29 June 2013

Yes, President Mohamed Morsi is Jewish

This is OK'ed for publication now, though it is with a heavy heart that I am doing it. The brilliant career of one of our best field agents is coming to an end, after 62 years of nurturing, training and managing our man in Cairo. Besides, he was outed as our agent by young Assad anyway and the counter-intelligence in Egypt is getting too close for comfort. And only his unshakable determination to end his days as a martyr for the Elders' cause and his absolute refusal to be extracted gave way to this public revelation, so alien to the traditions of our ancient establishment.

But let's proceed in an orderly way. Everything you will read in Wiki about this illustrious man is a total misdirection, of course (long live Wiki). That is, aside of his birthday, 8 August 1951. This is the day when a baby boy Moshe was born in Alexandria (Egypt) to a family of a Jewish lawyer. The times were already difficult for the Jews of Egypt at the time, but, being a firstborn, little Moshe was a ray of sun in the grueling existence of the young family. The father was fired from his government job in 1948, for a reason that may seem unfair today, but at the time the declaration of independence by Israel was a good enough pretext for Egyptian authorities to fire the Jewish lawyer. He barely succeeded to eke a meager existence for himself and his wife, chasing ambulances, writing wills and assisting Western tourists in trouble with local constabulary and customs.

And in 1956 even this hardy existence came to an abrupt end, when in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis 1,000 Jews were arrested and 500 Jewish businesses were seized by the government. The final exodus of the remaining Egyptian Jews has started. To exacerbate the tragedy of the Prosor family, a week before these events took place, they have sent their son, little Moshe, to their relatives in the country, unaware of the dangers coming. When the people of Aliyah Bet came in the early hours of the night to spirit them away for a clandestine trip to Israel, they had to apply force to get the family from their house. The Aliyah Bet people promised to take care of Moshe later, and so they did. In a fashion.

Their relatives flatly refused to be evacuated, and as the last ditch measure, five years old Moshe was given for adoption to a poor Egyptian fellahin, one Mr Morsi, whose wife was barren for several years and who pined for a son. The boy was renamed Mohamed and quickly forgot his roots under the influence of his pious adoptive parents. But of course, the boy's fate wasn't forgotten, at least not by our people. Mohamed Morsi recalls being taken to school on the back of a donkey by his father, but even this donkey was purchased using a contribution from an anonymous source (read Mossad). And when the young Mohamed suddenly (of course...) won a scholarship to the University of Southern California, he became easily accessible to his handlers, who used his prolonged stay in US to reveal to him his real roots. Then it became very easy to indoctrinate the impressionable youth in the Zionist dogma and to proceed with development of his future career as a field agent.

Muslim Brotherhood was already considered a rising star by the Israeli intelligence analysts, and the decision to insert Mohamed into its core paid off handsomely in the long range. His meteoric career through the ranks of MB is a matter of public record, but of course he was just doing the bidding of his mentors in Jerusalem.

As for his original and adoptive families, there were some interesting developments too. His adoptive mother, as it sometimes happens after an adoption, didn't remain barren and made her hubby (well to do now, thanks to the donations from the same anonymous patron) happy, delivering four baby boys. And, of course unknown to Moshe/Mohamed, his biological mother was already pregnant while leaving for Israel and the baby boy was born in 1956, to be named Ron, in memory of his elder brother.

So, for the first time, here is a side to side comparison of the current president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi and his biological brother, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ron Prosor:

If you disregard the wig (granted, of a very high quality) used by Mohamed/Moshe, the resemblance is unmistakable and remarkable, you have to agree. This resemblance also explains why the two took the utmost care never to be seen together at various UN events.

The career of Moshe Prosor aka Mohamed Morsi, the Israeli super-agent in Egypt, has to remain mostly secret for quite a few years to come, for obvious reasons. Only two items were allowed to be aired here by the censor. The first is the decisive role he played in the famous Operation Rooster 53. The aim of the operation was to steal from Egyptian army a Soviet P-12 radar system, considered then to be the best of the kind. Yes, the Nahal Brigade's 50th battalion, the elite paratrooper reconnaissance unit Sayeret Tzanchanim, and the Israeli Air Force have done their part. But without inside assistance, the radar antenna, a massive construction anchored to its concrete foundations, couldn't have been lifted as quickly and easily as it was, during a few fateful minutes. The young daredevil Moshe/Mohamed, under the guise of a local tribesman bringing fresh goat meat to the radar team, every night during the month preceding the operation filed away a few millimeters of the steel pylons supporting the antenna. Thus ensuring the phenomenal success of Rooster 53.

The other feat of our agent was less spectacular and, unfortunately, didn't prevent the Yom Kippur war. However, detailed information provided by Moshe/Mohaned played a decisive role in the eventual isolation and entrapment of the Egyptian Third Army. An especially created medal of honor and a photograph of Ariel Sharon with his personal inscription and a letter of commendation are being kept with his other secret awards in the Mossad safe, never to be shown to a living person.

Unfortunately, his many other outstanding intelligence feats that easily overshadow the two we are allowed to talk about, must remain secret. And the world wouldn't know anytime too soon where exactly did young Moshe/Mohamed and his team of agents place the (heavily booby-trapped) radio-controlled nuclear devices, how the price of premium Egyptian cotton is manipulated and other breath-taking field intelligence exploits.

His public record as a politician and a president is another matter, however.

This and other, carefully prepared in Jerusalem, revolting speeches are designed to show his Muslim Brotherhood brethren for what they really are: a bunch of barbarous baboons. And that "Apes and Pigs" interlude could never hurt, no matter how frequently it is repeated.

All this, however, is in the glorious past. Today is a bad day for the Elders. Losing a field agent is never easy, and losing a super-agent of this quality is a real tragedy. But we shall persevere and prevail, and our young new talents will replace (are already replacing, as we speak) their (still falling) comrade in arms. Glory be to you, Moshe/Mohamed, PBUY.

Update: and now in French, with more visual proof.

