Archive for May, 2009

Christian (Catholic)? Brothers.

Posted in ANALYSIS on May 21, 2009 by aelag
What is Benedict XXVI saying about this?
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Christian Brothers ‘knew sex assaults widespread’

DOCUMENTS uncovered during the investigation into child abuse prove the Christian Brothers were aware that sexual abuse of children in their care had occurred at an “unacceptably high” level, the child abuse report reveals.

It reveals that the “Rome Files” — archives which came to the attention of the brothers themselves during the commission’s investigations — made it impossible to contend that the issue of abuse and, in particular, child sexual abuse of boys, was not an urgent and continuing concern to the congregation.

“The scale of the problem as revealed in these documents was very serious. When other features of abuse are taken into account, there is reason to believe that the amount of such abuse was substantially greater than is disclosed in these records”.

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Young boys hard at work in Artane Industrial School in the 1940s where the children were taught a trade
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And they are worried about Iran.

Posted in ANALYSIS on May 19, 2009 by aelag
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RUSSIA and the United States open fresh negotiations on nuclear disarmament in Moscow this week. The main agreement governing the verification of the countries’ strategic nuclear weapons, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), expires in December, so a new deal is needed soon. Talks may also include further reductions in strategic warheads, on top of those agreed in 2002, to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. Each has already dramatically cut its nuclear capability since the peak of the cold war. Of the three other recognised nuclear powers, only China is thought to be building more; it probably has around 160 warheads. The deployed warheads of official nuclear countries are all considered to be operational, but it is not easy to determine the status of the weapons in the four unofficial nuclear countries. North Korea, for instance, is thought have up to ten warheads, but none is operational.

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Posted in ANALYSIS on May 12, 2009 by aelag
What do you think?
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US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi smiles as she talks with media in Tehran

The American journalist Roxana Saberi was jailed for espionage in Tehran after
obtaining a confidential Iranian document about the American invasion of
Iraq, it was claimed today.

Saleh Nikbakht, one of Ms Saberi’s Iranian lawyers, revealed that a document
Ms Saberi had obtained while working as a translator for a powerful clerical
lobby had been used as evidence to convict her on charges of espionage.

Ms Saberi, 32, was released on Monday after an appeal court dismissed charges
of spying and reduced her eight-year prison term to a two-year suspended

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Pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.

Posted in ANALYSIS on May 10, 2009 by aelag
It’s beginning to come out in the wash.
Beware, it maybe a whole new ball game.
The clock maybe ticking against Israel.
Plenty of maybes, but it’s got to start sometime.
Remember the Iron Curtain?
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Israel, Iran and Nuclear Disambiguation

From:  World Politics Review    By:  Judah Grunstein

Israel’s deterrent policy of nuclear ambiguity is in the spotlight this week, as a result of remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller at a U.N. non-proliferation meeting, and this resulting Eli Lake article. Andrew Sullivan followed with a sincere post wondering about the logic behind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to Israel’s nuclear status, followed by a reader’s response linking it to U.S. law forbidding aid to a NPT non-signatory that acquires nuclear weapons.

Now, there’s no question that the legal issue raised by Sullivan’s reader is damning, as is the fundamental hypocrisy involved in holding Iran strictly accountable for its NPT obligations, while turning a blind eye to Israel’s flouting of the treaty. Indeed, that hypocrisy plays directly into Iran’s hands on the issue.
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Original article(05/07/2009 Thu 11:43am)
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Posted in ANALYSIS on May 3, 2009 by aelag
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I didn’t celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut today. I don’t think I can celebrate this holiday any more

I’ve come to believe that for Jews, Yom Ha’atzmaut is more appropriately observed as an occasion for reckoning and honest soul searching
As a Jew, as someone who has identified with Israel for his entire life, it is profoundly painful to me to admit the honest truth of this day: that Israel’s founding is inextricably bound up with its dispossession of the indigenous inhabitants of the land. In the end, Yom Ha’atzmaut and what the Palestinian people refer to as the Nakhba are two inseparable sides of the same coin. And I simply cannot separate these two realities any more.

I wonder: how must it feel to be a Palestinian watching the Jewish community celebrate this day year after year on the anniversary that is the living embodiment of their collective tragedy?

Rabbi of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evansto
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Deja vu

Posted in ANALYSIS on May 3, 2009 by aelag
History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
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Invasion, bombs, gas – we’ve been here before

An attempt by a British force in 1915 to topple the regime in Baghdad ended in disaster. Our correspondent hopes there will be no parallels this time

Even when regime change is finally brought about, the Iraqi people rise in rebellion and are cowed only by a ferocious aerial bombardment. There is talk of chemical weapons and the occupation drags on, draining blood and treasure, year after year.

