Iran bulletin: IRI funds Nazi groups in Europe.

Islamic regime finances Nazi groups in Europe
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 30, 2006

The Islamic regime has increased its financial help to several European Nazi and Far-Right groups, especially, in France, Germany and Austria. Thousands of Dollars and Euro have been already distributed in that line.

The money is being distributed by businessmen with links to some of Dubai's Import-Export circles which are working with the Islamic regime's Intelligence.

This policy intends to boost the regime's anti-Jewish propaganda and to show support of the regime's President and his denial of the Holocaust. It also targets the Iranian masses in an effort to persuade them on the validity of Ahmadinejad's claim which will look stronger with the presence of Europeans sharing his shameful view. [emphasis added - aa]

Does this come as a surprise to anyone?

[NOTE: At present I cannot independently verify this report from SMCCDI. I will post any corroborating or supporting information as it becomes available.]


Great post at Free Iran ...

AmirN eviscerates Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh in the International Herald Tribune.
Choice quotes:
First, the Iranian government is anything but nationalistic, and would destroy Iran to replace it with its own “Islamabad” if it could. Second, Iranians are currently either too busy trying to not starve to death, or getting high from drugs as an escape, or avoiding being thrown into prison and being tortured and killed to really care about having a nuclear bomb. A nuclear bomb is irrelevant to a people struggling to just stay afloat and dealing with constant torment and oppression from their own government. ...

The reason the mullahs have staying power is two-fold. First, they brutally and mercilessly oppress any opposition. Though effective in the short term, history has shown that its effect eventually diminishes and gets overwhelmed by a people who eventually reach a boiling point. Second, they have oil and money, which makes many of the world’s greedy nations – Russia, China, European nations, etc – want to continue to do business with and empower them. This too, will eventually be overcome, as the boiling point of the people will not be averted forever. It is a question of WHEN, not IF.

And the Mullahs “freed” nothing except their own “Willy,” which they have subsequently stuck up the backside of the Iranian nation and all of its citizens. ...

As far as the “Iranian moderates,” there is no such thing. The moderates are just the “good cops” in the “good cop, bad cop” routine. The moderates are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Save the “moderate” mumbo jumbo for the simpletons. ...

Now go read the whole thing at the link.



... to the WinXP user, unknown location, who visited Dreams Into Lightning at 11:31 AM Pacific (and, ironically, entered at this archive page)! You are visitor number 40,000 according to Site Meter.

Thanks to all who have visited.

Regime Change Iran

Just as a reminder, make sure you have Regime Change Iran bookmarked on your browser - and if you blog, be sure to link RCI on your sidebar. Regime Change Iran is the project of activist "Doctor Zin", and it's your one-stop shop for all the latest pro-Iranian news: everthing related to Iranian human rights, women's rights, democracy and freedom activism, and ... well, regime change. I read Regime Change Iran every day and you should, too.

Other Iran-related sites you won't want to miss:
Iran Focus
Free Iran message board
SOS Iran
Marze Por Gohar
PGLO - Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization

And finally, if you haven't done so yet, please take a moment to sign this petition:
True Security Begins with Regime Change in Iran


Pakistan: Aisha Parveen Fights Sex Slavery

Via The Killing Zone, the Daily Times (Pakistan) reports:
LAHORE: The courts in Khanpur are to soon decide the case of Aisha Parveen, 20, and the decision could mean life or death for her, reports the New York Times.

“Ms Parveen ... is steeling herself for a state-administered horror. Just two months after she escaped from the brothel in which she was tortured and imprisoned for six years, the courts are poised to hand her back to the brothel owner,” writes Nicholas D Kristof.

Parveen says she was 14 when she was hit on the head while walking to school in NWFP. She awoke to find herself imprisoned in a brothel hundreds of miles away, in the town of Khanpur.

Parveen fought back and refused to sleep with customers, but she says the brothel owner - Mian Sher - beat and sexually tortured her ...

Rantburg weighs in.

Don't forget to bookmark The Killing Zone (homepage) for the latest info on women in the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Germany, ElBaradei Urge Iran to Stop Nuclear Work

BERLIN, March 27 (Xinhua) -- German leaders and Mohammed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), urged Iran on Monday to suspend its nuclear program as top diplomats will meet over the issue here on Thursday.

The foreign ministers from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States will meet in the German capital at the invitation of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier over the Iran nuclear issue, according to a report from the German news agency DPA.

From the same story:
In another development in Germany on Monday, police searched business sites across the country in connection with the illegal export of double-use equipment to Iran.

The German prosecutor's office in Potsdam near Berlin said that some 250 agents raided 41 companies in 10 German states last week after learning of suspicious purchase requests by a Berlin firm.

The firm which was run by Russians is believed to have exported hydraulic pumps and transformer parts, which could be used at nuclear facilities.

The firm delivered the equipment from Berlin to a company near Moscow, and from there to Iran.

Debka: Hamas won't be invited to Khartoum summit.

Debka reports:
The Bush administration persuaded Arab rulers not to invite Hamas to their summit opening in Khartoum Tuesday, March 28 - but not to cut off funding. - March 27, 2006, 10:57 PM (GMT+02:00) - Most Arab leaders are worried by the rise to power of the radical terrorist group, whose PM-designate Ismail Haniya asks the Palestinian legislative council to vote confidence in his 24-member cabinet Monday, March 28. He is assured of majority endorsement after Hamas’s landslide win of the December election. Mahmoud Abbas will head the Palestinian delegation to Khartoum. But foreign ministers preparing the summit resolutions rejected Western demands to cut off aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Yemen and Security

Jane at Armies of Liberation links to a scathing column in the Yemen Times:
The political regime used to keep an iron grip over everything, even the opposition parties, sorting out differences with them through bargains and deals. But, when it has found out that these ways will no longer work out, it is going nuts and is behaving like a child who holds a gun and starts firing against everybody without knowing the consequences. ...

An anonymous guest poster at Armies of Liberation comments on Yemen's gun ownership, concluding:
The vast majority of Yemenis are engaged full-time in the business of
survival and savings. They know that goats plus rain equals money,
or that pick-up trucks plus subsidized fuel plus cheap labour equals
money. They also know that there is very little that you can do on a
daily basis with a gun that makes money. Forget notions of weapons
culture, or the odd gun freak that has five or six weapons, ordinary
people in the tribal areas can only afford to keep what weapons they
have in order to protect their other assets, so if you ask yourself
what is required to do this - you arrive at a very different answer,
but one which exactly tallies with first hand observation of rural
people’s houses and lives.