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Wake up and smell the Nobel

It was on the date of my daughter’s graduation. I thought, Nobel Prize? College Graduation? Obviously, I’m going to my daughter’s graduation.

Tee hee.

28 June 2013

Why indeed? And a revelation about Guardian

This is really priceless. A Guardian hack bemoans and decries the young of Britain what seek real work, instead of opting for the readily available state welfare. Here is the last part of that piece:

There, I met a 27-year-old man who had just managed to re-enter the world of work, though the only thing he could find was a temporary contract delivering sofas. Around us were shelves peppered with self-help books; the people in charge assured me that even if work seemed thin on the ground, the people they supervised could always look for "hidden jobs". So I wondered: did he think that the fact he was unemployed was his fault?
His reply was just this side of heartbreaking. "Yeah," he said. "I do. I think I should have applied for more. I should have picked myself up in the morning, got out, come to a place like this – tried more. When you're feeling down, you start blaming the world for your mistakes – you feel the world owes you. And it doesn't. You owe the world: you have to motivate yourself, and get out there, and try."
There it was again: the up-by-the-bootstraps Conservatism of Norman Tebbit and Margaret Thatcher, largely unchallenged during the New Labour years, and now built into millions of young lives as a simple matter of fact. Oh, Generation Y. Why?
Heartbreaking? You tell me.

And now about the revelation. It so happened (tell me more about coincidences) that yesterday, when I've opened the Android Google Play (well, if you aren't an iPerson, you sure know what it is), one of the ads for Android applications that I found there was the following:

I have always thought that there are a lot of clowns in that outfit, but now it appears that all this time they were simply trying to compete with The Onion. Who would have suspected?

Only - they are too mediocre to succeed in that domain too.

Hat Tip: Andrew Ian Dodge.

Further fallout from Snowden affair

Ehehe... and I took a vow to stop posting about the story. However, this article in CNN is too dear to my heart to miss. Its title is "Why U.S. is being humiliated by the hunt for Snowden" and it's penned by Simon Tisdall, assistant editor and foreign affairs columnist of the Guardian. Even for a Guardian hack, the level of bile, derision and something too close for good taste to outright hate (but I know he will deny it even on his deathbed) are quite rare. Is this why CNN choose to publish it, I wonder?

Anyway, the first paragraph of that piece is the only one I can agree with:

The increasingly slapstick global steeplechase in pursuit of Edward Snowden, the former American contractor who leaked top-secret details of surveillance programs, looks like a cross between "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities."
Yes, the best (and only) thing US government could do in the situation was (too late now) to forget about Snowden. Every misstep is now working in one direction only: increasing the remuneration Snowden is going to receive for his inevitable memoir.

Well, read the whole if you wish. I would only quote another paragraph, showing how Mr Tisdall in his all-consuming anti-American fashion, quite forgets himself:
The White House is furious at the non-cooperation it has received. But has it occurred to them that maybe not just the Russians and the Chinese, but those soft, liberal Europeans and all the other neutrals also don't like the idea of being spied on by an out-of-control transnational agency beyond the reach of the law, any law, anywhere?
I am not even asking what this "transnational agency" means, after all the man was too close to climax writing this to make sense, but why didn't it occur to the scribe that the Russians and the Chinese, as well as these "soft, liberal Europeans" are quite busily doing the same thing Snowden became famous for "revealing"? And that some people, besides doing this, have that little thingy called OSA (Official Secrets Act) that could make any two bit dictator pale from envy...

And now back to Snowden. Not so idealistic and innocent, after all:
Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone - to obtain evidence of Washington's cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.

For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency's secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.
Smells to me like a conscious decision to spy, doesn't it? Oh well, it's all spilled milk after all, and NSA should better think about improving their vetting procedure and their data integrity.

And now to something related but completely different from what Mr Snowden intended - from a post by Francis Sedgemore:
The current data snooping scandals centre on the US and UK, with other states expressing concern and exploiting the situation for their own political ends. An interesting example of the latter comes from Russia, with a senior member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party arguing that Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks should prompt Russia to engineer and control its own part of the internet, quarantining it from the global network, and rendering it subject to domestic political control.
Not that I believe for a moment that Russian FSB is virginal and innocent of using backdoors of its own. But in any case: it is not exactly what you dreamed about, is it, Mr Snowden?

Oh, and an unofficial payback of a special kind was started: leak and be leaked upon. How does it feel now to be an intrepid fighter for transparency?

A quick question to Boeing

Is the picture you see above applicable to this? With wings on, of course...

27 June 2013

How clean water makes fools of the BDS

There is a wonderful irony in this report. and a "debate" that took place on the Engage website a couple of years ago.

The article linked to (from The Times of Israel) reports that the Mayor of Chicago (one Rahm Emanuel, one-time Chief of Staff to President Obama) accompanied staff from the University of Chicago to a signing of an agreement over research towards cleaner water technology with Ben Gurion University. Ben Gurion University is the lead institution on this, and countries round the world are likely to benefit from the "clean water" technology that will result from this co-operation. The most needy beneficiaries will be those from the Third World of course. Hence the irony.

That controversy revolved around the University of Johannesburg pulling out of an agreement to research methods of creating clean water supplies in Third World countries with Ben Gurion University. The fact that Palestinian universities were (and are) still in partnership with BGU escaped the U of J academics. Notable among them was one Ran Greenstein, an Israeli-born Prof of Sociology at Johannesburg. If you read through the comments at the end of the article cited in this paragraph, you will notice that Greenstein avoids all requests (demands, more like) that he provides evidence for his claims about Israel.

What I found most interesting (actually, quite disturbing) was his complete blind spot as far as any comparison that might be drawn between the creation of Bantustans in South Africa and his allegations about the "expulsion" of Arabs from what became Israel.

And this person (Greenstein) is supposedly a highly educated intellectual. Can one be so when they so willfully ignore the need for sourced evidence?

By Brian Goldfarb.

