Well, it was too good to be true. Previousreports of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's arrest in Afghanistan on September 11 have proved to be incorrect:
... a subsequent identification by fingerprinting indicates the person in question is not Hekmatyar. The captured suspect is a high level commander in Hezb-i-Islami, and is said to be a dead ringer for Hekmatyar.
Alabama's Democratic Party has declared Larry Darby persona non grata after the Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic atheist brought unwelcome attention with his run for attorney general. (Previous Dreams Into Lightning post here.) Integrating the Derivative reports:
Kudos to the Alabama Democratic Party for throwing out Larry Darby from any of their future primaries.
Darby said he changed his views on atheism "based on experiences or understanding of the world around me." He didn't respond directly when asked if he was renouncing atheism to position himself better politically.
"I agree with moral precepts put forth by Jesus of Nazareth and I am Christian in a sense that Jesus of Nazareth would approve," Darby wrote.
Just a few words on the recent reports - apparently untrue - of proposals to require Jews and Christians in Iran to wear some kind of distinguishing mark or item of clothing. Understandably, this triggered associations with the infamous "yellow star" that Jews in Nazi Germany were required to wear.
Here is my response, edited from an e-mail I sent to a friend:
I've been following the Iranian "yellow star" story pretty closely on the web. I am a dyed-in-the-wool neocon hawk, and I follow Iranian events almost obsessively.
From everything I have seen in the last 24-48 hours, it appears certain that the story is incorrect. Amir Taheri offers the following response: Regarding the dress code story it seems that my column was used as the basis for a number of reports that somehow jumped the gun. As far as my article is concerned I stand by it.
The law has been passed by the Islamic Majlis and will now be submitted to the Council of Guardians. A committee has been appointed to work out the modalities of implementation. Many ideas are being discussed with regard to implementation, including special markers, known as zonnars, for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, the only faiths other than Islam that are recognized as such. The zonnar was in use throughout the Muslim world until the early 20th century and marked out the dhimmis, or protected religious minorities. ( In Iran it was formally abolished in 1908). I have been informed of the ideas under discussion thanks to my sources in Tehran, including three members of the Majlis who had tried to block the bill since it was first drafted in 2004.
I do not know which of these ideas or any will be eventually adopted. We will know once the committee appointed to discuss them presents its report, perhaps in September.
Interestingly, the Islamic Republic authorities refuse to issue an official statement categorically rejecting the concept of dhimmitude and the need for marking out religious minorities. I raised the issue not as a news story, because news of the new law was already several days old, but as an opinion column to alert the outside world to this most disturbing development. "
Some have claimed that either Taheri or some other party deliberately fabricated the story. I do not believe this is the case. I do think it's very unfortunate that someone of Taheri's caliber allowed himself to be associated with a highly inflammatory story that could not be verified.
I suspect this will turn out to be the Iranian counterpart of the Iraqi "WMD" episode; that is, those who wish to accuse the "warmongers" of spreading deliberate falsehoods will seize on it with the ferocity of a pit bull. What's sad is that the real atrocities of the Iranian regime, like those of Saddam's Ba'athist gang, will be overlooked.
Let me say here that I unequivocally condemn any and all attempts to "embellish" the crimes of the Iranian regime. The reality is horrible enough and it does not need any help. If more people knew the truth of the atrocities committed by the sadistic gang of thugs in Tehran, the story of alleged "Jewish clothing" would seem very small indeed.
A few final comments:
Generally I make an effort to avoid or delay posting very sensational stories, precisely because there's a good chance they will turn out to be incorrect. I didn't post anything on this story for just that reason; but sometimes I do slip up. I'm taking this as a reminder to be extra careful about what I post here, because these are difficult and dangerous times, and people are getting killed. Writing about world events is a serious thing, and sometimes "PIMF" just doesn't cut it.