Saturday, August 07, 2004

Verdammt dee Polls! Der Pat Kuy Hast Reachet Vifdy-Tzix Perzent!


Ja, vell, I hate do preak your feelings, my Ami freund, put dat chust habbens do pe dee vay it ist: Amerikans are kreedy, arrokant, tstupit, dreacherous, war-mongerink, closse-meinted, vull of kraysy emotionss, und not do pe drusted. Vhile uns Europeans, vell… ve haff more history, you see. So… you vould to vell do listen do us. Avter all, ve are reassonaple, forwart-t'inking, chenerous, beace-lofink, resbectful, glear-headed, und, apofe all, dolerant und not gifen to lettink emotzions ket de bedder of us. Zis is profen efery tay of der year, in every bart of dee vorld. Chust look at dee newss efry nite. Only an Amerikan kannot tsee de tifferences bedween kreedy Ami bolicy und chenerous Europa bolicy, all ofer dee planet! Hier, kome, led uss durn on der DV set und der kombuter und ko check on dee ZDF channel und vep site, und you vill see…

Was der Teufel ist das für eine Schweinerei!??! Der gut kuy has t'irdy-tzix perzent in dee bolls!! Und der pat kuy hat vifdy-tzix perzent!? Teviltry! Teviltry of der plackest kind, das ist! Verdammt die bolls! Verdammt David Kasper! Straf!! Straf, Kaspar, dein Straaaaaf!! Hören sie mir, to you hier me? You vill pe bunizhed, Kaspar, for dreason, dreason to dee Cherman mutterland! Und you! You dere laffink, ja you, Ray, chust you vait, you Tefil, we vill alzo ket— Uch! Ich! Ach, Koff, Koff! — Qvickly, Elsa, koff, wasser! Vater! Und meine heart medizine! Schnell! Nein, nicht dere, dere! Dere, you dummkopf, on dee — koff koff! — dee top zhelf — uch! — of das kubpoard!! Dee shmelling tsalts, Elsa! Vhere are dee verdammte shmelling tsalts?!

Ach du lieber! Not anudder obtate?!

Tennyson on Lies

Regarding French and European tendencies to eschew the good in Iraq (and America!) while exaggerrating the bad (not to mention German polls which are supposed to carry deep significance only if the population's pensée unique shines through), it is not useless to remember that yesterday wasthe birthday of Alfred Tennyson, the English poet (1809-1892) who said that
A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.



The Economist has an article on the new lingua franca of the European Union. Besides the French, it should specifically be of interest to those Germans who claim that the Soviets are due most of the credit (and the gratitude) for winning World War II (see the paragraphs with my emphasis below).

[The accession of central European countries] is already reinforcing the dominance of English as a language for the EU as a whole. In central Europe, as in much of the world, knowledge of English has become a basic skill of modern life comparable with the ability to drive a car or use a personal computer.

What has happened to the other main languages? A majority of central Europeans have eschewed Russian as firmly as they have rejected the communist ideology which was once articulated in that tongue.

The limited enthusiasm for German in central Europe has been much more surprising. … German has languished partly because Germany has been shy about promoting its language and culture in a region ravaged by Hitler's war. No such shyness has affected France. Its cultural diplomacy in the region has been vigorous and generous. Handsome French cultural centres ornament the capitals of the region: the newest of them will open in Riga, the Latvian capital, in October. But admiration for France's culture does not translate into widespread use of its language. …

The choice of English has been made easier by the demands of foreign investors. The first to move east were the most international European companies, which tended to use English as their international working language regardless of their base. The biggest foreign direct investor within central Europe for most of the past decade, Siemens AG of Germany, an engineering and telecoms firm, made English its main “corporate language” in 1998. “German companies are very pragmatic,” confirms Bernhard Welschke, head of European policy at the Federation of German Industry. They value a single language for business, he says, even if it is not their own. …

The rise of English as a lingua franca [may] have a big impact on the institutions of the European Union, and even on European integration. The EU recognises an official language for every country, and translates all main public documents into all 20 of those languages. But civil servants and committees within the EU's institutions use three main working languages: English, French and German. French has long been fighting a losing battle against English for “market share” among the three, with German far behind. The arrival of more countries favouring English will threaten to render French almost as marginal as German.

An increased use of English within the EU institutions will mean an increased use of it in the ministries of member states, where officials spend much of their time working on EU-related matters. Jean-François Deniau, of the Académie Française, a linguistic watchdog, told Le Figaro newspaper that English had conquered even the treasury directorate of the French finance ministry, which he called “the heart, the bastion, the stronghold of French power”. It now circulates drafts of new regulations in English “because they will be discussed in English in Brussels”.

One big question now is whether the generalised use of English as a first or second language will accelerate the political integration of the EU. The spread of English will lower the language barrier which has, arguably, obstructed pan-European political debate. It will open the way to the formation of pan-European public opinion, and to politicians with pan-European appeal. But there have been empires, like the Soviet one, which had common languages and still fell apart. A language can help a good political system work better, but it cannot rescue a bad one.

The second French candidate Le candidat franchouille bis
The French take a break from boosting Kerry so they can play pom-pom girls for Muqtada al-Sadr. This Ripoublika Franska of impotents, cowards, and collaborationnists of all stripes (France having joined the ranks of Saddamites, figuratively and physically, a long time ago) ululating their joy. It's just the logical progression after the Paris youth cheering in the streets and the celebratory horn honking in northern Paris after 9-11.
Les fwançais marquent une pause dans leur support inconditionnel à Kerry afin de faire les pom-pom girls pour Moqtada al-Sadr. Les citoyens de Ripoublika Franska hululent à l'unisson pour exprimer leur joie, ce qui est le passe-temps préféré des impuissants, des lâches, et des collaborateurs de tous bords (la France étant passée Saddamite, figurativement et physiquement, depuis belle lurette). Ce n'est que la suite logique après la jeunesse parigotte qui criait de joie dans les rues et les gens sur la Rive Droite qui klaxonnaient pour fêter le 11-9-2001.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Ach du lieber! Push Ist Pekomink Von of der Most Bopular Bolidicians in Chermany!

Gott im Himmel! Was ist los?! Vot iss habbening?! Präsident Chorge Push ist egztremely unbobular in Vrance und Chermany, vhile Chon Kehry hast pecome bos' countries' vaforite Amerikan bolitician — der darlink von der Vrench und Cherman media, der darlink von die Vrench und Cherman leaders, und der darlink von die Vrench und Cherman zitizens.

Dis hast peen revlegted in polls s'roughout Push's derm, in vhich W kot only zingle dichits' abbroval; most rezently in eine ZDF poll zhowing der bobularity ov Push versus Kehry, in vhish Dupya only kot 15 perzent versus 75 perzent vor Kehry. Gut, ja, schön, das ist sehr gut, fery abbropriate! Chon Kehry vill undoubtetly vin der Unided Stades elektion in Novemper und pekome der vordy-vorth präsi— Aber…! Vait a minute! Was ist das?! GOTT IM HIMMEL! VORDY-VOUR PERZENT VOR PUSH!? VOT IS KOINK ON?! WAS IST LOS? VOT DER VUCK IST DER MADDER?!?!

