Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Litmus test: Iraq holds elections

Today voters in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces went to the polls to
elect new provincial councils. These are the first provincial elections
since the contests in January 2005 that, along with the national elections
held at the same time, were part of the backdrop to Iraq's slide into
sectarian politics. What has changed in Iraq in the meantime? What could the
impact of these elections be?

Friday, January 30, 2009

A step in the right direction?

Making her debut speech before the UN Security Council, US ambassador Susan Rice set the new mood by saying that while some allegations lacked credibility, others had more substance and must be investigated.

But in a marked shift from the rhetoric previously adopted under the Bush administration, the new US envoy told the Security Council that the "numerous allegations made against Israel" must be investigated...

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has already announced plans to launch an inquiry into the bombing of UN sites during the Gaza conflict.

Okay, I know the state of Israel needs to be demolished and this step doesn't lead in that direction. But, I need some positivity!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 21 - 27 January 2009

The cease-fire unilaterally implemented by Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions since 18 January is partially holding. Tens thousands of Gazans remain homeless, with most staying with relatives or other host families. Gaza water and sanitation conditions, which had severely deteriorated during the Israeli offensive, have somewhat improved. As a whole, the population of Gaza is receiving approximately 84% of its electricity needs. NGOs continued to face difficulty accessing the Gaza Strip to carryout humanitarian work. The higher numbers of truckloads entering Gaza since 28 December 2008 continued during the reporting period. Protests against the Barrier and the Israeli Gaza offensive continued in the West Bank villages of Ni'lin, Bil'in (Ramallah), Jayyus (Qalqiliya) and Ma'sara (Bethlehem). In northern West Bank, Israeli authorities renewed the orders issued for requisitioning the land on which the Barrier was built.

The area between the Barrier and the Green Line has
been closed since October 2003. According to research conducted by OCHA and UNRWA, only
about 20% of those who used to work the land in this area now receive permits.

Revealed: the letter Obama team hope will heal Iran rift

One draft proposal suggests that Iran should compare its relatively low standard of living with that of some of its more prosperous neighbours, and contemplate the benefits of losing its pariah status in the west. Although the tone is conciliatory, it also calls on Iran to end what the US calls state sponsorship of terrorism.

Soleful tribute: Bush shoe-throwing now a work of art

A statue of a giant shoe has been unveiled in Saddam Hussein's hometown in honour of the Iraqi journalist who threw his footwear at the former US president George Bush.
I unbanned some commenters with differing POV's, to mix things up a bit. We can't only have people we agree with on here. Not "Peace Now" or anything crazy like that. If they are truly offensive to anyone, go ahead and reban.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

World growth 'worst for 60 years'

World economic growth is set to fall to just 0.5% this year, its lowest rate since World War II, warns the International Monetary Fund (IMF)..."We now expect the global economy to come to a virtual halt," said IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard in a statement.

Angry Arab on Bin Baz (he should write a similar one on Al Sheik)

Bin Baz represented the Wahhabism founded by Muhammad Bin Abdulwahhab and made it even more intolerant, extremist and hostile to women. He became a judge at the age of twenty seven, which entitled him to issue a large enough number of fatwas for generations to sink under after him, both in Saudi Arabia and those countries which follow Wahhabi Islam in return for more than a handful of dollars.

Most people unfamiliar with the Islamic world don't understand how much it has changed since Saudi oil money has poured into its schools and mosques over the past 30 years, promoting Baz's version of Islam.
This doesn't mean we can stop making fun of her.

Obama's Emerging Policies on Pakistan, Israel, Iraq and the Economic Crisis

An interview with Noam Chomsky by Press TV

Press TV: Professor Chomsky, let us start with Pakistan. The White House is not commenting on the killings of people [in cross-border drone attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan]. Richard Holbrooke, someone whom you've written about in the context of Yugoslavia, is the man [President Barack] Obama has chosen to solve the situation.

5 countries on the verge of following Iceland to economic ruin

Great Britain, Latvia, Ukraine, Greece, and Nicaragua.

No words

Israeli soccer matches were suspended during the assault on Gaza. When the games resumed last week, the fans had come up with a new chant: “Why have the schools in Gaza been shut down?” sang the crowd. “Because all the children were gunned down!” came the answer. Thanks, angry one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Continuity of Obama’s Change

On the available evidence, it is almost certainly too late to implement a viable two-state settlement. Israeli settlement expansion appears to have proceeded too far, for far too long, to be able to be reversed by an Israeli government that can remain legitimate, even if genuine US pressure is bought to bear. The real test for Washington will therefore be not how often Mitchell shuttles to and around the region, but how rapidly it acts to freeze Israeli settlement expansion in all its forms and reverse Israeli impunity in the Occupied Territories. If the issue of settlements, the elephant in the room left unmentioned by the speakers at the State Department on January 22, has still not been seriously addressed by the time Mitchell returns from his first trip (and in 2001, recall, he only said Israel should “consider” a freeze if the Palestinians effectively disarm), it will be time to write the two-state paradigm’s definitive obituary.

