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The Falling Man

I guess many of us have been wondering what the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks would be like? How it would be remembered? What feelings might exist?

Also the thought of looking back and comparing what the future looked like from that point forward to what has actually transpired, as well as looking forward from today in terms of the future of terrorism and how Western societies, especially America, might deal with that going forward.

But those are for other posts.

One of the things I never imagined for the 20th anniversary was that the circle would be so perfectly completed by two images taken twenty years apart.

The current US government has given us that perfect circle. We are almost right back where we started.

There are so many stories associated with this day. But for me there are two. First is the one published in Esquire in 2003, The Falling Man. It concerns the efforts made to identify the man in that photo on the left, and it contains some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read on that terrible subject.

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying.

Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man’s posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, 

The next morning, that photo appeared on page seven of The New York Times, but it also appeared in hundreds of newspapers around the USA and the world. Of course it did; it was too perfect a photo not to. But then it vanished, and the essay tries to explain why. The chapters of the essay are split by the other photos of the same man and they tell a different truth:

Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs. The Falling Man in Richard Drew’s picture fell in the manner suggested by the photograph for only a fraction of a second, and then kept falling. The photograph functioned as a study of doomed verticality, a fantasia of straight lines, with a human being slivered at the center, like a spike. In truth, however, the Falling Man fell with neither the precision of an arrow nor the grace of an Olympic diver. He fell like everyone else, like all the other jumpers—trying to hold on to the life he was leaving, which is to say that he fell desperately, inelegantly.

One reporter approached, carefully, a number of families that the man might have belonged too. From his clothes it is certain that he worked in the Windows of The World restaurant. One family split on the agreement, some thinking it was him, Norberto Hernandez, who had jumped out of a window. But his wife – they had been together since she was 15 – denied it was him.

The Norberto Hernandez Eulogia knew would not have been deterred by smoke or by fire in his effort to come home to her. The Norberto Hernandez she knew would have endured any pain before he jumped out of a window. When the Norberto Hernandez she knew died, his eyes were fixed on what he saw in his heart—the faces of his wife and his daughters—and not on the terrible beauty of an empty sky.

Will any article ever appear in Esquire that attempts to track down the men who fell from that plane in Kabul? I doubt it. We humans can only extend our compassion so far beyond our closest loves; the tribe, perhaps even a nation.

To that end I may as well tell my story of that day. Two weeks earlier I had put my wife and little boy on to a plane bound for Europe, where they would travel to Poland with her sister and father to see other relatives. As is often the case with parents I felt a bit down after seeing them off and this was observed by a close friend that I had a beer with afterwards before heading home to relieve the baby sitter taking care of our baby daughter.

He pressed me on the fact that I seemed more down than could be explained by such a parting and it was then that I told him that I was depressed because I thought that a terrorist attack might occur in Europe while they were there. I told him that Al-Qaeda seemed to hit about every 12 to 18 months, and that since almost a year had passed since the USS Cole bombing we were probably due for another one. He laughed it off and eventually so did I. In hindsight it was stupid thinking, since they had made it quite clear that America was always their target.

On the Wednesday morning (NZ time) I only slowly woke up after the radio alarm went off at 6am. As usual I’d been up in the night taking care of my baby and now, having climbed out of the crib in the dark, she was asleep on our bed beside me. In those days I still listened to Morning Report but I was so groggy that I missed the opening news. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I heard them talking about how Wall Street had been closed and that buildings had been heavily damaged.

What the hell? I got up, turned on the TV, and stared, like everybody else, mesmerised by the images. Like more than a few people my initial thoughts were that this was just like a movie, Independence Day or Deep Impact perhaps.

The jumpers are what changed that. The networks would soon pull the coverage, but on morning TV here they were still showing them. Esquire again:

And it was, at last, the sight of the jumpers that provided the corrective to those who insisted on saying that what they were witnessing was “like a movie,” for this was an ending as unimaginable as it was unbearable: Americans responding to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world with acts of heroism, with acts of sacrifice, with acts of generosity, with acts of martyrdom, and, by terrible necessity, with one prolonged act of—if these words can be applied to mass murder—mass suicide.

But what I also felt was a feeling of terrible, guilty relief. The attack had not been in Europe but in the US. My wife and child might find the voyage home tough, but they would get home. It would probably be safer than ever.