Vy ist es das zuddenly der kurrent Amerikanischer Präsident ist ketting vordy-vour perzent in Cherman votes und ricink und apout do overdake Chon Kehry?!?!

Gould it pe das Davids Medienkritik hast akain asked its ploggers do jallenge die pokus foting on ZDF's vepsite?! Nein, das kann mann nicht tun!…

If you vant do help kive Push a push and if you vant do kive Chermany's state telefision ovvicials a kollegtife heart attack in ze brocess, ko do dis bosting and do like dee Chermans do — vollow dee instrukzhions!

Ja, ja, ko hier to fote…

Optate: Der pad kuy passes vifdy-tzix perzent!

No negative reporting for the French candidate Pas de couverture négative pour le candidat franchouille
Le Monde Al Jazeera on the Seine is still going on about Yaba Daba Ass Grab and still hasn't uttered a single word about the Swift boat vets or other emerging Kerry news. We report, you decide? Not in France with it's across-the-board anti-Americanism and monolithic press coverage dictating a State Party Line©®™.
Le Monde Al Jazira sur Seine jacasse encore et toujours au sujet d'un Bout de Gras bien qu'il n'ait pas pipé mot au sujet de la question Swift boat et d'autres infos qui font surface au sujet de Kerry. Laissez les gens se faire un avis par eux-mêmes? Pas queston de ça en Fwance où l'anti-américanisme universel règne et une presse uniforme dicte la pensée unique Non-Pensée Inique de l'Etat©®™.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

What an asshole Espèce de trou duc
The flavor flav of the STDs just missed a good opportunity to shut up.
Le chouchou des cons-cons vient de louper une bonne occas' de se la boucler.

Socialism in action inaction Le socialisme se mettre en branle s'en branle
The IMF recommends that Zeropeans should work more. This is particularly problematic for the French since they sleep so much. Thanks to Allah.
Le FMI conseille aux zéropéens de travailler plus. Ceci pose problème particulièrement aux franchouilles car ils passent tellement de temps à dormir. Merci à Allah.

Stuck in the joint Les gôchistes aisés préfèreraient les voir dans les backrooms de Paname
More French blather about Gitmo. For the time being these fine young French citizens will stay in the slammer.
Ouais, et les cons-cons aussi. Encore du pipeau au sujet de Guantanamo. Dans l'immédiat, ces chères têtes blondes franchouilles ont pris résidence en taule.

Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908-2004

Gelatin Silver Print, cm 30 x 40

The greatest photographer who ever lived has died.

Some of us may dislike socialism (though one doubts if they'd like working weekends, at any rate) while others (myself included) may yet believe in it — however the name for this blog comes to us from the Spanish Civil War, which Cartier-Bresson documented so vividly.

His greatness and his having been French aside, this is reason enough to mention his passing.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Where the Wild Things Are Au régal des vermines
French Islamofascist whining has begun. More of the same old torture fantasies.
Les gémissements des islamofascistes fwançais ont commencé. Encore et toujours les mêmes fantasmes de torture.

This is where the future generations of French wallow (see here for caption)
C'est ici que se vautrent les prochaines générations de chères têtes blondes franchouilles.

... and for the world ... et pour le monde entier
France 'a problem' for Europe ...
La Fwance 'un problème' pour l'Europe ...

Belly dancing, brunettes, polygamy, and spicy food La dance du ventre, les brunes, la polygamie, et la bouffe épicée
Good reasons to convert to Islam.
Voici de bonnes raisons pour se convertir à l'Islam.


Le Monde's most unfortunately named reporter is questioning whether Sunday's assault in Villeurbanne was necessarily an anti-Semitic one.
LE MONDE | 03.08.04 | 13h34

Was the assault of the three young Jews necessarily anti-Semitic? By deciding somewhat hastily in the affirmative, the Rhône police aroused intense feelings in Villeurbanne on Monday, August 2, as well as confusion among investigators, community organizations and government officials.

Sunday evening, three youths aged 16 to 18 were walking between the cours Emile Zola and the cours de la République. One wore a kippa, another, a cap with Hebrew letters, leaving no doubt as to their religious persuasion. According to their version, they "happened upon" a group of "thirteen to fourteen" young men. They mention a provocative pass on a scooter, a trash can overturned, and being sized up "from foot to head" : the tension degenerates into a brawl. Two among them receive blows, requiring six days home from work.

Five of the alleged assailants, of whom four are minors, have been detained and placed under observation in at Villeurbanne police headquarters. "Some are of Maghreban origin, others are entirely European," said a magistrate, who regretted putting things in such terms. According to them, some among them were returning from the mosque where they had been paying homage to a friend killed on a motorcycle. "We looked at each other wrong," said one of the alleged assailants. He says that one of his friends "got carried away" because of the grief.


Neither the victims nor the assailants uttered a single anti-Semitic word during the clash, which reportedly involved ten persons directly. Monday morning, a statement released by the Rhône police announced that "fifteen youths accosted and assaulted three Jewish youths." The text expressed satisfaction at the police's rapid detention "of four of those responsible for this assault" and asserts that a meeting had been held last Friday, gathering police officials and "religious representatives" in order to "discuss the problem of the recrudescence of violence inspired by intolerance as well as intensifying the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism."

In 15 lines, the Villeurbanne assault and the proceedings mentioned echoed each other, as if each legitimized the other. At 12:37 pm, an AFP bulletin broadcast the news under the heading "Assault/Anti-Semitism" and the media machine went to work.

Crif Rhône-Alpes feels that the Jewish youths were assaulted "because they wore a kippa, because they were Jews." At the Lyon prosecutor's office, it is felt that the "the anti-Semitic nature of the acts has not been described." Interrogations revealed a preceding encounter that reportedly pitted the two rival groups against each other. Investigators concluded that there had been an emotional confrontation. The police statement transformed this into "an assault of the same type, though less violent, several days beforehand." The prosecutor's office foresees a judicial hearing for "aggravated gang violence." At a more leisurely pace.

A War That Too Few Yanks Died In

You've heard about how too many people — too many Americans as well as Iraqis — have died because of the American short-sightedness, American duplicity, and American greed (or those of the Americans' leaders) in and over Iraq. If the Yanks are losing so many men, it's due to their own (or their leaders') incompetence and their inability to see the value of peace, wisdom, humanity, tolerance, and rational and lucid thinking, as well as the willingness to negotiate and compromise. And the reason so many Iraqis are dying is also linked to the Yankees' propensity for violence and irrational love of war. Right?

Well, it turns out that there's a new "theory" out: this one concerns too few Americans dying! Too few Americans dying in World War II! That's the new self-serving "opinion" coming from "the peace camp" (mainly Germany, so far, but we can expect this "lucid" viewpoint to spread to other "peace camp" countries soon). As Tyranno testifies on David's Medienkritik, "A growing conversation I hear more and more often about how the 'Soviets really won the war' because they lost more men."