Via Internet Haganah, ICT on the Yemeni connection:
The Yemeni connection to worldwide Islamic terrorism stretches back nearly two decades; its roots can be traced to the war in Afghanistan during the 1980s between the Afghan rebels and the pro-Soviet Communist regime backed by Soviet military forces. During this war thousands of Muslim volunteers from all over the world, especially Arab countries (including Yemen), came to fight alongside their Afghan brothers. The war served these volunteers as a university for the study of radical Islam and prepared them, mentally and physically for the violent confrontation with the "infidel" West and with the Muslim regimes that cooperate with it. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan "proved" to them that the power of faith in Islam conquers all other forms of power.

The Afghan Veterans returned to Yemen during the early 1990s, convinced both of their ability to eliminate the remnants of the Communist Muslim regime in the southern region of the United Yemen and of their capacity to expel the foreign presence from Yemeni soil. They formed an alliance with the northern Sana government against the remnants of the southern Communist regime in the hope of being allowed to enlist in the Yemeni army and freely operate in southern Yemen, in order better to expel the American and British presence from Yemen. After these demands were rejected, the Afghan Veterans established radical Islamic organizations that began to undermine the Yemeni regime and perpetrate terrorist attacks against western targets inside Yemen and against senior Yemeni figures suspected of collaborating with the West. Soon these organizations began to cooperate with al-Qa'ida and even received financial support from it.

The involvement of Yemeni volunteers in the Iraqi war was just a matter of time. Just as in Afghanistan, Yemenis comprise a significant component of the Muslim volunteers in Iraq. However, in contrast to the Afghan case, this time the Yemeni regime made it more difficult for them to leave for Iraq; nor was the government pleased to accept them upon their return. As a result, Iraqi veterans and subsequent alumni of Afghan training camps, including the Yemenis, were forced to return to Yemen under false identities. Very quickly the concerns of the Yemeni government were confirmed: the return of Iraqi alumni to Yemen brought with it a wave of terrorist attacks that may threaten the stability in the country. Iraqi veterans, some of whom are members of al-Qa'ida, view Yemen as a convenient ground for the fostering of radical Islamic ideologies and as a target for terrorist attacks against the foreign presence in the region.


The Iraqi Holocaust

US-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.

...The victims are believed to be Kurds killed in 1987-88, their bodies bulldozed into the graves after being summarily shot dead.

One trench contains only women and children while another contains only men.

The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face. ... [source: BBC]

'You might have heard that an assassination attempt against Uday had taken place in 1996, which left him with injuries that caused impotency. This made him even more cruel and sadistic than his usual self. It has been revealed after the fall of the regime that he shot the doctor who broke the news to him (c.f. interview with one of the close bodyguards of Uday at Al Arabia last year). This added one more complex to his extensive repertoire of psychological problems. He started to hate anything to do with other people having any kind of sexual pleasure.

Well, that horrible day we learnt that the night before the Fedayeen [under Uday's command] had attacked scores of houses and dragged women and young girls to streets and beheaded many with swords leaving the heads at the doorsteps of the victims houses. Some of these heads were left in place for more than twenty-four hours. The atrocities lasted for several weeks.' [source: The Mesopotamian]

... This is the place where in the 1990s Hanna was hung from a rod and beaten with a special stick when she called out for Jesus or the Virgin Mary. This is where she and other female prisoners were dragged outside and tied to a dead tree trunk, nicknamed "Walid" by the guards, and raped in the shadow of palm trees. This is the place where electric shock was applied to Hanna's vagina. And this is where in February 2001 someone put a bullet in her husband's head and handed his corpse through the steel gate like a piece of butcher's meat. ... [source: The Washington Post, July 21, 2003; Page A01.]

From Hammorabi:
There are countless numbers of the documented crimes and torture of this family and those who worked with it. Some of these crimes and tortured methods are listed below:
1. Mass executions without trials
2. Genocides against Shia and Kurds by chemical and conventional weapons
3. Disappearances of thousands for ever after their arrest
4. Arresting and executing large numbers of young men, women and children during Iraq Iran war. The arrests could happen at any time and in any place.
5. Arresting any students just by simple doubt especially if not in the Baath party Shia and Kurds. In 1980s the Baath introduce what is called the (Closed Colleges and Universities) which means that all the students should be Baathist.
6. Cutting tongues until death
7. Mutilation of the body parts including ears cutting and tattoing on the forehead
8. Decapitations with swords
9. Falakah which is striking the feet with a painful sticks
10. Nails pulling
11. Insertions of glass in the gentilia
12. Death by mass rape (raping the victim by several rapist until death) ... [source: Hammorabi]

The Iraqi Holocaust

Radical Women

Cinnamon Stillwell at SFGate:
... the real radical women in the world go largely unremarked by the feminist movement. Today's true heroines are those who do battle with the gender apartheid, violence and oppression practiced against women in the Muslim world. There, women face not just phantom infringements to their civil rights and perceived slights to their sensitivities, but threats to their lives. With the call for reform in the Muslim world come the inevitable requirements of round-the-clock security.

Arab American psychologist Dr. Wafa Sultan is the latest to enter such dangerous waters.

Ever since Sultan took part in a debate on Al-Jazeera with Algerian Islamist cleric Ahmad bin Muhammad in February, the world has been riveted.

The two debated Islamic teachings and terrorism. But instead of the usual excuses, Sultan offered moral clarity. She blasted the Muslim world for being mired in a "medieval" mentality and she dubbed the war on terror not simply a clash of civilizations but "a clash between civilization and backwardness … between barbarity and rationality … between human rights on the one hand and the violation of these rights on the other, between those who treat women like beasts and those who treat them like human beings."

...Born in Syria to a middle-class family and raised a Muslim, Wafa Sultan began to reexamine her religious beliefs after a traumatic incident. A respected medical school professor was murdered before her eyes by two Muslim Brotherhood members shouting "Allahu akbar!" (God is great!). Eventually, she became a secularist and started writing for the Arab American Web site Anneqed.com. She became a strong critic of the intolerance and violence increasingly associated with the Muslim world. She also tackled the taboo subject of Muslim anti-Semitism, rejecting the hatred with which she had been indoctrinated as a child.

Lebanese Christian journalist Brigitte Gabriel has traveled the world sharing her experiences of persecution at the hands of Islamists in Lebanon. She and her family eventually found refuge in Israel, where she underwent an epiphany and, like Wafa Sultan, rejected the anti-Semitism she had grown up with. ...

Nonie Darwish is another Arab woman who has sought to bridge the gap with Israel as well as defend America's battle against Islamic terrorism. A former Muslim born and raised in Cairo and the Gaza Strip who later converted to Christianity, Darwish has lived in the United States for more than 25 years. ...

Irshad Manji is also a woman worth recognizing. A refugee of Pakistani descent from Uganda, Muslim journalist and activist Manji grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She went on to pursue an impressive career, which now includes being a visiting fellow with the International Security Studies program at Yale University.

But it is her forays into critiquing Islam that have garnered Manji the most attention. As a lesbian, she faces a double dose of intolerance within Muslim culture, but she has never backed down. ...