In the meantime I had to reach them. I had phone numbers in Poland but my language would not be up to par. In desperation I decided to call a friend of ours in Chicago, Kinga, born and raised in Poland before she had come to the USA as a baby. She could call the numbers and find out what was happening. It was then, for the first and only time in my life of calling the USA that I encountered the following voice message:

We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed at this time.
All circuits are busy now. Please wait and try again.

After many attempts I got through. She was okay, having evacuated downtown Chicago along with a million other people (everybody felt the John Hancock Centre and Sears Tower would be targets) and her husband, a friend of mine, was also safe, although he was trapped in Boston, from which he was supposed to have flown out that morning, an hour or more after one of the hijacked flights left that airport. It would take him a week to get home. I gave her the Polish phone numbers and a couple where I could be reached.

I had to head to the Waikato with my daughter on a pre-arranged trip that I saw no reason to cancel, so it was not until late that evening that Kinga called me back to tell me that everybody was okay. In fact they’d been on a train and did not even find out about the attacks until they got off at their destination. My wife and son arrived home a week later.

The second story is about one of two cops, Will Jimeno, who were dug out of the rubble of the WTC collapse. The story was made into a movie, World Trade Centre, by Oliver Stone who – amazingly considering his history – played it straight and not as a conspiracy theory. I was impressed at how accurately the movie stuck to the facts and the moments. It is a superb movie.

The oddest thing about being trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center was that Will Jimeno didn’t break any bones. The Port Authority police officer had 220 stories of the World Trade Center fall on top of him — all of both towers, first the south, then the north — a violence of unimaginable scale, velocity and intensity, one that killed three of the other officers he’d been standing with moments earlier, and entombing him and his surviving sergeant amid concrete and rock for hours on Sept. 11, 2001.

But what’s different about this article is that it deals with an aftermath the movie understandably left alone, the mental shock of the day that grew even as he physically healed. What is called PTSD:

When he returned home, he went into his older daughter’s room. “Bianca,” he asked, “does daddy yell a lot?”

“Yeah, Daddy, you scare me sometimes,” she replied, truthfully.

Jimeno was devastated. As he describes the moment in his book, “That’s when I realized if I’m not a good husband, a good dad, a good example, then the terrorists win.”

The story of his recovery from PTSD is as great as the first half of the article.

When I look at the reactions of the USA in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, with things like the Patriot Act, the ongoing TSA security theatre that was imposed at airports, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent, shameful bungling of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan, I can’t help thinking that perhaps that great nation is suffering from a form of PTSD, and that unlike Mr Jimeno, they have not yet learned how to handle it.

To that end though, ultimately the fate of all this lies in the hands of the people, and to me, aside from the heroism at the WTC and the Pentagon, the bright shining light of that day was the actions of the people on board the fourth hijacked plane, United 93. Unlike the other hero’s of that day they were not trained for such a thing:

Think of it this way. In less than 30 minutes, regular people who have been informed of horrific news on a plane are told that their plane is going to most likely suffer a similar fate. In less than a half-hour, they devise a plan to not wait for someone to save them, but to act to make sure they are not part of mass murder. Even if that means they will die anyway, they are not going to sit by and let evil win easily.

They fought back, and they saved lives — knowing that their lives would probably end as a result.

By attempting to take back control of the plane – after a vote it should be noted, democratic to the death – they prevented the Islamic Jihadist hijackers from completing their terrible mission.

Americans are better people than their leaders. I’ll take that into the future.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 12, 2021 at 6:10 pm

Jobs for the boys

That satirical movie poster was from 2014 when Obama traded five Taliban terrorists locked up in Guantanamo for a US soldier who had deserted from his unit, then did a hideous press conference where it became obvious where Private Bergdahl’s “patriotism” had come from. His father was invited by Obama and in addition to looking and sounding like he had decided to join the Taliban himself, he used the opportunity to shit all over the US.

It’s interesting to walk down this particular memory lane and realise that despite being much smarter and not senile, Obama and his team had more than a few cluster fucks of their own that seem little different from those that Biden is having. Obama’s clowns never shifted off their backsides to look into the details of Bergdahl, his capture, his dingbat father or much else before they decided to go for the dog and pony show at the Whitehouse seven years ago.

