Thursday, February 26, 2015

Of course Mother Teresa was motivated by desire to convert the Indian people to Christianity--as if there is doubt

"The head of a prominent Hindu organization came under criticism Tuesday for remarks he made about Mother Teresa, in which he said that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s service to the poor in India had been motivated by a desire to convert them to Christianity."

Why don't Westerners speak out? Why don't Priests issue Fatwas against this? Where is the Christian outrage?

"Czech Gunman Kills 8 People and Then Himself at Restaurant - NYTimes.com"

"American political commentary is never prone to hyperbole"

From Basim:  "MATTHEWS: Are they heading to Cordoba?
GRAEME WOOD, "THE ATLANTIC": They would love to.
MATTHEWS: I think they might. They`re going all the way to Spain, but I guess we can stop them before they get there, I hope."

A reader sent me this asking: why does he accept Israeli propaganda claims?

"'...the Iron Dome achieved a 90% "kill rate" against Hamas rockets.'" (thanks Regan)

Like ISIS: Israeli attacks on mosques and churches

From a reader: ""Mosques and churches have been vandalized in recent years, in so-called "price tag" attacks by suspected Jewish ultra-nationalists, who describe them as the price they will impose for any limits to Israeli settlement in occupied territory and Jewish religious supremacy over the Holy Land. The graffiti on the seminary included the slogan "Zion will be redeemed" and an insult against Jesus and his mother Mary."

 "A Palestinian mosque was set alight in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday and graffiti in Hebrew at the scene suggested the attack was carried out by a far-right Israeli group, officials said."

Israeli war crimes against children - in pictures

"Sharif al-Namlah, three, plays in the bath at his home in Rafa, Gaza. The lower part of his left leg was blown off when Israeli rockets hit the family." (thanks Amir)

The FBI yet again uncovers a dangerous terrorist plot hatched by an FBI informant

"The case against the three men relies in part on a confidential informant paid by the government, court documents show. Defense lawyers have criticized the government’s use of informers in similar cases, saying they may lure targets into making extreme plans or statements. In some cases, the threat has turned out to be overstated."

Arab ambassadors invited to Netanyahu's speech before Congress

"Netanyahu's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, has tried, without success, to recruit Arab ambassadors to come to his boss’s speech, e-mailing them personally to plead for their attendance."

Journalism standards of the New York Times

A long story about a "document" with this caveat: "The authenticity of the document could not be independently verified. The newspaper did not publish any pictures of the memo or provide any proof that the policy described in it had actually been adopted."  Why publish the story then, damn it?

This is a trend: Austria redesigns Islam for Muslims in Austria

"Parliament on Wednesday passed a law that seeks to regulate how Islam is administered, singling out Austria’s Muslim minority for treatment not applied to any other religious group. The law bans foreign funding for Islamic organizations and requires any group claiming to represent Austrian Muslims to use a standardized German translation of the Quran. It met with little opposition from the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population and was grudgingly accepted by Austria’s main Muslim organization.  But it upset Turkey’s state religious establishment. Austria’s half a million Muslims make up about 6 percent of the population and are overwhelmingly the families of Turkish migrant workers."

In defense of Ibn Taymiyyah

A defense of Ibn Taymiyyah in a Saudi newspaper. (thanks Mariam)

Eric Rouleau is dead

Eric Rouleau is dead.  This is a unique foreign correspondent who belonged to a group of distinguished foreign correspondents that we don't see today.  How sad. The Western media coverage of the Middle East has become an anthology of recycled cliches; they all repeat what everyone else is saying. What is the difference between Anne Barnard of the Times or Liz Sly of the Post in their coverage of Syria. They talk (or skype) with the same people, and share the same sources and repeat the same cliches.  Eric Rouleau (like Arnold Hottinger or David Hirst or Peter Mansfield or even Patrick Seale--before he fell in love with House of Asad AND House of Saud) was an independent foreign correspondent who charted his own course of coverage.  His knowledge and insights far exceeded those of academic specalists of the Middle East.  Just read this classic article by him in New Left Review from 1967 ("The Syrian Enigma: What Is the Baath?") to decide about his qualify.  He was fluent in Arabic (but he didn't know Hebrew, contrary to some articles about him) and conducted interviews in Arabic. He struck up friendships with Nasser, Haykal, Arafat, Kamal Jumblat and other Middle East political figures.  Politically speaking, Rouleau can be criticized: when he served as French ambassador in Tunisia (in the administration of Mitterrand) he pretty much covered up the human rights violations and corruption of the Bin Ali regime--like a typical Western ambassador.  He also pressured PLO and Arab Left leaders over the years to establish contacts and undertake dialogue with Israeli "leftist" parties.  But how much the quality of Western media journalism has changed: from Eric Rouleau to Thomas Friedman or Georges Malbrunot, for that matter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When a sentence starts in US media with "as a Muslim I...", I know that someone is about to offend Muslims

"But, as liberal Muslim feminist journalists who reject the vision of the Islamic State, we can say that the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the alphabet soup of Islamic militant groups, like HUM (Harkut-ul Mujahideen) and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), rely very much on the scholarship of “religious leaders,” from Ibn Tamiyyah in the 14th century to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century, who very much have credibility and authority among too many Muslims as “religious leaders.” "  If she knows about Islam I would have asked her about the status of Ibn Taymiyyah without the Saudi regime and its money.