Congo Crisis at a Glance

The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is arguably the world’s most deadly crisis since World War II and the death toll far exceeds those of other recent and more prominent crises, including those in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur.

According to a new survey released by the International Rescue Committee, an estimated 5.4 million people have died as a consequence of the war and its lingering effects since 1998.

5.4 million people have died since 1998
45,000 people continue to die every month
National mortality rate is nearly 60 percent higher than sub-Saharan average

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Indian Example

Radhika Sainath, The Electronic Intifada, 26 January 2009

Most people believe India won its independence from the British exclusively through Gandhi's famous strategy of nonviolence. They're wrong; armed resistance has deep roots in India. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, also known as the First War of Independence, Hindus and Muslims serving in the infantry for the British East Indian Company revolted against the British Empire, killing British officers and civilians alike. While the majority of these cavalrymen were Hindu, Muslims also partook in the rebellion. These Muslim fighters called themselves "jihadis" and even "suicide ghazis."

EU split over taking in former Guantánamo inmates

Of those prisoners still detained at Guantánamo, around 60 to 80 are expected to be tried. The remaining 245 would be released, but many cannot be sent back to their own countries for fear of execution or torture. The US has made it clear it will not allow them to settle in America.

If they are not dangerous, why can't they settle here (other than public outcry, of course), and if they are dangerous, why can't they be tried?

Top Dems Are Serious About Investigating Bush's Criminal Acts

As President Barack Obama reverses some of ex-President George W. Bush’s most controversial “war on terror” policies, a consensus seems to be building among Democratic congressional leaders that further investigations are needed into Bush’s use of torture and other potential crimes.

On Wednesday – the first working day of the Obama administration – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would support funding and staff for additional fact-finding by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which last month released a report tracing abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to Bush’s Feb. 7, 2002, decision to exclude terror suspects from Geneva Convention protections.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, who issued that report, echoed Reid’s comments, saying “there needs to be an accounting of torture in this country.” Levin, D-Michigan, also said he intends to encourage the Justice Department and incoming Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate torture practices that took place while Bush was in office.

Two other key Democrats joined in this growing chorus of lawmakers saying that serious investigations should be conducted.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, a former federal prosecutor and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a floor speech, “As the President looks forward and charts a new course, must someone not also look back, to take an accounting of where we are, what was done, and what must now be repaired.”

Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters: "Looking at what has been done is necessary.”

Damn Hamas Lions!

“The first thing the Israelis did was shoot at the lions - the animals ran out of their cage and into the office building. Actually they hid there."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gandhi on Palestine

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs... Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.

Read the whole piece.

Obama shuts network of CIA 'ghost prisons'

Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush's war on terror, shutting down the CIA's secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush's thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

Where's the Gypsies' country?

Research indicates their origin is in North India. Let's give that away and arm them to the teeth.

Gypsy suffering in the Holocaust.

Freed by the U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Obamameter

PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bailout costs

more than Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, moonshot, S&L bailout, Korean War, New Deal, Iraq war, Vietnam war, and NASA's lifetime budget -- *combined*!

China to expand its military reach

China has said it plans to step up the modernisation of its armed forces, expanding the military's global reach, but at the same time calling on the incoming US administration to improve military relations between the two countries.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BREAKING: Bush Pardons Osama bin Laden

WASHINGTON, DC: In a stunning late-hour development, President George W. Bush has granted Osama bin Laden a pardon for the murder of more than 2,700 Americans in the fall of 2001.

"This kinda came out of nowhere," said a White House aide who requested anonymity. "I wouldn't have put bin Laden on the short list myself. On the other hand, maybe this is the president's way of finding closure. Because ... y'know ... he wasn't actually able to kill bin Laden, or capture him, or even keep him from making all those (expletive) videos. I mean, jeez, let's face it: Osama bin Laden is basically a one-man Netflix of cave movies."

The aide paused, then went on to say, "Can you believe this dude (Bush) was actually president for eight (expletive) years? What were we thinking? Seriously, what the (expletive) were we thinking?"

