Archive for December, 2006

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“No darker heart”

December 30, 2006

skulls

Michael Yon revisits the killing fields of Cambodia.

After the monsoon rains abate, the draining earth offers up fragments of clothing, human teeth and bones as final testimony of the restless, wronged dead. Murdered on this now sacred ground, thirty or more years ago, they are among the millions of souls sacrificed to a fevered ideology that was completely broken only a decade ago. The remains that seep up through the mud under my feet in this Killing Field are from a different war, but they echo a mournful reminder of how jarringly common it is for societies at war with themselves to descend into madness. Death squads under holy orders, suicide bombers in mosques, machete-wielding mobs in Rwanda, industrialized gas chambers in Europe, fire-breathing Janjaweed militias in Darfur, and here the tree named for its function as “killing tree against which executioners beat children.”

A photo-journalist to rival Michael J. Totten.

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Executing Saddam

December 30, 2006

Speculation is rife that Saddam Hussein is about to be executed or possibly already has been.

Pajamas Media has the links.

Jules Crittenden has been tipped it has already happened.

Update:
Apparently he’s gone.

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The great Qana missile strike ambulance hoax

December 29, 2006

During the summer war in Lebanon various media outlets ran lead stories on charges that the Israeli Air Force had deliberately targeted two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances transporting wounded civilians near Qana, seriously wounding the occupants. US blogger zombietime led a series of exposes on the blogosphere that alleged the purported attacks had been faked. Australian FM Alexander Downer achieved one of his 15 minutes of fame by lambasting editors for falling for the hoax.

Now humanitarian NGO Human Rights Watch has delivered a 25-page report which attempts to refute those allegations. zombietime has already responded to the attempted refutation.

To my mind, the HRW report strains all credulity. Draw your own conclusions from the links provided, but, in summary, this is what HRW is asking us to believe.

An IAF drone (not an aircraft), which nobody saw, although they did see aircraft, intentionally fired two missiles at the ambulances. So far as is publicly known, the IAF uses drones primarily for surveillance and target identification and illumination, not for weapons delivery: but since it can’t have been a helicopter or aeroplane, it must have been a drone (even if nobody saw one). These missiles were the only munitions used, although the roofs of the ambulances show much more damage than just the missiles’ entry sites.

HRW does not know what kind of munitions were employed, but on the assumption that some must have been, because the witnesses said so, concludes a dense inert metal explosive (DIME) missile was most likely involved. These weapons have a highly localised detonation impact, which somehow accounts for the astonishing lack of damage or scorching within the ambulance cabins. Of course, you’d expect the Israelis to use hi-tech aerial platforms to deliver missiles with the approximate payload of a grenade. You can never tell with those guys.

So, then, the DIME missiles exploded, causing relatively minor casualties, including shrapnel wounds, without substantially damaging the paintwork or carpets. This was despite (a) DIME weapons being sheathed in carbon, not the conventional metal casing, specifically to prevent the usual spray of shrapnel, and (b) their demonstrated ability to vaporise anything within four metres. But they must have exploded, albeit with more limited effect than their manufacturers would have anticipated, because the witnesses said their eardrums were blown out by the detonations.

At the same time, despite having just exploded, the missiles followed the trajectories to be expected of unexploded kinetic ordnance. They passed right through the bodies of the vehicles, leaving them largely undamaged (despite having just exploded), punching neat exit holes in each chassis (or maybe only one of them), and penetrating the roadway beneath, leaving nice round holes in the road’s surface.

OK, Plan B: they didn’t explode on impact or on their way down after all. They exploded after they penetrated the tarmac, which is why they aren’t still there at the bottom of the holes — except, unfortunately, there are no detonation craters, and no evidence of detonation damage to the underside of the vehicles, nor shrapnel in the bodywork (but these were DIME weapons, remember, whose carbon casing disintegrates on detonation. [But wait a minute: they did dispense the shrapnel that wounded the witnesses. Oh well.]).

Back to Plan A, then. The missiles confidently exploded on their way down, and then, cleverly still intact (as witnessed by the circular puncture marks in the tarmac), plunged beneath the surface of the road, where all trace of them disappeared, because they had already exploded somewhere in the cabin above, and couldn’t have done the vampire bite trick in the first place …..

Come off it.

Update: See also some pretty crisp forensic analysis from Al Hamatzav here and here.

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Denying Holocaust denial

December 27, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes in the LA Times:

I learned that innocent men, women and children were separated from each other. Stars pinned to their shoulders, transported by train to camps, they were gassed for no other reason than for being Jewish.

I saw pictures of masses of skeletons, even of kids. I heard horrifying accounts of some of the people who had survived the terror of Auschwitz and Sobibor. I told my half-sister all this and showed her the pictures in my history book. What she said was as awful as the information in my book.

With great conviction, my half-sister cried: “It’s a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed.”

Sighs.

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Paradigm Oz

December 26, 2006

Not sure if anyone’s done this yet but John Tracey’s Paradigm Oz is a welcome addition to the Ozblogos.

I’ll be checking in often.

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Awards and fairies

December 26, 2006

It’s blog award time, and congratulations to EU Referendum for winning Best UK Blog in the 2006 Weblog awards. Well done, Richard and Helen– you got my vote. Other winners here.

The best Oz-NZ blog is one I’ve never heard of, and I’m not even sure it really is a blog.

But there have been other awards that have garnered little attention.

Our very own Prime Minister John Howard jointly took out the Anti-Dhimmi Internationale award for the year over at Jihad Watch. How many of us knew that, eh? And on the first count he had it on his own.

And Honest Reporting has some truly awe-inspiring citations for 2006’s worst journalism right over here.

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Another Christmas image

December 26, 2006

… as a counterpoint. It lacks something of the splendour of Gentile da Fabriano’s sublime Adoration of the Magi, but it makes its point in a crude but effective enough fashion.

This jolly Yuletide picture is sourced from the humanitarian NGO War on Want, whose other pix for the festive season can be found here.

bethlehem

The gloss accompanying the card reads:

The town of Bethlehem is effectively sealed off from the outside world by Israel’s Separation Wall. An end to violence in the Middle East means constructing bridges, not walls. This design by Polyp shows Mary and Joseph being frisked on their way to find an inn for the night.

According to this report, however, the main dangers faced by the dwindling number of Christians in Bethlehem come not from Israeli checkpoints, but rather from Islamic fundamentalists.

George Rabie, a 22-year-old taxi driver from the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala, is proud of his Christianity, even though it puts him in daily danger.

Two months ago, he was beaten up by a gang of Muslims who were visiting Bethlehem from nearby Hebron and who had spotted the crucifix hanging on his windscreen.

“Every day, I experience discrimination,” he says.

“It is a type of racism. We are a minority so we are an easier target. Many extremists from the villages are coming into Bethlehem.”