Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: June 2009

30 June 2009

Iraqis celebrate 'Americans GTFO Day'


Iraqis danced in the streets to celebrate what they see as the first step toward a complete withdrawal of American forces:

Iraqi forces assumed formal control of Baghdad and other cities Tuesday after American troops handed over security in urban areas in a defining step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for U.S. combat troops to finish their pullback to bases outside cities.

"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "We are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty."

The Pentagon did not offer any comment to mark the passing of the deadline.

Fireworks, not bombings, colored the Baghdad skyline late Monday, and thousands attended a party in a park where singers performed patriotic songs. Loudspeakers at police stations and military checkpoints played recordings of similar tunes throughout the day, as Iraqi military vehicles decorated with flowers and national flags patrolled the capital.
Actually, there were a couple of bombings, and four Americans were killed in combat. The American press has been pretending that the Iraq War is virtually over, but the reality is that the war is still raging. Violence is down 60% from the 2007 peak, but executions and car bombs are still quite common. If any other country on earth suffered as many car bombs, it would be front page news in every major newspaper in the world, and the leading cause of death in Iraq is execution. The fact that present levels of violence are thought of as a cause for celebration shows just how horrific Bush's war became.

One person who's not happy about the prospect of an American pullout is Dick Cheney. The former vice president said that he "
would not want to see the U.S. waste all the tremendous sacrifice that has gotten us to this point."

Cheney's newfound concern for the troops is touching, especially considering the fact that he and his pal Donald Rumsfeld urged President Bush to invade Iraq in early 2003 rather than waiting until weapons inspectors had finished searching for Iraq's nonexistent chemical weapons facilities, despite the fact that invading in Spring 2003 would require American soldiers to patrol the streets of Baghdad
without armored vehicles and without body armor.

At any rate, it appears that the Iraqis believe they'll be better off after the Americans are gone.

(cross posted at appletree)


23 June 2009

Nokia sold phone monitoring technology to Iran


From the BBC:

Iran is well known for filtering the net, but the government has moved to do the same for mobile phones.

Nokia Siemens Network has confirmed it supplied Iran with the technology needed to monitor, control, and read local telephone calls. It told the BBC that it sold a product called the Monitoring Centre to Iran Telecom in the second half of 2008.

The product allows authorities to monitor any communications across a network, including voice calls, text messaging, instant messages, and web traffic. Rather than just block traffic, it is understood that the monitoring system can also interrogate data to see what information is being passed back and forth.

A spokesman described the system as "a standard architecture that the world's governments use for lawful intercept". He added: "Western governments, including the UK, don't allow you to build networks without having this functionality."
Yes, the UK retains the capability to monitor its citizens' phone calls. But that's irrelevant to the question of whether or not Nokia should have sold this technology to Iran. When they sold this technology to Iran's state-owned , Nokia knew that it would be used to monitor and oppress dissenters.

In other news, Nokia's clients
murdered 17 dissenters yesterday.


It should be noted that Nokia isn't the only company that sells technology to Iran. While Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, his company was
covertly doing business with Iran, in violation of US law. Cheney also lobbied the Clinton administration to ease sanctions on Iran. And during the early part of the Iraq War, while the Bush administration was making Cheney a multi-millionaire by giving no-bid contracts to Halliburton, the company was still doing business with Iran.

(cross posted at appletree)

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22 June 2009

Israeli persecution of Christians/Muslims/Gentiles/etc, continues

Picture above shows just a single excruciating example of an innocent, defenceless old Palestinian lady being blatantly assaulted by intolerably intolerant young extremist, supremacist Israelis, in full and close up view of completely unconcerned, uniformed IDF soldiers.

Reports by mainstream American, British and other western media rarely relate properly the revolting, abominable, inhuman actions of many ignorant, obnoxious Israelis' treatment of none Jews. Including devout God fearing Christians.

In spite, that is, of many (including ourselves), having been well aware of such shameful serial persecution of any and all those deemed Gentiles, for a long, long time. Of course the very idea of anyone daring to make any kind of accusations concerning clear cut anti-Gentile acts is seen by some as totally taboo.

Well, we aren't just "anyone". We're here today to state quite publicly that we still possess some spine.

And, were glad to say, so does our good friend Gordo over at 'appletree'.

Hence, a huge hat-tip to him for the following:

Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them

By Amiram Barkat
Click straight across to Haaretz to read the rest of this recent, internal Israeli press report relating to the sort of shocking stuff we're shouting about.

And once you've read it, if you're still set on somehow seeking to defend the damned indefensible, then please do so elsewhere. Since there are already more than enough blogs, web sites, etc, spread across the internet that are still prepared to swallow and/or to publish such shit.

But we're not one of them.

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21 June 2009

Why your doctor may not be giving you the best possible treatment

He may be a genius, but would you really want him as your personal physician?