And the list goes on: Hirsi Ali, Oriana Fallaci, Phyllis Chesler ...

Read the whole thing at the link.

Pakistan: Rape Victims in Jail

Khaleej Times (via Plus Ultra):
ISLAMABAD - Nearly 80 per cent of the more than 6,000 women and juvenile girls on trial in Pakistan are facing charges under the controversial strict ’Hudood’ Islamic laws that mainly deal with crimes of adultery and rape, said a human rights report published on Monday.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report also noted an increase in the killings of women in the name of honour, English ’Daily Times’ reported. Most such killings targetted women and girls who contracted marriages against family’s will.

Human-rights and civil-society organizations are demanding the repeal of the Hudood laws that were introduced by late military dictator Zia-ul-Haq, in 1979, to gain support of Muslim clerics for his rule.

President General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in October 1999, has called on religious scholars to review the strict Islamic laws that are considered highly discriminatory against women. ...

The Manifesto of Twelve

Via Irshad Manji:
Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.

We -- writers, journalists and public intellectuals -- call for resistance to religious totalitarianism.

Instead, we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide.

The necessity of these universal values has been revealed by events since the publication of the Muhammad drawings in European newspapers. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the arena of ideas. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilizations, nor an antagonism of West versus East, but a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The preachers of hate bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a world of inequality. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of greater power imbalances: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all others.

To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed people. For that reason, we reject “cultural relativism,” which consists of accepting that Muslim men and women should be deprived of their right to equality and freedom in the name of their cultural traditions.

We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia,” an unfortunate concept that confuses criticism of Islamic practices with the stigmatization of Muslims themselves.

We plead for the universality of free expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on every continent, against every abuse and dogma.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of enlightenment, not of obscurantism.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafiq , Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Irshad Manji , Mehdi Mozaffari, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val, Ibn Warraq


Jeanne Cavelos on Gender in "Star Wars"

SF writer and astrophysicist Jeanne Cavelos writes:

"Against a background of stars and X-wing fighters, Luke holds his
lightsaber aloft while Leia crouches below him, brandishing a gun: two
tough heroes ready to fight the evil Empire. In my love of Star Wars, I
spent endless hours longing for 'a galaxy far, far away,' replaying the
movie in my head, studying every detail of the poster on my wall. It seemed
to embody the excitement of the movie and its strong heroes, Luke and Leia.
But as the Star Wars saga unfolded, I became troubled. While George Lucas
brilliantly combined diverse ideas and influences to create something
startling and inspiring, one aspect of the movies didn't live up to the
rest. I began to notice something new about the poster on my wall. Luke
above, superior; Leia below, inferior. It seemed to reflect the treatment
of the characters in the movies. The problem is not that the women are
supporting characters, though they are. Even a supporting character can be
striking and compelling. Han Solo is such a powerful, heroic figure, he
nearly eclipses Luke. But the women in Star Wars are not the memorable
figures they could be. Compared to their male counterparts, they are
inconsistent and underdeveloped. There is a clear lack of focus on these
characters on the part of George Lucas and the other writers, a tendency to
sacrifice the female characters to make the males look better, and a decided
inclination to reduce initially powerful women to inaction and irrelevance.
Leia and Amidala, as the two most prominent female figures in the films,
exemplify these weaknesses."

- "Stop Her, She's Got a Gun! How the Rebel Princess and the Virgin Queen
Became Marginalized and Powerless in George Lucas' Fairy Tale"
essay in STAR WARS ON TRIAL edited by David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover
BenBella Books--FORTHCOMING June 2006
US $17.95/Canada $24.95
ISBN 1-932100-89-X

Jeanne Cavelos is the author of (inter alia) the Techno-Mage books, based on the Babylon 5 TV series. These are among my favorite works of recent science fiction: dramatically and morally complex, and very disturbing, but ultimately hopeful. I'll be looking forward to reading Cavelos' essay in the book when it comes out.
  • Jeanne Cavelos homepage

  • Cross-posted at
  • Translinear Light
  • .

    Afghanistan: Christian Convert May Face Death Penalty

    Big Pharaoh is covering the case of Abdur Rahman, an Afghan man facing a death sentence because he converted to Christianity.
    To Kill or Not to Kill
    Today I was reading what Al Arabiya visitors wrote about the story of Afghan man who might be executed for converting to Christianity. Many of the comments I read made me want to vomit, others were breezes of rationality.

    I chose a few of these comments. I included the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very ugly.

    "We hope that rationality supercedes the implementation of laws that contradict innate human traits. There is no other option besides freedom of religion for all. Only then will the religion be for God"

    "The missionaries use the poverty of the people to spread their faith. By the way, the power of their religion is short lasting because it is abrogated" (BP: Idiot, the guy converted 16 years ago and he was outside Afghanistan)

    "There is no compulsion in religion...you have your religion, I have mine" (BP: That's a verse in the Quran)

    "I am a female medical student. Converting out of Islam is forbidden" (BP: a medical student and she think that way! God help us!)

    "I hope other Islamic nations will learn from this nation (Afghanistan) how to apply Islamic law"

    "Fear God Al Arabiya..and cease such useless news stories" (BP: yea yea, the life of an innocent man is useless to you idiot! Ops, I forgot, he's a dirty apostate!)

    "If I were in his shoes, I would have pretended that I returned to islam then escaped and practiced my faith somewhere else"

    "I was not surprised when I read that. Bush and his ilk are waging a crusade and this is an expected outcome. Coverting people to Christianity occurs in poor areas....I hope Muslim youth will rise up and carry out charity work in order to fight Christian missionaries."

    "Once again Islam is being portrait as the religion of sword. Let Allah judge him. Show mercy and many many others will join our religion. Kill him and many many more will resent being Muslims and the enemy of Islam will have the most effective ammunition to attack our religion." (BP: thank you for having a good mind) ...

    The Taliban Live On
    The Taliban regime ended in Afghanistan but it seems their legacy is still there. An Afghan man might face the death penalty after he committed a "henious" crime. He converted to Christianity - 16 years ago. Abdul Rahman appeared in court last week and his case is being widely monitored by the local media in Afghanistan.

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I meant when I said that ballot boxes and happy voters casting ballots are not reminiscent with democracy. A country that doesn't adopt the values of liberal democracy can never be called democratic even if it held 365 elections in a year. I'll give anyone a million dollars if s/he dug in my blog archives and came up with a post where I labeled what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several other countries in the Middle East as "democracy". I have used other terms such as "better state" and "better condition". [my emphasis - aa]

    Bulletin from Stratfor (subscription service):
    Italy will move at the "highest level" to save the life of Abdur Rahman, a convert to Christianity who an Afghan court said may face the death penalty if he does not become a Muslim again, the Italian Foreign Ministry said March 21. Separately, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was deeply concerned by the situation, and would intervene if necessary.

