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Tuesday, April 29

When you can't stop saying "fwuffy bunny" that's a sign you need a break

I'll return on Fwuf -- Friday morning.

Also, today the Canadian Islamic Congress announced that they're holding a press conference tomorrow at 10:00 AM to make a "public" offer of settlement with Maclean's regarding the Section 13 they filed. See Free Mark Steyn! and Steyn Online for links to all the commentary that will result.

My only comment on the offer is that there are no coincidences in war.

Regards to all,
Pundita

Barack "Fwuffy Bunny" Obama hops to dump international fugitive Aiham Alsammarae's dirty money

Well, well, I see Mr Fwuffy Bunny* continues to have a bad week. Will Fwuffy Bunny Press Corps kiss his boo-boo and make it better?
Question: How long do you keep a campaign contribution connected in any way, shape or form to said indicted political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko?

Answer: Until said contributor's name has been reported by mainstream media as a fugitive wanted both by Interpol ... and by the Iraqi government for the theft of $650 million in Iraqi reconstruction funds for going on two years. Otherwise, ignore it.
Read the rest at Rezko Watch.

When did Mr Obama become Fwuffy Bunny? Since he appeared on Fox News to explain he's actually a warm, fuzzy new kind of Republican: Cuddle me! Cuddle me!

Beware of Fwuffy Bunny! Threw his slave Daily Kos under bus!

But after watching Rev. Jeremiah Wright's media tour we can figure out where Fwuffy Bunny learned to throw an inconvenient dearest under the bus. Although come to think of it, maybe it's the other way around.

* Shamelessly plagiarized from a description of another Fwuffy Bunny. (It's a Canada thing, most probably blamed on Mark Steyn.)
*****************************
1:55 PM Update
Cross-posted at Rezko Watch, where you can see Fwuffy Bunny in flight!
3:55 PM Update
Uh oh. Fwuffy Bunny has thrown Rev. Wright under the bus -- actually, he did that during the Race Speech, as I noted in an earlier post. This time Fwuffy Bunny is taking no chances. He's thrown his dear old uncle under a speeding freight twain -- er, train.

"Without law, there is only the cadre."

John Batchelor has it right.

"We are going to tell you the truth about China" Teng Biao & Hu Jia speak

Jim -- If you consider the criticism to be counterproductive and humiliating to China, what about the humiliation that China has subjected the advanced Western democracies to?

We are more powerful than China, yet the Chinese government has made a complete fool out of us. In 2001 China's government promised they'd clean up their act for the Olympics then spent the intervening years lying in their teeth.

And now the scandal of the Genocide Olympics has exposed for all the world to see that we are the most awful hypocrites: in every way pandering to China's brutally repressive regime while at the same time mouthing platitudes about democracy, capitalism, and human rights.

So one can hardly blame many Chinese for being shocked, confused and angry at the Western criticism of China that exploded after the Lhasa riots in March. They assume there is some kind of conspiracy, a return to a Cold War stance. No. It's just millions of Westerners finally gagging on their own duplicity.

We should have spoken up strongly a quarter century ago -- a point I pounded home on this blog since 2005. But legions of 'China experts' kept telling Western governments that to speak up, to make strong demands and stick to them, would cause China to close up when they were just starting to open. And Chinese officials added to the chorus.

The result was that the Western governments in the most advanced nations treated the Chinese rulers as if they were two-year old invalids: 'Don't say anything to rile them or they might get hysterical, then they might do something to hurt themselves.'

This view of the Chinese is a subtle form of bigotry mixed with opportunism: 'Just pander to the Little Emperors so they'll do business with us and buy our paper.'

They got so used to Westerners fawning over them that many Chinese really can't understand what all the protests are about. There is a sense of betrayal, after working so hard to get ready for the Olympics -- and now the West is threatening to spoil their big party.

They sit around on web sites and complain about Western media bias against China. Yeah, some of that is paid operatives but I believe just as many are genuine. They pore over Western media accounts of the torch relays and Lhasa riots and ask, 'So this is the famous democratic 'fair and balanced?'

Hello, when your government is a commie dictatorship practicing neo-mercantilism while keeping close to a quarter of the world's population in the position of serfs, "fair and balanced" should go out the window.

Here we come to a snag: American journalists and news editors have had their heads screwed by the "equal time" rule in US news reporting. I swear if Hitler were alive you'd have to physically restrain some of them from giving equal time to his views on genocide.

Enough. Being fair and balanced about China's government has worked against the very Chinese who are struggling to bring in democracy and the rule of law, and often risking their lives and freedom to do so. Here is a glimpse of the real China, from two Chinese -- one, a scholar and human rights attorney and the other a human rights activist.

The activist, Hu Jia, was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison for the crime of writing five articles and giving two interviews. Now please read their letter. Then read about what happened to Hu Jia. (H/T Under the Jacaranda Tree)

Then tell me whether you still think it's unproductive for Westerners to criticize China.
(Below is a copy of the letter written on On September 10, 2007 by Teng Biao and Hu Jia, issued the open letter calling for the international community to look beyond the veneer of munificence and normality put up in Beijing for the Olympics, and to seriously examine to what extent China had fulfilled the promises it made to improve human rights ahead of the Games. (Taken from Human Rights Watch).

The Real China and the Olympics

On July 13th 2001, when Beijing won the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese government promised the world it would improve China’s human rights record. In June 2004, Beijing announced its Olympic Games slogan, “One World, One Dream.” From their inception in 1896, the modern Olympic Games have always had as their mission the promotion of human dignity and world peace. China and the world expected to see the Olympic Games bring political progress to the country. Is Beijing keeping its promises? Is China improving its human rights record?

When you come to the Olympic in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You will see the truth, but not the whole truth, just as you see only the tip of an iceberg. You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are built on a base of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood.

We are going to tell you the truth about China. We believe that for anyone who wishes to avoid a disgraceful Olympics, knowing the truth is the first step. Fang Zheng, an excellent athlete who holds two national records for the discus throw at China’s Special Sport Games, has been deprived of the opportunity to participate in the 2008 Paralympics because he has become a living testimony to the June 4, 1989 massacre. That morning, in Tiananmen Square, his legs were crushed by a tank while he was rescuing a fellow student. In April 2007, the Ministry of Public Security issued an internal document secretly strengthening a political investigation which resulted in forbidding Olympics participation by 43 types of people from 11 different categories, including dissidents, human rights defenders, media workers, and religious participants. The Chinese police never made the document known to either the Chinese public or the international community.

Huge investment in Olympic projects and a total lack of transparency have facilitated serious corruption and widespread bribery. Taxpayers are not allowed to supervise the use of investment amounting to more than US$40 billion. Liu Zhihua, formerly in charge of Olympic construction and former deputy mayor of Beijing, was arrested for massive embezzlement.

To clear space for Olympic-related construction, thousands of civilian houses have been destroyed without their former owners being properly compensated. Brothers Ye Guozhu and Ye Guoqiang were imprisoned for a legal appeal after their house was forcibly demolished. Ye Guozhu has been repeatedly handcuffed and shackled, tied to a bed and beaten with electric batons. During the countdown to the Olympic Games he will continue to suffer from torture in Chaobei Prison in Tianjin.

It has been reported that over 1.25 million people have been forced to move because of Olympic construction; it was estimated that the figure would reach 1.5 million by the end of 2007. No formal resettlement scheme is in place for the over 400,000 migrants who have had their dwelling places demolished. Twenty percent of the demolished households are expected to experience poverty or extreme poverty. In Qingdao, the Olympic sailing city, hundreds of households have been demolished and many human rights activists as well as “civilians” have been imprisoned. Similar stories come from other Olympic cities such as Shenyang, Shanghai and Qinhuangdao.

In order to establish the image of civilized cities, the government has intensified the ban against and detention and forced repatriation of petitioners, beggars and the homeless. Some of them have been kept in extended detention in so-called shelters or have even been sent directly to labor camps. Street vendors have suffered brutal confiscation of their goods by municipal agents. On July 20, 2005, Lin Hongying, a 56-year-old woman farmer and vegetable dealer, was beaten to death by city patrols in Jiangsu. On November 19, 2005, city patrols in Wuxi beat 54-year-old bicycle repairman Wu Shouqing to death. In January 2007, petitioner Duan Huimin was killed by Shanghai police. On July 1, 2007, Chen Xiaoming, a Shanghai petitioner and human rights activist, died of an untreated illness during a lengthy detention period. On August 5, 2007, right before the one-year Olympics countdown, 200 petitioners were arrested in Beijing.

China has consistently persecuted human rights activists, political dissidents and freelance writers and journalists. The blind activist Chen Guangcheng, recipient of the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award and named in 2006 by Time Magazine as one of the most influential 100 people shaping our world, is still serving his sentence of four years and three months for exposing the truth of forced abortion and sterilization. The government refused to give him the Braille books and the radio that his relatives and friends brought to Linyi prison in Shandong. Chen has been beaten while serving his sentence. On August 24, 2007, Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, was kidnapped by police at the Beijing airport while waiting to fly to the Philippines to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award on behalf of her husband. On August 13, 2007, activist Yang Chunlin was arrested in Heilongjiang and charged with subversion of state power “for initiating the petition ‘Human Rights before Olympics.’”

