Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bible Toting Jurors Frightened Judges

Colorado court quashed death sentence of a convicted murderer because jurors consulted their Bibles to reach a verdict. Apparently one of the Bible passages written down by the jurors included the verse that commands 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'.

Maybe the judges were worried that the jurors might have demanded death by stoning?

Who was Abraham? (7)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

In Genesis Chapter 41, the Pharaoh had troubling dreams about seven cows and then seven ears of corn. No one could interpret the dreams, not even all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. (Genesis 41:8)

Anyone who has worked in organizations know how those around the throne (of any kind) operate, would find the honest admittance of ignorance in the Pharaoh’s court rather unusual. Had one of those magicians or wise men made an interpretation, even a false one, poor Joseph would have continued to languish in prison.

Of course, it being a saga in the bible, we may ascribe the strange humility or reticence of those magicians and wise men as designed by God. The stage was thus set for Joseph to ascend to power.

The Pharaoh’s chief butler, who had experienced Joseph’s amazing ability, strangely remembered him after two long years, and recommended the Hebrew prisoner to the Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:9-13)

Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams as we now know it.

We have now come to the second strange part of the story. Based on the words of a foreign criminal – remember Joseph was a prisoner, jailed undoubtedly on a false charge, but nevertheless still an incarcerated criminal – that could not be realised until at least 14 years had passed, Pharaoh decided to elevate him to the position of CEO of his nation.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph. Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:

Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph. See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

(Genesis 41:39-41)

Then Pharaoh gave his own ring to 30-year old Joseph, set him up as the new Grand Vizier, virtually the No 2 man after the Pharaoh, provided him with an Egyptian name and married him off to an Egyptian lady, the daughter of a priest. (Genesis 41:42-46)

But consider once again - Joseph was a common criminal, a Hebrew whose career resume would state shepherd until 17, slave, convicted rapist, prisoner.

Purely on the basis that he made an as yet unfulfilled prediction of the Pharaoh’s dreams, a prediction that would only be known for its veracity after more than a decade had passed, the King made him the Grand Vizier of Egypt. Why not some other Egyptian officials who probably possessed more knowledge and experience on agricultural logistics and grain production? And what happened to the Grand Vizier before Joseph's promotion?

Was it conceivable that the mighty Pharaoh, any Pharaoh for that matter, would make such an illogical decision?

James L Krugel published in 1997 a book called The Bible As It Was, which basically expands, explains and clarifies the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. At the time of publishing of his book, Krugel was Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Havard University and Professor of Bible at Bar Ilan Univeristy in Israel.

Krugel quoted Philo, a Greek-speaking Egyptian Jew in Alexandria who lived from 20 B.C.E to C.E 50. Philo apparently wrote that the Pharaoh consulted his companions quietly, out of Joseph's hearing, about the advisability of appointing Joseh, to which they with one accord praised and applauded his words ...

Krugal also quoted the Jubilees, purportedly a book of divine relevations to Moses, but identified as written around the second century B.C.E or even later. Jubilees retold the Book of Genesis with more details, as it certainly would. It stated in Chapter 40:8 'All of Pharaoh's princes, all of his servants, and all who were doing the king's work loved him because he conducted hmself in a just way.'

As expected, the two references haven't been helpful in explaining the strange appointment of Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, to such an exalted position in the House of Pharaoh. Why would the Pharaoh's princes and staff love an unknown foreigner, who was also a common criminal, a state prisoner?

Krugel's book has been obviously for the converted, to fill in unexplained gaps in the first five Books of the Old Testament.

Could it then be that the answer to this mysterious elevation of Joseph from criminal to Grand Vizier lie in Judah’s praise of him ‘for thou art even as Pharaoh’ (Genesis 44:18). Was that statement just apple-polishing by his worried brother, or intended by the authors of the Torah as a symbolic (covert) message?

To be continued ........

Why US is anti-ICC!

Now we know why the US has been and is still against the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Read the authorisations of the US military Commander in Iraq that had led to the Abu Ghraib and other war crimes.

Read how a US army captain killed an unarmed and wounded Iraqi and then claimed it was ‘honourable’.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Who was Abraham? (6)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

The Pharaoh was a God-King to his people. He was looked upon as more than a mere ruler; he was in fact a god, a divine being chosen to lead the people and maintain order, and provided an important link between the Egyptian people and their gods.

Yet, when the Hebrews resided in Egypt, according to the Bible they worshipped their own God. Even when Joseph, an Egyptian prisoner, interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream, he attributed his ability to his own Hebraic God (Genesis 41:16 & 25 &28-32). Then we even have Pharaoh acknowledging Joseph’s God in Genesis 41:39.

These biblical incidents represented repetitive affronts to the divinity of the Egyptian God-King. Egyptologists said that it was unacceptable for anyone to confront the divine Pharaoh with an alien God. He would have been executed or at best thrown into prison.

The Hebrews would never have been allowed to worship their own God, especially after they became slaves.

But could they have done it covertly? Would this be possible for a population of 2,000,000 Hebrews, and for a period of 430 years, to do so without the Pharaoh and his councillors ever knowing about it or stopping such alien worship? The logical answer has to be a resounding no.

Then, could there be another more sensible reason?

To be continued ……..

Monday, March 28, 2005

Judas Iscariot - Betrayer or Scapegoat?

Allan Massie of The Independent investigated into the world’s most famous betrayer, Judas Iscariot, and wondered whether the poor bloke had been made a biblical scapegoat these past 2000 odd years.

Wikipedia has this to say about Judas Iscariot:

Judas is also the subject of many philosophical writings, including The Problem of Natural Evil by Bertrand Russell and Three Versions of Judas, a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. They both allege various problematic ideological contradictions with the discrepancy between Judas' actions and his eternal punishment.

(1) If Jesus foresees Judas' betrayal then Judas has no free will, and cannot avoid betraying Jesus;

(2) If Judas cannot control his betrayal of Jesus, then his punishment and portrayal as a traitor in western culture is undeserved;

(3) If Judas is sent to Hell for his betrayal, and his betrayal was a necessary step in the humanity-saving death of Jesus Christ, then Judas is being punished for saving humanity;

(4) If Jesus only suffered while dying on the cross, and then ascended into Heaven, while Judas must suffer for eternity in Hell, then Judas has suffered much more for the sins of humanity than Jesus, and his role in the Atonement is that much more significant.

