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The Authoritarian Media

The New York Times has crossed a moral line, writes James Taranto.

Jan. 11, 2011, James Taranto wrote: After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: “In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .,” the paper counseled.

Here’s how the sentence continued: “. . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”

The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s editorial:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of “political violence” is, quite simply, a lie. Read the rest of this entry »

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SCMP: Special Police Units to Prevent Trouble When Hongkongers Vote

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South China Morning Post reports: Hong Kong police will hold unprecedented election security drills next week ahead of the Legislative Council polls, and mobilise all regional response teams set up after the 2014 Occupy protests to tackle social or political disturbances, the Post has learned.

“We will discuss tactics to be used during the elections. They need to update their knowledge about the latest equipment. So that everyone is on the same page about the operation. We learned a lesson from the Mong Kok riot. We want no blunders.”

Some 2,000 officers in five Regional Response Contingents drawn from the elite Police Tactical Unit and Emergency Units, among others, will be on standby for any mob violence on September 4, when more than 3.7 million eligible voters fan out across 595 polling stations to vote in the city’s most critical elections to date.

A senior police source told the Post that the risk level during the election period was “not very high”, based on initial assessments, but the force would not take any chances, especially given concerns about protest action by radical localists.

“The five regional teams will stand by during this period and will be deployed immediately in case of any trouble. They know their districts the best and have laid out clear manpower arrangements. A heavy police presence could put pressure on voters and impact the way they vote. So we have to be very careful.”

“Potential threats are there, especially with two returning officers receiving threatening letters just recently after disqualifying localist hopefuls,” the source said.

“The five regional teams will stand by during this period and will be deployed immediately in case of any trouble. They know their districts the best and have laid out clear manpower arrangements.” But the source also noted: “A heavy police presence could put pressure on voters and impact the way they vote. So we have to be very careful.”

The backlash so far has not been violent against the government’s recent decision to disqualify Legco candidates who advocate independence for Hong Kong, but some election officials responsible have received threats by mail.

The manpower arrangements were adopted as part of lessons learned during the 2014 civil disobedience campaign and the Mong Kok riot in February. The force established the response teams in the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East and West, and New Territories North and South regions last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Supreme Court Upholds Special Surveillance to Keep Tabs on Muslims

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Japan has actually done remarkably well in averting terror attacks and has never been the victim of lethal jihadist violence. Some have praised Japan’s effectiveness in forestalling Islamic violence, proposing it as a model for other nations.

The Japanese Supreme Court has affirmed the practice of extensive surveillance of Muslims, rejecting an appeal by 17 plaintiffs who challenged the policy on the grounds that it violated Muslims’ constitutional rights to privacy, equal treatment, and religious freedom.

 “The most interesting thing in Japan’s approach to Islam is the fact that the Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.”

In 2010, over a hundred Japanese police files were leaked to the public, which revealed widespread monitoring of Muslims across Japan. The files reportedly showed that the Japanese government was keeping tabs on some 72,000 Japanese residents who hailed from member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Tokyo police had also been monitoring places of worship, halal restaurants, and “Islam-related” organizations, according to the documents.

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“Along with surveillance, Japanese authorities also apply tight immigration standards. Muslims seeking a working visa or immigration permit, for instance, are subject to detailed scrutiny, which is credited with preventing the sort of terrorist activity that has plagued Europe. “

Soon after, 17 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit saying that their privacy had been violated, and challenging the extensive monitoring of followers of Islam in Japan.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart]

After two appeals, the case made it to Japan’s Supreme Court, which on May 31 concurred with a lower court that awarded the plaintiffs a total of ¥90 million ($880,000) in compensation because the leak violated their privacy.

Nonetheless, the high court dismissed the more general charges of police profiling and invasive surveillance practices, which a lower court had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against the threat of Islamic terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MadTV’s 2004 Al Jazeera Parody: ‘Death To America!’


[VIDEO] REWIND 2011: Secretary Clinton Praises Success of Al Jazeera: It’s ‘Real News’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her assessment of the poor state of the broadcast news industry in America. Saying,

“Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because its real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”


ISIS Beheads Four Peshmerga in Revenge for U.S. Raid

Bridget Johnson reports: ISIS beheaded four Peshmerga in a grisly video released today with a retribution message to President Obama — delivered by an American-sounding executioner — for last week’s raid to rescue 69 prisoners near Hawija, Iraq.