    Go read Big Pharaoh's full posts at the links.

    Afternoon Roundup

    Trent Telenko at Winds of Change:
    It is a wonder that the Blogosphere hasn’t picked up on the latest media “Frame” on the war in Iraq – that Iraq is in purportedly in the middle of a civil war - and taken it apart like the propaganda it is.

    What is going on in Iraq today is a losing terrorist campaign hyped by media spin as a civil war because the public no longer believes their prior “frame” that we were losing to the terrorists . This is easily proven with a simple comparison with Bosnia Herzegovina’s real civil war in the early-to-mid 1990s. Today there are 26 million Iraqis, according to the CIA’s Fact Book. There are four million Bosnians of whom about half (two million) are Muslim.

    Bosnia Herzegovina’s Muslim population lost 200,000 dead in four years from 1992-1995’s civil war with the Serbs. That averages about 50,000 dead a year of two million Muslims, about one killed per forty people per year.

    If the civil strife in post-liberation Iraq matched that of real civil war in Bosnia ten years ago, there would be 650,000 Iraqi fatalities per year – say 1800 dead Iraqis a day from “sectarian strife” to match the average death rate of Bosnia Herzegovina’s civil war.

    That is not happening and neither is Iraq’s “Civil War.” It isn’t even close. There have reputedly been only about 37,000 Iraqi civilian fatalities (not including terrorists - the MSM likes to count terrorist casualties – including foreign aka non-Iraqi terrorists - as Iraqi “civilian” casualties) from violence in the three years of American occupation. That would be less than a month’s losses if Iraq were suffering from a real civil war like the one in Bosnia.

    The MSM is flat out lying about a civil war in Iraq just as they have lied about everything else in Iraq. They invent new lies when their old ones are disbelieved. Yet they wonder why their audience and circulation drop.

    There is no question that one of the important lessons of this war for the enemy (a lesson already learned in Vietnam, but driven home now in modern form) is that the "spotlight"--i.e. worldwide and domestic US press coverage--is worth its weight in gold.

    At this point in time, winning the propaganda war is the way to go for militarily weaker entities, be they states or stateless terrorists, if they ever hope to win against the US and its interests. It is actually the only way to do so at present; even the acquiring of nuclear weapons by our enemies would not really change that picture, since it's highly unlikely that any of those entities would ever achieve parity with the US on that score. Such weapons would merely up the ante and cause more carnage; they wouldn't change the general equation.

    The "spotlight" is another word for propaganda ...

    The Belmont Club, recapping the tumultuous events of the past few years, concludes:
    It would have been surprising to discover a really simple narrative behind the events of the last four and half years. The public is only now beginning to catch a glimpse of the fantastic complexity that somehow lay beneath the placid exterior of the 1990s, an era that came to an end with everyone worrying about the millennium software bug but which failed to anticipate September 11. The emergence of bewildering detail is reassuring in this respect: the events since are not the simple contrivance of a few bureaucrats at the Mossad or the CIA. Real historical forces and not cheap conspiracies are at work, though perhaps not every politician has realized that yet.


    Fighting Rape

    Victoria Brownworth is back in form with a very fine column in the April 2006 print issue of Curve. You need to buy the magazine to read the whole article, but I want to just recap a few of Brownworth's major points here.

    Citing DOJ statistics, Brownworth notes that a rape occurs in the United States every two minutes - and only 39 percent of rapes are reported. But the college campus is an especially dangerous place for women: some 25 percent of college students reported being raped. In a majority of cases, the perpetrator is the victim's boyfriend or a male acquaintance.

    Brownworth contends that "any man can become a rapist." This might sound like gratuitous anti-male rhetoric, but she is simply pointing out that all of us are responsible for our own actions. It's also important because "the average rapist is just that: average" and he will not necessarily oblige you by looking sleazy and dangerous.

    Last spring, Brownworth writes,
    a couple of basketball players at a Philadelphia university were charged with raping a female basketball player at the same school. The young woman told police the men rapedand sodomized her at a party. She admitted she had consumed at least nine drinks, which made her extraordinarily intoxicated (and thus unable to give consent). ...

    The players were tried and acquitted. The judge deemed the sexual encounter sonsensual, despite the victim's testimony that it was not, because the young woman had willingly gone to the party. The alleged victim reported the incident immediately to campus authorities, but it was not reported to police until much later; campus authorities considered it an internal matter. This too weighed against the woman at trial. The men continued to play on the basketball team. The young woman left school.

    Via Alas, we get the repulsive details of the Orange County rape case:
    As most "Alas" readers know, the three boys videotaped themselves gang-raping their classmate Jane Doe over and over (including rape with a pool cue and a lit cigarette), and then spent years legally harassing and smearing Jane Doe in every way they could.

    The victim's punishment:
    It wasn't just the predictable "she's a slut" attacks during the trial, but also paying jurors from the first trial to try and change the minds of jurors from the retrail (is that legal?), and recruiting several of Jane Doe's "friends" to tell stories about her which were later proved to be lies. When Jane Doe moved to a new school, under an assumed name, to try and start over, the defense's private detectives stood in the parking lot of her new school screaming her real name at her.

    Read the post at Alas to find out the sentence these vermin received.

    Meanwhile, Pinko Feminist Hellcat has complete coverage of the case. Don't miss the survivor's statement:
    I will relive forever in my head the morning that my father got a call from the Newport Police Department telling him they had a videotape of his daughter being gang-raped. I remember waking up to my parents standing over me, the look of horror and disgust in their eyes. My father asked me what happened on July Fourth and I told him, "I don’t know," because I couldn’t remember what happened to me.

    That is when he grabbed me and he held me in his arms and tears rolled down his cheeks. He proceeded to tell me a videotape was given to the police that unveiled myself being brutally gang-raped by three men, the three men that I gave all my trust to and thought were my friends. ...

    The harassment and torture started immediately after the assault became known to the public. It started with private investigators sitting in front of our house day in and day out, watching our every move. Our family’s privacy was completely eliminated. The private investigators got worse when they began watching my parents at their places of work. One day I was driving home and a private investigator began following me. I panicked. I did not know what to do. I called my mom on her cell phone for help. All she could do was tell me to drive to the police station and try to calm down. In the parking of the police station the private investigator cornered me and began taking pictures of me. ...

    The worst day of my life was when I heard the verdict of the first jury. I was in my room waiting for the verdict. I remember my mom walking into my room. She sat next to me on the bed and hugged me, looked me in the eye and said it was a hung jury. I felt my stomach drop and my heart being ripped out of my chest. There was no way this could be true. My mom had to be mistaken. When she started to cry I knew she wasn’t. I was in such shock I didn’t know what to feel. I became hysterical and started screaming.

    All my anger I had towards these men and the verdict came out. I thought I was going crazy. Why didn’t anyone believe me? ...