China still practices literary inquisition and holds the world record for detaining journalists and writers, as many as several hundred since 1989 according to incomplete statistics. As of this writing, 35 Chinese journalists and 51 writers are still in prison. Over 90 percent were arrested or tried after Beijing’s successful bid for the Olympics in July 2001. For example, Shi Tao, a journalist and a poet, was sentenced to ten years in prison because of an e-mail sent to an overseas website. Dr. Xu Zerong, a scholar from Oxford University who researched the Korean War, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for “illegally providing information abroad.” Qingshuijun (Huang Jinqiu), a freelance writer, was sentenced to a 12-year term for his online publications. Some writers and dissidents are prohibited from going abroad; others from returning to China.

Every year in mainland China, countless websites are closed, blogs deleted, sensitive words filtered. Many websites hosted abroad are blocked. Overseas radio and television programs are interfered with or strictly prohibited. Although the Chinese government has promised media freedom for foreign journalists for 22 months, before, during, and after the Beijing Olympics, and ending on October 17, 2008, an FCCC (Foreign Correspondents Club in China) survey showed that 40 percent of foreign correspondents have experienced harassment, detention or an official warning during news gathering in Beijing and other areas. Some reporters have complained about repeated violent police interference at the time they were speaking with interviewees. Most seriously, Chinese interviewees usually become vulnerable as a result. In June 2006, Fu Xiancai was beaten and paralyzed after being interviewed by German media. In March 2007, Zheng Dajing was beaten and arrested after being interviewed by a British TV station.

Religious freedom is still under repression. In 2005, a Beijing pastor, Cai Zhuohua, was sentenced to three years for printing Bibles. Zhou Heng, a house church pastor in Xinjiang, was charged with running an “illegal operation” for receiving dozens of boxes of Bibles. From April to June 2007, China expelled over 100 suspected US, South Korean, Canadian, Australian, and other missionaries. Among them were humanitarian workers and language educators who had been teaching English in China for 15 years. During this so-called Typhoon 5 campaign, authorities took aim at missionary activities so as to prevent their recurrence during the Olympics.

On September 30, 2006, Chinese soldiers opened fire on 71 Tibetans who were escaping to Nepal. A 17-year-old nun died and a 20-year-old man was severely injured. Despite numerous international witnesses, the Chinese police insisted that the shooting was in self-defense. One year later, China tightened its control over the Tibetan Buddhism. A September 1, 2007, regulation requires all reincarnated lamas to be approved by Chinese authorities, a requirement that flagrantly interferes with the tradition of reincarnation of living Buddhas as practiced in Tibet for thousands of years. In addition, Chinese authorities still ban the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and a world-renowned pacifist, from returning to Tibet.

Since 1999, the government has banned many religious beliefs such as Falungong and the Three Servants. Their followers have experienced extremely cruel and planned persecutions. Many died from abuse, suffered torture, brainwashing, imprisonment and labor camp internment for persisting in their faith, possessing religious books, making DVDs and writing articles to expose the truth of the persecution.

China has the highest death penalty rate in the world. Execution statistics are treated as “state secrets.” However, experts estimate that 8,000-10,000 people are sentenced to death in China every year, among them not only criminals and economic convicts, but totally innocent citizens, such as Nie Shubin, Teng Xingshan, Cao Haixin and Hugejiletu, whose innocence was proven only after they were already dead.

Another eight innocent farmers, Chen Guoqing, He Guoqiang, Yang Shiliang, Zhu Yanqiang, Huang Zhixiang, Fang Chunping, Cheng Fagen and Cheng Lihe, who confessed their “crimes” after being cruelly tortured by the police, have been sentenced to death and are currently held in prisons in Hebei [province] and in Jingdezhen [in Jiangxi province].

Torture is very common in China’s detention centers, labor camps and prisons. Torture methods include electric shock, burning, use of electric needles, beating and hanging, sleep deprivation, forced chemical injection causing nerve damage, and piercing the fingers with needles. Every year, there are reported cases of Chinese citizens being disabled or killed by police torture.

Labor camps are still retained as a convenient Chinese system which allows the police to lock up citizens without trial for up to four years. The detention system is another practice that the police favors, freeing them to detain citizens for six months to two years. Dissidents and human rights activists are particularly vulnerable targets and are often sent to labor camps, detention centers or even mental hospitals by authorities who want to simplify legal procedures and mislead the media.

China has the world’s largest secret police system, the Ministry of National Security (guo an) and the Internal Security Bureau (guo bao) of the Ministry of Public Security, which exercise power beyond the law. They can easily tap telephones, follow citizens, place them under house arrest, detain them and impose torture. On June 3, 2004, the Chinese secret police planted drugs on Chongqing dissident Xu Wanping and later sentenced him to 12 years’ imprisonment for “subversion of state power.”

Chinese citizens have no right to elect state leaders, local government officials or representatives. In fact, there has never been free exercise of election rights in township-level elections. Wuhan resident Sun Bu’er, a member of the banned political party the Pan-Blue Alliance, was brutally beaten in September 2006 for participating as an independent candidate during an election of county-level people’s congress representatives. Mr Sun disappeared on March 23, 2007.

China continues to cruelly discriminate against its rural population. According to the Chinese election law, a farmer’s right to vote is worth one quarter of that of an urban resident. In June 2007, the Shanxi kiln scandal was exposed by the media. Thousands of 8-13 year-old trafficked children had been forced to labor in illegal kilns, almost all with local government connections. Many of the children were beaten, tortured and even buried alive.

The Chinese judiciary still illegally forbids any HIV/AIDS lawsuits against government officials responsible for the tragedy. AIDS sufferers and activists have been constantly harassed by the secret police.

The Chinese government has been selling arms and weapons to Darfur and other African regions to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Chinese authorities have forcibly repatriated North Korean refugees, knowing that they would be sent to labor camps or executed once back home. This significantly contravenes China’s accession to the “Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees” and the “Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.”

• Please be aware that the Olympic Games will be held in a country where there are no elections, no freedom of religion, no independent courts, no independent trade unions; where demonstrations and strikes are prohibited; where torture and discrimination are supported by a sophisticated system of secret police; where the government encourages the violation of human rights and dignity, and is not willing to undertake any of its international obligations.

• Please consider whether the Olympic Games should coexist with religious persecution labor camps, modern slavery, identity discrimination, secret police and crimes against humanity.

As the Beijing Olympics slogan says, we live in “one world” with “one dream.” We hope that one day the Chinese people will be able to share universal human rights, democracy and peace with people from all around the world. However, we can see that the Chinese government obviously is not yet prepared to honor its promise. As a matter of fact, the preparations for the Olympics have provided the perfect excuse for the Chinese government to restrict civil liberties and suppress human rights!

We do not want China to be contained or isolated from the rest of the world. We believe that only by adhering to the principles of human rights and through open dialogue can the world community pressure the Chinese government to change. Ignoring these realities and tolerating barbaric atrocities in name of the Beijing Olympics will disgrace the Olympic Charter and shake the foundations of humanity. Human rights improvement requires time, but we should at least stop China’s human rights situation from deteriorating. Having the Olympics hosted in a country where human dignity is trampled on, will not honor its people or the Olympic Games.

We sincerely hope that the Olympic Games will bring the values of peace, equality, freedom and justice to 1.3 billion Chinese citizens. We pray that the Olympics will be held in a free China. We must push for the 2008 Olympics to live up to the Olympic Charter and we must advocate for the realization of “one world” with “one human rights dream.” We believe that only an Olympic Games true to the Olympic Charter can promote China’s democratic progress, world peace and development.

We firmly hold to the belief that there can be no true Olympic Games without human rights and dignity. For China and for the Olympics, human rights must be upheld!

Teng Biao, a scholar and human rights lawyer in Beijing. Hu Jia, a human rights activist in Beijing.

Monday, April 28

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, IOC president Jacques Rogge: sit down and shut up

(April 17) Mandelson warns boycotters to leave China alone
The European Union's commissioner for trade, Peter Mandelson ... said "there is no point in issuing gratuitous snubs and making gimmicky stands by boycotting the opening [Olympics] ceremony. It is much better to use the relationship that we have with Chinese state leaders to engage them in a proper dialogue about Tibet and human rights, while sustaining the economic and trade relationship that is so important to both of us." ...

(April 25) Olympics chief tells west not to hector China
The west must stop hectoring China over human rights, the Olympics chief has warned ... “You don’t obtain anything in China with a loud voice,” said Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee. This was the “big mistake of people in the west”. ...

(April 27)
Arms ship exposes Robert Mugabe’s link to Chinese firm
The boycott of a Chinese ship laden with weapons for Zimbabwe has cast new light on the connections between the African country’s president, Robert Mugabe, and a secretive Chinese arms-trading firm with a controversial track record from the Congo to Darfur. [...] The 15,000-tonne An Yue Jiang is registered in the southern city of Guangzhou and has been operated for about 20 years by Cosco, a state-owned cargo line.

(April 27)
Babies seized by Mugabe forces hounding voters
Scores of children and babies have been locked up in filthy prison cells in Harare as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, sinks to new depths in his campaign to force the opposition into exile before an expected run-off in presidential elections.

