Tag Archives: Al-Jazeera

Guess What, It Looks Like Arafat was Murdered

Fascinating stuff here

Tests performed on former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s personal belongings have revealed that they contained abnormal levels of the radioactive substance polonium, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday. Arafat died in a French military hospital on November 11, 2004, following a mysterious illness. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Arafat may have died of AIDS. Al Jazeera said that a nine month investigation revealed that this was untrue and the Palestinian leader was in good health before he suddenly fell ill in October 2004.

Now who would a) say he died of AIDS (to discredit him) and b) want to kill him? Hmmm….

Arafat’s widow provided Al Jazeera with his clothing and toothbrush for laboratory testing at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland. “I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” Al Jazeera quoted Dr. Francois Bochud, the director of the institute as saying.

According to the report, Russian spy-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 under suspicious circumstances, was found to have been poisoned with polonium slipped into his tea. Arafat suffered similar symptoms to Litvinenko prior to his death – severe diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting, according to the report. Palestinians and Arabs have charged in the past that Israel poisoned Arafat. Some PA leaders have suggested that former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan assisted Israel in the poisoning.

It’s a deadly world out there for anyone wishing peace.  Ask Rabin, he can tell you- the loons and haters of peace are everywhere.  Well, he could, anyway, if some rabid far right ultra-Zionist hadn’t murdered him in cold blood because he actually sought a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict.

Rush Limbaugh is a Pill Popping Sex Tourist

Al Jazeera has a perfectly scathing, perfectly phrased, perfectly accurate expose of the pill popping perv-

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Rush Limbaugh’s recent meltdown – his three-day sex-crazed rant/attack against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, whose congressional testimony made no mention of her own sex life – has a rich and strange collection of backstories to it, none of which include the sort of follow-on this story has had, complete with pseudo-apologies and the subsequent, ongoing loss of sponsors, which might even conceivably damage or imperil his career. Of those backstories, his own shady past as a pill-popping sex tourist is only the most lurid, not the most instructive. That only goes to underscore what’s already self-evident: that Limbaugh’s diatribes are heavily implicated in what psychologists call “projection” and the rest of know as “the pot calling the kettle black”.

Much more instructive, to get things headed in a more fruitful direction, is Limbaugh’s long history of similar sorts of vindictive, name-calling attacks.  Media Matters has provided several illustrative lists, such as  “Rush Limbaugh’s Decades Of Sexism And Misogyny“, “The 20 Worst Racial Attacks Limbaugh’s Advertisers Have Sponsored“,  “Ten Of Limbaugh’s Worst Advertiser-Sponsored Attacks On The Poor” , “Limbaugh’s Advertisers Sponsored These Ten Attacks On Unions” – and a more all-purpose list – “15 Of The Worst Comments Limbaugh’s Advertisers Have Sponsored Since 2004“.  These collections served to illustrate how continually Limbaugh resorts to similarly themed name-calling, thus reinforcing the point Media Matters made early on, that Limbaugh hadn’t just used a couple of “poorly chosen words” to describe Fluke, he had engaged in three days of prolonged haranguing including 46 separate attacks.

What’s more, they were all based on a lie, since Fluke never said anything about her own sex life. Fluke is a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and her testimony reflected that role – it was not about her, personally, but about the experience of other law students, individually and collectively, and about the broad impact of the denial of reproductive health care, not just with respect to preventing unwanted pregnancy. In fact, Fluke specifically cited other health impacts, such as cancer prevention.

Surprising in all this is the fact that he still has sponsors.  But that’s easily explained- he has followers and those followers buy what he sells.  Indicating only one thing- they are as immoral as he is.

More Barbaric Violence Against Nigeria’s Christians

Al Jazeera reports

Gunmen have stormed a church service in Nigeria, killing six people and wounding 10, the church’s pastor said, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa’s most populous nation.  “It was around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT),” Pastor John Jauro told AFP news agency of Thursday’s attack in the city of Gombe.  “I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. Six people were killed in the attack and 10 others were wounded.”  He said there was confusion as worshippers sought to flee at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church.  Local police spokesman Ahmed Muhammad confirmed the attack, but declined to say how many people the gunmen killed and wounded.  The attack comes after a purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram on Sunday issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians living in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north to leave the region or they would be killed.  There was, however, no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile in America on any given Sunday (not to even raise the issue of the miserably low attendance for services on other days of the week), most Christians much prefer to forego worship altogether, fearful that they might have to wait too long in the buffet line at the local eatery if they trouble themselves with church stuff.

‘By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them…’ – Or, Why We’re Right not to Trust Politicians, Or Most Protestors

Al Jazeera suggests that US activists have lost trust in politicians.  There’s a reason for that- politicians, of whatever party or stripe, are untrustworthy and they continuously demonstrate that fact with every action.

Discontent with the state of the US economy has drawn many protesters out to demonstrations across the United States.  The “Occupy Wall Street” movement that started in New York on September 17 has spread to over 90 other US towns, and as the 24-hour encampment continued in New York City on Friday, there were demonstrations in major cities around the country, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC.  Some Republican politicians have criticising the movement, including Eric Cantor, the Republican house majority leader, who called the protesters “growing mobs”.  But the protesters are not focused on the US’ traditional political system or politicians.  “We need to dictate the policy up, not policy being dictated down,” Jesse LaGreca, a protester on Wall Street, told Al Jazeera.

Here’s a wager for you- you show me a politician worth trusting and I’ll show you BOTH an angry atheist worth knowing AND a Unicorn.

But, and here’s the thing, I don’t trust the Occupy Wall Street people either.  They appear to have no goal except protest.  But what’s the end game?   Where’s the fruit?  Or, where’s the beef?  Is it the overthrow of the system?  That’s doubtful.  Is it a change in policy?  Bad news- but without an overturning of the entire system there won’t be a change in policy.  So what’s the point?