Joseph Antebi, anti-Zionist Neturei Karta leader, beaten by Muslims in Holland

Some people say that one shouldn't be happy about someone else being beaten, so consider me sadly gleeful about that:

A leader of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Neturei Karta group, which is a fierce anti-Zionist organization, was beaten by a group of Muslim men in Holland.

Dutch police said that Joseph Antebi, 50, was attacked yesterday by Muslim men in Amsterdam. According to information obtained by the police, several Muslim men came over to his stopped car, pulled him out from his vehicle, beat him and spit on him. The suspects then fled from the scene.
I have a word of advice to the good rabbi: he should urgently learn to pronounce "I am an anti-Zionist" in Arabic. And not in that curious mix of German and Yiddish:

There is one strange detail in the report I cannot avoid mentioning:
According to the police report, Antebi called the police and was able to provide cell phone images of the suspects to the police.
An ultra-Orthodox rabbi carries a smartphone with a camera? And I was sure these contraptions were a strict no-no for these folks.

Oh, and while we are at it, another detail:
However, the group [Neturei Karta] remained defiant in defending radical Islamic militants. “This incident just shows how the Zionist are fanning the flames of anti-Semitism throughout the world,” the group said in a statement.
I see there was a Zionist hand in this beating.

Do you know what? Consider me happy after all.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition

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26 June 2013

Kyle Kramer, Ph.D. and his frivolous history lessons

Clearly the acquired habit of clicking on casually attractive links is not doing me a power of good. This time I have been blessed by another proof of that rule, titled Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman? from a site OpenGov.US that promises "A Critical, Independent look at News & Politics".

The article starts in a quite familiar manner:

Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:

Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children
Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.
Well, says I to myself, another Ph.D. trying to belittle the plague of terrorism, almost ready to click myself out of that piece. However, the sentence "In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen." slowed me down and eventually I had to read the whole, my disbelief growing all the way to the end of this amazing opus.

So who are these three or more (imaginary, lest you forget) scary boogeymen for Mr Kramer?  In fact, after promising three or more examples, the author offers only two, but each one a doozy. The first one:
The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazi’s [sic] and he lived in Germany.
Now you know what was the first "monstrous imaginary figure". And Mr Kramer deals with it very elegantly and lightly. I have seen more effort going into a fly swatter:
For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.
I only wish everyone had taken the same healthy attitude at the time, everything would have been so much simpler and easier... but there is another curious afterword I almost missed:
Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then.
Strange, that. I was sure from my history lessons that people in US and elsewhere didn't know half of what Nazis were really up to. It appears the history books, my parents, teachers and other people of relevant age were wrong then. Go figure...

And the second boogeyman? That is, the "monstrous imaginary figure":
He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s.
Uhu... I see. So that boogeyman was a pure figment of someone's imagination too. And all these tens of millions that perished under this boogeyman's boots were imaginary too. How quaint.

Well, at least Mr Kramer didn't mention Midwest and inability of the Red Army bombers to get to it. I wonder why? Whatever.

That's it, and now the author moves to the current boogeyman.
The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001.
It's amusing how (not) deftly the history of terrorism is truncated, starting on September 11, 2001. One is indeed starting to wonder about the character of school education in the corner of the woods Mr Kramer traces his origins from. And I supposed that terrorism stems from much more ancient roots, but then I can't put Ph.D. to my name. Too bad.

You may want to read that piece further, I would jump to its (unsurprising) conclusion:
Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman.
Not sure, I am absolutely not sure about it, but whatever. I just have to say that in my eyes the article's effect was the opposite of what its author intended. I was considering the terrorism a moderate threat we all will have to live with and cope with for years to come. However, using the other two "boogeymen" - Nazism and communism for comparison, having in mind to drive the terrorism into insignificance, Mr Kramer elevated it into something uber-monstrous indeed. Should I raise my personal threat indicator to orange now? Oh boy...

As for Mr Kramer: there is some elusive word I was looking for, trying to sum up the article and its author. And, miraculously, Merriam Webster, so respected by Mr Kramer (and by me) came to the rescue, granted - from an unusual angle. So, to Mr Kramer, "Scientist, Businessman, Student of Life"

About Kyle Kramer, Ph.D.

This LinkedIn entry shows a respectable education, a serious career path and other awesome credentials, such as "A dynamic and likeable person adept at interfacing with thought leaders, corporate executives, and technical staff." No, no help here with the word I was seeking.

It is not that I believe in the fate-shaping abilities of a name, but it was worth (as you should immediately see) to check the first name of our protagonist, especially since he loves Merriam Webster so much. And here we are, at Merriam Webster:

Kyle: In Scottish the meaning of the name Kyle is: Strait. Channel. Narrow. 

And now to the definition of


1 b): not possessing usual or expected width

8: of limited activity (as with little or no demand or supply for particular issues)
and often suggests the provincial, sectional or partisan

Bingo! Provincial.

Case closed.

25 June 2013

World dominance? It is soooo 2000...

The folks from the Iranian Press TV (you know, where unfettered George Galloway roams) are a pretty mixed-up bunch, if one is to judge by the article unearthed by Judeopundit. On one hand the article (correctly) states:

The state of Israel was born just yesterday, in 1948. Within a short span of time, it is now controlling the Congress (parliament) of the ruling state in the world, the United State of America.
In the process of building puppet governments, the Zionist regime of Israel has been very successful in replacing many Arab and non-Arab governments so far.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain in the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and other countries outside the Arabian Peninsula are by now standing under the Zionist Umbrella, offering their best services in return for its barbarism on the innocent people of Palestine.
Of course, this too:
Everybody knows that Israel is controlling the global economy today. The world banking system is directly run by Zionists.
So far so good, and the finger is pointing out all the right symptoms of that dominance. And then, suddenly:
The Zionist regime of Israel is on its way with a mindset to obtain world dominance and will not hesitate in attempting to destroy any opposing forces in the way.
What opposing forces? Which way is it and who needs that mindset to obtain something already obtained in year 2000, in strict adherence to the Elders' Master Plan?