    Before the second trial I was asked if I wanted to see the videotape of the assault. I was terrified. What if I watched it and it literally put me into a mental institution? I spent many weeks deciding. I knew that if I saw the video I would be able to express my feelings better to the jury while testifying, but I also knew how real it would make the assault to me.

    In my heart I knew I had to see it with my own eyes, to be able to know exactly what these three men did to me, so I chose to watch it. I remember my mouth started burning while I was watching the video because it was so dry from hanging open in disbelief. I cannot and don’t think I will ever be able to describe what I felt while watching that video. I remember asking myself, "When did I become a piece of meat and not a human being to these men? How could any sane human do these things they did?" They did things not even savage animals would do. They violated me in every way possible.

    As I watched that video, I remember feeling two distinct feelings. I remember becoming furious at the animals that were attacking me because no human could do such a thing. And I remember feeling my soul and inner being completely deteriorating. I was empty. They had now taken every last bit of who I was and no longer felt human. I was like a lifeless and feelingless doll that these men thought they could use and abuse in any way they wished.

    A part of me died that day, a part that I don’t know if I’ll ever get back.

    The rape happened when she was 16 years old.

    Back to Alas: It's pretty sad that Ampersand has to write,
    Two years is nowhere near enough, but it is almost a miracle that the OC rapists are being punished at all.

    Amp argues that changing rape law alone isn't going to solve the problem; what's needed most is a basic change in the thought patterns of ordinary, "average" people. Amp concludes:
    Real reductions of rape - and increases in the likelihood of convictions - may be accompanied by legal reforms, but they won't be caused by legal reforms. It's only by a massive alternation in how our society thinks of rape at every level - so that "boys will be boys" and "the slut defense" is understood by the average person, the average judge, and the average juror as not merely wrong but also repugnant - that real change will happen.


    Harvard, U of Chicago: America is the victim of a Zionist conspiracy!

    Shmuel Rosner at Ha'Aretz:
    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Middle East policy is not in America's national interest and is motivated primarily by the country's pro-Israel lobby, according to a study published Thursday by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

    Observers in Washington said Thursday that the study was liable to stir up a tempest and spur renewed debate about the function of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby. The Fatah office in Washington distributed the article to an extensive mailing list.

    "No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical," write the authors of the study. ...

    Here's the study.

    And here's Shmuel Rosner's blog post:
    Exclusive!!! The secret weapon of the pro-Israeli lobby

    The new study on "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" presents an interesting dilemma to the writer: Do you ignore it - having concluded it is biased, one-sided, foolish, repetitive, and most of all, has nothing new to offer - or do you write about it, knowing that the "Harvard," "Chicago," "professors," "Kennedy school" labels will make it acceptable anyway, even news-worthy, in the eyes of many.

    In short: Does one need cooperate with the advancement of the cause of academic garbage?

    ... Here's the scholarly explanation: "One might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives. As we show below, however, neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel. Instead, the overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics and especially to the activities of the 'Israel Lobby.'"

    Whhhoooo - sounds scary. And how did the lobby succeed in achieving all that? It had a super-secret weapon: "The charge of anti-Semitism".

    Read the rest.


    Best of Dreams Into Lightning

    I enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, and conventional "literary" or "realistic" fiction. What I write is mostly science fiction, at least in the broad sense of dealing with issues of power and technology. In general, I try to keep my fiction non-political, except insofar as it reflects my basic beliefs about human nature and society. The first two stories linked below are loosely based on, respectively, the Book of Genesis and King Lear.
    The Rose of Paradise
    The Zero Ring
    The Death Wish

    Journey to America

    These are some of my opinion posts on the Middle East, media coverage, and liberalism today. I still class myself as a "liberal", mostly because my basic beliefs haven't changed; what did change was my understanding of how the so-called "liberal" institutions have (in my opinion) largely betrayed the ideals they claim to represent.
    Disengagement: The Messy Divorce (May 2004)
    Bambi Sheleg on Disengagement
    Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark
    Poison Pill: The Media Today
    Saudi Women are Happy!
    Liberals, Conservatives ...
    TNR Deconstructed: "The New Republican" series
    Response to Thomas Friedman: America's Addiction
    Response to E.L. Doctorow: The Unfeeling Left
    September 11: "I Told Them Not to Talk About Their Dreams"
    The Moral Struggle

    The literature essay is from my undergraduate coursework at PSU. It's neither brilliant nor particularly scholarly, but it gives you some idea of my approach to books. Following it (at the same link) there's a paper I wrote for a Women's Studies class in which I criticized some aspects of the course.
    On American Literature
    Trina Schart Hyman
    N. Scott Momaday
    Audre Lorde
    Music and Encyclopedias

    The Hours, the Days, and the Years
    The Reading Hour
    The Long Road Home
    The Trip Home

    Morning Report: March 9, 2006

    Debka on Iran's IAEA referral. Debka reports: 'The IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program goes to the Security Council for consideration of possible punitive action. The council is expected to give Tehran 30 days to comply with nuclear watchdog directives. Tehran has threatened the US with “harm and pain” for pushing the issue to the world body, a threat the White House dismissed as provocative and further isolating Tehran. U.S. delegate Gregory Schulte said "the time has now come for the Security Council to act." He said the 85 tons of feedstock uranium gas already to hand in Iran could produce enough material for about 10 nuclear weapons if enriched. DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources disclose that Tehran accompanied the 35-member International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision Wednesday, March 8, by launching a new, locally-built submarine, the Nahang (whale) in the Persian Gulf. With the capability to carry multipurpose weapons, the sub is especially adapted to Gulf waters. Military experts report Iran also has six Russian-built SSK or SSI Kilo class diesel submarines patrolling the strategic waterway. ... Separately, France, Germany and Britain, which spearheaded the Feb. 4 IAEA resolution clearing the path for Security Council action, warned that what is known about Iran's enrichment program could be only "the tip of the iceberg." However, both the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers stood aside from the US-EU view.' (Debka)

    Musharraf offeers aid to NW Pakistan. Stratfor (subscription service) reports: 'Pakistan has offered the tribal region along its northwestern border with Afghanistan development assistance on condition that foreign Islamist militants are expelled from the area, the official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported March 9. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf gave tribal chieftains a detailed development plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that entails enhancing agriculture, irrigation, livestock and industry. It also calls for creation of reconstruction opportunity zones in which companies would be exempt from export duty.' (Stratfor)

    Philippine soldiers held over coup plot. AFP via Yahoo reports: 'Twenty-five soldiers including eight officers have been detained, accused of involvement in an alleged coup attempt against President Gloria Arroyo, senior military sources said. Among those being questioned are two lieutenant colonels. All but one of the officers are from the elite Army Scout Rangers, the sources said. An officer from the Special Operations Command was also held. The former Scout Ranger commander, Brigadier General Danilo Lim, was removed from his post on February 24 accused of involvement in the alleged coup plot.' (AFP)