The Bible also states that on the cross Christ forgave those that had contributed to his death, saying that they 'know not what they do.' However Judas seems to have not been included in this pardon.

Allan Massie identified John (the Apostle) as the one who was out to get Judas. John was not satisfied with Judas as a mere betrayer but went on to label him a thief. Massie quoted a Canadian scholar, Professor William Klassen of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, and Hyam Maccoby, author of Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil, as two who questioned the Church’s continuous stress on Judas as a betrayer.

Massie suggested one reason for Judas falling out with Jesus was that he was a person who had a social conscience and was disturbed by Christ’s attitude in an incident, thus losing confidence in the ‘Messiah’. Massie also remarked:

Klassen sees the demonisation of Judas gathering pace as the Christian sect moved away from its Jewish roots as a result of St Paul's mission to the Gentiles. Judas, then, in this Greek-speaking Church, became the stereotype of the treacherous Jew, rejecting and betraying Christ. Klassen traces the development of Judas' role from the earliest Gospel, Mark, to thefull-blown villainy presented in the last written Gospel, John.

There might of course be another explanation. If that gospel really was written by the Apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, or compiled by someone who had spoken with John, then it might even reflect a personal animus.

Hyam Maccoby goes further than Professor Klassen. In his opinion, the Judas story did not ‘spring from any actual event’ but was ‘dictated by mythological necessity. In other religious myths, a deity who brings salvation by his violent death has to have an evil betrayer. Judas was therefore elected as the fall-guy.’ The role, played on an individual level by Judas, is played also by the Jews as a whole. Making Judas guilty allowed the medieval Church to pretend neither Jesus nor the other apostles were Jewish.

A bit of Jew-bashing by the Christian Church? A 're-invention' of Jesus Christ as a non-Jew? Certainly plenty of food for thoughts!

The full Allan Massie's article

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Christianity Spread Because Circumcision Not Required!

If there is one man who did more for Christianity than any other man, it was the Apostle Paul. His influence and efforts were so great that in an Easter Sunday TV programme hosted by Peter Jennings of ABC America, Paul was referred to by Christian theologians as the joint founder of Christianity.

The programme brought out 3 main issues that Paul contributed to the popularity of Christianity. Firstly, he made it available to the gentiles or non-Jews on an equal basis, even at one stage rebuking the Apostle Peter for not ‘breaking bread’ together with these new converts, who were then considered by the original disciples of Jesus as ‘unclean’ and more or less ‘second class’ adherents (Galatians 2:11-14)

Secondly, he turned the indignity and shame of the crucifixion of Christ into a saga of incredible sacrifice by the Son of God so that the ‘people could be saved’ . In essence, by promoting the concept of Jesus' earthly 'sacrifice' to save the believers, he salvaged the day for the church, for otherwise it would have been ridiculous for the so-called Son of God to die ignominiously like a common criminal, totally ignored by his Heavenly Father.

But the most significant factor he instituted that led to the spread of Christianity was the abandonment of the requirement for circumcision.

For Hebrews (Jews) who kept faith with God, circumcision was mandatory, as the act was a symbol of their covenant with God.

“And God said unto Abraham. Thou shall keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man among you shall be circumcised.

And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.”
(Genesis 17:9-11)

Then, the biblical instructions went on with specific details as to who must be circumcised.

Because of this, the converted to Jesus' new church initially had to be circumcised. Paul did away with that, believing that the circumcision wasn’t necessary for salvation. Paul revolutionised (threw away) many Jewish traditional practices making it convenient for the gentiles wishing to join his new church.

In the Book of Joshua, Chapter 5, it was shown that circumcision was not an original Hebraic religious tradition. In fact, it was an Egyptian practice. The Bible stated that after Joshua had carried out God's instruction to circumcise those who were born after the Hebrews escaped from Egypt and thus were uncircumcised, God said:

“Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Joshua 5:9)

Modern historians take that to mean, with the circumcision, the Hebrews were no longer in disgrace in the eyes of the Egyptians who previously viewed them with contempt because of their uncircumcised state. However, some Church leaders still refused to accept this modern understanding, and instead translated it to mean that the Hebrews were no longer Egyptian slaves.

But there is no doubt that the Egyptians predated the Hebrews in the practice of circumcision. The Hebrews had adopted many Egyptian traditions and practices as was discussed previously in Why Orthodox Jews Don’t Eat Pork!. Apparently, circumcision was another adopted Egyptian practice.

Isn't this food ... or rather foreskin for thoughts?

USA - Consistently Inconsistent! (2)

The USA had originally stopped an already paid-for sale of F-16 fighter-attack aircraft to Pakistan two decades ago because the South Asian nation was developing nuclear weapons. Now that Pakistan HAS developed the N-weapons, President Bush has approved the sale of nuclear-capable F-16s to that country.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting USA – Consistently Inconsistent! the sheer inconsistency and illogic of American foreign policy has been nothing more than prostitution of its good world leadership and commonsense.

Just because Pakistan played footsy with the USA during the latter's Afghan adventure, Bush believes it is appropriate to reward a country with such a nuclear weapon capable platform as the F-16. Pakistan has a history of bellicosity with its neighbour, India. Contrary to what some assumed to be a new environment of amity between the two South Asian nations, the hostility has been very deep and, unfortunately continues to exist enduringly and threateningly.

The only reason why Pakistan had succumbed to American demands that it joined the anti-Taliban and anti-al Qaeda Coalition had been nothing more than Pakistani self preservation. Pakistan had assessed that an enraged America immediately post 9/11 in alliance with an anti-terrorist and anti-Pakistani India were far too intimidating for its own good. It HAD to ‘temporarily’ come across to the American side (with the unhappy implication that it could then be on the same side as arch foe India) for political expediency rather than genuine support of the USA.

