Monday, January 31, 2005


Jihad in America Australia

Seconds ago, I was commenting on the lunacy of anti-War protesters supporting terror.
Sure enough, there were protests outside Iraqi polling booths overseas.

Thanks to Aussie pundit, Tim Blair, check out the Communist tee-shirt on one of the protesters at a Sydney, Australia polling booth.

And then this this happened:
Counter terrorism authorities have descended on Sydney's west after a shooting linked to the Iraqi election added to tensions heightened by the historic ballot.

Witnesses said two men with guns aimed at a number of cars and shops, and fired five shots during a melee involving 100 people on the main street of Auburn, about 11pm (AEDT) on Sunday.
They said the shooting followed a clash on Saturday involving protesters from an anti-election group and voters outside a polling booth in Auburn - one of Australia's nine out-of-country polling stations for Iraq's first election in 50 years.
Someone down-under is unimpressed about democracy.
30 men associated with the anti-election protest walked up Auburn Road and began fighting with men outside his tobacconist store.

Mr Attabi, whose two brothers were murdered under Saddam Hussein's regime, said the election was the source of all the weekend's problems.

"I've lived in Auburn for four years and I don't have any problem with any person before this," he said.

Iraqi community leader and voter Kamil Alhamid said attackers comprised men from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, but not Iraqis.

Mr Alhamid, the secretary of the Australian Ahl-Al-Bait Islamic Centre in Auburn, said the group were fundamentalists sympathetic to al-Qaeda and the terrorist group of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
But then like their Jersey counterparts, the Aussie cops apparently wanted none of that:
NSW police Superintendent Allan Harding said he was satisfied it was an isolated act committed by criminally motivated people.
Gee, do you think?
He [Alhamid] said the group's core had been meeting at a mosque a few blocks from his store for more than two years and had taken action in the past against Shi'ites by posting notices, but this was the first time they'd used guns.

Mr Alhamid refused media access to any of the injured men for fear of reprisals.
Thair Wali, an Iraqi adviser to the International Organisation for Migration, was reported on the Al-Jazeera Satellite television website as saying the fight broke out on Saturday after protesters began taking pictures of voters leaving the polling station.

"This is scary for the people, taking photos of the voting," he said.
As opposed to say being shot at.

I'd link to Sydney Indymedia for more, but they're distracted right now, talking variously about Jews Zionists who we are now told are pedophile baby raping scum and posting anti-Semitic cartoons.

Update: The SMH has a new report: Police prepare for more violence after shots fired in Sydney. Sydney Indymedia meanwhile are arguing about whether Jews eat babies with tomato sauce or BBQ.

Also, I have changed things so that links open in a new window. Let me know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, thanks.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Should the Anti-war Movement Support terrorists the Iraqi Resistance?

SF Bay Area Indymedia is currently debating whether or not the anti-War movement should support the "Iraqi Resistance".

Just so we are clear who they are talking about, here's a picture of some Iraqi Resistance.

Paul Johnson Beheaded by Terrorists. Image Hosted by
At a workshop held yesterday at the World Social Forum, to discuss ending the US occupation in Iraq, a proposal was discussed to support the Iraqi resistance forces. Albert Petrarca, who is in the Pittsburgh Anti-war Committee and who attended the workshop said “the proposal to support the Iraqi resistance came during the question and answer period and their position was that it wasn’t enough to just be against the war but that you had to take a stand in support of the resistance.”
A panelist and spokesperson for the End the War Coalition in England disagreed. While she agreed that the struggle to end the war in Iraq is central for all progressives and that a defeat for U.S. forces in Iraq would be of historic proportions, she argued that including support for the Iraqi resistance into the demands of the anti-war movement would have a disastrous effect. If you make that a point of unity in the anti war movement, she argued, you will not be able to build a mass movement capable of stopping the war.
In other words, supporting the terrorists resistance may be bad PR because some people kind of disapprove of the "resistance" tactics.

Incidentally, how does supporting one-side of a war (i.e. the 'resistance') constitute being an anti-War movement? Wouldn't a more appropriate term be anti-US movement?
The issue will be up for discussion on Sunday.
Opposition to war or the US is one thing, but to even discuss supporting people who saw off heads and threaten would-be voters with death is disgraceful. Indymedia provides such a forum.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


How to Run a Community

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, is the inventor of "disemvowelling" - the removal of all vowels from offensive comments as a way of smacking them down. For example, taking one of the disgraceful comments from my recent report on Indymedia's entrenched anti-Semitism and disemvowelling it improves it thus:
thts n mrnz pppt rgm nd s rl thts nt stt ,jst prx mrcn rm bs dmnstrd b bnch f thvng bck-stbng jw scm nz h. y r lsr nd thts wh y jws kp gttng yr sss slghtrd b th mllns nd th nbxt hlcst wll trn srl nt glss pln nd rstd jw smcks, y grd stpd sns-f-btchs r bng stp nd yr fll s cmng vr sn, hhhhhh y knw t. srl s sn t b scrfcd t jstf th cllng f th th l flds b ss hl nz h. y stpd sht bll btch, y ft GL wrthlss LSR!!
Much better!

She has just written some things she knows about moderating conversations in virtual space which I am reprinting here.

Virtual panel participation

The text I’m responding to is taken from Jay Allen’s letter.

Spam, Trolls, Stalkers: The Pandora’s Box of community

The ease with which people from all over the world can come together and create a virtual community is one of the most powerful gifts of the internet. Sites which facilitate community—from Slashdot and Metafilter to the single-author blog with comments enabled—do so first by making communication easy. Unfortunately, this also opens the gates to undesirable parasites who, at best, don’t care about your creation or, at worst, want to destroy it [ed: Or at Indymedia are part of the management].

Yup. All points touch within the internet, and getting online just gets easier and easier. It’s an inescapable truth that for some people, the most interesting way to participate in online discourse is to kick holes in the conversation. Others—many of them young, but some, alas, old enough to know better—have a sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that their having an opinion means the rest of us are obliged to listen to it. Still others plainly get off on verbally abusing others, and seek out conversations that will offer them opportunities to do so.

And so on and so forth: the whole online bestiary.

Must all good things come to an end due to the network effect and the shadow of anonymity? In this panel, we’ll discuss all of the things that exposure and user-submitted content might bring and how to mitigate its effect on your site’s health and growth.

Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space:

1. There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.

2. Once you have a well-established online conversation space, with enough regulars to explain the local mores to newcomers, they’ll do a lot of the policing themselves.

3. You own the space. You host the conversation. You don’t own the community. Respect their needs. For instance, if you’re going away for a while, don’t shut down your comment area. Give them an open thread to play with, so they’ll still be there when you get back.

4. Message persistence rewards people who write good comments.

5. Over-specific rules are an invitation to people who get off on gaming the system.

6. Civil speech and impassioned speech are not opposed and mutually exclusive sets. Being interesting trumps any amount of conventional politeness.

7. Things to cherish: Your regulars. A sense of community. Real expertise. Genuine engagement with the subject under discussion. Outstanding performances. Helping others. Cooperation in maintenance of a good conversation. Taking the time to teach newbies the ropes.

All these things should be rewarded with your attention and praise. And if you get a particularly good comment, consider adding it to the original post.

8. Grant more lenience to participants who are only part-time jerks, as long as they’re valuable the rest of the time.

9. If you judge that a post is offensive, upsetting, or just plain unpleasant, it’s important to get rid of it, or at least make it hard to read. Do it as quickly as possible. There’s no more useless advice than to tell people to just ignore such things. We can’t. We automatically read what falls under our eyes.

10. Another important rule: You can let one jeering, unpleasant jerk hang around for a while, but the minute you get two or more of them egging each other on, they both have to go, and all their recent messages with them. There are others like them prowling the net, looking for just that kind of situation. More of them will turn up, and they’ll encourage each other to behave more and more outrageously. Kill them quickly and have no regrets.

11. You can’t automate intelligence. In theory, systems like Slashdot’s ought to work better than they do. Maintaining a conversation is a task for human beings.

