SINCE 1759

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:


Candide’s Latest: Monday, September 4, 2006
El Al's Bomb Bays
They allow weapons on board. Bombs, too. Paid for and encouraged by the US government.

El Al’s gun-running from American airports: This is curious. El Al is Israel’s civilian airline. We find out through Haaretz that its planes shuttling between Israel and the United States have routinely been used to carry U.S. weaponry and munitions back to Israel, including, one must presume, that stash of cluster bombs Israel rush-ordered in the waning days of the war on Lebanon, and dropped there especially in the last few days of the war—a supreme irony all this, considering the ban on carrying so much as toothpaste on airliners these days. So here we have the Department of Homeland Security on the surface feeling up women’s breasts and cavity-searching anything with a beard in its alleged war on terror, while down below truckloads of munitions and ordnance are being loaded in El Al’s cargo bays. Brilliant. This comes to light now that European nations, including Britain, Italy and Germany, are refusing to let El Al flights thus loaded land in their airports. “As a result,” Etai Regev, the chairman of El Al’s pilots’ union, is quoted as saying, “cargo planes are taking off from the U.S. with much lighter weight, and are reaching Israel with significantly fewer munitions than needed.” Meanwhile, the air and sea embargo on Lebanon remains, ostensibly to keep weaponry from reaching Hezbollah, although in reality the blockade is doing nothing to keep truckloads of weaponry from crossing over from Syria into Lebanon , but it’s doing wonders to keep Lebanon ’s civilian industry, including its international airport, from functioning again. Meanwhile we get this double-barreled quote from Israel ’s Ehud Olmert: “If we have go to war with Syria , we will do away the limitations on the use of force we placed upon ourselves in Lebanon .” The suggestion that Israel ’s use of force was in any way restrained in Lebanon raises a question: Is Olmert’s sense of reality dipping from the same poisoned well as George W. Bush’s? The again, Israel could never admit to having been smashed up and mauled by Hezbollah. So it photoshops reality a little. It wasn’t mauled. It was itself “restrained.” But how's this for a little more than mouthy resolve from Lebanese politicians, for a change: "Lebanese MPs continued an open-ended sit-in Sunday for the second day in a row to protest Israel's seven-week blockade, which is still in place almost three weeks after a UN-brokered cease-fire," the Daily Star reports. "Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who arranged for the sit-in, told local daily An-Nahar Sunday the "protest will continue day and night and I will personally sleep in Parliament until the sea and air blockade is lifted off Lebanon."" Too bad Bush is still playing D.J. to delusions to notice.


Der Spiegel has a profile of Hezbollah’s al-Manar television (banned in France and the United States ). So does South Africa’s Mail & Guardian.

The 9/11-Anniversary Circus Begins: Left and right, the commemorations will take over the new cycles for the next week. A choice bit from London’s Independent: “Far from ending terrorism, George Bush's tactics of using overwhelming military might to fight extremism appear to have rebounded, spawning an epidemic of global terrorism that has claimed an estimated 72,265 lives since 2001, most of them Iraqi civilians. The rest, some 30,626, according to official US figures, have been killed in a combination of terror attacks and counter-insurgency actions by the US and its allies. The figures were compiled by the US based National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (Mipt).” And this from Robert Fisk, writing from Chicago: “As the West's "war on terror" burns across the Muslim world, one of Islam's most principled leaders - the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami - issued a grave warning yesterday from the very heart of America, the country whose troops and allies are fighting Islamists across the Middle East in a war that is costing thousands of Muslim lives. "The policies of the neo-conservatives have created a war that creates more extremists and radicals," he told The Independent in Chicago. "The events of 9/11 gave them this ability to create fear and anxiety ... and to create new policies of their own and now events are creating an expansion of extremists on both sides. A struggle is under way to dominate this world multilaterally ... We are a witness to war - with suppression from one side and extremist reaction in the form of terror from the other."