It awaits an opportune moment to resume its alliance with the Taliban-Afghanistan, so necessary for its strategic objective of, and life-long obsession with Kashmir. The eventual reckoning with giant India requires Pakistan to have space (to trade for time, hence Afghanistan) and resources (Taliban) to fight its nemesis. Taliban-Afghanistan had provided and will once again provide that essential strategic factor in Pakistan quest for Kashmir.

To discern the substantiveness of its membership in the Coalition of the Convenient, one need only assess the sincerity of Pakistan’s efforts in tracking down Osama bin Laden who still lurks comfortably in its remote regions. Many Pakistani officials continue to close one eye to the activities and movements of the Saudi renegade, while dragging their feet over the hunt for him. The local support for Osama and the Taliban in Pakistan continues to be very strong.

Pakistan is a country that has been totally irresponsible with its nuclear programme, providing unfettered access to the technology to other dodgy and dangerous countries - it continues to deny IAEA and US access to AQ Khan so that they may assess what has been the unpleasant fallout of the maverick technology transfer.

The assets of the forthcoming F-16 will only threaten South Asian regional security, rather than improve it as Washington has the brazen gall to even suggest.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Japan Unfit for World Leadership

The last World War should be over for Germany. She has apologised, made reparations and banned items and organizations associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Nazism is illegal in Germany. Her President has made a moving statement of remorse in the Knesseton behalf of the German people.

President Horst Koehler said “Germany accepts its guilt for the Holocaust and stands side by side with Israel. The Holocaust was part of Germany's identity and that [Germany] would fight any new anti-Semitism”

By stark contrast, Japan has failed miserably to match her Axis partner’s remorse for her equally brutal WWII atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre and the comfort women (or sex slaves for Japanese soldiers).

Till today, Japan has never extended a full apology to China or Korea.

Au contraire, she continues to revere her war criminals at the highest official level and attempts frequently to revise her history covering the WWII period, by twisting facts to whitewash her aggression and brutalities.

The UN is now considering expanding the Security Council permanent members to 10 instead of its current 5. Though the new five members will enjoy permanent seats, they will not have veto powers unlike the original 5 (USA, Russia, China, France and Britain).

Some nations have been touted as possible candidates for these permanent seats, among whom are Germany and Japan. While the world in general will not object to Germany (other than the argument that there are too many European nations already), I have no doubt many will not take kindly to the elevation of Japan, principally because of her lack of genuine remorse for her savage atrocities during WWII.

Can a nation that has consistently refused to acknowledge her dark past (like Germany has) be accepted as a leading citizen of the world?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Strategically Important Krygyzstan

Kyrgyzstan, a new American ally since the disintegration of the USSR, has just seen its people revolting against its dictatorial president.

Though the now-runaway (former) president Askar Akayev has been notorious for human rights violation, Washington has soft-pedalled its criticism of him. On the rare occasions when the US did so sternly, it did not demand tangible progress like the release of Kyrgyzstan’s incarcerated opposition members or anyone that had voiced objections to Akayev’s totalitarian rule.

The USA, like China, Russia and undoubtedly India, is very keen to maintain a foothold in the strategically located nation, hence has been perfunctory in its criticism of Askar Akayev.

Krygyzstan is smack right in the middle of the new energy-rich region of the ‘-stan’ nations, just next to the world's rising star of energy resources, Kazahkstan. Krygyzstan's strategic location allows military dominance of the neighbouring states, swift military penetration of both the Chinese and Russian heartlands, and for a convenient monitoring post for any hostile Islamist activities there. The saliva-inducing cream on top of the military cake has been the finding that the region has more oil and gas resources than the Gulf nations. The region is also rich in uranium.

The USA maintains a military base with 1000 troops there.

What direction will the nation now assume remains to be seen, but the people has obviously had a taste of people’s power and would be unlikely to countenance another dictatorial regime.

Map of Kyrgyzstan here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Who was Abraham? (5)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

The word Pharaoh was mentioned 274 times in the Bible in various descriptions and forms. In the first two books of the Old Testament (OT), Genesis and Exodus it was referred to 155 times.

Yet, in that 155 times, the OT failed to identify which Pharaoh was involved in the respective events. The time span as chronicled by the Books of Genesis and Exodus would logically suggest that the Pharaoh of Abraham and Sarah should be a different person to the Pharaoh of Joseph son of Jacob, and indeed to the Pharaoh of Moses and the Exodus.

In the story of Joseph, he was sold to an Egyptian Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials (Genesis 39:1). After interpreting his famous seven fat and seven lean years for the Pharaoh (Genesis 41: 25-32), the latter made him the Grand Vizier, the No 2 man in the land, and conferred on him an Egyptian name, Zapethnath-Paneah and married him off to an Egyptian wife, Asenath (meaning Gift of the Sun-God). She was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Genesis 41:45).

Notice how detailed the personalities were identified, yet the name of the Pharaoh was not revealed. Instead the Pharaoh was merely referred to as ‘a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph’ (Exodus 1:8).

As for Moses, we read of Pharaoh learning of the killing of an Egyptian by this Prince of Egypt (Exodus 2:12), and naturally wanting to have Moses executed (Exodus 2:15). Of course by then Moses had fled. Much later, after marrying Zipporah and witnessing the burning bush, he heard that the Pharaoh died. By then God ordered him back to Egypt to demand from the new Pharaoh the release of the Israelite slaves (Exodus 3:10).

Again, we observe the lack of details about one of the most significant Pharaoh in the biblical saga. Who was this Pharaoh? Or better, who were the Pharaohs, the one who died as well as his newly crowned successor?

Compare the seemingly evasive or, if one wants to be less conspiratorial, broad brushing of certain Pharaohs’ identities, particularly those associated with the stories or events from Abraham to Moses, with the detailed genealogies of others in the Old Testament, as presented in Genesis Chapter 4:17-22 (Cain’s), Genesis Chapter 5 (Noah’s, he of the Flood and Ark fame), Genesis Chapter 10 (The sons of Noah and their families’), Genesis Chapter 11:10-32 (from Shem to Abraham), and the list of details goes on.

The question must be a straightfoward WHY?

To be continued ……..

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Inconsistently Pro-Life; Consistently BS-ing!