    CTB: Immigration fraud overwhelms DHS. INS veteran Michael Cutler at The Counterterrorism Blog reports: 'Simply stated, immigration fraud can be thought of as a lie put on an application that enables an individual to gain an immigration benefit that he/she would not receive if all of the relevant facts were known. Additionally, fraud can be thought of as coming in two broad categories, document fraud and fraud schemes. Both areas leave our nation vulnerable and virtually nothing is being done to address these issues in meaningful ways. While much attention has been paid to the situation at our nation's borders, immigration benefit fraud has been all but ignored by the government and by most of the news media.' Cutler cites a Washington Times article, which cites a Government report alleging that 'the agency that would oversee any future guest-worker program doesn't have a handle on fraud, doesn't do enough to deter it, and won't have a fraud-management system in place until 2011 ...'. Cutler concludes: 'The GAO report discussed in this article was the result of a request from Representative John Hostettler, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims. His unflagging efforts to address so many of the immigration issues confronting our nation should be appreciated by all of us who share my concerns about the dire need that exists to fix the immigration system. Our nation desperately needs to view immigration as a system in which all of the components need to work effectively and with great integrity- no less than the safety and survival of our nation is at stake!' Full articles at the links. (CTB, Washington Times)

    ITM on forming Iraq's new government. Iraq the Model: 'The political dispute between the UIA and the rest of the political bodies is still up and growing with both parties stubborn and not showing signs compromising. The UIA still insist that their decision to choose Jafari for PM must be respected while the Kurdish alliance, Accord Front and Iraqi list are still pushing towards changing Jafari with someone else from within the UIA (or to a lesser possibility from another bloc). President Talabani wanted to bring the discussion to the halls of the parliament- a step I admired him for taking-but the UIA through the vice president AbdulMahdi halted Talabani's call by refusing to put his signature on it. Legal experts and politicians have different opinions on whether the constitution has been breached or not by this delay in seating the parliament but the text is clear and frank; the parliament had to be called to convene two weeks ago thus the constitution is already breached even though politicians refuse to admit it and further delay can only be more illegitimate. ...' Read the rest at the link. (ITM)

    Winds of Change on school choice. Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has some thoughts on a Wall Street Journal column covering school choice in Minnesota. (Winds of Change, WSJ)


    Little Safety for Gays in the Middle East

    From the Forward:
    ONLY HUMAN: For Gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv Is Mecca
    By kathleen peratis
    February 24, 2006
    Al-Fatiha — which calls itself the principal international organization promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arabs — is located not in Beirut or Cairo, but in Washington, D.C. And no wonder: The international movement for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people hardly exists inside the Muslim world.

    Arab human rights organizations sometimes advocate for gay rights, but they do so sotto voce. In fact, the only country in the Middle East in which gay people may safely leave the closet is Israel. Which is why, for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca.

    Gay Palestinian men flee to Israel because they are not safe in the West Bank and Gaza. They also have no place else to go.

    "Israel is close and far at the same time," says Haneen Maikey, a gay rights activist with Jerusalem Open House, one of the principal gay rights organizations in Israel. If the sexuality of a gay man in Palestine is exposed, his family might torture or kill him and the police will turn a blind eye.

    Because they are so vulnerable to blackmail, it is assumed by the families and neighbors of gay Palestinian men — sometimes correctly — that they have been blackmailed into becoming informers, either for Israeli intelligence or for opposition Palestinian factions. So when they meet a violent end, the motivation of the killers is not entirely clear.

    And in Israel? Misinformation abounds. In a 2004 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, Alan Dershowitz said: "I support Israel because I support gay rights. Recently, a progressive congressman, Barney Frank from Massachusetts, worked with me and Israel to grant asylum for 40 Palestinian gays."

    Alas, not a word of this is true.

    When gay Palestinian men run for their lives into Israel, they do not seek — and they cannot get — "asylum," which is a special status under international law available to those who can establish a "well founded fear of persecution" in the country of their nationality or "place of habitual residence." Israel has never granted asylum to Palestinians, gay or not, says Anat Ben-Dor of the Refugee Rights Clinic at the Tel Aviv University Law Faculty — even those who can credibly claim they will be killed if they are sent back to the West Bank or Gaza. ...

    Regime Change Iran: Netherlands to Repatriate Gay Iranians
    Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
    Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk plans to send Iranian homosexual asylum-seekers back to Iran after canceling a six-month stay, a letter to parliament made public on Friday revealed. READ MORE

    The Netherlands had granted the reprieve for gay Iranians after reports that two homosexual teenagers were hanged in northeastern Iran in July last year.

    Mrs. Verdonk, a former prison governor, said that contacts between Dutch diplomats and Iranian officials had established that the teenagers were not hanged because they were homosexual, but because they were found guilty of the abduction and rape of a minor.

    In the letter Verdonk said that it was now clear "that there is no question of executions or death sentences based solely on the fact that a defendant is gay", adding that homosexuality was never the primary charge against people.

    Iran's Islamic law imposes the death penalty for the offense of consensual sodomy, when the act is repeated and when the offender is judged to be an adult of sound mind.

    Despite this law Verdonk said that research from the Dutch foreign ministry showed that "it is not completely impossible for gay men and women to function in Iranian society although it is important not to be to open about your sexual orientation".

    The Dutch gay rights organization COC branded the minister's decision as "revolting". ...


    Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad: Rethinking Muslim Methods

    Muslim WakeUp carries a wonderful piece by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad (hat tip: Big Pharaoh) on the need for reform in the Islamic world:
    Anyone who hasn’t capitalized on the recent malicious caricature portrayal of the Prophet (SAWS) to express their outrage, promote their organization, get their name in the paper, pontificate the loftiness of Islamic ideals, start a membership drive, do a little political posturing, or to open dialogue, or defend the Prophet (SAWS) has missed their opportunity. The issue has now officially become a non-issue. There was no fatwa or official sounding consensus of scholars declaring cessation of protest. On the contrary, the media puppeteers, knowing what motivates Muslims to action, simply turned off the cameras and directed them to another venue. Muslims are well trained to tailor their activity on the basis of subliminal media directives, and it looks like we were duped again. In other words ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been had. Or as al-Hajj Malik Shabaaz (Malcolm X) used to say, bamboozled, hoodwinked, flimflammed. ...

    Of course there are those in denial and that’s to be expected. After all, Islam is our universal adapter. All we need to do is preface an action with; “this is for the sake of Allah” or, “this is for Islam”, or, “this is in defense of Islam” and it assumes immediate legitimacy irregardless of whether it’s fair, Islamic, prudent, or in agreement with the shariah. Since as Muslims, everything we do is ostensibly in the name of Islam, for Islam, for the Muslims, for Allah, in defense of Islam etc., we are never wrong about anything, ever. Perhaps this is how we justify suicide bombings where the innocent (including women and children) are casualties. ...