It is the largest conventional bomb in existence

"Originally designed to create an instant clearing in the jungle, it has been used in Afghanistan as an anti-personnel weapon and as an intimidation weapon because of its very large lethal radius (variously reported as 300-900 feet) combined with flash and sound visible at long distances. It is the largest conventional bomb in existence but is less than one thousandth the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb."

U.S. sells more weapons to ISIS and Al-Qa`idah sponsors

"Hellfire Systems LLC, Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $144,044,911 modification (P00143) to foreign military sales contract W31P4Q-11-C-0242 (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Australia) to exercise option for FY 14 Hellfire II Missile production requirement consisting of 2,060 Hellfire II tactical missiles in containers, Air-to Ground (AGM) missiles model AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, ATM-114Q-6 and AGM-114R-5."

Secret interrogation facility in Chicago

"The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site." "At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead." (thanks Amir)

SO basically Cuba and other countries are better off with socialist economy

"As Cuba opens the door wider to private enterprise, the gap between the haves and have-nots, and between whites and blacks, that the revolution sought to diminish is growing more evident."

Look at the lousy mild language that HRW reserves for Israel about its racist repression of blacks

"Dispatches: Israel Fails African Asylum Seekers ".  Fails? Like it succeeds in other areas? Fails? Like you are disappointed because you are not used to such racism and repression by Israel?

Showing and shampooing

(thanks Julie)

Nadim Houry as satellite analyst

""The majority appear to be barrel bomb attacks," Human Rights Watch deputy Middle East and North Africa director Nadim Houry told a news conference. Human Rights Watch said it examined satellite imagery and had identified at least 450 major damage sites in 10 towns and villages held by rebels in the Daraa and more than 1,000 in Aleppo between Feb. 22, 2014 and Jan 15, 2015. " (thanks Basim)

Adjunct professors

Adjunct professors go on strike across the US today.  They are the proletariat of academia.  I wish to express solidarity.

Zionist hoodlums and their tactics

I wrote a piece for Al-Akhbar about how the US can best combat radicalism.  It contained those two items:
"3) Declare war on the ideology of Wahhabiyyah, which is the ideology of all terrorist Jihadist groups.

4) End its arming and/or funding of radical repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa.

5) Declare war on the radical ideology and practices of Zionism, and the various forms of terrorism that it has spawned over the decades."  So what does David Frum (Bush' speechwriter and the man who brags that he coined the phrase about the "axis of evil") do? He wrote this in response: "
David FrumVerified account ‏@davidfrum

Spoiler alert: # 5 is “kill Jews” RT @ggreenwald: How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism: 12 steps by @asadabukhalil http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/how-us-can-really-combat-radicalism …"  And I wrote this to him in response: "asad abukhalil ‏@asadabukhalil

@davidfrum @ggreenwald You are such a demagogue: I also said "declare war on Wahhabiyyah". Does that mean that I called for killing Muslims?"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It makes sense that the "mother/father of world revolutions" would train Syrian "revolutionaries

""About 400 US military experts will train 5,400 fighters in programs lasting 8-12 months in camps in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The Turkey leg of the program will take place in Kirsehir, where 2,000 Syrian opposition elements will be trained."" (thanks Amir)

Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe

A man who posted a video online of himself ripping up a Koran and beating the shredded holy book with a shoe is to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for renouncing his Muslim faith.  The unnamed prisoner, in his 20s, was given the death sentence by the country’s Sharia courts for the offence of apostasy – abandoning Islam – the Saudi Gazette reported."

How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism".

President of the US has the utmost respect for the UN and its secretary-general

Monday, February 23, 2015

U.S. moderate ally sentences critic to prison for insulting autocratic rule

"A Kuwaiti appeals court on Sunday sentenced an opposition politician to two years in jail for insulting the country's ruler, local media reported." "A lower court in 2013 found Barrak guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, in a 2012 speech in which he appealed to him to avoid "autocratic rule"."

Israelis used to put out information about Iran that it did not want to be linked to Israel

"And the MEK had long been a client of the Mossad, which the Israelis used to put out information about Iran that it did not want to be linked to Israel itself."

Persecution of Yemeni Jews

From Daniel: "No one persecuted Yemeni Jews more than the Askhenazi Israelis, who stole their children upon their "return":

This is the tactic of fascist dominant powers in various countries as concerns "adoption", as seen in Spain, Chile, Argentina,  Lebanon, etc."

ReDiscovery of Malcom X

I have been noticing that the new generation of Arabs (in the Middle East and in the diaspora) is rediscovering the writings of Malcolm X. He far appeals to Arabs more than King.