Actually, this "rewriting of history" really isn't that new. It's not really about too many or too few Americans dying, or whatever, and it's not about one people's irrational thinking or their attraction to violence and war, either. It's always, always, always, about handing America the "you can't win" card: "Heads I win, tails you lose", goes the Europeans' self-serving opinions, so that, in every case, they can look down their noses at those hopeless and hapless Yanks.

That said, let's just take a minute to examine the veracity and topicality of the "the Soviets really won the war" charge/opinion/viewpoint. As often is the case, the best way to verify the topicality of a point of view is to examine how other people — and not just any individuals, those who are primarily concerned — feel about it.

It works not too badly with the Iraqis, most of whom skewer the "too-many-people-have-died-in-Iraq-and-now-all-hell-is-loose-what-a-tragedy-it-is" viewpoint. Let's see how the Poles react to the Germans' "The Soviets made the greatest sacrifices" opinion. Richard Bernstein's article concerns the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

"The Soviet soldiers were there," Professor [Norman] Davies said, pointing to a tree-lined bank on the far side of the [Vistula] river, "and the Germans were here," he continued, indicating the near bank where bicyclists meandered peacefully through what is now a public park.

"They didn't fire at each other," he said, a touch of retrospective amazement in his voice. "But if any Soviet soldiers tried to cross the river to help the Poles, both sides fired at him."

There is a chilling mournfulness to the image the account conjures up — Russian soldiers literally sunbathing on one side of the Vistula while the Germans literally obliterated Warsaw street by street on the other.

...Stalin's refusal to come to Poland's aid made the uprising a sort of official nonevent during the decades of Soviet domination in Poland, but it is to be celebrated in a major way on this anniversary…

Now, some readers may wonder about the expression "rewriting of history": "Surely, the Soviets did lose 20 million people during World War II, and who are you to sneer at that?!" Well, obviously I do not wish to totally undermine the true sacrifices undertaken by the Red Army and Soviet civilians. And anybody who would downplay the role of the Red Army in winning the war would be a fool. But still, a few comments need to be made.
  • The figure of 20 million lives lost comes mainly from the authorities of a one-party régime, the same government whose information ministry fed us (and its own people) year in and year out with facts such as those that poverty had been eradicated and that, every year, industrial and farm production had gone up by so many exact percentage points. Still, I see no reason to doubt the fact that the USSR lost more people during the Great Patriotic War than any other country.

  • You cannot mention the extra-large losses suffered by Soviet troops during World War II without also factoring in the fact that the country was led by a régime and a mass murderer for whom human life held little meaning. By means of comparison, Iraq suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths during its war with Iran (as did Iran). Is this supposed to be subscribed only to sense of duty and sacrifice of the Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, or should Saddam Hussein's dictatorship (and that of the Ayatollahs) be factored in?

  • In this perspective, more than a few Soviet deaths were at the hands of their comrades, who were ordered to fire on their own should they retreat. For Stalin — as for Hitler, Saddam (the man who openly admired the Soviet dictator), and the Ayatollahs mentioned above — sound military policy was hardly alone at the top of his concerns. Other topics (related amongst each other) included patriotic pride, the search for material worthy of propaganda, and a lack of concern for the individual's life, which in turn meant fighting unnecessary fights and lost battles to the last man, when retreat would have been wiser.

  • I remember reading about a respected former Soviet general having written the first volume of what was supposed to be the Russian army's official history of the Great Patriotic War, and the project being canceled in the 1990s, beause he had insisted on including the good, the bad, and the ugly; meaning the mistakes, grievous and other, committed by Stalin and the Soviet high command.

  • As far as the relatively lower casualty rates of American troops is concerned, a democracy can hardly expect to fight a war with citizen soldiers, if those free individuals don't think the elected leaders are doing their utmost to support them and, as far as is possible, to keep them out of harm's way.
Here's the clincher of this posting: the people who leap to the defense of, and laud, the USSR's actions during WWII are the same who are always ready to castigate America and mock Americans' bravery, losses, sacrifices, and martial reasoning and war plans, while ridiculing anybody, American or other, who seems to accept Washington's claims at face value.

There's an expression for this: it's called double standards. Of the self-serving kind.

PS: Again, I do not want to minimize the Red Army's role in winning World War II. (On the contrary, I believe that if Stalinist politics had not been involved, the Soviet juggernaut might have been even more effective.) But this blog — and this posting — is not primarily about the Soviets or World War II or the past. It is about today's European mindset, and how their attitudes, no matter what the subject, will always turn to a viewpoint that portrays the Americans as clowns, villains, hypocrites, or worse.

Double standards. Of the self-serving kind.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Crushing of dissent Toute opposition sera opprimée
Socialism tolerates no dissension. French civil servant punished for exposing State secrets (like how to have 3 hour lunches and still earn a 'full-time' salary). Thanks to Allah.
Les socialos-cocos ne tolèrent aucune opposition. Fonctionnaire franchouille punie pour avoir révélé des secrets d'Etat (comme comment se taper des repas interminables toujours en touchant un salaire 'à plein temps'). Merci à Allah.

STDs Les cons-cons
Zek takes a glance at the STDs (high Salaried Tenured Dissenters) of the French blogosphere. We find the usual suspects among the hysterical globophobic exhibitionists accompanied by their faithful clown-like lapdogs.
Zek jette un coup d'oeil du côté des cons-cons (contestataires consensuels) de la blogosphère franchouille. On reconnaitra le ramassis habituel d'hystériques nonos-exhibos accompagnés de leurs fidèles toutous aux bouilles à Bozo.

Yet More Sleaze: Pasqua's Right-hand Man in Big House Tonight

Former Interior minister Charles Pasqua's right-hand man Jean-Charles Marchiani was interrogated to-day by investigating magistrate Philippe Courroye who is leading several inquiries into illegal kickbacks.

Marchiani, a former spy, was placed in detention following his interrogation. He had benefited from immunity as an elected official in the European parliament but this changed following the defeat of the sovereigntists in June's European elections. Marchiani's immunity ended June 20.

Courroye suspects Marchiani of "influence peddling," "theft of public funds" and "concealing the profits of illegal weapons sales" relative to the inquiry into illegal sales of arms to Angola. Authorities are seeking to question and detain Marchiani in four other investigations, the first of which is a contract for Leclerc tanks signed with the German company Renk. Authorities allege Marchiani received 2.4 million deutschemarks as payment for facilitating the deal. Marchiani received he last installment in March of last year.

The second alleged crime relates to the awarding of a contract in the early 1990s between Vanderlande Industries SA and Aéroports de Paris to build a baggage delivery system at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Authorities suspect Marchiani of having split a commission with his brother Claude and with one of Pasqua's cousins. Marchiani allegedly received FF 9.7 million in a Swiss account. Investigators say he kept half for himself.

