Saturday, October 14, 2006

Land of starvation where the fat man rules

From The Australian, 14oct06, by Jasper Becker...

...."It was on a riverbank near the bridge in our small town," she says. "Before the prisoners were shot, an official read out their crimes. He said, 'This is a father who killed his daughter and boiled the corpse to make soup while mother was away. When she returned and asked: where did you get this food? He claimed it was a dog but it was his daughter'. "I witnessed many executions. They did it to terrorise people. Small children would watch them too," she says. "But you got used to seeing dead people everywhere."

This is the reality of life under North Korea's ... Kim Jong-il, a tyrant so desperate to build a nuclear bomb .... that he ...allow[ed] at least three million of his people to starve to death since coming to power.

....Throughout the ...[great North Korean famine of the 1990s ], Kim Jong-il was the only fat man in the country. He was obsessed with only eating the best, bringing in chefs from Italy, China and Japan. One of them who wrote a book under the pseudonym Kenji Fujimoto described how he was sent to Iran and Uzbekistan to buy caviar, China for melons and grapes, Thailand and Malaysia for durians and papayas, the Czech Republic for Pilsner beer, Denmark to fetch bacon and regularly to Japan to buy tuna and other fresh fish.

O Yong-hui, a petite slender woman with a pale porcelain complexion and almond eyes, was a member of Kim's happiness teams of dancers and masseuses. While members of her family lived in destitution, Miss O says she wore hand-made Italian shoes and Japanese designer clothes such as Yamoto, Kenzo and Mori. On her wrist was an Omega watch inscribed with Kim's name.
Swiss trade statistics show that in 1998 North Korea imported $US2.7 million worth of Omega watches. At breakfast she enjoyed French croissants, fresh yoghurt and imported fruits because Kim said they must have clear and healthy skins. At lunch there was fresh raw fish, Japanese style, and at dinner there were Korean or Western dishes.

"We ate off porcelain dishes inlaid with roses and used silver tableware," she says. "Everything was imported and nothing I have ever seen in South Korea is as good." Kim was an alcoholic who went on three-day drinking binges. At a sprawling residency in Pyongyang, he had a cellar stocked with 10,000 bottles of wine and often started the day by sampling a few bottles of vintage bordeaux or burgundy.

Kim Chol, a 30-year-old electrical engineer at the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Mill, fled to China after he was caught stripping copper out of machines to sell to Chinese traders.
"The authorities executed 300 people in 1995 for stealing copper," Kim Chol says. "It didn't stop it happening because people knew if they didn't steal, they would soon die of starvation anyway." The steelworks had been one of North Korea's most important enterprises. But steel production stopped in 1993 when China halted free deliveries of coking coal. Two years later, his family had nothing left to eat or sell, even though his father was a journalist on a party newspaper and his mother was a hospital doctor. In his mother's hospital, there was nothing to treat the sick but medical herbs collected in the mountains. The existence of mass starvation and death could never be admitted in any official way. "Nobody in North Korea dies of starvation, the doctors have come up with another cause of death like liver failure," he says.

Choi Seung-cheol worked in another hospital in Chongjin and reckons that more than 200,000 died in the town, although by this time North Korea was receiving large-scale aid deliveries. He worked without any medicine supplies and was certain that 90 per cent of the foreign aid was confiscated. "They kept everything for themselves," he says.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Influence of a Man Who Denies the Holocaust

From the New York Sun, October 12, 2006, BY STEVEN STALINSKY, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute ...

"There was never a single execution gas chamber under the Germans.… So all those millions of tourists who visit Auschwitz are seeing a lie, a falsification." — Robert Faurisson, Sahar TV, February 2005. He exposed the "big lie of the alleged Holocaust." He proved that "the ‘Diary of Anne Frank' [is] a fraud" and that "the gas chambers were fabricated." When Arab and Iranian TV networks such as Al-Jazeera and Sahar need someone to discuss the "big lie of the alleged Holocaust," they go to him. When Arab and Iranian politicians such as the Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and President Ahmadinejad of Iran want to provide evidence that no "alleged crimes" were perpetrated against Jews in World War II, they cite him.