We have to send a field technician directly to check the contacts in the head plugs of these rubes in Tehran, I think. Make a mental note to...

24 June 2013

Snowden on his way to his personal freedom

According to the reports, the man is on the way to the desired asylum in Ecuador. At least he is realizing the Assange's dream, so far out of reach for the latter.

And Ecuador will be able to stick another finger in the eye of the Big Satan, with blessings from Beijing, Moscow and Havana.

I would say that the Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., got it in one*:

The freedom trail is not exactly China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela...
However, one question still bothers me: seeing as how some not so democratic countries, like the ones mentioned by the Senator and many others, could do with whistleblowers of Snowden and Assange kind, where are these whistleblowers? And why don't they jump onto the freedom trail to Ecuador or some other sympathetic third party?

Questions, questions...

(*) Well, Venezuela, Ecuador - small places far away from Washington, so let's not nitpick too much. Whatever.

Yes, FBI could do much better

I have to say that I share the worthy politician's concern:

McDermott, a Democrat from Washington state, voiced his “deep concern” about the ad, which shows mug shots of international terrorists, and asked the FBI chief to “reconsider publicizing” it.

According to McDermott, the “ad featuring sixteen photos of wanted terrorists is not only offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities, but it encourages racial and religious profiling.”
Indeed, couldn't the ad be more multicultural, like this:

Is it really that difficult for FBI, with all its resources?

23 June 2013

The Jews of Harbin, China (you read that right)

Some three years ago or thereabouts, I was part of a small Maccabi UK party that went to Israel to make a film for the Maccabi movement world-wide. The idea was that, because so many of the people who led Maccabi sports teams as managers these days had not grown up in the Movement, it might help orient them to understand where the Movement they were helping to lead came from.

I went along as the group’s researcher: while they got to film around that part of Israel near the Maccabi World Union HQ at Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, I got to play in the archives of the MWU’s Pierre Gildesgame Museum. They got wet (it actually rained a couple of the days we were there), I got intellectual stimulation.

These memories are triggered by this article in The Times of Israel on the renovation of the two synagogues and a Jewish High School in Harbin, in north eastern China.

In turn, this was because, to my utter astonishment, among the documents in the archives of the Museum was a record of this Jewish community way back in the early decades of the 20th Century, a community that contained a Maccabi club. My astonishment was not that there was a Maccabi there, but that there had been a Jewish community there. The existence of Maccabi nearly always came with the existence of a Jewish community; that, as they say, in another story (of Maccabi, I mean).

In its day, Harbin had been known, apparently, as ‘the “Moscow of the East.”’ As such, it was home to 23,000 Jews, who had, presumably, originated in Russia - hardly a difficult conclusion to reach, given that it was Russians who had founded the place. Now it is home to just one Jew, Dan Ben-Canaan, a professor of research and writing methodology at Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies who relocated there in 2002. He is reported as being very pleased that the city government is restoring these monuments to the former Jewish life in China.

Oh, and we made our film (including archive material I had found in the archives that we were given permission to use), and it’s been made available for Maccabi world-wide to use, as made or as adapted by them.

By Brian Goldfarb.  

Government surveillance - it’s always time for deicing.

Ruminations of a cynic.

I have borrowed for this headline a bit of the concluding line from the essay The State of Surveillance by A.J. Adler:
We have been called on the plane to look out the window, and even it was by some guy from a Twilight Zone episode, there is frost on the wing. It’s time for deicing.
Aside of a sincere wish that the above linked essay be read by as many people as possible, I have (but of course) a few words to say on the subject. Since these few words will definitely exceed a normal size of a comment, here we are.

Reading the essay, I found myself classified by inference (not sure that A.J. read that overly long post of mine on the subject) with people who, according to him, say "that there is, in fact, nothing new in these so-called revelations." He adds to that:
At once they seem aimed at defending the government from charges of extraordinary or improper activity – even as government officials are daily claiming that national security has been harmed by revelation of what was not previously known – just as they seem aimed at discrediting the reporting as hype.
I hope I am not seen as one of those who defend the government - it is contrary to my basic and acquired instincts, no matter what the government in question does. Nor am I too keen on discrediting the reporting, although it is definitely at least partly a hype and comes via a sleazebag (Glenn G.).

But let's talk about spying in general, after all the government surveillance falls squarely into this, a bit more generic activity. One of the first "official" cases of using spies is the case of 12 spies sent by Moses (it also tells, by the way, what happens when the intelligence brought in by the spooks doesn't satisfy the political branch, but this is not relevant to our topic). Spying was for a long time a reviled occupation, especially when conducted by one's enemies. Even today in most countries spies are generally despised, none more so than the CIA employees for some reason. Not that it puts any hurdles in the way of using the spies' services. Still, when the issue of governments snooping after their own citizens arises, again and again the eruption of public fury is encompassed only by the level of public's surprise.

Sorry, A.J., there is still nothing new in these revelations. The means of surveillance improve, but the general purpose and general methodology remain basically the same, from the first time someone (be it a tribal shaman or someone else of a similar public stature) started collecting information on his brethren. Since the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia allegedly invented the writing, it will be a safe bet that some of their clay tablets went into the first surveillance repository. When Gutenberg's movable type went into serial production, it will be a safe bet to say that the first "standard" forms for complaints to police (including the secret one) were produced and used fairly quickly. The librarian that invented cross-referencing system couldn't have guessed what magnitude of contribution to secret police's archiving and retrieval systems it was. And the ubiquitous data mining: Hollerith machines weren't, strictly speaking, real computers in today's sense, but their use by Nazis may have been the first use of basic data mining techniques for nefarious purposes.

As for the currently evolving story: we have simply came to the point where the abundant supply of magnetic memory made the storing/retrieval of huge volumes of data required for the purpose available at a reasonable price (for the government, and what is reasonable when Joe the taxpayer is considered?). And then the collection started - just because the data is out there and the people who want it are out there.

