Saturday, December 28, 2002

Negative effect

Not that you’d know it, but there was a large-scale round-up of Muslims in this country last week. They were told to go in to INS offices to register, and many did not come out again, like those scams where the police call up wanted felons and tell them they’ve won a prize. This is presumably not something you’ll find in those propaganda films the State Dept is trying to show in Muslim countries. A high number of these round-ups were in southern California and the local Iranians were pissed off. (This is from a story in the LA Weekly). The Justice Dept flew in a rep to talk to the Iranian community, and to threaten them with the “negative effect” of protesting the mass arrests. “It makes other people think you don't want to be here. I think we need to look at what is the impact of open, glaring challenges to our system."

Also, Middle Easterners on student visas, including 2 at Kevin’s university, have been put in jail for carrying too few units.

Israel conducts a number of operations looking for “wanted Palestinians.” Can’t have wanted them that much, since they managed to kill a bunch of them (plus the usual innocent bystanders). Must be a Christmas thing: they bugged their parents for months for some Hamas Action Figures, get them, immediately break them, and now they’re playing with the boxes.

Sorry ‘bout that.

Israel is also announcing free-fire zones around Jewish settlements. Or to put it another way, they’ve just seized a lot more land.

The Israeli soldier who shot the 95-year old has actually been punished: 65 days in jail. Well, in a military prison, which I gather tend to be very cushy.

Iran has suspended stoning as a punishment.

One of the pleasures of the NY Times is its reviews trashing horrible movies. Read the review of Pinocchio.

Guardian columnist John O’Farrell asks if British troops, instead of being sent to war in Iraq in order to help GeeDubya get re-elected, couldn’t just be sent directly into marginal states to canvass for Republicans. “Instead of blowing up Baghdad, the RAF could just blow up thousands of red, white and blue balloons.”

The 5 Japanese kidnapped by North Korea have finally denounced the NK government.

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