Pakistani authorities ordered inquiries into a video showing the public flogging
of a screaming woman in a northwestern valley where officials have yielded to
Taliban demands for Islamic law [in accordance with a peace agreement].
The actual footage can be found here. But as provincial Thuggee Arshad Abdullah says, "Let's not judge our deal by this video."
Heh. George "Freedom of speech is not an absolute" Galloway applauds the British government for denying entry to Geert Wilders -- then cries like a baby when the Canadian government denies entry to HIM.
YouTube was not immediately available to confirm whether it had removed the
material, which the [Pakistan Telecommunications Authority] said was controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed
that were republished by Danish newspapers earlier this month. [emphasis added]
The [Pakistan Telecommunications Authority] told Internet service providers to restore access to the site on
Tuesday afternoon after removing a video featuring a Dutch lawmaker who has said
he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting
violence against women and homosexuals. [emphasis added]
So, their story is that they censored YouTube because of the Mohammed Cartoons. Or Geert Wilders' movie trailer. Whatever. And that they unblocked YouTube when the "offensive" clips were removed.
Now, far be it from me to tell journalists how to do their job, but uh, instead of taking the Pakistani government at their word about this (or going through the trouble of contacting the big bosses of YouTube), shouldn't they have checked YouTube's website to see if this stuff was actually deleted?
This brings up 77 related entries (as of this posting). Since I'm a lazy, lazy man, I can't be bothered to page through all of them. But glancing at the list, I notice this YouTube clip has the Mohammed cartoons. And so does this one. And this one.
The Pakistani government can claim that YouTube surrendered all they like. As I've demonstrated, the evidence would appear to suggest otherwise.
Moving along, let's see what happens when we look for Geert Wilders' movie trailer:
Holy smokes, 615 entries? Sure, plenty of those are probably video responses by people who either love or hate the man. Nonetheless, the FIRST PAGE features the trailer here, as well as Part 1 of his interview about the movie. (And though it may seem like piling on, Part 2 is here, as well.)
Once more for the record: these aren't recent additions. They've been on YouTube for 1-2 months.
No matter how you slice it, Pakistan's government LIED about YouTube taking down "blasphemous" material - no ifs, ands or buts. Strange the AP was uninterested in informing its readers about that little tidbit.
"Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two
weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons
are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion
to the Prophet.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our
weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the decision to
grant Britain's highest honor to Rushdie, who wrote the controversial novel "The
Satanic Verses," was an insult to the Muslim world.
"Awarding a person who is among the most detested characters in the Islamic
society is obvious proof of anti-Islamism by ranking British officials," said
Hosseini during his weekly press conference.
I'd say it's obvious proof that British officials still think free speech is worth a damn. But the most intriguing part of the story came two paragraphs later:
Rushdie says he receives a "sort of Valentine's card" from Iran each year on
February 14 letting him know the country has not forgotten the vow to end his
Gee, isn't that the sort of thing one expects from a psychopath in a bad slasher flick? Certainly not from a certified member of the Axis of Kindness:
(Image from the Apr 7/07 edition of the Taiwan News)
UPDATE (Jun 22/07): When I said the knighthood proves British officials still think free speech is worth the damnation of tyrannical people, I may have been mistaken. It may simply be proof that they're WOEFULLY out of touch with the real world:
The committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood did not discuss
any possible political ramifications and never imagined that the award would
provoke the furious response that it has done in parts of the Muslim world, the
Guardian has learnt.
It also emerged yesterday that the writers' organisation that led the
lobbying for the author...to be
knighted had originally hoped that the honour would lead to better relations
between Britain and Asia. [emphasis added]
The truth, or an after-the-fact attempt to evade blame? Would they really admit that they knew this would rile Islamofascists up?
Last week, Costa Rica switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, leaving Taiwan with only 24 diplomatic allies. As a result, Chinese Nationalist Party presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou took the current government to task:
"We had as many as 30 allies when the KMT was in power ... It was clear that we
made some progress diplomatically when we had a consensus with China ... Chen's
foreign policy has lead Taiwan to a dead end," Ma said during a visit to Taipei
Port in Bali Township (八里).
