Iran

Not so happy in Iran, certainly no clapping along

The religion of peace strikes again.

Six Iranians who appeared in a video singing along to the American pop song Happy have been given suspended sentences of six months in prison and 91 lashes for obscene behaviour.   Read more »

An insiders guide to reporting on Israel/Gaza conflict

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot   Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Tablet has an essay about the media manipulations in reporting the Israel/Gaza conflict.

It is by  Matti Friedman who is a former AP correspondent who explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters. What she writes echoes what I saw in Israel.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

She looks at the disproportionate staffing and reporting on Israel compared with other countries.

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel. I don’t mean to pick on the AP—the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else.

The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.

News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

That is an indictment in itself right there. That is a massive news imbalance.    Read more »

No support, Hamas is thrown under the bus by Arab neighbours

Seems Israel isn’t the only one tired of radical Islamists, as Arab nations normally opposing to the on again, off again conflict turned a blind eye to Israel pummeling the extremists launching rockets at Israel. Egypt’s own military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood and began a crackdown on the organisation hostile to Zionism in 2013:

CAIRO — Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting.

Not this time.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.

“I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas,” he said. “The silence is deafening.” Read more »

Compare and Contrast: Part three

Welcome to part three of my series of posts where I invite you to compare and contrast what happened in the past with what is happening now.

Lets look at how Germany kept its preparations for war hidden from the world prior to WWII and what Hamas has successfully hidden from the world until now.

Read more »

Jon Voight takes on F.A.G.

Jon Voight is standing up to the Hollywood luvvies who have signed an letter denouncing Israel.

He tells a few home truths…I wonder if his daughter, Angelina Jolie, will take pause to read what her father has written.

From Hollywood Reporter:

My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.

They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half. The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea. But the Israelis won. The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday. Each time the Jews prevailed but not without great loss of life.  And when Israel was not fighting a major war, it was defending itself against terrorist campaigns.   Read more »

Cruising down the middle of the feminist highway

Recent news items have highlighted a feminist agenda in New Zealand. It is not a middle of the road agenda but an extreme one, that some would refer to as Militant or Feminazi.

We have a women’s group applauding Cunliffe apologising for being a man because some men in New Zealand abuse women. We have a young activist being used as a political pawn in order to attack National but also to add gravitas to a proposed law change to shift the burden of proof in rape cases. A law change that turns our entire system on its head as the assumption of innocence until proven guilty would be taken away.

So why is all this ok? It seems that if it is good for women then we dare not question or criticize it. Well I am criticizing it and let me tell you why.

I used to drive my poor Dad nuts with the feminist stuff I used to say in my teens. I had a poster on my door especially to upset him that said…..

51+-hir6nDL

I thought it was really funny at the time. My other poster had a quote from Charlotte Whitton on it which said……

“Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”

Read more »

Abbott really has stopped the boats

Tony Abbott might not be able to find an airplane but he has managed to stop the boats.

NO people-smuggling venture had succeeded in landing asylum seekers on Australia for more than four months, the government says.

In the latest update on Operation Sovereign Borders, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that vigorous border protection activities was deterring illegal boat arrivals, even into the post-monsoon period when weather conditions usually improve.

Mr Morrison said the practice of turning back unauthorised boats remained in effect.

“Anyone seeking to enter Australia illegally by boat will be faced with the same policies those who previously attempted illegal entry met,” he said in a statement.

Mr Morrison said no one had reached Australia since December 19 and that continued this month. But 3351 on 47 boats arrived in April 2013 under the former Labor government.

The latest Operation Sovereign Borders operational update says there are now 1281 in the processing centre on Manus Island and 1177 on Nauru, making a total of 2458.

Another 1405 remain on Christmas Island. During the last week, eight asylum seekers were transferred to Nauru.

Seven unauthorised maritime arrival transferees were voluntarily returned to Iran.

Read more »

Clapped out Iranian Navy ships ‘threaten’ US shores…snigger

Clapped out Iranian ship 'menacing' US shores

Clapped out Iranian ship ‘menacing’ US shores

Some ships from the Iranian Navy are currently marauding in the Atlantic Ocean in a deployment that is a supposedly response to U.S. naval deployments near Iran’s coastlines and they are sending a message.

In other news the Afghan Air Force are going to fly their stealth bombers to the edge of US airspace just to add to the tension.

This must be a worrying time for the seppos,  we should offer our air combat wing in case they need some back up.

Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time in a bid to send ‘a message’ to the White House.  Read more »

Peak oil gets in the chook

Remember peak oil…alarmists (usually the same ones moaning about global warming) would go on about how we are running out of oil…and yet we just keep on finding more and more.

On top of that production from Iran and Libya is set to come online this year as diplomatic conditions thaw. this is resulting in a huge pool of available oil.

So much so there is likely to be an oil glut.

One piece of the jigsaw puzzle is missing to complete the deflation landscape across the West: a slide in oil prices. This is becoming more likely each month.

Turmoil across the Middle East and parts of Africa has choked supply over the past two years, keeping Brent crude near $110 a barrel despite a broader commodity slump. Cotton and corn prices have halved, as has the UBS index of industrial metals. Such anomalies rarely last.

“We estimate that crude oil is now the mostly richly priced commodity in the world,” says Deutsche Bank in a fresh report.

Michael Lewis, the bank’s commodity strategist, said markets face an “new oil supply glut” as three forces combine. US shale will add 1m barrels a day (b/d) to global supply for the third year running; Libya will crank up shipments after a near collapse in 2013; and Iran will come out of hibernation. “This will push OPEC spare capacity to levels last seen in the depths of the financial crisis in 2009,” he said.

America is on track to overtake Saudi Arabia as the top global producer of oil by 2016. It will account for more than half of non-OPEC world supply this year. The US Energy Department says US oil imports will drop to 5.5m b/d by next year, half the level a decade ago. This turns the world’s 89m b/d market upside-down.

Deutsche Bank said Saudi Arabia may have to slash its output by a quarter to 7.5m b/d this year to stop the bottom falling out of the market. The Saudis no longer have such money to spare. They are propping up an elephantine welfare nexus to keep a lid on explosive tensions in the Eastern Province, home to Saudi oil and its aggrieved Shia minority. A cut of this size would push the budget into deep deficit.  Read more »

They should stick to eating cheese and surrendering

Foreign Policy outlines how the dodgy French ratbags unravelled international attempts to get an accord with Iran over nuclear weapons.

Western and Iranian negotiators were putting the finishing touches on a far-reaching nuclear deal. Then, at virtually the last minute, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius joined in the talks. It didn’t take long for the negotiations to unravel — and for Fabius to publicly declare this round of the talks to be over.

It wasn’t the answer U.S., European or Iranian teams had been expecting. One Western official said Paris hadn’t been particularly involved in the painstaking negotiations that had taken place in the run-up to this weekend’s talks in Geneva. “The French were barely involved in this,” one Western diplomat said. “They didn’t get looped in until a few days ago.”    Read more »