“….. where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life"
- President Bush

So said the man responsible for more State executions than any governor in the USA. The US justice system has been known to be so fraught with unreliability that any conscionable authority would not have permitted the death penalty to exist within the system.

Anyway, the case that drew that hypocritical remark from President Bush involved one Terri Schiavo, who has been brain-dead for the last 15 years, and is living, as doctors described, like a vegetable. After years of court cases, the legal system agreed with her husband that life as understood does not exist for her anymore, and ordered the feedline that has kept her body going, removed.

Entered one George W Bush and the conservative Right-to-Life electorate. The President had to rushed a last minute emergency legislative Bill to overturn the court’s ruling so that Terri Schiavo may continue to be kept physically alive, or more likely the actual reason, that his constituency may be appeased.

Bush then came up with that double-standard pontificating to justify his interference in a man's management of his private life that has already been sanctioned by a court (what say those libetarians now?), while the Republican Party senators, recalled for the emergency Bill, had this note waiting for them in their offices:

"This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue. This is a great political issue ... and a tough issue for Democrats"

Observe how that note started on a moral high tone, but before one could gather one’s wits from reading the first sentence, the second sentence has already said it all – “…This is a great political issue ... and a tough issue for Democrats”

What grubby distasteful grandstanding that has unscrupulously exploited the unhappy circumstances of a family's sufferings, and virtually prolongs the agony of a long suffering husband, all merely to gain an edge over the political opposition. I hope Bush will also pass a Bill requiring those urging and supporting the prolongation of Terri Schiavo's vegetable existence to be also responsible for looking after her.

A federal judge refused to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube for Terri Schiavo.

Who was Abraham? (4)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

We keep coming around to Egypt, where the Hebrews suffered slavery for 430 years, was allowed to leave the country only after a terrifying 10 plagues that eventually killed the Pharaoh’s firstborn - an acrimonious series of events that undoubtedly traumatised the Egyptians initially, and certainly angered them subsequently. Yet we keep reading of Hebrews running back to the land of their so-called enemies, Egypt, for refuge whenever they were in strife, either when escaping from their enemies from the east and northeast, or looking for food. And each time they were well treated by their host (and so-called mortal enemies), the Egyptians.

While this topic doesn’t intend to go beyond the Old Testament, it may worthwhile recalling Matthew 2:13 which advised Joseph in a dream, of Herod’s murderous hunt for the newborn Messiah:

“Arise,” he said. “take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring the word ………”

And of course the Hebrews’ (Jews’) greatest prophet, Moses was raised and brought up as an Egyptian prince before he had a falling out with his foster family.

And then, most surprising, in Deuteronomy, under 23: Exclusion From the Assembly, God warned the Hebrews not to allow the neighbouring nationalities to enter the assembly of the Lord, even unto the tenth generation, except for the Edomites and the Egyptians.

The Edomites were of course cousins to the Israelite people, as they were descendants of Esau, the firstborn of Isaac, who lost his birthrights to Jacob through trickery and deceit.

Author Graham Phillips presented his rather interesting research findings on Moses in his book ‘The Moses Legacy – The Evidence of History’. While I don’t subscribe to his beliefs I think it is a marvellous read and certainly makes one wonder. In the book he also spoke gloweringly of the Edomites as the benign keepers of the true Judaic religion.

Anyway, Deuteronomy 23:7-8 read:

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land; the children of the third generation born to them may enter the congregation of the Lord.”

The Edomites I can understand, but why this special treatment for their mortal enemies, the Egyptians, their oppressors who kept them in bondage for 430 years, and required a series of terrifying divine-sent plagues to intimidate the Pharaoh before he released them from slavery.

Indeed why?

To be continued ........

Malaysia Frees Terrorist Suspects!


Malaysia frees 6 terrorist suspects including Wan Min Wan Mat, a former university lecturer accused of providing financial assistance to the perpetrators of the Bali bombing, which killed over 200 people. The other 5 are students who had gone to Pakistan for religious studies but nipped across the border to Afghanistan where they met Osama bin Laden and received weapons and explosive training. Malaysian authorities said they have been rehabilitated.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Can you like him?

American Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, who is considered one of the most influential economic thinkers, has resoundingly condemned the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz as the president of the World Bank. Even the Bank’s staff have raised their opposition to Wolfowitz’s appointment. Stiglitz accused President Bush of either being deliberately provocative or so insensitive as to appear provocative.

Wolfowitz has been the principal architect of the Iraqi invasion, which has killed more than 1500 young American men and women, maimed/wounded several thousands more, cost more than US$200 billion (and still rising), added on to a mounting national deficit and divided the nation - all these for the worst possible loss (instead of the expected gain) to America's immediate and strategic interests!

I am personally inclined to believe the latter of Stiglitz's condemnation, that of a Bush so insensitive as to appear to be provocative, rather than being deliberately provocative. I have noted that Bush has been slowly removing some hardcore right wingers like Wolfowitz (to the World Bank) and Bolton (as ambassador to the UN – now, can you beat that insensitivity?), instead of promoting them within the Administration,like he did with Condoleezza Rice.

I believe that Bush, now secured in his second term, has become more aware of who had led him down the garden path and been responsible for his current state of woe and unpopularity, both at home and with his allies.

Bush has probably become very disenchanted with those ultras who fed him lies. He can't sack or demote them because that would only reflect on his own incompetency, so he moves them either sideways or upstairs but out of the Administration's core.

But Wolfowitz needn't be unduly concerned that he would suffer in any way the same fate as those GIs in Iraq - he should still be as snugly safe in his new air-conditioned office at the World Bank headquarters as he had been at the Pentagon.

Related posting:
Can you trust him?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bio-Chemical Warfare I Love

It doesn't matter who you are, or what you've done, or think you can do. There's a confrontation with destiny awaiting you. Somewhere, there is a chile you cannot eat.

- Daniel Pinkwater, 'A Hot Time in Nairobi'

Last year the chillies I planted were overall so so, with those that I was curious about, like Habanero, failing miserably to fruit though tantalising me with an unfulfilled promise through some fragile blooms, while those that I was rather blasé towards, like Bird’s Eyes, virtually went wild with a very bountiful harvest.