Twenty-four babies and 40 children under the age of six were among the 250 people rounded up in a raid on Friday, according to Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Yesterday they were crammed into cells in Southerton police station in central Harare.

“This is ruthlessness of the worst kind. How can you incarcerate children whose mothers have fled their homes hoping to give their children refuge?” asked an emotional Chamisa yesterday. “In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe even children are not spared the terror that befalls their parents.”

The families were rounded up from MDC headquarters, where they had sought refuge from violence in the countryside.

Thought to be directed by top military officers, Operation Where Did You Put Your Cross? has prompted thousands to flee. They are trying to escape the so-called war veterans, who are attacking people and burning down hundreds of houses for voting “incorrectly” in last month’s elections.

“What we’re seeing is an undeclared civil war,” said Chamisa. “It’s genocide. This situation is out of control, it’s now beyond the capacity of the MDC alone. It requires the region, the continent, the international community to act.”
I refuse to believe that this century will be defined by men such as Mandelson and Rogge and the murderers they embolden in the name of -- what? "Confidence building?" So I will not end this post on a despairing and angry note; instead I will republish a rousing tribute to Africans who showed their government how a decent person acts:
An African beacon of morality
by Gordon Barthos
The Star, Canada, Apr 26, 2008

So the Chinese rustbucket An Yue Jiang limps home today. And Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe can wave adieu to the 77 tons of weapons he ordered to prop up his shaky regime.

China recalled the "Ship of Shame" and its cargo of 3 million AK-47 rounds, 3,000 mortars and 1,500 rocket grenades, when it became a hideous embarrassment.

The United Nations can claim no great credit for this about-face, for all its fretting about Zimbabwe and its lofty talk of curbing the global traffic in small arms.

Nor can George Bush, Gordon Brown or Stephen Harper, who have wrung their hands as Mugabe connives to steal the March 29 election from Morgan Tsvangirai, but who haven't done much more.

Nor can Mugabe's buddies including South Africa's wilfully blind President Thabo Mbeki, who sees "no crisis." Not even as Mugabe's police ransacked Tsvangirai's headquarters yesterday, carting off computers, documents and staff.

What cancelled Mugabe's lethal Chinese take-out order was the raw outrage of ordinary African working people who saw their leaders letting down 12 million Zimbabweans. And who had the guts to stand up to them.

When the Chinese ship arrived in Durban last week, cargo handlers for the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union just said No to what they saw as a crime against humanity in the making. They turned their backs on the ship.

"We shall not become an accomplice to the repression and brutality" toward Zimbabweans "who only yearn for peace and genuine democracy" after 28 years under Mugabe's autocratic rule, union leader Randall Howard declared.

With those blunt words Howard hoisted a union-made Olympic torch of morality that put to shame South African officials who had cleared the ship to offload its cargo.

South Africa's top justices stood with the union, as did the Anglican church and the police, and barred the transfer. Africans cheered.

That emboldened Mozambique and Zambia, too, to shun the ship.

And Zimbabwe's democrats knew they were not forgotten, and alone.

Sunday, April 27

Is the Muslim Brotherhood behind the Section 13 complaints against Maclean's and Rogers Publishing?

Is the Section 13 complaint filed with the CHRC by Mohamed Elmasry against Rogers Publishing Ltd. et al. an operation designed and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood?

Did the Brotherhood use four students at Osgoode Hall, York University as 'frontmen' to approach Maclean's with demands and prepare Section 13 complaints against Maclean's and its parent company, Rogers Publishing, Ltd.?

The students -- Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan, Muneeza Sheikh and Daniel Simard -- were probably members of the Muslim Students Association at York. All the Muslim Students Associations in North America are set up and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you want an idea of the way things work at the York University MSA, this 2003 article will get you in the ballpark.

Is every member of the MSA a member of the Brotherhood? I'd assume the answer is no, but in the case of the 'Osgoode 4' university students, they are also members of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), which Elmasry heads, and which has been accused of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. The accuser is Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi. Here is an excerpt from his 2004 retort to charges by Mohammed Elmasry:
Interestingly enough, Elmasry's organization [CIC] is resorting to defamation against me in the same exact way it is resorting to defamation against Irshad Manji. [...] Our condemnation of Wahhabi extremism, our condemnation of terrorism and our friendly attitude toward Israel is enough for Dr. Elmasry and for other similar extremists to slander us and to forge against us the most absurd claims:

"In response to Palazzi's continuing allegations, CIC national president Dr. Mohamed Elmasry stated categorically that 'the CIC absolutely has never been, and never will be, affiliated with or controlled by any group or organization outside Canada.'"

If so, let Dr. Elmasry try to prove -- if he can -- that the CIC has absolutely no relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, with CAIR-Canada, with CAIR-U.S., or with ISNA. Let him also show -- if he can -- that in the United States, no member of CAIR or of ISNA is under investigation for its involvement in terrorism. Moreover, if there exist a document in which CIC has peradventure condemned Hamas and its strategy of suicide bombing, Dr. Elmasry is kindly requested to show it. [...]
Sheikh Palazzi's name pops up again -- in a paper titled Maclean's Magazine: A Case Study of Media Propagated Islamophobia, written by the Osgoode 4.

I'm unable to ascertain when the paper became publicly available, but my guess is that it was published to coincide with the CIC press release on December 4, 2007 to announce the Section 13 complaints filed against Maclean's et al.

Page 50 of the paper (in the appendix) carries an edited excerpt from a June 2006 interview with a terrorism expert, David Harris, which Maclean's published. Watch carefully, don't blink:
[...] [Q] "In your opinion, how radicalized is the Canadian Muslim population? What kind of numbers are we up against?

[A] Well, of course, it's impossible to assess -- there is no poll measuring the support for Wahhabism amongst our communities. But one can look at some of the statements by genuinely moderate clerics concerning the situation in North America. Imam Palazzi has claimed that 80 per cent of mosques in Canada are under the influence of radicals, though he does not by any means appear to suggest that 80 per cent of Canadian Muslims are themselves radical.

[Q] Who is Imam Palazzi?

[A] He's an Italian imam and he comes to Canada every now and then...

[Q] So do you trust Palazzi's assessment? Why would he have a sense of things in Canada?

[A] ... But it's a genuine question. And I guess a larger, related question is on what are they basing that assessment. [...]"
The ellipses in brackets are mine. But notice the ellipses that are not bracketed. The Osgoode 4 omitted a key piece of information from the interview. Here is what David Harris actually said in response to the following question:
"[Q] So do you trust Palazzi's assessment? Why would he have a sense of things in Canada?

[A] Well, he seems to take quite an interest in the country and has played a leading role in trying to bring about substantive reconciliation rather than the cosmetic variety the Wahhabist-oriented national Islamic organizations propagate. But it's a genuine question. And I guess a larger, related question is on what are they basing that assessment. [...]
Mohamed Elmasry tried to discredit Palazzi's qualifications to speak as an authority on Islam -- an attempt that Palazzi shredded in his 2004 reply to Elmasry.

Palazzi is a well-qualified cleric. Yet when you hear him talk about Islam, it's easy to suffer cognitive dissonance if you're steeped in Wahhabist interpretations of the religion. Is he really talking about Islam? Yes he is, and he'd also say that he's not a "moderate" Muslim, that he's simply the real deal, and that the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow travelers are spewing dangerous nonsense about Islam.

Palazzi's view of Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood's worst nightmare. See his Directory of Death to understand why the Brotherhood would never ever invite him to one of their backyard barbeques.

But it is the terrorism expert's quote of Palazzi's claim that "80 per cent of mosques in Canada are under the influence of radicals" that would have set off alarms among Brotherhood strategists.

So I think it's a safe assumption that Rogers Publishing, Ltd. went onto the Muslim Brotherhood's list the day that Maclean's published the interview with Harris.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the Brotherhood organized the attack on Rogers via Section 13 complaints, but it raises a flag. The Section 13 law would provide the Brotherhood with the perfect backdoor approach to getting control of Canadian news reporting on Muslim terrorism.

What is crystal clear from a reading of the Osgoode 4's paper is that is intended to be used as 'evidence' in any Section 13 hearings on Elmasry's Section complaint against Maclean's et al. And Maclean's is not the only target publication, which is why Elmasry's CHRC filing named Rogers Publishing as a respondent and not the magazine. The target is also the French language version of Maclean's published by Rogers, as well as any other Rogers publication that delivers hard news, and all the companion websites.

Can M-446 save Rogers Publishing from a ruling in Elmasry's favor? I don't see how. The bill that would need to evolve from M-446, and its enactment, would be coming too late. The first Section 13 tribunal to hear Elmasry's complaint convenes on June 2, in British Columbia.

Even if the bill passes and even if it completely strikes down Section 13 -- the latter very unlikely at this stage -- there could be years of legal wrangling to get all the Section 13 decisions overturned.

And even if Rogers fights a tribunal(s) decision all the way to the Supreme Court and wins, there would be years that all Rogers publications and webites would be forced to 'go dark' on reporting about Muslim terrorism.

With great understatement, a human rights tribunal ruling against Maclean's and/or Rogers would have a chilling effect on all other Canadian news outlets.

