30 July 2013

If only!

This really is one of those if only moments.
I guess all of us concerned about Israel and its future have them.

Anyway, Emanuel Shahaf has one, here imagining that Israel and Palestine actually signed an acceptable peace treaty.
Do read, and don't forget the last line!

Post by: Brian Goldfarb

29 July 2013

And they're surprised?

The Times of Israel reports that EU officials are "concerned over reports in the Israeli media that the defense minister has announced a series of restrictions affecting the Union’s actions to support the Palestinian people”. Further, the IDF, under orders from Defence Minister Ya'alon are "to prevent EU representatives from entering the Gaza Strip via Israel."

In case anyone's been asleep these past few days, this is claimed to be in response to the EU's decision to "ban the funding of and cooperation with Israeli institutions operating beyond the Green Line." Now, we all have our own views on what should or should not be happening beyond the Green Line - and not being an Israeli citizen, I have no intention of entering that debate on a website run from Israel - but the EU response smacks of either political naivety, overweening arrogance or a mixture of the two. In effect, the EU response to the reports (if true, and they probably are) appears to suggest that EU officials can't begin to believe that the Israelis didn't immediately roll over and promise to do whatever it was that the EU wanted them to do.

Anyone running a viable, functioning state, with a vibrant economy, is hardly going to roll over at the behest of an extra-territorial agency. For goodness sake, the Israeli government doesn't do that for the US, the major aid and defence funders! It should be borne in mind that there are already earlier reports that Israel is preparing to pull out of other joint, hi-tech projects with the EU, in which the Israelis are major partners, financially and technically.

It's not all bad news for the EU: the article further reported that "Ya’alon’s directive includes orders to halt any assistance that the IDF is providing to representatives of the EU working on humanitarian projects in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under full Israeli civilian and military control. In other parts of the West Bank, Israel will continue to cooperate with EU officials as usual." If memory serves, Area C is that bit adjacent to Jerusalem which is subject to possible new Israeli house building.

You will note that I refrain from querying the EU's motives in enacting this new directive, except that a cynic (which I vehemently protest that I am not - please ignore the fingers crossed behind my back when I write that) might wonder whether this was, in some way a quid-pro-quo for the (sort-of) decision to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

It will hardly come as a surprise to readers of this site to note that the real sufferers of this decision by the EU (if effectively enacted) will be, for example, the Palestinian employees of companies such as Soda Stream, paid at Israeli rates and employed under Israeli terms and conditions. Soda Stream could (and will, if necessary) relocate inside the Green Line, or into a settlement block. And the main losers will, inevitably, be those self-same Palestinians that the EU claims to want to protect.

Some protection...

Post by: Brian Goldfarb

Microsoft Surface RT, a review of sorts

We don’t often do this sort of thing, reviewing products without a financial initiative. However this one belongs to the injustice department and needs to be set right.

While Microsoft has lagged behind in the tablet department, Android based devices have taken over. Mostly as a result of a vacuum, Google had its phone operating system ported into a larger screen real-estate with the same functionality, or lack of, available as a viable alternative to the market dominating anal retentive iPad. Most found the Android alternative a liberating experience, when compared to the iPad. At this stage, Microsoft had nothing to offer.

Behind the scenes, having lost its ground breaking Smartphone lead, Windows Mobile (winCE) was whimpering to a slow death. As the market leading Smartphone platform at the time, Windows Mobile was let down by lack of development and unimaginative decision making at the management level leaving the market open for Jobs the Steve to re-imagine the Smart Phone.

Leaving all this behind, fast forwarding to the near present, Microsoft played catchup. Taking it’s time, to a level where it was over-taken and left for dust, a constipated rethink produced WinPhone 7, an operating system that was again left undeveloped and later abandoned for WinPhone 8. Again the abandonment of WinPhone 7, without a WinPhone 8 upgrade option was a final blow to Microsoft diehards, who abandoned it in droves.

By freak of nature, a random twitch or an ultra rare moment of clarity for Microsoft CEO Balmer (Ritalin???), a new discipline was devised, an Operating System which can cross platform itself from a Mobile phone device all the way to PC and all that’s in-between. WindowsPhone8, Windows 8 RT and Windows 8 were let out into the wild.

So what’s this rant about then? The Microsoft Surface RT is what. This iPad competitor came out to little fanfare and a lot of abuse. Reviews concentrated on downplaying its significance, while trouncing its operating system – Windows 8 RT. Reading most of the reviews one could have believed that this was a useless uninteresting device that didn’t deserve their malice bourn words.

I first encountered the device on a short visit to Microsoft’s second Israeli Development Center in Herzliya, a bustling hive of fevered activity and harvesting of Israeli “genius”. The device was left on someone’s desk, looking abandoned on a pile of bumf. Its black hardwearing plastic not exactly a shiny eye catcher as an aluminum backed iPad. Fact is from afar, it looks as boring as a Lenovo laptop, with the distinct Chinese morbid design flare. Picking it up for a closer shufti, you notice a widescreen 16:9 form factor. The screen itself is bright and clear, a quality item which shows off windows 8 new touch interface (Metro), and responds instantaneously. Windows 8 RT is a trimmed down version of the same OS you’ll find on any new PC. It’s light on its feet and snappy, and comes pre-installed with a lite-er version of office, meaning Word, Excel and PowerPoint. OneNote is also included.

A quick visit to Microsoft’s AppStore reveal most of the usual software you’d want for your full-cream PC, albeit in a Lite-er version to match the Surface’s ARM based CPU’s capabilities.

While the Surface’s exterior design and materials will not win any awards, the device is surprisingly functional and useful. It’s everything that the constipated iPad isn’t. It’ll connect to a windows network and share, it’ll print directly or through the network printer and connect to any external USB device and even has a micro SD card slot hidden under the kickstand for storage expansion.

If you’re now getting the feeling that this device is unrestricted and as free to do all your bidding as a proper PC would, you’d be correct. As soon as you switch to desktop mode, it’s a shrunken PC - familiar to all, and just as capable.

