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daily archive: 10/10/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Rock and Politics
There is some rock and roll that oughta die. Haven't these people heard of overdoses?

Irrelevant Pop Stars Unite Against Bush

In an effort to motivate Americans to go to the polls on Nov. 2, a coalition of irrelevant pop stars is winding up a 36-city tour that will culminate in a concert on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.

Pearl Jam will share the stage with such onetime chart-toppers as Jackson Browne, John Fogerty, and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

"I can't let this election take place without knowing I fought as hard as I could for a more compassionate leader," 51-year-old John Mellencamp said. "If playing my 1986 hit 'R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.' at the Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City will dissuade people from voting for Bush, then I'm going to do it."

The Vote For Change bill contains a wide range of artists whose actual relationship with American politics remains unclear. Rock group R.E.M., blues artist Bonnie Raitt, and the country group Dixie Chicks will join R&B artists such as Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, co-founder of LaFace Records, which released the Bodyguard soundtrack.

"I couldn't ignore all the bad that's going on," said Edmonds, who co-wrote Bobby Brown's 1992 single "Humpin' Around." "I had to do my part to stop all the... bad things."

Rounding out the bill are such lesser-known indie artists as 24-year-old singer-songwriter Conor Oberst (a.k.a. Bright Eyes), and Seattle-based rock band Death Cab For Cutie.

"Bush is fucking evil," said Nick Harmer, bassist for Death Cab For Cutie. "The economy is for shit, and we're stuck in this unjust war that he lied about to get us to agree to. Me and the other guys in the band wanted to do something real to get him out of office. We were like, 'We gotta do a concert.'"

Rock Against Bush publicist Donna Wolff said campaign-related concerts are "an important way for musicians to express their political views."

"Contrary to what many people think, rock artists want to be involved," Wolff said. "While some of the musicians billed on our tour can't even name the U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services, or list more than two Bush policies they oppose, they all know the difference between right and wrong."

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Book Review - Honeymoon in Purdah
Often we judge a country only by its government. Iran falls into that category, sometimes we only see the regime of terror and don't bother to look beyond the mullahs. But thankfully, authors like Alison Wearing give us a unique view into Iran. Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey
Twenty years after the Iranian revolution, most westerners still imagine Iran to be a warren of anti-American rhetoric, terrorism, and fanatical repression, especially of women. Not surprisingly, only an unusual woman would choose to travel there, and Alison Wearing is certainly that. "I refused to believe that such a place of unalloyed evil truly existed," she writes. "I like to look for saints where there are said to be demons." Since it is the only country the world traveler could not imagine going to alone, she takes her fussy, gay roommate Ian, along with a fake wedding certificate and a story that they're on their honeymoon. Then she dons a black cloak, scarf, and chador (the full body covering required by Shiite Islam) for a five-month journey from the Caspian Sea (breaking into the Shah's ramshackle summer palace) to the holy city of Qom (and Khomeini's shrine) to a hidden Zoroastrian prayer site (where she faints from heat stroke). From the moment she steps into the country, she's surrounded by Iranians touched by her eagerness to learn about their country. There is the housewife who challenges her to a game of Ping-Pong in her long robe and scarf, offering food to her guests in between killer serves, and the Anglican minister who is "wholly enthralled by the art of living." There is the couple who spirit her away to a mountain oasis when she complains of the heat (leaving a message for Ian, "Mister Canada, we take your wife. We make her cold"), and the mother who tries to marry off her doctor son, joking that Wearing can't leave "not without my doctor" (a reference to the American film Not Without My Daughter).

Wearing has a gift for connecting with others and the humility to let them tell their own stories. She also sees the hilarity in the most absurd situations. As it turns out, so do the Iranians, which makes for some wonderful laughs. Wearing is also a poet, and she unveils the Iranians with innocence and grace--their hospitality, their quick acceptance and easy intimacy, and the real life of women beneath the veil. And while there are strict defenders of the revolution, most are philosophical: "Friends, please forgive us, but our country is not perfect.... it will make us very happy if you enjoy. Keep your hearts in our people, my friends. We are strangers, but we try to be kind." This is a gem of a debut.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Misquotes
I've been presented before with examples of "hate quotes," supposedly from Israeli leaders. I had to spend quite a bit of time checking their veracity from site to site only to find it lacking, of course. So once again, CAMERA provides an invaluable service. From FrontPage magazine, Fabricated Quotations
Did Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vow to burn Palestinian children and rape Arabic girls? Did former Israeli leader Menachem Begin refer to Palestinians as “two-legged beasts,? and did another Israeli leader declare that all Arabs must be killed unless they are willing to live as slaves?

No, but given the number of Web sites repeating these allegations, it is easy to see how this nonsense has gained credence. Indeed, the attribution of invidious statements to Israel’s leaders has become a popular stratagem among Israel’s enemies. Many are fabricated, taken out of context or otherwise manipulated to present a distorted, negative view of Zionist intentions and actions. Propagated on the internet, some of these misquotes eventually make their way into opinion columns in campus newspapers and even, on occasion, the mainstream press.

Take for example, the following quote (found on anti-Israel websites) alleged to have been said by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the Israeli parliament in October 2001 and reported on Kol Yisrael radio:

Don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.

The statement also appears as "I control America."

As it turns out, it is a hoax. Sharon never made either statement. Nor did Kol Yisrael ever report that he did.

Yet syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer wrote in her May 10, 2002 opinion column, which appeared in the Chicago Tribune, San Diego Tribune, and other newspapers:

In fact, it [American support for Israel’‘s actions] led Prime Minister Sharon to tell his Cabinet recently, "I control America."