Like other European Holocaust deniers who enjoy rock star status in Iran and the Arab world, Robert Faurisson first appeared on the scene in the 1970s, when he refuted accounts of the gas chambers and the Nazis' systematic killing of Jews. "The dean of deniers," as Mr. Faurisson is known, is a sought-after interview subject in the Middle East. When Al-Jazeera devoted a program to a planned international conference of Holocaust deniers in Beirut in May 2001, it called Mr. Faurisson. "We have proved and are still proving that there was no massacre or Holocaust of the Jews, and that there were no gas chambers for the Jews, and that the figure of 6 million victims is exaggerated ... saying the truth about the biggest lie of the 20th and 21st centuries, the lie of the Holocaust," he said.

Arab and Iranian "experts" on the Holocaust frequently cite Mr. Faurisson's theories. In his 1982 doctoral dissertation at the Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow, Mr. Abbas discussed "the secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership." Two years later, the Jordanian publisher Dar Ibn Rushd put out an Arabic-language book based on Mr. Abbas's dissertation. "Regarding the gas chambers, which were supposedly designed for murdering living Jews: A scientific study published by Professor Robert Faurisson of France denies that the gas chambers were for murdering people, and claims that they were only for incinerating bodies, out of concern for the spread of disease and infection in the region," Mr. Abbas wrote.

In January, when Mr. Ahmadinejad described the Holocaust as "a myth," Mr. Faurisson sent him a letter "expressing his full support of his remarks." The letter was heralded in the Iranian press.

On September 20, Iran's IRINN TV broadcast a report on the country's ongoing Holocaust cartoon contest. The curator of the museum exhibiting the cartoons, Masoud Shojai Tabatabai, told the station that the display proves that the "alleged crimes" that occurred at places like Auschwitz "are in fact a lie." The curator said the proof was based on "the very serious and accurate analysis of Mr. Robert Faurisson."

The editor of the conservative Iranian daily Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, wrote an article on December 13, 2005, in which he cited Mr. Faurisson's lectures at the University of Lyon and one of his books, "The Gas Chambers: Reality or Legend?" The book, translated into Persian by Seyyed Abu Al-Farid Zia Al-Dini, examines dozens of documents "where the Zionists claim" the slaughter took place, "such as the gas chambers, the fabricated museum of the crematoria, Dachau in Munich," Mr. Shariatmadari wrote. Mr. Faurisson "conducted precise and scientific conversations with hundreds of witnesses and ultimately showed, with no interpretation and by means of documents only, that the affair of the slaughter of the Jews in Nazi Germany is a great historic lie."

When the United Nations announced that it would designate a day to commemorate the Holocaust in November 2005, Mr. Faurisson gave an interview to the Tehran Times. "For many years now, I have been telling my acquaintances in the Muslim world that the Jews and the Zionists want to impose the religion of the alleged ‘Holocaust' of the Jews on the whole world," he said. "… The Muslim world has been awakening from its too long torpor for only a few years. It ought to have listened to the revisionists long ago and denounced out loud the sham of an alleged German project to exterminate the Jews, the alleged Nazi gas chambers, and the alleged 6 million Jewish victims."

On October 3,a French court convicted Mr. Faurisson of Holocaust denial for statements he made on Iran's Sahar TV in February 2005. It was the fifth time he has been found guilty for "complicity in contesting the existence of a crime against humanity."

Polish righteous woman recommended for Nobel PrizeThursday

From, and reported by IFCJ, October 12, 2006, by Amiram Barkat ...

Holocaust survivor groups here have joined the recommendation of the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, to award the Nobel Peace Prize to 96-year-old Irena Sandlar.

Sandler, who was a member of the Polish underground group Zegota that was dedicated to saving Jews, was recognized by the Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in 1965 for smuggling numerous Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The children received false papers and were either adopted by Christian families or sent to convents. Sandler, however, recorded the real names of 2,500 children on lists that were placed in glass jars and buried, with the hope that the youngsters would eventually be returned to their families.

The Gestapo arrested Sandler in October 1943. Despite being tortured, she refused to reveal the children's identity, and was sentenced to death by a Nazi court. The underground group freed her, and she lived in hiding under an assumed identity until the end of the war.

