Thursday, August 28, 2014

LOTS of weird stuff: Aristocratic pedophiles, ISIS, the beheading video, and the murders that started a war...

Will young people vote Republican if Republicans go libertarian? No, says this writer at the Sabato site.

While it is true that under-30s are attracted to libertarian stances on pot, gay rights, and so forth, we should not automatically presume that the young will really go for Rand Paul. For three reasons:

1. Young voters strongly favor liberal stances on social welfare issues.

2. Young voters tend to skew Democratic.

3. Young voters tend to belong to minority groups. Most black people can see right through that John Galt horseshit.

Those kidnapped Israeli teens. A while back, we talked about the suspicious revised version of the crime which sparked the ghastly Israeli attack on Gaza. Let's review the chronology:

1. At first, the Israeli government implied that Hamas was responsible.

2. Then we were told a very different story by Israeli police officials, who said that the crime was the work of a local gang.

3. Much later -- after the Gaza attack created a world outcry -- the Israeli media belatedly said that Hamas was responsible after all.

Specifically, they said that a Hamas official named Saleh al-Arouri made this admission at a meeting of Islamic scholars in Turkey. I was immediately suspicious of this assertion. Those meetings are public and sizable, yet this startling claim was not reported in the Turkish media.

After I wrote that post, a tape of the al-Arouri statement was posted online. So I guess that settles that.

The Guardian emphasizes one important point:
His claim has not been supported by any other member of Hamas.
Al-Arouri lives in exile in Turkey. It is unclear just how much contact he has with Hamas in Gaza. If you look at his exact words, as delivered at that meeting, one gets the feeling that he may be "talking out of his ass," as we Americans to to put it.

Think of it: Why he would say such a thing?

For the sake of argument, let us grant that Hamas did in fact order the deaths of those three boys. Why would al-Arouri make such an announcement in public? Doing so could only benefit Israel.

The man's history (see also here) is odd. He became involved with Hamas in the 1990s, spent 15 years in an Israeli prison, and came out a "changed" man...
The prominent Hamas leader, who founded the group’s military wing Qassam Brigades, said he was done with terrorism. Done with raising money and recruiting fresh militants. He concluded Hamas is “harmed if we target civilians. At the end of the day, the fruit of military action is political action. All wars end with truces and negotiations.”
He also immediately married the woman he loved and settled down to raise a family. But but but...
He was soon exiled from Israel. He and his wife and daughter fled to Jordan but “were detained by Israeli border officials and told they could not cross the border for security reasons,” reported Amnesty International. “He considers he has no choice but to accept the continue his family life.”
It seems that the wife's home in Gaza was destroyed during the attack.

I do not yet know what happened to al-Arouri's family. If they are in Israeli custody -- well, that would give al-Arouri strong motive to do as the Israelis command, would it not? Maybe that is why he made an announcement which proved mightily convenient to Israel's backers and apologists.

Added note:After the original publication of this post, a reader noted this history of al-Arouri, which indicates that his wife joined him in exile in 2010. However, he has other family members in the Occupied Territories, and it remains possible that they were used as pressure points.

British pedophiles in high places. These disturbing reports keep piling up...
Chris Fay said he was pinned to a wall and throttled before being given a chilling warning to “back away” from allegations surrounding the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.

Young boys in care were allegedly taken there in the Eighties to be abused by high-profile MPs and other powerful establishment figures.

Mr Fay, who worked for the now-defunct National Association of Young People In Care, accused the Metropolitan Police of acting like “gangsters” when news of the scandal broke in 1990. He revealed how some Special Branch members routinely threatened him and his colleagues and even victims over a three-month period of intimidation.

His shocking claims come as West Yorkshire Police faces accusations that the force protected paedophile Jimmy Savile.
Mr Fay, 67, of south London, said: “It became very dangerous. People seem to forget that Special Branch could do what they liked, they were a law unto themselves.

“At one point they had me up against a wall by my throat with a gun at my head telling me in no uncertain terms that I was to back away if I knew what was good for me.

“A colleague of mine had the same treatment, as did a number of the volunteers. Victims who were actually abused at Elm House were also physically stopped from coming to speak to us at the NAYPIC office in north London.

“I witnessed Special Branch officers manhandling them and turning them away with a warning to keep their mouths shut. It was blatant, it was open, they were acting like gangsters.
Fay also says that his kitchen window was shot at. The story references Liberal Democrat MP Sir Cyril Smith as one of the powerful individuals who visited the house in question.

The James Foley video. You may recall my post from a few days ago, in which I argued that the United States government told an important fib about the death of James Foley. Specifically, U.S. sources at first claimed that Foley was being held by Assad's government forces.

That story changed only when ISIS beheaded the reporter.

Foley's brother Michael now says that the government "could have done more" to save James' life. Oddly, they do not mention the original "Assad did it" theory which the government was pushing. In a robustly Orwellian fashion, that "Assad did it" claim has now been airbrushed out of the historical record.