The Last Psychiatrist recently ran a short, thoughtful piece on out-of-the-box medical treatments, and it's definitely worth reading in full. :

The New Yorker had a recent article on Ramachandran, the neurologist famous for discovering that phantom limb pain wasn't the result of damaged nerve endings in the stump, but of a brain malfunction: the brain had rewired itself to think that a stump was there. What needed to be done was to teach the brain that it wasn't there; or, more immediately, trick the brain into relaxing the fist that isn't there.

He did this by putting a mirror in front of the person, facing the good arm. Looked at from that side, it looked like you had two good arms. You would then clench and unclench your "two" fists, and the you/your brain would "see" the other hand (that wasn't really there) also unclenching. You'd feel as if the fist was relaxing, and the cramp would go away. Apparently, the results were sudden and profound.

I set up the mirror just as Ramachandran had described. At first she didn't really get it, she wiggled her fingers, and nothing was happening.

"What I want you to do," I ad libbed, "is look in the mirror, and imagine that your left hand is doing the exact same thing as your right, simultaneously." I showed her by opening and closing my fists. "In other words, open and close both of your fists."

I barely finished my sentence when her eyes popped wide. "Oh my God. Oh my God."

My eyes popped open, too-- it actually worked!

Sure, it worked, sure, she feels better, sure, she thinks I'm awesome. Why did it take me three years to try something I had known about for ten years with her?

Ramachandran's mirror technique is medical school stuff. Everyone knows it. Everyone. If you don't know it children on the street kick you in the shins. If you were in a coma during medical school then you still would have picked it up from a trillion other places, from Scientific American to Discover to Time Magazine.

Of course I knew the significance of the mirror. Of course I knew how to do it. I just never did. It never even occurred to me to do it.

There's more to the article, but I really shouldn't try to paraphrase the author's conclusion without giving you the opportunity to
read the whole thing.

reddit) (cross posted at appletree)

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17 June 2009

Stand With Free Iran (Iran election)

Go to the link above ... NOW. And then go on to The Boston Globe ~ and elsewhere.

Thank God for all our fantastic friends at

And thank God for all fearless photographers and photo journalists.

And thank God for all the brave, honest, decent, ordinary Iranian people heroes and heroines.

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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15 June 2009

All About Gordon Brown's 'Iraq War Inquiry' Bullshit


If you think that's a large load of the stinky stuff - boy, have we got news for you.

Iraq war inquiry to be in private

An independent inquiry into the Iraq war will be held in private, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told MPs.

Opposition parties - and many Labour MPs - have been calling for the probe since shortly after the 2003 invasion.

It will start next month and take at least a year, Mr Brown said. It will not aim to "apportion blame", he added.
So, if you can stomach it, read some more re : this disgusting smelly Brown stuff.

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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Iranian protesters chase police away from BBC crew: UPDATED

Brave protesters protect journalists so that the world can see what's really happening inside Iran (incident begins about 2 minutes in):

Interestingly, conservatives
Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, and Mitt Romney are saying that Ahmadinejad won the election through fraud, and that he won the election because of Obama's new policy of engagement and diplomacy with hostile regimes.

So which is it? Did Ahmadinejad win because Iranians concluded that his confrontational foreign policy is effective, or did he have to rig the vote?

It would appear that Obama's overtures helped swing the vote against Ahmadinejad, which is why his supporters had to engage in election fraud. In the days after Obama's speech in Cairo, Ahmadinejad
fell behind in national polling.

UPDATE: Ahmadinejad (in white) was surrounded by students at Sharrif University in Tehran and had to climb on top of his car to escape:

Apparently, the crowd is yelling Mousavi, Mousavi, Mousavi. At the end, they begin yelling 'doorogh gou!', which means, "liar".

(cross posted at appletree)

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14 June 2009

Iranian oppositon claims election fraud, riot police break up demonstrations

When supporters of Hussein Moussavi took to the streets to claim election fraud, riot police charged in to meet them (more photos and videos here)

Officially, hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won Iran's presidential election by a landslide. And while statistical analysis has failed to demonstrate election fraud, there are some very good reasons to believe that the election was stolen from Hussein Moussavi, a moderate opposition candidate:

It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense.

Ahmadinejad is claimed to have taken Tehran by over 50%. Again, he is not popular in the cities. That he should have won Tehran is so unlikely as to raise real questions about these numbers.

Ahmadinejad's numbers were fairly standard across Iran's provinces. In past elections there have been substantial ethnic and provincial variations.

The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.
Most pre-election opinion polls indicated that the election would be close, with Ahmadinejad winning in rural areas and Mousavi winning by comfortable margins in every major city. Writing for the New Yorker, Laura Secor points out that leaked government polls taken just before the election indicated a ten-to-twenty point lead for Mousavi, and that Ahmadinejad could not win by a landslide without the defection of a substantial number of moderate voters who supported his opponent in 2005. Given the fact that Ahmadinejad has turned Iran into an international pariah and run its economy into a ditch, that scenario is literally unbelievable.