12. Disemvowelling works. Consider it.

13. If someone you’ve disemvowelled comes back and behaves, forgive and forget their earlier gaffes. You’re acting in the service of civility, not abstract justice.
All bloggers will find this interesting. As an effectively unmoderated medium, Indymedia moderators should take special note. Not that I'm holding my breath of course...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Intimidation damages UN's latest report on Arabs

According to this article:
"The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) will lend its name to a controversial report on freedom and governance in the Arab world despite U.S. objections to parts of the text".
"The dispute reflects differences between the U.S. view that the Arab world's problems are mainly internal and the Arab consensus that external factors such as foreign intervention and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians have contributed significantly to oppression and poor governance in the region".
In other words, the US is displeased that the latest UNDP Arab Human Development Report lays the blame for Arab problems on the US and Israel.

The 2002 UNDP report on Arab Development was harshly critical of Arab under-development and was indirectly mentioned by me recently and summarised in Self-Doomed to Failure by The Economist which said:
One in five Arabs still live on less than $2 a day. And, over the past 20 years, growth in income per head, at an annual rate of 0.5%, was lower than anywhere else in the world except sub-Saharan Africa. At this rate, says the report, it will take the average Arab 140 years to double his income, a target that some regions are set to reach in less than ten years. Stagnant growth, together with a fast-rising population, means vanishing jobs. Around 12m people, or 15% of the labour force, are already unemployed, and on present trends the number could rise to 25m by 2010.

The barrier to better Arab performance is not a lack of resources, concludes the report, but the lamentable shortage of three essentials: freedom, knowledge and womanpower. Not having enough of these amounts to what the authors call the region's three "deficits". It is these deficits, they argue, that hold the frustrated Arabs back from reaching their potential—and allow the rest of the world both to despise and to fear a deadly combination of wealth and backwardness.
The Report's Chief Author: Nader Fergany, an Egyptian sociologist.

Disclosure: I am not a big fan of the UN lately. I also know the UN hasn't been very positive toward the US lately (or Israel at all since 1948).

This latest issue, and the UN's need for a distraction after their post-Tsunami failures and US pressure over oil-for-food got me thinking.

Why apparently all of a sudden, are the US and Israel responsible for Arab problems they weren't blamed for in the 2002 report.

Especially when the author of this latest report is..... Nader Fergany, the author of the previous one.

Due to the nature of this site, I've been hanging around Indymedia a whole lot, so perhaps some of the conspiracy theorist lunacy has rubbed off on me.

But here's my 'crazy' thought: Is it possible that Fergany has been subject to considerable 'persuasion' by Arab or UN sources to modify the report's findings all of a sudden?

We can be certain the Arab world would have been none too pleased by their previous scorecard. We also know that many Arabs take a shall-we-say 'dim' view of ideas they disapprove of.

Could a bit of UN or Arab 'per$ua$ion' have helped change Fergany's mind or that of his working group?

Worse, could Fergany possibly have been intimidated into 'revising' this latest report?

This is entirely my own theory but it certainly wouldn't be the first case of massive corruption at the UN.

Nahid Fergany has some animosity towards the US and Egypt as indicated when he was interviewed by the Arabist Network here concerning their use of the previous report.
Interviewer: For the past few years, you’ve had the Bush administration and many American and European newspaper columnists rely a lot on the first two reports to advance their beliefs on the need for reform in the Arab world or the idea that the region needs to be shaken up for democracy to grow. Do you think their interpretation is valid?

Fergany: The only flagrant misuse of the report was by the American administration in basing their Greater Middle East Initiative, [which was based] especially on the first draft on the report, which I think was a form of misuse of the report. It's only because the American administration has no credibility in the region whatsoever that it wanted something that is credible to propose its own version of reform, which is not consistent with the report's vision anyway.
I can't say for certain what the reports' "vision" was beyond "celebration of the cause of human development" and improving the Arab World. When launching the earlier report however, Fergany did say:
Arab countries have surely made significant strides in more than one area of human development in the last three decades. Nevertheless, these achievements are marred by deeply rooted shortcomings that represent serious obstacle to building human development in the Arab countries. We summarised them in the three deficits of freedom, empowerment of women and knowledge. As such, the challenge of building human development remains a very serious one for the vast majority of Arabs.
(PDF version or Google's HTML cache). On that basis, I think the US and Economist interpretation was fair (refer the quote earlier) and even some Arab media has run with similar commentary of the previous reports. Fergany may just be upset the US made too big a deal of it.

This is also not the first time the report has been controversial according to this AP article.
The annual UNDP report has elicited passionate responses since first appearing in 2002 because of its frankness and willingness to challenge the status quo.

Fergany, who turned down repeated requests for an interview by The Associated Press, wrote in Al Arabi that the United States tried to block or tone down this year's version.

Mustafa Kamel el-Seyed, a Cairo University professor who wrote a chapter on political participation and the role of minorities, told the AP: "No government has any right to express any reservations on the report. This is censorship." [ed - I agree and hope the idea takes off in the Arab World one day.]

James Bullock, a U.S. Embassy official in Cairo, disputed those allegations Tuesday, saying the State Department first issued a denial Dec. 16.

The U.N. body also denied any government tried to suppress the report.

"It is untrue that UNDP is suppressing the report. It is untrue that either the government of the United States or the government of Egypt has asked us to block the report. As we said before, the report is still in the final editing process and we expect it to be published within the next couple of months," UNDP spokesman Bill Orme said.

But the agency has hinted at problems, saying any document coming out under its name "must meet the high standards of impartiality expected of a U.N. agency."

In a letter published in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat last month, Egyptian Foreign Ministry official Dawlat Hassan said the report's authors failed to take the government's views into account, which is "unacceptable belittling of these states and it does not express a real readiness for cooperation to create a partnership for the development of this area."

Hassan did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Fergany also worked on the two previous reports, which were warmly received by the United States, with President Bush saying they helped advance his drive for political reform in the Middle East.

Arab leaders were angered by those reports. Last year, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa refused to host a ceremony to release the report because it criticized Arab governments. [ed- They should speak to George W. Bush about what happens when you have a free press!] Organizers moved the ceremony to Jordan.

This time, Moussa said reports the United States tried to block publication of the survey show Washington was not serious when it called for more democracy and freedom of speech in the Arab world.
Am I the only one who sees the irony of Arab countries commenting on US Democracy and freedom of speech?

Returning to my theory: Worst case, Fergany and his committee may have been manipulated. Best case, he may bear a new or increased grudge towards the US.

Either way, this does not augur well for the report's impartiality or whether the Arab countries are likely to derive benefit from any constructive criticism rather than continue down their current spiral while scapegoating others.

Arabs blaming the US and Israel for everything while absolving themselves of any responsibility is not a new thing.

Update: The House of Wheels has posted a concise chronology of the events.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Indymedia and anti-Semitism

I previously linked to an article on Sydney Indymedia in my "Indy Roundup".

Most of the articles in the 'roundup' were at best amusing, at worst, sad.

I now sincerely regret being so flippant in describing one of those articles as "True-Blue Bonza Nazis Downunder". The article in question is here.

The piece in question is entitled: "More Israeli Innovation" and makes the point that Israel had won two-thirds of the prizes in the latest WSJ innovation awards. It then contrasts this with Arab underachievement. It cites UN and Economist reports that indicate Arab countries are well behind the rest of the world in education, literacy and development. The UN and numerous pundits argue this is because the Arab leadership is corrupt and the "lamentable shortage of three essentials: freedom, knowledge and womanpower" absolutely stand in the way of development. Fair enough perhaps.

There is no shortage of bad 'news' about Israel on Indymedia and as I have mentioned, it is wholly disproportionate to 'reporting' on any other country, usually including the host country of the IMC site in question. This example of highly-positive Israeli news however cleary raised the ire of some Israel-haters. So much so, they came out from their usual claimed anti-Zionism camouflage and exposed their true colors. Anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred, plain and simple for the world to see.