One shortcoming is down to some ultra moron in Redmond who made the decision not to include GPS and Data capabilities (both components estimated at $15 in production costs). However there are rumors circulating that the next version will imminently be released with both. Another annoyance is the click keyboard which costs an infuriating $119, when it’s known that it costs $17 to produce.

So what’s wrong with it? Nothing much at all, it’s quite brilliant, so good in fact that upon landing in Seattle I took a short side trip to the Microsoft store in Bellevue and purchased two. At $350 a piece there’s nothing out there that get’s even marginally close to it.

24 July 2013

There's petty and there's really petty

It came to light earlier this week (see here) that Emirates Airlines (who own the cable car across the Thames - a part of the London public transport network) had a clause in their contract with Transport for London that no Israelis could own any part of the cable car. That's what I mean by "really petty". It's entirely possible that there aren't, actually, any Israeli interested in owning any part of this.

Now, Boris Johnson is not my favourite candidate for Mayor of London - except when his opponent is Ken Livingstone, and I did vote for Boris against my far more usual pattern - but he's come up trumps here. Forced a rewording and reworking of the contract re who can own bits of the cable car.

But then he does know which group was vital in his election and re-election (2008 and 2012, respectively).

Boris is far from the buffoon that he presents himself as being.

Post By: Brian Goldfarb

23 July 2013

Taking a break

Be back in ten days or so, and you all out there: behave, please.

22 July 2013

Jesse Ventura - not just...

Not just a conspiracy nutcase of the first degree:

Not just a bar brawler and buffoon knocked out by a much better man for maligning dead soldiers:

Now he is a foul hyena trying to feed on a dead hero's memory.

A Ventura attorney had argued Taya Kyle should be substituted as a defendant because Chris Kyle's estate will continue to profit from book sales and a recent movie deal, and Ventura has a right to protect his reputation.
Reputation of a vermin? Good luck protecting that.

Kate Middleton gives birth to a baby...

Just testing some fonts for the celebratory post... no worries.

21 July 2013

Helen Thomas or Mel Smith?

Two death notices that couldn't fail to draw attention. This:

And this:

Now, if you ask me: on the whole, I would much prefer to grieve for Mel, a good man all around.

And not to forget - that quote from UPI:
She became the target of outrage and controversy when she told an amateur videographer outside the White House that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine."
Not true, or true only marginally, as it is all too habitual with the media.

It is not just that the old witch told the Jews to get the hell out, she also recommended Poland and Germany as destination.

RIP, Mel.

What is Richard Falk missing in the Snowden affair?

Richard Falk, a legal authority with seriously long credentials*, resorted, as many of his peculiar ilk, to Al Jazeera to produce a remarkable article, titled What am I missing in the Snowden affair? It starts with a cavalier attack:

I would have thought that there was a clear set of principles that make the American diplomatic pursuit of Edward Snowden as a fugitive from justice a rather empty and futile gesture. As far as I can tell, there is not even a need for asylum as governments should have been prepared to grant Snowden residence status because his alleged criminal acts in the United States were without question political crimes, without violence or monetary motivation.
I have to confess that not so long ago I was agreeing about the futility of that pursuit. Not anymore, my reasons for the change of heart later.

I would prefer to focus on two definitions the legal luminary uses in his article. The first, that appears in the above quote, is "political crime". A dry and short definition of political crime appears in Legal Dictionary:
A serious violation of law that threatens the security or existence of the government, such as Treason or Sedition.
Another, more inclusive definition (in Wiki) adds terrorism to the list of political crimes, arguing that terrorism is one of the threats to above mentioned security and/or existence of the government. Same for espionage. I am not a legal luminary (far from it), but the dismissal of the "alleged criminal acts" performed by Snowden as something that is apriori absolved of punishment just for being a "political crime", sounds as absurd as it is. According to the learned professor, treason, sedition, espionage and terrorism should be punishment-free then. Oh well, I forgot that Richard Falk is a person who absolved the Boston bombers, the Hamas killers and many others to whose terrorist ways he is sympathetic.

To confuse the issue more, Falk states that Snowden is "an authentic whistleblower". Whistleblower is definied as "An informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it", which is a pretty good deed, to some extent even protected by law of many lands. But why, stating that Snowden is a whistleblower, has Falk chosen to precede this statement by the long and fairly tedious (and illogical to boot) verbiage about political crimes? After all, a real whistleblower is not a criminal at all, and no crime - political or other - is involved. And stating that Snowden committed a political crime, an act that by definition of its various forms (treason, sedition, espionage, terrorism) is certainly punishable by law in any country, our legal beagle does hardly a service to the man. Interesting that, innit?

And now to the essence of the subject: crime. A whistleblower, as his/her role is defined, in Snowden's case would have stood up, declared publicly via any media available (and there are enough of these that would have gladly published the revelation) that US government is busily and, probably, unlawfully collecting private information about its own citizens. But this is not what Snowden decided to do.

As his prime conduit, Glenn Greenwald tells it, Snowden "has highly sensitive documents on how the National Security Agency is structured and operates that could harm the U.S. government, but has insisted that they not be made public".
Glenn Greenwald, a columnist with The Guardian newspaper who first reported on the intelligence leaks, told The Associated Press that disclosure of the information in the documents "would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it."

He said the "literally thousands of documents" taken by Snowden constitute "basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built."

"In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do," the journalist said Sunday in a Rio de Janeiro hotel room. He said the interview was taking place about four hours after his last interaction with Snowden.
The obviously criminal theft of highly sensitive documents from a highly secret government agency like NSA is hardly in the scope of a regular whistleblower. Coupled with Snowden's own confession that his activities were planned in advance and that stealing NSA documents was in fact his goal when starting to work for NSA, this doesn't conform to the picture of a regular, pure as snow, whistleblower.
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.
No matter how principled and exalted his goal was, Snowden's means are clearly criminal. No matter how unprincipled and anti-democratic US spy agency and/or government behave, Snowden went far beyond the call of conscience that drives a whistleblower, diving (willingly and knowingly) into the domain of political crime. Oh, what the heck, let's call his deed by its real name - espionage.

Now back to Richard Falk. Whatever his many titles and degrees are, the tortured logic (or illogic if you will) of that article, full of irrelevant and long departures from the subject, wouldn't do for a first year law student, let alone a man with such a smashing career and titles.