In the third matter relates to a money-laundering investigation opened in 2001 that soon widened to include Marchiani's wife who is now suspected of "concealment of aggravated embezzlement" and "aggravated influence peddling." (Yes, these are listed crimes). Lastly, Marchiani is suspected of having received illegal payments from contracts awarded to Sofremi, an arms export company that is effectively controlled by the Interior ministry.

Marchiani was also interrogated in January for "concealment of theft of public funds" in the matter of illegal commissions paid by oil giant Elf as part of contracts signed in Nigeria. Marchiani is alleged to have received US $ 5 million through an account held by a company in Liechtenstein. Again, he is thought to have kept half for him self and doled out the rest to associates.

UPDATE: In the comments, reader Sandy P. points out that I neglected to write "million" betwen 2.4 and deutschemarks. This has been corrected. Reader Martin A. also points out that "Pasqua was also one of the French names on Saddam's UN sponsored Oil for Food list, wasn't he?" Indeed. According to MEMRI's translation, "former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua received 12 million barrels," though they add that, in an appearance of 1/27/04 on RFI, "Mr. Pasqua denied receiving anything from Saddam."

But see here for C. Bloggerfelle's translation of an analysis of the list by Horizon's editor-in-chief Véronique Maurus that appeared in Le Monde. She writes: "for all its faults, the list from the newspaper Al Mada is true. Evidence collected throughout the world as well as from oil circles cons[is]tantly confirms it."

Daily Bulletin

France to 'accept fair share of blame'

The AFP is reporting that Rwanda's Foreign minister Charles Murigande is claiming that French FM Michel Barnier assured him during a meeting in Pretoria that Barnier was ready "ready to accept a fair share of the blame."

"He also said France was not ready to accept an overstated role," said Murigande.

NP readers will remember that the Rwandan government announced plans on Friday to establish a commission to determine France's measure of responsibility in the 1994 genocide.

Lawyers to Seek Release of Guantánamo Four

The AFP is also reporting that a Paris appellate judge will hear arguments by lawyers representing the four men who are seeking their release.

The four are being held for "association with wrongdoers as part of a terrorist enterprise" and Mourad Benchellali and Nizar Sassi are also being investigated for "possession and use of false documents" after phony passports were discovered in their possession. They used the passports to gain entry to Afghanistan in 2001.

In particular, the four are suspected of having participated in a Jihadi training and recruitment network.

The judge's decision is expected in the coming hours.

Sassi and Benchellali spent six months in Afghanistan. Brahim Yadel and Imad Achab Kanouni spent a year and a half there. The four were detained by American forces on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in December 2001. They returned to France last Tuesday after being released from the Guantánamo and were placed under police observation and then transfered to prison in the night of Saturday to Sunday.

The four have told their lawyers that they suffered treatments in Guantánamo similar to that visited on prisoners by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Bank Robberies Drop by Half in 10 Years

Le Figaro reports that armed robberies of banks are down a whopping 50% since 1994, representing a drop from 1,122 to only 589 armed bank robberies in 2003, when the crimes represented only 9.3% of all armed robbery in France. The total is seven and a half times fewer than occured in 1977.

Le Figaro claims the drop is due to improved security

200 Gather at Defiled Saverne Cemetery

The AFP reports that two hundred people have held a ceremony at the Jewish cemetery in Saverne that was found vandalized last Wednesday.

Local elected officials and representatives of several religions were present for the ceremony called by the main Israelite Consistory of France and that of Bas-Rhin.

"Nazism began with acts of this nature. Vigilance is necessary more than ever," said Alain Kahn, whose father's tomb was among those defaced. Mr. Kahn's father survived internment at Auschwitz.

The Saverne prosecutor's office is expected to open an investigation.
Lebanese Committee Seeks to Save Al-Manar in France

The Daily Star is reporting that a six-member committee has formed in Beirut with the intention of traveling to France to seek prevent the government from banning Hizbullah's satellite channel al-Manar from broadcasting over Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat.

Last month, France's High Council on Broadcasting (CSA) decided to ban the channel from broadcasting in France due to the violent and anti-Semitic nature of its programming. Last October, the channel ran a miniseries entitled Al-Shutat (diaspora) which purported to depict the history of the Jews from 1812 to 1948, including dramatizations of ritual murder. Following complaints lodged by the Representative Council of France's Jewish Institutions (Crif), CSA issued a finding that the broadcasts could constitute incitation to racial hatred and notified France's attorney general.

Al-Manar, which has an estimated viewership of 200 million worldwide, famously broadcast a report making the slanderous assertion that Israel had supposedly had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and, according to al-Manar, forewarned 4,000 of its nationals who allegedly worked at the Twin Towers and who, the report claimed, failed to show up for work that morning.

French Troops Seal off Darfur

The AFP reports that French troops have secured the Chadian/Sudanese border and have begun flying in relief supplies to the town of Abeche. Two hundred French troops are to patrol the border in cooperation with Chadian troops.

French ambassador to Chad Jean-Pierre Bercot told the AFP that should the Janjaweed engage French troops, the former will be splattered on the desert. "Our capacity to react will be jointly decided with our Chadian partners. With our presence on the ground, we want to show we will be there to attest to any incursions by the Janjaweed before the eyes of all the world."

NPR also reports.

France has also expressed its condolences to the Paraguayan people following Sunday's deadly fire at a mall in the capital Asunción, which at last count had killed 340 people. French authorities announced that they would be extending unspecified aid to Paraguay in response.

Three Things Unexpected Pushing to Surface of Europe's Newspond

In spite of the August heat, John Vinocur is back in fine form, as always. Among other things, the International Herald Tribune reporter hits the European view of American politics on the head: the latter "sometimes seem to arrive in Europe refracted by dozens of fun-house distortion mirrors." He also describes the mindset of the European press perfectly: "its logic running that since intelligent Europe hates [George W Bush] so, how could any decent, non-fascistic American contemplate voting Republican?"
During late July and August, things unexpected, and sometimes very revelatory, have a way of pushing to the surface of the European newspond, rather like gases escaping the depths of dark water.

Herewith, three choice bubbles from the summer slough. You could call them doldrums reports.

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, says he does not want to talk about Islamic terrorism. … "I never talk about Islamic terrorism, but international terrorism," Zapatero told Le Monde in an interview marking his first 100 days in office.

A couple of background details enter here. Zapatero's Socialists got elected in March after a murderous Madrid railway station bombing that was undoubtedly planned by Islamic terrorists to affect the election's outcome. An extreme long shot before the attack, the Socialists had campaigned on the theme that Spain would pay for José María Aznar's backing of the United States in Iraq. …

A bit like newspapers that avoid the word "cancer" in obituaries with the explanation that they are sparing sensitive readers, Zapatero is keeping Islamic fundamentalists out of the discussion of terrorism because, he says, Islam is a religion with hundreds of millions of followers "which, like all the religions in the history of humanity, involves an element of religious fanaticism."