This year I place the plants in a sunnier location, and with great delight I have finally harvested some Habaneros. This baby has been rated the hottest chilli, with a Scoville scale of 580,000. And I can certainly testify to that claim, requiring several cold beers to mitigate my first exposure to the tongue scorcher. Best of all, it also possesses a marvellous fragrance.

Now it seems another claimant to the title of the ‘fieriest’ has asserted its status – the Indian Tezpur from Assam which rates over 800,000 on the Scoville scale. The power of this Indian babe is just sheer staggering, especially after my experience with Habanero. I must try to lay my hands on a few of these plants (Moses' burning bush?).

Chillies originated in South America and were taken to Europe by the Spaniards in the 15th Century, and from there to the rest of the world by European traders. The conquistadors might have been murderous bastards but we have to thank them for giving the world this wonderful fruit.

Bellicose Balls-Bearing Blair Betrays British!

Despite being informed by his Intelligence chief that the US was ‘fixing’ up the case for war with Iraq, Tony Blair rushed to join the Collusion of the Willing, purely to show Bush that Britain would be America’s closest ally.

Richard Dearlove, Head of Britain’s MI6, averred that the 'facts' and 'intelligence' were being fixed round the policy by US President George Bush's administration – in other words, the Americans were highly 'creative' or to put it in more blunt terms, lying.

Rex Keys, the father of a British soldier killed in Iraq said "I stand here a betrayed man by my government who lied to me about the need to send my son to war".

Related posting:
BolehTalk’s Blair’s Hubris = Tears for Soldiers’ Families

BolehTalk’s Machiavellian As Machiavellian Can Be

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Can you trust him?

I am not sure whether Paul Wolfowitz was kicked upstairs or sideways into the traditionally American held-post of the World Bank's presidency. The architect of America’s ill-conceived invasion of Iraq claimed that he won’t be a US stooge in the organization, nor was he seeking refuge in the Bank to escape controversy – what controversy, Paul, pray tell us?

The US government 9/11 Report showed that Paul Wolfowitz had urged the US to attack Iraq after the 9/11 incident when clearly no such evidence of Iraqi involvement existed. The Report continued with the observation that there was no credible evidence supporting Paul Wolfowitz’s argument that Iraq was involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre.

Can you trust such a man?

Who was Abraham? (3)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

“The Israelis journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children …..” (Exodus 12:37)

The Book of Exodus relates the preparation of the Hebraic exodus from Egypt after the Pharaoh, cowered by the 10 plagues including the death of his firstborn, gave Moses leave to lead 600,000 male Jewish slaves plus their families, totalling some two million people.

2,000,000 Hebrew slaves migrating out of Egypt!

Yet, not one mention of this monumental migration was ever recorded in Egyptian history! Not one!

“Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lords’ division left Egypt …..” (Exodus 12:40-41)

Nearly half a millennium of residence in Egypt by 2,000,000 Hebrews – again there wasn’t any Egyptian record of them! Not one!

This had been an unexplained omission of amazing proportion by the Egyptian scribes. Or, was it?

Were there Hebrews in Egypt afterall? Was there ever an Exodus?

The word ‘Egypt’ appeared in the Bible more than 750 times while ‘pharaoh’ was mentioned over 200 times. More than any of the Israelite nation’s neighbouring countries, Egypt was the most described country in the Scriptures.

Egypt – the nation that, according to the Bible, held 2,000,000 Hebrews in slavery until God instructed Moses to lead his people out of Egyptian bondage. The Egyptian pharaoh only released them after a bitter and acrimonious struggle resulting in the deaths of all Egyptian first-borns including the pharaoh’s own.

Egypt – where the Israelite people including its kings would always run to for refuge and sanctuary when threatened by other warring nations such as the Babylonians. The prophet Jeremiah threatened the Hebrews about running to Egypt for refuge when the Babylonians were advancing, by relaying God’s message: “As my anger and wrath have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt” (Jer 42:18). But the Hebrews nevertheless went to seek sanctuary in Egypt, and Jeremiah, notwithstanding his own warnings, followed, purportedly to rail against the Israelites for picking up Egyptian worship (Jer 44).

Surely in Egypt there must be something to explain all those mysterious and very monumental omissions of records indicating Hebraic presence there, unless of course there was no Hebrew ever in Egypt, and thus no Hebraic exodus took place.

To be continued ........

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Who was Araham? (2)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

“… Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.” (Genesis 11:28)

“Terah took his son Abram ….. and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan …” (Genesis 11:31)

Some doubt the veracity of the suggestion that Abram originated from, or that his brother Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans for the reason, according to the website, that ‘Chaldeans didn’t settle in this part of the world until after Moses was around and certainly weren’t there way back when Abraham lived among them’.

Thus, as suggested in previous posting on this topic, Egypt would be still the best bet to find a trace of Abraham’s origin.

Ancient Egypt was a land famous for its fastidious recording of historical events, even of those who invaded her (eg. the Hyksos, Macedonians, etc). The activities and lives of her Pharaohs, generals, priests, officials, etc were recorded into immortality. Virtually everything and anything could be read from the writings of ancient Egypt on walls of tombs, temples, ancient ruins, stones, wooden caskets, and any material capable of being written upon.

“When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she [Sarai or Sarah] was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.” (Genesis 12:14)

Yet, Egyptian historical scripts on artifacts, temples and tombs, in fact anything, do not contain one single reference to Abraham [or Abram] or his wife Sarah [Sarai].

“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger …….. He had him ride as his second-in-command …. Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41 to 41:43)

The above biblical passage referred to Abraham's great grandson Joseph, he of the ‘seven years of fat and seven years of lean’ in Egypt, favourite son of Jacob, sold off as a slave by his jealous brothers. Joseph was virtually the overseer of Egypt, second only to mighty Pharaoh.

“… she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10)

Then there was the greatest prophet of the Jews, Moses, who was brought up as an Egyptian prince, and led the Jew slaves out of Egyptian bondage.

The most puzzling mystery has been that in a land of such fastidious recording of events, not one single line of hieroglyph or hieratic in Egypt’s vast repository of recording made any mention of these personalities.

To be continued ........

USA - Consistently Inconsistent!