Conservative MP voices support for M-446; other good news from Marc Lemire

"Pundita, thought you'd like to see this:
Below is a letter written to Glenn Bahr, a victim of the Canadian Human Rights Commission by Conservative MP James Rajotte:
Dear Glenn:

The office of the Honorable Rona Ambrose, MP, has recently forwarded me a copy of your correspondence to her regarding your dealings with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

While I am only aware of the generalities of your specific case with the Tribunal and it would be inappropriate for me to comment without full knowledge of the situation, rest assured that I am in agreement with you that the Canadian Human Rights Commission (as well as similar bodies at the provincial level) has recently overstepped its original mandate and is in need of reform. Its mandate is to protect the human rights of Canadian citizens, not to curtail free speech and impose censorship on an open, democratic society.

I give you my assurance that when motion M-446 comes before the House of Commons it will have my support. Furthermore, the passage of M-446 in no way prevents the enactment of further legislation to reform human rights bodies in Canada, should the need arise in the future. [...]

Yours truly,
James Rajotte, MP
Edmonton-Leduc
Marc:

Thanks for sending me the good news! How are things going with you?

"Pundita:
All is good here.

Just busy trying to get out information on my criminal complaint against the CHRC for stealing that poor woman's internet connection to post on white nationalist websites.

I never believed it would ever turn out to be this bad.

My next mission is to get civil liberties organizations in Canada to intervene on my case. For them it's pretty easy. I have done all the hard work already.

They would intervene to just make final arguments.

It will make a huge difference at the Tribunal if they make arguments to support the Constitutional challenge of section 13.

Them getting involved will show to the tribunal this is a big issue that effects many people.

I appreciate you caring what is happening in my case.

With the evidence I have brought forward this case is no longer about me, but rather effects every Canadian who wants to post commentary on the internet.

We have a good chance to stop it now.

No other case will ever have the factual background of my case. Where the CHRC freely admitted they tried to set me up. And it's a real free speech case, where not a single word I ever wrote is at issue.

This is the case and now is the time!
Marc Lemire
Freedomsite"

Marc:
Much more than you may know is riding on your criminal complaint. Bless your courage and hard work.
Pundita

Friday, April 25

Jin Jing Olympic torch incident in Paris: more questions

"Hello Pundita,
I was sent the link to your "Have you noticed something odd about the attack on Olympic torchbearer Jin Jing in Paris? Watch carefully, don't blink" on the 22nd, by a reader of my blog.

I may be wrong, but it sounds like you and Michael haven't heard that other photos of the "attacker" in photo #7 (the famous one) were found by some bloggers in China. Of course they were trying to find his identity, probably so he could be tracked down by the "human flesh search engines" and persecuted or worse. As was done to Grace Wang at Duke.

But what they actually found was this same guy walking along to the protest surrounded by China partisans

I picked this up from Big Lizards [blog] and posted about it here:

Agam's Gecko: BREAKING: LYING LIARS FRAME TIBETAN

It was a Chinese blogger in Japan who first wrote about it, but the link to him and Big Lizards' post are both in mine.

An innocent older Tibetan guy in Utah was targeted as the culprit, and he's been harassed ever since. The photos don't conclusively prove anything, but an innocent man was framed for the deed.

I just thought you would be interested in a bit more of this strange story.

And good thinking to notice that the boys in baby-blue were nowhere to be seen in any of those pictures. Sure smells fishy to me.

All the best,
Agam
Agam's Gecko"

Dear Agam:
Thank you for writing. I took some time to read through your posts on various legs of the torch relay. I am impressed with all the good reporting work you've done.

Michael and I did study the photograph of the 'attacker' you mentioned; we saw it at ESWN at this link. Scroll down to second photo). I'll call the attacker Mr X.

I think that the photograph, taken on its own, is so inconclusive as to be useless for the purposes of helping to assign motive to the attack. We counted seven Westerners in the photo. The two in the foreground look like Green Party types, who were on the side of Tibetans in that protest.

And given the huge anti-China sentiment among human rights and global warming activists in Paris, I think you would have been hard pressed to find seven pro-China Westerners at the torch relay.

Yet there is also one Chinese in the photo sporting a China flag, someone (whose face is hidden by the camera angle) waving a red flag, and other Chinese in the background. And there are two darker-skinned men who might be Tibetan, and draped in what may be a Tibetan flag.

All that would make it a very mixed group, suggesting that the camera itself created the illusion of a 'group.' It could just be strangers filing toward a spot along the relay route.

The Chinese girl holding the small red flag seems to be smiling directly at the picture taker. So this may have been a friend who turned to snap a photograph of her while they were enroute to a particular spot for observing the torch run.

And notice that none of those people are looking at each other or talking to each other as they walk, which is not conclusive, but does not suggest a group.

Of course, as you and others have suggested, it could also be a pro-China group, which would lend to the theory that the attacker was working for China's government.

Yet there is not enough data in that photograph to suggest that Mr X was walking with a pro-China group, or even that the people in the photo were a group.

That's why I didn't mention the photograph in my earlier post. However, if I bring in a factor that is external to the photograph, I would be weighted to assume that Mr X would not have stayed around a pro-China group.

If anything, he would have stayed with Tibetans, for 'cover.' So I tend to think that the people in the photograph were not a group and just happened to be caught on camera as they filed toward the relay route.

The other factor I'm referring to is video footage of the moments leading up to Mr. X's attack on Jin Jing. That footage, taken with eyewitness accounts and the striking absence of the 'boys in blue,' suggests that the staging for Mr X's attack came even prior to the actual attack.

I will discuss the video in a later post. For now, I think the staging of the attack on Jin was carefully planned and executed; thus, I doubt that Mr X would have allowed himself to be seen with a 'group' of pro-China supporters.

I interject that it may be hard for people who have not been closely following the torch relay story and the blowback from the Lhasa riots to understand why it was so important for the CCP to stage such an incident. The way things work in China; people in Taiwan see the news on TV, then they get on the phone with relatives in the Mainland; an hour later half of China knows, but by that time the story has been wildly exaggerated.

I've overstated how news gets past China's censors to underscore the cadre's problem. The censors knew they could not block all the negative worldwide publicity about Lhasa and the torch relay. And they knew that a ptotest storm would strike in Paris. It was open knowledge that massive protests were planned.

Hu Jintao's crew also knew that his cadre had built up the Olympics so much to the Chinese people that if world opinion caused them to lose face, it could result in a party purge. So they had to stage a counter-incident that would divert attention in China from worldwide criticism of the torch relay.

Remember: the Israelis called it Operation "Orchard"

Senior sources in the Israeli government have privately confirmed to me that the recent New York Times articles and satellite photographs about the Israeli raid on an alleged Syrian nuclear target in Al Tabitha, Syria were of the completely wrong location.

Armed with this knowledge, I searched Google Earth satellite photos for the rest of the province of Deir al Zour for a site that would match the unofficial Israeli descriptions: camouflaged black factory building, next to a military ammunition dump, between an airport and an orchard.

There is a clear match in only one location, Longitude 35 degrees, 16 minutes 49.31 seconds North, Latitude 40 degrees, 3 minutes, 29.97 seconds East. Analysts and members of the public are invited to determine for themselves whether this was indeed the weapons dump for Saddam’s WMD.

-- John Loftus
November, 2007
Readers may recall that last year here in Punditaland we gnawed on the Syria bombing story until our gums bled. In the end, all we had were tantalizing speculations running in all directions and a bunch of map coordinates.

Was any of the mystery solved by yesterday's revelations? I am fairly certain that on October 6, 2007 Israel launched a bombing raid on one or more sites in Syria. Beyond that, I know that I will await with much curiosity the outcome of the latest round of Six-Party Talks, and that tonight I will beg off a party in Georgetown to curl on the couch and read Treasure Island by candlelight.

Sigh

Earlier I published a post, since deleted, that I cryptically titled "Go sit on a tack," and which I tersely explained was directed at certain persons. I have displayed considerable bad temper this past week. Yet my exasperation with certain persons in this case was unwarranted because to some extent I brought a misunderstanding on myself by not explaining the reason for the dedication on the sidebar.

People can be very curious about the identity of an anonymous writer, so I guess they could read into the dedication a familial relationship. Yet just because this an anonymously written blog, of course I would not display on it the name of any relative of mine.

But so as not to give anyone the idea that he can learn about me from the name of person I mentioned in the dedication, and so as not to bring bother to Cedric Fauntleroy's relatives, I have removed the dedication from the sidebar.

Cedric Fauntleroy and other members of the Kosciuszko Squadron repeatedly risked their lives to help others fight for their freedom, and yet they didn't have to do that. They did it because they believed it was the right thing to do.

That generation of freedom fighters is gone but they should not be forgotten, and I haven't forgotten them.

My post about the Kosciuszko Squadron is still in my archives, so anyone looking for the post can still find it.

Thursday, April 24

Whoops!

Last night I encouraged readers to send donations to Mark Steyn if they missed the deadline for the Freedom Five fundraiser. Actually, donations should be sent to the defendants via their websites. I've provided links to their sites in the update to Wednesday's post.

And in my haste I omitted Mark's full explanation about how the fundraiser was to work (although I provided a link to the explanation), which also conveyed the wrong impression that Mark was accepting cash donations.