But that's what Falk is these days: a conspiracy theorist, an anti-Zionist hack for the dictators' club (UN) and a man a few laws short of a good trial.

Too bad.

(*) Here is the copy of his credentials as they appear in Al Jazz:
Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
And more on the gentleman (from Simply Jews alone):

Richard Falk
Richard Falk
Richard Falk
Richard Falk
Richard Falk
Richard Falk
Richard Falk

Two Jews kvetch about the Middle East

Stratfor Founder and Chairman George Friedman and Chief Geopolitical Analyst Robert D. Kaplan discuss the fraying of nation-state entities and the rise of sectarianism across the Middle East.

In my humble, there is a lot of sense in what they are saying. Worth your time for sure.

Oh, and I purely loved some of the comments to the clip, like this one:
R3dp055um 15 hours ago

I call bullshit. Two Zionist war criminals sit talking nonsense about the "rise" of sectarian violence. The sectarian problems did not just "rise". They were created by a program of US and Israeli-sponsored targeted assassinations and bombings.

The *current* divide between Sunni and Shia has been coldly and deliberately created by the murdering Zionists as part of their plan of conquest.
Erm... should cause you more interest in watching that, I think.

Hat tip: Andrew Ian Dodge.

20 July 2013

French sceptical as Hollande points to economic recovery

If you read the Hitchiker's Guide, you must be familiar with this passage:

“So… er, what happens next?”
“Oh, er, well the hatchway in front of us will open automatically in a few moments and we will shoot out into deep space I expect and asphyxicate. If you take a lungful of air with you you can last for up to thirty seconds of course…” said Ford. He stuck his hands behind his back, raised his eyebrows and started to hum an old Betelgeusian battle hymn. To Arthur’s eyes he suddenly looked very alien.
“So this is it,” said Arthur, “we’re going to die.”
“Yes,” said Ford, “except… no! Wait a minute!” he suddenly lunged across the chamber at something behind Arthur’s line of vision. “What’s this switch?” he cried.
“What? Where?” cried Arthur twisting round.
“No, I was only fooling,” said Ford, “we are going to die after all.”
Somehow I recalled that bit vividly, while reading this article.

As you can see, the article is even helpfully accompanied by a picture of Mr Hollande looking at (or for?) signs of economic recovery. No, Mr President, sir, the switch isn't on the wall. Not yet, at least.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

19 July 2013

Pissing on your mobile - it is a coming thing

The most common act one associates with one's mobile phone is usually to throw it somewhere hard enough to make it hurt. Sometimes it is a long throw, when a body of water is helpfully nearby, sometimes it's (more satisfying, in my opinion) a short one, usually against a conveniently placed stone, with subsequent flying of debris in all direction. Well, you know how it goes if you watch enough movies.

Science, though, doesn't ever stop, and very soon you will be not only welcome, but even encouraged to do more to your phone than you've ever dreamed. This scientific breakthrough will change our energy consumption, social habits and even our vocabulary.

Scientists working at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which is a collaboration between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol, have developed a novel way of charging mobile phones using urine as the power source to generate electricity.

If you watched the clip above, you may have noticed the dark coloring of the urine. It may be an indication of some illness, deity forbid, but most probably Dr. Ieropoulos needs more intake of fluids. Beer would be a natural suggestion, taking the location into account. But it is a side issue, let's focus instead on the future.

First of all, the thorny issue of charging. There are so many people who simply forget to stick their charger into the wall outlet on one side and into their phone on the other before going to bed. And then they leave the charger at home, discovering too late that the phone battery is on its last legs. Well, easily remedied now. Just drink enough water, and hey presto! Of course, for now the charge you are going to get from a normal dose of urine is not much:
So far the microbial fuel power stack that we have developed generates enough power to enable SMS messaging, web browsing and to make a brief phone call.
So don't be surprised if in the middle of a long phone call you hear a gargling noise on the line.

For now (see the clip) the installation needed for recharging is still too bulky, but I am sure that very soon miniaturization will strike at this problem, and the new generations of the smartphones will be equipped with a recharging device and the receptor of your urine. Or anyone else's urine, for that matter.

Surely that resolves the issue of charging your smartphone and other electronic devices during a long hike in the desert. If you have a good sized camel with you and allow it to take enough water on board before leaving, the charging issue will be resolved for the duration of your trip. Ten camels or so might well be able to provide your tent with air conditioning.

Yes, miniaturization is the key, and this prediction from the article looks too pedestrian:
The scientists believe that the technology has the future potential to be installed into domestic bathrooms to harness the urine and produce sufficient electricity to power showers, lighting or razors as well as mobile phones.
I am not going to expand on the powering of one's shower, only mention that here is an example of a shower activity, hitherto considered a foul misdeed, becoming an environmentally correct one now. Which, of course, brings us to the question of our social habits and inhibitions.

I am certain that the importance, the urgency that we attach to our ability to use our smartphones, the need to stay connected to our networks will trump the ancient and somewhat prudish rules we have developed regarding the natural and necessary process of urination. First of all, the term "urination" itself will be eradicated, replaced by "recharging", of course. And recharging will not be confined anymore to the small, frequently unhygienic enclosures euphemistically called "restrooms" (who ever really rested in one of those, I would like to know?). No, this will be done publicly and, due to the above mentioned urgency (one can't stop one's Tweeter or Facebook discussion flow, of course, no more than one could stop... oh well) - openly.

Of course, people of female persuasion will ask - and what about us? No worries, the solution is staring in our faces. In short: no more abruptly ending phone calls, no more boring meetings when you can't use your Facebook to entertain yourself, no more hanging off a cliff without the ability to call 911 because there is no place to stick your charger into or because you left your charger at home.

And why stop with our earthly activities? What about exploration of the universe? Isn't the scarcity of the energy sources out there in the emptiness a concern to be resolved? Nothing could be easier than to equip the astronaut's space suit with an energy converter, thus resolving the battery issue. I can see where the recycled liquid will provide the astronaut with electricity for the many suit's devices, breathing air, drinking water etc. Of course, some new ways to provide more liquid input should be developed, to avoid a dire situation like this:

But I am more than certain that our scientists will get on it directly.