“…There is still no compelling reason to believe that anything we are currently doing will be sufficient to achieve the President’s stated goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL.”

— Senator John McCain

Three of the Kurds are forced to watch the fourth prisoner being beheaded before they are subjected to the same fate.

“Obama, you have learned a new lesson. Six of the soldiers of the caliphate faced 400 of your children. They killed and injured them, by Allah’s grace. You were probably surprised by this. O Crusader, it is the support of Allah you did not gain anything, you returned to your base with loss and humiliation.”

The video, viewed by PJM, includes night-vision images of a helicopter attack, though it’s unclear if it’s footage from that night. It also shows clips of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, dead bodies and a field of rubble while ripping off coalition footage of the strikes. U.S. forces said they leveled the compound after the prisoners, who were set to be killed later that day, were rescued.

“Obama, you wage war against Allah. He supports us against you; it is the promise of Allah. Allah will never fail in his promise.”

— Jihadist

A narrator speaking in Arabic walks through the decimated compound as he recounts ISIS’ version of events and includes alleged witnesses.

[Read the full text here, at PJ Tatler]

One jihadist wearing gloves and a surgical mask picks through a pile of first-aid packaging, bloody bandaging and needles they said were left by U.S. and Kurdish forces.

Then the 15-minute video cuts to the prisoners in orange jumpsuits kneeled before the rubble, and the black-clad killers wielding knives. Read the rest of this entry »


Ed Snowden Signed Up for Twitter, Follows One Account: the NSA

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Edward Snowden, the world’s most famous whistleblower, has joined Twitter, announcing his presence on the social media platform with a reference to a once ubiquitous Verizon Wireless advertising campaign. In the aftermath of his disclosures, it’s a not so subtle dig at American intelligence collection.

Can you hear me now?

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015

After providing a group of journalists with a trove of classified NSA documents in 2013, Snowden initially tried to stay out of the public eye, maintaining a fairly low profile in Moscow. He granted hardly any interviews and kept himself out of the news in an apparent effort to keep public attention focused on the substance of his disclosures.

But in the last year or so, Snowden has taken on a more public profile, appearing frequently at conferences and granting occasional interviews….(read more)

Source: Foreign Policy


Says He’ll Invoke Fifth: Staffer Who Worked on Clinton’s Private E-Mail Server Faces Subpoena

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The former State Department IT staffer says he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.

Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger report: A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.sicily

“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution.”

The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

[Also see – Staffer who handled Hillary Clinton’s private email to plead the Fifth Amendment – twitchy.com]

The letter cited the ongoing FBI inquiry into the security of Clinton’s e-mail system, and it quoted a Supreme Court ruling in which justices described the Fifth Amendment as protecting “innocent men . . . ‘who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’ ”

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The FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s system — in which she exclusively used private e-mail for her work as secretary of state — may have jeopardized sensitive national security information.

Thousands of e-mails that have been released by the State Department as part of a public records lawsuit show Clinton herself writing at least six e-mails containing information that has since been deemed classified. Large portions of those e-mails were redacted before their release, on the argument that their publication could harm national security. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Bomb Blasts Kill 20 People In and Around Baghdad

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BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of bombings targeting public places and Iraqi security forces killed 20 people in and around Baghdad on Tuesday, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place on Tuesday night, when a car bomb went off near restaurants and shop in Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, killing 10 people, including three women. The bombing also wounded 24 people, police officials said.

Several shops and cars were burned in the attack and police sealed off the blast area.

Earlier in the day, a roadside bomb struck an army patrol in Youssifiyah, just south of the Iraqi capital, killing three soldiers and one civilian. At least eight people were wounded in that attack, the officials said. Read the rest of this entry »


Iraq’s Public Face: Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz Dies in Prison at 79

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Al Jazeera reports: Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has died in prison aged 79 years old.

Iraqi officials said Aziz, who was one of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s top deputies, died on Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack on Thursday.

Al Jazeera has learnt that Aziz’s son, Ziad, expressed outrage that Iraqi officials had not informed him of his father’s death, and he had instead found out through local media reports.

