Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lebanese shepherds kidnapped by Israeli terrorists

The other day, Israeli terrorist soldiers kidnapped YET AGAIN, Lebanese shepherds (five in total and two remain as hostages).  Of all the Western correspondents in Beirut, not one of them wrote about the story.  Imagine if those were Israeli civilians who were kidnapped by Hizbullah forces?

Thatcher visits Bin Laden and his fridnds-in-arms

Watch here. (thanks Nu`man)

Kerry's fake document in the Ukraine

From K: "you must have been sent this already, but it's hilarious:  on RT:  "'Letter to Jews', which Kerry cited, appears to be fake" -

Syrian refugees as slaves in Lebanon

"“we are forced to work for the landowner, we cannot say no. We are paid six thousand Lebanese liras [four dollars] per day to pluck potatoes from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon, and the ones who do not comply have their tents uprooted.”" (thanks Diana)

Western double standards? No way

" "The West is practicing a double standard: Would they let these militants into their countries to destroy everything?" asked Father Gabriel Daoud, one of a number of Syriac Orthodox priests presiding at traditional Good Friday Mass."

Western-sponsored Jeeeehaaad

"One of the conflict's defining features has been the presence of foreign fighters. In December 2013, ICSR estimated that up to 11,000 fighters from 74 nations had gone to Syria –a greater number than in 'every other instance of foreign fighter mobilisation since the Afghanistan war in the 1980s.’ 3 While most of these fighters were thought to be from the Middle East, a significant minority –up to 2,800 –are European or Western."

Muslims in CAR: Jihad against Muslims is not sexy for the Western press

" "We can wait for 10 years for them to leave - and if they don't leave, we will still be there, holding our positions," said Captain Dopani Firmin, the 'anti-balaka' chief in Boda, wearing a red Paris St Germain football shirt. "We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term," Firmin said. "It's our right to kill Muslims." "

operation flex

"Such actions have led Muslim civil rights groups to wonder if their communities are being unfairly targeted in a spying game that is rigged against them. Monteilh says that is exactly what happens. "The way the FBI conducts their operations, It is all about entrapment … I know the game, I know the dynamics of it. It's such a joke, a real joke. There is no real hunt. It's fixed," he said. But Monteilh has regrets now about his involvement in a scheme called Operation Flex."

torture by Western civilization

"The committee's report found that the interrogation techniques devised by Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, were far more brutal than disclosed at the time, and did not yield useful intelligence. These included waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation for days at a time, confinement in a box and being slammed into walls. But Mitchell, who was reported to have personally waterboarded accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains unrepentant." (thanks Amir)

repression in Saudi Arabia: not in the US press (II)

"As Riyadh intensifies its clampdown on dissent, a court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a young activist and blogger to 15 years behind bars for his anti-regime activities.

The Special Criminal Court in Riyadh convicted Fadhel al-Manasef of attending anti-regime demonstrations and defaming the kingdom by contacting foreign judicial and media outlets and publishing articles against state security on the Internet, his lawyer Waleed Sulais said on Thursday.

Sulais also said that the Riyadh court had fined the 26-year-old activist 100,000 riyals (USD 26,700) and imposed a 15-year travel ban on him once his jail sentence ends.

However, Manasef has denied the charges, said his lawyer, adding that he plans to appeal the verdict."

repressin in Saudi Arabia; not in the US press

"A Saudi court has ordered the arrest of a prominent rights lawyer who was standing trial for insulting the authorities in the kingdom and defying its ruler, the man’s wife said Wednesday.  Lawyer Waleed Abu Al Khair was already on bail for holding unauthorised meetings for reformists when he went to fifth hearing of his trial at a Riyadh court on Tuesday.  His wife Samar Badawi had not heard from him since he told her he was switching his phone off to enter the closed-hearing courtroom, and was told on Wednesday that he was in jail, she said.  “I found out today [Wednesday] from the court that the judge has ordered his arrest and he has been sent to Hair prison,” Samar told AFP by telephone.  Samar said she went to the prison where she was told that her husband is being held, but was not allowed to see him without an interior ministry permit.  “I went to the interior ministry and they told me to return in two weeks to get a permit,” she said.  No reason was given for Abu Al Khair’s latest arrest.  Abu Al Khair is on trial for “defying the ruler, insulting authorities, forming two organisations, and incitation,” according to a Tweet he posted before going to court on Tuesday."

