They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Egypt: 'Vote For The Pimp' campaign takes off

Asad Abukhalil's Angry Arab blog notes that the translation can also mean 'vote for the bastard', or equally 'the opportunist' ....also, 'the Motherf****r' works.  Take your pick.
Currently 104k 'likes' on Facebook

Friday, March 28, 2014

Egypt: BBC uncovers systematic torture. No surprise!

The silence of western leaders regarding Egyptian abuse of Islamists - whilst foaming at the mouth regarding Ukraine  - is further evidence of their dubious morality. Let's not forget, the last time Egypt cracked down on Islamists in this way they tortured and executed  Sayyid Qutb - author of Milestones, and a revered influence of Dr Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri - leader of Al Qaeda, and others.  Obama may wish to raise this with the sponsors of al-Sisi - Saudi Arabia - on his current visit to that nation.  But lets not hold our breath.
Blowback there will be. But what we call 'terrorism' is easier for al-Sisi  to deal with than political Islam.  Same in Saudi Arabia. It's political Islam they fear - not car bombers.

[...] A 15-year-old boy told the BBC how he was accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of the new government's crackdown.
He says he was electrocuted repeatedly.
"When they electrocuted me I used to fall down on the ground, and I could not stand up. At the same time they were beating me," he said.
"And sometimes they would throw water to increase the voltage."
Democracy activist Yassin Mohammed was arrested at a protest in January and held for 42 days.
The 19-year-old says he was tortured and electrocuted, and is speaking out on behalf of others who have had the same treatment.
"They took off my trousers, and then they put the wires on me. I was screaming and shouting. You feel that's it. You are going to die," he said. Link
Sayyid Qutb - imprisoned and tortured by Egypt. Executed in 1966 aged 59

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John McCain: Putin, Barrel Bombs, Ukraine?

Sen. John McCain, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U).  I guess you really had to be there for any chance of understanding the meaning of it all.

For those that don't buy McCain's cold war rhetoric try this, which was recommended by Peter Hitchens here, and is well worth taking the time to read. Alternatively, for those without the time or inclination John McCain has further deep insights on offer: Senator John McCain: “We Are All Ukrainians”. Pass the sick bag.
"Vladimir Putin is not a democrat, he's an old KGB colonel, and Vladimir Putin wants to restore what was once the Russian empire, and so he went in to Crimea which is the home of the Russian fleet and now he is on the borders of eastern Ukraine. The President (Clinton) and I were just talking, what will Putin do now? I don't know. We don't know what he is going to do. But we know that he has the military in a position where he could go into eastern Ukraine at least and he is threatening other small nations in the region. So we in the United States must care about these people whether they are dying from these horrible barrel bombs that are being dropped on Aleppo and Damascus or whether it's people now who are being imprisoned and beaten in Ukraine. And so, if America stands up and shows Vladimir Putin that we will be steadfast in our defense of these people then I believe that it is less likely for him to move forward with his desires to restore the old Russian empire."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Svoboda Hiccup in Ukraine Narrative

Who can explain this, what on earth were they - Svoboda - thinking, filming it, let alone posting it on the internet? As much as ISIS is allied with Bashar-al-Assad, these right wingers must be allied to Putin.  Or not as the case may be.  Perhaps they are just stupid?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BBC license fee payers join the Kiev propaganda war

Whatever your views on Ukraine, it's interesting to see that the BBC (BBC Media Action) is doing its bit.
As for 'Soviet-style' referendums, what would we call last year's Falklands referendum, if not 'Soviet style' -  "of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum - on a turnout of more than 90% - 1,513 were in favour, while just three votes were against" - I ask you?

"Amongst a sea of union jacks and a chorus of Land of Hope and Glory, there was no doubting the sentiment as jubilant Falkland islanders gathered in Stanley to celebrate their unity over their future, and a referendum that showed 99.8% in favour of remaining British."