If Sandler, who still lives in Poland, is chosen for the Nobel award, it would be the first time the honor would be bestowed to a righteous Gentile. "Giving the Nobel prize to a Righteous Gentile is a fitting response to those who still dare to deny the Holocaust," the chairman of the umbrella organization of Holocaust survivors in Israel, Noah Poleg, said. Poleg added that if Sandler receives the prize, it would be the first time it has been awarded in conjunction with the Holocaust.

The chair of the Association of Cracovians in Israel, Lili Haber, wrote to Kaczynski that Sandler had never publicized her actions, but rather shied away from publicity. She used her wisdom and goodness to save lives and then educate others to understand the difficulties encountered by the survivors.

Joining the campaign on behalf of Sandler are the Israel-Poland Friendship Association and the Lublin and Polish survivors' organizations.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West's 1 hour 18 minute movie "Obsession" has been posted, and can be viewed on Google/YouTube ...

Almost 70 years ago, Europe found itself at war with one of the most sinister figures in modern history: Adolf Hitler. When the last bullet of World War II was fired, over 50 million people were dead, and countless countries were both physically and economically devastated. Hitler’s bloody struggle sought to forge the world anew, in the crucible of Nazi values. How could such a disaster occur? How could the West have overlooked the evil staring it in the face, for so long, before standing forcefully against it?

Today, we find ourselves confronted by a new enemy, also engaged in a violent struggle to transform our world. As we sleep in the comfort of our homes, a new evil rises against us. A new menace is threatening, with all the means at its disposal, to bow Western Civilization under the yoke of its values. That enemy is Radical Islam. Using images from Arab TV, rarely seen in the West, Obsession reveals an ‘insider's view' of the hatred the Radicals are teaching, their incitement of global jihad, and their goal of world domination. With the help of experts, including first-hand accounts from a former PLO terrorist, a Nazi youth commander, and the daughter of a martyred guerilla leader, the film shows, clearly, that the threat is real. A peaceful religion is being hijacked by a dangerous foe, who seeks to destroy the shared values we stand for. The world should be very concerned.

Anti-Americanism is a dangerous force

From The Australian, 12oct06, by Greg Sheridan:

.... South Korea's comprehensive success as a society is probably as disturbing to the North's already warped psyche as any action taken by the US.... Why are North and South Korea such contrasts? South Korea has a per capita income of about $US20,000 ($27,000) a year, North Korea one-twentieth of that. South Korea is a free democracy. North Korea is the most Stalinist state on earth. Somewhere between 500,000 and two million North Koreans starved to death in the 1990s from state-induced famines.

North Koreans who attempt to flee to China but are returned at the border routinely have metal rods inserted into their flesh to keep hold of them. Though North Korea is sexually the most prudish of societies, young girls of clear complexion are conscripted into "joy brigades" for the use of senior officers and partyleaders. A convincing analysis has North Korea most usefully seen as a theocratic state, in which worship of the ruling family of Kim Jong-il is both the state religion and the state ideology.

Yet both North and South have the same Korean cultural roots. So why the difference? After World War II, South Korea fell under the influence and tutelage of the US; North Korea fell under the sway of the Soviet Union. While of course all credit goes to the South Koreans themselves, the creation of modern-day South Korea is one of the grand historical projects of the US after World War II. Those legions of commentators and academics who regard US foreign policy as either hypocritical or downright evil should just consider the results of a nation hooking up with the US - it ends up looking like South Korea. Nations that bathe themselves in ideologies of anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism and the rest end up looking like North Korea, or Cuba, or Zimbabwe.

Anti-Americanism has become a dangerous force in the world because it is one of the factors preventing nations from reacting effectively to challenges such as that laid down by a nuclear-armed North Korea. For all that US power is vast, international co-operation is central to the world having any chance of containing North Korea's nuclear challenge.

There is no military solution to North Korea. Anyone who has travelled to South Korea can see why. Just 40km north of Seoul, a short, pleasant drive, is the inter-Korean border. It bristles with that distinctive North Korean combination of menace and farce. The main North Korean building on the border looks impressive from the south but has almost no function because it is all facade and no depth. A 272kg North Korean flag, another triumph of socialist engineering, is so heavy it can only fly in a gale-force wind.