Poland

The foolish behavior and rhetoric of the Polish government during the Ukrainian crisis is a reminder as to why Poland has invited invasions of its territory in the past.

how sad: East European NATO members are feeling vulnerable and they wish for US troops

"NATO’s newest members have been left feeling vulnerable and wondering whether the world’s most powerful military alliance is truly committed to their defense."

for some reasons rebel car bombs in Syria don't bother the concnetration of Western correspondents in Beirut

"A powerful car bomb exploded Friday outside a mosque in a pro-government district of Homs, killing 14 people in the latest violence to hit the war-shattered city, state-run Syrian television reported.

The bombing, which also wounded at least 50 people, occurred as worshipers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque on the edge of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, the report said.

The attack coincides with a crushing offensive by government forces aimed at retaking the last rebel bastions in the historic quarters of the old city of Homs." Those cries are always mentioned in the fine prints in corner bottom section of newspapers.

The Hariri International Kangaroo tribunal

Because the US and Israel are behind the Hariri international tribunal, and because Saudi Arabia and its camp in Lebanon are supportive, the court is permitted to issue decrees that would not even be permitted in any Western country.  This week, it issued yet another decree in which it said that defaming the court would lead to a 100,000 euros and seven years in jail.  It also banned any use of secret information, which have been leaking from inside the court since its inception.  Hell, New TV aired footage of the second in command of the Hariri court investigation in which he was seen taking bribes on camera.  False witnesses were used as basis of crazy scenarios and then discarded without explanation.  Four Lebanese generals were held as being responsible before being released for non-involvement.  The court went through so many tracks of theories before settling on the Hizbullah track.  Defaming this lousy court is a patriotic and national duty for the Lebanese people. 

Palestinian surrender

""From the beginning, the differences of opinion in the Jewish nationalist movement were about means rather than ends. There was a power struggle between Mapai — the forerunner of the Labor Party — and the Revisionists — the forerunner of Likud, but it wasn’t over the essence of Jewish nationalism. The Labor movement didn’t recognize the national rights of the Palestinians either. For its leaders and thinkers, Jewish control of the country was enshrined in history, not in people’s natural right to be their own masters."

(...)

"Therefore, for Israel’s leaders, the word “agreement” means unconditional Palestinian surrender. For the Jews’ exclusive right to the land to be complete and recognized, the Palestinians must accept their inferiority. This perception is anchored deep in the Israeli consciousness and is shared by the right, the center and the center-left, the towns in the country’s outskirts and most residents of Greater Tel Aviv, the Labor Party and Likud. They all reject the principle of equal rights for the Arabs."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Critique of Piketty

"For the United States, he urges a return to top national rates of 80 percent on annual incomes over $500,000 or $1,000,000. This may be his most popular idea in U.S. liberal circles nostalgic for the glory years. And to be sure, the old system of high marginal tax rates was effective in its time.

But would it work to go back to that system now? Alas, it would not. By the 1960s and ’70s, those top marginal tax rates were loophole-ridden. Corporate chiefs could compensate for low salaries with big perks. The rates were hated most by the small numbers who earned large sums with (mostly) honest work and had to pay them: sports stars, movie actors, performers, marquee authors, and so forth. The sensible point of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was to simplify matters by imposing lower rates on a much broader base of taxable income. Raising rates again would not produce (as Piketty correctly states) a new generation of tax exiles. The reason is that it would be too easy to evade the rates, with tricks unavailable to the unglobalized plutocrats of two generations back. Anyone familiar with international tax avoidance schemes like the “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” will know the drill." (thanks Talal)

PS Do you notice how much Piketty stresses his disagreement with Marx during his US tour?

the defenseless pro-Western protesters in Ukraine

"“I ask the government to give us arms — what we need is this,” he said, waving a Kalashnikov rifle to cheers from the crowd."

The New York Times agrees to be gagged by Israel

"Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times’ public editor, has written a thoughtful and important piece criticizing the way the newspaper complied with an Israeli-imposed gag order on the case of Majd Kayyal.

But it leaves some important questions unanswered about the Times’ apparent eagerness to let Israeli censors set its news agenda.

Kayyal, a 23-year old journalist and activist and a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was detained incommunicado for five days by Israel’s Shin Bet secret police without access to a lawyer, following a return from a professional trip to Lebanon.

While the Times and other major media remained silent, The Electronic Intifada exclusively published the classified court transcript ratifying his detention and silencing the media.

After the gag order was lifted yesterday, following an appeal by the legal advocacy group Adalah, The New York Times finally published an article on Kayyal, which links to The Electronic Intifada’s coverage."