The fundraiser was a sale of Steyn books and other items, and he would then donate half the proceeds to the defendants.

See Ezra Levant's report for background on Richard Warman's law suit against the Freedom Five.

For readers who've asked; I have not forgotten my threat to add every FreeSpeecher blog I could find to the Pundita blogroll. I realized on reflection that I would need to write an explanatory post to accompany the list because to my knowledge none of the blogs deal exclusively with the free speech issue. (This is the same for Binky's Free Mark Steyn! but that site is a gateway to all articles on the Canada free speech issue, which is why I added it to the blogroll.) So the writing chore is on my To-do list.

I have also been asked whether I think the Freedom Five could have avoided Warman's law suit. I am going to make a very careful reply, which I may expand on in a later post.

I think that many FreeSpeechers welcome the suit, as another means to bring the Section 13 issue to the attention of the Canadian public, and as a means to show up Richard Warman.

However, the weakness of the Free Speech movement is that it's not coordinated and there is no war council. That weakness is easily exploited by the movement's opponents.

Encore

Two posts up last night -- ZenPundit's take on General Petraeus's nomination to CENTCOM commander and news about a fundraiser for Canada's Freedom Five.

What follows is an encore of the Grovellers Song with added commentary, including responses to the post from a trio of bloggers (including John Batchelor, who has got himself a right proper blog), and my replies.

Axis of Grovellers Song: As China tries to sneak weapons to Zimbabwe, apologists for Middle Kingdom learn fine points of serving the emperor

More than 1,000 Zimbabweans a day are crossing the border into South Africa to flee starvation and massacres. Meanwhile, it's hard work clubbing millions of people to death, so Robert Mugabe ordered a massive shipment of ammo and light weapons from Hu "the Butcher of Lhasa" Jintao.

Then came the task of sneaking the shipment into Zimbabwe under the nose of governments that have a problem with democide. China got caught red handed. That's when the cat-and-mouse game really got underway --

"Fready?"

"Fwhat key? B Fwat?"

"Fno. C."

"Fokay. Fready?"

"Fwait. [coughs] Mi mi mi mi. Fready now. [Toots C on the harmonica]"

Christopher Alden and David Zweig sing in unison:

"O Dear Femperor!
Fwe don't deserve the honor when you walk across our back!
O Femperor of Femperors!
Fwe are overcome with graftitude fwhen you boot us in the ass!
Fwe're not worthy to grovel at your precious fweet
But if we're to keep telling the masses of your glory
Could you kick out fewer of our teeth?
"
(Christian Science Monitor) Hammered by criticism over its own human rights record and perhaps worried about its reputation ahead of the upcoming Summer Olympics, China signaled Tuesday that it might turn around a ship full of arms bound for its longtime ally, Zimbabwe. ...

While a number of Western governments have criticized the arms shipment, "China is most conscious of African reactions," says Christopher Alden, an expert on Chinese-African relations at the London School of Economics.

"This [signal] is a response to African governments' public criticism about potentially fueling a crisis." ...

"There is a trend of China making decisions that reflect the international perspective more than the narrow Chinese perspective," says David Zweig, a professor of Chinese international relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"China is learning on this. They want to be a responsible player" in world affairs. ...

(IOL, South Africa) The [South African] Democratic Alliance will ask the Chinese government to halt all weapons shipments to Zimbabwe, following reports that a second load of arms is bound for Zimbabwe.

According to Die Burger, Zimbabwean army generals decided on Monday to order a second load of weapons, this time by air.

It was hoped this would circumvent mounting opposition to about 77 tons of Zimbabwe-bound weapons currently on a Chinese container ship somewhere off the coast of southern Africa. [...]

Die Burger reported on Tuesday that another shipment is to be flown into Harare from China in the next week
(Emphasis Pundita's)
***********************************************
"AARGH!
LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!
I'm not listening I'm not listening I'm not listening
Sheesh. How much more of this can we take?
Baron Bodissey, Gates of Vienna"

Haha, Baron!
Are we having fun yet? Caliphate to the right of us, Middle Kingdom to the left of us. A succession of US administrations thought it was a great idea to use Red China and Saudi money as cannon fodder against the Soviet Empire. As for unintended consequences the administrations decided to deal with those tomorrow. So here we are, with all those tomorrows upon us.

"It seems that the cadre needs a human being to interpret the world of events. As if they have landed from Jupiter."
John Batchelor, Torchwatch"

John,
The cadre doesn't like it when they're called thugs but they have no illusions about what they are. The same can't be said for people such as Alden and Zweig.

"Ah, the London School of Economics. Shades of Harold Laski. The Tibet-China situation is rather depressing as the Tibetans have little leverage.

Hope you are well Miss P.!"
Mark Safranski, ZenPundit

Mark,
I'm still recovering from my meltdown earlier this week but I'll be okay; thanks. If you want to see why Tibet has more leverage than seems immediately evident take a look at this eerie photograph of the Olympic torch route being guarded by machine gun-toting soldiers in Indonesia.

The Olympic torch relay has converged with Tibetan protests of China's brutality.

The US mainstream media are studiously ignoring much news from around the world that's related to support for Tibet. But as the Torch of Shame continues its progress, Free World governments are getting more humiliated by the day.

The governments can no longer avoid confronting the fact that a communist dictatorship should never have hosted the Olympics. Every act that China takes in the effort to block or downplay the protests further exposes the regime's true nature and adds to the humiliation for Free World governments.

Under pressure from negative publicity China's rulers have fallen back on the 1960 Commie Bag of Tricks Playbook. This has given a young generation around the Free World their first look at the real China.

All this has converged with anger in several African countries about China's attempt to sneak arms into Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, April 23

A return to Section 13 and Canada's Free Speech Movement: Please support The Freedom Five!

Thursday Update
Mark Steyn reports that Wednesday's fundraiser was a smashing success. You can still donate to the individual defendants at their websites: Ezra Levant, Kate McMillan, Kathy Shaidle and Mark and Connie Fournier at Free Dominion.
********************************
Oh, Lordy, here it is 9:30 PM and I haven't yet posted mention of Mark Steyn's fundraiser, which is going until midnight! Have you ever known Pundita to ask for a donation -- for herself, or anyone? There's not even a donation button on my blog. But I am asking you now to please support the Freedom Five's legal defense fund with whatever donation you can spare. Thank you.

Mark is donating half the profits from his book America Alone and all related products (e.g., cassette) to the cause. And Binky at Free Mark Steyn! has a T-shirt discount sale going on to support the Freedom Five.

Here's some background from Mark; please visit Steyn Online for details on the fundraiser and links to all the blogs in under discussion:
Richard Warman, member of Stormfront and the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission's all but sole plaintiff, recently embarked on legal action against The National Post and its columnist Jonathan Kay plus five bloggers: Ezra Levant, Kate McMillan, Kathy Shaidle and Mark and Connie at Free Dominion.

All these folks have been important voices in exposing the rot at the CHRC and the improper and corrupt procedures that have developed since Warman began using the Commission as his personal inquisition. Those in favor of rolling back the "human rights" commissions' powers now include the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, PEN Canada, Liberal MP Keith Martin and every major newspaper from the conservatish National Post to the liberal Toronto Star. But these five bloggers were among the first to get the ball rolling and their energy has been critical to the campaign to restore free speech to Canada.

So, in order to support the Freedom Five as they resist Mr Warman's attempt to shut them down, we're holding a special fundraiser until midnight Eastern Time tonight. [...]

ZenPundit weighs in on Defense Secretary Gates and the Petraeus nomination to CENTCOM commander

(VOA, April 23), U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has named the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, to lead the U.S. Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. military operations and security cooperation throughout the Middle East and in Central Asia and East Africa.
"Mark, What do you think of the nomination? Good move, or is it kicking Petraeus upstairs?
Pundita"

"Miss P:
This is excellent news and yet more confirmation of the competence and vision of SecDef Robert Gates - as well as his political clout. General Petraeus was due for consideration for a significant posting after his tour of duty in Iraq and CENTCOM chief is among the best options.

Had Petraeus been sent to NATO or the Pentagon, that might have indicated an institutional retreat from the current, evolving COIN [counterinsurgency] strategy on the part of the Army's old guard, just as they did in the wind-down of Vietnam.

Moreover, the appointment of a traditional, conventional warfare advocate at CENTCOM instead of Petraeus could easily have been taken as a signal that the Bush administration was gearing up in it's waning days to "broaden the war" by initiating a major conflict with Iran.

I expect that Petraeus is also the most 'confirmable' candidate, given the rhetoric of Democratic candidates on Afghanistan. And given that NATO is struggling in executing COIN consistently against the Taliban, Petraeus' skill and experience will be needed to get things back on track without antagonizing our European allies.

On a related matter I'm very, very happy with Robert Gates. I think he just gave a 'shape up or ship out' warning to the senior brass.[1] What he said the other day to the cadets regarding John Boyd was akin to a Soviet General-Secretary giving a speech to the Supreme Soviet on the virtues of Milton Friedman. Or Pope Benedict praising Martin Luther.
Mark Safranski, ZenPundit

Dear Mark:
Thank you for your observations. I was not happy when I first heard Gates was on track for SecDef. Your analyses suggest I should stop sticking pins in his effigy -- er, wait a minute, maybe it's been working.