Just beyond the border on the northern side is a low range of deceptively gentle looking hills. Dug deep into those hills are thousands of artillery pieces that could pulverise Seoul and kill perhaps millions of South Koreans in a day. Nor does Western intelligence know where the North Koreans have stored most of their fissionable material, nor even where they conduct their highly enriched uranium program.

But all the indications are that the world will do nothing effective about North Korea. Much of the Western commentariat insanely blamed either the Bush administration, or sometimes, even more bizarrely, the Japanese, for Pyongyang's actions.

In fact it is clear that when George Bush five years ago called Iraq, Iran and North Korea an "axis of evil" he was speaking the literal truth, just as when Ronald Reagan earlier called the Soviet Union "an evil empire".

A typical and hugely disappointing reaction came from Paul Keating who said his chief worry from the North Korean test was that Japan would use it as a pretext to gain nuclear weapons itself and that this would "affront and confront" China. So let's get this straight. Communist North Korea, using technology that it originally got from China, and which has long been a Chinese strategic client, conducts a nuclear test and the first reaction is we must beware the nefarious Japanese?

This kind of reaction will give anti-Americanism and rampant Sinophilia a bad name. It seems to echo North Korea's official newspaper Minju Joson, which accused the US of planning to use Japan "as a shock brigade in its plan to dominate the Asia Pacific". The way that former Labor prime ministers Keating and Bob Hawke have become so anti-American and so pervasively and reflexively pro-Beijing at every point, is one of the distorting features of our debate today.

For at the end of the day the North Korean situation is deadly serious. There is a vast literature, and overwhelming evidence, of the most intimate nuclear and missile co-operation between North Korea, Iran and Pakistan. The danger of North Korea, which makes most of its money by counterfeiting US currency and selling drugs, deciding to sell nuclear technology or material to al-Qa'ida or like groups is real, incorrigible and deadly dangerous.

The Bush administration is not the problem here; it's essential to any hope of containing the problem. Whichever way you cut it, North Korea has this week made the world a vastly more dangerous place.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ya'alon: Israel still seen as superpower

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Oct. 10, 2006, Greer Fay Cashman ...

Israel still enjoys the image of a regional superpower even after the campaign in Lebanon, said former chief of general staff Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday at the Bank of Jerusalem's annual Succot breakfast.

Ya'alon attributed this residual image to the quality of Israel's human resources.
Nonetheless, he said, after 58 years as a Jewish independent sovereign state, Israel is still struggling for legitimacy and the right to exist, though the battlefield has shifted from the conventional arena of war.

Ya'alon explained that Israel's enemies are trying to avoid a head-on confrontation with the IDF in the conventional battlefield on which Israel has been victorious in the past. In the quest to break the spirit of Israel, its enemies are targeting the civilian population instead of military installations.

Not only has the battlefield changed but also the ideology. Whereas in the past, the ideology was of a national secular nature bent on keeping the Middle East purely Arab, without a Jewish state in its midst, since 1979 - following the success of the Iranian revolution, which had no connection with the Israel-Arab conflict - there has been a move towards a more religious ideology.
What led up to the campaign in Lebanon and the abduction of Israeli soldiers was all part of a global jihad according to Ya'alon.

"They believe that they can defeat the State of Israel through a war of attrition hitting civilians on a daily basis in order to break our spirit and Israel society's ability to live in this country," he said.

Countering Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's contention that Israel is the source of instability in the region, Ya'alon queried the connection to the Israel-Arab conflict of the Iran-Iraq War, the civil war in Lebanon, the mass massacre in Syria in the 1980s, the genocide in Darfur or the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Yet, he said, anti-Israel propaganda continues to find expression in the international media.
Ya'alon instanced charges that in the second war in Lebanon Israel used excessive force and deliberately fired at civilians. Israel was blamed when Hizbullah was deliberately using civilians as human shields, said Ya'alon.

The success of the anti-Israel propaganda campaign hit him hard during his recent tour of American university campuses where he was called a war criminal and blamed for the "Jenin massacre."

