Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When Saudi King dismisses a minister

This account (and others in the Western press) does not mention that the Minister of Health was appointed a special adviser to the King with the rank of Minister after his dismissal.

This is hilarious: after weeks--WEEKS--of Russian rule, the New York Times declares Crimea's economy is ruined and that one McDonald's restaurant was closed down

This is rather hilarious.  Let me ask: is NATO-ruled Libya better off than Russian-ruled Crimea? 

Incontrovertible evidence that Russian special forces have invaded the Ukraine

Asked whether the U.S. assessment is bolstered by other information that is not publicly available, Psaki said, “We’re looking at a fair share of classified and unclassified information,” including the photos, most of which are publicly available on social media.

The photographs include a bearded man whose uniform bears a Russian special forces insignia. He was pictured among armed separatists in Kramatorsk and Slovyansk last week. Another photo shows the same person in Georgia during a 2008 incursion by Russian troops."  Don't be fooled. This one man is an army of one and is more dangerous than the hundreds of thousands of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.

Is "indications" the same as evidence?

"“We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical, probably chlorine, in Syria this month,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said."

The White Man just wants to save Arabs. Is that so wrong?

"American Matthew VanDyke, 34, describes himself as a revolutionary activist and combat veteran of the Libyan Revolution. He's also a documentary film-maker and media commentator who joined the rebels in Libya in March 2011 before moving to Syria a year later. In Syria he began to "help the revolution, filming, advising rebels, and some other projects that I haven't talked about publicly", he says.

"I was motivated by a combination of personal reasons - I had good Libyan friends there whom I had known for years who needed help - and ideological reasons. I travelled the region for years by motorcycle and saw the effects of authoritarianism on the region and its people," he says, adding he is Christian and has never converted, although some rebels suggested he do so. "

imaginary world about Syrian "revolution"

Read this account. I kind of expected such accounts to appear in 2011 but to read this today is only possible if you disregard the developments on the ground in Syria over the last two years. This is a fantasy world that is only believed by Western groupies of the Syrian/Saudi/US/Turkish/Qatari "revolution".  It is not said in this article that the leader of this ostensibly feminist "revolution" is a tribal polygamist personality hand picked by the Saudi King due to family relation.

coercing Muslims to become spies

"Police told him he had been placed on the US no-fly list, although he had never in his life been accused of breaking any law. Another FBI visit soon followed, with agents wanting to know about the "local Omaha community, did I know anyone who's a threat", he says. "I'm just very frustrated, [and I said] what can I do to clear my name?" recalls Shinwari, 30. "And that's where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don't have a job; we’ll give you money." "

foreign domestic workers in Qatar

" "My sleep is my break": Exploitation of domestic workers in Qatar paints a bleak picture of women who have been recruited to work in Qatar on the basis of false promises about salaries and working conditions, only to be made to work extreme hours and seven-day weeks. Some women described how they were subjected to appalling episodes of sexual and physical violence."

Military accomplishments of Khalid Bin Sultan

"The Houthis have long proven to be a thorn in the Saudis' side: They have endured several military campaigns by Riyadh, including a major Saudi offensive in 2009 led by former Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Sultan." (thanks Amir)

Who can better speak for the traditions of Egypt than Tony Mitwalli Blair?

"He defended the coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi last year, saying "the Muslim Brotherhood government was not simply a bad government. It was systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country."" (thanks Basim)

The Lebanese President

"Has won the following decorations, medals, awards and honors:

  "...Syrian Order of Merit, Grade of Excellence..."

An American child molester who traveled the world looking for victims (he worked for years in Beirut at the ACS school)

Imagine if the tables were turned: an Arab who traveled the world looking for children to molest? Can you imagine the cultural and religious generalization? Why do Western criminals always defy generalizations and classifications?  " An alleged child predator who taught at schools across the world for more than four decades may have more victims, and the FBI is trying to track them down, the agency's Houston bureau said Tuesday.

William James Vahey killed himself in Luverne, Minnesota, last month, two days after a federal judge in Houston said authorities could search one of Vahey's thumb drives that allegedly contained images depicting sexual assault on children, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.