The full details of the men released can be found here. The following is my quick synopsis of three of them:

Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites in 1998.

Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like Fazl, Noori is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.

Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence): Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation.

Under the traditional rules of war all five of them should have been shot at dawn on the Afghan battlefields, but I guess this way some future US President might at least drone their ass at some point in time.

Alternatively they could have been processed through a military tribunal but for Obama’s delusional desire to put them through US civil courts. Yet another failure of competence as his own party rose up against him when he tried to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to New York.

Well guess what sports fans? They’re back in power. As in real power. As in being part of the Cabinet of the new Taliban government of Afghanistan.

  • Mullah Norullah Nori (Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs)
  • Mohammed Fazl (Defense Deputy Minister)
  • Khairullah Khairkhwa (Acting Minister of Information and Culture)
  • Abdul Haq Wasiq (Acting Director of Intelligence)

So the last guy got his old job back. Pretty typical of a politician who knows where all the bodies are buried.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Art for Afghanistan’s sake

Despite a love of books I endured English only as far as I had to take it in high school, which was up to the end of 6th Form (Year 12 it is now called). Funnily enough that last year was the one I enjoyed the most as various books and essays had to be analysed.

Earlier English courses were broader, covering things like art and poetry.

I hated poetry.

Despite hating it (or perhaps because of that) there were certain types of poetry and art that stuck in the mind although the details are long lost. One of them was “Concrete Poetry”. The other was Dadaism:

… the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works.[4][5][6] The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture.

Ah yes. The boy who loved science, logic, reason, and rationality was really going to fall for this stuff. It was crap. Our entire class thought it was crap, including those who would go on to do university degrees in English. Luckily we had an English teacher (huge, ginger afro and beard) who was more than happy to hear such blunt critiques and be amused by them.

So it has been with a sense of amusement and despair that I have watched a video going viral around the Interwebby that shows Afghan women being taught about Dadaism in 2015. The key view is at 31 seconds:

Incredible is it not? American taxpayers paid for this, as well as many, many other such things, as Cockburn explains at the Spectator:

So, alongside the billions for bombs went hundreds of millions for gender studies in Afghanistan. According to US government reports, $787 million was spent on gender programs in Afghanistan, but that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking America made in the country.

A recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) broke down the difficulties of the project. For starters, in both Dari and Pastho there are no words for ‘gender’. That makes sense, since the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ was only invented by a sexually-abusive child psychiatrist in the 1960s, but evidently Americans were caught off-guard.

The initiatives piled up one after another. Do-gooders established a ‘National Masculinity Alliance’, so a few hundred Afghan men could talk about their ‘gender roles’ and ‘examine male attitudes that are harmful to women’.

Challenging. In every sense of the word.

Under the US’s guidance, Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution set a 27 percent quota for women in the lower house — higher than the actual figure in America! A strategy that sometimes required having women represent provinces they had never actually been to. Remarkably, this experiment in ‘democracy’ created a government few were willing to fight for, let alone die for.

Probably the exact opposite, as Never Yet Melted suggests:

Western elites let Afghans see what Western elite culture is like. Naturally, and inevitably, they took down their AK-47s from the wall and fought tooth and nail to prevent being assimilated into that!

It should also be noted that Dadism arose in Germany after WWI in reaction to the waste, horror and futility of that war and was driven by the radical Left, who used it to attack everything they hated about the West. It was one of the centrepieces of the early German Wiemar period of government and fit perfectly with the uselessness and decadence of Weimar culture.

Perhaps that means we’ll see Dadism soon reborn in the USA, using MRE’s, PortaPotties, MRAPS and HumVees as the objects of art. The whole ethos would be a perfect fit for the American now. I’m also reminded of the famous final scene from the movie Cabaret.

As Law Professor Glenn Reynolds noted on his Instapundit blog:

“The American political/academic/managerial class is made up largely of buffoons. It’s hilarious, except for it being so toxic and deadly.”

Written by Tom Hunter

September 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm

I’m thinking that they’re related

The terrorist attack in Auckland yesterday and the recent defeat of the USA in Afghanistan, that is.

The latter is a defeat by the way. Not in the sense of overwhelming defeat but a defeat non the less. Symbolic perhaps, but symbolism matters.