Since last week, it has been the most commented article on the Sydney site and totally overrun with comments that cannot fairly be described as anyhing less than appalling. I shall list a few small examples:
thats an amerinazi puppit regime and is rael thats not a state ,just a proxy american army base administered by a bunch of thieving back-stabing jew scum nazi h. you are a loser and thats why you jews keep getting your asses slaughtered by the millions and the nbext holicost will turn israel into a glassy plain and roasted jew smucks, you greedy stupid sons-of-bitches are being setup and your fall is coming very soon, hahahahahaha you know it. israel is soon to be sacrificed to justify the culling of the the oil fields by ass hole nazi h. you stupid shit ball bitch, you fat UGLY worthless LOSER!!
by jew boy
we are so brite we even make great lamp shades!
under Arafat conditions improved untill the current conflict broke out. Whereas under Israeli rule conditions continually deteriorated, despite huge amounts of money coming in. So show me a poor Israeli leader?
he prefers to peddle his cultural bigotry and blindness because he's just a racist prick begging for a spin in the oven.
Jews are money grubbing turds who'd flog their own mother for a buck.
Jews get into positions of power and promote other Jews regardless of their talent or competency.
We all know you Jews aren't backward about shoving yourself forward and like to be noticed and patted on the head like mummy's boys.
For your enjoyment Naziboy (enjoy it while you can).
The last two links are to a right-wing/Nazi supremacist site and it should be obvious why I haven't hyperlinked them.

The article also features plenty by previously reported deranged nut Faruque Ahmed who is now spamming the rest of Sydney's 'newswire' as well.

Get a sickbag and go and read the whole thing, arguments from both sides and general level of conversation. You will be disgusted and embarrassed, but it is important people see this.

Protests about blatant Nazism and anti-Semitism on Indymedia are typically fruitless.
What I expect will happen now is the common response denying genuine anti-Semitism exists and probably suggesting the above quotes were in fact posted by Jews looking for sympathy. That is, all articles condemnatory of Jews were actually written by covert Jewish Mossad agents. It's already happened in this thread:
Sydney should take this shit down. But they wont because they are a bunch of stuck up, racist, wankers.

Oh yeah, and Nazi, I spoke up when they put anti-semitic shit up too. You are really no better (actually you are probably the same troll anyway).
Finally, some who criticize Israel claim they resent being called anti-Semites and claim Jews were trying to stifle debate about Israel. It is argued however that such claims are not always genuine and indeed attempt to disarm Jews from identifying genuine anti-Semitism where 'debate' crosses the line from legitimate criticism to anti-Semitic vilification posing as criticism. (Good article: here or here). Differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from the so-called new anti-Semitism.
Sometimes people tell me they are not anti-Semites when I have not accused them of anything of the sort! There must be a message in this defensiveness.
Ironically, the charge of anti-Semitism is now being used not so much to stifle criticism of Israel but to silence Israel's defenders
Source: Peace with Realism.

Referring back to the Sydney Indymedia piece, have a look at some of the condemnation of racism:
Your heart and your words are so full of venom! It's so scary to see so much hatred and racism poured out on the pages of sydney indymedia
Opponents of anti-Semitism? Hardly. This comment referred to the original piece, and not to the genuinely hate-filled comments which preceded this one (e.g. "roasted jew" one comment prior).

It seems whilst continuous, unrelenting and frequently hate-filled articles critical of Israel are quite justified, any criticism whatsoever of the Arab World is unacceptable. This blog believes the Arab World deserves plenty. In Arab countries, dissidents could be killed so a lack of criticism is somewhat understandable. But in Sydney, Australia?

When double-standards and anti-Semitism collide, Indymedia is the product.

Update: It gets better. In addition to standard anti-Semitic canards about Jewish media control, as the world commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz, Sydney Indymedia is instead denying the Holocaust.

What we are fighting here is the jewish media monopoly that controls all information that is pertinent to their cause
The Holocaust was the reason we are meant to believe that that Palestinians owed the jews their land and livelihoods, even though there is not one fact connecting the Palestinians to this said Holocaust. Not many facts to support the Holocaust period if the actual records of that time are to be believed.

It looks like Vancouver Indymedia may have some competition...

Monday, January 24, 2005


PalTalk Under Pressure

Paltalk never responded to my email concerning their possible involvement in the murder of a New Jersey local. Rather unimpressive for a company which strives to be the best service out there. I think I now understand their slogan - "Communication beyond words".

According to the The Counterterrorism Blog PalTalk is under pressure to end Omar Bakri Mohammed's webcasts. This Mohammed is a real piece of work:
He hosted a secret conference earlier this month at which British Muslims were urged to join al-Qaeda, and where one speaker said that Western governments would face "a 9/11 day after day after day." He has suggested that an attack on a British school of the kind that occurred in Beslan, Russia would be justified. Bakri Mohammed also headed up the radical group Al-Muhajiroun, which has referred to September 11 as "a towering day in history," and calls the 9/11 hijackers "the magnificent 19."
Let's see if Paltalk have learned anything about Jihad.


Indymedia Hypocrisy Continues

Looking down the left hand column of the Indy Media Site, you'd be forgiven for noticing that while there is no shortage of European or American sub-sites, there really aren't a whole lot of Middle Eastern ones. There are only three. Two of them, Israel and Palestine Indymedia exist simply because they can.

Unsuprisingly, there is no Egypt Indymedia, Saudi Indymedia or any other number of Middle Eastern sites.

We now know why an Iranian Indymedia isn't going to happen soon thanks to local bloggers being tortured.

But you won't hear about any of this on the Indymedia sites whose contributors take their freedom completely for granted. They aren't concerned with real oppression, real censorship, real fascism or real anything. While people are thrown in jail for speaking their mind and fatwas issued for dissent, those with both the right and privilege to do so seem more concerned with breaking stuff and bitching about America. What hypocrisy! What happened?


Colorful language

Why is this nut linking to me? Why???


Iran jails and tortures bloggers. Indymedia ignores it.

I have prevously remarked on double-standards by Indymedia types in picking which human-rights violators they 'go after'. One example I have regularly raised is Iran.

About 20 online Iranian journalists and bloggers have just been jailed. Some say they were tortured and forced to publicly denounce their work.

TEHRAN — The criminal seems younger than his 25 years. He is the quiet type, shy and lanky, peering solemnly through octagonal glasses. He has no weapons, not in the traditional sense.

His name is Hanif Mazroui, and the tools of his crime are a handful of ideas and skinny fingers flying over the keyboard. He is one of about 20 Iranian Web loggers and journalists who have been arrested and jailed in recent months.

Government prosecutors call Mazroui a violator of national security and an inciter of unrest. If you ask the nation's conservative mullahs, he's an acid eating away at the fabric of the Islamic revolution. He has done time in solitary confinement, and reportedly weathered death threats from judiciary officials.

"I just want to remember where I was," he said. "I'm grateful for my time in prison, because I realized how much we should pay for freedom, and that freedom can't be got easily. I'm a small drop of that."

After toiling for years to silence dissent within the Iranian republic, the mullahs have turned their war against free press to the last reserve of open political debate: the Internet. Since the summer, Iran's Web loggers, or bloggers, and online journalists have been demonized as CIA collaborators, their work whitewashed from many Iranian computers with filters.

"They can't accept the free exchange of ideas and equality offered by the Internet," said Sayed Mustafa Taj-Zadeh, an advisor to reformist President Mohammad Khatami. "They had to crack down on it."

The arrest of online journalists and bloggers began last fall. The writers say they were tortured and forced to publicly denounce their work. Even technicians who worked on Web pages have been imprisoned. President Khatami has ordered an investigation into the reports of torture.

"They think that now that they've closed the papers they should concentrate on the Web logs," said Ali Mazroui, Hanif's father and a former reformist lawmaker. "They think if they close this new source of information, they'll have control."

When the government sent him a written order to turn over his son Hanif, Ali Mazroui didn't have much choice. He escorted the young man to the police station. That was Sept. 8. Ali Mazroui didn't see his son again for two months.

Called before a presidential commission in December, Hanif Mazroui was among a handful of journalists and bloggers who told of the torture they'd suffered behind bars. They had been beaten, left in solitary confinement and forced to make false confessions, they said. They'd been grilled about their past sexual relationships, they said, and denied access to lawyers.

Details of the testimony were displayed on , the Web log of former Iranian Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi. A reformist cleric who has become a pop culture icon by virtue of his whimsical, almost picaresque daily blog, Abtahi sat on the commission, and later recounted the indignities the ex-inmates described.

"I don't ever want to go back to a place like that," he said. "No matter what your mentality, no matter who you are, it will break you."

He described being held in an underground cell no larger than a coffin, a claustrophobic place burned around the clock by an overhead light. He lost track of days under the unblinking light, and slowly came to believe that he would be forgotten there, he said, trapped eternally. "It felt like a grave," he said. "I thought I would be there forever."

The writer described something he said interrogators called the "miracle room" — an interrogation cell where his captors terrorized him, bragging of the reformist politicians and journalists they'd broken down through psychological torment. He began to dream of killing himself, and plotted how it could be done.

He couldn't sleep, not even after he was released. He'd lain awake weeping in bed until 4 o'clock in the morning the night before the interview, he said. For the first time in his life, he added sadly, he was beginning to understand why Iranians give up and leave their country.

"We were the children of the revolution," he said. "We weren't asking for radical change. We wanted to work within the system."
Torture, suppression and jail. I don't imagine anyone at Indymedia is paying attention though. I mean, the US is trying to stop these people from getting the bomb. The bastards! Worse, journalists in Israel are being stopped at checkpoints! Oh the abuse...

Stifling of freedom of speech and human-rights abuse are two areas you would think Indy Media contributors took seriously. Alas, they usually have better things to do.


Indy Roundup

I have two theories about Indymedia contributors.

The first, is that constant bigotry, lies, deception, fraud and poor quality will drive all intelligent people away from the site for good.

The second, is that this has already happened.

To help you make up your own mind, I present a random assortment of 'highlights' from various Indy Media sites this week. Brought to you by the letters N, F and I.

UN completely exonerated from responsibility for Oil for Food scandal. Turns out it's all the US fault after all.

Journalist "brutally arrested" in Israel for breaking the law. Getting deported, activists outraged. Palestinian Authority would have simply shot her and saved the flight ticket.

Debate over the ethics of smashing stuff.
Some spray painted messages as they walked. Many that marched were angry with some fellow protestors for vandalizing a beat up neighborhood car. "Who ever owns that car does not deserve to pay for that, it's obviously not a 'Porsche' y'know? Who knows it they can even afford it? We have to keep our anger centralized on the source.” said one protestor.
a DC IMC reader writes: "As much as I hate the state and its oppressive security apparatus, those so-called “anarchists” are going to make me like the police.
Gay people kill neighbourhood. In response, George W. Bush kills gay people.

True-Blue Bonza Nazis Downunder!

Milwaukee Protestors Take to the Streets!
In what was the largest direct-action in recent Milwaukee history, nearly 40 protestors took to the streets after a rally on Thursday, January 20th.
In what was a far better attended "action", well over 40 drinkers took to the streets and loudly went home after a local bar closed for the night. Expect repeat every weekend forever.

New York Times journalist dies. Journalism suffers big hit.
American journalism lost one of its finest practitioners.
He never cared much for Indymedia.

Protest at Parry Center. 13 arrested, now have criminal record.
Organizer: "Thirteen people were arrested, Parry Center Rally was great!"
Organizer's Mother: Seriously unimpressed.
Most popular protest chants. Clear winner: English, grammar go to Hell, Indymedia no can spell.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Indy Media Symbolism

Moments ago I referred to violent incidents of protest and suggested Indymedia provocateurs encourage most of it.

I said the sites usually follow up this reporting with editorial to the effect of "the trouble all started when the Police officer hit me back".

I was right.

An article on Washington DC Indymedia refererred to Police using pepper/capsicum spray against protesters who had knocked down a massive barricade.

Looking at the photos, it seems to me that a barricade was set up with the clear symbolism that "across this line, you do not cross".
When it was knocked down, the police responded.

I refer to symbolism specifically because the Indy Media post claimed:
protesters did NOT attempt to pass through or rush the police line on the other side. It was a symbolic act against the fences and barricads of the empire weather they be physical, economic or political.
Don't you love the "symbolism"?

Could it be instead that the protesters did not attempt to charge through because of the pepper spray which replaced the hitherto erect barricade?
Or would you seriously have us believe the protesters would have knocked down the barricades, hugged and high-fived each other before remaining on exactly the same spot.
And here's a photo of protesters spraying the Police.


The article then goes on to cast aspersions on people (captioned: "The Rich") who from what I can see were doing nothing more than looking out the window at the time.

One poster than says:
I high powered Marine sniper rifle would serve a nice purpose and alleviate the world of those white fucking pigs looking out the window

Was that a violent death-threat I just saw?. Assuming (and I certainly am) that it was, I can't imagine why the Police might question your hostility after knocking down a twelve foot barricade. Let me guess, threatening to shoot them was really just "symbolism" right?

This was then followed many more complaints about police tactics such as:
even when we were being completely peaceful, they sprayed us
which was folllowed by this photo devoid of any spray:
. Here's a tip, if you are going to lie, don't provide photographic evidence.

This isn't about Bush Politics. It's a simple question of threats, obvious lies and distortion being reported on Indymedia as "news". Thanks to the ever-popular photos after protests, it's easy to illustrate the ongoing problem of Indymedia.

No one is taking away your right to protest, no one is taking away your right to criticise Government policy nor (despite previously reported conspiracy theorist beliefs) are these rights going anywhere. But for heaven's sake, grow up already and respect the rights you have because live in a country where you can do all this and still live to write about it. People have died to earn or protect those rights. On Indymedia you take them for granted and achieve nothing by abusing them.


Apology to the Saudis

I previously endorsed comments that while infidels America (Great Satan), Australia (Slave of Great Satan) and Israel (Little Satan) were helping Muslims in tsunami areas, the Saudis were being miserably stingy in their aid (or relative lack of it) to tsunami victims.

Courtesy of Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch, I now know exactly how the Saudis will be contributing.
The Saudi royal family has cleared plans to construct 4,500 madrasas in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka at a cost of $ 35 million to promote “modern and liberal education with Islamic values”, and the Saudi embassy in New Delhi is pushing this somewhat tentatively with the Union HRD ministry and Minorities Commission....

These are likely to be 4,500 centers to spread the jihad ideology and the idea that Muslims must wage war in order to impose Sharia everywhere they can. The implications for the future of South Asia are obvious.
And quite frightening.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Tinfoil Stocks up Ten Points

One of the tendencies of conspiracy theorists is to use their own form of scientific method to try and prove their points beyond reasonable doubt.

The normal scientific method is essentially, observe some trait of the universe, form a hypothesis consistent with your observation, test evidence to support the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis accordingly. Finally these last steps are repeated until there is no difference between the hypothesis and the observations. At that point, the hypothesis should be able to withstand scrutiny.
There is a very important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypothesis which differentiates it from, for example, an act of faith: a theory must be "falsifiable''. This means that there must be some experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. For example, Einstein's theory of Relativity made predictions about the results of experiments. These experiments could have produced results that contradicted Einstein, so the theory was (and still is) falsifiable.

In contrast, the theory that "the moon is populated by little green men who can read our minds and will hide whenever anyone on Earth looks for them, and will flee into deep space whenever a spacecraft comes near'' is not falsifiable: these green men are designed so that no one can ever see them. On the other hand, the theory that there are no little green men on the moon is scientific: you can disprove it by catching one. Similar arguments apply to abominable snow-persons, UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster(s?)
(Source: Jose Wudka, What is the Scientific Method?)

Conspiracy theorists on the other hand use a different approach. Theirs is to state a point, and then leave it up to others to disprove it. Any failure to do so further proves the point.

Now I hear you say "but what does any of this have to do with Nazis?" I wondered the same thing until I found this paper discussing Pseudoscience.
I once worked with a man who bought into some pretty bizarre conspiracy theories. Now, I've met my fair share of conspiracy theorists, but this guy took the CIA-bugged cake.

For starters, he sincerely believed that the Nazis did not lose World War II, but instead fabricated the appearance of defeat. According to him, they relocated to the US along with their rocket scientists and ventured to the dark side of the moon, from where they control events on Earth.

Upon hearing this, I couldn't turn the other cheek. But like a master hockey goalie, my ex-colleague deftly deflected each argument I shot his way. He had an answer for everything: The state of Nazi technology was far more advanced than previously thought; the US government is a Nazi puppet regime; the media is awash in subterfuge and misinformation.

Eventually I gave up. Like all good conspiracy theories, his was impossible to disprove.

And then I realized: Where we differed wasn't only in our beliefs, but also in our methodologies.

Being a history major, I have a stricter idea of what constitutes an effective methodology for devising and verifying hypotheses, including the ability to discern credible evidence in a vast sea of misinformation. In other words, my ex-colleague isn't very scientific about his belief in our supposed Nazi overlords.

And the sad truth is, he's hardly alone. Far too many people today have an unacceptably low threshold for proof. Science and skepticism remain neglected disciplines.
I know Indymedia has an unacceptably low threshold for proof (exactly zero at last check). I also know that it is a marshalling ground for all manner of conspiracy theorists and lunatic fringe. However, that alone is pretty obvious and most people would tend to throw as big a pinch of salt on it as any other conspiracy theorist site. That is, it's all very interesting but that's about it.

What upsets me however is when this same perverted proof-of-logic is applied to history and modern politics. That is, a statement is made and it is then up to you to disprove it. If you can't, therefore it must be true, QED.

Here's an example courtesy of Sydney Indymedia:

I won't bother reprinting it in full as I don't want you to have to disinfect your screen afterward. In summary however, it questions the fuss over Prince Harry's choice of Nazi uniform. It then makes the point that it is obiously all a big Jewish distraction from "the fact that Israel treats the the Palestinians the same way as the nazis treated the holocaust victims albeit in slow motion".

Notice the use of that word "fact".

A subsequent comment pointed out:
In just over four years of the 2nd Intifada, the total of Palestinian dead numbers just over 3,023 (BBC Numbers), including suicide bombers -- or an average of 2.26/day. If this is a genocide, then it has to be the most pathetic and lethargic genocide in history.

In fact -- the Palestinian Authority acknowledges a birth rate among PA territory Palestinians at 157 / day

So the Israelis would have to increase their alleged genocide by just under 7,000 per cent -- just to break even.
The discussion then degenerates into arguments over why Jews can spell and anti-Semites cannot. It represents a significant problem however, that information is presented on Indymedia as "fact", with neither basis nor supporting evidence. The onus is then on the accused to disprove their guilt. Why must this fail? Try the following:

Please disprove the following facts:

1) You sleep with little children
2) You like to have strange men tickle you
3) You have a drinking problem
4) You have bad breath
5) You are a murderer
6) You are a rapist.

There is little question that you could disprove all of the above quite convincingly and provide ample evidence to do so. So too, could inane arguments like those earlier above be disproved.

However, I bet I can write more accusations faster than you can disprove them. So too, can provocateurs cut, paste and reprint articles far more quickly than you can disprove them and expose what they are. More likely however, just like the History Major above, you'll give up and probably never return to the site as it is such a complete and utter waste of time.

Therefore you have now clearly admitted defeat, must therefore be totally wrong and are obviously ashamed of yourself. Let us rejoice that we have defeated you.

And so the Indymedia logic goes time and time again...


Jihad in America Part II

Daniel Pipes has weighed in on the murder in New Jersey previously reported.

Pipes refers to Robert Spencer's Jihadwatch article and says:
Assuming Spencer's information is accurate, it raises a most alarming prospect of the importation of Shari'a to America. I suspect, however, that government, media, academy, churches, and others will prefer not to see this horrifying development for what it is.
So the mainstream media will ignore it. Here is another example of how a genuinely effective Independent Media could fill the void quite nicely. Indymedia sure won't.


Another Indymedia bites the Dust

Brisbane Indymedia walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low...

I previously reported on Indy Media sites imploding and self-destructing.

Brisbane Indymedia has since "been disaffiliated from the global Indymedia network" ostensibly due to failures to uphold the IMC principals of unity.
The Rat Pack reports on the internal strife and unprofessionalism that led to the situation, but adds:
that still doesn’t change the fact that only about six people read Brisbane Indymedia in the first place.
(Hat Tip: House of Wheels)

These Principles of Unity which apparently were breached state the following:
10. All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and shall not discriminate, including discrimination based upon race, gender, age, class or sexual orientation. Recognizing the vast cultural traditions within the network, we are committed to building diversity within our localities.
As far as unity goes, see how united they are at the Brisbane page debriefing 'what happened'. Don't get me started on discrimination or even localities which rarely extend outside the US or Israel.


On this basis it would of course be reasonable for every other Indymedia site I have reported on will to be 'excommunicated' for breaching the Principles. Not that this would happen of course, the hypocrisy, amateurishness and downright stupidity prevails. I welcome any Brisbane or ex-Brisbane Indymedia types to comment.

Normally when you kick an anthill, dozens more pop up nearby a short while later. If the ex-Brisbane types do end up forming a breakaway site or project, might I suggest they don't subconsciously or deliberately emulate what they have left behind. Look at this as an opportunity to do something worthwhile. Most if not all of Indymedia simply isn't and should hear my:

First Annual Call for Indymedia Seppuku.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


No War! (Except on The Streets)

At last, some raw honesty in an Indymedia report. Indymedia for all its faults has always been detailed in reporting the senseless violent incidents of protests ever since a September 11 (not that September 11) in Seattle. Admittedly, Indymedia provocateurs encourage most of the senseless violence. As such, the sites usually follow up this reporting with editorial to the effect of "the trouble all started when the Police officer hit me back". I can't say I'm looking forward to being proved right.

Updates from the US Presidential Inauguration lists some 'highlights':

7:02pm Confrontations now occurring between Republicans and protesters at Union Station;
3:45 Coffins carried by protestors are burning;
3:44 At least 30 riot-police at 14th and Pennsylvania; stand-off between police and protestors; whole area is filled with pepper-spray and tear-gas; 16 mainstream journalists observed getting sprayed by police with pepper-spray;
3:18 Three sections of fence on inaugural parade route now broken down by protestors; fence blocking off parade route has collapsed; protestors battling police in streets; police still responding with pepper spray and tear gas;
3:13 Police send a request to the Bush motorcade to slow down the motorcade at 5th and Pennsylvania, as major street battle rages between protestors and police at 14th and Pennsylvania;
3:13 Tear-gas being used in street battle between protestors and police at 14th and Pennsylvania;
3:11 Bush motorcade passes massive grouping of protestors on parade route; "Fuck Bush!" can be heard live on CNN as protestors out-shout Bush supporters;
3:05PM: Spot in the fense near 14 and Penn, near Willard Hotel, where they've rattled the fense, gotten it knocked over or bent over twice, MPD pepper spray. Extra police are being deployed to this area.
2:50PM: Some anarchists at 14th and Penn are trying to pull-down barricades, break through check-points. Check-points are being closed-down by the police. Protests at 16th and H going well. (20 people laying on ground)
2:33PM: Flags being burned at 14th and Penn. Some callers report there has been a fight of some sort between anarchists burning a flag and a Bush-supporter trying to take the flag from them.
1:16PM: (updated)snow balls thrown by some activists, several people say at least 2,000 anarchists. Some sort of projectile, maybe pepper balls, corroborated by some. Snowballs were thrown. Mood as calmed down, peoples spirits are "high." Anarchist Cheerleader squad is among them.

There are also reports of 'peace activists' beating the hell out of their opponents.

Are you proud of yourselves?
Will people take you more seriously now?