During his campaign, Zapatero promised to rush to Senator John Kerry's side this summer in trying to court Hispanic votes to oust the awful President George W. Bush. But after Zapatero pulled Spanish troops from Iraq, and was met with Kerry's sharp criticism, the call to Zapatero for help in Boston apparently never came. …

In the interview, Zapatero was full of praise for Dominique de Villepin, the former French foreign minister who was an American bugaboo on Iraq. But Villepin, now France's interior minister, uses these days the terrorism term that Zapatero doesn't like, although he does say that France's position during the Iraq war probably has helped narrow the danger of it in his country.

Zapatero, President Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder are planning a three-way summit in the autumn. By way of preparation, Zapatero may find it useful to note that beyond Villepin, Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister, refers to "jihadist terrorism" as the "new totalitarianism" and the world's greatest danger.

Read about the news that Le Monde deliberately withheld in order to eulogize its hero, Zapatero.
• The bubbles up from doldrums sometimes contain information meant to rise with stealth and vanish without a pop. Governments release new tax rates on Saturday nights in August, and corporations disclose especially embarrassing personnel decisions on getaway Friday afternoons.

There's no good reason to suppose that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was trying to slip anything by anyone when it chose the busiest vacation period to release a study unfavorably comparing the economy of the euro area to that of United States. … Basically, the report's point was that alongside the euro zone's self-image as a succès d'estime, its inequalities in living conditions were greater than those in the United States. That meant that if you superimposed economic disparities in American regions against the euro zone's standards, only two states and 2 percent of the American population would be eligible for the structural fund assistance, or European Union cash aid to regions, that a disadvantaged 25 percent of the euro area can claim.

To understate things, this was no great advertisement for the EU's notion of economic justice and prosperity through integration and convergence.

The report's most striking detail: "U.S. income per capita is 30 percent above the euro area's, and the gap is widening." Roughly the same ratio also applies to gross national product. …

• Of all the bubbles, there are those bearing fairly serious surprises.

…French media coverage of the not-terribly-cryptic Democratic National Convention was awaited with some interest. As it turned out, American politics, which sometimes seem to arrive in Europe refracted by dozens of fun-house distortion mirrors, came through to Paris in astonishingly straight shape.

Le Figaro, noting the two presidential candidates' strange similarities on Iraq and other American superpower concerns, wrote of the Democrats' platform: "You could almost think that the Democrats simply wrote in Kerry's name in place of Bush's." … Nominally right-of-center, but abhorring Bush from its French nationalist stance, Le Figaro even went so far as to say that "empathy with the average American remains Bush's great strong point and Kerry's weakness." And just about everybody noted that Michael Moore, France's Beloved Yank of the moment, was kept at arm's length from center stage at the convention.

Considering the extent to which Bush is usually treated with total contempt in the press here -— its logic running that since intelligent Europe hates him so, how could any decent, non-fascistic American contemplate voting Republican? — this kind of coverage served as a meaningful corrective.

And it left the almost startling mid-summer impression that if Kerry ever failed to beat the ogre, however counter-instinctive the thought here, a discernible, rational, even quite democratic American process just might be the cause.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Rush & Molloy

From to-day's Daily News (no link available):
Don't bring any attitude to the French consulate on E. 74th St.

"Persons applying for visas are requested to show due respect for Consular personnel," declared a sign by the front door of the New York consulate, until it was removed recently.

The sign also warned that "failure to do so will result in the denial of the application and denied entry into any of the Schengen countries [of the EU]."

"We took it down before it created any misunderstandings," explains Deputy Consul General Benedicte Contamin, who said the sign was intended to protect consulate workers. "Our staff had been insulted and threatened to the extent that we have had to call the NYPD."

The sign is now inside the street visa office.
I certainly hope this didn't involve any of you!

Three Jewish Youths Assaulted in Lyon Suburbs

The AFP reports
Three Jewish youths, aged 16 to 18 years, were kicked and punched Sunday night in the streets of Villeurbanne (Rhône) by a group of young persons of whom four have been detained, police sources said on Monday. Two of the victims will be unable to return to work for six days, according to a press release from the local police station. The police were able to intervene very quickly. The four [ "alleged" ?— D.] assailants are under observation at Villeurbanne police headquarters. Three of them are minors, according the same source. According to the local police station, "the victims had also been the victims of a similar assault several days earlier." According to the Representative Council of France's Jewish Institutions' (Crif) regional office in Rhône-Alpes, one of the victims was wearing a Kippa and a second wore a baseball cap with a Hebrew inscription on it. The aggressors were youths of Maghreban appearance, also according to Crif. Crif Rhône-Alpes president Marcel Amsallem told the AFP that the three youths had been attacked "because one of them wore a kippa, because they were Jews." One received blows to the ribs and in the mouth, the second, to the temples and the base of the skull and the third, in the cheek, according to Crif. The victims do not recall hearing insults of an anti-Semitic nature spoken during the assault. But, according to Crif, the mother of one of the assailants, interviewed in front of her home shortly after the assault, reportedly used the expression, "Dirty Jew." One of the victims of the assault also reportedly recognized in the group two or three youths who were involved in a brawl outside a Villeurbanne high school that occurred on May 13 during which anti-Jewish insults were heard, according to the same source.

Baldwin on Distrustful Countries and Group Thought

Concerning Cuba and other countries devoted to the single-minded group thought (such as mindlessly repeating the self-serving mantras that the American administration is the world's only [or main] threat today and that capitalism is the world's most terrible and inhumane system), today is the birthday of James Baldwin, the American novelist (1924-1987) who said that
It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.

¡Caramba! …And How Well Would Fahrenheit 9/11 Fare in… Iraq?

The success of Michael Moore's latest movie keeps growing worldwide, most lately in Cuba, Libération is happy to tell us, where the government has been generous enough not only to allocate it no fewer than 120 movie houses throughout the island, but also to have Fahrenheit 9/11 transferred to DVD and have the movie shown on prime time by state television. Shouldn't we all be eternally grateful to Fidel Castro for being so generous as to have his island be open to works that are critical of (U.S.) government policy?

No doubts about it. Havana's humanistic government is incredibly generous. In the meantime, French newspapers quote Cuban voices that say that the film will hopefully convince Americans as to the evils of the Bush government and how it represents a menace to the entire world.

Of course, while Cuban officials, publications, and (therefore) citizens are busy ridiculing, shaking their heads at, and castigating America's government, they let their own government members off the hook. That is not dissimilar to what is happening in France, some cynical person might say, or in Germany or other countries around the globe.

As it happens, some dissidents expressed their regret that a similar movie over Fidel Castro could not (never) be shown (let alone filmed) in Cuba, but Libération scarcely printed anything concerning that piece of (non-)juicy info but a bland one-sentence line (no lively quotes, here). Let's not go too far into that, shall we, when Fidel Castro just happens to share the general point of view, that the Bush adminstration is the world's number one menace. Something that the island's citizens seem to echo. Of course, when you get a one-line mantra on the subject (and all others) all the time — one that is pleasantly self-serving — there is hardly much incentive for le citoyen individuel to seek out, let alone adopt, a different way of thinking and seeing. (N'est-ce pas, Messieurs et Mesdames les Français?)