As such I wonder if our local “Mr S” was triggered by all this recent Islamic Jihadist triumphalism that’s been thundering across the Social Media accounts of the Taliban and their many associates around the world? Perhaps he thought it was time to finally act on his fantasies?

To that end, I thought that this passage from a letter written twenty years ago should be brought to people’s attention. The full text of the letter can be found in many places but this is from The Guardian:

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

Osama Bin Laden, November, 2002

Written by Tom Hunter

September 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Other collapses

While the world’s attention is focused on the growing disaster of Afghanistan since the Taliban took it over in the wake of America’s mis-handled retreat, there are other nation-state catastrophes happening.

Like Lebanon.

Admittedly this nation has been on a knife edge for decades. Civil war raged from the mid-1970’s to the 1980’s and has continued at much lower levels of sniping ever since.

Multiple groups are involved and it often seems as much tribal as between Christian and Muslim or sub-sets of each. As tribal as Afghanistan perhaps, but with a more Westernised approach towards civil society. It’s amazing the country has held together at all.

That may finally be coming to an end, Lebanese Economy Collapsing Amid Hyperinflation, Power Outages:

The economy of Lebanon is witnessing a once-in-a-century collapse.

Amid hyperinflation and inconsistent power supplies following a massive explosion in Beirut last year, Lebanon may be witnessing one of the worst three economic depressions since the nineteenth century, according to the World Bank.

Specifically the World Bank says:

Lebanon’s GDP plummeted from close to US$ 55 billion in 2018 to an estimated US$ 33 billion in 2020, with US$ GDP/ capita falling by around 40 percent. Such a brutal and rapid contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars.

That’s what so awful about this. There has been no real war for years (random killings and reprisal attacks instead).

The WSJ adds the following:

Power outages have become so frequent that restaurants time their hours to the schedule of electricity from private generators. Brawls have erupted in supermarkets as shoppers rush to buy bread, sugar, and cooking oil before they run out or hyperinflation topping 400% for food puts the prices out of reach. Medical professionals have fled just as the pandemic hammers the country with a new wave of infections. Thefts are up 62% and murder rates are rising fast.

Add in Covid-19 and the Beirut explosion in which at least a hundred citizens died and 4,000 were injured, plus leaving over 300,000 homeless. But the really incredible thing is what the Prime Minister said as he quit:

“I set out to combat corruption, but I discovered that corruption is bigger than the state… I declare today the resignation of this government. God bless Lebanon.”

Nations seem to muddle along – Lebanon certainly has for decades – and there is Adam Smith’s old saying that “there’s a lot of ruin in a nation”. But an endpoint for Lebanon as a nation-state – as opposed to a set of locally controlled enclaves – is certainly in sight now.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 25, 2021 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Islam, Middle East

When the MSM works

To say that I’ve been hard on the MSM, both in the USA and here in NZ, would be an understatement given that one of my taglines for the posts has been Die MSM, Die.

So it’s nice to be able to give credit, for once, to MSM sources doing their job.

First up is a rather amazing press conference conducted the other day with a Biden Administration spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price. This is a daily press conference and the topic of the day was the current US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is not going well. Price’s spin was that they were simply doing what the Trump administration had negotiated with the Taliban and that there was nothing they could change about that. That spin also did not go well for Ned Price when – of all people – an Associated Press reporter, Matt Lee, got stuck into him about that claim:

LEE: “This administration inherited plenty from the previous administration that it absolutely reversed,”

How about the Geneva protocol on the anti-abortion stuff?

PRICE: This was the point that we have made on any number of steps about the importance of the durability of American foreign policies – American foreign policy across administrations.

LEE: How about the agreements with the Northern Triangle, with Mexico and the Northern Triangle? Those are international agreements that you guys jettisoned.

PRICE: These are … Matt, I think

LEE: I mean, you just challenged me to come up with an international agreement that the previous administration signed that you guys have walked away from, and I just gave you, I think, three.

Wow. A non-right-wing reporter actually challenging some of the Biden Administration’s bullshit. Miracles do happen. I was also mightily impressed by something that came just before that exchange:

LEE:  And then lastly, the thing I don’t understand – well, maybe not understand, but you don’t want to talk about the historic analogy that Said made to Vietnam. Let’s go next door to Cambodia. Are you familiar at all with the letter that Sirik Matak wrote to John Gunther Dean, who was the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia in April of 1975?