And now we are coming to the main point: the people. Isn't surveillance a calling for some people? Starting with the twitching curtain in your neighbor's kitchen window (the irresistible tool of many a thriller writer) to the fly-on-the-wall James Bond type characters - can we agree that it takes a special kind of person to go into the spying business, be the spying of a kitchen curtain kind or of more glamorous Mata Hari - esque variety?

Can we agree that our (democratically elected or otherwise) politicians, no matter how much they despise the spies, find their predilection useful nevertheless and employ them in droves, because they (the pols) know very well that knowledge is power and the more knowledge they have the better? Don't we ourselves applaud the exploits of our spies and greedily follow the media stories about their successes, in the rare cases when such successes go public?

Don't we all elect our politicians, lazily overlooking the fact that most of them are of a special breed too: the power hungry liars, thieves and/or manipulators? Don't we hand them the keys to our wallets, to our armory, to our kids' education etc, including the right to employ and to empower those among us with taste for and abilities of snooping?

No, I am not saying "Nothing to see here. Move along". I am just saying that our democracies are built upon a fragile foundation of checks and balances. As we invoke those checks and balances to control (more or less successfully) our politicians, our military, our treasury etc, so we should keep a vigil around our spooks, lest they become too powerful and too data-greedy.

We cannot (and shouldn't) eliminate the spooks, since they are a necessary part of our existence in the fractured and unfriendly environment. But we should be aware of their (natural) attempts to exceed the limits of their mandate, no matter what their reasons are. And we shouldn't act surprised by what we consider to be their excessive zeal or outright villainy, it's an unfortunate side effect of employing potential miscreants. Surprise is a mother of defeat.

Yes, this is one of the cases when cynicism, with an added pinch of pessimism, will do better. At least I believe so.

P.S. Just another ominous accord for the whole subject:
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance in certain difficult cases.
See what I mean? No surprises here.

22 June 2013

Amazing how nothing’s ever that guy’s fault, ain’t it?

I have just started to copy/paste from a short post by Akaky Akakievich, and nothing short of his lawyer's notice will stop me from reproducing more of it. So here:

It is amazing, or at least large numbers of people who should have known better in the first place appear to think so these days.  What amazes me, though, is that it has taken so long for so many people to see what anyone who chose to see could have seen five years ago: the One of the Left’s fervid political imaginings and the actual man are two very different people.  The first is a modern secular Messiah sent by whatever God the Left does not choose to believe in today to redeem AmeriKKKa from the original sin of racism, while the second is a left-wing Chicago political hack with all the concomitant commitment to American constitutional rule that one would expect to find in the representative of a Third World tinhorn one-party kakistocracy.  That anyone could have mistaken Senator Whilom for Jesus Christ’s younger brother is, for me, one of the great mysteries of our time. 
Now go to exercise and then try to say it better, I dare you.

21 June 2013

Simon Parkes, a Labour councillor claims to have fathered alien child

And I don't see any reason to doubt the man, especially after seeing this picture:

After all, the caption says quite clearly: "Simon Parkes who will star in a documentary about his alien encounters". Being a documentary, it must be true.
Married father-of-three Simon Parkes, who represents Stakesby on Whitby Town Council, said his wife had rowed with him after revealing he had a child called Zarka with an alien he refers to as the Cat Queen.
I can see where the news may be a bit distressing for the spouse, but she must be more understanding, because a) the man is a politician, after all and b) he "also claims his 'real mother' is a 9ft green alien with eight fingers". One just cannot invent details that fine. Although - it may be interesting to know where exactly these eight fingers are located (of course, being an Elder and thus not totally alien - no pun intended - to the 6 ft and above reptilian E.T.s, my interest is not exactly idle).

Yes, I fully believe the man (or half-man, all things considered). As I believe that all politicians are conceived and sometimes born with direct participation of some kind of an alien or even two. And that the day should come when they will get up and leave us to our earthly devices.

Say amen to that, please.

Notifying my favourite Ufologists.

P.S. Zarka? Well, he is half-Brit anyway, and Brits usually stick to tradition, even an alien one.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

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Clip of people watching a clip with topless Kate Upton on a horse

Now, I am not going to argue with TMZ people saying that it's pretty damn hilarious. Cause it is.

20 June 2013

Haaretz - wrong even in small things. Like roaches.

I didn't want to, but there is no escape, so here: a semi-funny article titled Tourist Tip #262 / Consider the Israeli cockroach. By Ruth Schuster. It starts with:

Dear tourist: Yes, Israel has cockroaches. Every continent has them. And the Israeli version is large and it can fly.
Since the article is aiming chiefly at American tourists, I can make an effort to credit Ms Schuster with an attempt to call the (fairly disgusting) flying roach "Israeli cockroach" - or anything else but by its real name.  Which is "American cockroach". In the insect world there is no such species as "Israeli cockroach", as it's very easy to check.

If only Ms Schuster had tried. But, since she belongs to the Haaretz brotherhood/sisterhood of the quick and the lethal, she doesn't have time for trifles. Obviously.

P.S. And the picture of the roach used in the article is wrong, too, by the way. Oh well...

Update: by special request.

Compare this with the picture of American roach from the above link and you shall see the difference.

Suicide prevention for iPhone users

I am not and have never been an iPhone user. So the only thing I can do is ask iPhone owners: is it really that bad?


This Week’s Watcher’s Counicl Nominations – $100M African Safari Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

19 June 2013

Glenn Greenwald: the douchebag tries to lie his way out of the corner

After all, the big bad wolf is not all that big and not all that bad. But how to 'fess up to that and not to lose face? Esp. if you hadn't much of a face to lose to start with?

Yep. Not so bad, indeed.

And apropos Greenwald: check this out too.

And, of course,your meal will be incomplete without this for dessert.

Anne Bayefsky on Richard Falk

A big bump for the little putz:


18 June 2013

They don't make the Ferrari the way they used to anymore

"...the photographer's injuries were not life-threatening."


Yeah, let's all go and make that cyberpeace, for crying out loud!