Condoleezza Rice told Europe not to sell arms to China, as it will raise tensions in the Taiwan Straits. But, according to the South Asian media, the USA will be selling F-16 fighter-attack aircraft to both Pakistan and India, both of who had undergone several wars before and today still remain highly tense over Kashmir.

Well, that blatant inconsistency is definitely consistent of America!

The USA for all its freedom & democracy finger-wagging at countries like Syria, Iran and those not its client states, has consistently refused to criticise its buddy the dictator Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, even though Musharraf has forever reneged on his promise to step down as army chief of staff, retaining hold of the powerful Pakistani army to ensure his totalitarian rule.

Well, that blatant inconsistency is definitely consistent of ……. wait a dingdong minute, didn’t I say this of America already?

Well, at least I am consistent

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who was Abraham? (1)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

Abraham – the common and first Patriarch for Judaism, Christianity and Islam – who was he? A few claim he originated from India, then there are those who punt for Persia (Iran), while many suggest that it was in Babylon (Iraq), or somewhere in present day Turkey’s southern region.

Yet, in reality, for such an important religious figure, nothing is known of his origin. Even the Bible merely mentions the birthplace of his brother as in Ur of Chaldean (Genesis 11:28), but strangely not his. Ur is the Tel el-Muqayyar site in southern Iraq. Even this location is disputed for many reasons, with some experts opting for Turkey (but more later). The other location associated with Abraham's origin is Haran (Genesis 12:4 & 12:5) in northern Iraq (near Carchemish), next to today's Turkish border.

Archaeologists and biblical researchers have investigated and dug in Iraq and southern Turkey, but nothing has been found to indicate any tenuous link to his existence.

Abraham was the father or rather the ancestor of the Hebrews (Jews). The story of the ancient Hebrews had always been closely linked to Egypt, so perhaps looking there instead of the abovementioned locations may provide some clues to the Patriarch’s origin.

To be continued ……

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Osama Caught in Africa But Spared Death Sentence

Osama has been caught in Africa but spared the death sentence.

Ultimate in Cost Recovery!

This is one country where you would be strongly advised not to evade taxes – pay up promptly or face the likely possibility of a death sentence. Yes, their tax revenue officers bloody mean business – pssst, don’t tell our Min of Fin.

Additionally the country practices global management standards in cost recovery and cost efficiency.

They used to shoot the condemned man in the head and then charged his family for the cost of the bullet, which, I vaguely remember from an article, was around 67 cents. That’s the ultimate in cost recovery. I wonder how they did it when the poor bloke didn’t have a family or friend to pay up?

Now, they are into cost efficiency – read this. If you are a Jew, don’t – it may evoke some nasty images.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Israel's Long-Term Security Interests - Return Stolen Land

This report by an Israeli former chief criminal prosecutor, Talia Sasson, shows 2 internationally well-known points:

(1) Israeli government’s systematic sponsorship of illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank, including illegal allocations of government funds.

(2) Israeli policymakers believed that by covertly expanding settlements they could permanently prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state on most of the West Bank.

Yawnnnnnnnn! Please tell us something new!

However, what has been enlightening is Sharon’s own conclusion that, contrary to earlier beliefs, settlements cannot be equated with security. The opposite is actually true - the settlers' theft of Palestinian land militates against Israel's long-term security interests. He could have asked me earlier.

That’s why Sharon has been recently an advocate of dismantling settlements in Gaza. This is of course apart from the new USA policy stance for the Middle-East.

Related posting:
Bismarck of the Middle-East?

Malaysiakini’s readers letter In the footsteps of Bismarck, Sharon treads

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Why Orthodox Jews Don't Eat Pork!

I have always wondered why orthodox Jews consider pork as not kosher. I am then reminded of what an elderly Murut headman told me, when both of us were loitering by a pristine stream somewhere in the deep interior of Sabah, talking about hunting.

Earlier, while trekking through the jungle both of us had spied tracks of wild pigs. On setting up camp for the night by the stream, he told me he would set up a trap (spring loaded stake) to kill one for me to have a taste of wild boar meat. A low lying branch next to the spoor trail would be pulled back horizontally and held as a spring, with a stake tied firmly to it. The trap's trigger was a vine set across the trail. When a wild pig next used the same trail and grazed the vine, it would trigger off the whipping branch, plunging the stake into the animal's side.

Being a bit of a wildlife lover, I asked whether it wasn't cruel to hunt the pigs with such a drastic trap. He replied gently:

”Tuhan menciptakan segala jenis binatang untuk kegunaan kita” (God created all creatures for our use).

In placating my concerns for a boar struggling painfully after being pierced by a spring loaded stake, he came up with very crystallized wisdom for people who survive in such environment (not city slickers like me). Thus I find it hard to reconcile the incongruity of an Almighty creating some creatures just to be forbidden food to his ‘children’ – what would be the divine purpose?

Then I came across a book by Stewart Lee Allen, titled In the Devil’s Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food.

It is a bountiful collection of the world’s food taboos, ranging from why some Buddhist monks won’t take garlic, the Aztecs' relish for their enemies’ hearts, the disagreement between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church over the communion wafer, and of course the orthodox Jews' aversion towards pork.

The book also relates the torment of European Jews (by the use of and reference to pigs and pork) by the Catholic Church, particularly during the Spanish Inquisition, right down to Hitler and his Nazis. Sprinkled throughout its pages are interesting stories and recipes.

This is what Allen had to say, after he discussed a few other reasons (including a discussion on kosher split hoofed cud-chewing animals and the problem of trichinosis):

"Historians fancy the notion that Jewish pig phobia stems from their stint as slaves in Egypt during the time when the cult of the god Seth held pigs to be exalted beasts.

Seth, God of Chaos

This may also explain the curious reports that certain Jewish cults used to have secret pork feasts once a year. According to scholar Frederick Simoons, when Seth was overthrown, his beloved spareribs became taboo for Egyptians, save for a yearly feast held at the full moon, a habit some Jews might have picked up."

"Why the full moon? Because the original sacred animal was not the pig, but the similar-looking hippo, which according to ancient Egyptian belief, lives on the Moon. Hippos live on the Moon? Well, yes; the idea is that while some Pharaoh was meditating on the full moon reflected on the Nile, a hippo emerged from the reflection ..."