Here's another mystery: We still don't know who funded the more-than-a-million dollar effort by Foley's employer, GlobalPost, to find out what had happened to their reporter. Most people believe that GlobalPost (which is a bit of a shoestring operation) doesn't have that kind of money.

The main focus of conspiracy researchers is the video itself. Some folks are saying that the whole thing is a fake. (As you may recall, people said something similar about the Nick Berg beheading video, which looked as though it had been staged in the Abu Ghraib prison -- same orange jumpsuit, same furnishings, same floor, same wall.)

At this point, I might as well admit that I have not done any serious research into that video, for the simple reason that I do not care to look at it.

If you want to pursue the matter, you may want to start with this post at Moon of Alabama. (Check out the comments section.) Then consult this story published by, a site previously unfamiliar to me.

You may then want to run this German-language article through a machine translation.

It says that James Foley was kidnapped not by Assad's people and not by ISIS. He was abducted by the Free Syrian Army. Remember them? They are the "moderates" who, according to Hillary Clinton, have the ability to topple Assad while simultaneously fending off ISIS. (I think that Hillary's claim is silly.)

According to the above-cited German story, the Free Syrian Army handed Foley over the ISIS, which obligingly dispatched him -- in 2013. This, despite the fact that ISIS and the Free Syrian Army are at odds.

Is the German version credible? No. Foley had been filing anti-Assad stories, which means that the Free Syrian Army had no reason at all to kidnap or kill the guy. (Neither did ISIS, logically speaking -- but those creeps have developed an adversarial relationship with logic.)

So where did the Germans get this dubious story? The article cites an earlier story which appeared in the Russian media.

Oy. Russia supports Assad, so they are hardly an unbiased source of information.

I am not inclined to accept the Russian/German version of events. But that fact doesn't make the video real. Or unreal.

If you want to learn why so many people mistrust this video, go here.
The video of James Foley’s execution may have been staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, it has emerged.
Then here.
The footage was most likely edited later using "slick post-production techniques", according to the analysis for The Times in London by an unnamed international forensic science company that has worked for police forces across Britain, the news organisation claimed.

There was also no blood on Foley's neck as the masked militant appeared to drew a knife across his neck.

The analysis suggested that the militant, who speaks with a London accent and is believed to be British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, may have been a frontman for the execution, and not necessarily the killer.

"I think it has been staged," one of the forensic experts told the news organisation.
Finally, go here for a rather unsophisticated exercise in conspiracy research.
Faking Sarin attacks in Syria did not win support of the public for war on Syria. Alleged beheading of the American journalists seems to be doing a better job in that regard.
No. No no no no. No!

This conflation of two events ignores one key point: The sarin attacks were used by neoconservatives to rally the public in favor of war against Assad. The Foley video is being used to show the brutality of Assad's most fearsome opponents. The people who killed Foley are the same jihadis we (tacitly) supported not long ago

At this time, I can't fairly offer an opinion as to the video's authenticity. My life is depressing enough as it is right now, and I simply do not want to look at the evidence. Maybe in the future. Not now.

If that decision bugs you -- sorry.


amspirnational said...

A cretin named Michael Weiss is suggesting bombing both ISIS and Assad.

Propertius said...

Think of it: Why he would say such a thing?

Lots of reasons. Maybe he's just not very smart. Maybe he perceives his status to be slipping as a result of his (voluntary, I might add) exile (his expulsion order ended over a year ago) and he felt the need to make an outrageous claim to bolster his fading street cred. Maybe Hamas actually did it (it's not like they haven't targeted civilians in the past). Maybe he's an Israeli double agent.

Propertius said...

The sarin attacks were used by neoconservatives to rally the public in favor of war against Assad

Especially that notorious neocon Barack "Red Line" Obama, of course.

Stephen Morgan said...

I also prefer to avoid looking at someone die. However on another board I saw someone claim there was no blood, although that person and board are not at all conspiratorially minded, and that the only similarly bloodless execution he's seen was Nick Berg.

What does an Islamic fundamentalist rap about? Perhaps he's really MI6 or something similar. Never trust an Englishman abroad.

As for the Free Syrian army, I've been following events in Syria since ISIS grabbed my attention by seizing Mosul, and I've hardly even seen the FSA mentioned. ISIS seem to have taken over the opposition, with the exception of a few Islamic Front fighters being squeezed between ISIS and Assad around Aleppo and the Nursa rump who are keeping a low profile while their best fighters jump ship to ISIS.

Joseph Cannon said...

Prop, I meant, of course, that minorities are a larger proportion of the young voter age group than of any other age group.

I was stunned by that story about al-Arouri's family because I am sure I came across a very different one earlier (but did not have the citation to hand and was too tired to look up my browser history).

As for Al-Arouri's statement -- what struck me was the lack of detail. It seemed to me that he might have been discussing something he surmised to be true or wished to be true, rather than something he truly KNEW to be true.

SM, it's obvious that the Free Syrian Army is -- well, it's not truly fictional, but there is something fanciful about it by this point, at least in the American imagination. Obama was right: Pretending that the moderates have numbers, motivation, power and appeal is pure fantasy.