Malcolm X

"Soon after, Malcolm was to take the first of two trips to Africa. These trips had an important impact on his ideas. He met with several important African heads of state — including Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt — and was influenced by the ideas of “third worldism.” "After his visit to Africa, Malcolm began to argue that the black struggle in the United States was part of an international struggle, one that he connected to the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. He also began to argue in favor of socialism. Referring to the African states, he pointed out, “All of the countries that are emerging today from under the shackles of colonialism are turning towards socialism.” " (thanks Amir)

Dexter Filkins justifies Israeli war crimes and ethnic cleansing

"The Israelis, fearing extinction (the Holocaust had ended only three years before), struck back; in the course of the fighting, they not only repelled the invading armies but also set the Palestinians — some 700,000 of them — to flight."  Why wouldn't the cheerleader of Bush's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan not be a cheerleader for Israeli war crimes?

Israeli passengers verbally abuse a flight attendant on a flight

Watch video.

The US and Kobani

From a well-known US correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous: "The NYT reports: The Turks "entered Syria through Kobani, the Kurdish territory in Syria that has recently been freed of Islamic State militants in an American-led military operation.."
American-led military operation? Kobani was won and led by Kurds, including armed young and older women, fighting in their streets. The US assisted with aerial bombardments. The US did not lead anything."

Israeli corruption

You don't think that Arabs notice: that the political system of Israel has always been riddled with massive corruption and that all financial corruption linking Israeli prime ministers (from Rabin and before and after) never get prosecuted to the fullest extent and all Israeli leaders wind up with a slap on the toe.

bombing a hospital as a revolutionary act

Pages of the Syrian "revolution" are hailing this heroic act: that Syrian "rebels" detonated a car bomb in front of a hospital in Qirdahah.  I am sure that Anne Barnard will soon publish a defense of this revolutionary act.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Untruthfulness is surprisingly common in the U.S. military"

"Untruthfulness is surprisingly common in the U.S. military even though members of the profession are loath to admit it. Further, much of the deception and dishonesty that occurs in the profession of arms is actually encouraged and sanctioned by the military institution." (thanks Amir)

Invention of the barrel bomb

"Apparently, the US Army invented the barrel bomb for us from helicopters in Vietnam."   The Zionists used to roll the barrel bombs back in the 1930s and 1940s.

Kenneth Roth on the Jordanian regime

From Judy: "This is worse than you say, As'ad.  He's blaming popular culture for the political climate of his country.    If free speech were 'safe' would a 'free speech tradition' not develop?"

Houthis using brutal tactics: the New York Times report

Headline: "Yemen rebels use increasingly brutal tactics against demonstrators".
Text of the story: "The Houthi rebels who have seized control of northern Yemen are systematically targeting peaceful protesters in the capital with death threats, abductions and severe beatings, according to activists and human rights groups. "  I don't mean to belittle but those tactics seem to me well below the standard tactics by the regimes of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the previous Yemen regime, as much as I detest the Houthis.

stories about Muslim creeps on the front page of the Times

The story of a Muslim cleric accused of sexual harassment was published on the front page of the New York Times. But this one was put well inside the paper.  What gives?

Look how nice and helpful Israel and US are to the independent work of IAEA?

"based in part on evidence supplied by the United States and Israel."

Hariri court and telecommunication inquiry

"In other words, by the UN’s own admission and according to the reporting of two stories in 2005 and 2006 (i.e. well before late 2007), it is apparent that telecoms analysis was a central part of the investigation from its very beginnings, and led to major breakthroughs in the investigation from its very beginnings. The idea that an “earth-shattering” discovery only took place after the British firm FTS entered the picture is very puzzling, and makes it difficult to accept the account presented by Bergman and Macdonald."  I told Elias that I would add a 3rd theory: that US and Israel have to conceal their role in the investigation and that Wissam Id was a useful cover story.

Islam and the Holocaust? Why not Potatos and Buddhism, or Pencils and Hinduism

What on earth is the relationship between Islam and Holocaust?  How offensive is this title for a book, course, or research agenda? What does Islam have to do with the Holocaust? This is as offensive and crazy as talking about Christianity and the crimes of Genghis Khan.  But she knows what she is doing: she got a profile in the Times and her anti-Islam schitick will get her plenty of gigs and plenty of grants.  And look at this summation of her work: "“If a Muslim asks me why I’m not teaching about the Nakba, then I’ll say we already know about it, and what we need to learn about is the Holocaust,” she said. “And if a Jew tells me, ‘Muslims are Nazis,’ I’ll say, ‘Can we have lunch?’ These are the people we have to engage.”"  First, how unscholarly does she sound, but that does not bother anyone who will hire her because what she is doing reinformces the worst stereotypes.  So why would she only have lunch with one side but not the other? That is quite revealing. Also, so basically AnNakba is not worth knowing about because "we know about it" while the Holocaust should be learned about?  How silly is that? Jews and others learn about the Holocaust and there is always something to learn but for an educator to say: "we don't need to learn about this because we already know about the subject" is quite revealing about the qualifications and agenda of the teacher.

Mugabe's birthday

New York Times is deeply offended that friends of Mugabe are celebrating his birthday (from private donation) as if Western (and Eastern pro-US potentates) live rather frugally.   Are they implying that Mugabe lives more extravagantly than US clients in the Middle East?  But like their coverage of Cuba, their coverage of Mugabe is just petty.