There is also a hopeful message for the teetotalers: where urine recharging liquid, as a low energy source, will provide only a limited charge, beer must be a more potent source of energy for our devices and other energy needs, and the jolt our phones will get from a small dose of whisky, vodka or cognac will be hundredfold compared to the regular recharging liquid. So we can count on the new way of charging to have a positive effect on our drinkers too.

As for our solid waste... one can only dream now about the benefits this high energy material may have on our energy consumption patterns. Imagine your car being switched from petrol to this inexhaustible source. The sky is the limit then. Actually the sky will not be the limit, in fact - see the space exploration item above. But of course, we have to resolve the olfactory side of this way of recycling first... still, let's be hopeful.

Per aspera ad astra! Or, converted: Through hardships to the stars!

Via Francis Sedgemore.

18 July 2013

Waking up as a Swede

I liked it:

Four months after he was found unconscious in a Palm Springs, Calif., motel, doctors are looking into the mystery of a Florida man who awoke with no memory of his past and speaking only Swedish.
And I suspect that waking up speaking another language is just for starters, no one knows what else them scientists have got in store for us. This is like getting another life. Imagine yourself, a little fat balding Frenchman waking up as a two meter blond blue-eyed Norwegian... the possibilities are endless, I would say.

What is in it for me? Well, possibly a way to resolve that stand-off with Saudi Arabian Airlines and their strange unwillingness to let Israeli passport holders pay them some money. Just take a pill and the next morning you are a Muslim from, say, Indonesia, and snug as a bug with Saudi Airlines... the possibilities is endless and the world is your oyster.

To my potential yoga teacher

There are some amazing feats yoga teachers demand of their patients trainees. Like that one:

Er... I would prefer that my anus, as such, wouldn't do that.
If it is all the same to you.
On the hole...

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Free At Last Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

17 July 2013

Zimmerman is a no good Jew, say New Black Panthers

Apparently, there was a mistake in that report by Iranian Press TV, which claimed that Zimmerman is a Jew. Although we don't feel a pressing need to apologize, we do feel a need to correct the mistake. So here:

A few years ago I have asked a purely technical question about the color of the uniforms the New Black Panthers wear:

Some people stated that the brown tinge is a trick of the light. Here I have another picture that shows that at least some of the members do use brown for their uniforms:

You can easily distinguish between the two colors now, I believe. No tricks of light on that one.
Oh, and the question - it is not longer purely technical. Brown is where brown is due.

Hat tip: Andrew Ian Dodge.

Dnieper Hydroelectric Station: the forgotten horror

The Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (Ukrainian: ДніпроГЕС - DniproHES, Russian: ДнепроГЭС - DneproGES, also known as Dneprostroi Dam) is the largest hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper River, placed in Zaporizhia, Ukraine.
If you look at the Wiki page on the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, you will get some factual information on what was once one of the biggest and most ambitious Soviet projects:
Construction began in 1927 and the plant started to produce electricity in October 1932. Generating some 650 MW, the station became the largest Soviet power plant at the time and one of the largest in the world.

It was indeed a significant achievement for the fledgling socialist country. And the power station performs its duties to this day:
Today the dam has been privatized and continues to power the adjacent industrial complexes. The pressure of the water leaving the dam is at 38.7 metres and the reservoir that is behind it is 33.3 cubic kilometers.
I choose to leave the numbers in the above quote on purpose. 33 cubic kilometers, it is 33 billion tons of water. Sounds like a lot. And it certainly doesn't sound like something that you would want spilled, especially if you happen to live downriver, would you agree?

But this is exactly what has happened on August 18, 1941, when the German army got close to the Western side of the Dnieper river. In the English version of Wiki (linked above), the whole history of the power station during the WW II is compressed to this:
During World War II, the strategically important dam and plant was dynamited by retreating Red Army troops in 1941, and then again by the retreating German troops in 1943****. In the end the dam suffered extensive damage, and the powerhouse hall was nearly destroyed. Both were rebuilt between 1944 and 1949.
A completely different version of the story, hidden for many years in the Soviet archives, is horrible, even after 72 years that passed. Follows translation of a few parts of the linked article, the pictures mostly don't require explanation or translation.
In 1941, during the retreat of the Red Army DneproGES was blown up. The booklets claimed that the explosion killed only Nazis. Civilian population living down the river allegedly was notified in advance of the imminent destruction of the 60-meter-high dam.
However, according to historians, when two months after the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, August 18, 1941, Soviet troops could not keep the defense Zaporizhia and began to retreat, they blew up the main strategic asset - DnieproGES, using 20 tons of explosives - ammonal.
Wehrmacht officers on the western side of the dam
The giant hole in the dam caused a wave with height of several tens of meters, which, according to eyewitnesses, washed away the coastal strip of cities, flooded Khortytsa and reached the neighboring towns Nikopol and Marganetz.

The Soviet command did not warn the residents of the imminent danger. As a result, tons of Dnepr water hit the civilians. In the Soviet Union they have chosen not to dwell on the tragic events in Zaporizhia that followed the explosion of the DneproGES.

Destruction, at the time, of the most powerful hydroelectric power plant in Europe, the Soviet propaganda explained as a "hostile act of sabotage."

Only recently Ukrainian historians have acquired documented evidence that the Dnieper wave swallowed about a hundred thousand people: 80,000 local citizens and refugees from neighboring regions, with about 20,000 Soviet soldiers who had failed to leave the area*.

