Russian computer game about War on Georgia

Reuters writes ( that Russobit-M, a Russian software company, is pulling an America’s Army with the War on Georgia propaganda.

Next month, a computer game titled Confrontation — Peace Enforcement simulating a war between Russia and Georgia is to be released. In best Cold War tradition, there’s even an “unknown Western power” allying with Georgia; an obvious reference to the Russian propaganda myth of USA sending troops to fight in Georgia. However, the only visible Western presence is Poland, who supposedly represents all of NATO.

An avid follower of Orwell will have field day with the game. From the title — itself borrowed from a Medvedev’s speech — to the game team’s assurance that the game is not related to politics, it’s an obvious attempt at pushing Russian version of the events of the real war, and tying acceptance of this version to patriotism.


Germany bans Hezbollah’s TV channel as incompatible with international understanding

Reuters writes:

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s interior ministry has banned Al-Manar satellite television, the mouthpiece of Lebanon’s Hezbollah anti-Israel guerrillas, a ministry spokesman said on Friday.

The station, which the United States designated a “terrorist organisation” shortly before banning it in 2004, was also barred in France.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the ban was introduced because the channel did not promote international understanding and violated the German constitution.
The ministry said the restrictions covered Al-Manar advertisements, fund-raising for its studios and the reception of the satellite television station in hotels. Private homes will still be able to view the channel.
Al-Manar is the mouthpiece of Hezbollah guerrillas who played a major role in forcing an end to Israel’s 22-year occupation of south Lebanon.
Hezbollah funds Al-Manar, its sister radio station Al-Nour and the parent company Lebanon Media Group.

By way of comment, it’s most likely the cited constitutional provisions are among the ‘Never again’ clauses enacted after World War II as a part of campaign of de-Nazifying Germany. Some of these clauses — such as the constitutional ban on the straight-hand salute — may appear slightly silly to an average Westerner, but some are very powerful and valuable tools against hateful ideologies and organisations whose views of multiculturalism are rather, shall we say, monoculturalist.


Russia, Iran and Qatar poised to corner the world gas market

Reuters reports:

TEHRAN, Oct 21 (Reuters) – World gas powers Russia, Iran and Qatar moved on Tuesday to strengthen cooperation and Tehran said there was consensus to set up an OPEC-style group which is likely to worry Western consumer nations.
Russia, Iran and Qatar are ranked the first, second and third biggest holders of natural gas reserves in the world and together boast more than half of the global total.

Full story.

If successful, the ramifications of such a development can become staggering. Russia has been known to exert pressure to its neighbours through cutting gas exports — particularly in late autumn –; once it becomes capable of pulling that trick off to Western Europe, it can do a lot more than a teenie-weenie invasion without any danger of political retaliation.

Gas supplies of the world are quite limited. The only stable solution to this threat is to develop alternative energy sources, particularly nuclear energy.

Somebody is shutting down Al Quaeda websites

Washinton Post writes:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 17 — Four of the five main online forums that al-Qaeda’s media wing uses to distribute statements by Osama bin Laden and other extremists have been disabled since mid-September, monitors of the Web sites say.

The disappearance of the forums on Sept. 10 — and al-Qaeda’s apparent inability to restore them or create alternate online venues, as it has before — has curbed the organization’s dissemination of the words and images of its fugitive leaders. On Sept. 29, a statement by the al-Fajr Media Center, a distribution network created by supporters of al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups, said the forums had disappeared “for technical reasons,” and it urged followers not to trust look-alike sites.

For al-Qaeda, “these sites are the equivalent of,,,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, an expert on online al-Qaeda operations who has advised the FBI and others. With just one authorized al-Qaeda site still in business, “this has left al-Qaeda’s propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread.”

Full story.

At this time, it is not publically known who is responsible. The journalists have asked American military, and it has refused to comment.  The fact that the websites have apparently been down for an extended period of time may indicate some sort of diplomatic coöperation from local governments, or perhaps that Al Qaeda is switching to another form of communication.