Specific words with certain negative connotations are used to manipulate western minds and public opinion, he said, and lamented that "this manipulation also works in Israeli society. Some soldiers think that we're colonial occupiers." This war of words, he opined, helped to generate the belief that territorial concessions might convince the Palestinians to stop fighting and to reach a peace settlement.

The Palestinian reality, he stated, is not the construction of a Palestinian state, but the destruction of the State of Israel.

Criticizing the behavior of Israel's leaders during negotiations with the Palestinians over the past decade, Ya'alon said, "I have witnessed wishful thinking and manipulation for political considerations."

On disengagement, he said: "We wanted to believe that withdrawing unilaterally would be perceived as Israel doing its part to end occupation but it was not. Instead it was perceived as weakness." Yaalon said that Israeli public opinion has been manipulated on several occasions by spin doctors in what he called a "disengagement from truth and reality" for the golden calves of peace, security, the security fence and disengagement.

Ya'alon is now chairman of the Center for Jewish Zionist Culture at Beit Morasha, and a fellow of the Institute for International and Middle Eastern Studies at the Shalem Center.
He had decided to join the Shalem Center in an attempt to produce strategies. "It's not good enough to say a paradigm doesn't work. You should offer an alternative solution."

[Note that Moshe Ya'alon will tour Australia as a guest of the JNF in November]

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


From a B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission MEDIA RELEASE, 10 October 2006 ...

The B'nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) utterly condemns Professor Tanya Reinhart’s outrageous and extreme comments regarding Israel. Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Media Studies from Tel Aviv University, Professor Reinhart is currently on a lecture tour in Australia.

Professor Reinhart claims that Israel is:
- practising ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians;
- engaging in the genocide of the Palestinian people by the "systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy" which drives the Palestinians out of their lands;
- an "open air prison" and a "hissing serpent";
- motivated by greed and control of water resources rather than security vis-à-vis the Security Barrier;
- justifiably targeted for terrorist attacks by Palestinians because they are a legitimate response to the fear Palestinians have of Israel.

On the recent Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Professor Reinhart claims that:
- Israel’s real aim in Lebanon was to extend its territory to the Litani River and to annex Lebanon into Israeli territory;
- Israel was sacrificing the lives of Israeli residents in the north of Israel for the wider goal of territorial expansion;
- Hezbollah’s only intention was to protect Lebanon from Israel;
- the "Israeli army is hungry for war". She believes that Israel had planned the war in Lebanon and used the kidnappings merely as an excuse to do so.

ADC executive officer Mr Manny Waks commented: "Professor Reinhart’s claims are preposterous and extreme. Her comments should be condemned by every reasonable person as being counterproductive to achieving a realistic resolution to the conflict. Like her mentor Noam Chomsky [She received her PhD in 1976 from MIT, under the supervision of Noam Chomsky - SL], it would be better if Tanya Reinhart stuck to her field of linguistics and left the Middle East to others".

U.S. Proposes Embargo, Sanctions on N. Korea

From The Washington Post, Monday, October 9, 2006, by Colum Lynch and Howard Schneider...

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 9 -- The Bush administration on Monday proposed an arms embargo and a series of legally binding U.N. financial and trade sanctions to punish North Korea for apparently detonating a nuclear device, and it called for international inspections of all trade coming into and out of the secretive country to enforce them. The proposal followed promptly after Monday's unanimous condemnation of North Korea by the U.N. Security Council and statements by President Bush vowing to protect U.S. allies in the region and maintain a "nuclear-free Korean peninsula." It was contained in a U.S. draft resolution to be presented to the 15-nation council this afternoon. It is unclear when the body will vote.

...Britain and France voiced support for sanctions on North Korea, but stopped short of endorsing the U.S.-backed proposal. China, meanwhile, cautioned that the 15-nation body pursue only diplomatic means to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear activities....Russia's initial reaction was somewhat ambiguous....saying only that North Korea would "face a very serious attitude" within the council.