Chen's foreign policy has led Taiwan to a dead end? An invitation if ever there was to take a closer look at where KMT foreign policy has led the beautiful isle:
During the time the KMT ruled Taiwan, how many net diplomatic allies did it lose? 80? 100? 130? On top of that, how many new U.N. member states were given the opportunity of recognizing Taiwan, and chose China instead? I can think of at least 15 - the old Soviet Union used to consist of 15 republics - and NONE of them recognized Taiwan when they gained their freedom. Come to think of it, neither did any of the newly-freed Eastern-bloc countries, either. All those potential allies up for grabs on the KMT's watch - and the KMT let them slip right through their fingers.
So, back to the question: how many diplomatic allies, real and potential, did the KMT lose for Taiwan? I'll guess 100 (and be grateful to anyone who can provide a more accurate number). That means that over 50 years, the KMT lost 2 diplomatic allies per year, on average. Does this record compare favorably to that of the Taiwanese nationalists?
I'm afraid it doesn't. Under a Taiwanese nationalist president, Taiwan suffered a net loss of 6 diplomatic allies within a period of 7 years. Unless I'm mistaken, that works out to an average loss of 0.86 diplomatic allies per year. Nothing to brag about, to be sure, but it sure beats the KMT's loss of 2 per year.* Which is to say nothing of the KMT's loss of Taiwan's security council seat, and their idiotic refusal to accept the consolation prize of a general assembly seat instead.
* In reply, supporters of the Chinese Nationalist Party might offer two defenses. The first, Ma Ying-jeou has already mentioned:
"It was clear that we
made some progress diplomatically when we had a consensus with China."
OK, I'll bite. Just how many new diplomatic allies did Taiwan pick up after it reached the mythical "One China, two interpretations" consensus in 1992? I wasn't here, so I don't know. Was it two? Three? Four? Undoubtedly, Ma would insist this was a result of goodwill from Beijing. But could he be suffering from a bad case of post hoc ergo propter hoc? In other words, might there be some OTHER possible explanation for the increase, besides some sort of imagined "goodwill" on the part of revanchist communists?
Well, let's see...1992...That would be, what, THREE years after the Tienanmen Massacre? That was a time at which horrified American and European investors had ceased, or significantly slowed, their investment into the Middle Kingdom.
Wealthy Taiwanese industrialists had fewer scruples, however. They saw untapped opportunities in China that Americans and Europeans weren't taking advantage of, and they jumped in. Fortunately for the Butchers of Beijing, the slack in foreign investment was picked up by the Taiwanese, who pumped money into China big time.
Under this unique set of circumstances, what would China have had to gain by wholesale thievery of Taiwan's diplomatic allies? Only an angry government in Taipei, which might have gotten serious about staunching the flow of capital to China, that's what. Better to let Taiwan have its two, three, four, new allies. A few diplomatic gains for Taiwan weren't going to change the big picture anyways, and would have ensured those NT dollars kept a-comin'. It might even have convinced a few fools in Taipei to think some sort of detente had been achieved. Later, when American and European investors returned to the market, the relative importance of the Taiwanese contribution diminished. China could then afford to put the screws to Taiwan, secure in the knowledge that a cessation of Taiwanese investment would have limited impact, with Americans and Europeans on the scene willing to pick up the slack.
Now for that second objection. A supporter of the Chinese Nationalist Party might dismiss all of this, pointing out that THEY weren't responsible for the loss of Taiwan's allies. The People's Republic of China was to blame. The communists were the ones who twisted arms, or bought governments off. Against them, tiny Taiwan just couldn't compete in the diplomatic game.
Funny how that's an excuse Chinese nationalists aren't gracious enough to grant in turn to others. From Taiwan's China Post:
The ROC government need not fault Costa Rica for leaving
it. Nor should the DPP administration accuse Beijing of trying to deprive Taiwan
of international space. The DPP should instead look at its own attitude and
behavior. [emphasis added]
There we have it. When Chinese nationalists lose allies to the PRC, it's the PRC's fault. And when Taiwanese nationalists lose allies to the PRC? Well, in THAT case, the PRC is entirely blameless. The fault can ONLY lie with Taiwanese nationalists, naturally.
