Xinhua said.

Seventeen of those hospitalized have died, while 12 are in critical condition, 27 are stable and two have recovered, it said.

A "preliminary probe found out that the affected farmers have butchered sick pigs or sheep" before falling ill, the report said.

It said that medical experts believe the illness "is not spreading further among humans," and that there were "no obvious signs of (an) epidemic."

Local governments as well as health and agricultural officials have set up special teams to try to determine the cause of the illness, the report said late Sunday night.

The report did not cite a suspected cause of the sickness, but authorities in Hong Kong has said earlier Sunday that Chinese authorities believe a bacterial infection might be responsible for the deaths.

World Health Organization spokesman Bob Dietz said the cases didn't appear to be related to bird flu, a viral disease that has killed at least 57 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia since 2003.

The victims in Sunday's report suffered from poisoning-related shock syndrome and were acutely infected, an unidentified worker at a hospital treating the patients said in a telephone interview aired on Hong Kong's Cable TV.

The son of one of the victims told Cable TV his father fell ill after slaughtering and eating part of a sick pig. The names of the son and victim were not given.

Pigs in the area had been infected with streptococcus bacteria, which is common in domestic animals, the hospital worker said. It was unclear if the sick sheep in the area were infected with the same bacteria.

Hong Kong's Hospital Authority has asked its hospitals to notify health authorities of any patients with the same symptoms as those seen in Ziyang, spokesman Raymond Lo said Sunday.

Hong Kong has been wary of diseases spreading from China since severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, was brought to the territory by a mainlander in 2003 and killed 299 people in Hong Kong.
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guest author: RadioMattM in Discarded Lies:
Oh Dem Bumper Stickers!
In my job, I drive in Seattlegrad, the largest city in the Union of Washington Socialist Republics. You know, the state that last year brought you the type of election for governor that even the Ukraine wouldn't tolerate.

Well, since I drive all day, I see bumper stickers galore. I like to think I am an intelligent person, but some of these bumper stickers have me perplexed.

1. "When Bill Clinton lied, nobody died": This one really throws me. I thought Bill Clinton had consensual sex with another consenting adult, and that it was nobody else's business. If he had actually lied -- and did so under oath -- then, surely, even the Left would have supported his impeachment. Now they say he did lie. I am confused.

Taking this on another tangent, let's assume that Bill Clinton did engage in a sexual affair outside of marriage, and that he lied about it. Isn't this the type of behavior that Muslim terrorists use as justification for their quest against the west? - meaning that Bill Clinton's behavior did, in a sense, kill people?

And wasn't there a janitor in that aspirin factory?

2. "I Vote for Kids": I thought a person had to be an adult to run for public office. So how can someone vote for kids? Oh, the people putting this bumper sticker on their cars mean they vote for things that benefit kids? If that is the case, then why do they vote for candidates and issues that would lead to the utter subjugation of children (and everyone else, for that matter)? Maybe it's just me, but I would think "voting for (things that benefit) kids" means "I vote like an adult." Most people who do things "for kids" seem to act just like them.

3. "Wouldn't it be a great day when schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to have a bake sale to get a new bomber?": How much money is enough for schools? The Washington D.C. and St. Louis, MO schools have some of the highest expenditures for education in the country. They also have some of the worst schools. Meanwhile, states such as South Dakota spend a relatively small amount for education, but have good schools. Could it be because schools in South Dakota actually want to teach their students what they need to know? My son had a friend who went to a "progressive" (public) school in Seattle. He couldn't add two plus two, but he could tell you 27 ways to recycle a newspaper.

As for the Air Force, who do these people think protects the right to put such asinine bumper stickers on cars? The ACLU? Yeah, like Osama cares what the ACLU thinks.

4. "To live like a Republican, vote for Democrats": Except for the Bush cabal, I thought Republicans were stupid, poor people that lived in trailer parks. Hmmm. Maybe this bumper sticker is right.