This is what recalls of those days the immediate "executioner" Boris Epov, then a colonel of engineering corps: "August 14 I was called to the chief of engineering corps, General LZ Kotlyar and required to prepare a proposal for the destruction of the Dnieper hydroelectric dam, the bridge over the bay and the turbine hall, including the necessary materials. I was ordered to fly out on a special plane in the morning to Zaporizhia for the preparation of the planned destruction and was given two second lieutenants. Colonel Shifrin, the commander of the engineering force of the Southern Front received necessary instructions.
Now comes the crucial point in this matter of fact report:
Chief of Staff of the Front, Gen. Kharitonov, who arrived with colonel Shifrin, instructed to perform the destruction after the Germans will come to the right bank of the Dnieper. The right to perform the job will be signalled by the retreat of the NKVD regiment guarding the dam, and [retreat] of the Colonel A.F.Petrovsky.
Notice that there is no mention at all of any coordination with civilian authorities or other Soviet military units - just definition of the "trigger" event. And Colonel Epov proved to be a good and diligent soldier:
By the end of the day on 18 August, the Germans came to the right bank of the Dnieper and began shelling the left bank, the NKVD Regiment also moved to the left bank and the commander of the regiment, leaving together with lieutenant colonel Petrovsky, gave the command to execute the destruction, which that I have performed with the two junior lieutenants. The explosion in the dam body has ripped about 100 meters of its length (from the total length of the dam equal to 600m).
That's it. And no mention of any advance warning of civilian population or of the victims at all.

I don't think anything could be added to the above - neither as a comment or as a conclusion. Only one additional quote from that Russian version of the Wiki on the subject:
The act of blowing up Dnieper Hydroelectric Station was one of the charges against the German war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials****.

(*) In the Russian version of Wiki on the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, the victims are acknowledged, albeit somewhat vaguely:
In the swamps and the coastal zone thousands of soldiers and of the local population were killed. However, a number of sources refuted** the information about the huge losses of the Soviet side. The German command evaluated its casualties as 1500***.
The casualties' numbers differ quite characteristically between the Ukrainian and Russian sources, and I am afraid that the truth will never be known, but for civilian casualties the range is 20,000 - 150,000.

(**) No such sources, in fact instead of "refuting" the sources pointed to simply skip the issue.

(***) Other sources either don't report on that or say that no Germans were killed by the flooding.

(****) A most amazing story is related to what Wiki says about the dam being destroyed by the Germans upon their retreat in 1943. According to it, Soviet combat engineers have performed heroic feats to prevent the retreating Germans from destroying the dam again. And they succeeded in this!

The story is crowned by the following afterword:
As you can see, the Soviet troops made ​​considerable efforts to preserve DneproGES intact, the destruction of the dam was successfully prevented. However, at the Nuremberg trials, to increase the demands for German reparations, Soviet Union presented photos of DneproGES blown up by its own troops.

Foot In Mouth

What Louise says.

16 July 2013

New North Korean missiles - sugar coated in Cuba

It must be a blast. And, since brown sugar was used for coating, a healthy one too.

Al-Jazeera's Genocidal Anti-Semitism

This post by Nick Nipclose is cross-posted from his blog.

Out of all the anti-Wester outlets Al-Jazeera is the most insidious and clever. While outfits like Russia Today churn out nakedly insane content  including 911 denial as an official stance AJ has produced relatively decent content. Al-Jazeera has been smart enough to temper its extremism and create a moderate guise which has allowed it to achieve acclaim and credibility. The far-left and naive liberals love the broadcasting outfit because of its opposition to American policy, Israel and widespread view that any western media must be biased propaganda, a view steeped in conspiracism and anti-Semitic fantasies of Jewish media control.

The mask continually slips. The outlet publishes anti-Semitic frauds like Joseph Massad who produced an article so vile that it received near universal condemnation. Pundits are finally noticing that AJ airs and glorifies Yusuf Al-Qaradawi a man who praises the third reich and the Shoah.

Even supporters like Sultan Al Qassemi who delusionally described it as a "voice of Arab freedom" have condemned the broadcaster as a Muslim brotherhood "shill." Qassemi wrote that the outlet's status as Muslim brotherhood propagandists " is now widely accepted as fact. " Al-Jazeera aired the Exile series which featured "horrific depictions of long-bearded and hook-nosed rabbis extracting blood from the corpses of lifeless Arab children." Exile was also aired by Hezbollah's outlet Al-Manar.

The Khaybar tv series is anti-Semitic incitement on a mass scale, the very word 'Khaybar' is a genocidal war cry calling for massacre and enslavement of Jews. According Rabbi Kenneth Cohen the series is "crude and offensive incitement" that "defies journalistic and media standards observed elsewhere." Jews use technology to improve humanity while their enemies use it to further backwards trash.

Naturally Al-Jazeera praised and endorsed the series. Al-Jazeera describes the Khaybar conquest as "historic moment milestone in the dawn of Islam" they condemn themselves by admitting that they consider a massacre of Jews to be a milestone of their culture's history. The article lauds the "fight against the Jews" and vilifies Jews for "their hostility to Islamic Call and weaving plots."

The articles argues that "deals with the Jewish community, like any other society in which there is both good and evil, so you will find scenes with the finest Jewish personalities and others that are sinister who allied with the hypocrites who are in Yathrib..." Al-Jazeera and the semi-literate filmmakers define a 'good Jew' as one who meekly accepts non-Jewish domination and collaborates with his or her people's oppressor. They define an evil Jew as one who does not accept subjugation and therefore deserves death.

Any defense fails as the director admitted that "the goal of the series is to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they cannot be trusted." Ahmad 'Abd Al-Halim said that "I play one of the Jewish characters, who demonstrates the behavior of the Jewish human being. All he thinks about is accumulating money."

The article horrifically states that the series "illustrates the objective reasons which caused Muslims to eliminate the Jews of Khaybar, which objectively can be applied to what is happening now in the Arab arena with regard to the Palestinian issue and other problems experienced by the Arab nation." Al-Jazeera openly admits to supporting genocide past and present. They see Judeocide in the past as noble and hope for Israelis to be exterminated in a second Shoah. The admission that Khaybar was made to advance the cause of another Holocaust which Al-Jazeera fully wants to come about should and probably won't trouble the broadcasting outlet's devotees.

Al-Jazeera America must be boycotted. Apologists might cry free speech which would be amusing since AJ publishes material calling for America to eradicate free speech. Even if we pretend that a  right enjoyed by American citizens somehow extend to a distant micro-autocracy devoid of basic free speech the invasion of American airwaves by foreigners promoting backwards hatred must be struck down. 

15 July 2013

Zimmerman a Jew, says Press TV

So now you know. Obviously Zimmerman is just another link in the chain of the Jewish world domination.

I did say that there's always some good news!!