RICE: It’s

LEE: If you’re not familiar with it

PRICE: It’s been a while.

LEE:  I suggest you familiarize yourself with it because it may end up being sadly prescient.

So this is not just some lightweight “journalist” like those of the Whitehouse press corp, who aim for fluff and “gotcha” questions of the “When-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife” type – when faced with a Republican. Matt Lee really knows his shit on foreign policy.

===========

Next up is coverage of local news that appeared overseas in The National Pulse, New Zealand Professors Claim CCP Is Planting Spies At Their Colleges:

Dr. Stephen Noakes, of Auckland University, said that non-enrollees showed up to his lectures and “appeared to be gathering intelligence.” On one occasion, an individual whom Noakes had never seen before was in the lecture theater, taking pictures.

“It made me incredibly uncomfortable and I followed it up afterwards. I’ve not seen that person again,” Noakes stated.

Catherine Churchman, a professor at Victoria University in Wellington teaching ancient Chinese history, said that, in 2017, a man came to her class and “upbraided her about her lecture content.” When asked why he was in the class, the man claimed to be a “visiting scholar.”

So we’re not just talking about Ann Marie Brady any longer.

It would be nice to think that such events will no longer be dismissed as they have been in the past

I have read Brady’s work, and spoken to her. She is an China alarmist. I don’t agree with her perspective.

… and it seems they’re not since this US article references their information as coming from a Radio New Zealand podcast. They supplied no link but here it is:

Redline: Can we walk the thin line between what some see as an evil empire and others as our greatest economic opportunity? A four-part series investigating China’s growing influence in New Zealand

So kudos to RNZ also.

===========

Finally there’s this, courtesy of MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), who do a great job in covering various Middle Eastern news sites and translating them for the rest of the world.

It’s quite extraordinary how open some of the Palestinian news sites are about their society.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 13, 2021 at 6:00 am

An important election in Iran

In this case the recent election of a new President of Iran, where whoever is chosen by the Council of Guardians and who has the approval of the Ayatollah Kahmenei – the person actually running Iran – goes on to win the general election.

There have been “surprises” in these elections over the years, but that’s usually been when the Ayatollah has not expressed any favouritism for any one of the permitted candidates. This time he did.

The product of this joke of an election system turns out to be probably the biggest piece of shit that has ever crawled into that position., and that’s saying something considering his predecessors.

Ebrahim Raisi

Both of the following articles should be read.

———————–

First, a concise piece by historian Dominic Green, who has a biting wit, Iran’s president, a schreibtischtäter:

Raisi is what Hannah Arendt would have called a schreibtischtäter, a ‘desk murderer’: a functionary who orders dirty work while keeping his own hands clean.

In the 1980s, Raisi was a young regional prosecutor. He was part of a four-man ‘death committee’ which ordered the disappearance and killing of thousands of the Islamic revolution’s enemies. You may be shocked to hear human rights’ groups claiming that due process was frequently ignored during this judicial massacre.

He also has not changed over the decades:

… when protests against the clerical dictatorship broke out in 2019, Raisi, as head of the Iranian judiciary, granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women and children, and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least a hundred to enforced disappearance, and torture and other ill-treatment’.

Is it any wonder that Raisi won the presidency with the lowest turnout in Iran’s post-1979 history: 48 percent nationally, down from over 70 percent in 2017, with only 28 percent bothering to vote in Tehran. 

Green argues that with this election the JCPOA nuclear deal is more dead than when Trump withdrew the USA from it. Not that that will stop the Biden Administration from trying to re-enter it:

Raisi has already said he won’t meet Biden. He has issued a ‘non-negotiable’ rejection of the American goal of adding Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism to follow-on negotiations. The Iranian negotiators will use the prospect of Raisi taking office in August to lever more concessions from the desperate Americans. But the election of Raisi in the first place has already confirmed the futility of returning to the Iran Deal.

It is the Supreme Leader, 82-year-old Ayatollah Khameini, who heads the Iranian regime, and the military-industrial complex controlled by the IRGC that is its arms and legs. Raisi is a product of their interdependence and corruption. He may yet inherit Khameini’s throne. This is one reason why the pro-Democratic ‘echo chamber’ is spinning his merits in sequence with the centrifuges.