Also, I note that you're recommending John McCain signal that if he wins the White House he's going to keep Gates as SecDef.

Interesting points. And Gates in that position might dissuade President McCain from his views on Russia, which deeply trouble me. We discussed this in March; I mentioned that I fully agreed with your position on the matter.

10:00 PM Update
Mark has sent me a link to a Small Wars Journal roundup on commentary about the Petraeus nomination that they consider interesting. I was struck by SWJ's very chilling closing comment, which burst my bubble of joy about the nomination. Yes. What indeed is going to happen when Ambassador Ryan Crocker retires? I'd forgotten all about that question in the tumult.

War: this thing that is always changing from moment to moment:
While General Petraeus to CENTCOM and General Odierno to MNF-I provide the military continuity – the wild card is the diplomatic continuity. With Ambassador Crocker’s retirement and a change at the top of our diplomatic leadership – both in January – the time is now to address the “all instruments of national power” requirements to see this thing through.
1) Video of the Gates speech

Axis of Grovellers Song in Key of C

"Fready?"

"Fwhat key? B Fwat?"

"Fno. C."

"Fokay. Fready?"

"Fwait. [coughs] Mi mi mi mi. Fready now. [Toots C on the harmonica]"

Christopher Alden and David Zweig sing in unison:

"O Dear Femperor!
Fwe don't deserve the honor when you walk across our back!
O Femperor of Femperors!
Fwe are overcome with graftitude fwhen you boot us in the ass!
Fwe're not worthy to grovel at your precious fweet
But if we're to keep telling the masses of your glory
Could you kick out fewer of our teeth?
"
(Christian Science Monitor) Hammered by criticism over its own human rights record and perhaps worried about its reputation ahead of the upcoming Summer Olympics, China signaled Tuesday that it might turn around a ship full of arms bound for its longtime ally, Zimbabwe. ...

While a number of Western governments have criticized the arms shipment, "China is most conscious of African reactions," says Christopher Alden, an expert on Chinese-African relations at the London School of Economics.

"This [signal] is a response to African governments' public criticism about potentially fueling a crisis." ...

"There is a trend of China making decisions that reflect the international perspective more than the narrow Chinese perspective," says David Zweig, a professor of Chinese international relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"China is learning on this. They want to be a responsible player" in world affairs. ...

(IOL, South Africa) The [South African] Democratic Alliance will ask the Chinese government to halt all weapons shipments to Zimbabwe, following reports that a second load of arms is bound for Zimbabwe.

According to Die Burger, Zimbabwean army generals decided on Monday to order a second load of weapons, this time by air.

It was hoped this would circumvent mounting opposition to about 77 tons of Zimbabwe-bound weapons currently on a Chinese container ship somewhere off the coast of southern Africa. [...]

Die Burger reported on Tuesday that another shipment is to be flown into Harare from China in the next week
(Emphasis Pundita's)

Tuesday, April 22

Have you noticed something odd about the attack on Olympic torchbearer Jin Jing in Paris? Watch carefully, don't blink

Whereupon 70 members of China's People's Armed Police take a potty break at the same time --

Michael Wright: [studying photographs at ESWN] Okay, I'm looking but I don't see what you're driving at -- wait a minute; this one looks like it could be staged. The attacker looks like he's posing for a picture taker. He's not even looking at Jin while he's grabbing for the torch. [Photo #7, first series of photos at ESWN]

Pundita: Yes, but look again. Something is missing from all the photos. Where are the police during the attack on Jin?

Wright: The police are just standing there, watching the attack.

Pundita: Do those police look Chinese to you? Those are French police.

Wright: The goon squad is missing! Probably millions of people have seen these photos and nobody picked up what you did.

Pundita: Don't kid yourself. The Paris police would have taken one look at those photos and knew the attack was staged. The Chinese police were sticking like glue to the torch carriers. Look even at the long shots. Not one of the blue-and-white jogging suits is around before, during, or after the attack.

Wright: Okay but the media haven't picked this up. I can see why you're so upset.

Pundita: That's not why. Anyhow, those are French policeman tackling the Tibetan protestors. But notice they're not tackling the guy who grabbed Jin. See the Tibetan flag in the two tackling photos? The grabber doesn't have a flag, and the guy thrown on the ground is not the grabber either.

Wright: Wonder what happened to him.

Pundita: Differing versions in the accounts accompanying the photos. But they boil down to his being hustled away.

Wright: And for this, all of French officialdom is kissing China's hand and begging forgiveness.

Pundita: French business concerns in China couldn't care less whether the incident was staged. They just want to make sure their government kowtows to Beijing. Another triumph for the Chinese Communist Party, courtesy of the CCP Deception and Denial handbook.

Wright: There's one of the squad. You can see the sleeve to his jogging outfit. [Photo #12, first series]

Pundita: Yes, there are blue-and-whites in the last three photographs but those are taken at a different site, different time, than the grabbing attack. The eyewitness accounts at ESWN stress the absence of the police.

Wright: It's possible you're reading the situation wrong, if you think this is a triumph. They couldn't have the Chinese police around for the attack because the Chinese public would be very upset that the squad hadn't protected her. At the same time they needed photographic documentation of the attack. That meant anybody who knew about the squad could note their absence. Staging the attack could have been a desperation move.

How long have you been sitting on this find?

Pundita: Since I saw the photos at ESWN; sometime between the 10th and 12th.(1)

Wright: Why didn't you mention it before?

Pundita: The Chinese police accompanying the torch are infamous; there have been MSM news reports on them from London to Canberra, starting around the 10th. Anyone following the torch relay story closely would know about the squad.

So it should have taken the major media 15 minutes to notice the oddity about the attack on Jin Jing, starting from the minute the photos surfaced.
(BEIJING Reuters April 11) - A wheelchair-bound Chinese torch bearer has rocketed to national fame after fending off protesters in Paris, becoming a symbol of China's defiance of global demonstrations backing Tibet.

Jin Jing, a 27 year-old amputee and Paralympic fencer has been called the "angel in a wheelchair" and is being celebrated by television chat shows, newspapers and online musical videos after fiercely defending the Olympic torch during the Paris leg of the troubled international relay.

Protesters denouncing Chinese policy in Tibet threw themselves at Jin. Most were wrestled away by police but at least one reached her wheelchair and tried to wrench the torch away.

Jin clung tenaciously to what has become a controversial icon of the Beijing Olympic Games until her attacker was pulled off.

Her look of fierce determination as she shielded the torch, captured in snapshots of the scene, has now spread throughout China, inflaming simmering public anger at the protests.

"I thought we had lost in France, but seeing the young disabled torch bearer Jin Jing's radiant smile of conviction, I know in France we did not lose, we won!" said one of tens of thousands of Internet postings about the incident. [...]

Jin, cheerful and photogenic, has emerged to embody nationalist indignation at Western criticisms and protests.[...]

(BEIJING, Wasington Post, April 10) -- As protesters besiege the Olympic torch on its global tour, a phalanx of tall, tough-looking young Chinese men in blue-and-white running gear have vigorously protected the flame -- too vigorously in the eyes of those who consider protest a constitutional right.

With their steely demeanor and strong-arm tactics, they have become a symbol of what is going wrong for Chinese authorities who had hoped to make the 2008 Beijing Games a worldwide celebration of China's friendly new face.

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Olympic organizing committee for 2012 in London, called the men "thugs" and said they had pushed him around when the flame passed through the city Sunday. A spokeswoman for the Paris police, Marie Lajus, said the men had failed to coordinate with local authorities when they grabbed the torch and put out the flame during protests in the French capital Monday. One torchbearer described them as aggressive and robotic; another called them tense and irritable." [...]

Resentment of the Chinese guards in London and Paris was heightened by apparent efforts to maintain secrecy about who they were. After the complaints in London, British police refused to be specific. Police in Paris said they were not really sure. [...]

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said in Beijing on Thursday that surrounding the torch with private security agents has become "standard practice" in pre-Olympic relays. He did not differentiate between private security and China's People's Armed Police, which has been used extensively in recent weeks to put down protests in Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited areas -- the conflict that inspired most of those demonstrating abroad as the torch passed.

(TOKYO Reuters, April 11) [...] Chinese state media have reported that the "flame protection squad", consisting of some 70 members of China's People's Armed Police, has been employed by the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee to safeguard the fire for 24 hours a day.[...]
1) The Olympic Torch Tour as Public Relations Disaster, ESWN, April 10 -- same link as above; pix and various eyewitness accounts.
http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20080410_1.htm

The Empire Barely Needs to Strike Back: Rupert Murdoch as this era's Edgar Snow, and 'anticipatory compliance' with Saudi billionaires

"And their global reach extends a little further day by day, inch by inch, in the lengthening shadows, as the lights go out one by one around the world."
-- Mark Steyn, from The vanishing jihad exposés

From Fjordman's The Muslim Brotherhood's Infiltration of the West:
"Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, is an international investor ranked among the ten richest persons in the world. In 2005, Bin Talal bought 5.46% of voting shares in News Corp, the parent of Fox News.