There were images of at least 90 victims, dating back to 2008, and the FBI is encouraging additional alleged victims to come forward. The images on the thumb drive allegedly belonging to Vahey showed boys, estimated to be between 12 and 14 years old, asleep or unconscious, the agency said." (thanks Rouba)

the war criminality of Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent)

There is something special or peculiar about the war criminal status of Samir Ja`ja`.
1) He, along with Bashir Gemayyel and Elie Hubayqah killed and committed massacres in their own hands.
2) Ja`ja` was put through one of the most professional and fair trials in contemporary Lebanese history and was found guilty of killing former prime minister, Rashid Karami (a crime of assassination that did not outrage the Western world and its bogus "international community).  Read the transcript of the trial as they were published in a big volume.  The presiding judge of the trial of Ja`ja` is now a presiding judge in the Hariri tribunal in the Hague. 
3) Ja`ja`, Gemayyel and Hubayqah received their training and indoctrination in the ranks of the Israeli enemy army.
4) the process that rehabilitated war criminal Eli Hubayqah (at the hands of Rafiq Hariri and his allies in the lousy Syrian regime) paved the way for the rehabilitation of Ja`ja`.

From the official program of Lebanese war criminal, Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent): combating Homosexuality

Ja`ja` wants to combat:  "de criminalité, d'homosexualité, de terrorisme".  If Hasan Nasrallah were to have uttered such homophobic words, the entire group of Western correspondents in Beirut would have sent dispatches about the matter.  Of course, don't expect the "liberal" Lebanese to utter a word about Ja`ja` because they belong to his camp, which is loyal to the Saudi regime.  The Arabic version of the program identifies homosexuality as "deviance" the English version (all from the official versions of the Lebanese Forces website) refers to it as "perversion". (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rebels isolate Aleppo

I don't read in the Western press that Syrian rebels cut off electric supply to Aleppo to punish the civilian population.

Anne Barnard's love affair with Syrian rebel car bombs

"State news media and government opponents reported that a car bomb killed numerous people on Friday outside a mosque in an area called March 8 Square near a government checkpoint."  Look at the sentence. She always manages to slip in a phrase or a word to justify the deed.

So who kidnapped and who freed French journalists in Syria?

Notice how all Western dispatches about the case left the identity of the kidnappers unknown.  You would think that ghosts were behind the abduction.  The freed hostages of course said that they were rebels.

We were all wrong: it is not Zahran Allush or the various Jihadi Emirs who lead the Syrian "revolution"

"When I visited Cairo in 2011 I met and became friends with Razan Ghazzawi, the fierce feminist and Pasionaria of the resistance, who in a short time taught me a great deal about the revolution’s dreams."  We finally found out who actually lead the Syrian rebels.

NATO brings peace to Libya

"Earlier this month a hairdresser’s shop and a café were bombed. There has been a spate of assassinations. Recent victims have included not just members of the security forces, who are often targeted, but Egyptian labourers, a French engineer and a much-loved local poet famous for publicly reciting his work during the revolution. A Turkish manager is pulling out his staff. “They are terrified,” he says. “It is not worth the risk.”"

The Economist reports on the bright side of Libya under NATO militia rule

"Yet Benghazians have a good story to tell, too. Their economy has bounced back. Neglected under Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule, businesses and buildings are springing up. A new shopping mall is packed with families buying clothes and cosmetics from shops with European franchises. People sip cappuccinos in trendy cafés. A once-drab road known as Venice Street hosts scores of ebullient retailers selling international brands. Cranes dot the city’s skyline."

"On all sides, Bethlehem is also being surrounded by settler bypass roads and by concrete walls higher than those that divided Berlin in the cold war"

"For the people of Bethlehem up the road, Beit Skaria is a bleak example of what might yet happen to them. On all sides, Bethlehem is also being surrounded by settler bypass roads and by concrete walls higher than those that divided Berlin in the cold war. Earlier this month, Israel’s defence ministry confiscated the largest chunk of private Palestinian land in years on Bethlehem’s southern fringe to let smaller settlements, previously unauthorised by the Israeli government, expand. The population of Beitar Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement to the west of Bethlehem, in the Gush Etzion bloc, is set to grow from around 45,000 to 100,000 in the next six years."

MI6 and Western correspondents

"When a politician reignited the “third man” controversy in 1955, Elliott organised Philby’s defence. Years later he even brought him back on the MI6 payroll, this time as an agent in Lebanon, where he reported for The Economist."

Look how the Economist phrased this sentence about Russian defense expenditure

"Russia spends more on its armed forces than any other country save China and America".  This is like saying: Lebanon's army is the most powerful in the region save Israel, Syria, and Jordan. 

Saudi princes in the King's private jet

The Guardian newspaper wants war: more war

Look at this editorial in the Guardian. I never recall that it called for arming the Palestinian people.

what if Arabs and Iranians started to do this to US interests???

