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:: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 ::

Here we go again

Normally I'd title this ECotD (Editorial Cartoon of the Day) but today's ECotD needs more surrounding information. First, the cartoon, from the ArabNews' M. Kahil:

Now, the followup, from the letters to the editor in today's Arab News:

First, from an 'American':
"They never give up
Another attempt by the Zionists to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the United States is the current brouhaha over a charitable donation given by a Saudi princess. It is claimed that the money somehow ended up in the hands of two of the hijackers. The highest government investigations have admitted that there was no evidence that this was the case. But the media, the sycophant congressmen and television continue to air the allegations. That is the continuing technique of the Zionists and their supporters. Keep repeating allegations and most people come to believe them. As I write this I am listening to CNN coverage of “The Saudi Money Trail”. When the facts finally refute these allegations there will be a deafening silence. There will be no media coverage. Most people will only remember the barrage of accusations.
The Zionists really know how to lie and manipulate the media to their advantage. They are determined to destroy the friendship between Saudia Arabia and the US. They never give up.
Anthony Peloquin, Long Beach, California, US published 27 November 2002"

Next, from yet another 'American':
"Big mouths, little minds
After reading Maha Akeel’s insightful opinion, “Freedom of speech should not be a cover for hate crimes” (Nov. 22), I realized that my only contact with the Falwell episode was from the many objections raised by others, especially Islamic organizations. I do not choose to watch the “60 Minutes” TV show because it seeks its viewer ratings through sensationalist reporting. I do not choose to watch Jerry Falwell on other programs because I find his point of view consistently offensive. And I would prefer not to have read Falwell’s slanderous remarks about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even in well-intentioned opinion columns, because his incessant lies are nothing less than distracting from the truth.
While a formal legal condemnation of Jerry Falwell might seem appropriate on the surface, we need to realize that hate takes many forms, and while a few hateful words or deeds can be silenced for a time in courts of law, hateful thoughts cannot. I don’t object to the filing of complaints to government agencies or through the courts — it is a way to get objecting opinions initiated in a concrete form — but historically such action is only effective for the short term. For the long term, other solutions must be sought and implemented.
For one, I would rather see vicious rhetoric like Falwell’s become entirely irrelevant to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That is a challenging goal to achieve because it involves much more than complaining. It involves actively building the minds and hearts of people to embrace good thoughts, to become more tolerant of diversity, to bravely engage in dialogue with all of our brothers and sisters with whom we share this planet, and to grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It takes energy, it takes a lot of work. Most people cannot do this and watch “60 Minutes” at the same time.
The idealistic individuals who framed the Bill of Rights in the constitution of the United States overlooked nothing when they created an article protecting freedom of speech without restriction. They had far-reaching vision and great expectations for the future of America, a vision all Americans would be wise to remember, and expected people in America to use some sense in just what speech they choose to listen to. I fear that, as long as many people and the media are mesmerized by big mouths with little minds, hate will continue along its present and unfortunate course.
Timothy R Smith, Lompoc, California, US published 27 November 2002"

And, in conclusion, from Abqaiq:
Jan’s letter “Forum for all opinions” (Nov. 16) had me in stitches. He wrote: “I would refer him to read any local US newspapers Op/Ed section on a daily basis and he will find letters and opinion for both sides. They run the gamut from well-informed to uninformed and ludicrous.”
A couple of months ago, I called the CNBC to participate in a live program about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Upon answering the phone, their first question was, “Where are you calling from?” The operator hung up on me twice the moment I replied, “Saudi Arabia”. Determined to get through and give my (unwanted) opinion, I claimed I was from the UK the third time. The operator then, and only then, transferred me to the program producer at an instant and she put me live on TV.
Jan should look closely at his country’s media to find out who owns what. And while he is at it, I suggest he starts with Rupert Murdoch since he owns half of the national newspapers, TV and satellite stations in the United States, Britain and Australia. Jan’s claim is absolute rubbish. Though I agree that US newspapers publish a gamut from the uninformed to the ludicrous, they only print what their Jewish media moguls want them to read — if that is what Jan would like to call well-informed.
Nizam Addien B. Yagoub, Abqaiq published 27 November 2002"

'They' You know who 'They' are, don't you? Well, there's actually more from today's Arab News:

" Editorial: Dangerous waters
27 November 2002
What was a hysterical media-frenzy in the US about Princess Haifa’s charitable donations and where they might have ended up has turned deadly serious. Yesterday’s statement from the White House that Saudi Arabia “is a good partner in the war against terrorism but can do more” changes everything. It is not just the veiled attack in what White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said — implying that Saudi Arabia is not pulling its weight in the fight against terrorism — but the very fact that it has been said in public. The Bush administration has decided to openly attack Saudi Arabia knowing full well that such megaphone diplomacy is not the way to sort out problems between governments. Relations between the two were strained as it was. This is going to make them worse.
What precisely does Washington expect? And in any case, who does it think it is to administer such a slap in the face or make such imperious demands? Are we Iraq? Are we the Afghanistan of the Taleban? We are a close ally of the US. Saudi Arabia has consistently bent over backward to help America — not just in the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism, with the two countries’ intelligence services cooperating fully, but far longer — always working to maintain oil price stability, to calm the more militantly anti-American views of other Arab governments and to try and find a just solution to the Palestine-Israeli issue. The Kingdom has been a stalwart friend to the US, even in the face of growing public anger here over its slavish support for Israel, and most recently over its policy against Iraq.
Earlier yesterday, before Fleischer made his comments, there were overtly hostile reports in the US press of unnamed officials, supposedly members of a National Security Council advisory group, recommending that Saudi Arabia be warned that if it did not take action against Saudis suspected of channeling funds to Al-Qaeda within 90 days, the US would take care of the problem itself. Washington should press Saudi Arabia, they said, to act against such people “even if there was insufficient information to pursue the suspects in a court of law.”
Such reports could have been dismissed as part of the press-generated hysteria now gripping the US. It seemed impossible that the US would stoop to copy Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical ways and embrace such brazen illegality. After all, these were only recommendations not government policy. Who can ignore them now?
The White House has allowed itself to be caught up in the press hysteria. It is pandering to public opinion and congressional prima donnas in a most disgraceful way. It is dangerous territory. Fleischer’s statement opens a breach that will be difficult to close. Having taken such a public stance on Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration may find it difficult to retreat to saner and safer relations.
So where will the Americans go from here? Are we to become Enemy No. 2 after Iraq if we do not dance to Washington’s demands? Ludicrous though that might seem, that is where this media-led hostile campaign against Saudi Arabia appears to be heading. If the White House does not close the floodgates now, we could all be in dangerous waters. The first thing it needs to do is be clear in what it wants from its friends. At present it sends Saudi Arabia requests to investigate individuals. Those individuals are investigated and the information sent back to Washington, which then says it is satisfied. If it is not satisfied it should ask for further information, not start whining in public."