The aide began weeping quietly. "May God have mercy on me for my role in the unfathomable travesty that was the Bush administration."

Conservative columnist William Kristol insisted the pardon made sense.

"George W. Bush is a brilliant strategist. I'm sure he has a good reason for this pardon. I'll figure it out."

Kristol sucked his thumb for a few minutes, lost in thought. He was then distracted by a brightly colored piece of string.

A passerby, told of the bin Laden pardon, offered a possible explanation:

"Maybe Bush is trying to smoke him out. Wasn't that the plan?"
Should not the terms `Jew', `Jewish' and `Jewry' be reserved for adherents to Judaism, as `Christians', `Muslims', `Hindus' and `Buddhists' are reserved for adherents to those faiths? Although, I suppose, there are those who call themselves "culturally Muslim, Jewish, Hindu", etc. But most of those calling themselves "culturally Jewish" are really no different than those non-Jews around them. They should stop. As I am. I was only calling myself Jewish to make my advocacy for Palestine "stronger", anyway.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let me just ask this question one more time. A British Jewish politician denounced Israel in parliament. That would never happen here. Why, why is that? Why are British Jews seemingly less Zionist than American ones? There is even a nice British Jewish anti-Zionist blog, but no such American counterpart.
So the EU is taking the same tack as Israel. Punish the people of Gaza for electing Hamas by not rebuilding Gaza as long as Hamas is on power. They actually think slaughtering the people of Gaza and keeping them living in ruins will make them embrace Israel. A theory on the same level of retardation as Bush.
Wasn't it nice of Israel to end the war right before the inauguration? They wouldn't want to embarrass Bam, now, would they?

Old wine, new bottle

Obama Reaches Out for McCain’s Counsel

Over the last three months, Mr. Obama has quietly consulted Mr. McCain about many of the new administration’s potential nominees to top national security jobs and about other issues — in one case relaying back a contender’s answers to questions Mr. McCain had suggested.

Mr. McCain, meanwhile, has told colleagues “that many of these appointments he would have made himself,”

More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle

The last fiscal year was a banner one for the military, with all active-duty and reserve forces meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals for the first time since 2004, the year that violence in Iraq intensified drastically, Pentagon officials said.

And the trend seems to be accelerating. The Army exceeded its targets each month for October, November and December — the first quarter of the new fiscal year — bringing in 21,443 new soldiers on active duty and in the reserves.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Up to Date information on civilians in Gaza


A question

What does it say about humanity that one of the groups who know persecution, oppression, and genocide the most intimately, who have a very long history of suffering to gain wisdom from, have learned no lesson from it. Or rather, have learned the wrong lesson from it. Not that no people deserve such a fate, but that the only way to stop their suffering is by becoming oppressors themselves?

Livni explains to us that it doesn't matter how many Palestinians are killed

Latest atrocities

Media building used by Reuters and a number of pan-Arab news agencies has been hit in the centre of #Gaza City

Hospital in Tal El-Hawa in central Gaza bombed with 500 people inside.

At least 1,054 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, Palestinian medical sources say. More than 4,860 people also injured.

Israeli navy turns back #Gaza aid boat which sailed from Cyprus carrying doctors, journalists and emergency medical supplies.

UN relief agency spokesman says Gaza headquarters was hit by at least three shells containing white phosphorus.

John Ging, the head of UN operations in Gaza told al-Jazeera television: "This is going to burn down the entire warehouse ... thousands and thousands of tonnes of food, medical supplies and other emergency assistance is there."

He said the phosphorus fires were hard to extinguish "because if you put water on it, it will just generate toxic fumes and do nothing to stop the burning". Phosphorous munitions are banned under international law as a weapon but permitted if used to create a smokescreen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good letter to the editor from British Jews

We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin. When we see the dead and bloodied bodies of young children, the cutting off of water, electricity and food, we are reminded of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, talked of putting Gazans "on a diet" and the deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, talked about the Palestinians experiencing "a bigger shoah" (holocaust), this reminds us of Governor General Hans Frank in Nazi-occupied Poland, who spoke of "death by hunger".

The real reason for the attack on Gaza is that Israel is only willing to deal with Palestinian quislings. The main crime of Hamas is not terrorism but its refusal to accept becoming a pawn in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime in Palestine.