The draft resolution mirrors elements of an earlier resolution, 1695, which was passed this summer and called on states to voluntarily ban the trade of ballistic missiles and equipment necessary for other weapons of mass destruction. Bolton told reporters the current resolution goes further. He said the speed with which the council agreed to condemn the apparent test in a 30-minute meeting demonstrated the depth of world concern over the issue. "I did not see any protectors of North Korea in that room," Bolton said. "No one defended [the test]. No one even came close to defending it."

...the very claim of a nuclear test, Bush said, was "provocative" and "constitutes a threat to peace and security." He reaffirmed the U.S. intent to protect its close allies in the region, Japan and South Korea. The United States "will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments," the president said. That included, he said, holding North Korea "fully accountable" for the potential proliferation of nuclear technology to governments or organizations hostile to the United States. He mentioned Iran and Syria by name but also included "non-state entities," and said their acquisition of a nuclear device "would be considered a grave threat to the United States."

....Democratic and Republican leaders were quick to denounce the North Korean test, the Associated Press reported. "Reports of North Korea's test of a nuclear weapon is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing event," said Sen. John Kerry, (D-Mass.) a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee....House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) issued a statement denouncing North Korea's action as "the desperate act of a criminal regime" and said the House would support Bush and the international community in condemning that country's "reckless decision."

Jimmy Carter: "peace in our time"

From The Australian, 10oct06 [emphasis added]....

Nobel laureate and ex-envoy Jimmy Carter, on CNN (after his dealings with dictator Kim Il-sung) on June 22, 1994:

CARTER: What the North Koreans were waiting for was some treatment of their exalted leader with respect and a direct communication. I didn't have to argue with him. When I outlined the specific points that were the Clinton administration's position... he agreed. I think it's all roses now. .....there were people in Washington who were sceptical about any direct dealing with the North Koreans..... Kim Il-sung was already condemned a criminal.

Question: Are you absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are going to honour this agreement, that while talks are going on that it's not just a matter of buying time on the part of the North Koreans, that they will not secretly pursue the nuclear program they were pushing earlier?

Carter: I'm convinced. But I said this when I got back from North Korea, and people said that I was naive or gullible and so forth. I don't think I was. In my opinion, this was one of those perfect agreements where both sides won. We should not ever avoid direct talks, direct conversations, direct discussions and negotiations with the main person in a despised or misunderstood or condemned society who can actually resolve the issue....

Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea says conducted nuclear test

From Reuters Mon Oct 9, 2006, by Jack Kim ...

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Monday it had safely and successfully carried out an underground nuclear test, flying in the face of a warning from the U.N. Security Council.
South Korea's military ordered army units to step up their state of alert after the announcement by the reclusive communist state, which came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Seoul.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected a 4.2 magnitude quake in North Korea at 10:35 local time (0135 GMT) on Monday, confirming a similar report from South Korea.
U.S. defense officials were still saying they could not confirm a nuclear test, however.

....Analysts say North Korea probably has enough fissile material to make six to eight nuclear bombs but probably does not have the technology to devise one small enough to mount on a missile.

...The U.N. Security Council last Friday urged North Korea not to carry out a test, warning Pyongyang of unspecified consequences if it did.

....North Korea announced its intention to test a nuclear device last week, saying its hand was forced by what it called U.S. threats of nuclear war and economic sanctions. But it said it would not be the first to use a nuclear weapon. "North Korea is using this claim as a bargaining chip to gain leverage so that Washington will take them seriously," said Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a political analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and a former Indonesian presidential adviser.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said North Korea gave China a 20-minute warning of its test and China immediately told the United States, Japan and South Korea.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Thatcher and Jon Herskovitz in Seoul, Elaine Lies in Tokyo, Todd Eastham in Washington and Jerry Norton in Jakarta)

Austrian stain

From Ynet, 8/10/06, by Eldad Beck ...

Austria's outgoing chancellor ultimate symptom of collective disease

Austria has remained a dark stain on Europe even after the social democrats' surprising victory in recent elections....Almost six years ago, Wolfgang Schussel, head of the conservative People's Party, who is still holding the post of Austria's chancellor, made a covenant with Jorg Heider's nationalist Freedom Party after it became the second largest party. This move enabled Schussel to turn defeat into victory, to realize his dream to become chancellor and to legitimize Heider and his party.