No, really, people: why didn't anyone propose this before? After all what could be more natural?

Except that for a load of well-meaning crapola you shouldn't look farther than this:

It's time to stop the madness. Yes, our military needs to invest in cyberwar capabilities, but we also need international rules of cyberwar, more transparency from our own government on what we are and are not doing, international cooperation between governments and viable cyberweapons treaties. Yes, these are difficult. Yes, it's a long slow process. Yes, there won't be international consensus, certainly not in the beginning. But even with all of those problems, it's a better path to go down than the one we're on now.
Yeah, how couldn't you all see it coming: CIA, FSB, Mossad, MI6 (or is it MI5 again?) and all these other spooks of the world sitting down and hammering out the terms of the future cyberpeace.

I would even dare to call for a new fraternity:

CPUs of the world, unite!

Oh well, no sweat here.  Gonna read now Helen Keller’s Letter to Nazi Germany.

Christiane Amanpour on Hassan Rouhani's win in Iran

Like many others in the West, but with much more fervor, Ms Amanpour is trumpeting the possible new era in US - Iran relationship. Her piece is not overburdened with facts about Iran's role in the international mayhem of many kinds and its ominous shadow in Iraq, the Gulf and its other neighborhoods.

I am not going to try to spoil her hopeful tone. Only one question, where she mentions the Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (forgetting his title of Ayatollah for some reason). As she truthfully states, "the system banned Rafsanjani from running".

Now, Ayatollah Rafsanjani is well known as a moderate in name only. In fact, he is one of the 7 people still being wanted by Argentine for mass murder.

And the question to Ms Amanpour is: if a "moderate" like Rafsanjani was disqualified by the top dog, Ayatollah Khamenai, what does that tell you about the winner?

Update:  Hassan Rouhani answers Ms Amanpour's plea:

The Islamic republic has no intention, however, of ending uranium enrichment, Hassan Rouhani, who won the presidency over the weekend, said in his first news conference Monday.

And more - Iran's popular new leader is no reformist. By someone who knows infinitely more about Iran than Christiane Amanpour ever will.

And not to forget this: Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria. New Iran, indeed.

40 cases of miraculous healing in one day - only in Rome!

Blessed be this day:

Forty people claiming benefits for blindness have been arrested after police in Rome filmed them engaging in activities including driving, reading newspapers, supermarket shopping and surfing the web in broad daylight.
Via Blazing Cat Fur.

A Toke With Willie Nelson and a Beer With John Prine

If you thought that the members of the Watcher of Weasels forum are these square dudes and dudesses carping endlessly about politics in general and Barack Obama in particular, here is your proof that you are wrong. Tom White, the editor in chief of Virginia Right on some pretty unsquare things he wouldn't mind doing:

So there.

P.S. Just don't do it in Texas, like Willie N. had a misfortune to...

17 June 2013

Every silver lining has a cloud!

You know, I'm sure, the phrase "every cloud has a silver lining". Well, let's turn that on its head: "every silver lining has a cloud".

In this case, the silver lining is that Hamas appears to be losing out on its funding and weapons supplies from Iran because of its support for the rebels in Syria. Who says so? Well, according to The Algemeiner, it's Israel's Channel 2.

As a result, "...following Hamas’ conflict with Israel in November, which saw a major depletion in the organization’s weapons stockpile, there is now a shortage of weapons." To say that, as a result, my heart bleeds would be to use British irony so thick that even I would choke on it. Do read the article; it's short and sweet.

Then gloat.

By Brian Goldfarb

Irena Sendler - The Unknown Holocaust Hero

Many people who are aware of Yad VaShem's program to honor Righteous Gentiles assume that all such individuals have been honored by now -- 68 years after the end of WWII. Indeed, Yad Vashem's program has bestowed recognition on tens of thousands of individuals who demonstrated bravery and heroism as they risked their own lives to save Jewish men, women and children. However, even today, new stories are coming to light about the actions of rescuers and untold stories about the rescuers themselves, even those who have been honored, continue to emerge.

One such incident involves Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who is credited with saving over 3000 Jewish lives between 1939 and 1943. Sendler was, in fact, honored by Yad VaShem in 1965 but her story went largely unnoticed until a group of Kansas City schoolgirls began to investigate the story as part of their research of the Holocaust. The research, which began in 1999, culminated in a trip that the girls took to Poland to meet Sendler and  the subsequent development of additional materials that highlight the amazing story of a remarkable woman.

Irena Sendler joined the Zagota underground soon after the Nazis invaded Poland. Zagota members specialized in helping Jews escape the Polish dragnet and it is estimated that Sendler and her comrades assisted over 500 Jews escape German capture between 1939 and 1941.

In 1941 Sendler obtained false identification papers which identified her as a nurse with permission to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to bring in food and medicine. Sendler immediately understood that the Nazi's intended to, ultimately, destroy the ghetto and kill the residents and she decided to save as many lives as possible -- this time, primarily the lives of children, who she felt that she could best hide in the orphanages and convents of Poland.

Sendler began to knock on doors in the ghetto and implored parents to allow her to take their children to safety beyond the ghetto walls. She later recounted the trauma of trying to convince mothers and fathers that their children would be safer with her than they would be if they remained in the ghetto. "I talked the mothers out of their children" Sendler later related as she described the heartwrenching scenes that she had to endure, day after day, as she separated the parents from their children. "Those scenes over whether to give a child away were heart-rending. Sometimes, they wouldn't give me the child. Their first question was, 'What guarantee is there that the child will live?' I said, 'None. I don't even know if I will get out of the ghetto alive today."

Sendler smuggled the children out of the ghetto under the noses of the Nazis, bringing the children out by hiding them in toolboxes, bags, luggage and even under garbage carts or under piles of rags with barking dogs on top as they passed the German guards who were stationed at the entrance to the ghetto.  She and other Zagota members also identified a network of hidden tunnels and learned about the sewer system that ran under the city which they used as well to smuggle the children out.