In December 2005 he boasted about his ability to change what viewers see. Covering the Jihad riots in France that fall, Fox ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."

According to Talal, "I picked up the phone and called [Rupert] Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty. Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."
From George Monbiot's review of Bruce Dover's Rupert Murdoch's Adventures in China
[Rupert] Murdoch ... began his assault on China with two strategic mistakes. The first was to pay a staggering price - $525m - for a majority stake in Star TV, a failing satellite broadcaster based in Hong Kong. The second was to make a speech in September 1993, a few months after he had bought the business, which he had neither written nor read very carefully.

New telecommunications, he said, "have proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere ... satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels".

The Chinese leaders were furious. The prime minister, Li Peng, issued a decree banning satellite dishes from China. Murdoch spent the next 10 years grovelling. In the interests of business the great capitalist became the communist government's most powerful supporter.

Within six months of Li Peng's ban, Murdoch dropped the BBC from Star's China signal. His publishing company, HarperCollins, paid a fortune for a tedious biography of the paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, written by Deng's daughter.

He built a website for the regime's propaganda sheet, the People's Daily. In 1997 he made another speech in which he tried to undo the damage he had caused four years before. "China," he said, "is a distinctive market with distinctive social and moral values that western companies must learn to abide by."

His minions ensured, Dover reveals, that "every relevant Chinese government official received a copy".

But the satellite dishes remained banned, so he grovelled even more. He described the Dalai Lama as "a very political old monk shuffling around in Gucci shoes".

His son James claimed that the western media were "painting a falsely negative portrayal of China through their focus on controversial issues such as human rights".

Rupert employed his unsalaried gopher Tony Blair to give him special access: in 1999 Blair placed him next to then Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, at a Downing Street lunch.

To secure some limited cable rights in southern China, News Corporation agreed to carry a Chinese government channel - CCTV-9 - on Fox and Sky. Murdoch promised to "further strengthen cooperative ties with the Chinese media, and explore new areas with an even more positive attitude".

Most notoriously, he instructed HarperCollins not to publish the book that it had bought from the former governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. Dover reveals that Murdoch was forced to intervene directly (he instructed the publishers to "kill the f**king book") because his usual system of control had broken down.

"Murdoch very rarely issued directives or instructions to his senior executives or editors." Instead he expected "a sort of 'anticipatory compliance'. One didn't need to be instructed about what to do, one simply knew what was in one's long-term interests."

In this case HarperCollins executives had failed to understand that when the boss objected to Patten's views on China, it meant that the book was dead.

Anticipatory compliance also describes Murdoch's approach to Beijing. Dover shows that the Chinese leadership never asked for Chris Patten's book to be banned: they didn't even know it existed. But when Murdoch killed it, "our Beijing minders were impressed and the Patten incident marked a distinct warming in the relationship".[...]
From Paris mounts diplomatic charm offensive to mollify China, IHT April 21:
French officials played down the risks of a Chinese boycott of French goods, arguing that Beijing depended more on French consumers than France depended on Chinese consumers. China's exports to France are worth four times as much as French exports to China.

But the concern in the business community was plain. The chief executive of Carrefour, José Luis Durán, told the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that China was of "strategic importance" to his company. Carrefour has 112 hypermarkets and more than two million customers in China.

Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods group, which has been the target of boycott calls, said last week that France should stop trying to teach China lessons.

[...]

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier of Germany, a Social Democrat, apparently also moved swiftly to avert any awkwardness. He let it be known that he was on the phone with his Chinese counterpart for a full hour the day after the protests in Lhasa. The contents of that conversation have not been disclosed.

Steinmeier, who was chief of staff when Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, was chancellor, deflected criticism that he was pushing business interests with China rather than addressing human rights concerns by initiating a program to enroll hundreds of Chinese students to study law in Germany.
From What is the secret of the Chinese economy?
Often when we try to understand the reason why Chinese goods (shoes, clothes, toys, gadgets…) cost so little, the answers we are given by newspapers and television shows are always the same: incredibly long work hours, child labor, the low salaries paid to the local work force.

But what they don’t talk about ... are the tortures, the killings, the illegal traffic of organs, the abuse and the horrors that millions of people are subjected to every day.

In China the abundant work force often costs nothing: they are prisoners condemned to hard labor.

Further, the raw materials are sometimes the prisoners themselves: their dead bodies are used for the cosmetic industry and the illegal traffic of organs.

We are referring to are the Laogai, which in Chinese means “reform, reeducation through work.”

These are the concentration camps which are the foundation of the Chinese prison system as well as its “economic” system.

This is where toys, clothes, mineral products, etc., are produced, the fruit of the 18-20 hours of daily labor of prisoners, mostly political dissidents, in their daily efforts to complete the “rehabilitation process” they were sentenced to by the representatives of the Chinese Communist Party. [...]
From Unmasking Mao by Ronald Radosh
Not only did Mao [Zedong] not suffer on the [Long] March, he was carried the entire thousands of miles on a litter, with porters assigned to carry all his luggage, books and belongings.

In all details Mao was a new Emperor, who in practice never allowed egalitarianism to enter his private domain. Mao read as his carriers trekked up mountains, with their skin and flesh rubbed raw, as they sweated and shed much blood.

As for the reported critical battle at a bridge over the Dadu river, a suspension bridge between two cliffs, Edgar Snow had reported that the wooden panels had been removed and Mao’s troops crossed on bare iron chains, facing machine gun fire as the remaining planks were burning.

“Who would have thought,” Snow wrote, “that the Reds would insanely try to cross on the chains alone?”

The truth is that the story is false. No battle took place at the bridge – a site picked by Mao to portray heroic deeds to the gullible Snow because it looked like a good place for them to have occurred.

Later, a phony propaganda film was made in which a mock battle was filmed and offered as evidence.

Monday, April 21

Due to technical difficulties there may not be a Pundita post for the rest of the week -- CNN, BBC, Jack Cafferty are you out there?

2:30 PM Update
The earlier update explains why I added CNN and Jack Cafferty to the title (The Beeb knows why I included them). A few more clarifications: CNN, you have already kowtowed once. Now they're demanding you kowtow twice and they will demand a third kowtow, just so everybody in China knows that the CCP controls CNN. And maybe a fourth kowtow for good measure.

You've been in China for how many years? And you still don't know how the Chinese think. If they threaten to throw you out, reply that in that case you'll have no choice but to sit on the air every night and read chapters from the book I mention below.

You know what happened with CNN in Iraq. The excuse was that it was better to get some news to the outside world than none at all. But the upshot was a completely distorted view of what was happening there. You know the horrific consequences. You have repeated that mistake in China. But this time you have a chance to help dismantle the myth that the Western news media helped modern China's communist party create.

1:45 PM Update
I have added the keywords CNN, BBC and Jack Cafferty to the title in hopes this post will come to the attention of a CNN producer who wrote me several months ago but whose name I can't recall, and I seem to have lost his email address. But if he's reading this:

CNN, please do not make matters worse and apologize again to China's government. Don't apologize to anyone. Stand firm. If you need moral support -- please contact Kenneth Whyte, the Editor-in-Chief of Maclean's magazine, which is Canada's only national newsweekly. Click on this link to a Maclean's article to understand why I suggest Whyte.

If you need more moral support, I can't promise I'll be putting up another post but if I do it might be some help.

Re the tone of my letters (see below) if I had been thinking straight when I posted them, I would have mentioned to readers that a specific incident within the past 24 hours set me off. The problem is that I have said almost nothing about myself during all the years of this blog. Pundita is a big mystery as far as the public is concerned. So the outburst seemingly comes out of nowhere. That's not the way it is; my outburst has been building for -- let's see, about 40 years.

****************************************

"Calm down. You don't want walk away after the work you've put into the blog. Just say what you think, that's the best you can do.
MW"

"What the [deleted] you mean, calm down? I'm calm, I'm just [deleted] finished, that's all. What's the use?

What am I supposed to write? "Dear Mr. and Ms. America, dear World, I think you're pieces of shit because you have no problem buying toys and machinery from Death Camp, Inc."

What do you want me to go on saying? What's there to say?
Pundita"

"Most people don't know what's really going on in China. How about if we talk? I'll find some time today. Just don't do anything rash. If you delete the blog you're going to regret it. Promise me you'll take off for a few days to cool down before you hit the delete button.
MW"

"Do you understand that this keeps happening with China, over and over again? Like a grotesque version of Groundhog Day. What the [deleted] does the world have against the Chinese that they're willing to support genocidal regimes in that country? Over and over again?

Why China? You go back in time you see it's not about the money, it's not about cheap goods, it's not about triangulation, and it's not about leftist ideaology because each generation keeps coming up with a different excuse for why they do it to China. The latest is "China is the future."

Maybe it's the Christians working on successive US governments to keep looking the other way but then that would be a rational reason: We wanna convert the heathens so don't lean too hard on their leaders.

Okay; that would be the height of evil but it would make sense. I no longer think there is sense at work with regard to China.