Aziz was Iraq’s foreign minister between 1983 and 1991 and deputy prime minister between 1979 and 2003.

Born Mikhail Yuhanna in 1936, Aziz was the highest ranking Christian official under Saddam’s presidency and a member of the former ruling Baath Party‘s inner circle.

He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal in 2010 for his role in human-rights abuses committed under the former government, which was overthrown in 2003 when Iraq was invaded by a US-led alliance.

Tariq

Iraq’s public face

Aziz surrendered to US forces shortly after the invasion and had been a prisoner since.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Aziz was one of the most hated figures from the old regime and Iraqi TV stations had largely ignored his death.

“There will be no eulogies for him, no day of mourning for him. He was hated as a member of the former regime,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: Rudy is Right

Barack Obama

Barack Obama Doesn’t Even Like America

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Rudy Giuliani is in the stocks for saying that he does not believe that President Barack Obama “loves America.” He said this at a small, private dinner for Scott Walker, who probably will not be inviting Giuliani to very many events in the near future.

Giuliani went on to say that he wasn’t questioning the president’s patriotism — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — only noting that the president’s rhetoric is decidedly low-cal on the American exceptionalism but full-fat when it comes to criticism.rev-wright-obama

“For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States…”

It may be the case that the president is a practitioner of the Smokey Robinson school of patriotism: “I don’t like you, but I love you.” Something’s really got a hold on this guy, and it is not an excessive fervor for the American order.

“…Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy…”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? holden_caulfield__finished_by_westwolf270Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

“There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy.”

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign a-kornacki-rudyevents — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it.

[Also see – Lunatic,’ ‘Repugnant’ Rudy Giuliani says Obama doesn’t ‘love America’; Media hits the ‘fainting couches’ – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s Poker Skillz: Bad Bet? Double Down! President Barack Obama Doubles Down on Bizarre Refusal to Call Islamic Terrorists Islamic Terrorists

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Holding a Losing Hand, The President Goes All In

President Barack Obama affirmed on Wednesday his administration’s belief that the religion of violent extremists savaging Iraq and Syria is not relevant and should not matter.

There is ‘no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist,’ Obama said at the White House’s summit on counter-terror measures. ‘There is no way to predict who will come radicalized.’

‘We are not at war with Islam,’ Obama asserted. ‘We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.’

The White House on Wednesday was blitzed by reporters demanding to know when it believes that religion is meaningful in violent attacks.

The Obama administration has been loathe to refer to ISIS as ‘Islamic radicals,’ arguing that the terrorist group’s religion doesn’t matter.

Furthermore, it has at times failed to mention the religion of victims of barbaric assaults while at other times featuring it front and center.

As foreign officials descended on Washington for the White House summit taking place next door, new life was given to the controversy and it threatened to overshadow the administration’s confab.

A statement sent to reporters on Sunday evening in which White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest condemned the ‘despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists’ jump started the debate.

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Notably, Earnest did not mention that the 21 Egyptians were Christians and were killed by terrorist because of their faith.

But two days before, after three, Muslim students were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reportedly over an altercation involving a parking space, Obama said in a statement, ‘No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.’

The statement implied that the students’ religion and the assault were linked, even though local authorities had not yet come to that conclusion.

At Wednesday’s press briefing Fox News correspondent Ed Henry implored Earnest to explain why he did not say in his statement that the slaughtered Egyptians were also Christians and asked if the White House doesn’t believe that information is ‘relevant’ to the crime.

‘It sure is,’ Earnest replied, ‘because the ISIL extremists who carried out this attack indicated that the reason that they were killing them, wasn’t just because they were Egyptian, but also because they were Christian.’

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Then why not say that? pressed Henry.

‘I can’t account for that specific line in the statement,’ Earnest said, but we’ve been clear ‘that we condemn the outrageous murder of these Egyptian citizens because of their Christian faith.’

He pointed to an op-ed from the president that ran in the Los Angeles Times today as proof of the administration’s position.

In it Obama specifically states that ‘the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians.’

But why, Henry asked, did the White House feel it was necessary to immediately invoke religion when it came to the Muslim students even though the case is still under investigation.