This was the first time in post-war Europe that a party with a fascist ideology and a yearning for the days of Hitler had entered the government. The Austrians took to the streets en masse. The European Union imposed sanctions. Israel recalled its ambassador. However, the protest dissolved quickly: On the first anniversary of the new regime, only a few hundred took to the streets of Vienna in protest, the European Union lifted its sanctions and even Israel returned its ambassador.

In the six years that have elapsed, the extreme Right has weakened the rule of law in Austria and it never missed an opportunity to harm minority and weaker population groups. Above all, it proved that it lacked any ruling power: Internal disputes led to the dissolving of the Freedom Party. Heider established a new party (Future Union) and was replaced by Heinz-Christian Strache, who competed against his predecessor with nationalistic populist propaganda mired in misanthropy.

The political instability created by the Freedom Party brought elections forward four years ago. Austria was given the opportunity to punish the People's Party for the sinful pact with Heider. However, Schussel and his party emerged stronger; they renewed the coalition with the nationalist Right despite being able to choose any partnership they wished due to their strength in numbers. According to many, this was proof that the pact with Heider was not a political-tactical exercise but rather an ideological partnership.

Last week the Austrians went to the polls once again. Although the power of the People's Party had diminished somewhat, the social democrats only succeeded in surpassing it by a little more than one percent.

This is the place to point out that in recent years the social democrats also allowed themselves to join local coalitions with Heider and his cronies whenever it was convenient for them.

The Freedom Party became the third largest party. Heider and his "Future" just about got through the threshold. Yet, if all the votes given to the nationalist parties are put together, figures will show that some 20 percent of the electorate once again voted for separatist nationalist movements. Namely, a fifth of all Austrians have a consistent fascistic nationalist inclination.

The new government must deal with the root causes. A symbolic move would be to oust Schussel from political activity. The outgoing chancellor embodies the ultimate symptom of the collective disease. His ousting may present the beginning of an in-depth attempt to address the fascists trends that have swept Austria.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Condi's cop-out

From the New York Daily News, October 5, 2006, by Sidney Zion ...

Rice feeds fiction that Palestinian state is key to peace

Secretary of State Rice, who used to know better, is now on the road to nowhere, like her predecessors in the State Department. Flying around the Middle East, she promotes once again the old fixation that only a Palestinian state can cure the troubles of the world - and that the route requires pressure on Israel.

She has chosen a tough time for this message. The Palestinians are on the verge of a civil war, if they're not in it already. Fatah targets Hamas leaders for assassination while Hamas rules the parliament. The real deal is who will run the virtual army. Fatah has the guns, 70,000 men in charge, and is not about to turn it over to the hated Hamas.

Yesterday, the so-called moderate president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said his attempts to reach a power-sharing agreement with Hamas have broken down. Against this reality, Rice attempts to corral the so-called moderate Arab world behind Abbas. But Abbas, called a "man of courage" by President Bush, is nothing more than his old boss Arafat, without a kaffiyeh. Abbas financed the murders of the Olympic athletes in 1972 and wrote a book denying the Holocaust. Now he is the moderate hero of the State Department Arabists.

And as far as the Arab world is concerned, forget about it. They never cared about the Palestinians. They left them in refugee camps forever, just to show the world that Israel should not exist. The idea promoted again by Rice, that a Palestinian state would bring peace to the world, is a sick joke.

As is the notion that the Palestinian people want peace, but are prevented by their leaders. This nonsense should have ended when they elected Hamas to rule them last year. The apologists in the media, particularly in The New York Times, decreed that the vote was not for terrorism but for clean government and clean streets. Except they had ignored one thing: Would Yasser Arafat have lost the election? He looted the people - gave them nothing but disaster - and everybody knows he would have won hands down. Hamas wouldn't have dared to run against him.

And so, it comes out this way. The Palestinian people, not only in the election of Hamas, but in most polls, want Israel off the map. So some things are not soluble by reason. Certainly it would be in the best interests of the Palestinian people to run out Hamas, to reject the intransigence of Fatah, to just say let's live together with the Jews.

But the Arabs do not always do what is in their best interests.
Condi Rice, what the hell.