The worst part is that the West is not just a fellow traveler; the praise that Westerners have heaped on China has been used by the regimes to convince millions of Chinese that they're on the right track. This is how Mao was able to get away with murdering 70 million Chinese.
Pundita"

"As long as you're going to kill off the blog why don't you put up something to explain how you feel, then take a little time to calm down?
MW"

Note to reader: I have taken the advice but while I started on the project to remove all these symbols €™ from the following, I didn't finish. The symbol is used for apostrophes and dashs. The other problem is that Enzo's comments on Windschuttle's review are not clearly blocked out in my copy of the piece at Simon World. So it's really easier to read the article at Simon World, which also provides links.

Windschuttle was wrong -- I was wrong in 2005 when I first mentioned his review and agreed with him. He wrote "If any single book in our own time has the capacity to change the course of history, this is it."

Nah. Didn't happen. Won't happen. Americans and Europeans have seen to it that the information in that book is suppressed. To blame this only on the media or politicians is a cop-out.

I'm going to sign off before I change my mind about publishing this post.

"You are on the individual archive page of Mao and the maoists. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.

Mao and the maoists
This review of Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday is also the chance to remind the bloody history of the man whose gigantic portrait still overlooks Massacre Square, whose statues still stand in chinese villages, towns and cities, whose political heritage CCP has never repudiated.

Keith Windschuttle starts and ends his piece highlighting the responsibility of western intellectuals and journalists for praising the barbarism of Mao era and for lying against every evidence:

Snow's book played a major role in converting public opinion in both America and Europe towards a more favorable view of Mao. Its biggest impact, however, was within China itself, where it had a profound influence on radical youth. Red Star over China and the Mao autobiography were quickly translated into Chinese and widely distributed. Many young, urban, middle-class Chinese men and women who read Snow’s books were converted. They cut their long hair short -- still a daring and eyebrow-raising gesture in the 1930s -- and joined the Communist Party. By 1941, thanks to the reputation Mao had earned from the Long March, party membership had grown to some 700,000.

Edgar Snow was the first, but he was far from being the only Western writer or artist to succumb to Maoism.

Instead, the West was fed a steady diet of propaganda from respectable political leaders and writers who asserted the opposite. The future Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visited in 1960 and wrote a starry-eyed, aptly titled book, Two Innocents in Red China, which said nothing about the famine. Britain's Field Marshal Montgomery visited in both 1960 and 1961 and asserted there was “no large-scale famine, only shortages in certain areas.” He did not regard the shortages as Mao's s fault and urged him to hang on to power: "China needs the chairman. You mustn't abandon this ship."

The United Nations was completely ineffectual. Its Food and Agricultural Organization made an inspection in 1959, declaring that food production had increased by 50 to 100 percent in the past five years:

"China seems capable of feeding [its population] well.” When the French socialist leader, François Mitterand, visited in 1961, Mao told him: "I repeat it, in order to be heard: There is no famine in China."

Mitterand dutifully reported this assurance to a credulous world. At the same time, Mao enlisted three writers he knew he could trust—Edgar Snow, Han Suyin, and Felix Greene—to spread his message through articles, books, and a celebrated BBC television interview between a fawning Greene and Chou En-lai.

Among Western intellectuals, Mao’s most enthusiastic supporters came from the French Left. Simone de Beauvoir visited China in 1955 and declared: “The power he [Mao] exercises is no more dictatorial than, for example, Roosevelt’s was. New China’s Constitution renders impossible the concentration of authority in one man’s hands.” She wrote a lengthy book about her visit entitled The Long March. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, her consort Jean-Paul Sartre praised the “revolutionary violence” of Mao as “profoundly moral.”


This was the regime western intellectuals (and politicians) appreciated and excused:

Chang and Halliday calculate that over the course of his political career from 1920 to 1976, Mao was responsible for the deaths of 70 million Chinese. This is more than the total killings attributable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined. The biggest single number of Chinese dead was the 38 million who perished in the famine of the four years from 1958 to 1961, during the so-called Great Leap Forward.

Westerners have known since Jasper Becker’s path-breaking 1996 book Hungry Ghosts: China’s Secret Famine that the famine killed between 30 and 40 million people. Becker attributed this to Mao’s ideological folly of conducting an ambitious but failed experiment in collectivization. Chang and Halliday produce new evidence to show it was more sinister than that.

Mass homicide on the scale of the Great Leap Forward was something that Mao prepared for. He told the 1958 party congress it should not fear but actively welcome people dying as a result of party policy. It was a common theme of his at the time. In Moscow in 1957 he said: “We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.” On the prospect of another world war, he told the party in 1958: “Half the population wiped out—this happened quite a few times in Chinese history. It’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third.” Hence, Mao’s eventual career tally of 70 million deaths was actually much less than he anticipated.

Mao used precisely the same model in the so-called Cultural Revolution of 1966–1968. Party historians and sympathetic Western academics, then and now, rationalize this event as Mao’s attempt to revive the revolutionary spirit and arrest pro-capitalist and anti-socialist tendencies. In reality, Chang and Halliday show, it was yet another purge of Communist officials designed to terrorize the party and secure Mao’s leadership. Indeed, Mao himself thought of it as the Great Purge. Its principal targets were those party leaders who thought Mao’s attempts at collectivization and industrialization during the Great Leap Forward were a disaster.

But what were the main differences between Mao and the other totalitarian mass murderers of the XX century?

What made Mao the greater monster was not just the sheer quantity of his killings. It was because so many of his victims came not only from his real and imagined enemies but also from his own supporters. Chang and Halliday make it clear that Mao built his political power out of a life-long strategy that easily outdid even Stalin in waging murder and terror among his own Communist Party comrades.
Mao’s innovation to the Soviet system was to turn this persecution into public display. Mass rallies, public denunciations by informers, and public confessions of being AB (anti-Bolshevik) became the order of the day. Mao used this accusation to purge the party hierarchy of anyone who disagreed with him or whom he thought potentially disloyal.

Unlike Hitler and Stalin, who used secret police to arrest and interrogate victims, Mao used all those not yet accused to spy on, guard, interrogate, arrest, and punish those already accused. The Yenan settlement became a self-perpetuating totalitarian state. No outside press or radio communication was permitted. No letters could be sent or received from the outside world: Indeed, letters were construed as evidence of spying. Humor, sarcasm, and irony were banned. The regime invented a new catch-all offence, “Speaking Weird Words,” which meant any comment that could be interpreted as a complaint or a wisecrack could have its speaker accused of being a spy or traitor. Two years of this regime transformed the once young and passionate volunteers into robots, capable of enunciating nothing but bland echoes of the party line.

Mao and CCP today:

Chang and Halliday finish their biography with a gloomy reminder. In the face of today’s renewed bout of Western enthusiasm for China and its purported miracle economy, they use their epilogue to emphasize just how little has changed politically. Today, Mao’s portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital. The current Communist regime declares itself to be Mao’s heir and fiercely perpetuates his myth.

Ever paid a visit to Mao's Mausoleum? So much for "socialist political democracy"...

But:

In the past, books about China have played a major role in altering its politics. Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China was important in winning domestic support for the Chinese Communist Party. Chang and Halliday’s book will be impossible to ignore. It will no doubt be banned in China, but will still circulate secretly and be more sought after for that. The tens of thousands of Chinese students now studying at Western universities will see it in the bookstores.

The story its authors tell is so awful it will both shock the Chinese people and confirm many of the private anecdotes and rumors passed down within families. Rather than being the man who made the ancient Middle Kingdom stand up again, Mao was the one who brought it to its knees. This is a powerful story which Mao’s heirs will have great difficulty denying or suppressing. Just as Snow’s book helped install the regime, Chang and Halliday’s could help bring it down. If any single book in our own time has the capacity to change the course of history, this is it.
Dedicated to the CCP (and sometimes Mao) apologists that still today people the world and the blogosphere.

posted by Enzo on 10.20.05 at 10:32 PM in the China history, education & culture category

Sunday, April 20

Apologies

For readers who checked in this afternoon because of my earlier message that I was trying to get a post up by noon -- obviously it's way past noon. I still want to get the second post up today but frankly I don't know what time this will happen. I'm going to try for 7:00 PM ET; if I can't meet that deadline I'll have to post tomorrow morning.

Regards to all,
Pundita

Understanding Shmoos, and why US reporting on Europe is crummy

Yesterday Gates of Vienna published another lively discussion involving a Pundita post, or rather it involves Baron Bodissey's published response to my post, which was a response to his earlier post, which was a response....

Baron's The Forest, the Shmoos, and Pundita addresses several topics. Here I focus on Baron's analysis of why so much is 'lost in translation' when Americans try to follow events on the Other Side of the Pond:
A preoccupation with celebrity political personalities and the “horse race” was made evident this past week in the wake of the Italian elections. The vote was a major Southern European electoral earthquake, with its epicenter in Tuscany and Lombardy, but leaving the entire region rippling with aftershocks.

The Greens and the Communists — the Italian branch was at one time the largest Communist Party in Europe — lost their representation, and the Lega Nord scored an amazing success. But what did the American press see?

“Berlusconi Back in Office”

Berlusconi is just an afterthought in all this, the tip of an enormous iceberg of change. But to the American MSM, it’s the horse race that counts, and nothing but the horse race, all day, every day.
Ah, the glorious American two-party system of politics, which greatly distorts the US media's view of the world outside America's door!

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