To add to the item below: the title of this article is that "smuggling into Gaza at an all-time low".

I did say that there's always some good news!

By Brian Goldfarb. 

There's always some good news!

This article appeared in The Times of Israel on 14 July (is it significant that this was Bastille Day? you decide) which announced that a new Israeli-Christian party had been formed which was demanding that Israeli-Christian young people should enlist in the IDF.

This raises an intriguing question: should a country like Israel, which depends for its survival on near universal conscription of most of its young males and many of its young females into the armed forces or alternative social/public service, insist on the right to vote depend on undertaking such service? It's meant as a serious question and, if taken as such, would also have to allow for appropriate exemptions: on medical grounds, on proven grounds of conscientious objection, and so forth.

I really don't have an answer for such a question, not least because my own country (the UK) abolished military conscription just long enough before I would have "qualified" for me to avoid having to face such a question myself.

Anyway, the article in question does raise intriguing questions about how we might decide questions of citizenship qualification and, also, whether we want to enter such a quagmire. For example, it is noted in the article that "Despite the harsh opposition, Arab volunteerism is on the rise, and is not limited to the Christian population. New data released by Israel’s Administration for National-Civic Service indicates a rise of 76% in Arab youth volunteering for civil service since September 2001. Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett recently celebrated the 3,000th Arab volunteer, almost double the number of volunteers in 2012 (1,700)."

There are, of course, external pressures pushing this development. As readers of this site will know only too well, "[t]he violence against Middle Eastern Christians in the wake of the Arab Spring has likely pushed Israel’s Christians to more publicly express opinions considered unacceptable in Arab society. Coptic Christians in Egypt have faced attacks on churches and murders of priests since Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011."

There aren't, of course, any simple answers, but this might just be a sign that Israel's population is becoming more aware of the need to (in Benjamin Franklin's phrase, concerning the American 'revolution' against the British) hang together or otherwise hang separately. That is, act as one nation to protect all the advantages we have, or lose them all separately in a one-state "solution" to the problem: Moslems and Christians alike.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Who runs what?

Another nice blooper, from Ynet this time:

Anyway, what it says in large font is not what they meant. I think so, at least. Because what they meant is:
IDF's new media unit launches website offering in-depth information, analysis on Hezbollah, in bid to push additional countries to add group to terror list. 'Just a compilation of anti-Hezbollah propaganda,' Lebanese media say.
Let's hope IDF propaganda is better than Ynet's headlines editing.

Although... oh well.

14 July 2013

What is in store for Egypt now?

The military coup in Egypt is a done deal, and with a measure of hindsight many of us could look back at June of 2013 and claim that we have seen in coming. Not many of us, though, can produce a satisfactory support for this claim. Even fewer can add some intriguing details about the interaction between the White House and Muslim Brotherhood's mouthpiece and soon to be ousted and jailed, democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi. Joshuapundit offers a report of touching attention to Morsi and MB and last ditch attempts to prevent the coup by the POTUS. Which act is difficult to explain, unless one believes that democracy as a supreme value is the only thing President Obama had in mind*.

This post, however, is triggered by another article, the one by Michael Totten: Getting the Muslim Brotherhood Wrong. In this article, Michael (totally unnecessary in my opinion) declares his mea culpa about not seeing the coming victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt 2012 elections.

I got a few things wrong, too. Like Egypt’s liberals and America’s conservatives, I understood all along that the Muslim Brotherhood was theocratic and authoritarian. But I did not think they would win. I knew they’d do well—Egypt is the most Islamicized place I’ve ever been, after all—but I assumed they’d have a hard time breaking fifty percent.
I don't think anyone was clairvoyant enough to predict the outcome, although many good people in Egypt were concerned about the MB's strong roots in the rural parts of Egypt, its excellent organization and discipline that brought the high percentage of its supporters to vote. But this is neither here nor there. What concerns me more now is the future.

And it is regarding the future that the optimism shown by Michael bothers me. He is saying about the MB:
Yet in the long sweep of Egyptian history, it lasted about as long as a hiccup.

I think it’s safe to say everyone, regardless of their political orientation and what they got right and wrong a year ago, was surprised by how quickly Egypt rejected the Brotherhood. The United States government has sound reasons for not describing what happened as a military coup, but that’s what it was. The rest of us shouldn’t kid ourselves. Yet it’s clear that the coup was a popular one. Morsi ended up more hated than Hosni Mubarak, and he achieved that dubious honor in one year instead of in thirty.

That ought to make American liberals rethink the notion that the Brotherhood is democratic and moderate. And it ought to show American conservatives that Muslims are perfectly capable of rejecting political Islam whether or not they’re secular Jeffersonian democrats. The Muslim Brotherhood might recover somewhat if the next government fails as badly as Morsi’s, but then again it might not.
I can't share this optimistic outlook, unfortunately. First of all, the coup was not about rejection of Muslim Brotherhood. It was not exactly a result of democracy in action, nor was it a popular rebellion against a political party. The former requires a fully formed democracy, the latter requires at least a popular understanding of the rights and wrongs perpetrated by an entity that in the West will be identified as a political party. The protests focused instead on one person - Mohamed Morsi, so typical for a country used to hail or to blame a single person at the top - be it a pharaoh, a dictator or a president. I agree that Morsi ended up more hated than Mubarak, but this fact doesn't reflect all that strongly on the standing of Muslim Brotherhood. Its roots are in place, its activists are out there and waiting for a signal.

Two main factors played a role in the timing of the coup: first, of course it's the economy, stupid! The inept rule of the new government, coupled with drying up of foreign donations and income from tourism, and (if you believe NYT) unwillingness of Egypt moneyed elite, its Mubarak-time bureaucracy, its police to cooperate with the new regime, exacerbated the habitual poverty of the already pretty bankrupt nation.

The second and no less important factor was the military. Nervously watching the Islamist government in Turkey slowly but surely putting its military in its place (or on its knees, depending on your point of view) for the last ten years, the Egyptian generals could easily forecast the fate expecting them in the hands of MB-managed government. I would dare say that riding the current wave of protest to cap it by the popular coup was an excellent example of finely timed opportunism in action. Nothing to do with ideology of any kind and everything to do with army's survival as the main force in the land.