PS The New York Times and other Western media lie when they justify their surrender to Israeli censorship and regulation in the name of respecting "local laws".  They all are willing to flauntingly defy and violate the laws and regulations of governments that are opposed to the US government.  How many of them snuck into Syria over the last few years and violated the laws and rules of the Syrian government?  Hell, I even received requests from some Western correspondents who wanted to sneak into Syria (away from government control) and I even did my best to help. 

Lebanese presidential election

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Lebanese presidential Election of 1970: Preparation for war".

Friday, April 18, 2014

worse than the enemy

Comrade Bassam: "The problem is that some struggles have gone so far astray that the notion of revolution is now but a faint memory, something beautiful to reminisce about, but nothing likely to happen in the short run. Syria is a great example. Whatever the outcome there in the medium run, it will be only another phase of what seems to be a much more fundamental struggle. What I just said about external intervention, especially the U.S. invasion of Iraq, whose effects are now increasingly defining the struggle in Syria, will make this process much more complicated, because there’ll always be someone worse than your immediate enemy."

Abraham Foxman

Foxman just announced that it is anti-Semitic not to find him good-looking, eloquent, and funny.  More later on this developing story. 

This was part of the Oslo agreement

"Treatment in Gaza was rendered harder by the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords because radiation chemotherapy, the two sides agreed, could have military applications. Only five practicing oncologists remain in Gaza, Shannan notes with gloom."

Ambassador William Burns

Amb William Burns has retired. He should not be missed.  This is all that you need to know about him: he walked amid the rubble of the Jenin camp (wearing a mask) and denying that a massacre took place there.

The US commits to democracy in the Middle East

"The US has a long-term commitment to Bahrain and the region, a senior American naval officer said yesterday."

honest broker?

"The United States isn't, and can't be, a neutral mediator in the Middle East. It has long acted as Israel's closest ally, biggest benefactor, and ultimate guarantor of its security."

torture philanthropy

"Bill Gates' philanthropic body, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been accused of complicity in the torture of Palestinian prisoners through its investment in British security company G4S." (thanks Amir)

weeks after Russia became a foe of the US, it earns another honor from Western propaganda

Now it is official: the Russian economy is suddenly declared to be "in shambles".  I always write that since i came to the US in 1983, I have been reading that the Iranian and Syrian economies are in shambles.  The Libyan economy was also in shambles until the Bush administration made a honeymoon deal with Qadhdhafi.

Look how the New York Times publishes unsubstantiated claims by Western propaganda machines

"They faced not only the civilians, but behind them a force of well-armed men in unmarked green uniforms, who Western governments have said are either Russian soldiers or Russian-equipped militants."  If there is a Pulitzer for bullshit it should go to the writer and editor of this piece.

look at the language of US newspapers when the protesters dare to oppose a pro-US government?

" crowd of pro-Moscow residents, mingling with covert Russian operatives instigating violence in the east,"  How do you know that they are covert Russian operatives? Not one evidence was presented in this regard beyond the claims by US propagandists.

The propaganda account of the Economsit about Syria: they are cheering Al-Qa`idah

"Moreover, the mainstream rebel forces appear to have contained, or at least diminished, what had been a looming threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Last year this extreme jihadist group, which is commanded by Iraqis and largely manned by foreign fighters, had rapidly expanded its influence in rebel-held areas. Its cruelty and pan-Islamist ideology prompted a Syrian nationalist backlash. Since open intra-rebel fighting erupted in January, ISIS has been pushed back to a rump territory in and around the central city of Raqqa. ISIS’s efforts to break out, either into Kurdish-held regions of the north-east or towards the town of Abu Kamal on the border with Iraq, appear to have been repulsed. This is one reason why other rebels have been freer to reassert their pressure on government forces in Aleppo."  Mainstream? They are talking about Nusrah and its sisters.

PS What is hilarious about this article is the feverish propaganda content of all Economist's coverage about Syria. For the last three years, the Economist has been insisting that the rebels are marching toward victory. Week after week, even bizarrely this very week.

quasi-monarchical?

"Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute, said in an analysis that "Qatar is likely unwilling to eat humble pie." "Unlike (Saudi) King Abdullah and certain other Gulf leaders, Doha seems to view its own quasi-monarchical political system as above any potential Brotherhood threats," he wrote ... " (thanks Basim)

a liberal Wasnington Post columnist on Edward Snowden

So you can imagine the conservatives:  "Certainly, many of the Snowden-fueled disclosures following the original NSA revelation have been gratuitous and harmful; those, and his sheltering in Russia rather than arguing his case in a U.S. court, raise doubts about his motives. "

Life in an "elite" US collge

I spent a summer at Dartmouth in the 1990s:  "Dartmouth College’s president lamented Wednesday that the Ivy League school’s promising future “is being hijacked by extreme behavior,” including sex assaults, parties with “racist and sexist undertones,” and a campus culture in which “dangerous drinking has become the rule and not the exception.”"

Civilians in Homs

" Virtually no civilians remain, they said."  Wait. Have you not been telling us all along that it is full of civilians? 

Golfing: the Jordanian prime minister


It is widely known in the world: you can learn about golfing from watching the Jordanian prime minister play. (thanks Yusuf)

This is the quality of foreign policy analysis in the Washington Post and New York Times

"Obama, in contrast, has shown himself once more to be the opposite of a macho politician. He is reserved and analytical, occasionally caught shirtless on vacation but rarely photographed with the top buttons of his shirt undone. He’s the good boy in the class, sometimes to a fault. "  David Ignatious Al-Saud

General Brigadier Michel Kilu

There is an amusing story about how Michele Kilu, most likely at the behest of his sponsor Bandar, tried to form a sectarian Christian battalion in Syria. ha ha

Repression by the Israeli state (imagine if the repressive state here is not Israel)

" An Arab citizen of Israel who was detained by the Israeli authorities over the weekend after a visit to Lebanon was released Thursday but ordered to be kept under house arrest. He was being held on suspicion of conducting an unauthorized visit to an enemy state and contact with a foreign agent, according to his lawyers and Israeli security officials.

The man, Majd Kayyal, 23, a Palestinian rights advocate from the northern Israeli port city of Haifa, was arrested on Saturday at a border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. Mr. Kayyal is a web editor at Adalah, a legal center promoting Arab minority rights in Israel, and a freelance contributor to several publications. He had been invited to Beirut, the Lebanese capital, to attend a conference marking the 40th anniversary of As Safir, a Lebanese newspaper where his writings have appeared regularly.

Under sweeping security restrictions, Mr. Kayyal was not allowed access to a lawyer until Wednesday night. A court-imposed gag order on the case was lifted on Thursday, though reports about the episode had already surfaced on social media and on some foreign websites."

Qatari dynasty bows down to Saudi dynasty

This is an account about the Qatari surrender to House of Saud by `Abdul-Bari `Atwan.

The Middle East is lucky: the US really hearts the region


Thursday, April 17, 2014

terrorism mindset

"The answer lies in a cultural-political mindset that has been cultivated over several decades. When a section of policy makers began to develop a vocabulary around Arab and Muslim terrorism in the 1970s, Hollywood stepped in to visualize this new enemy. Dozens of films about brown terrorists bent on attacking the U.S. and Americans, like "Black Sunday" (1977) and "True Lies" (1994), shaped our collective imaginations so effectively that when the Oklahoma bombing occurred in 1995, it was automatically assumed that Arabs were responsible.

The real trauma of 9/11 elevated this mindset, creating fear and paranoia that terrorists are everywhere. Though we are twice as likely to die from a lightening strike than a terror plot, government campaigns such as “See Something, Say Something,” and popular television shows like “24” and “Homeland,” have inculcated a pervasive threat consciousness.

This ritualistic and repetitive depiction of a vulnerable homeland is what has allowed for the emergence of a surveillance state that now sees fit to monitor all its citizens. Few politicians have challenged such invasive surveillance for fear of being cast as “soft on terrorism.”

Thus, a “terrorism mindset” espoused by politicians and bolstered by the culture industry has justified the creation of a massive national security state that systematically violates our civil liberties. "

Aqsa mosque shootings

Scores of Palestinian worshipers were shot by Israeli troops at Al-Aqsa mosque but that is not worthy of coverage.

The new Saudi interim chief of intelligence

About his family name: "he is saudi.. originally from Assir, which his family ruled from ottoman times until 1934. the family is originally form fez, morocco, but way back
saudis you are talking to don't know their history". (thanks Edouard)

Tamarod as a front of the Egyptian military

"For the first time, one of the five founders of the Tamarod, the movement that led the protests that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood last year, admits his movement was taking orders from the army. “We were naive, we were not responsible.” " (thanks Yusuf)