Once the children were safely removed Sendler's work continued. She needed to find safe hiding places for the children, primarily in orphanages, convents and with sympathetic families. The children were provided with new names but Sendler recorded their real names and hiding places on tissue paper which she placed in glass jars and then buried in her neighbor's garden, hoping to one day reunite them with their families or the Jewish community.

Sendler was captured in October 1943 and tortured but she didn't reveal any information about "her" children. Zagota members secured her release by bribing a German guard and she lived out the rest of the war in hiding.

Today Sendler's activities are commemorated by the Lowell Milken Center in the Life in a Jar project which includes a book, a website and a performance which has been viewed by audiences throughout the world.

Stacie Juris - bottomless and topless

meaning nude. But not here, somewhere else. Instead, watch this (click to enlarge):

Feeling better now?  So stop surfing and back to the yoke.

16 June 2013

PRISM and you: how endangered you are, my friend?

The drama around the PRISM surveillance is unfolding as we speak. Glenn Greenwald (and, by relation, the Guardian) continue to milk the apparent sensation for every drop it could bring to his fame and to their dwindling income. US security honchos keep providing some mumbling and some hilarious responses (not wittingly indeed). The whistleblower hero/traitor naively assumes that by telling the world that "U.S. government has been hacking to gain information from hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide for years" he is shaking the foundations of the free world and waking up the uncounted billions that will now... what exactly? He knows, possibly, but still isn't telling.

The Republicans and the Democrats are in total confusion, flipping their traditional positions, forgetting what exactly were their well rehearsed principles during the reign of previous administrations. No, the current administration wasn't the one to start this business. And, I dare say, nor was the previous. It goes way back.

The Chinese*, the Russians, the Israelis, the Brits, the French etc. who practice the same or similar surveillance methods**, each to their own ends, watch the brouhaha with a good measure of glee and a good measure of satisfaction - for reasons I don't have to explain.

To some degree I understand the sentiment of the FBI Director Robert Mueller that "law enforcement must stay a step ahead of criminals and terrorists". And I tend to believe that in some cases PRISM surveillance helped to catch some suspects. On the other hand, creating an avalanche of data isn't by itself a guarantee of success - if, indeed, the purpose of creating the avalanche is to catch the terrorists. But in general, the indignation displayed by some pundits, who are trying to show the world that the phenomenon in question is something absolutely new and unheard of, is kinda pathetic.

Collecting information has always been just another facet of espionage. We may detest espionage in all its forms, but this sentiment will not make it go away. The information is out there, it is available, everyone was collecting it, is collecting it and everyone will continue to collect it. It goes against our moral judgment, unfortunately, but it is there - as is crime, as is death or taxes. It is going on and, instead of handwringing and bemoaning the unfairness, everyone, no matter if a big or small business, a corporation or a regular Joe, should decide on the optimal mode of behavior that will protect his/their/its privacy best, without committing any offense against the laws of the land, of course.

Well, for the issues related to the impact of the PRISM on businesses you can do much worse than reading this post by Francis Sedgemore. He laid it out quite succinctly. My interest for now is with a regular Joe. A person whose little personal secrets range from a potentially embarrassing video clip he/she may have inadvertently taken in a moment of inebriation and uploaded on Youtube, via a few bucks salted away in an account the spouse (or IRS) knows nothing about, to a few movies downloaded illegally for free, saving self and family members a few bucks that would have been otherwise spent on getting the movie from Flicks. You know, all these small but potentially shameful items... Or, if  you want to really raise the ante, some "anonymous" blogger that sometimes allows himself a few non-parliamentary expressions or thoughts aiming at some high windows. I have put quotation marks around the word "anonymous", because this anonymity shtick is a total self-deception that this specific blogger doesn't really share - the veil of secrecy is so thin that whoever needs (or wants) to know the real name, address, ID number and other little shameful items about the said blogger, does know them all. And more, I am (not) afraid.

To remind you again about the PRISM abilities:

Data which the NSA is able to obtain with the PRISM program may include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice over IP conversations, file transfers, login notifications and social networking details.
In other words: everything you did or intend to do via your computer or smartphone is available and thus known and could possibly be used. And of course, nobody even mentions anymore such trifles as your banking details, your credit history, your credit cards' numbers and activities: all this is already far behind the current frontiers of data collection, having practically become a part of public domain.

Let's check now what exactly could happen to your personal information while it's stored somewhere in the innards of the government's behemoth. As someone who dubbed a bit in data processing and data mining, I think I could offer a few likely scenarios.

1. Democratic societies

By and large, your regular Joe and his/her light infringements of law and order are not of interest to the data mining machines. The reason is simple: any data mining operation that will focus on minor misdeeds will bring up so many millions of trivial results (which, most probably, will include the watchers themselves), that there is absolutely no sense in performing this kind of operation. The nets are being thrown into the sea for much bigger fish.

This is the main reason that, as long as the regime that guards and benevolently watches your personal pursuit of happiness doesn't change for worse, you are getting off scot-free with all these little missteps of yours. But you shouldn't ever forget that the information about these missteps is out there in your government vaults. The moment when, instead of mining the data for big fish, someone comes to the accumulated data to look for you specifically, our regular Joe, the situation will change drastically. Because it is there and in one simple inquiry it will come out, straight and unvarnished. For most people, of course, it will mean no more than a slight embarrassment or a tiff with a friend. For some it may mean an ugly divorce, for some - an invitation to IRS, for some - a break-up of a life-long friendship. Etc...

So how and when could all this trove of information about you become dangerous to or, at least, encroaching upon your well-being? Even in a most democratic society there is at least one possibility of such event. Paradoxically, it could be caused by the same kind of well-meaning heroes/villains/morons like Snowden, Manning and, not to forget of course, Mr Assange. In exactly the same way that they've casually exposed human rights activists in Belarus, Russia, Iran and other places, their way of making the stolen information public could expose your little secrets as well. Nothing personal, of course, it will be done for pure and altruistic motives. If it happens, you are a fair prey to the curious eyes of your friends (to start with), your family and, of course, your personal enemies. You may be sure that the moment a search in the database becomes possible, courtesy of whistlblowers, the people who know you personally will be the first to satisfy their natural curiosity.