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The White House has a principle, Earnest said that ‘regardless of the faith of the individual in question, that people should not be targeted because of their religion, and what they look like or what their last name is or how they worship.’

Obama said that last Friday, Earnest said, to articulate its own believes – and one the White House believes ‘the vast majority of Americans should be able to support.’

“It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here.”

— CNN’s Jim Acosta

‘I think we’ve been very clear about what we call it and why we approach it in this way,’ he said before moving on.

Obama’s spokesman was forced to revisit the topic of radical Islamism several times throughout the briefing, with CNN’s Jim Acosta at one point saying to him, ‘It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here’ during a back and forth about the religious undertones of the White House’s counterterrorism summit. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: ISIS Is ‘Genocidal Movement Akin to Nazism’

From The Corner:

“The ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist, in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic in their understanding is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement. You kill Christians, you kill Jews, you kill Yazidis…”

Make no mistake about the seriousness of the threat posed by the Islamic State, says Charles Krauthammer. In the wake of the murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians,

“…That’s what we’re up against, and we have an administration that will not even admit that there’s a religious basis underlying what’s going on.”

“[ISIS] is not just Islamic radicalism anymore, or Islamic terrorism, which is only a tactic. This is really Islamist supremacy. And in that sense, it is akin to Nazism. That was racial supremacy; here it’s Islamist.”

“Churchill saved England and civilization because in 1940 he was able to enlist the English language, and he put it to work on behalf of civilization. What this administration is doing is precisely the opposite. It’s sort of deconstructing any resistance with its refusal to acknowledge the obvious.”

“The ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist,” said Krauthammer on Monday’s Special Report, “in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic in their understanding is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement….(read more)

National Review Online


FORBIDDEN WORDS: Internal Emails Show Al Jazeera English Banning Use of Terms ‘Terrorist,’ ‘Militant,’ ‘Islamist’

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Brendan Bordelon reports: Shortly after news broke of a deadly January 27 attack by Islamic terrorists on a hotel in Libya’s capital, Al Jazeera English executive Carlos van Meek shot out an email to his employees.

“All: We manage our words carefully around here,” the network’s head of output wrote to staff at the Doha-based news channel’s New York and Washington, D.C. newsrooms. “So I’d like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up.”

In an email obtained by National Review Online, van Meek warned the network’s journalists against the use of terms including “terrorist,” “militant,” “Islamist” and “jihad.”

“One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter,” the Al Jazeera executive wrote….(read more)

From: Carlos Van Meek
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 10:06 AM
To: AJE-Newsdesk; AJE-Output; AJE-DC-Newsroom
Subject: Terrorists, Militants, Fighters and then some…

All: We manage our words carefully around here. So I’d like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up. This is straight out of our Style Guide. All media outlets have one of those. So do we. If you’d like to amend, change, tweak.. pls write to Dan Hawaleshka direct who is compiling the updates to the Style Guide and they will be considered based on merit. No mass replies to this email, pls.

EXTREMIST – Do not use. Avoid characterizing people. Often their actions do the work for the viewer. Could write ‘violent group’ if we’re reporting on Boko Haram agreeing to negotiate with the government. In other words, reporting on a violent group that’s in the news for a non-violent reason.

TERRORISM/TERRORISTS – One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. We will not use these terms unless attributed to a source/person.

ISLAMIST –Do not use. We will continue to describe groups and individuals, by talking about their previous actions and current aims to give viewers the context they require, rather than use a simplistic label.

NOTE: Naturally many of our guests will use the word Islamist in the course of their answers. It is absolutely fine to include these answers in our output. There is no blanket ban on the word. Read the rest of this entry »


Leaked Newsroom Emails Reveal Al Jazeera Fury over Global Support for Charlie Hebdo

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Brendan Bordelon reports: As journalists worldwide reacted with universal revulsion at the massacre of some of their owxn by Islamic jihadists in Paris, Al Jazeera English editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr sent out a staff-wide email.

“Please accept this note in the spirit it is intended — to make our coverage the best it can be,” the London-based Khadr wrote Thursday, in the first of a series of internal emails leaked to National Review Online. “We are Al Jazeera!”

“I guess if you insult 1.5 billion people chances are one or two of them will kill you.”