In the meantime, while everybody makes a big fuss about how well the movie is doing worldwide, not least in the United States iself, I sit here wondering how well the movie would be doing when (and if) shown in Baghdad. But as far as I know, there are no plans to show the film in Iraq. I suppose Moore and company will shout about conspiracies and propaganda. As for myself, I wonder whether it doesn't have to do with his display of daily life under Saddam Hussein as a near-bucolic paradise

The Dhimmicrappers had a Convention bounce, in Fwance Les dhimmicrottes ont bien rebondi dans les sondages suite à leur Convention, en Fwance

... or then again you could vote for the Dhimmicraptic Party ... ou bien vous pouvez voter pour le Parti Dhimmicrotte
'We will destroy you.' Whaddya' gonna do, sue their asses? America will be safe when the last Mullah is strung up by the entrails of the last radical Imam ...
'Nous vous détruirons.' Et vous allez faire quoi, leur coller un procès un cul? L'Amérique sera à l'abri quand le dernier Mollah sera pendu avec les entrailles du dernier Imam extrémiste ...

Kerry thought he had the US Marines double parked outside ... Kerry croyait qu'il avait les US Marines garés en double file ...
... but the Marines told him to take it on the arches.
... mais les Marines lui ont dit de se casser.

Listen to All the Problems Uncle Sam Hath Wrought for the Iraqis

Oh Lord, what have we done?! It is nauseating! That's the only word that can be used to describe all the problems Iraqis face in the wake of unilateralist America's unnecessary war against he-wasn't-so-bad-that- discussion-couldn't-have-solved-all-the-problems Saddam Hussein. Although there are some good news presented in the first of the paragraphs, of course, the second para is so full of devastatingly sad news, the tears well up in my eyes. Oh, Lord: why couldn't those simplistic Americans — sob — have refrained from intervening in Iraq?!…
…we can see how Iraqi family monthly income is expanding and they are using it to make life easier and full of prosperity.
What may back up my criteria is what is going on in the ISX (Iraq Stock eXchange). Things there are more than good, its terrifying good. Nobody expected to close deals in one day with the same value of what he used to close in three months work, and investors are trying to find themselves a broker who isn’t so occupied with deals.

Among all that good things we have problems like electricity shortage because of what we became capable to buy, traffic jam because of hundred thousands cars entered the market with low prices, and also because of the many check points made by the new Iraqi National Guards who made a great difference in the security situation and many more problems like those which we should be happy with and thankful for whoever are trying to build a good future for Iraq & Iraqis.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


Graffiti spray-painted on a wall in the Minguettes housing project in Vénissieux, near Lyon, praise Osama bin Laden and declare in Arabic, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet." — Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/Agence France-Presse

A French judge has ordered that the Guantánamo Four be held following their release from the US military base. Nizar Sassi, Mourad Benchellali, Imad Kanouni and Brahim Yadel are now under formal investigation, which in France allows for detention without formal charges, kind of like... never mind. Defense lawyers say this is a goodwill gesture by Paris in Washington's direction though the detention came at the request of anti-terror magistrates Jean-Louis Bruguière and Jean-François Ricard, at least one of whom (Bruguière) is an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

The Times' crack reporter in Paris, Craig S. Smith, has filed an interesting report today on the Benchellali family. The father, Chellali, and two of Mourad's brothers are currently being held in a high-security French prison on suspicion planning chemical and biological attacks in Europe. The Benchellalis live in Vénissieux, which has an unemployment rate of 33% and where Algerian imam Abdelkader Bouziane spoke in favor of wife beeting, prompting his hasty explusion which was soon followed by his grudging readmission to France.

Smith's report makes for gripping reading. He may not be able to translate French into genuine English ("...mortal to the simple touch" should of course be "lethal on mere contact" or something like that) but one thing's for damn sure, no French reporters are doing this sort of work in the US.


The Beeb is reporting that the Rwandan government will establish a commission to investigate possible French complicity in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Given the increasingly dictatorial nature of Rwandan society and the nefarious activities of the Kagamé government, don't expect the commission's probity to be too far ranging or that its findings will be anything other than political instruments. For more information, see my two exhaustive posts on recent developments.


As Delaware's Joe Biden gleefully pointed out on Meet the Press this morning , Nato members have agreed terms to begin assisting in the training of Iraqi police, though Biden failed to mention that France did in fact exact the concession that the Nato mission not be under US command. It's called negotiating.

On the other hand, France certainly lost out on Friday during EU negotiations on a common European position for the current WTO summit in Doha. All 24 of the council's other members refused to follow France's proposed opposition to the new WTO package, which has apparently succeeded as rich and poor nations have at last come to an agreement on how to slash trade subsidies and open up export markets (unlike last years summit in Cancún, which collapsed, earning it the nickname "Can'tcún"). The French representatives present on Friday, Commerce minister François Loos and Agriculture minister Hervé Gaymard, raised their hands when Dutch Finance minister Jan Brinkhorst asked the assembly if anybody had a problem with the draft resolution as it stood. The French delegates did not explain their objections and Loos raised only procedural matters, which brought a rebuke from German Finance minister Wolfgang Clement.

EU Business quoted an anonymous source who accused the French delegates of "playing the procedural game because they do not have the support required to block an agreement."

The potential reasons for opposition to the agreement became apparent to-day as French farmer's reacted to being exposed to competition on the open markets. The AFP reports that Jean-Michel Le Metayer, president of the National Federation of Growers' Unions (Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricoles, FNSEA), France's largest farmers union, complained in muted terms, calling the deal "unbalanced."


Yesterday was the 867th anniversary of the death of Louis VI, known as "The Fat One." His son and successor, Louis VII, "The Young One," began the disastrous "Second Crusade" in 1147 which failed two years later.
The AP reported on Saturday that French judicial sources believe that the body of a French national has indeed been found in Fallujah, as first reported by Le Figaro in its edition of the same day. The Paris prosecutor's office may open an investigation into this matter when the man's identity has been established.


On Thursday, France welcomed Israeli PM Sharon's recent statements praising France's struggle against anti-Semitism as exemplary. "We have taken notice of the Israeli prime minister's remarks of this Wednesday, praising France for its determined actions in the matter of the struggle against anti-Semitism, which [Mr. Sharon] says are exemplary. [...] Naturally, we observed this with satisfaction." Sharon made the remarks on greeting 200 French Jews who had arrived in Israel and planned to make Aliyah.

On July 18, Sharon called on French Jews to emigrate to Israel in order to flee anti-Semitic violence. This provoked outraged reactions from the French MFA and president Chirac said that Sharon, who had not announced plans to visit France, would be unwelcome in France. French FM Michel Barnier is to visit Israel in October.

The French MFA's latest statements came with with regrettable timing, however, as news broke the same day that 30 grave stones in a cemetery in Saverne (Bas-Rhin) had been painted with Swastikas the night before.

