Saturday, 14 May 2011

The week in links

Here’s a few things you might have missed.

Just when you thought the Iranian regime couldn't get any more bizarre and irrational, there’s a report that, in the ongoing power struggle in the theo-fascist state, some of Ahmadinejad's cronies might be charged with sorcery. More seriously, Michael Weiss reports on the death of a prominent Iranian dissident, driven to suicide after years of harassment by the regime. Meanwhile, there are disturbing new revelations about the government’s abuse of its political prisoners, including the systematic use of sexual violence. All of which must worry the friends of al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvez, deported by the Syrian regime into the hands of its friends in Tehran, and who hasn’t been heard from since.

Talking of Syria and Iran: there's a great interview here with Michael J. Totten about his new book on Lebanon, The Road to Fatima Gate. Asked when he thinks things will start to improve in the region, Totten is blunt: only when there's a change of regime in Damascus and Tehran.

On the topic of terrorism, Hitch is rightly scornful of Noam Chomsky’s predictable response to the death of bin Laden, while Claire Berlinski posts a reminder of the atrocities 'committed or inspired by' the al Qaeda leader, lest we're tempted to get too sentimental about his despatch.

As for fellow-travellers with terror, CagePrisoners demonstrate yet again why Gita Sahgal was right to protest at Amnesty's relationship with the organisation, as it publishes a grotesque response to the operation in Abbotabad. And over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin lifts the lid on Moazzam Begg and his dubious crew.

Another great column from Hitch (long may he flourish): reviewing Rosa  Luxemburg's letters, and musing on how different history might have been, had her vision of socialism won out against the Leninist version. And on the subject of insurrectionary leftists, Julie Burchill is in blistering form, attacking the 'Toytown Trots' who think smashing shop windows is a revolutionary act, as well as the use of similar bullying tactics against Ahava for selling Israeli goods, so that ' we have now seen the first forced closure of a Jewish shop for QUITE A LONG TIME - give yourself a pat on the back for carrying on Hitler's work so well, gang!'

Finally, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? David Allen Green shines a light on the secretive internal operations of that apparent champion of openness, Wikileaks. Which gives me an excuse to post this video, just found via the Henry Jackson Society, in which Douglas Murray, founder of the excellent Centre for Social Cohesion and now associate director of the even more admirable HJS, takes down Julian Assange. It should be watched by all who are still tempted to think of Wikileaks as some kind of pure and untainted crusader for civil liberties:

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