According to Professor Baruch Halpern, who holds the Chaiken Family Chair in Jewish Studies, in his book David’s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King, ...

... he stated in the preface that the ancient Hebrews had other gods beside Yahweh, including his consort Ashtoret, though no deeply religious Jew or Christian is likely to accept Halpern's revelation.

Thus, we shouldn't be surprised about the possibility of the ancient Jews worshiping many gods including and particularly Egyptian ones like Seth.

(I must qualify that I haven’t quite finished Professor Halpern's book of David, which tells the story from the other side, rather than by David's supporters or propagandists. Therefore if the quotation should eventually turn out to be not quite within context, I apologize).

After reading several books, I have found that the Egyptian connection for the Hebrews is too strong to be dismissed, and I'll be blogging more of this very soon, namely on ‘Who was Abraham?’


BolehTalk’s The Pig on Noah’s Ark

Hindus Under Siege!

Please help!

Even though 82% of India's 1.1 billion population are Hindus, according to the Hindu Unity website, they (the Hindus) are surrounded and, oh dear, oh dear, under siege from very bad Christians and evil Muslims.

Here are two of its typical postings, one on Hindus in danger of becoming a minority in India (over 820 million Hindus becoming a minority in India?), and another condemning some aid organizations for being anti Hindu - because they are ALL basically commies.

Somehow they missed the Buddhists, Jainists, Bahais, Zoroastrians, atheists, etc. Phew!

By the way, they forgot to mention the murder of Australian Christian Missionary Graham Staines who was burned alive together with his two sons, aged 8 and 10, by the poor frightened Hindus under siege. Staines was working with Indian lepers. Unfortunately, in the eyes of those threatened Hindus, that would have made him either a commie or a leper.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Les États-Unis - singes capitulards bouffeurs de fromages?

Title translated: "The USA - cheese-eating surrender monkeys?"

Well, we have been noticing a second term President Bush behaving more presidential and statesman-like. Now he has adopted the European option in dealing with Iran. Rather than threaten Iran, the USA will instead motivate the Gulf state with economic incentives (eg. membership of WTO, sorely needed spare parts for aircraft, etc) to abandon any nuclear weapons programme. If Tehran continues to be still ‘anti-social’, old Dubya will then, get this, take the case to the UN Security Council – Oh Hallelujah!

However, the ayatollahs must not see this as a sign of American weakness but rather as a preparation of the legitimacy of any action the USA may take against a recalcitrant Iran. If Iran refuses to adhere to world expectation, and America then strikes, there may be a genuine coalition against Tehran, with proper UNSC resolution and full UN support.

Is Bush’s cheese-eating-surrender monkeying an acknowledgement that France and Germany have been right all along? How much has Condoleezza Rice contributed to Bush’s sensitive new age image?

But wait, there’s more! Rice has now avoided calling the Hezbollah a terrorist organization, after witnessing popular Lebanese support for it, resulting in the reappointment of pro-Syrian Omar Karami as prime minister.

There leaves only one more item to resolve – will ‘freedom fries’ in the USA now be sensibly reverted to its traditional name, ‘French fries’?

Related Postings:
Lebanon Democratic Snub for USA

Malaysiakini’s letter In the footstep of Bismarck, Sharon treads
BolehTalk’s Neo-Con turn SNAG?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Rumsfeld, Enemy Combatants, POWs & Mother Teresa!

Americans have this delightful and amusing habit of converting and expanding the meanings of English words from their traditional into new (and sometimes quite different) significance.

For example, the word redundancy traditionally means, and still does in many countries, a state of being in excess, in superabundance. It may also be used to convey the status of an employee that has become superfluous to the needs of the company – eg. He was retrenched because the company suffered from staff redundancy.

But the Americanisation of this English word provides it with a new significance, that as a standby or spare component of a system that kicks (usually automatically) into operations when the normal or active component fails – eg. an aeroplane that is capable of full automatic (pilot’s hands off) landing must enjoy triple redundancy in the auto-pilot system.

Now, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has introduced another such new meaning, though not for system safety in his case. He defended the practice by the US military Intelligence of holding unrecorded Iraqi prisoners, otherwise termed as ‘ghosts’ (meaning no one would know they had been taken prisoners, thus no one would check or inquire on their treatment by their US captors).

Rumsfeld stated that those prisoners were enemy combatants and not prisoners of war (POW), which would have entitled them to the protection of Geneva Conventions for treatment of POWs.

By splitting terminological hairs Rumsfeld has in his personal definition of Iraqi captives, indicated that the US could and thus would be doing ‘more’ to those enemy combatants than would be permitted under the Conventions. He has in those two English words abrogated one of the hallmarks of civilised decency. It is a terrible, ominous and shameful indication of the Bush Administration's lack of intention to observe universally accepted and agreed standards of treatment for enemies captured in a war.

Captured enemy combatants not POWs? Who then would be POWs? Mother Teresa and her order of ‘The Missionaries of Charity’?

Aiyah, Mowe Marn Tai, It's Business As Usual!

They complained Tung was a puppet of Beijing, but now they want him to stay, accusing China of eroding their Hong Kong autonomy by replacing Tung.

As expected, the US has made the appropriate noise, but softly – there’s big business ahead for its industries with China.

Aiyah, mowe man tai (no worries), it’s business as usual, as I had mentioned in an earlier post Hong Kong Chief Going? No Worries, It’s Business As Usual!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Lebanon Democratic Snub for USA

The people of Lebanon have spoken. President Emile Lahoud has appointed pro-Syrian Omar Karami as prime minister again, just one week after he had resigned.

Well, hope the USA will respect the outcome (wishes) of a democratic process, even though it may not like the outcome.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

City Names Going Native!

Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, named after a Boer, Andries Pretorius, will in October be called Tshwane, a name belonging to one of the earliest native chiefs of that region. Some white South Africans are crying woe in the same way diehard Westerners criticised the Chinese government’s insistence many years ago that China’s capital city be correctly called Beijing instead of Peking (I read of this stupid protest in the Far Eastern Economic Review eons ago).