"According to a court document filed in New York on Thursday, the Department of Justice agreed to distribute proceeds from the sale of the Fifth Avenue high-rise to families affected by alleged Iranian-aided attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the US marine barracks in Beirut. "  Now the US has caused death and destruction in Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan among other places.  Does that US give victims of US bombs the right to confiscate US interests in the Middle East and sell them as compensation?  The logic is the same. 

life for Syrian refugees

"Nadine was worried about taking the job. "Gulf men have a bad reputation and I would be there alone," she says. "But I had to think of my family and my future; there are no opportunities in Syria." After a few weeks Nadine's boss began to sexually assault her, culminating in rape. In response to her protest he threatened to cancel her visa. She says he told her: "If you don't like it, go back to the war." "

two different sets of laws

"Israeli and Palestinian minors accused of crimes in the West Bank are subject to two different sets of laws."

The State Department provided $2.8 million to a team of American hackers

"The State Department provided $2.8 million to a team of American hackers, community activists and software geeks to develop the system, called a mesh network, as a way for dissidents abroad to communicate more freely and securely than they can on the open Internet. One target that is sure to start debate is Cuba; the United States Agency for International Development [USAID] has pledged $4.3 million to create mesh networks there."

Western Chrstian groups have been funding and supporting those "good guys"

""Rebels in South Sudan massacred “hundreds” of civilians in ethnic killings when they captured the oil town of Bentiu last week, the UN said on Monday. In the main mosque alone, “more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded,” the UN mission in the country said, as cited by AFP. There were also massacres at a church, hospital and an abandoned UN World Food Program (WFP) compound."" (thanks Krim)

Dexter Filkins: all that he knows about the Middle East he learned from serving in the US Marines

from a western journalist in Turkey:  "another bad article on the Middle East by Dexter Filkins:


 Filkins falsely claims the Americans rejected Adib and chose Maliki. In fact the Americans did not even know who Maliki was and he was chosen by Iraqis, as Nir Rosen explained in his book Aftermath:
"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw went to Baghdad and told Jaafari that he did not have anybody’s support and could not form a government, implying that he should give up. But Jaafari was still insisting he had support. The decision to remove him came from within his own political bloc in the government, particularly the Dawa Party...Despite the calls for Jaafari’s removal, he would not leave until the marajiya, or hawza leadership in Najaf, withdrew its support for him. There was an air of desperation among members of the Shiite parties, who felt they were being outmaneuvered by the Americans and their Iraqi rivals. A Dawa insider who was present in senior Dawa leadership circles told me, “In the last days of Jaa- fari, a number of people convinced the Supreme Council that he would agree to withdraw his candidacy if the premiership stayed with Dawa. His condition was that Adil [Abdel Mahdi of the Supreme Council] would not become prime minister.”
Ali al-Adib was the Dawa Party candidate most likely to replace Jaafari. The American and British ambassadors went to see Adib to confirm that they were not opposed to him, and he was, in fact, prime minister for one day. But in a Dawa Party gathering to confirm Adib’s nomination, Nuri al-Maliki confronted him with the issue of his father, known as Zandi, who was an Iranian immigrant to Iraq. Maliki asked Adib if he would be able to withstand scrutiny and people saying that Iran was taking over. Not being confrontational, Adib lost heart, and Maliki pounced. This putsch had been organized by Adnan al-Kadhimi, Jaafari’s senior adviser, who ran his office and worked in the party’s political bureau. Jaafari felt betrayed by Kadhimi and still expected to call the shots within the party and the government. Maliki then turned on Kadhimi. “Maliki is a very vindictive man, and has a dangerous streak,” the Dawa insider explained. Kadhimi knew too much. Maliki arrested him on trumped-up charges of theft, and allowed his prearranged escape...The United States hardly knew anything about Maliki. The CIA did not have a biography of Maliki prepared when he was chosen to be Prime Minister, but their leadership analysts had many. The White House and National Security Council were surprised when his name came up, but Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, and other Iraqis said they could work with him, so American concerns about the unknown Maliki were allayed.
While the Americans didn’t select Maliki, they didn’t reject him either— which they could have done." 
How strange to make the useless Khalilzad seem like the grand architect. Filkins (typically) ignores that massive crime that was the American occupation and the sectarian war the Americans caused and the sectarian, corrupt system the Americans helped established and yet manages to make Americans seem much smarter and competent than they actually were.  
Filkins says: "In 1967, Israel humiliated the combined armies of the Arab world in the Six-Day War—a defeat that prompted many young Arabs to turn to political Islam. It was around this time that Maliki joined Dawa (the Call), a secret organization dedicated to building an Islamic state in Iraq."
As'ad you know more about this than I do but it is my understanding that Dawa was more a reaction to Shiites joining the Communist party and had little to do with the 1967 war (the six day war is of course the Zionist name for it).
"Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iranian-backed guerrilla commander"
This is a very simplistic and misleading description of Muqtada al Sadr.