That last crack is referring to Obama’s point man on the JCPOA, Ben Rhodes, who boasted in an interview with the New York Times Magazine in 2016 about how he had created a media “echo chamber” to help get the deal passed. An article in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, A stunning profile of Ben Rhodes, the asshole who is the president’s foreign policy guru, noted the famous description by Rhodes of the MSM he manipulated:

Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

———————–

The second article, Ebrahim Raisi, the clerics ruthless enforcer, is longer and goes into more historic detail about his ugly past, including the political games that were going on behind the scenes of the 1988 executions:

The 1988 executions sparked a debate within the regime, just as Khomeini had intended. The supreme leader wanted to separate the true believers from the skeptics. His heir-apparent, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, objected to the killings, and in a secret recording released in 2016, he can be heard chastising Raisi and his fellow executioners.

Shades of Mao and his Cultural Revolution designed to purge the CCP of reactionary elements and purify it. All this history leads to this moment:

By 2016, there were unmistakable public signs that Khamenei was grooming Raisi to succeed him. When it comes to personnel, Khamenei has always displayed a keen eye for talent and loyalty. And Raisi’s promotions all required the personal approval of the supreme leader.

Which helps explain why, this year, the Guardian Council disqualified a high number of presidential candidates — not only did “moderates” get axed, but even the hard-line former speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani, was removed from the ballot. As a result, Raisi ran nearly uncontested, with no real competitors. 

So he’s the next Ayatollah. He’s even been given “management” positions that enabled him to build a legacy beyond that of executioner, being placed in charge of huge sums of money via the Astan-e Qods Foundation in Mashhad, which runs the Imam Reza Shrine, visited by millions of pilgrims a year and with $15 billion in assets. 

The article draws the appropriate conclusions that the US will have to confront:

Raisi’s win in a fully rigged election strips the system of its off-ramps. The once-popular reformist notion that the theocracy could liberalize itself through its own constitutional provisions has died — except perhaps abroad among Western leftists. The Republic of Virtue is drowning in corruption and class divisions that are as pronounced as those in the last days of the shah.

The regime has no answers to the myriad problems the nation faces. Even hooking up with China will not save them in the long run as they continue to disconnect further from the Iranian people, whose protests are answered only by brutality because the Ayatollah’s know it also:

A nation that saw massive protests once a decade now sees them more frequently. In the latest nationwide revolts of 2019 and 2020, sparked by a drop in fuel subsidies, even the working classes joined the protests. Iran’s ethnic minorities, who probably make up 50 percent of the country’s population, have also become increasingly vocal in expressing their grievances.

They have the same conclusion on the nuclear deal as well:

These two clerics, who will likely reinforce each other’s hardest impulses, both understand what Washington appears to have missed: The era of arms-control diplomacy has ended. The Islamic republic’s nuclear trajectory will not be impacted by further negotiated restraints.

The US may succeed in getting JCPOA back, but it will make no difference and ultimately what happens to the Iranian nuclear weapons programme is down to the Israelis.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Graphics that needed more thought

I really don’t think that the people who developed this little graphic for Pride Month applied enough thinking to it.

But then you need an awareness of the wider world and a sense of history to do that.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 15, 2021 at 7:33 pm

Posted in History, Islam, Middle East

Tagged with

SADLY THE HAMAS LEADERS NEED TO DO IT?

Gaza is an overpopulated area for non Jewish people, too stupid to see they could be so much better off if they accept the horrendous passage taken by Jews dispossessed in the main by the assault perpetrated by Nazi Germany’s bent out of shape racists that resulted in millions having everything taken from them before being either killed in short order or worked to death in slave labour enterprises, directly led to the established State of Israel

The remnants of the pogroms and slaughterhouses ended up in their homeland from biblical times where by force they established the modern state of Israel, actually the only functioning democracy enjoying the rule of law that covers all who live within the Borders of The Jewish State. Many many have perished amidst the ongoing violence on both sides that had appeared to have diminished significantly while Donald Trump occupied The White House. In fact under his foreign policy small steps emerged that saw Islamic Nations create peace treaties with Israel.