In case you still have doubts that America’s Muslims are under attack (and this Washington Post piece on US Muslims notwithstanding), here’s a graphic showing hate crimes directed at Muslims in the United States, from the BBC:  

In Afghanistan’s forgotten war: Another Briton dies from a suicide attack in Kabul. The weekend’s death toll in Afghanistan has smelled of Iraq: “On Sunday, four Canadian soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the same operation, dubbed Medusa, to drive a large group of Taleban militants from Panjwayi, which lies to the West of Kandahar. Nato reported that more than 200 Taleban fighters had died in the first two days of the operation, which began on Saturday. On Saturday, 14 British troops were killed when an RAF Nimrod plane conducting aerial reconnaissance crashed near Kandahar, while trying to make an emergency landing after suffering a tail fire that damaged its electrical systems.”

In Other Worlds

Will GOP lose the U.S. House of Representatives? Analysts are suggesting they just might, given the depth of antipathy for the ruling party. But the wonder is not that the GOP might lose; it’s that the GOP’s loss is still so uncertain. At this point it should be a given that the Republicans not only should lose, but should be reduced to an insubstantial minority similar to their virtual no-party status in the mid-to-late 1930s (in the 76 th Congress, remember, Republicans were reduced to 16 seats in the Senate, to the Democrats’ 76; the Dems had a similarly overwhelming advantage in the House. And of course the nation could finally progress a little after its ideologically stunted slumbers of the 1920s.) Instead in 2006, we’re still talking about a mere possibility of a change of leadership, and only in the House. The Senate seems still securely in Republicans’ hands. If the majority does change in the House, it won’t do so by much. This is not a sea change. It’s a marginal ripple, and it could all be history by 2008. So goes the vacuity of Democratic leadership. The Democrats offer no alternative. Just a change of name.

Labor Day in the Los Angeles Times's History: For most of its history, the paper's editorial board writes today, "The Times has used Labor Day as an occasion to publish a blistering attack on labor unions. Not until the 1960s, when Publisher Otis Chandler led a shift in editorial philosophy, did The Times begin to take a more considerate, as well as more temperate, approach. The venom and moral certitude of some of The Times' early editorials would make even the most partisan blogger blush. But these editorials are products of an age when struggles between workers and industrialists were prompting violent confrontations — including at The Times, where in 1910 a bomb planted by union members killed 20 people." See the candid retrospective...

In the western hemisphere the tears were for Andre Agassi on Sunday, but Down Under they were, and are, justifiably for Steve Irwin, the Australian Crocodile Hunter, who was attacked by a stingray. “Friends believe he may have died instantly when struck by a stingray as he  filmed a sequence for his eight-year-old daughter Bindi's new TV series,” the Sydney Morning herald reported. “Irwin's friend of 20 years, Ferre De Deyne said Irwin had been struck by the stingray while filming. "The stingray just happened to be swimming around and out of the blue whacked his tail at him," he said.” The Sydney Morning Herald opened a condolence thread on its blog. A sample: “OH God NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please say it's not so. Why did this have to happen?? Stevo, though I never met you I'd like you to know I considered you a mate. I'll never forget you and I will miss you forever. Because of you Stevo you gave me a love for Australia. I so loved your enthusiasm, zeal and passion for life and wildlife of all kinds.” From The Age: “Radio networks in Brisbane were jammed by callers who could not believe the Crocodile Hunter was dead. Listeners called in one after another to confirm the news and tell of feelings of devastation. Several callers likened the loss to the death of Princess Diana.”


  • From the Rude Pundit, how "The barbarically self-righteous among us will always come up with bullshit justifications to ensure that their barbarism is warranted."
  • From Curt Lindsay, a new blogger and Oregonian of longer date: On the American Dream and the American Wake-Up Call: "I’m an American, and I love my country, which is precisely why I feel the need to harshly criticize its flagrant shortcomings in realizing the ideals it would pretend to espouse. But I strongly believe that the American way of life, and, more importantly, the ways that most Americans, both those near desperation and the well-to-do, think about and justify their ways of life, are quite unhealthy, unsustainable, and therefore psychologically infirm."
Bookmark and Share


Read Pierre’s Latest

The Latest Comments

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary