Friday, February 27, 2009

BLOGS: Some more Blair vilification ...

Daily Telegraph logo pre-Tim Blair

Tim Blair continues to poke fun at domestic violence victims, making light of the tragic murder of Aasiya Hassan. And true to form, Blair cannot avoid vilification of entire racial and ethno-religious groups. He can't help but suggest that people of Pakistani and/or Muslim origin be ...
... drag[ed] out of the Stone Age.
It seems that the Daily Telegraph hasn't heard of State and Commonwealth legislation outlawing racial vilification. That's certainly obvious from some of the comments Blair has allowed on his blog ...
Does it ever occur to Muslim Neanderthals that the countries with the highest standards of living, health etc. are those where women have in practice and in law equal rights and opportunities? ...
ann j of Sydney (Reply)
Fri 27 Feb 09 (07:31am)

Back to sensitivity school for you Tim.

Muslims are not of the Stone Age - they are fully paid up representatives of the 7th century.
HRT (Reply)
Fri 27 Feb 09 (07:49am)
Imagine if Blair had written stuff about Chinese leaving the Stone Age? Or of Jewish Neanderthals? He'd be sacked. And rightly so. But in the tabloid world of the Daily Telegraph, some groups aren't protected from vilification.

UPDATE I: Certain comments on Blair's bog are moderated, as this chap discovered ...

Domestic violence is not solely in the domain of one religion or group of people. My father (a virtuous atheist) treated me appallingly.

It would be easy to point at various aspects of his work and cry hypocrite .. he was an Education professor .. but it wasn’t his work that was bad.

I take exception to religious authorities that approve domestic violence, or excuse it. Tragically, there are some that are still in the stone age. [Edited to remove identifying description.]

David Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Fri 27 Feb 09 (09:43am)
So you shouldn't identify individuals, but feel free to defame entire groups.

Daily Telegraph logo post-Tim Blair

UPDATE: Elsewhere on the planet ...

The far-Right Little Green Footballs blog has decided that far-Right blogger Robert Spencer is a wacko. Yep, like they've discovered America. Or maybe what LGF is saying is that Spencer is not their kind of wacko. It's fun watching wackos fight other wackos. Read more here.

Christopher Hitchens argues in Slate that Obama must talk to the Iranians. But which Iranians? He suggests the Iranian people, not all of whom support Ahmedinejad. This sounds fabulous in theory. And in practice?
The idea of direct and transparent negotiations with the Iranians is not wrong in principle, but it depends on which Iranians are the actual or potential partners. The president can address the Iranian people directly if he chooses, from the podium of the United Nations ...
Perhaps not quite as good. I'm not sure if Iranians get to visit the UN all that often. Still, hopefully anything Obama says at the UN might make its way to popular media in Iran. And it's a good thing Washington has moved beyond just parrotting imbecilic phrases like "the Axis of Evil".

Hitchens also makes this observation:
For decades, we have wondered what might happen when or if an apocalyptic weapon came into the hands of a messianic group or irrational regime. We are surely now quite close to finding out.
Maybe Hitchens was asleep when Mordechai Vanunu spilled the beans.


UPDATE I: Neo-Nazi blogger Sheik Yer'Mami, whose racist comments (under the name of "Red Baron") frequently appear on Tim Blair's blog, is rather upset with my mentioning what LGF has to say about serial extremist Robert Spencer. SYM/RB is also upset with lots of other people. He's upset with US President Barack Obama (whom he refers to as "The Magic Negro" and "My Muslim President Obama") and David "Britain's dumbest Jew" Milibrand. Like I said - he's Tim Blair's buddy ...

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

COMMENT: Yet more evidence that Daniel Pipes has completely lost it ...

In the months leading upto the Presidential election, Daniel Pipes spent much of his time spreading rumours that Barack Obama was somehow hiding his father's ancestral faith and his own childhood links to it. Some of Pipes' more absurd claims included one that wearing a sarong somehow linked someone to Islam.

(At this point, I should warn all you Aussie tourists to Bali to take careful note of Pipes' warning, lest you end up an accidental Islamist fundamentalist extremist jihadist terrorist like the bloke pictured below.)

Since the election of President Obama, Pipes has become all but irrelevant. Apart from a small number of far-Right fruitloops that congregate around his blog, Pipes has become largely irrelevant. It remains to be seen if even the CIS or AIJAC will waste their money inviting Pipes this year.

And as if it cement Pipes' reputation for outlandish generalisations and almost chronic xenophobia, read an excerpt from this opening sentence to his most recent article published on the far-Right FrontPageMag blog ...
As the Muslim world settled into ever-deeper decline over the past decade, mired in political extremism, religious sickness, economic irrelevance, WMD, anarchy, dictatorship, and civil wars ...
Er, what the ...?

In the past decade or so, Indonesian democracy has gone from strength to strength. Malaysia's opposition parties have had major gains. Bosnia Herzegovina has improved relations with both its neighbours, and has returned to being a relatively stable democracy. The new nation of Kosovo has emerged, a close ally of the West.

How can such a broad-brush generalisation be possibly made by a sensible educated person? How can 1.2 billion people be characterised in this manner?

With such moronic nonsense being passed off as serious analysis, it's little wonder any sensible outlet would publish Pipes' fantasies.

Recent Jemaah Islamiyya recruit brandishing jihad weapons. Notice the
two ... er ... heavenly virgins in the background.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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CRIKEY: Become the evil you wish to see defeated ...

Mahatma Gandhi once said: "Be the change you want to see". But in George W Bush's so-called "war on terror", the extreme opposite applied. At Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram Airbase and in secret CIA torture facilities across the world, it was (and quite possibly remains) a case of: "Be the evil you want to see defeated".

Each and every account I have read from former Guantanamo detainees describes some of the most gruesome (or, as recently released Briton Binyam Mohamed describes it, "medieval") forms of torture. In Mohamed's case, the torture took place in Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantanamo over a period of seven years. Being some six feet tall, Mohamed lost one quarter of his body weight. He now weighs a mere 57 kilograms.

Here's a sample of Mohamed's treatment before he even set foot on Guantanamo soil:

*In Morocco, he spent 18 months being deprived of sleep, severely beaten and had his genitals cut with a scalpel.

*In Afghanistan, he was kept in a small black hole in prison, beaten, strung up and subjected to extremely loud music.

Combined with his treatment at Guantanamo, it all reads like something out of an al-Qaeda or Taleban guidebook (minus the beheadings).

Mohamed's lawyer reports Mohamed confessed "to anything those inflicting that treatment on him wanted him to say". Who knows how many things Mohamed confessed to? Former Australian Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib also tells in his memoir about signing confessions after repeated torture and beatings.

Despite their confessions, both were released without any charges being laid. As if to underscore his complete innocence, Mohamed was released as soon as he arrived in London.

What makes all this even more scandalous is that Britain's own security agencies may have collaborated with the Americans in Mohamed's torture. At the very least, MI5 were likely to have been aware of his treatment.

Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the world that those held at the Guantanamo Bay facility were "the worst of the worst". Yet as Peter Bergen, author of Holy War Inc and An Oral History of al-Qaeda's Leader, co-writes:
... only five percent of all detainees at Guantanamo were ever apprehended by US forces to begin with ... Almost all of the detainees were turned over to American forces by foreigners, either with an axe to grind, or more often for a hefty bounty or reward. After U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in late 2001, a reward of $5,000 or more was given to Pakistanis and Afghans for each detainee turned over.
Trial by ordeal should have been left in the Middle Ages. Our failure to do so means we have handed medieval forces of terror a moral victory they simply don't deserve.

First published in Crikey on 25 February 2009.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HATEWATCH: Blair and his buddies poke fun at domestic violence ...

Daily Telegraph blogger and opinion editor Tim Blair just loves to have a good laugh with his regular online buddies. And what could be more worthy of laughs than a woman being murdered, allegedly by her husband in an extreme case of domestic violence?

Sensible people would find domestic violence rather depressing. It happens everywhere and in all communities. Almost always it's men being violent to women.

Some of us spend time campaigning against domestic violence. But for the Daily Telegraph, domestic violence is a source of great laughs. Check out some of the comments moderated and featured on this Tele blogpost:
Abdul-Ghafur: Improve Islam’s image, Woman, or heads will roll!
Albury Shifton
Tue 24 Feb 09 (06:47am)

There’s an idea: Instead of beheading your wife when she’s misbehaving, show yourself as a truly moderate Muslim and throw her out the window instead.
Mikael, Grand Mufti of Denmark
Tue 24 Feb 09 (07:31am)

A woman is murdered in the most gruesome fashion. Her husband is arrested and charged with her murder. Her family and community are mourning. I can only begin to imagine what her kids are going through.

Yes, it really is very funny, Tim.

Then again, I should factor in the possibility that these comments were left by nasty anonymous leftoids determined to make Blair look even more racist than he already is. Pfft. Now that certainly is something worth laughing at.

UPDATE I: Someone has pointed out to me that beheadings have happened in a variety of places. In August 2008, a 31 year old Greek man was found carrying his girlfriend's head after beheading her at a popular tourist resort. No doubt Tim's resident cybernazis will also find a few laughs in this tragedy. Or perhaps they will start poking fun at the Greek Orthodox Church. Who knows?

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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HATEWATCH: Tim Blair denies responsibility for his wacky friends ...

Tim Blair, opinion editor and blogger for the Daily Telegraph, has suddenly decided that he'd better disown the racist and xenophobic attitudes of some of his pals congregating around his bog ... woops ... blog. How so?

Blair is now claiming that persons from that nebulous monolithic group known as “the Left” are deliberately posting racist and hate-filled comments on his blogs. Why? To make Blair look like a nasty racist.

Try not to laugh.

Of course, all this raises some interesting questions – how did these comments make their way onto Blair's blogs in the first place? Doesn’t News Limited have a policy on comments?

Indeed it does. You can read it here. For those with the literacy levels of Blair's fans, I'll simplify the policy for you.

The policy states ...
We can only accept your content though if you comply with the terms and conditions set out below.
Among these conditions is that ...
News will determine, at its discretion, whether to publish (or remove from a site) any of your content ...
... and that ...
News may edit your content in its discretion.
Further, comment must ...
... not breach any law (including laws relating to privacy, intellectual property and defamation) or the rights of any person.
And that presumably includes breaches of laws forbidding racial and other prejudice and vilification.

Now let’s have a look at some comments moderated on Tim Blair’s blog. At 4:04pm on Friday 13 February, Blair allowed this comment through concerning the understandably angry responses of locals to a person arrested for deliberately lighting one of the recent Victorian bushfires:
Just tell the mob he’s a Palestinian. That’ll justify any amount of murder.
It took almost 8 hours for a further comment to be posted condemning this racist and anti-Semitic remark. But why was it allowed on the Tele blog in the first place? And why is it still there?

Of course, racist, murderous, xenophobic and defamatory comments are nothing new to Blair’s Tele blog. On 17 May 2008, Blair awoke at 4:59am to write this blogpost. He then moderated a comment by one “El Cid” at 12:36pm which suggested a ...
... compost solution ...
... would be a good way of dealing with Muslims. The comment is still there on Blair's blog on the Tele website to this day.

The Oz went on the rampage when The Age published an allegedly racist article by Michael Backman. Yet its sister papers are quite happy to host blogs that moderate murderous and racist remarks. The Age suspended Backman’s contributions. Will News Limited suspend or terminate the services of Tim Blair? Or will it wait until it’s hauled before the Australian Communications & Media Authority or the Australian Human Rights Commission? Or until its advertisers decide that supporting a newspaper that promotes racism, bigotry and genocidal thinking may not be such a good idea? And if advertisers desert Sydney's biggest selling newspaper, what impact will this have on News Limited's share price?

But the Tele doesn't seem to care about such factors. hence it actively promotes Blair's blog, encouraging readers to "join the debate". The Tele's editors and owners are clearly quite happy hosting a blog that moderates comments calling for certain groups to be transformed into compost, for others to be murdered, etc etc.

And the in-house lawyers at Nationwide News don't seem too perturbed either. All legal practitioners in New South Wales are required under Clause 176 of the Legal Profession Regulations to complete at least 1 CLE unit on discrimination or OH&S each three years. You'd think at least the lawyers would have advised their client/employer of the importance of establishing a workplace where discrimination is not promoted, let alone fostered.

Still, even Tele readers aren't that stupid. They don't seem to be getting the message. Little wonder most of those congregating at Blair's blog are the same crazy far-Right neo-Nazi crowd (largely outside Australia) that he has attracted all along.

UPDATE I: Tim Blair telephoned me on the evening of 24 February 2009 at around 7:50pm to advise me that I had made an error in my post. he said that the anonymous lefties were leaving nasty comments not on his blog but rather on Andrew Bolt's blog. Which, of course, makes a huge difference to this entire issue, doesn't it. When I asked about the comment moderated on his blog regarding the murder of Palestinians, Blair said:
I suspect that was left by a leftwing troll.
So it seems Bolt isn't the only one who has suddenly discovered that sometimes his regular fans mysteriously morph into "leftwing trolls". Blair also refused to advise on who actually moderated the comments appearing on his blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

CRIKEY: Mafia scandal should make O'Farrell and Turnbull very nervous ...

Well it’s been a bad few weeks for the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party.

Brendan Nelson decided to POQ, his parting message to many of his more senior colleagues to join him. Julie Bishop was effectively demoted. Former leader John Hewson wrote op-eds in Fairfax papers telling Costello to also POQ. Joe Hockey reckons Costello’s refusal to POQ makes him resemble Prince Charles waiting for Queen Lizzy to kick the bucket or abdicate. Both Phillip Ruddock and Bronwyn Bishop are facing pressure from their branches to POQ. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, it now seems the Federal Police have been investigating links between the Liberal Party organisation and a local franchise of the Calabrian mafia.

The Party has seen better days. Who could forget that famous scene when John Howard told a packed hall of Liberal Party faithful on the eve of the 2001 federal election: "We will decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come". If allegations raised in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald today are anything to go by, it seems the Howard government had decided who (persons with links to organised crime) would entered and remained in Australia and the circumstances (political donations) in which they would come.

It shamelessly lied in accusing asylum seekers of throwing their children overboard. John Howard and Phillip Ruddock, in the name of "border protection", happily took a cue from Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld by locking up in detention centres ordinary Iraqis and Afghans (including children) fleeing persecution, all the while boasting of a "war on terror" designed to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet the Liberal Party Division in both John Howard’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s home state was happy to accept donations from people allegedly close to the Calabrian mafia. Liberal MP’s happily lobbied to keep a man accused of having mafia links in Australia and happily received donations of up to $150,000 from his buddies.

Vanstone denies donations affected her decision to intervene, which she claimed was made on humanitarian grounds. Vanstone had evidence of the person’s links to organised crime. She overruled her Department’s recommendation and exercised her discretion to allow the individual to remain in Australia, overturning the decision of her predecessor. Fairfax also reports that the man was subsequently arrested in relation to his alleged involvement in the world’s largest importation of the illegal drug ecstasy.

This was supposed to be the government which prided itself on its national security credentials. This is the party which wants to form the next State Government in New South Wales. Barry O’Farrell should be more than a little nervous And Malcolm Turnbull must be on the verge of a cardiac arrest.

First published in Crikey on Monday 23 February 2009.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

CRIKEY: The Melbourne Cup field of the next Bradfield preselection ...

Here's a summary of Janet Albrechtsen's pertinent advice for Liberal preselectors in the safe seat of Bradfield. The Libs have too many elderly seat-warmers. In safe seats like Bradfield, they need people with fresh ideas, not necessarily people with track records of service within the Party machine.

And who were among the fresh faces Albrechtsen was pushing? One's an ultra-conservative Young Liberal President. Another's a former president of the NSW Division of the Liberal Party. Fresh ideas? New blood? As Imre Saluzinszky so aptly put it this morning: "T[he] list of names being bandied around to replace Brendan Nelson in the blue ribbon Liberal seat of Bradfield reads like a John Howard cheer-squad".

I don't recall seeing Janet at the May 1995 Bradfield preselection in which Nelson defeated sitting member and Shadow Minister for Retirement Incomes David Connolly by less than a handful of votes. Back then, we Howard loyalists were given strict orders not to back that upstart doctor who in 1993 declared before a crowd over a loud hailer:
I have never voted Liberal in my life.
Janet's right about one thing: Brendan Nelson wasn't part of the Liberal Party establishment, of the blue rinse set. To confirm this, you need only look up the index to ANU historian Ian Hancock’s book The Liberals: A History Of The NSW Division of the Liberal Party Party 1945-2000. Hancock devotes a mere one paragraph to Nelson, whilst some 40-plus pages are devoted to John Howard. Even Fred and Elaine Nile score more mentions. And what does Hancock have to say about Nelson?
Nelson's victory over Connolly provoked a number of branch members to send protest letters to [Liberal Party HQ]. They complained about the dumping of a loyal foot soldier for a Labor "turncoat" whose ear ring inspired one outraged Liberal to call Nelson a "bejewelled interloper" of "questionable integrity".
John Valder, the former State and Federal President, objected to the selection of someone he considered to be a confirmed Labor voter and a long-time Labor Party member who had admitted lying about his voting pattern.
Nelson's great contributions to conservative mainstream Australian values included (as Education Minister) providing lots of dough to schools run by mainstream Australian institutions like the Exclusive Brethren. On a positive note, as Defence Minister Nelson deeply upset Gerard Henderson by telling us what we already knew -- that the 2003 Iraq invasion was largely about oil.

In any event, the next Bradfield pre-selection should resemble a Melbourne Cup field. With all these political war horses jockeying for positions, perhaps I should throw my own turban into the ring. Three reasons stop me:
  1. I am no longer a member of the Party;
  2. I cannot honestly say that I've never voted Liberal in my life; and
  3. I don't wear a turban.
UPDATE I: One Crikey reader known as paddy left this response on the Crikey website:
Oh sod it Irfan. Bung on a turban and enter your name for the big one. In these troubled times, we all need a bit of entertainment.
Fair enough, but will paddy deliver me his/her numbers?

First published in Crikey on Wednesday 18 February 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2009

OPINION: Inflammatory Remarks ...

Within a week of the September 11 attacks, I received a host of e-mails sprouting all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories to explain this event. One classic claimed that Israel must have been behind the event because 4,000 Jews didn't turn up to work.

As we know, Jews all work in the banking and finance industries and are part of the giant Israeli intranet from which they receive their instructions on when to exercise their leave entitlements. The five Israelis who lost their lives in the attacks somehow weren't factored into this conspiracy.

Of course, conspiracy theories are the stuff of nutjobs. Trying to find consistent logic in a conspiracy is like trying to find a pig farm on either side of the Gaza/Israel border. OK, maybe that's not the best comparison, but anyway my point is that you just don't give credence to such theories, even if they can spread like wildfire across cyberspace.

And as expected, the worst natural disaster in Australia's recorded history is also producing its share of imbecilic conspiratorial nonsense.

Andrew Bolt cites the
Drudge Report in an entry for his Herald Sun blog:
The Drudge Report has linked the fires to threats last year by a few hotheads on the web to set off bushfires for jihad. Already emails repeating this link are whizzing around the web. That is grossly irresponsible and unfair - the nastiest rabble rousing. Not a shred of evidence has been produced to identify the motivation of any of the arsonists behind these fires, and I seriously doubt any are Muslim. This kind of finger-pointing has no place in these times. This is a time to draw together, not to divide ourselves with baseless allegations. No comments repeating these insinuations will be published here.

Piers Akerman, a senior columnist for the Daily Telegraph, doesn't share Bolt's scruples and quite happily spreads the "forest jihad" conspiracy theory in his otherwise relatively sensible (by his standards) column:

Treating arson as terrorism should not be a huge leap, given that a group of Islamic extremists last year singled Australia out as a target for "forest jihad" as a weapon of terror.

What the ...? Does Akerman have any respect for his own and his readers' intelligence? Can't Akerman have a discussion about the causes of bushfires without manufacturing conspiracy theories based on a single newspaper report? What does Piers know that Victorian police don't know?

But then, maybe we should give Piers the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Akerman wasn't trying to link the ongoing bushfires to terrorists who can only belong to the wrong religion. No such luck. In relation to the possible impact of global warming and climate change, Piers arises at 5:41am on 10/01/09 to comment on his blog:
No evidence of climate change but a lot of evidence that Green policies prevented fuel reduction and created the essential trip-switch for the fires.
Yep, no evidence of climate change but lots of evidence for other causes. As Piers notes some four hours later on his blog:
Islam is mentioned because Islamists said lighting bushfires was a good way to terrorise Australians.
Around 10 minutes later (10/02/09 at 9:53am), Piers explains why, statistically, other suspected arsonists make up only a fraction of their particular group.
If Islamists promote arson as a means of terrorising Australians, it would be negligent not to mention them. The bush is designed to burn and it was burnt by the Aboriginals - we are told. Some CFA volunteers have a history of arson but the numbers are so few in such a large organisation that they are statistically practically irrelevant.
Yep, the CFA volunteers are part of a large organisation. Don't blame all CFA volunteers for arson as they are statistically practically irrelevant. But feel free to blame "Islam" and "Islamists" even if nether are suspected of, let alone apprehended for, involvement in the Victorian bushfires.

And when one of his readers asks the kind of questions I am asking here, Piers responds at 10:50am on 11/02/09 by accusing the person of being ...
... nothing but an apologist for would-be murderers.
Only slightly nuttier than Piers Akerman's forest jihad is Pastor Danny Nalliah, who describes the bushfires as God's way of punishing Victorians for laws ...
... approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb.
Using the same logic, the Boxing Day tsunami must have been divine punishment for Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Thais, Malaysians, Indians, Somalis, Mauritians and persons of countless other nationalities and just about every faith under the sun for supporting laws which ... um ... where do I start?

Nalliah is familiar with Godly conspiracies. In August 2007, Nalliah had received revelation from God about John Howard's impending victory in the November 2007 elections.

God revealed that following the election victory, Howard would pass on the Prime Ministerial baton to Peter Costello. No mention is made in the prophecy of when Mr Costello would release his memoirs or how quickly they could be purchased for under $20. I guess there are some things even God has no control over.

Given that Mr Howard was the recipient of such gracious Divine assistance, it's no wonder he defended his decision to provide an Australia Day message to Nalliah's cult. Even Peter Costello provided such a message to the cult on Australia Day this year.

The Nalliah story and the accompanying condemnations by Peter Costello and Victorian Premier John Brumby weren't deemed important enough to be reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Still, I can't blame them. Carrying the words of one conspiratorial nutter is sufficient. There's only such much fire a Tele reader can catch.

First published on ABC Unleashed on Friday 13 February 2009.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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HATEWATCH: Some more non-racial comments left on Bolt's Herald-Sun blog ...

Once again, the good folk at the Herald-Sun website have little trouble in moderating some completely non-racial comments so that they appear on Mr Bolt's blog. Read and enjoy.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

‘Arab’ bikies?!? I can’t believe we even let Arabs into our country. Look at what they get up to. Our own Aussie bikies are so much nicer.
Matt (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (11:18am)

Thank God he was a moderate muslim otherwise he would have blown her up.
Aussie Boy of Oz (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (11:38am)

It has no place here, and any decent Australian government would issue a single warning before acting appropriately - cut it out, or go home cold in a canvas bag.
perturbed of NSW (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (12:24pm)

Islam allows muslims to kill other muslims that aren’t following the true path. Hence Sunnis can kill Shias and vice versa. All good muslims know that!
And Muzzammi Hassan beheaded his wife because she dishonored him by asking for a divorce!
Of course, honour killings are also allowed in Islam.
Simple really!
The Religion of Peace and Sharia Law; coming soon to a town near you. Enjoy!
geoff from the west (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (01:30pm)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

COMEDY: Herald-Sun writer exposes marsupial jihad

Writing in the Sunday Herald-Sun, Eleni Hale desperately clings to straws in an effort to find a jihadi angle to the bushfire tragedy in Victoria.

In an article headed Jihadists revel in our misery, Hale reports as follows ...
Terror watchdogs said fundamentalists had blogged on websites across the globe, applauding the lives lost and destruction.

Senior analyst at SITE Intelligence Group Adam Raisman said they were posting pictures of burnt homes and devastated victims and "taking joy in the scenes".
Who is this SITE Intelligence Group? You can find out more about this non-government profit-making enterprise here. SITE takes a fair wack of its work from MEMRI, an organisation which seems to have its own political and sectarian agenda.

Hale then revels in putting her discovery to one bushfire victim:
Bushfires victims said they were stunned.

"We're minding our own business and trying to cope with all this and they are celebrating our suffering," said Denise McCann who lost her home in the Kinglake blaze.

So one bushfire victim becomes "bushfire victims". Maybe basic numerical skills aren't a prerequisite for employment at some newspapers. And maybe tabloid editors shouldn't waste victims' (or should that be victim's?) time with such nonsense.

And who are the jihadists that are revelling in our collective misery? Again, when evidence is required, plural suddenly becomes singular:
One jihadist wrote: "It would be an act of revenge for Australian's participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."
One "jihadist"? Where? On what site? In what language? When? Is Hale citing Osama bin Ladin typing this from his cave? Or is this "jihadist" a 15 year old kid writing on this online chat room?

Already Hale's article has been picked up by a variety of websites known for their sensible and unprejudiced reporting and analysis.

But it seems the Herald-Sun's readers don't share Hale's obsession with finding the jihadist angle to everything.

This is an unnecessary and dangerously incendiary article. How stupid and pointless to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment at a time when emotions are running high and there's so much good will and community support to be celebrated.
Posted by: Deborah Bartlett Pitt
9:53am today

Don't fall for this people. The general Muslim community want nothing to do with these lunatics. As arsonists walk amongst our community, idiots walk amongst theirs.
Posted by: CFA Volunteer
12:05am today

Watch out for Eleri Hale's next article where she exposes Koala Sam's efforts to recruit other koalas on a massive marsupial jihad mission for al-Qaeda and JI. I've already received a photo taken by the SITE Intelligence Group of the devious un-Australian extremist fundamentalist jihadist creature just as it was about to film its pre-suicide video will.

My suggestion to Hale is that she stick to writing articles about Oktoberfest.

Friday, February 13, 2009

HATEWATCH: A great moment from Tim Blair's blog - Palestinians deserve to be murdered ...

You can always rely on Tim Blair's cyber-friends to come up with poor taste, murderous, racist and/or bigoted nonsense. In announcing the arrest of a 39 year old in relation to alleged acts of arson leading to at least one of the Victorian bushfires, Blair and his colleagues at the Daily Telegraph allowed this comment to be posted:
Just tell the mob he’s a Palestinian. That’ll justify any amount of murder.
Fri 13 Feb 09 (04:04pm)

The comment relates to a mob which assembled outside the police station where the man was being apprehended. Charming stuff.

A further comment promotes the "forest jihad" thesis that senior Tele columnist Piers Akerman was suggesting earlier in the week ...

Reminds one of this from last year.
Sat 14 Feb 09 (10:19am)

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

COMMENT: Danny Nalliah catches fire ...

Well, it seems even Peter Costello cannot stomach the nonsense that emerges from the alegedly prophetic mouth of Pastor Danny Nalliah. It seems that on this occasion Nalliah has just gone too far.

It wasn't bad enough for Nalliah to call on his flock to pray to God that Hindu and masonic temples (not to mention mosques) be torn down. It wasn't enough for Nalliah to meet with the moronically anti-Semitic League of Rights. It wsn't enough for Nalliah to argue that domestic violence shouldn't be grounds for a Christian divorce.

None of this was enough for Costello to condemn Nalliah. None of this was enough for Costello to stop sending Australia Day messages to Nalliah's cult.

While other clergy at the heart of the tragedy were expressing more restrained and heart-felt emotion, Peter Costello's favourite pastor was lecturing Victorian bushfire victims about how the flams represented divine punishment for supporting abortion.
CTFM leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah said ... he was not surprised by the bush fires due to a dream he had last October relating to consequences of the abortion laws passed in Victoria.

He said these bushfires have come as a result of the incendiary abortion laws which decimate life in the womb.

Gee, how very sensitive of you, Pastor Nalliah. But as if the contents of CTFM's press release were not bad enough. Nalliah went further in this interview with the Sydney Morning Herald:
Asked by the Herald if he did not believe most Australians would regard his remarks as being in appallingly bad taste, he said today: "I must tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear."

He said it was no use "molly-coddling" Australians.

Asked if he believed in a God who would take vengeance by killing so many people indiscriminately - even those who opposed abortion, Mr Nalliah referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 to vouch for his assertion that God could withdraw his protection from a nation.

"The Bible is very clear," he said. "If you walk out of God's protection and turn your back on Him, you are an open target for the devil to destroy."

In the New King James version of the Bible, 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Still, don't be surprised if, come Easter or Christmas or next year's Australia Day, Costello again sends Nalliah a special videotaped message.

UPDATE I: I spoke to someone at the Herald Sun. I was curious if they would run anything on the latest Nalliah stupidity. The Herald Sun chap told me that they are too busy running sensible stuff about the fires. Fair enough? Then again, even Andrew Bolt refused to use his blog to spread "fire jihad" conspiracy theories.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Monday, February 09, 2009

CRIKEY: When will anti-war conservatives condemn the so-called war on terror?

The former opinion editor of The Australian (and no doubt author of numerous editorials in The Oz at the time) has made his position on the Iraq war, George W Bush and neo-Conservative foreign policy very clear. In The Oz today, Tom Switzer reminds his readers that he is "someone who strongly opposed the war from the outset ... long believed the Iraq invasion was unnecessary". Switzer disputes any link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, refers to the "incompetence" of former Prez Dubya and has a go at "the neo-conservative architects of this misbegotten venture". He reminds us also that "democracy was not an export commodity".

I needed Tom’s reminder. Like many who kept a vomit bag handy whilst reading The Australian at the time, I remember The Oz editorial and op-ed sections doing little more than accusing war critics of lacking patriotism. Switzer edited a page and wrote editorials singing lyrics written by Bush, Blair and our own Dubya, John W Howard.

I know many conservatives disagreed on Bush’s foreign policy adventures. From Pat Buchanan to Owen Harries, prominent non-neo-Con conservatives objected not only to war in Iraq but indeed the entire fiasco of torture, murder, mayhem and lawlessness packaged as the "War on Terror".

But can the man who brought Janet Albrechtsen to the national stage now honestly claim he was never a neo-Con after all? Is Switzer changing his tone in line with a new American administration, to shore up his position at the United States Study Centre at Sydney Uni? Can Switzer really legitimately claim to be a critic of the Iraq debacle?

Yes, he can.

As far back as May 2003, Switzer opposed the Iraquagmire in a book review for Quadrant. Switzer lamented the almost near-absence of anti-war sentiment among Australian conservatives when compared to their UK and US counterparts. In a Quadrant article in December ’05, Switzer and Neil Clark argued that conservatives down under "have practically wanted the Australian Army to serve as the American Foreign Legion". They argued the Iraq war was a profoundly unconservative war.

Now Switzer and other conservatives must acknowledge the Iraq war was part of a wider war on common sense, world peace, the rule of law and democratic values. Yes, two jets did hit the Twin Towers. Yes, bombs went off in Madrid, Bali, London etc. But did that make some "War on Terror" necessary?

There’s no point opposing the Iraq war if you still support all the nonsense associated with it. Nonsense like Guantanamo, like extraordinary rendition, like some crazed theory of the world being divided along neat cultural lines.

Conservatives like Switzer need to acknowledge that the so-called war on terror, not just its Iraqi component, may have had some good consequences and may have been well-intentioned. But by and large, it has been an unmitigated disaster.

First published in the Crikey daily alert on Monday 09 February 2009.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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COMMENT: Bushfires ....

I spoke to a friend who lives just outside Melbourne. Her small town wasn't affected by the fires, but at least one neighbouring town was almost completely decimated.

I also received an e-mail from Indonesia. A former Indonesian delegate to Australia on a Muslim Leaders' Exchange Program run by the Australia-Indonesia Institute sent a heartfelt message.

Thus far, media have been extremely sensitive and sensible. However, it doesn't take long for things to change. Who knows whether the tabloids pick this up and use it as a tool to bash each and every individual who happens to tick a certain box on their census forms. In the past, they've had little trouble trawling online forums for comments allegedly representative of entire communities.

I managed to do some trawling of my own and located a small online forum where one of two people have made some insensitive remarks about the vistims and survivors of the bushfires. The same forum contains some fairly robust attacks on those who made the insensitive remarks.

I admit "irfsol" did get a little excited in his responses.

God keep our nation safe.

RACISM: Submission for urgent UN action on NT Intervention ...

A group of respected lawyers acting for ...
... a number of Aboriginal people who reside inPrescribed Areas in the Northern Territory and are subject to the measures of the Northern Territory Intervention ...

... has prepared a 64 page submission and lodged it with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. You can download and read the document in full care of the National Indigenous Times website here. It makes compelling reading.

To claim that the Commonwealth government can only overcome profound institutional and other disadvantage of indigenous people by excluding government action from the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) is effectively an admission that the government action does in itself constitute racial discrimination. Removing disadvantange by racist means may achieve some short term goals, but in the long term it further institutionalises racism.

If you read nothing else in this report, at least read the executive summary.