So what would happen next in Egypt? As it looks now, Egypt is facing three equally unappetizing options:
  • Continuation of the military rule. Riding the above mentioned wave of popularity, the military could ban any candidate from the extremist (MB and Salafi) ranks and push through a candidate who, while ostensibly civilian, will be in effect a puppet of the junta.
  • A repeat of the 2012 elections, with military standing down and not involved. Yes, MB's popularity had suffered, but mainly by association with Morsi. In an year or so, when the new elections will come by, who knows? I wouldn't bet against another win for MB's candidate, especially if Salafis find it convenient to support him.
  • MB and other extremist factions taking up arms to overthrow the military rule. As unlikely as it sounds, it sounded very unlikely in Syria a few year ago. Or in Libya... etc.
And, frankly, for the moment it doesn't look as if the army will be ready to slacken its hold on the reins. So we can safely discount the second possibility, it just isn't going to happen anytime soon. In this regard I have to agree with prof Mohammed Ayoob, saying the following on CNN:
But, democracy in the true sense of the term will remain a mirage as long as the military is seen as the agent for political transition. For, the only transition that the military brass likes is the transition of power to itself. Everything else is but sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Indeed, but was Egypt a "democracy in the true sense of the term" after the elections? Did it have (to take one example) free media? Nope, in never did and it doesn't have it now. But this is a minor point, compared to other revelations by prof Ayoob, who is not too shy to promote the case of "moderate and reformed" Muslim Brotherhood:
The Egyptian Brotherhood itself had undergone a remarkable transformation, with political pragmatism trumping ideological purity and leading to its internalization of the values of compromise and the political give and take that lies at the heart of democracy.
Yes, exactly as shy and transformed as their best buddy in Ankara with his ever stiffening stranglehold on the remains of the secular Ataturk's state. And exactly as democratic as Vladimir Putin who is as slowly but as surely as Mr Erdogan burying the remaining vestiges of Russian democracy. You have to be a State Department know-nothing bozo** to believe this learned crapola.

Muslim Brotherhood had not changed a bit, since the times when their offshoot assassinated Anwar Sadat. Yes, they learned politicking, their representatives in the parliament wear suits (well, most of them) and they understand now that going slow and spilling less blood they will get easier, if not all that fast to accomplish their goals. Which remain the same from the day one: a misogynistic, repressive and xenophobic Sharia state, which will put a quick and final stop to the aspirations of some Egyptians for democracy and similar nonsense. And then there will be no more talks of democracy, I can assure you.

And when the learned professor talks about something ill-defined like "mainstream Islamists", you better don't ask him what he means. Because he doesn't know, too. Because there is only one kind. And you wouldn't like that kind up close and personal, I can assure you.

Otherwise, I can only repeat and totally agree with what Michael Totten says in his piece:
No one can predict the future anywhere in the world. It’s even harder in the Middle East than in other places. History doesn’t move in straight lines over there.
The choices Egyptian people are looking at are stark. The only way to go for them will be to choose the lesser evil, and I think we all know which way the lesser evil waits.

(*) Or unless you go by this subtle hint from one of the administration's best and finest:
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised some eyebrows today at a House Intelligence Committee hearing when he called described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization.
If this one doesn't take the cake, it comes very close to snatching it from the table.

(**) Unless you are a Director of National Intelligence or some such VIP, of course.

13 July 2013

Snake bites man's penis - only in Israel (?)

The headline above (only the part "Snake bites man's penis") was borrowed directly from the source: Israeli Ynet. Other, less uncouth media outfits choose to dress it up a bit, like UPI with its Snakes in a restroom send Israeli man to hospital. Which is very vague and imprecise: how many snakes? How exactly did they "send Israeli man" etc. No matter what you say, sometimes I prefer the uncouth directness.

The story as it's told by the Ynet is simple:

After going to restroom to relieve himself, man reports 'burning sensation on penis' as result of a small snake which slithered out of toilet, bit him in sensitive area. Snake reportedly not venomous, man feeling well.
Why would a snake behave in this belligerent manner? One has to dig deeper, but with our Elder's training it was a snap. Here it goes:
One of the paramedics said that the man claimed to have seen the snake before it slithered down the toilet, and according to him the snake was very small.
Now such attitude surely made the snake mad. And it resulted in an action which could be only described as natural in the circumstances.

Case closed.

Sexual Jihad to save Morsi's job?

That's a new kind of politics, I declare:

A fatwa (religious edict) apparently permitting ‘sexual jihad’ appeared on a Facebook page reportedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), but some have dismissed it as a parody.

The fatwa supposedly came in response to a question by a female Brotherhood supporter asking if ‘sexual Jihad’ is allowed in Rabea al-Adawiya Square and other squares in Egypt where people have been protesting against Mohammed Mursi’s ouster since June 30.

The religious answer appearing on the Facebook page was: “Not now. Let us wait first for what will happen, may God strengthen the Mujahedeen.”

“Sexual Jihad” refers to the idea of the female Islamists offering their sexual services to their male counterparts so they remain motivated to continue the struggle for their cause.
Now, at least, I know the reason why all kinds of protest in this here country and in general in the West are so lukewarm: no activists of that Brotherhood lady type volunteering. No motivation, you see.

Too bad...

Kenneth Enslow might be watching you, so check your septic tank!

This story might be a delight for a horror novel writer, but I prefer to focus on the funny aspects.

Kenneth Enslow, 52, was discovered by a 7-year-old girl and her mother at about 5pm Sunday when the two went to use the bathroom at a park near Tulsa, OK, heard coughing and saw him looking up at them, according to officials.

The two fled the bathroom and called the authorities, who ended up having to fish the peeping Tom out.

By the time officials arrived, Enslow was ‘standing with his head and shoulders out of the hole… covered in feces,’ according to an arrest report filed by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office.

The fire department helped the unemployed degenerate out of the cesspool using rope and hosed him off, literally, with the fire hose, the report said.
Just to make sure you recognize the species when you see it, a mug shot of the perp (perv?):

There is only one circumstance that might mitigate Mr Enslow's charges:
Enslow first claimed that he was hit over the head with a tire iron, tossed in the back of a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and dumped there by his girlfriend Angel, according to the report. Enslow claimed he did not ask for help because he was unconscious.
1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is not something one would invent off the top of one's head, not in year 2013, I have to say...