5. "Live simply, so that others may simply live.": I have seen no evidence that people are dying in Africa because I drive a car, own a DVD player, and can eat at McDonalds. I have seen plenty of evidence that people are dying in Africa due to totalitarian regimes, similar to the ones that some people -- the ones who put this bumper sticker on their cars -- do not want us to fight.

6. "Keep your laws out of my ovaries": In the DL thread "Love in Action", Bigel hypothesized:
"Here is this question taken a step further -- what if you found out the child you were carrying was going to grow up to be gay?
"What I do wonder is that if there is a gay gene (and I am one of those who thinks there is a genetic element to sexual orientation) and we can identify it, then there are actually some very severe moral dilemmas involved."
So what happens if medical science can identify whether a fetus does have the "gay" gene? What happens if women start having abortions because they do not want a gay child? How long will it be before this becomes an unacceptable reason for having an abortion, and becomes a "hate crime." So much for abortion not being anyone else's business. That may seem like a stretch, but how many things we face today seemed like a stretch when first predicted 30-40 years ago?

I am sure there are many more bumper stickers that seem to defy logic. What are some of the ones you have seen?
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guest author: lawhawk in Discarded Lies:
The Noble Right
In the annals of history, we have had some magnificent legal documents produced that have changed the way man governs and consents to be governed. The Magna Carta. The Mayflower Compact and the Virginia Constitution. The Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of the Rights of Man. The US Constitution. The Bill of Rights.

An entire cottage industry has grown out of trying to discern what these documents say, not only about ourselves today, but what they meant at the time they were created. Modern legal jurisprudence looks at what these documents mean, how they relate to current events, and how they should be interpreted as a result of 200+ years of accumulated legal doctrine.

However, the common thread pervasive in all of these documents is that governments are consensual in nature. It is the people who give them power to govern, and that right is granted by election. Or by a higher authority (but that's a subject for another time). I would posit that it is a noble right of all people that they should have freedom and a consensual government representing their rights.

So, what happens when you have governments, and I do use that term loosely, that are theocracies, thugocracies, and totalitarian regimes? These are entities untouched by the doctrines espoused in the US Constitution or even the Declaration of the Rights of Man. In fact, these entities openly flout the notion of a noble right to democracy and personal freedom, except where their own personal right is concerned. After all, these are entities who consider it their right to toss millions of people off their lands, consider genocide to be second nature, and brutalize the people in countless and unimaginable ways.

Now, while we speak of the noble right in an abstract way, from the comfort of our own homes in places where we take this noble right for granted, there are billions of people who have yet to experience the noble right, and many of whom are hoping to one day experience it for themselves.

And, what are people who believe in the inalienable right of people to determine their own governments supposed to do about it? Are we supposed to sit back and let nature take its course, watching millions suffer because Mugabe thinks he's the second coming of Pol Pot, or watching Sudan engage in a slow motion version of Rwanda's 1994 killing fields because the Sudanese could care less that the janjaweed are eliminating the competition (who happen to be Black Africans who only want to be able to live and subsist on their ancestral lands)?

I took political theory in college and found it to be wanting because I could twist any theory to fit my preconceived notions. Realism and realpolitic can be used to explain expansion of the noble right to all corners of the world because if you posit that all people are entitled to this inalienable right to determine and self govern in a consensual manner, and that the failure of governments around the world results in terrorism (both through condoning said terrorism and/or eliminating outlets for dissent), as well as the lawlessness experienced in many corners of the world results from a lack of exposure to democracy, then it is in our best interests to expand democracy into these frontiers and that balancing the political needs favors action over prior generations' inaction over political freedoms.

The only way to stop this kind of brutalization, and potentially terrorism, is to expand the Noble Right to all these places. The Noble Right is the right to determine a consensual government. It is the consensual government that gives competing views an outlet that gives the minority a voice and tempers the majority.
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