Where did this quote originate and how did it enter the mainstream media?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Cartoons
Here are some cartoons from your friendly Saudi rag, Arab News.

Here's their Saturday cartoon and here's their Sunday cartoon.

Ah, but they're Saudis, you say! We know about the Saudis, they have "issues." They're still a tribal society, they're fundamentalists and they hate Jews. All right then, let's take a look at the Swedish cartoons.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Peace Partners
What should we expect from our friends and allies in the Middle East? How about to at least promote peace?
Administration officials, and some in the media, may refer to certain Arab countries as "our friends" or "our allies." That designation is applied to those Arab countries that receive American support, both military and economic. Such recipients include the Arab Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. With so much attention understandably focused on Iraq, we should not lose sight of the conduct of Egypt, the most populous and most powerful of all the Arab countries. Egypt receives $2.2 billion in American aid each year, and is supposed to be our friend and ally.
...

In return for massive American aid, is Egypt helping us to promote peace and stability in the region? Is it ready to help us fight terrorists and to stand with us in Iraq? Or is it pursuing its own destructive agenda of waging low-level warfare against our Israeli ally? Yes, we do hear State Department pronouncements lauding Egyptian 'cooperation' in the region and we even see confused leftist Israeli politicians making an occasional pilgrimage to confer with Hosni Mubarak. But there is a big difference between diplomatic atmospherics and true substance.

Let's take a closer look at some substance. As we look around for urgently needed support troops from our friends, it is good to realize that Egypt knows very well how to fight - especially when going to war against Israel. They also knew how to gas the people in Yemen in the 1960s under Gamal Nasser, years before Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds. They are full of fighting spirit when openly training for their next war against Israel, and while indoctrinating their populace to hate Israel and even their American benefactors.

As a recent example, Dr. Rif'at Sayyed Ahmad, director of the Jaffa Research Center in Cairo and columnist for Al-Liwaa Al-Islami, one of Egypt's state-controlled newspapers, published a two-part article, "The Lie About the Burning of the Jews", which claims the Holocaust is a Jewish invention.

In addition, no item is too trivial or too petty for Egypt when it comes to hatred of Israel. After pop star Madonna (now calling herself Esther, as a devotee of Kabbalah) completed her spiritual, non-political, visit to Israel, the Cairo regime ordered its embassies around the world to deny Madonna any request for a visa to visit Egypt.

This pathological hatred extends to Egyptian opposition to the normalizing of contacts, even 25 years after the peace treaty. Egyptians who want to visit Israel risk punishment by their government. A recent popular song had the endearing title of "I Hate Israel". And in recent years, Hitler's Mein Kampf was an Egyptian best-seller in Arabic translation.
A Closer Look at Egypt
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Profile: al-Zarqawi
Here's some info about the link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. I think it's good that we're fighting this guy in Iraq and not in another European or American city.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has a history of terrorist acts and a reputation as a brutal, merciless killer.

Rumoured to carry out the beheadings of captives personally, the Jordanian has strong links with al-Qaeda and is suspected of committing murders across the world.

With a bounty of $25 million (£13.9 million) on his head, he is one of the most wanted people in Iraq.

According to the US state department: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has had a long-standing connection to senior al-Qaeda leadership and appears to be highly regarded among al-Qaeda and is a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Saif al-Adel [wanted for the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania]."

His ruthlessness was demonstrated last month with the beheading of Eugene Armstrong, one of the two US hostages kidnapped along with Kenneth Bigley, an act he is thought to have carried out personally.

Footage of the ritual execution of his fellow American, Jack Hensley, was released just 24 hours later.

Zarqawi's group, Tawhid and Jihad, previously had claimed responsibility for the decapitation of another American, the businessman Nicholas Berg.

Born in Jordan of Palestinian descent, Zarqawi, 37, is seen as the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. He is accused of orchestrating a spate of suicide bombings, including attacks on Shiites in Karbala and Baghdad.

It is alleged he claimed responsibility for suicide boat attacks that killed three Americans and disabled Iraq's biggest oil terminal for more than 24 hours in April.

Zarqawi is believed to be of Bedouin stock and his tribe, the Beni Hassan, straddles many borders in the modern Middle East.

He was born in Zarqa, a poor and crime-ridden industrial town north-west of Amman, and his wife is still said to live there with their four children.

He is remembered in the town as an ill-educated, troubled youngster and a petty criminal. He is believed to have dropped out of school at 17 and, according to intelligence reports, was jailed for sexual assault.

He fled his life of poverty to fight in the Afghan war against Soviet occupation but, after apparently missing out on battle, he worked as a journalist on an Islamic publication.

He returned to Jordan, where his increasing radicalism led to seven years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the monarchy and establish an Islamic caliphate.

On his release in 1999, and after reputedly becoming a feared jail leader, it is thought he spent time in Europe. The German security services later reportedly uncovered a militant cell that claimed Zarqawi as its leader.

He might then have returned to his Afghan base, also home to al-Qaeda training camps, where he specialised in manufacturing poisons and taught "students" how to manufacture the lethal chemical brews.

In 2001 he suffered a leg injury in a US missile attack on his base. The leg is believed to have been amputated eventually, and he fled to Iraq.

He first came to public prominence when the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the United Nations that Iraq's al-Qaeda network centred on Zarqawi.

He is also wanted by Jordanian authorities for conspiring to kill Laurence Foley, a US aid worker, there.

He is believed to have had a hand in the Madrid train bombings, which killed 202 people, and has been linked to similar attacks in Casablanca and Istanbul.

The youthful criminal who turned into a terrorist killer
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