This may sound like Tony Blair’s nightmare, the worst-case scenario of the looming conflict. In fact, it is the story of Britain’s first invasion of Iraq and provides an uncomfortable echo of the events unfolding today.

British forces landed at Basra in November 1914 to protect the Persian oilfields against the Turks and their German allies. “I do not care under what system we keep the oil,” Arthur James Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, would declare. “But I am quite clear it is all-important.”

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Posted in ANALYSIS on May 3, 2009 by aelag
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I remember going to the famous Basra air base to ask how a poor Iraqi boy, a hotel receptionist called Bahr Moussa, had died. He was kicked to death in British military custody. His father was an Iraqi policeman. I talked to him in the company of a young Muslim woman. The British public relations man at the airport was laughing. “I don’t believe this,” my Muslim companion said. “He doesn’t care.” She did. So did I. I had reported from Northern Ireland. I had heard this laughter before. Which is why yesterday’s departure should have been called the Day of Bahr Moussa. Yesterday, his country was set free from his murderer. At last.

Brigadier Tom Beckett (right) hands over to Colonel Henry A Kievenaar III at Basra Airbase yesterday

Robert Fisk: A historic day for Iraq – but not in the way the British want to believe

One hundred and seventy-nine dead soldiers. For what? 179,000 dead Iraqis? Or is the real figure closer to a million? We don’t know. And we don’t care. We never cared about the Iraqis. That’s why we don’t know the figure. That’s why we left Basra yesterday.

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Hitler in his second coming.

Posted in ANALYSIS on May 3, 2009 by aelag
Good luck America.
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Robert Fisk: Why Avigdor Lieberman is the worst thing that could happen to the Middle East

Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the extreme right-wing party Yisrael
Beiteinu, who has just been named Israeli Foreign Minister

Only days after they were groaning with fury at the Israeli lobby’s success in hounding the outspoken Charles Freeman away from his proposed intelligence job for President Obama, the Arabs now have to contend with an Israeli Foreign Minister whose – let us speak frankly – racist comments about Palestinian loyalty tests have brought into the new Netanyahu cabinet one of the most unpleasant politicians in the Middle East.

World Focus: I can identify Lieberman’s language with the language of Messrs Mladic and Karadzic and Milosevic

This kind of self-delusion is a Middle East disease. The fact is that the Israeli Prime Minister-to-be has made it perfectly clear there will be no two-state solution; and he has planted a tree on Golan to show the Syrians they will not get it back. And now he’s brought into the cabinet a man who sees even the Arabs of Israel as second-class citizens.

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Posted in ANALYSIS, Passing Comments, REFLECTIONS, THE WAY OF THE WORLD on May 3, 2009 by aelag
If Europe does not pay enough attention to this problem it could explode in its  face.
The EU is far to pre-occupied with overseas problems and forgetting its own.
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Bosnia’s “crisis” is so much talked about these days, yet so difficult to define. Bosnia is not a failed state. Not yet, at least. Instead, it is more like a zombie state. Like Afghanistan and Iraq, Bosnia has been reanimated out of conflict following external intervention. Outwardly it appears to be in possession of the institutions of democracy, but those institutions, say critics, are moribund in most respects.

Bosnia and Herzigovina obs news map
It was not supposed to be like this. The country’s war, which occurred during the break-up of Yugoslavia, pitted the three national identities against each other – Orthodox Christian Serb against Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Bosniak against Catholic Croat – with many secular Bosnians from all sides fighting with the Bosniak-dominated government for the dream of a multi-ethnic state.
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Posted in ANALYSIS, Current Affairs, Passing Comments, REFLECTIONS, THE WAY OF THE WORLD on May 3, 2009 by aelag
Beware of the Balkans.
It can yet again cause a flood of tears, to the rest of Europe.
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The Kosovo Albanians – the vast majority of the province – want independence from Serbia. The most that Belgrade says it can tolerate is a loose autonomy. Europe, for all its pretensions to speak with one clear voice to the world, is divided. Greece and Spain have been wary of the idea of Kosovo becoming Europe’s newest state. Madrid does not like to give encouragement to its own Basque secessionists. Greece is agitated about Macedonia. Britain and France and most of the rest of Europe favour an independent Kosovo under the novel concept of EU supervision designed to guarantee good behaviour towards its minorities.
Time is now very short. The mandate for the EU’s peacekeeping force in Bosnia expires this week and it is contested whether it can legally continue if the Russians wield their veto. There is a 10 December deadline for agreement in Kosovo. It is almost universally expected there won’t be any agreement. Then the really scary stuff threatens to start happening.
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