As usual Filkins exaggerates the role of Iran and accepts a Sunni sectarian/Baathi (Iraqi) conspiratorial view of Iran in Iraq.
And somehow the Americans come across as well meaning victims.

"A decade after the occupation, Iraq’s Kurdish-speaking area is peaceful, largely democratic, secular, and pro-Western. Indeed, the region, though nominally still part of Iraq, functions as an independent state."

Paper Dome: the wonder of military technology

"Seven rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel"

Please don't tell anyone: about Israel's nuclear weapons

"At that session Carl Duckett, then-CIA deputy director for science and technology, told the NRC group the CIA believed the missing highly enriched uranium ended up in Israel. The newly released documents also expose government efforts, notably during the Carter administration, to keep the NUMEC story under wraps, an ironic twist in view of Jimmy Carter's identification with opposition to nuclear proliferation." "Brzezinski also passed off the FBI's findings as amounting to no more than confirmation that the president of NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro, had frequent contacts with Israeli officials, including a science attaché "thought to be an intelligence officer," and received unexplained VIP treatment in Israel."

NATO contributions

"more and more people, and especially children, were being killed, not by landmines left over by the Soviets or the Taliban but by undetonated explosives, like grenades and mortar shells, left behind by departing foreign troops with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)." (thanks Amir)

The prince may win a Western award for services to the environment: Saudi prince hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100

"The report titled 'Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard' prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days – from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100, sources said."

Paul Samuelson

Ajit reminded me: I made a mistake yesterday in one post: it was Paul and not Robert Samuelson who wrote that lousy textbook on Economics.

vying for the presidency of Lebanon

War criminals compete for the job by comrade Maya. 

Guidelines for the formation of a leftist stance on Syria

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English:  "Guidelines for the formation of a leftist stance on Syria".

Monday, April 21, 2014

Israeli youths versus Palestinian youths: stone throwing

""Only 53 Israeli settler youths were arrested for stone-throwing over the past six years, the data shows, and 90 percent were released without charge. Five were indicted. Four of those were found "guilty without conviction," a common sentence for Israeli juveniles that aims not to stain their record. The fifth case was still in court as of October, the most recent information available.
By contrast, 1,142 Palestinian youths were arrested by police over the same period for throwing stones, and 528 were indicted. All were convicted. Lawyers say the penalty is typically three to eight months in military prison."" (thanks stone throwing)

Most Bangladesh factory survivors still too sick to work: survey

"Most survivors of the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed 1,138 garment workers are still too traumatised or injured to work 12 months after the tragedy, a survey released Monday said." (thanks Marc)

Nobel Prize in Physics

I won't be surprised if the Saudi King wins the Nobel Prize in physics for being able to add 2 + 2--that is an achievement in the porn royal family.

Poverty tourism

"They come here and what interests them is the poverty side of it," he told me. "So they rather have pictures of a boy next to a garbage spot, stranded dog or something like that. That suits them because that's what they're looking for.
"They're not here to say 'take me to my favourite pub' and I show them: this is how our favourite pub looks like."
Most locals say they don't benefit from them. Instead, they feel they are just here to be looked at and pitied."

sleazy and racist

The grotesque website of the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya publishes an article mocking Africans and their appearances.  Count this as another reform by the Saudi King.  Al-Arabiyya should stick to what it does best: news of Saudi princes and their alleged achievements and stories about the Kim Kardashian.

The New York Times Public Editor concedes: not ALL Palestinians have vowed to kill all the Jews. Only "many" or "some" have. I can't think of one Palestinian who has vowed to "kill all of Jews"

"Many readers were upset about a letter in The Times Book Review, which said in part, “Palestinian Arabs have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews.” These readers, particularly Ira Glunts, called for an apology. I sent some of the complaints to Pamela Paul, the review’s editor. She told me that she did not think an apology was necessary, because the letter “accurately reflected the tenor” of many responses; she added that it might have been a good idea to insert a modifier, such as “many” or “some,” before “Palestinian Arabs” in the editing process. (That should have happened, in my view.) Ms. Paul invited Mr. Glunts to write a letter for publication in the Book Review. He hasn’t done so and continues to call for an apology."

Robert Samuelson: my battle with US economic theories

I started in college majoring in business-economics.  I did so poorly.  I never was able to finish in class.  I took a class on economics where the main textbook by the American economist, Robert Samuelson (often confused with the Washington Post's columnist, Robert J Samuelson--no relation).  I sat in class in frustration and was already a very loyal and dogmatic Marxist and would only wait for the opportunity to attack the teacher and to defend Marxism.  It did not go well in class at all, and there was such acrimony between me and the teacher that students rolled their eyes as soon as the two of us would go at it.  I switched majors shortly thereafter.