Anyone with some understanding of Mandarin, the local language of North China, would recognise that Beijing is the correct pronunciation instead of the anglicised Peking (a Penangite or Taiwanese speaking in Hokkien would call it Pak Knia).

It’s quite natural that the locals would want to take up native names for their cities, like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta becoming Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata respectively.

By the way, Bangkok is an anglicised version of the Thai Krung Thep, meaning ‘City of Angels’ (or Gods), which itself is a shortened version of a very long designation, that has earned its place in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest name for a city or town. The full Thai name for the city is:

Krungthep Mahanakhon Bovorn Rattanakosin tharayutthaya Mahadilokpop Noparatratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniveymahasathan Amornpiman Avatansathit Sakkathattiya-avisnukarmprasit.

which incidentally means:

The City of Gods, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha, the Impregnable City (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the Grand Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious Gems, the Happy City Abounding in Enormous Royal Palaces Which Resemble the Heavenly Abode Wherein Dwell the Reincarnated Gods, a City Given by Indra and Built by Vishnukarm.

In this case, maybe it's best if we just stick to Krung Thep or Bangkok.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Globalisation of CIA Interrogation!

We have heard of the globalisation of terrorism. Now we have 'rendition' otherwise known as the globalisation of CIA's interrogation and torture.

Under the CIA’s ‘rendition’, terrorist suspects requiring more 'persuasion' to 'encourage' improved communication are shipped outside the jurisdiction of the American justice system, to American overseas bases like Bagram in Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, or preferably to client countries such as Egypt, Syria (hello hello! what's going on here?), Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan, who are not so answerable to American busybodies.

Incidentally all these overseas 'service centres', except for Guantanamo Bay, are in Islamic countries - is there a message somewhere in this?

Hah, globalisation – it has even permeated the arcane art of intelligence gathering.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hong Kong Chief Going? No Worries, It's Business As Usual!

The current rumours circulating in Hong Kong (and oh, how the HK-ites, like Malaysians, love rumours) are on the possibility of its Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa resigning ahead of time. Quite frankly, after talking with a few HK friends, whether this rumour is true, is he being dropped or otherwise, who is the likely successor, etc, make no iota of difference to the general HK-ites.

Though the politically inclined may seize the opportunity to press for greater freedom, perhaps even dreaming of an independent State loosely affiliated with China, the general population is more interested in bread and butter (or rice bowl) issues. As long as the economy is not jeopardised, then it will be business as usual. This pragmatism has been what made HK prosperous and lively, not democracy which had never existed there anyway, even and especially during British rule.

Only Taipei has made a song and dance about the impending gloom of Tung’s possible departure, but then what else may we expect Taipei to do, as it’s next in line for peaceful reunification’.

US Troops Accused of Deliberately Shooting Italian Journalist

The plot thickens.

It seems that the US shooting of Guiliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist freed by Iraqi insurgents might not have been an accident afterall.

Her companion, Pier Scolari claimed that Sgrena possesses information the US forces did not want revealed, hence they tried to silence her off for good.

Scolari stated that Sgrena’s car had already passed all US checkpoints on the way to Baghdad airport and in fact was only 700 metres from the aerodrome. Both American and Italian officials knew her car was about to arrive.

Sgrena herself rejected US excuses that her car was speeding towards the checkpoint. She told Italian investigators that her car was travelling at normal speed which could not be misunderstood, when the US troops poured a hail of bullets on her and 3 Italian agents. She added that it wasn't even a US military checkpoint as claimed by the Americans, but in fact a patrol that immediately opened fire after they trained their light on the car.

This is a very serious though not uncommon accusation of the US military adopting extreme sanction on journalists considered to be unfriendly to US interests, under the guise of accidental fire. The actual word for this is not ‘friendly fire’ but MURDER!

The US President has promised a full investigation, but if Scolari’s accusation holds true, who the hell would believe the truth will ever emerge.

Related Posting:
Insurgents Freed Journalist, US Troops Shot Her

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bismarck of the Middle-East?

My letter to Malaysiakini saying what I believe to be the reasons behind Ariel Sharon’s recent accommodating behaviour towards the Palestinians. This has been in response to Scott Thompson's article suggesting that Ariel Sharon could well be the Bismarck of the Middle East.

Mind you, Sharon did try to delay the peace process by apportioning the Palestinian authority some blame for the recent terrorist attack though it blamed Syria as the culprit. Sharon just had to try blaming the Palestinian government.

Hmmm, just where is Yasser Arafat when Ariel Sharon needs him so badly?

Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, condemned the attack. He wasn't going to let Sharon cook up an excuse to abandon the peace process, which has been the modus operandi of the wily old fox. Abbas believed a 3rd party, Hezbollah based in neighbouring Lebanon, had been responsible.

He May Be A Bastard, But He's The USA's Bastard

Dora Maria Tellez, who fought against a dictator, yes, AGAINST A F***ING DICTATOR, has been refused a visa into the USA because she is deemed a terrorist. What will the ghost of George Washington, who fought against another dictator to gain US its independence, say?

Tellez has been appointed Robert F. Kennedy visiting professor in Latin American studies at Harvard. The ideologically vindictive rather than security driven refusal of her visa has effectively denied her the prestigious appointment.

Unfortunately, the USA, so-called bastion of democracy and freedom has always carry a policy of He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard” for very nasty dictators and shady characters like the Somoza dynasty, Shah of Iran, the Mujaheeddin then and the Northern Alliance now of Afghanistan, the rulers of various Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Ferdinand Marcos, Augusto Pinochet, Perez Musharraf, Iyad Allawi, Ahmad Chalabi, and some real bastards in the former central Asian soviet republics, and that mother of them all, Saddam Hussein.

Insurgents Freed Journalist, US Troops Shot Her

An Italian journalist, Guiliana Sgrena, kidnapped and then freed by Iraqi insurgents, was ironically shot by trigger happy US troops as she was making her way back to freedom. Nicola Calipari, an Italian agent escorting her, and who had negotiated her release, was killed in the shooting. He covered her with his own body when the US soldiers started firing at their vehicle. Two others were also injured.