The decision last month by the EU council to upgrade relations with Israel, without any specific conditions on human rights, has encouraged further Israeli aggression. The time for appeasing Israel is long past. As a first step, Britain must withdraw the British ambassador to Israel and, as with apartheid South Africa, embark on a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Craig Murray

Let me say it loud and clear. I do not believe in Israel's right to exist. It is a militarised, evil entity founded on a racist premise and a lot of religious hokum. It shuld be replaced by a single, secular state in which the Palestinians are free to live, and in which they receive either their stolen lands or genuine equivalent financial compensation, in either case plus damages.
I listened to a interview on NPR this morning with the former head of Medicins sans frontieres. It was on humanitarian crises and there was no mention of Gaza.

Put your money where your mouth is

4 January 2009, CARE and partner organisations comforted people as they delivered 2 trucks worth of blankets, plastic sheets, sticky tape and heaters throughout Gaza. These items are desperately needed as many families have lost all their belongings and their homes or are living in dire conditions in the cold with their windows blown out or open to the elements.

CARE is a very good organization, safe, tax deductible, and the money goes mostly to people who need it, not an office.


Reading list

Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants
by James Petras

Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East
by Jonathan Cook

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt

The Power of Israel in the United States
by James Petras

Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal
by Grant F. Smith

Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power
by James Petras

The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel
by Stephen J.

Has anyone read any of these? Most of them came out in the last 2 years.
I wonder if there will be a way to adopt the children of those killed by Israel.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My father, sister, her friend and I are going to a protest by Jews Monday at the Israeli embassy against Israel's attacks. Any suggestions for signs?

This is what a Qassam looks like? It's friggin' tiny!

Tiny qassam

rockets over Gaza

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'

The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

Wow: It's a Federal crime in America to boycott Israel

From a government website:

Antiboycott Compliance

The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.

Boycott Alert

U.S. companies continue to report receiving requests to engage in activities that further or support the boycott of Israel. U.S. companies may receive similar requests in the future. If you have questions, please call (202) 482-2381 and ask for the Duty Officer or you may contact us by email.

Atheist buses in UK

(The organization) unveiled its advertisements on 800 buses across Britain.

“There’s probably no God,” the advertisements say. “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

this one's for you, TGIA.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Deborah Orr: There wouldn't have been Gaza rockets without the blockade

Supporters of Israel's action are fond of reiterating Israel's narrow justification for its action. Who else would put up with regular rocket attacks from a neighbour, it asks? No one suggests that they would be happy to. It is accepted that Israel has the right to defend itself, and so it should be. Yet few would acquiesce without protest to a swingeing two-year blockade by a neighbour either, though no Western leader ever seems seriously to ask that highly pertinent question.

We welcome the Franco-Egyptian initiative

Ahmed Yousef is deputy to the ministry of foreign affairs in the Hamas government of Gaza, based in Rafah, Gaza. He has also acted as a political adviser to the former Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh

In recent days, we have witnessed a lot of global activity at the political level, aimed at bringing about a ceasefire but none of the major players has attempted to enter Gaza to access the situation. Nevertheless, Hamas welcomes the Egyptian-French initiative. We recognise that it contains many positive elements, but also elements that need more careful consideration. We want an immediate ceasefire agreement to end the suffering caused by the present violence and the economic blockade. To achieve this, we need an honest broker who will guarantee that Israel will respect the terms of the agreement.

Pakistan acknowledges Mumbai link for first time

Pakistan's government acknowledged Wednesday that there is a connection between November's attacks in Mumbai, India, and elements inside Pakistan.

From the UN

The total number of casualties as of 1400 hours today has risen to at least 683 Palestinians killed and more than 3,085 injured since 27 December. The latest toll from the shelling of the UNRWA school in Jabalia is 43 killed and about 100 injured. UNRWA has rejected Israeli claims that the school was being used to fire mortars at the Israeli army.

Rare bit of good news

Over a third of American millionaire households said they lost at least 30% of their net worth since September,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dispossession and genocide are much larger and serious crimes than "terrorism". 800,000 Palestinians were dispossessed from their homeland in 1948, and are still being dispossessed, more slowly, and insidiously, today. And the genocide is also a slow one. When I wrote this, someone asked me what the definition of genocide was and how was it different from the sporadic fighting that has gone on between the parties for the past 60 years. I don't know exactly, but when was side is dying in disproportionate numbers, doesn't that seem like genocide? I once wondered how many Palestinians have been killed over the past 60 years, and when even the Angry One didn't know, I thought someone should chronicle it, and why not me? I think someday I will.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Do Israel pilots feel happy killing innocent women and children?

"I visit the main hospital in Rafah. There are so many injured people, most of them children. In one ward, I meet four children aged five or six. They are in deep shock. They can't speak, they just look at you.