    Whether we care to admit it or not, we’re slowly evolving into a people so consumed with self righteousness; rage, indiscipline, and intolerance, we cannot admit that we also make mistakes. Let’s grow up folks. Even Adam (AS) admitted his mistake and performed a healthy self assessment. To say that we overreacted to the cartoons is not only an understatement, it also raises questions about who we are and what we stand for. ...

    There's so much more. Please go read the whole thing.

    Courage in the Muslim World

    Kesher Talk salutes Nonie Darwish:
    Thank God there still are people in this world who stand up for moral courage - instead of the complex moral quagmire of relativism so prized by the Hollywood clique.

    One of those people is Nonie Darwish, herself the daughter of a Gazan "martyr" and a very brave woman.

    Last Friday she presented a petition with 36,000 signatures on it to the Academy, denouncing its selection of Paradise Now, a film that glorifies suicide bombers and the culture that produces them. That's the petition we had earlier mentioned here.

    Nonie Darwish harshly criticized the Palestinian film about two suicide bombers for "putting a human face on the murderers of children."

    She warned that if Paradise Now, one of five nominees in the best foreign film category, wins an Oscar at Sunday evening's ceremony, "it will send a message to young Arabs that we are accepted in the West and we have won."

    I have no idea if this film will win. But undoubtedly the idiots who vote for it think they are being brave and subversive. ...

    Meanwhile, one truly brave and subversive woman is speaking out on al-Jazeera, courtesy of MEMRI (Windows Media Player). Read the subtitles, but listen with the volume up, even if you're not fluent in Arabic, to get a sense of the beauty and power the Arabic language can express - especially in the mouth of a brave, articulate, and intelligent woman like Wafa Sultan. (And don't miss the scene of the religious guy fidgeting with his papers at the end!)
    It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat women like human beings. What I see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.

    ... Who told you they [the non-Muslims] are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath"?

    ... I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.

    ... Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me.

    ... The Jews came from the tragedy [of the Holocaust] and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror. With their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. ... We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant.

    Somehow the phrase "not mincing words" doesn't even come close. Go catch it all at the link.

    ISM Wins the Tasteless Event of the Week Award

    Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast. And no, it's not a joke, and no, I don't think it's funny either, but there it is. Via Israpundit, who says:
    Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast by by Melvin Kassam (Sunday March 05). “The Rachel Corrie Memorial Committee of Victoria Invites you to a pancake breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant Sunday March 12 , 2006 10 am.” Although we disagree with what Rachel Corrie was doing in the Middle East, we have always considered “pancake” jokes to be in bad taste and we are surprised that the International Solidarity Movement itself would hold a “Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast.” ...

    Read the rest at the link.

    Ampersand at "Alas" Rebuts Anti-Gay Claims of "No Basis"

    Robert Lerner and Althea Nagai seek to discredit 49 peer-reviewed studies supporting gay adoptions in the document No Basis (pdf). Ampersand at Alas, a Blog writes:
    Lerner and Nagai claim that studies of same-sex parenting don't meet minimum standards of scientific respectability. But are the standards they put forward ones they genuinely believe in, or are they standards that Lerner and Nagai opportunistically take on for the specific purpose of rejecting same-sex parenting studies?

    Amp looks at a 1996 study done by Lerner himself and finds that "this study flunks the standards advocated in No Basis." Read the rest at the link.

    Pakistan Blocking Blogs

    Pakistan is blocking blogs that carry the ever-popular Mohammed cartoons, Plus Ultra reports, citing a BBC report. Pakistan is also seeking an international law against blasphemy. (No, really, I'm not making this up.) Go read the BBC item.

    The diligent Plus Ultra provides a list of things besides blogs that are being blocked in Pakistan: kites, "decadent" films from India, alcohol, and the root-beer-swilling Jon of the Garfield comic. Read the full list at the link; you don't want any surprises on your next fun-filled trip to Islamabad.

    Sharansky on Democracy: Form and Substance

    Natan Sharansky's splendid column in the LA Times explains the Israeli neoconservative's criticisms of the Bush Administration's approach to democracy.
    I submitted a plan to Ariel Sharon in April 2002 for a political process that would culminate in the creation of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state alongside Israel. At the time, no one was thinking seriously about peace because, after the worst month of terror attacks in Israel's history, we had launched a large-scale military operation to root out the infrastructure of terrorism in the West Bank.

    I believed, however, that the crisis presented an opportunity to begin a different kind of political process, one that would link the peace process to the development of a free society for Palestinians. I had argued for many years that peace and security could be achieved only by linking international legitimacy, territorial concessions and financial assistance for a new Palestinian regime to its commitment to building a free society.

    Despite my faith in "democracy," I was under no illusion that elections should be held immediately. Over the previous decade, Palestinian society had become one of the most poisoned and fanatical on Earth. Day after day, on television and radio, in newspapers and schools, a generation of Palestinians had been subjected to the most vicious incitement by their own leaders. The only "right" that seemed to be upheld within Palestinian areas was the right of everyone to bear arms.

    In such conditions of fear, intimidation and indoctrination, holding snap elections would have been an act of the utmost irresponsibility.

    The recent election of Hamas is the fruit of a policy that focused on the form of democracy (elections) rather than its substance (building and protecting a free society). ...

    Read the whole thing.



    My 15 Minutes

    Reminder ... if you live in Portland, you can catch my ugly mug on Portland Cable Access tonight (very soon, in fact) and Friday night. Here, again, is the blurb:
    Iraq: Languages and Politics

    A 50-minutes television program featuring intreviews with Hama Mohammed, a Fullbright Scholar from Suleimanyia, Northern Iraq who studies Linguistics at the University of Oregon and Asher Abrams, blogger and verteran of the first Gulf conflict.

    on Portland Cable Access
    Sunday, 2/26 at 11pm on Channel 22
    Wednesday, 3/1 at 7:30pm on Channel 23
    Friday, 3/3 at 8:00pm on Channel 23

    Link: PCMTV Programming

    Many heartfelt thanks to Ann Kasper for making this possible.

    Afternoon Roundup

    Octavia Butler remembered. Baldilocks has a tribute to the late Octavia Butler:
    A lot of famous people have died this week—Don Knotts, Darren McGavin and Dennis Weaver--but I was most shocked and saddened to learn of the death of sci-fi/fantasy author Octavia Butler who was only 58. I was a big fan of her work, to say the least.

    All of her stories featured black persons—sometimes that fact was essential to the story line; other times it was incidental. For me, her best work was Lilith’s Brood, also known as the ‘Xenogenesis’ series: Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago.

    Her last work—which I haven’t read yet--is called Fledgling. I can’t wait to read, though I will dread finishing it, knowing that it will be Ms. Butler’s last.