Fighting Fire With umm... Signatures

I can see from my referrer logs that a link within Paltalk has sent some traffic toward my earlier report on the Jihadi implications of the murder of an Internet user. Despite this, I am yet to receive a reply from Paltalk and their news page makes no mention of the case whatsoever. I appreciate they may have zero liability in this matter, but considering the number of web pages that (according to Google) specifically refer to Paltalk in this matter, haven't they heard of damage control? The silence is of concern...

Meanwhile, following one of these links led me to this petition. It states:
Too all Islamic terrorist and those who support them.This is your last warning. We the following demand the immediate end too the global jihad against Christians, Jews, Buddhist, Hindus and all that are non Muslim.The flying of planes into buildings, the hijackings, beheadings, homocide bombings, mass murders, rapes and torture and all forms of violence must stop or you and your cause will suffer dire consequences.There will be NO negotiations, NO talks, there will be NO conditions of surrender.
Wow. Pretty tough sounding PETITION. I bet the terrorists you are aiming it at are quaking in their jackboots.

Sorry to break it to you guys, but petitions are one of the cornerstones of democracy. This is not a concept Jihadists generally aspire towards. I do acknowledge your intent (if somewhat poorly written) but the fact is, if you have declared war as you imply, this is not how one normally wins. See the cartoon here.

I am generally suspicious of online petitions. How do signatories know it wasn't set up by a Paltalk user looking to collect email addresses of their enemy? I don't want to suggest this is the case here, nor for any other online petition but the circumstances of this latest murder cause one pause and consider the privacy implications. For what it's worth, I believe your argument is noble (even if it does say it is aimed at a single Islamic "terrorist" instead of "terrorists") and I support it.

Petitioning terrorists is probably inappropriate. Petitioning media outlets, politicians and Religious and Government leadership might have some more merit though. If anything, it may put the issue of Jihad on their agenda. Give it a try and let me know! Oh, and have someone proofread it this time.

Jihad Watch has some interesting inside-information on the New Jersey murders.
Many Copts are regarding the murders as a warning to the Coptic community as a whole, related to the increasing strife between Copts and Muslims in Egypt and the Copts' energetic efforts in America to get the truth out about the differences between Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims -- differences that the Islamic lobby, with its disingenuous talk of "Arab Americans," routinely glosses over and hopes you don't notice. The Copts, to their immense credit, have been particularly outspoken among Middle Eastern Christians about Muslim oppression. And yes, many are active on Pal Talk debating Muslims.

The nature of the warning? The murders send a signal from the Muslims to the Copts: we are going to behave here the same way we behaved in Egypt, and the First Amendment and American law enforcement will not protect you. Don't expect America to keep you safe from us. The oppression and harassment you thought you had left behind in Egypt has now come to you.

See also my previous post on Jihad in America.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Jihad in America

I previously commented on New Jersey Indy Media's effectively zero reporting on the murder of a local Internet Chat user. This was a local issue. It is of great importance to anyone who participates in online politics. It involves the silencing (read: Censorship or suppression) of free-thought and free speech. All of these things should have rung bells with supporters of Indymedia who claim to be about all of the above.

But it didn't.

Instead, we got this single piece which amounts to New Jersey's total reporting of this issue and is little more than a damage control press release by a local Arab lobby group.

Elsewhere, and simultaneously on New Jersey Indymedia however is this:
Heil Sharon!
Zionism is a racist/fascist ideology that utilizes terror, wholesale murder and ethnic cleansing. Its proponents must be rooted out and brought before the bar of international justice.

The zionazi troll who haunts NJ Indymedia is a ghoul. He is little different in mentality and outlook than the KKKers and the white sheet guys.

A word to the wise, show him no mercy, as he will show you no mercy.
and so on.

When one commenter asked why they hadn't even mentioned the New Jersey murder (and a dismissive response linked back to this blog by the way) the reply was:
Yes monsters, it is terrible what happened in Jersey City. But Zionism is wrong, and as long as you continue to espouse it we will fight you.
Or in other words, "yes it is terrible what happened in Jersey City but as long as you believe Jews are entitled to a homeland, we are more opposed to your writing articles we disagree with than we are about a man and his family having their throats cut".

Conspiracy theories about 9/11, anti-Bush articles and so on are one thing, but this is sheer blind hatred and quite violent in its nature. I'm not sure I can pin the blame (entirely) on the left either. It is this sort of incitement that leads to actual violence and it has no place in intelligent dialog.

Of course it would be right at home in the Arab press who suspect Jews Zionists and America of responsibility for everything from the Tsunami to 9/11 and beyond (as mocked by Rusty). But is it really necessary in American neighbourhoods any more than a local edition of Al-Jazeera?

One of the 'editors' (and I do use the term lightly) of New Jersey Indymedia had this to say:
Yes, NJ is less moderated [do you think? -ed] and more free speech than other IMC’s. No that does not mean that anything goes [unless it's about Jews -ed] or that we don’t have a point of view. I along with other editor routinely delete posts from supremacists of every stripe [except sometimes... -ed]
This really sums up the problem with Indymedia better than any other example I can list. Do New Jersey locals actually know this is going on in their streets today? Throats being cut, incitement against Jews and blind hatred of everything they take for granted? I'd want to know before I found out the hard way...

If you live in New Jersey, do something smart about it, and let me know.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Blogger Murdered for Offending Islamists

This article in the New York Post - 'ISLAMIC HATE' EYED IN SLAYS has implications for bloggers and even Indymedia commenters.
The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online — and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said.

Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site

He "had the reputation for being one of the most outspoken Egyptian Christians," said the source, who had close ties to the family.

The source, who had knowledge of the investigation, refused to specify the anti-Muslim statement. But he said cops told him they were looking into the exchanges as a possible motive.

The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

"You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange.

But Armanious refused to back down, according to two sources who use the Web site.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy would neither confirm nor deny that cops and prosecutors were looking into the religion motive, saying only that "nothing is being ruled out." But a relative of the mayor who answered the phone at Healy's home said there was information the murders were "religion-related."

"There are several theories we are looking into, but we are not commenting on any of them at this time," said Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Guy Gregory.

Armanious' fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia — who would have turned 16 yesterday.

"She was very religious and very opinionated," said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment.

"When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia," said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore's great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross.

Also found murdered were the wife, Amal Garas, and the parents' other daughter, Monica.

Fred Ayed, the deacon at St. George and St. Shenouda Church, where the deeply religious family attended services, said he's worried that the murders could have a ripple effect.

"I am concerned for the safety of our community," said Ayed, who knew Hossam for 30 years. "People are scared because one family was slain like cows," said Moheb Ghabour, publisher of a local newspaper for the Coptic community.

Osama Hassan, director of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, described the relationship between Copts and Muslims as cooperative if not friendly.

"I think there might be people that can get into physical fights, but not to the point of murder," Hassan said.

Both the deacon and uncle poured cold water on the theory that the family were the victims of a robbery gone wrong.

"This is not a robbery, Ayed said. "We found all of the jewelry in the house. They didn't take anything."

The FBI confirmed it has been called in to help with the case.
The New York Times version isn't focusing on the motive to the same degree.

Given their blindness to Militant Islam however, I don't expect the so-called freedom of speech advocates of Indymedia will be remotely concerned with any of the above, speculation or otherwise. I however am both outraged and frightened by it.

If it turns out to be true (and past murders such as artist Theo Van Gogh have happened for entirely similar political reasons this has major implications on democracy and freedom of expression. The above didn't happen in Iraq, Syria or the Palestinian Authority where stifling of expression is nothing new, it happened in New Jersey.

I can't connect to New Jersey Indymedia which appears to be down. Call me a cynic, but I can't imagine they are talking about this. Update: New Jersey Indymedia is back online and I was right. They aren't talking about this at all. Instead, they are discussing deeds far more insidious than mere slaughter - ZIONIST EXTREMISTS INFILTRATING INDYMEDIAS and U.S. Military Harassment of Muslim Websites. Business as usual for this 'news source' it seems.

Update: Jihad Watch are discussing the religious imperatives which may explain this.