The tombs dated mostly from the early 20th century and their vandalism was discovered by a person visiting the grave of a family member. Since April, 300 Jewish, Muslim and Christian tombs have been defaced in this way, according to the Nouvel Observateur.


Up to 3,000 French surgeons are threatening to go into exile in the UK from August 30 to September 5 to protest low pay and high insurance premiums. They claim pay has not increased in 15 years (in May, they said it was 14, as reported here). However, the French health ministry is now operating with a budget shortfall of €12.9 billion and can scarcely afford to pay more. The average age of a French surgeon is now 55.

Health minister Douste-Blazy says he hopes to reach a settlement with the group soon.

*** says that of all the 350 blood tests for performance enhancing drugs that were administered as part of the Tour de France, only that of Belgian rider Christophe Brandt turned up positive. Brandt was evicted from the Tour on 9 July.

How do you ask a man to be the only man to get caught losing? Bad luck, Chris.


Matt Damon may play Lance Armstrong in a forth-coming movie about the cyclist.

Damon will have to lose a lot of weight to look like a cyclist.

Cacapoum! Cacapoum!

The dhimmicrapper, with his Mac keyboard, is back. I've been absent because I went to California on vacation. During this time I came to the decision to put an end to all the guessing and reveal my identity. Here is a photo of me early last month standing on a hill top in Big Sur between Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean.

It did me a lot of good to stop reading the newspaper for a few days, get out from behind my computer and get just enough of a sun burn to make the hairs on my forearms turn blond. I also spent a few days in San Francisco perfecting my reaction to the question, "Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet?" I didn't quite answer honestly enough to say that I preferred to avoid retching on other movie goers or that I was afraid the experience might actually kill me. Just a sharp no. The crisis of conscience I suffered in 2002 over the Iraq matter still hasn't won me any friends.

Just in time for my return from vacation, the silly season in French public life has begun. Starting to-morrow morning you'll be able to fire a cannon down rue Saint-Antoine and hit nary a moto-crotte. Bakeries, importers, restaurants, boutiques, etc., will close for weeks on end. Parking will be free on Sundays. Movie theaters will project films for empty rooms. Le Monde's readership will drop by huge numbers. TV news producers will let their less experienced presenters have a go. Popular shows, including news magazines, will go on reruns. Some enjoy the space and quiet and a growing trend of vacationers now actually vacation in Paris. But the first Monday of September, the downstairs grocery store at the Monoprix on rue Saint-Antoine will be filled with beautiful, tanned women picking through fresh vegetables.

One August, I poured beer in a miserable Irish pub which shall remain nameless. The only place I could get a job since the city was empty and I didn't have a pot to piss in. The hours on end of listening to jigs and reels in isolation got so bad ("wack faddle-a-doo faddle-a-didly-idle... fuck off!") that more than once I nearly hung myself out of boredom. I'd be on the verge of kicking the stool out from underneath me when at long last a gaggle of Swedish tourists would come in and ask for three pints of Guinness and... a green hat. Salvation.

If Paris streets are empty on an August day, imagine them at 4 am when I closed up shop. At that time of night in July or September, you might overhear couples fornicating as you passed under apartment windows. In August, they are gone. You can actually hear the gears turning in the circuit boxes that control the street lights. A footstep is audible a hundred yards away. The only cars I saw weren't so much parked as seemingly abandoned by drunks, still protruding partly into the streets, their lights and sometimes their radios left on, the windows still rolled down.

The entire north of France jams itself onto the highways heading for the south and the midi where, if one has two or three weeks to spend with the family, rain is less likely to keep them in doors 40% of the time than it might be at the coastal destinations in the north like Normandy or Brest. Provence, the Alps, Languedoc-Roussillon are popular domestic destinations.

By midday yesterday, the heaviest traveling day of the year for French motorists, akin to the Sunday following Thanksgiving, the National Center for Roadway Information, (aka Bison Futé, or the "crafty bison"), had recorded a total of 650 km of traffic jams on French highways, almost all of which were concentrated outside of major urban areas with the exception of an 8 km backup in the Paris region. Those who left in July are returning and those who left in August are departing.

This phenomenon is of course not unique to France, it is simply more pronounced and more predictable — especially since France, the world's most visited country (60 million in 1994; 70 million in 1998...), will also be receiving large numbers of foreign tourists as well. The New Statesman reports this week that British nationals own roughly 500,000 "second homes" in France.

Le Monde reported on July 20, however, that a recent study by the Tourism ministry has found that nearly 16% of the French population has never taken a vacation. In 2002, 37% never left. The definition of a vacation: "a pleasure trip of at least four nights away from home." (Note that if you visit the Web link for this article, you may encounter an animated gif advertising vacation packages: "Votre croisière à prix discount: MidiCroisiè Many American publications such as the New York Times take pains to make sure that their advertising placement doesn't suffer from such unfortunate coincidences. Perhaps Le Monde does as well but perhaps the ones responsible for this are enjoying a mediterranean cruise?)

You can keep some perspective on this problem by listing to two audio reports from the Beeb: Najma (ra 0:47), an Indian domestic, gets two days off a year and can only dream of ever traveling, particularly to America, where she understands that night happens during the Indian daytime. Eva (ra 1:22), a Kenyan hospital worker, has only taken one holiday in her life, in Mombassa, and fondly remembers the experience of having others doing for her what she does for others daily. Fewer than 10% of the world's people have ever flown internationally, according to the Beeb.

The same report from Le Monde also says that many are afraid to leave because they've spent their lives cloistered in poverty and, though they may be able to afford it, cannot conceive of traveling abroad. Michelle Rigalleau, a delegate from the association Vacances ouvertes ("Open Vacations"), wrote in a 2001 report for the National Tourism Council that some people simply didn't know how to go about traveling abroad. Le Monde quotes sociologist Jean Viard, director of the Centre d'études de la vie politique française (Cevipof; "Center for the Study of French Political Life"), as saying that "when one lives for years on a housing estate, with no horizon other than that of one's neighborhood, one can develop of fear of leaving. Often, neophytes fear being ignorant of local codes and rites and being embarrassed. So some people who may be eligible for assistance prefer not to use it, thinking that vacations are not for them." Every year, nearly 30% of the vacation vouchers issued by the national welfare insurance company (Allocations familiales) go unclaimed.

In Its Eagerness to Eulogize Zapatero, France's Newspaper of Reference Withholds the News (Spain's Diplomatic Crisis with Australia)

What with the Spanish socialist party celebrating its first 100 days in government, Le Monde naturally had to devote part of the front page, the entire second page, and about a third of page 3 to "the new society of José Luis Zapatero". One can read an interview of Spain's prime minister, a look at the government's first 100 days, and an article on the March 11 investigation commission, as well as a paper on …the sober furniture in Bambi's office. (Any means is good to make the people understand how Zapatero, unlike José María Aznar, is a man of the people.)

Nobody will wonder that, in their usual way, the journalists from the independent newspaper (Jean-Marie Colombani himself and Martine Silber) ask Zapo, indeed lead him with, safe and positive questions that favor Paris's foreign policy ("Can one say that the alliance between José María Aznar and Tony Blair went too far towards an abusive excess that was nearly anti-European?").