So it's clear to just about every observer that the Iranian election was stolen, and that the democratic fig leaf which once partially concealed Iran's repressive theocracy has been removed once and for all. Riot police were ordered to shoot at demonstrators who approached the Interior Ministry, Mousavi and other opposition leaders
have been arrested, and riot police are administering savage beatings to anyone who dares question the election results.

The only possible silver lining that I can think of is the possibility that this blatant election fraud will strain the relationship between the governments of Iraq and Iran, but I don't know how likely that is.

(cross posted at appletree)

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13 June 2009

Change?! Sorry : some things never do will

Okay. We know.

It's an old one and it's a corny one. But we're gonna tell it again anyway.

"Whadaya mean there's no demand?

Don't dare moan to me about no demand.

It's the job of salesmen to create demand"...

... said the sales manager of the big, baby buggy and pram manufacturing firm as he scolded his salesmen.
And then there's this.

Get the picture?

Understand what we're saying?

Or do some still need a different damned diagram?

You know, something lots & lots simpler?

Say, for instance, something such as an "In Praise of Instigated International Instabilities ~ for Dummies," diagram?

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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10 June 2009

In the US, more right wing terrorism

James W. Van Brunn

Yet another right-wing terrorist has struck in the US:

An elderly gunman known to authorities as a white supremacist fatally shot a private security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington today before being wounded by guards who returned fire, officials said.

A law enforcement source identified the gunman as James W. von Brunn, 88. On an anti-Semitic Web site he apparently maintains extolling a "Holy Western Empire," von Brunn says he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked for 20 years as an advertising executive and film producer in New York and then became "an artist and author" living in Maryland.
Remember when the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning about potential violence from right-wing extremists? Remember when the pinheads at Fox News and in the wingnuttosphere said that it was just a big plot by the Obama administration to attack the right wing (link link link)? In light of this latest attack and the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas, I have to conclude that the critics of the DHS report are a bunch of paranoid morons.


I wonder what Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, and the rest of the Muslim haters will say we ought to do about right-wing terrorism. They say that we should jail people who give to Muslim charities, jail extremist Muslim clerics, hold Muslims without trial, and torture suspected extremists in order to prevent attacks from Muslim terrorists in the future. So using their logic, shouldn't we jail people who give to Operation Rescue, jail Randall Terry, and waterboard anyone who's associated with 'pro-life' or white supremacist groups?


One phrase in the DHS report that the wingnuts thought was particularly reprehensible was the assertion that “Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

It seemed obvious to me that extremists would attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans, but the wingnuts claimed that this was a direct attack on the American military. As it turns out, though, James W. van Brunn
is a veteran. I guess that just shows that Stephen Colbert was right when he said that "reality has a well-known liberal bias".


The wingnuts still haven't come to terms with the latest wave of right-wing terrorism. The idiots at Protein Wisdom mentioned the shooting at the Holocaust memorial, but reserve the T-word for the latest Fox News idiocy: a theory that terrorists brought down the Air France flight that crashed in May. I wonder how those terrorists arranged for that storm?

By the way, here's how Protein Wisdom describes the Holocaust shooting:
Some anti-originalist down with the idea of a Living Holocaust Museum. Funny, huh?

(cross posted at appletree)

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09 June 2009

Holy Barack Obama, Batman!

Oh, Gawd.

Here we go ....

Jesus H., t
hank God we're agnostic.

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07 June 2009

Our French Letter for a Fornicating French Prick of a President called Sarkozy

Dear Dirty Dwarf Frog,


Yours very sincerely,

This Old Brit.

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen!

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us;

God save the Queen!

** [Correction: For frog, read ungracious, ungrateful, ugly, tiny, twirpy, two faced toad.]

(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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06 June 2009

Prof. Joel Beinin, Jewish Voice for Peace and Barack Obama's recent Egyptian speech

The following comes direct from our inbox and was sent to us by the Jewish Voice for Peace.

Dear Richard,

We've asked Prof. Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Middle East History at Stanford University, to give us his impression on President Obama's speech in Cairo today. We're sharing his response with you.

An articulate and charismatic President of the United States named Barack Hussein Obama giving a speech at Cairo University co-sponsored by al-Azhar, the most eminent institution of Muslim learning - now that's a new picture. Its enormous symbolic value is President Obama's biggest asset as he implements policy on the entire range of difficult issues he mentioned. The President stated, "Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail." This is an excellent basis for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The President did not provide details on how the conflict should be resolved beyond general support for "two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security." But the meaning of this formulation is now contested due to its empty repetition by presidents and prime ministers whose actions and inactions have undermined it. Instead President Obama emphasized U.S. rejection of "the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," saying nothing about the future of those settlements already existing and their nearly 500,000 inhabitants.

By limiting himself to an apparently pragmatic "first step," President Obama may have made his task harder. If he does not produce concrete results very soon on this limited, albeit it absolutely necessary, measure, then the potential value of his fine words in Cairo will soon diminish.

Joel Beinin

June 4, 2009Stanford, CA

Professor Joe Beinin of Stanford University.

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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04 June 2009

British National Party trying, and failing, to appear non-racist

(cross posted at appletree)