Update 2: Paltalk's website contact details include the ability to send encrypted messages to the company. Whilst not entirely rare for online organizations, it does seem a little bit suspicious for a company "dedicated to providing the...friendliest community among any product anywhere".

I have emailed Paltalk to request details of whether the NY Post's reference to them was correct and will update when/if I hear back from them.

Update 3: Rusty Shackleford over at The Jawa Report corrects me for referring to the victim as a 'blogger' when he was merely a chatroom user. I acknowledge the difference and await the Oxford Dictionary's formal defnition of blogger any decade now. He has also linked to a great deal of very interesting commentary about this matter. Interestingly, the mainstream media don't seem to be doing a lot of reporting over this. It would of course be a chance for Indymedia to prove itself. No such luck of course, they're still talking about the (boogedy boogedy) great Zionist Conspiracy. The blogosphere is leading the charge again.

For this reason, Faith Freedom cuts to the point and asks:
Has America already become a dhimmi nation? Are the big American media afraid of the Islamists?
What does he mean "already"? American reporters have previously toned down or omitted completely, elements of their reporting which may upset Islamists and preclude further interviews/footage/assistance:
Two days after the liberation of Baghdad, a senior news executive at CNN disclosed that his network had for years been sanitizing its reports from Iraq. In an op-ed column titled "The news we kept to ourselves," Jordan Eason confessed that CNN routinely chose not to report on the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's regime. To have revealed the truth, he wrote, "would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff."

Suppressing news by threatening reporters with violence or death is one of the dirty little secrets of Middle East journalism. In his 1989 memoir "From Beirut to Jerusalem," Thomas Friedman wrote that "physical intimidation" was a major impediment to honest reporting from Beirut during the years when southern Lebanon was in the grip of Yasser Arafat's PLO.

"There were . . . stories which were deliberately ignored out of fear," Friedman admitted. "How many serious stories were written from Beirut about the well-known corruption in the PLO leadership. . . ? It would be hard to find any hint of them in Beirut reporting before the Israeli invasion." Instead of reporting what they knew, journalists censored themselves. "The Western press coddled the PLO," Friedman acknowledged. "For any Beirut-based correspondent, the name of the game was keeping on good terms with the PLO."

That was more than 20 years ago. Has anything changed?
It seems this type of intimidation is the norm rather than the exception in Palestinian areas as well and throws editorial integrity of Middle East reporting into complete doubt amidst the Mainstream Media as well as Indymedia who claim to counteract this but instead are even worse.

I still haven't received a reply to my email from Paltalk.

Update 4: ABC News reports a different theory, that "the slain family's cousin has been a translator working for the prosecution in the trial of Lynne Stewart. She is the radical lawyer accused of smuggling messages from imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, to terrorist cell members and associates.". It should be noted however (and certainly isn't by ABC) that even if this new information is the motive, it is stil a textbook Islamic hate-crime. Naturally I'd love to critique New Jersey Indymedia's take on any of this, but they are far too busy reporting on more important issues like "Zionists" (for a change) to bother with such trivial local matters like this at all. Good work guys!

Update 5: It seems this isn't the first time New Jersey has seen Islam inspired murder.
New Jersey, USA police yesterday detained the husband of one of the three Guyanese women who were found brutally stabbed to death early Tuesday morning in their Lot 10 Fox Place home. One of the women's two sons made the grisly discovery which investigators say could have been a result of a domestic dispute fuelled by a religious row between the children's aunt and her husband.

According to reports yesterday in The Jersey Journal News and the New York Post, the victims were identified as Bernadette Seajatan, 49 and her two daughters, Sharon Yassin 30 and Marlyn Hassan 28, who was pregnant with twins at the time of her death.

Grieving relatives of the trio, including Donna and Bernadette's husband, Baldeo Seajatan, 51, said that Alim Hassan, a auto mechanic, had been engaged in a bitter, ongoing dispute with his wife over what religion they would raise the twins.

The entire family is Hindu, except for Alim, who's a devout Muslim, the relatives said. "They would fight [all the time] over what religion the children would be," the grieving Baldeo was quoted as saying adding thatAlim demanded that Marlyn convert to Islam and that "he got crazy over the last few months" over the issue of faith.

"They were three very beautiful women. This is terrible. I've never heard of anything like this happening on this block", a neighbour said.

I wonder if New Jersey locals will say they've never heard of anything like this now. It's worth noting however, the earlier instance is a case of Islamic 'honor killing' whereas this latter example may turn out to have Jihadi implications.

Update 6:For those wondering why Copts and Muslims don't get on, says The victims:
were Coptic Christians, an Egyptian sect of Christianity especially hated by Muslims for their refusal to convert to Islam.
It remains to be seen how our news media will deal with this horrific slaying. Will this brutal and sensational crime receive as much coverage as the Laci Peterson murder? Will this terrorist attack be treated with the same awe and fascination as the Kobe Bryant case? Will we have 24/7 legal analysis, breaking news, interviews, investigations, magazine racks filled with pictures of the slain, an absolute media frenzy? Or, will this gruesome event be glossed over, whitewashed and quickly forgotten for reasons of political correctness?

I wonder the same thing...

Update 7: New Jersey Indymedia has finally made some mention of this by publishing a statement from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, ADCNJ.

Still no response from Paltalk. At this stage I doubt I'll receive one.

The Evening Standard has reported:
An internet company is under pressure to pull the plug on inflammatory broadcasts by an extremist London-based Muslim cleric.

Omar Bakri Mohammed makes live nightly appeals on the PalTalk site for his followers to support terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

He claims Muslims have a duty to "hate" Western values, democracy and other religions including Christianity and Judaism.
This will become interesting. On the one hand, Paltalk can claim (possibly quite correctly) that they have no control over the discussions or content of their servers. On the other hand, if they knew about it but did nothing, were they endorsing, supporting or facilitating terrorist activities?

I have previously reported of Indymedia's use of this defence to attempt to absolve themselves of any legal or moral responsibility for hate-speech they are fully aware of but do nothing about.

Update: Great article by Joel Mowbray entitled "Jersey Jihadists".

Saturday, January 15, 2005



New York City Indymedia asks:

If Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, why didn't he use them?

Iraqi WMD - Image Hosted by

Nope. No weapons of mass destruction here...


Summery weather

It's protesting and provocation season, so Washington Indymedia have posted:
A brief summery of legal issues for Independant journalists and new journlists that will help during the 2005 Inauguration.
An Independent erudite legal team may perhaps create a summery of spelling issues for journlists as well.

Just a thought.

Friday, January 14, 2005


First Annual Call for Indymedia Seppuku

The Japanese have an ancient ritual known as Seppuku which means ritual suicide by disembowelment.
Seppuku was a key part of bushido, the code of the samurai warriors; it was used by warriors to avoid falling into enemy hands, and to ameliorate shame.
It was also permissible as a form of repentance when one had committed an unforgivable sin, either by accident or on purpose. Finally, in the feudal period (1190–1867) it was the form of punishment preferred in cases where the subject required an honourable, but necessary, death sentence, such as the 47 Ronin.
Indymedia attempted to be a viable alternative to the corporate media. It attempted to encourage a diverse range of opinions. It attempted to be "a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth" (What is Indy Media). It attempted to be honest. It attempted to be accurate. It attempted to be fair.

It failed.

It is now nothing less than a breeding ground for the exact opposite of what it set out to achieve. It contains no content which offers any tangible value that even begins to outweigh the negativity, hostility and downright ignorance of its usual content. Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, fraud, defamation, lies and hate-speech are the norm and this is apparent to anyone who takes even the most cursory look. Serious readers have vanished, serious contributors have left. At best Indymedia sites syndicate (plagiarize) and repeat content written and readily available from elsewhere. At worst it encourages publication of content fair-minded people would run away from quickly and with good reason.

I am not the first to identify the problem and it is abundantly clear a solution or fix is not imminent. The prognosis is negative. Indymedia will continue to wither and any disbelief is merely denial. I propose Indy Media die with honor.

I therefore formally call on Indymedia to salvage whatever honor it ever had by commiting seppuku.