Now with the appeasing Biden Administration installed it seems an emboldened Iran is again using the residents of Gaza to create mayhem in the middle east with Hamas launching rocket weapons towards Israeli cities, now totalling over one thousand in this latest barrage. Many fall short on Palestinians within the borders of the territory, many others are intercepted by the Iron Dome anti missile defence system but some do get through and kill people in the wrong place at a bad time. Retaliation by Israel are accompanied by specific warnings that allow non participants to flee along with all to often those who will intentionally wish to kill Israelis.

Yet there are too many who see Israel protecting themselves as a war crime and further embolden the stupids. Much of the occupations of territory around the world began under some form of force, if not in the initial migration then soon after when original occupiers became opposed. A process that litters history.

If Israel unilaterally ended all defensive actions they would cease to exist as a nation in very quick time, if the muppets being enabled by Iran and others did likewise, peace could break out just as quick. Is it time to set the second option in place and see what happens.

Written by Gravedodger

May 13, 2021 at 9:46 am

Posted in Islam, Middle East

I Am Compliant (Black)

When I was growing up Sweden meant three things: I Am Curious (Yellow), an erotic movie we could read about but not see, Bjorn Borg, and ABBA.
But now it means this:

That’s the cover of the latest Swedish edition of womans fashion magazine, Elle.

Cool isn’t it? As always, that’s the intention. To make things cool that you otherwise might not think are.

Elle is inviting a nation of famously liberated women to make a choice for the new chic look, and given the rapid changes happening there, it’s probably wise to make that choice well ahead of the demographic shifts.

Those changes will see the ethnic Swedes become a minority in thirty years time – even if there was some huge turnaround in their birth rates, and there’s no sign of that happening. It’s not just the likes of Elle who are getting, and delivering the message. Scandanavian Airlines is right in there too.

“What is truly Scandanvian? Absolutely nothing!”

The advert makes a big deal about how everything Sweden, Norway and Denmark has got now has come from abroad; democracy (Greece), parental leave (Switzerland), windmills (Persia), bicycles (Germany), and so forth. Down twinkles for the bit about female sufferage and the USA; it’s New Zealand the advert should be thanking.

The message is that those three countries should simply shrug their shoulders about including more new things from abroad, as the USA has done so successfully over the last two centuries. Still, the US actually had – and still has – an overall culture that’s unique even with all those inputs. It assimilates, especially after a generation or two.

I always thought the Scandanavian nations did too but I guess there’s nothing to assimilate into any more – or at least that’s the message, which is that it all just all sort of …. happens. And for mysterious reasons that apparently have nothing to do with anything native to Sweden, Denmark or Norway.

Now despite their rather homogenous history compared to the USA and other multi-ethnic Western nations I don’t believe that. But clearly the Scandanavian Airlines PR gurus do, otherwise they would have surely talked about it; about how and why all those foreign things did get successfully incorporated into the local cultures.

And of course knowing how and why such assimiliation happens is going to be important in the future, as a Swedish radio station recently discussed::

In the Swedish municipality of Ronneby, the majority of children in six of nine preschools do not speak Swedish as a first language, with one school seeing most children speaking Arabic.

Around 60 to 89 per cent of the children attending the six preschools speak another language as their mother tongue with the Skogsgläntans preschool seeing the majority of children speaking Arabic, fueling fears of segregation in the municipality.

Luckily the Swedish government is ahead of the curve and are getting teachers trained up in Arab languages to cope with the growing tide of Arab-speaking kiddies. I don’t see any mention of training up in whatever the secret incredient of Swedish culture is regarding absorbing immigrants. It surely has to be about more than just teaching the kids Swedish?

Regarding Ms Asry – whose other fashion choices you can follow on her Instagram account – much as LBN’s can be a sexy look I just don’t think it’ll be the same when watching some 21st century version of ABBA dressed like her,

I see that her account is sub-titled “Fashion With Faith“, which is also interesting given how proud the Swedes are about moving away from relgious faith and embracing secularism, especially when it interferes with that famous fun-loving Swedish lifestyle.

I mean the following would never fly in Sweden:

And actually the following women probably would not either, though she’s my idea of what a beautiful Muslim woman is (well – ex-Muslim, now Atheist): Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 3, 2020 at 3:39 am