Only one child could say his name: "Abdel Rahman". That's all he can say. Otherwise, he just stares. He's five. His ear was wounded by shrapnel, his head is covered by bandages."

Can you imagine this headline in a US newspaper? Just to bring home how occupied we are here. ZOG used to be talked about by white supremacist groups, and I used to laugh about it, but it certainly seems true now.

35 pilgrims killed by suicide bomber

At least 35 Shia pilgrims have been killed by a female suicide bomber at a shrine in Baghdad, Iraqi officials say.
At least 65 people were injured in the blast, in the Kadhimiya area of the Iraqi capital, where pilgrims were gathering for a religious ceremony.
Most of the casualties were from neighbouring Iran. There are fears the death toll will rise.
Processions of Shia pilgrims across Iraq have been targeted by Sunni insurgents in the past.

--Imagine the outrage, the worldwide outrage, if 35 Palestinian worshippers were killed by Israel.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Obama's silence is deafening. And quite nauseating. But not surprising.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Suicide bomb kills many in Iraq

Up to 30 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in a town south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police say.
About 110 people were also injured in the attack at a gathering of Sunni Muslim tribal leaders in Yusufiya, 20km (12 miles) from Baghdad.
Police said the bomber had entered the home of a sheikh as a Sunni council meeting was being held.
The area was once an al-Qaeda stronghold but local Sunnis turned against the group from 2007.
A number of the tribal leaders, or sheikhs, are reported to be among the casualties.
The council meeting was part of an initiative by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, to reach out to Sunnis to aid national reconciliation.

Arabic music recommendations

Souad Massi
Trio Joubran
Mounir Bashir
Simon Shaheen
Rabih Abou-Khalil
Rachid Taha
El Funoun
Gilad Atzmon (he plays Arabic music)

These are some of my favorites. Anyone else have any recommendations?

Religion May Have Evolved Because Of Its Ability To Help People Exercise Self-control

Self-control is critical for success in life, and a new study by University of Miami professor of Psychology Michael McCullough finds that religious people have more self-control than do their less religious counterparts.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My ex-colleague, who I had been arguing with just sent me this:

This is hard for me to write, but it's true:

You're a bully.

Your tactics are indistinguishable from those of the Zionist ideologues whom you despise. The only difference is the content of your ideology -- the methods are identical.

And I don't want to be bullied. I refuse to be bullied.

And you will NEVER bully me into adopting your position.

The background is he (Jewish) doesn't "want to take sides" in the conflict because "both sides' hands are dirty".

this is what upset him: he asked me why I wanted to argue with him about it and I said:

because I wanted you to take a side, beside I regard those who won't take a side in this issue as either callous or cowardly. And I didn't want to think of you as either. I take that back, one could be brainwashed.

Iron Maiden found in Uday's playground

A bad day on the field for a player on the national soccer squad could result in savage retribution: Players had their feet scalded and toenails ripped off for failing to win tournaments. Allegations of torture had even resulted in investigations by international sports governing bodies, most notably soccer's FIFA, but these had failed to produce conclusive evidence — hardly surprising, since no player would dare admit to suffering such abuse, for fear of even worse...

Around 7 feet tall, three feet across and deep enough to house a grown man, the sarcophagus-shaped device is essentially a large, metal closet with long spikes on the inside door that closes to impale its victim. Its name derives from its mummy shape and the beatific woman's face depicted on its headpiece. The one found in Baghdad was clearly worn from use, its nails having lost some of their sharpness. It lay on its side within view of Uday's first-floor offices in the soccer association.

The Evil Behind the Smiles

As in many brothels, the torture of choice was electric shocks. Sina would be tied down, doused in water and then prodded with wires running from the 220-volt wall outlet. The jolt causes intense pain, sometimes evacuation of the bladder and bowel — and even unconsciousness.

Zimbabwe doomed to another failed harvest

The land is fertile, the rain is falling, but the agricultural system has been destroyed by Robert Mugabe.

Sderoters(?) sign petition

Some 500 Sderot residents have recently signed a petition calling to stop the IDF operation in the Strip and renew the truce with Hamas.

Arik Yalin, 43, from Sderot told Ynet that over 1,800 Israelis and Palestinians have already joined the petition. "About a month ago we realized that the situation was about to deteriorate into total chaos," he explained.

"It's important for us to voice an opinion that represents quite a few residents who live within the rocket range but who believe that we can, and should try to resolve this ongoing conflict in a peaceful manner.

From Jews Sans Frontieres

Top Ten Good News Stories in the Muslim World, 2008

(That Nobody Noticed)

You could argue with many of these.