"And in any case, who does it think it is to administer such a slap in the face or make such imperious demands? Are we Iraq? Are we the Afghanistan of the Taleban?"

Who do we think we are? We are Americans. You? You're not Iraq, nor Afghanistan.

But you are next.

:: Peter 11/27/2002 09:07:00 AM [+] ::

Clones For Islam?

From Reuters:

"ROME (Reuters) - Controversial Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori said on Tuesday a woman pregnant with a cloned embryo was due to give birth in January, but declined to give any details about her.
"It's going well. There are no problems," Antinori told a news conference, adding he had made a "scientific and cultural contribution" to the project but was not personally in charge.
The doctor, who made world headlines in 1994 when he helped a 62-year-old woman have a child, supports the cloning of human beings as a way for infertile couples to have children.
Many in the scientific community have challenged Antinori's statements in the past that women have been pregnant with cloned babies. He produced no evidence at the news conference.
Large numbers of doctors and scientists reject human cloning as irresponsible, saying the risk of creating deformed or sick babies is too great and that it poses unanswerable ethical dilemmas.
Antinori would not reveal the location or nationality of the woman, but said ultra-sound scans showed the foetus currently weighed 2.5 to 2.7 kg (5.5 to 5.9 pounds) and was "absolutely healthy".
He said in May three women were pregnant with clones, one in her 10th week, one in her seventh and one in her sixth. He declined at the time to say where any of the trio were, disclosing only that one lived in an Islamic nation.
Antinori did not specify on Tuesday if the woman he said was due to give birth in January was one of the three he had spoken of earlier."

As my wife said: "Isn't this great? Not only are they cloning babies, they are cloning them for Islam. Joy."

What's the Koran say about this?
:: Peter 11/27/2002 08:42:00 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 ::


Are you really sure?

:: Peter 11/26/2002 10:30:00 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, November 25, 2002 ::

Shop Starbucks!

Not sure if everyone remembers the Caribou Coffee flap from earlier this year (Scroll down to the June 13 Bleat)...but here's yet one more reason to shop at Starbucks for all your beverage needs. Direct, and quoted in full:

"Why are they here?
Amr Muhammad Al-Faisal/Al-Madinah
We recently read in the local press that the Ministry of Commerce had confiscated a number of mobile phones and penalized the company that imported them. The reason was that the mobiles were manufactured in Israel.
Such actions on the part of the ministry is proof of its diligence and keenness to ensure that the Saudi economy will in no way contribute to helping the enemy Israeli economy.
Hats off to His Excellency the Minister of Commerce and his staff for their efforts.
I would like to supply some other information that I hope will show the real face of certain companies that support Israel. Let us begin with Marks & Spencer whose branches are now found all over the Kingdom. This company has a long history of extending generous support to the Zionist movement.
In 1916 the company chairman, Lord Simon Marks, together with Israel Zaive, its director, helped Chaim Weissman in his efforts to convince the British government to adopt the project that led to Zionist settlements in Palestine.
Those efforts were crowned in the following year by the infamous Balfour Declaration.
In 1918 Israel Zaive served as secretary to Weissman at the Versailles Conference and spread the Zionist call among other big powers at the end of World War I.
In 1920 Rebecca Marks (Simon’s sister and Israel’s wife) and Vira Weissman, Chaim’s wife, formed the first Zionist women’s organization.
From that time until the present, Marks & Spencer has providing support to the Zionist movement and to the state of Israel. Two years ago the Israeli media reported that the government had honored Marks & Spencer for its sustained support to the Zionist movement.
Marks & Spencer was the first to introduce the Israeli avocado to the British market. Its shops sell a number of Israeli products, including clothes. It also sells agricultural products and other goods produced and manufactured in the occupied Palestinian lands, selling them as Israeli products to evade the boycott enforced by the European Union on products coming from the occupied lands.
The boycott of course is aimed at denying Israel any financial benefits. Marks & Spencer imports some $233 million worth of goods from Israel every year.
Another company we should look at is Starbucks. This American firm with a chain of cafes and coffee shops is mushrooming in all our cities.
The information that I have found about this company is that its chairman was honored in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel for his “numerous services to the Zionist state.”
The enemy Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked him for the support his company gives to government advertising campaigns. This support has been described as being crucial to the success of the campaigns.
During the massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinians last year, the Starbucks director gave a speech at a Zionist forum in which he praised the Israeli Army and urged American Jews to give even greater support to Israel. Starbucks also supports the Israeli government propaganda programs in universities all over America in an attempt to win popular support for Israel.
Arab News From the Local Press 25 November 2002"

:: Peter 11/25/2002 08:58:00 AM [+] ::

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