Strangely, neither in this issue nor in the pevious or following days, there is nary a word on the information du jour, that is, the major diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Canberra.

Australia aggravated a diplomatic row with Spain yesterday by accusing the socialist government of encouraging terrorists. Brushing aside the furious response to earlier comments pointing the finger at Madrid, Alexander Downer, the foreign minister, said he would not apologise.

He said that Spain and the Philippines needed "to face up to the truth" that by withdrawing their contingents from Iraq they had allowed themselves to be exploited by terrorists.

"There is no point in trying to scurry away from the truth," Mr Downer said. "I am sensitive about the fact that terrorists use the examples of Spain and the Philippines to put pressure on Australia. If you accede to the demands of terrorists, they will exploit the acceding to their demand . . . We are not going to apologise. We shall let bygones be bygones."

The comments caused great offence in Madrid. Australia's ambassador there was summoned to be told that the comments were "unacceptable".

I hope that Australia's ambassador answered that he did not see why the smug Spaniards (like the French) should have the right to haughtily disdain coalition members as poodles, and this from their passive, non-interventionist position where they risk nothing (any more); and why the Australians, who, like their coalition allies (i.e., those who have not pulled out their troops from Iraq), face blackmail and terrorist threats (because actively engaged, with troops on the ground) should not have the right to voice their opinion, notably on the threats in question and what these have accomplished among their (former) allies.

But in the meantime, we're back to the fact that while the spat is important enough to have made front-page headlines continuously in both Spain and Australia, France's newspaper of reference has published hardly anything about this event, and certainly nothing that in any way shows that it has turned into a diplomatic spat unfavorable to the positive image of their hero.

It is true that as far as opinions are concerned, we're back to double standards. (We never left them, did we?) One has the right, even the duty, to ridicule and castigate America and is allies, but let noone even think of putting into doubt the good intentions, the rationality, the humanism, the vision, the love of peace, and the lucidité (as well as le courage) of the members of the peace camp.

Indeed, back in March, Le Monde wrote an editorial explaining how indecent, even despicable, it was to even entertain the idea that Spaniards may have voted for Zapatero out of fear (or cowardice) or that the election results may be compared to a new Munich. A scornful thesis, harrumphed the independent daily, without the least ambiguity (I thought the Americans were supposed to be the simplistic (non-)thinkers, incapable of "complex and sophisticated" reasoning). But to treat Australians, Yanks, and Brits, as poodles and liars, that, oh that is entirely normal, isn't it? That is in no way a scornful thesis, n'est-ce pas?

As always, Iraq the Model is back in form. Let's see what Mohammed (reacting to the murderous attacks on Baqouba) has to say on this diplomatic crisis as well as on the position and the policies of the members of "the peace camp" (my emphasis).

Tens of victims in a barbaric action committed by those terrorists leaving pain, sorrow and a deep wound in the heart. Once again, civilians pay the highest price and once again terrorists show how cruel they are, reminding us of their hateful presence and their lust for killing and destruction.

What hurts more than this daily terror is the soft way the world is using to deal with the situation.

I believe that the presence of this terror is just a matter of time, as hatred and deception can’t last forever, but the reactions of some parts provide it with the support it needs and give it a second chance. Yes, all we need is the will and determination to crush a company that is so close to bankruptcy but the disgraceful doings of some parts postpone it once again, like what Spain, Manilla and Egypt lately did.

What’s even worse and disgusting is that these governments smugly come and ask the admirably determined nation Australia to apologize while it’s them who must apologize to the whole world for their awful mistakes that encouraged terrorists and reassured them that their criminal tactics can work.

These countries have found excuses for terror and gave the terrorists the motives to carry on with their plans as long as these plans can make "sovereign countries" yield in front of a true criminal action.

They’re cooperating with the criminals and they make it easier for terrorists to increase their activities in Iraq and elsewhere. This is the goal of terror and this is what these countries offered the terrorists on a gold plate. They’ve said clearly "do more of your work, as it will definitely bring an outcome that satisfy your sickness and illusions".

Perhaps it’s become obvious that the failure of terror is getting closer, and tightening the control over its resources is what made terrorists adopt this new strategy of asking for millions of dollars as ransoms for each hostage saying that this money will be used to pay compensations for the victims in Fallujah.

This reveals the fact that the terrorists’ resources are no longer sufficient to their expenses and this is what made them seek financial support through these criminal operations.

…There’s a deal to fund terror in a different way than before and there are groups and countries who support this and maneuver to override the obstacles.

Negotiating with those thugs provides them with legitimacy let alone submitting to their demands and funding them.

This is totally rejected and it must be dealt with firmly while those who submitted to the terrorists must apologize; they gave a broke company a new chance.

What happened today is a crime and these countries are partners in this crime whether they accept this fact or not. No can make us believe that these governments care about their citizens more than the governments of the USA, Italy, UK, Australia and other coalition members. Can anyone answer the question why those governments didn’t submit to the demands of the terrorists in their own lands, like Abu Sayaf in Philippines?! The same applies to Egypt when dealing with the Islamic groups. Why was the sound of gunfire the only sound we heard when dealing with terror in their own lands? I believe the answer lies in the hypocrisy of these governments. They don’t care a sh*t about the lives of their citizens but they do care and A LOT about their individual and partisan interests. They follow the mob instead of leading them to what’s better for their future.

Concerning the numerous polls indicating that the populations of various countries (Spain, the UK, etc) were massively against the war:
A good and wise government should be able to see farther than the average simple citizen and also to share this vision with him and let him see where his/her interests and security lie. What these governments are doing is the opposite, as they use the simple and instant reactions of the crowds to strengthen their position saying "we have fulfilled your demands and acted just the way you wanted" However what the people want, and especially when they are faced with a shocking and a threatening situation, is not necessarily what they need.

Can you answer the question what will be the response of Iraqis towards these horrible attacks? I’ll help you; These victims came to volunteer to serve their country as IP members and this is not the 1st time this happens and the response of Iraqis to such attacks was always more volunteers and longer lines. What does that tell you Philippine and Spanish government? If this is bravery and wisdom, then how should your actions be labeled? Maybe it’s not your business? That would’ve been a more honest answer had you said it, but you’re not just cowards or stupid, you’re also hypocrites. This include all the "anti-war" crowd with all the clowns there such as Michael Moore and George Galloway and their likes. You make me SICK when you support the "Iraqi resistance" and call these killers a revolutionists. Did you watch your "resistance" today? This is what you support and this is how history will view you; supporters of murderers and criminals, and for what? Fame and money! Enjoy it. It won’t last, as the truth will soon be revealed and you'll be exposed to all as the disgusting parasites you are.

I doubt that we can forgive you all for your cowardice, stupidity and hypocracy just as we’ll never forget the sacrifices and the help of the Americans, Australians, British, Italians, Japanese and all the other coalition members.

Lire la version française
(Merci à Jeffrey Schreiber)