    Freedom manifesto. Publishing at Jyllends-Posten, some of the bravest minds of our age challenge the orthodoxy:
    After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

    We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

    The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

    Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

    We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

    We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

    We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

    12 signatures

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Chahla Chafiq
    Caroline Fourest
    Bernard-Henri Lévy
    Irshad Manji
    Mehdi Mozaffari
    Maryam Namazie
    Taslima Nasreen
    Salman Rushdie
    Antoine Sfeir
    Philippe Val
    Ibn Warraq

    Go to the link for bios of these important people. The Belmont Club has this: 'The intellectual gauntlet has been flung full in the face of Islamism by an unlikely group which includes a Somalian woman, Bangladeshis, exiled Iranians, Lebanese, fugitive British writers of subcontinental origin and an assortment of individuals with a vague left-wing background, none of whom would have been granted admittance to a London gentleman's club in the 19th century. And their manifesto has been printed, not in the New York Times, Le Monde or the Times of London, but of all places, in a provincial Danish newspaper of no particular fame. Never has free speech in the West seen so unlikely a league of defenders. ...'

    One of the signatories of that manifesto, lesbian Muslim reformer Irshad Manji, answers readers on the Danish Mohammed cartoons:
    "I saw you on the Danish news. As a convert to Islam and an ethnic Dane, I have been so sad and shocked to watch my brothers and sisters behave in the most undignified way. Can't they see that they portray Islam as a violent and unforgiving religion? Personally, I can't see why non-Muslims should ever submit to an Islamic taboo. Actually I found the drawings to be hilarious. I know they were harsh, but that is Danish humour. And I think that Muhammad, peace be upon him, had a sense of humour." - Østen

    Irshad replies: He must have had a great sense of humor to put up with the ignorance and threats that he got from his fellow Arabs. Speaking of ignorance and threats...

    "i hear ur interview on cnn about the protests of cartoon character of prophet muhammad, peace be upon him. u said that why r there huge protests in muslim world. my answer is why not. print the cartoon of jesus and see what the christians will do.

    remember me because by gods promise u n ur partner that bastard rushdie will die with lot of pain n u both will pray for death but death will not come to u so easily inshallah. n u will die soon inshallah. n ur soul will rot in hell. read this n remember every day." - handsome_guy

    The rotting soul replies: I challenge you to read the next letter every day and learn the difference between between intimidation and disagreement...

    "Based on things I've read on your website, I'm sure we would not agree on most political issues and regarding sexuality (I'm a conservative Christian). However, I just want to say that I wish for you all things good, pray that you continue to influence people in a positive way, and thank God that you are out there doing that already. Shuukran and ma'salaama!" - Tracy

    "Caught your interview on CNN. Where did you get your ideas from? I know you like white cocks in your wide and stinky pussy but keep in your limits you dumb fuckin bitch ass gang banged hoe." - anonymous

    Irshad replies: I don't know where YOU get your ideas because I've never had such, uh, penetrating sex. Ever. In my life. But that, my friend, is the kind of pleasure you may need -- at least according to the next Muslim...

    "I saw you on CNN discussing the hysteria over the Danish Muhammad cartoons. I also read your book back in late 2003 and at that time I was struck with indignation and joined with other Muslims in condemning it. I'm a white boy who converted to Islam when I was 17 out of a combination of seeking meaning in my life and rebelling against society. I am also gay, and only came to terms with that about a year or so ago. And now, while I still believe in Allah and Muhammad as his messenger, I also get the feeling that God gives us plenty of room to be human.
    I guess while I love Allah, I dislike Muslims. Most, if not all, annoy me to the core of my being. Sometimes I feel that Muslims deserve to be offended by such trivial things like the Danish cartoons. I thought they were kind of funny, actually! I especially liked the quote by one of the editors of a Jordanian paper who reprinted the cartoons: 'What is more insulting to Islam, someone drawing a cartoon or someone blowing up a wedding party?'

    Muslims need to wake up. They also need to start drinking wine, embrace any and all homoerotic tendencies, write some poetry and for the most part free themselves of the fundamentalist chains they have created (for themselves and everyone else!). The Muslim world will only be free when bars fill the streets and women show off their natural, feminine beauty. Muslims need to grow up and stop expecting everyone to be mindless sheep before a 1,400-year-old oral tradition. Nakedness will free Dar-al-Islam!" - Jamal

    Irshad replies: When the revolution comes, Jamal, remind me to shave my legs.

    "Shari'a exists wherever Muslims happen to exist." Yet another beautiful post from Abde at City of Brass:
    n the wake of various polls that purportedly prove that British muslims desire Talibanesque rule, I'd like to bring attention to the following commentary on Shari'a from Thabet of the Muslims Under Progress blog:

    Shari'ah exists where ever Muslims happen to exist. So if a Muslim decides not to eat a bacon sandwich, to avoid alcohol, to visit the mosque on a Friday, to perform the qui-daily pray, to pay zakat, to ritually wash herself, and the Muslim does all this living in London, New York or Sydney, then shari'ah is in existence and being observed.

    This teaser excerpt does not do the essay justice; please do read the rest. Or not, as you prefer - I have discharged my duty. ...

    Now discharge your duty (if you choose!) and read the post at the link - and follow Abde's link to the original essay.

    Support the Women's Funding Network

    Thanks to Blanche for passing this on.

    Women's Funding Network
    From: Chris Grumm,President, The Women's Funding Network
    Date: 10/12/05 14:18:27
    To: Francis Kintz
    Subject: Help Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

    WFN Home Women Without Borders fund >> forward

    Dear Francis,
    Do the numbers 80,000 or 2,950,000 mean anything to you?
    In my weekly blog, I talk about how shocked I have been by “did you know”
    statistics. Here's what I mean...

    Did you know that 80% of the 800,000 people trafficked across borders every
    year are women and girls?
    How about that when you google “mail order brides,” you turn up with 2,950
    000 websites?
    Today, slavery has a new name – human trafficking.
    Like slavery, human trafficking is not the problem of "other" communities or
    countries, but rather it is a problem that festers beneath the surface of
    our own backyards.
    Don't miss a Lifetime Television movie event
    Human Trafficking
    Oct. 24-25, 9 PM ET/PT
    To host a gathering in your home to view the movie on October 24, click here

    So what can we do? First and foremost we can all get educated. Start by
    inviting your friends and colleagues to join you in watching the Lifetime
    mini-series Human Trafficking movie beginning October 24, 2005.

    Help us share their stories and raise awareness. It’s the first step in
    ridding the world of this crime.

    Sign up to host a viewing then download the step-by-step tool kit online.

    Human trafficking, like slavery, seems only as real as the history pages
    upon which it is written.
    You can help determine how the next chapter in is written – become educated
    and take action against human trafficking today!

    Chris Grumm
    President, The Women's Funding Network