Then, of course, there are hackers. Being sloppy in everything they do, the government bureaucracts quite surely overlooked a few cracks in the defense mechanisms of their data warehouse behemoth. The bad guys out there will find a way to the info, and your only protection is that of a proverbial leaf in a forest: the chances one of the bad guys will get to you are small enough to regard them exactly as you regard a chance of getting into a traffic accident.

All in all - if you are a lazy guy/gal that doesn't like to change the acquired lazy habits, there is not much you can do. There is definitely one thing that I wouldn't do if I were you: buying one of these $19.99 encryption software packages from the market and using them on your personal data, your e-mails etc. This is one surefire way to let the good guys (if you could call the Big Brother's servants good guys) and the bad guys to sit up and listen, asking themselves all kinds of questions about you. In no time your puny encryption will get cracked, but the attention you have earned just by using it will make you flagged forever - and who knows where it will end? One of the good guys may just decide to send your name and address to IRS - to give you one possibility of a rather miserable ending of your otherwise happy existence.

Generally: don't do on the Internet anything you wouldn't do in the central square of your city or village (on a market day). And think twice before doing it on your computer even if it's not connected to the Internet. You never know.

As for your smart phone: it is smart, but for all practical purposes it's not exactly yours. Several good guys and an uncounted number of bad ones are watching it. Take care.

Of course, there is another nightmarish scenario: the democracy you live in and are so fond of carping about, the fragile thing that it is, could transform into something much less benign overnight. And here we come to the other kind, the

2. Not so democratic regimes

Once, in my other life, the one spent behind the Iron Curtain, I was lectured by a guy in the know. The subject was exactly that which we are discussing now: what is it that the Big Brother (usually dubbed KGB back then) wants to know about us? And the answer was, unsurprisingly - everything (just like now, isn't it?). The reason was simple: KGB wanted (still wants, under another name) to have as much compromising information as possible on each and every citizen of the country (of course, if possible, on foreign citizens as well). The purpose wasn't to jail every single citizen, far from it. KGB simply wanted the ability to pull the hook, already imbedded in your guts, the moment your services will be required for this or another purpose. It wanted to be able to show you the stick of the possible blackmail without any need to dangle the more expensive carrot in front of your face.

And this is precisely the point where your tiny indiscretions: that clip you have uploaded unthinkingly, the downloaded movie, these few bucks you've salted away - all that and more will come out, carefully secured in a drab-colored file with a long number instead of your name on it.

Oh, and if you were a motormouth blogger in that previous life and tended to badmouth the current leader (Caudillo, Fuhrer, whatever): your file may be a bit bulkier, and the blackmail option could be shelved too, being unnecessary in your case.

Bleak, isn't it? In fact, aside of the technology involved that makes it that much easier for the bad guys, not much has changed since the first informer in history told the first tyrant in history about a suspicious conversation he overheard recently... so again, just take care.

(*) Which reminds me the biggest irony of the situation: Snowden is asking for asylum from the people who will benefit the most buying his services, expecting him to do for them exactly what he was doing before, but against his own country. I don't know whether he realized this already, but it is inescapable. Update: Sure thing: Chinese Paper Says Snowden Could Bolster China's Cyber Expertise.
 (**) And another ironic moment: US of A, which, as I mentioned, is only one of many others practicing that kind of surveillance, is the one suffering the most from the attention of the well-meaning whistleblowers. Have you hears about Wikileaks or anyone else exposing anything similar or anything of value at all about China, Russia, North Korea etc.? I bet...

Snowden: right or wrong?

The results of the survey by Gallup would have been hilarious if they haven't been so sad.

First of all, it suddenly appears that most Republicans (who, by and large, supported the Patriot Act during Bush times), are against the PRISM surveillance program, while Democrats (who are supposed to be aghast by the purported breach of their right to privacy) are for PRISM. Guess why?

And, for the same (poorly hidden) reason, most Republicans approve the Snowden's act of disclosing a state secret, while most Democrats disapprove.

Gallup people don't leave that stone unturned, giving it straight:

The reactions to these types of government programs have remained constant over the past seven years, although Republicans and Democrats have essentially flipped their attitudes over that time period, reflecting the change from Republican President George W. Bush to Democratic President Barack Obama.
There is some food for thought in that for both sides, isn't there?

And here comes Dana Milbank of WaPo, a staunch supporter of the current administration, bemoaning the Democrats' flip on surveillance. Somewhat pathetic.

15 June 2013

Islamophobia Comes to Canberra

The quote below from an article by Mark Durie is sufficient and self-contained

Like student magazines all over the world, Woroni, put out by students at the Australian National University, publishes satire. It did when I attended 30 years ago, and it still does today. Much of what is written is offensive to someone or other, but it is a rare day when the university pays any attention.
However last week, The Australian newspaper reported that university authorities responded to a complaint by international students to compel Woroni "to pulp a satirical infographic which described a passage from the Koran as a 'rape fantasy'". Rachel Baxendale wrote:

The University also threatened student authors and editors of the infographic with disciplinary action, including academic exclusion and the withdrawal of the publication's funding.
The piece was a fifth in a satirical series entitled "Advice from Religions" which had previously discussed Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism and Judaism.
No complaints were received about any of the earlier installments.

Hat tip: Daled Amos.

On the genealogy of conspiracy theories

This is why I feel so very sorry for Edward Snowden; I think he's about to fall into the chasm between his conception of liberty and that shared by the people whom he imagines he's defending.
A great conclusion of a great post by Shuggy.

Exemplary, Shuggy, if I may say so.

Why Is Russia Such a Wonderful Country?

Because every porter has a chance of  becoming a Tsar.

The photo goes back all the way to 1992, when Putin was a gofer for a well-known liberal politician Antatoly Sobchak.  Prehistoric times...

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