I will repeat this call until it is heeded and ask you all to join me. We implore Indymedia to do the honorable thing and fall upon its sword.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Indymedia

An interesting Wall Street journal article The Numbers Guy reports something most of us know - that statistics can be accidentally or deliberately misleading depending on how they are used and this is especially the case in news reporting. The article uses Asian Bird Flu to give an interesting example:
The World Health Organization has a big problem: It needs to alert the public to the dangers of a virus that has killed very few people, yet could, in some scenarios, devastate nations across the globe.

So, the group's doctors and scientists have lately been forecasting truly alarming numbers from the so-called Asian bird flu -- up to 100 million deaths. One researcher has gone much further, suggesting the toll could be up to a billion people.
Or in other words, a Bird Flu related virus has actually only killed a few people but could potentially kill billions (but might not).

Now imagine the headlines:
"Billions could die: Scientist"
"Millions more deaths to come" and so on. The problem is obvious and it could happen in well respected, well researched fact-checked media who by trying to capture readers interests were unknowingly helping the scientists fear-agenda.

Now Indymedia is most certainly not well researched, fact-checked (or even well respected I might add) media. So fear, uncertainty and doubt as well as hyperbole and misleading statistics can certainly be expected. And they should be.

The excreable Vancouver Indymedia proclaims: "69% of Canadians are opposed to the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense".

The source of this statistic is mentioned, but only later and indirectly. A little checking however led me to articles on the actual survey which did not focus on missile issues but dealt in-general with Canadian independence from the USA of which missiles was but one part.

However, in that the Indymedia article selected this one 'result' it is relevant to note the question which was asked of those polled: "Canada should actively support the Bush administration's missile defence system even if it may require dedicating military spending to the program or allowing US missile launchers in Canada".

That's a pretty big "if".

Moreover, not actively supporting something doesn't neccessarily mean you are opposed to it. I do not actively support Buddhism. This does not at all mean I am opposed to it however nor would it be fair to say this. But go back and read the Indymedia headline. Tells a different story doesn't it?

But then, Indymedia has a habit of that don't they?

The article suggests readers contact the Canadian Prime Minister and
" Ask him to respect the 69 per cent of Canadians who are opposed to the missile shield (as per a March 2004 Ipsos-Reid poll).
Even though the Ipsos-Reid poll didn't actually say that and the Prime Minister will know it. It's called swimming against a tide that isn't there.

I was going to make a witty remark about stones and glass-houses regarding one of the subsequent comments:
What part of we have'nt been asked to spend a dime don't you get? Anyway, we spend billions on social programs and we still have poor people, people in jail, illiterate idiots like you...etc.
But I won't, honest.

Instead I'll mention one of the other Indymedia readers, Brian who typifies the victim mentality of some Indymedia regulars when he writes:
69%? so what? Do you think you are living in a democracy?
No Brian, Canada's hardly a democracy, I mean it's just north of the Great Satan doncha know? But then, you won't be shot or imprisoned for your convictions so I guess that's a start.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Are you blind too?

A moment ago I asked the question "Is there anyone at Indy Media who believes, just for a second, that there are actually bad people in the world (you know, besides Jews and Americans)?"

Someone has just emailed me this image which sums up the problem magnificently.

Peace movement blindly walking towards cliff at the bottom of which are militant Islamist Jihadis carrying machine-guns. Image Hosted by

All of the pretty colours, flying doves and billowy dresses have completely blinded some people from the harsh reality of some other people in the world today.

I believe some people are blind, and others deliberately choose to be. They are all walking towards the precipice and the ultimate consequence will be the same.


Innocent until Proven Stupid

Mamdouh Habib was arrested while crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan three weeks after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US. Ultimately he ended up at Guantanemo Bay where he was in custody until yesterday. It was announced he was to be released from custody as the US determined it did not have enough evidence to successfully prosecute him.

Obviously this is good news to critics of American policy as suggested by this Australian Indy Media Article, (Media Release) Mamdouh Habib: Free at Last, Free at Last, Free at Last!
Mr Habib has been released not as a result of the Howard Government’s intervention but because his imprisonment and torture have become an embarrassment to the US Administration.
Judicial process notwithstanding, therefore, the logic goes, if 'the world' (i.e. Indy Media's ego) continues to embarrass the US Administration, the other prisoners will be released as well? Of course. The 'media release' goes on:
The Free Hicks and Habib Campaign will continue until David Hicks is released and repatriated, and Guantanamo Bay is closed and all prisoners released.
That is, all prisoners.

Including Taliban leaders and well-known terror suspects, also at Guantanemo Bay.

They must be so pleased to have Indy Media's support...All of them.

Is there anyone at Indy Media who believes, just for a second, that there are actually bad people in the world (you know, besides Jews and Americans)?

And another thing, speaking of torture, it is alleged that:
At the end of October 2001 Mr Habib was flown to Egypt aand imprisoned there for just under six months. In the affidavit he alledges he was subjected to horrific torture by his captors.

"Mr Habib, always handcuffed and sometimes suspended from hooks on the wall, was kicked, punched, beaten with a stick, and rammed with what can only be described as an electric cattle prod," it said. "If he lapsed into unconsciousness, they would revive him and continue the beatings."

Habib alleged he was suspended from hooks on the wall of his cell with his feet resting on a large drum. An electrical current flowed into the drum from wires which appeared to be attached to a battery. If he didn't give the answers his captors wanted they threw a switch and a jolt of electricity would run through the drum, which effectively forced him to dance on the drum.
He was also threatened with German shepherd dogs; placeed in one of three rooms which was gradually filled with water, leaving only his head exposed; and forced to stand on tiptoe for hours
Of course this didn't happen under American troops in Guantanemo Bay (where torture is generally confined to getting naked and having cheerleading practice), but in Egypt, where it is claimed the Americans flew him prior to his transfer to Guantanemo Bay. Now we only have a disputed affidavit to go by, but if the torture did happen as described and America is sanctioning it, than criticism is quite reasonable. However, it's interesting to note that no one on Indy Media is remotely worried about Egyptian torture, any more than they'd be worried about Saudi beheadings, Taliban executions or Palestinian suicide-bombings.

I mean that's just the Arab World right? All of that pales by comparison to Americans following judicial process in a war on terror.

Update: I've been reading various Aussie news sources to follow this whole torture issue and Indy Media's spin on it. Professor Bunyip (Bunyip is a mythical Australian creature) saw similar anti-Government efforts in the mainstream media as well and writes:
Here's the headline: Australian 'saw Habib assaulted and kidnapped'.

And here's the first paragraph:

An Australian Government official in Pakistan witnessed the assault and kidnapping of Australian Mamdouh Habib to Egypt, where he was tortured, according to a document filed in a US court.

An unimpeachable source, that court document, eh? Must be true, then. Mamdouh Habib really did get smacked around. Damn Yanks. Rotten Howard.

But hang on, who exactly is the source? In the third paragraph we finally find out. Why, golly gosh, none other than Habib himself!

In other words, and in a better newspaper, the story would have begun something like this:

Lawyers for Mamdouh Habib today repeated their client's allegation that he was thumped after being taken into custody near the Pakistan-India border during the US-led military campaign to oust the Taleban.

Mamoud claims to have gone to the war zone on a journey of Islamic self-discovery and to find a religious school for his young son to attend.
One of the subsequent comments summed it up:
Gee, Professor, I don't see why this guy isn't believable. I am not a father but if I were looking for a nice, religious school for my child to attend, a school in a war zone would certainly be someplace to consider carefully.

Besides, although I'm not a father I am a lawyer and I can assure you that you can take Habib's submission as gospel truth, so to speak. No one would even think of submitting a document to any court that did not represent the unvarnished, absolute truth. And no lawyer would even consider representing something to a court that he did not know for certain represented the exact and complete truth; I don't know about your lawyers in Oz. Why, are you suggesting that anyone might deliberately try to mislead a court? How cynical.
I doubt you'll see similar analysis on Indy Media where any anti-US or anti-Western antagonist is innocent no matter how bad their deeds are. Now... About releasing all the other terrorists...

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