Crimeans turn out for 'Soviet-style' referendum

 SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Balloting began at 8 a.m. in a Crimean referendum that asks peninsula voters whether they want to join Russia or simply declare more autonomy from Ukraine for the region's two million residents. The vote is widely considered to be a sham with an outcome pre-determined by the Kremlin and its prime minister in Crimea, Serhiy Aksyonov, whose authority the central government in Kyiv does not recognize.
Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight.
But that didn't stop thousands from coming out early Sunday to partake, as music streamed from polling stations where women sold baked goods and hot drinks. The mood, a Kyiv Post journalists said, was oddly festive.
"It's like a Soviet-style referendum," Kyiv Post journalist Oksana Grytsenko reported from a Simferopol polling center. "People are bringing their children here, listening to music, eating baked goods."
Editor’s Note: This article has been produced with support from the project, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action [...] Link

Kiev: A 'circus' (at gunpoint)

Just a quick google. Let's discount a few of the shots below as 'photoshops', then what are we left with?  Pea shooters? I hate to break the news, but I know of no government in the world that would have permitted these scenes without a serious and violent response. HMG most definitely included.

The world needs a strong Russia. What comes after Obama?  Possibly a swing to the right. Another Bush? Worse? The world needs a counterweight, and rightly or wrongly Russia is all we currently have. Putin may well be a 'strongman', or even a 'thug'.  However without him/Russia where exactly would we be today? Boots on the ground in Syria? Iran? It's not black and white, good versus evil. Do we need to always point that out?

Kiev has appealed to the international community not to recognise the result of the vote, which interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk described as a "circus" carried out at gunpoint. Link

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ukraine: Hitler the name, propaganda the game

When they begin comparing the  'adversary of the day' to Hitler, you know sensible debate is off the table. Hillary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler. Before Putin, it was Gaddafi, before Gaddafi it was Saddam Hussein, before Saddam it was ....just Google it folks:
Speaking at a fundraiser in California, Clinton drew a parallel between Adolf Hitler's rhetoric that ethnic Germans living in neighbouring countries he later invaded were oppressed, and Vladimir Putin's claim that ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat by nationalists and radicals.
The former US secretary of State, who is widely expected to run for US president in 2016, particularly criticised Moscow over the issuing of passports to ethnic Russians living in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said
 On March 6, 1937, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull apologized to the German Embassy for the insulting remarks about Adolf Hitler made by New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia three days earlier. La Guardia, speaking on March 3 to the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, had proposed building a “chamber of horrors” at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Hizzoner suggested that the pavilion have, “as a climax … a figure of that brown-shirted fanatic who is now menacing the peace of the world.”
La Guardia was born in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1882 to an Italian Catholic father and an Italian Jewish mother. Irene Luzzato Coen, of Trieste, was a descendant of the Luzzatto family, which boasted many rabbis and Jewish scholars. He was raised Episcopalian but made no effort to hide his Jewish ancestry, and from early on he denounced the Third Reich’s treatment of Jews. In 1931, for example, while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, La Guardia (who was mayor from 1934 to 1945), warned in a speech about “Hitlerites mov[ing] in and tak[ing] control of the government” in Germany. Two years later, he supported a U.S. boycott of German products and called Hitler a “perverted maniac” whose program included “the complete annihilation of the Jews in Germany.”
After La Guardia’s World’s Fair remark, the German Embassy complained to the State Department. In their reports of the incident, Germany’s government-controlled newspapers referred to La Guardia as “New York’s gangster-in-chief” and a “dirty Talmud Jew.”
Hull sought to placate Germany, but as he noted in a public statement, “In this country, the right of freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen and is cherished as part of the national heritage.” Nevertheless, the secretary of state made clear that, personally, “I very earnestly deprecate the utterances which have given offense to the German Government.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned the incident in a cabinet meeting, also on March 6. In “The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes,” which was published posthumously, the secretary of the interior reported that Roosevelt turned to Hull and asked him, “What would you say if I should say that I agreed completely with La Guardia?” In response, Hull said he believed Roosevelt should reprimand La Guardia. According to Ickes, “The President, still with a grin on his face, touched his left wrist lightly with the first two fingers of his right hand and remarked to Hull: ‘We will chastise him like that.’”
In 1944, when the Germans occupied Hungary, the mayor’s sister, Gemma La Guardia Gluck, who had settled in Europe as an adult, was arrested with her Hungarian husband, Herman Gluck, in Budapest, and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Herman died there. Gemma was taken to the Ravensbruck labor camp and was held by the Germans, who knew the identity of her brother was, until the war’s end. For a variety of technical reasons, including the fact that she lost her U.S. citizenship when she married Herman, Gemma was unable to return to the United States for some time. She was finally repatriated, together with her daughter and grandson, a few months before La Guardia’s death in September 1947.