— Mohamed Vall Salem

Below was a list of “suggestions” for how anchors and correspondents at the Qatar-based news outlet should cover Wednesday’s slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo office (the full emails can be found at here at NRO).

“Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile,” Khadr wrote. “Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well.”

— Salah-Aldeen Khadr

Khadr urged his employees to ask if this was “really an attack on ‘free speech,’” discuss whether “I am Charlie” is an “alienating slogan,” caution viewers against “making this a free speech aka ‘European Values’ under attack binary [sic],” and portray the attack as “a clash of extremist fringes.”

“What Charlie Hebdo did was not free speech it was an abuse of free speech in my opinion, go back to the cartoons and have a look at them!” Salem later wrote. “It’ snot [sic] about what the drawing said, it was about how they said it. I condemn those heinous killings, but I’M NOT CHARLIE.”

— Mohamed Vall Salem

“Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile,” Khadr wrote. “Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate [sic]—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.”

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His denunciation of Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed didn’t sit well with some Al Jazeera English employees.

Hours later, U.S.-based correspondent Tom Ackerman sent an email quoting a paragraph from a New York Times’ January 7 column by Ross Douthat. The op-ed argued that cartoons like the ones that drove the radical Islamists to murder must be published, “because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.”

That precipitated an angry backlash from the network’s Qatar-based correspondents, revealing in the process a deep cultural rift at a network once accused of overt anti-Western bias. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Egyptian Court Convicts 3 Al Jazeera Journalists to Seven Years in Prison on Terrorism-Related Charges

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Three journalists working for Al Jazeera were convicted Monday by an Egyptian court to seven years in prison on terrorism-related charges, The Associated Press reported.

The three journalists for the network’s English-language channel — Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian who has previously worked for CNN and The New York Times; Peter Greste, an Australian who has previously worked for the BBC; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian who has worked for other international news organizations — have been in jail since December. Read the rest of this entry »


Arafat Poisoning Report Inconclusive, Ambiguous

 report: Yasser Arafat lived in ambiguity and died under circumstances shrouded in mystery and rumor. Should it come as any great surprise that the outcome of a scientific inquiry into the cause of his demise turned out to be something less than absolute as well?

The forensic examination of the Palestinian leader’s remains were released by his widow Suha on Tuesday, and immediately reported by al-Jazeera — the Arab satellite network that last year broke the news that Arafat’s clothes and personal effects contained suspicious traces of polonium 210, the radioactive isotope that killed Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Swiss scientists exhumed Arafat’s body last November and tested his skeleton and grave for telltale evidence of the isotope. The verdict, a full year later: “The results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium 210.”

Such a moderate word, moderately. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Evidence of Possible Arafat Poisoning Revealed

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(AP) Possible evidence of Arafat poisoning is reported
By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH
Associated Press
RAMALLAH, West Bank
Swiss scientists have found evidence suggesting that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned, adding new fuel to long-standing allegations about the Palestinian leader’s death, a TV station reported Wednesday.

hed what it said was a long-awaited 108-page report by a team of Swiss experts who tested Arafat’s remains. The scientists wrote that “the results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210,” according to the pan-Arab satellite channel.

Read the rest of this entry »


Armed Men Steal $54 Million in Cash in Libya

A rebel fighter loyal to Libya's interim government kicks a football as a battle rages nearby in Sirte October 12, 2011. Anis Mili / Reuters

A rebel fighter loyal to Libya’s interim government kicks a football as a battle rages nearby in Sirte. Anis Mili-Reuters

Thieves hit central bank van in daring raid

 reports:  Ten heavily armed men reportedly made off with approximately $54m in several currencies after executing a high-stakes heist near the Libyan city of Sirte on Monday.

The bandits attacked a van as it was transporting the money from the airport to a central bank branch in Sirte. The van was reportedly escorted by one security vehicle; however, the accompanying guards were unable to fend off the heavily armed thieves.  According to the AFP, robbers hit two banks in Sirte in July and stole approximately $400,000.

Following the collapse of the Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship in 2011, the weak central government has failed to rein in the myriad armed militias active across the country. Earlier this month, a former rebel group briefly kidnapped interim Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in the increasingly lawless state.

[Al Jazeera]  TIME.com