If I didn't know better, I might think someone was arguing in bad faith!
But...let's pursue this all the way to the end:
The DPP itself has not been very peaceful. Its chairman, Yu Shyi-kun, has
publicly advocated a possible retaliatory missile attack on Shanghai...
Jeez. RETALIATORY strikes hardly rate up there with the KMT's old "Retake the motherland" tomfoolery on the ol' warmonger-ometer, but we're not supposed to notice that. We're only supposed to feel disgust that the victim of Chinese aggression would ever dare defend itself.
Let me paraphrase Charles Krauthammer here: When under attack, no nation is obligated to collect permission slips to strike back. But the Chinese nationalists at the China Post think otherwise. Clearly, in the event of a Chinese attack, Taiwanese ought to bend over and ask, "Please sir, can I have some more?"
(Come to think of it, that's EXACTLY the way the Taiwan News felt America should have handled Afghanistan after the attack on 9-11. But it's late now, and that's a whole 'nother topic.)
The Foreigner wins a new fan. Really takes me back to the old Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio program:
I'll have you all hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And
boiled...until...until...until you've had enough! And then I'll chop you
up into little bits! And when I've finished, I'll take all the little
bits, and I'll JUMP on them! And I'll carry on jumping on them until I get
blisters, or I can think of something even more unpleasant to do...
While all the years spent in darkness may have left her hyper-sensitive to sunlight, the acuity of the rest of her senses has become exponentially magnified. No one suspects that in her alter-ego she battles supervillains by night, in a never-ending quest for truth, justice, and the Iranian Way.
(Unfortunately, in close combat, she's occasionally put at somewhat of a disadvantage by the fact that her crime-fighting costume lacks any openings for...well, her ARMS, for one thing.)
Maybe if I'm a good boy, Santa will deliver a sweet little miss in a big, red sack to my house, too, this Christmas.
UPDATE (Apr 25/07): The Iranian Dresstapo threatens to banish women from Tehran for 5 years for wearing "inappropriate" clothing. Fortunately, our lady in red has absolutely NOTHING to worry about.
UPDATE (Jul 6/09): Spanish scientists develop ways for people to use echolocation. The training only takes 2 hours a day for several weeks. (Although one firefighter, er, throws hot water over the idea of using the technique in fires, where the ambient sound can be 90 dB.)
<p>Spanish scientists develop echo-location in humans</p>
[Dr. Juan Antonio Martinez] recommends trying with the typical "sh" sound used to make
someone be quiet. Moving a pen in front of the mouth can be noticed
straightaway. This is a similar phenomenon to that when travelling in a car with
the windows down, which makes it possible to "hear" gaps in the verge of the
The next level is to learn how to master the "palate clicks". To make sure
echoes from the tongue clicks are properly interpreted, the researchers are
working with a laser pointer, which shows the part of an object at which the
sound should be aimed.
I read a few years ago that the Guantanamo prisoners were putting on weight. Little did I know:
Only in America would you find authorities trying to cope with terrorist detainees by over-feeding them. [We were offered a sample prisoner's] lunch including...spiced meat patty, egg salad, tuna, yogurt, fresh dates, freshly baked bread, juice, and a down-home Middle Eastern dessert, which left us licking from our fingers the [baklava's] honey and nuts...All told, they are offered a menu that provides 4,200 calories per day — more than the 3,800 allotted for a U.S. combat soldier in Iraq.
We were told that one detainee, who apparently cleans his plate — or his styrofoam meal box — weighs 410 pounds...At risk of triggering a human-rights campaign for Guantanamo Lite, I have to wonder if there’s method to this menu. There’s something very disturbing about coddling terrorists, but in some ways this helps cut them down to size: Yep, it’s Al Qaeda… with a weight problem.
Sounds like a joke, but one commenter had this to say:
Most corporations are trying to build similar functions...Disney runs a cruise line... Think of the symbolism for the jihadists...if they can slaughter infidels' children at a Disney temple to materialism. Would you be giggling if this job were at a chemical plant, medical research lab or sea port? But how often have you taken your kids to any of those places?