No, sorry, I don’t trust politicians and I don’t trust protestors who have no visible purpose and who produce no visible fruit (because they’re flowering plants and not fruit-bearing trees).

The UN and the Palestinians: The History of a Double Standard

Al Jazeera writes

Failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Israel’s 40-year occupation, in the words of UN former Secretary General Kofi Annan, would “continue to hurt the reputation of the United Nations and raise questions about its impartiality”.  No cause has consumed as much UN paper work as the plight of the displaced and occupied Palestinians. But hundreds of its resolutions on Palestine have not been respected let alone applied for over half a century.

Nowhere has the UN ideals and mechanisms been more mired in power politics than in Palestine. The efforts to neutralise UN intervention have been championed mainly by the United States. This week’s efforts by the Obama administration working on behalf of Israel took advocacy into a whole new level.   Washington has vetoed more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions critical of its policies some of which were drafted by its European allies. A quick look at today’s Middle East makes it clear that such obstructions worked for the interest of neither party, nor for peace and security in the region.

Cold-War rivalries have also contributed to UN paralysis in the Israeli Palestinian-Arab conflict, which explains why more than half of the 690 resolutions adopted by the General Assembly from 1947-1990 have been ignored.  But what justifies sidelining the UN ever since, while keeping it at an arm’s length from a two decades of Peace Process?

The rest of the essay is the correct answer to that question.  Read it.

Egyptian Democracy #Fail

Angry Egyptians have attacked various news outlets reporting on the storming of the Israeli embassy, including Al-Jazeera’s Cairo Bureau.  Egypt, that’s a big #fail!  They also went after CNN-

An angry crowd lingering near the Israeli embassy in Cairo after an attack on the building a day earlier turned on journalists reporting the incident Saturday, accusing at least one of being an Israeli spy.  As a CNN crew filmed the embassy from across the street, another crew from American public television — led by Egyptian television producer Dina Amer — approached the building.  The crew’s Russian cameraman was preparing to film the embassy when a woman in the crowd began hurling insults at the TV team, Amer said.  “There was this older lady who decided to follow me and rally people against me,” Amer recalled.  “She said ‘you’re a spy working with the Americans.’ Then they swarmed me and I was a target.”

Egyptians need to let the press work freely.  That’s what a democracy does.  And, oh, in democratic societies, Embassy’s aren’t attacked either!

Let’s Hope It’s Gadafi’s Last Hour

CNN is reporting (via email)

Saif al-Islam, Moammar Gadhafi’s son, has been captured, according to the head of the Rebel National Transitional Council in an interview with Al Jazeera. Meanwhile, a Libyan government spokesman warned of humanitarian disaster and a “massacre” in Tripoli as rebel forces advanced into the capital Sunday, but said forces loyal to longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi were holding off the attacks. Musa Ibrahim said Gadhafi’s forces were being reinforced by volunteers coming into Tripoli and “can hold for much longer.” But he acknowledged that rebel forces were pushing into the seaside capital, and told CNN that “a massacre will be committed in Tripoli if one side wins.” He denied reports that Gadhafi’s bodyguards had surrendered, but repeated calls for a halt to NATO airstrikes and urged peace talks.

Peace talks? As if.  Let’s pray it’s Gadafi’s last hour and the last day of tyrants everywhere.

UPDATE: Via twitter- 1,300 people have been killed in Libya within the last 12 hours, #Libya government spokesman says http://t.co/UwMba2r

UPDATE II: Via the Washington Post-  Rebel fighters reached the outskirts of Tripoli on Sunday and dissidents claimed they were in control of several city neighborhoods as the six-month-old battle for control of Libya appeared to be hurtling towards its climax.

Rebel leaders in Tripoli said Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s compound was effectively surrounded and that the opposition is now only waiting for rebel reinforcements to arrive before beginning a final assault.  But with communications to the capital sporadic and journalists confined to their hotel, the reports of opposition gains within Tripoli could not be independently confirmed, and some experts cautioned that a tough urban battle may yet lie ahead. There were nonetheless many reports suggesting Gaddafi’s defenses were melting away faster than had been expected.

UPDATE III: The Washington Post emails- Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s four decade rule over Libya was crumbling at breakneck speed on Sunday as rebel leaders claimed Gaddafi’s compound was surrounded, that his son Saif al-Islam had been captured and his presidential guard had surrendered. Late Sunday, opposition fighters were battling loyalist fighters for control of the symbolically significant Green Square in the heart of the city, previously the scene of near-daily pro-Gaddafi rallies, according to one Tripoli based rebel, as the sound of explosions, gunfire and cries of “God is great” echoed down the telephone line. Another activist said rebels had secured the seaport, where several hundred rebel reinforcements had arrived by boat, and were also in the process of evicting Gaddafi loyalists from the Mitiga airbase on the eastern edge of the city.

Sic semper tyrannis

Free Dorothy!

Journalists of Color is calling on the government of Syria to release Al Jazeera reporter Dorothy Parvaz and allow her to continue her important work in the country. Parvaz, a former reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, was apparently detained shortly after arriving in Damascus on Friday to cover anti-government protests in the country. Al Jazeera has been told by Syrian officials that they’re holding Parvaz. She is a citizen of the United States, Canada and Iran. She joined Al Jazeera in 2010.

Barbarous Inhumanity

Al-Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al Jaber has been killed in an ambush near Benghazi, Libya, the network reported Saturday. An anchor reporting the news from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said the network “will not be silenced about this crime and will take it to the international community.”

The murderers need to be discovered, arrested, and prosecuted.  When will people learn that violence is pointless?