Anyway, PETA may want to get involved. Like, for instance, get a septic tank, filled with the usual contents, in a safe location for use by Mr Enslow. And organize a feeding place for him. Unless it's not necessary, of course, in the circumstances...

Oh, and a few PETA volunteers to moon Mr Enslow from time to time. After all, isn't that what they are doing to us to fairly frequently? So there.

Helena Christensen naked uncensored

is so not suitable to be presented here. But how about this fine example of artistic expression?

Click on it to embiggen and enjoy.

12 July 2013

Mohamed Morsi ousting - a result of a conspiracy

NYT seems to nurture a new conspiracy theory (as if there are not enough to satisfy the masses): one that purports to show that some influential powers in Egypt were actively undermining the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece from day one. Here is the gist of the article:

The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.

The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi.
The article offers details and names some names.

I am not a betting person, but who wants to bet against the idea that this will soon be picked up by some diligent busybodies that will dress it up as a new Zionist conspiracy?

Just asking.

A miracle at St. Joseph's Hospital

Verily a miracle!

Syracuse, NY - Doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center were about to remove organs for transplant from a woman they thought was dead.

Then she opened her eyes. She was alive.
Now you all understand why I carry the organ donor card with me all the time.

Them sawbones will not get my innards, not upon the first try...

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

11 July 2013

Anthony Wiener as a sex exhibit? Nice timing

It seems to be an overkill to me:

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner figures prominently in an exhibition at New York's Museum of Sex.

That's no surprise.

The former congressman left office two years ago amid a scandal in which he tweeted himself out of his job by sending a photo of his bulging underpants.
Since the man is already installed in the collective history of New Yorkers as a minor sex deity, I want to ask them: do they need another exhibition of the same in their City Hall?

Isn't NYC confusing enough as it is?


This is your sex deity cum city mayor (no pun intended) indeed, dear New Yorkers? There must be something wrong with my eyes, I bet. Anyway, I have to recommend Sam the Eagle as an alternative, and a much sexier in my eyes, candidate:

And the colors are much more pleasing, too.

P.P.S. I have already noticed the misplaced "i" in the worthy mayoral candidate's name up there in the headline. I shall correct the mistake. When I get to it eventually.

P.P.P.S And check out Of Political Perfidy and Perverts by Liberty's Spirit.

Globalization: Israeli Fantoms F-4 against North Korean MiG - 21

Apparently globalization started earlier than you might think.

I knew for a long time already that Algeria, Iraq and Libya took part in the Yom Kippur War, of course against Israel. But it's the first I heard about this episode: Norks vs IAF pilots.

I wouldn't spoil the happy end, let's just just say that it was kinda extraordinary.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Libertad Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

10 July 2013

Yes, we are capable of stealing Lebanese gas

Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil is a gas.

The minister presented reporters with a map and stated that Israel could "theoretically" place a gas pipe and pull the gas "located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles)" from Lebanon's natural gas wells, thanks to its advanced technological abilities.
What can I say? There is nothing wrong with the man's instincts. He is certainly sensing what is coming to his cherished gas.
"We are not saying a crisis has taken place, but we must take all measures to prevent Israel from getting hold of our gas in the future," Bassil was quoted as saying. "Israel would be able to dig horizontally. By doing that, it could reach the proven wells in Lebanon," Bassil said.
Of course, we are perfectly able to "dig horizontally", as Mr Bassil says, not quite professionally.

In the professional lingo the procedure is called "horizontal shafting", and this is the way to go when something you are aiming to extract from the earth is not exactly - how to say it - in your own backyard.

Mr Bassil probably has read our report on the biggest oil caper in history. So he must know that to shaft Lebanon horizontally for some natural gas is a child's play compared to what we have done with Saudi oil reserves.

The UK SETI expands search for extraterrestrial intelligence

It says so here, and I see no reason to disbelieve it.

One of the coordinators of the UK's new network, Alan Penny, told the BBC that he thought there was important expertise in Britain too.
Of course, it's a pure coincidence that a lot of that important expertise goes into recording our phone calls, internet activities and even walking from point A to point B.

But whatever: if on our way to contacting an extraterrestrial folks we'll happen to catch a few potential martyrs, no harm caused. Unless, of course, the dudes in GCHQ decide to delve too deeply into the things that we call "privacy".

Then it will become quite another matter, wouldn't it?

09 July 2013

Hezbollah and the other usual suspects

It starts, as it has become customary in Lebanon, with a bang:

Large explosion hits Hezbollah stronghold sending black smoke billowing into sky; at least 38 people wounded. Al-Manar TV says blast was car bomb.
The follow-up is nothing extraordinary too:
Ali Ammar, an MP from the Lebanese Hezbollah party accused Israel of responsibility for the bombing of the Dahiya district of Beirut. "There is a clear fingerprint of Israel and its instruments in this dastardly deed," said the MP.
The more likely culprits of the deed hastily confessed:
A senior official in the Free Syria Army, Bassam a-Dada, told a Lebanese news website that the blast in the Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut was performed by Syrian rebels.
But then, most probably, after reading the Hezballoon's communique, they have quickly said "uhu..." to themselves:
A Free Syria Army (FSA) spokesperson, Louay Almokdad, claimed the Syrian rebels are not responsible for the car bomb in the Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut.
Nope, nothing new in the Middle East. Predictable as the local weather this time of the year...

Man rapes duck in Turkish village

This is the most read and tweeted about news in the today's Hurryet. On our (the Elders') side, we can only notice the suspicious lack of response from the Erdogan's office.

A detail that slightly alleviates the seriousness of the situation:

It [the duck] is now reportedly in good condition and remains in a veterinarian care.
We hope that the offender, whoever it may appear to be, will do the honorable thing now and marry the victim of his urges.

P.S. And unpublished detail from the police investigation of the evildoer: the pious man blames the duck for enticing him into the act by walking uncovered, also wobbling and quacking suggestively.