Monday, November 30, 2015

How Coca-Cola has tricked everyone into drinking so much of it

"Over the past 60-plus years, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have invested unfathomable amounts of money to ensure that people crave their core products. And that investment has often come in forms far more devious than most would imagine, Nestle argues. Sure, the soda industry has paid for its fair share of television commercials, bulletin board ads, and marketing campaigns. But it has also worked (i.e. paid) to block unfavorable legislation, influence policy, maintain its popularity among poor people, young people, and minorities, undermining public health."

Those who steal Palestinian lands can easily steal its grapes

"“As usual in Israel, they declare that falafel, tehina, tabouleh, hummus and now jandali grapes are an Israeli product,” Amer Kardosh, Cremisan’s export director, sniped in an email. “I would like to inform you that these types of grapes are totally Palestinian grapes grown on Palestinian vineyards.”"

When civilians are killed by U.S. drones, western media reports "no civilian casualties"

"In January 2014, both men were hit by an American missile and lost two young daughters. One nomad lost his leg and their livestock was mostly annihilated." "The nomads and their children and cattle were in the area when the missiles struck. No civilian casualties were reported by Western media or the US government."

What NATO has done to Libya

From Amir: ""In Libya, where a NATO bombing campaign helped overthrow Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi four years ago, there is no functional government." "The fighters and guards in Surt all bowed to a Saudi administrator, or “wali,” who had been sent by the Islamic State to preside over the city. (A former Surt City Council member now in exile in Misurata said the Islamic State periodically rotates in new administrators, who typically are from the Persian Gulf.)"

 NYT in 2011U.S. Tactics in Libya May Be a Model for Other Efforts

UK Foreign Secretary accepted a $3000 watch from Saudi sheikh

"The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accepted a watch worth almost £2,000 from a Saudi sheikh despite a ban on ministers taking gifts worth more than £140." "The watch was given to Mr Hammond by Sheikh Marei Mubarak Mahfouz bin Mahfouz after an event in the minister’s constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge this summer." "Last week the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said British foreign policy was being influenced by “the closeness between the Conservative Party and rich Arab Gulf individuals”."

UN "reconstruction" mechanism entrenches & institutionalizes the blockade of Gaza

"In the whole period since Israel’s lethal and devastating summer 2014 attack on Gaza, the UN has provided assistance to just one family to rebuild its totally destroyed home." "As The Electronic Intifada revealed in October 2014, the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism involves a complicated system of surveillance and Israeli pre-approval that gives the occupation authorities even more intrusive control over the devastated lives of Palestinians in Gaza."

A Mossad Iranian terrorist group started this rumor and then it was picked up by Qatari and Saudi media, into Western media

From Basim: "The report by the Persian-language opposition AsrIran website, referenced by Al-Arabiya, reported that Suleimani was seriously injured along with two other personnel in an anti-tank rocket attack 12 days ago, during battles in the northern Syrian city. The AsrIran website is considered close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella organization of five Iranian opposition groups based in Paris."

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, also said the general was hurt. He was "lightly injured three days ago in the Al-Eis area in the south of Aleppo province," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. For several days, reports have been circulating on social media claiming the powerful commander was wounded or even killed in Syria, where Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad against an uprising that began in March 2011. In response, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, Rameza Sharif, said Tuesday that Soleimani was "in perfect health and full of energy."

The true views of Fatima Mernissi

If you really want to know the real views of Mernissi on Islam and feminism you need to read the one book she wrote under a pseudonym Women in the Muslim Unconscious, by Fatna A. Sabbah. 1984.

PS Her identify was revealed in a book review--not by me.

ISIS and Nusrah Front

I had a dream: that I was frustratingly trying to explain to students why Western governments are all galvanized and united against the dangers of ISIS but not against the dangers of Nusrah Front (the damn official branch of Al-Qa`idah).

ISIS tea

Fatima Mernissi and the Veil

I once asked Fatima Mernissi: why do you have the word "veil" in titles of your books. She told me: don't blame me.  French publishers like to insert the word "harem" in the titles of my books and US publishers like to insert the word "veil" in the title.  Sure enough, her book in French "Le Harem Politique" was published in the US as "The Veil and the Male Elite".

Fatima Mernissi died

News of the death of Fatima Mernissi.

Feminism in the US

CNN aired a documentary on the Seventies.  As part of the series, feminism in the US was covered and footage from US TV news from that era was aired.  It is rather stunning--but not really--how sarcastic and condescending and insulting US media coverage was of the women's movement at the time.  And the men in suit saw no irony of their gendered coverage of women in the US.  It was quite disgusting.  And the series never made an attempt to deconstruct the nature of the coverage of the time.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

American and other mercenaries in the service of Gulf regimes

"The Emirates had a brigade of 1,800 soldiers from Latin America which provided 450 troops now arriving in Yemen. It seems there are also going to be hundreds of other foreign mercenaries — Sudanese and Eritrean soldiers — brought into Yemen. These can be viewed as a second generation of foreign mercenaries hired by the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In the first generation, still powerful, in 1975 Saudi Arabia brought in Vinnell Corporation, an American defense contractor, to train the “Saudi Arabian National Guard.” "The little-known Vinnell is now owned by Northrop Grumman."

UK could be prosecuted for war crimes in Yemen

"Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned." "Most of Saudi’s weapons are supplied by the United States. With help from the UK, the US is also offering logistical support, airborne refuelling, with a specialist Pentagon-approved team providing intelligence on targeting."

Boko Haram and Saudi regime

From a reader: ""A Boko Haram suicide bomber has killed at least 21 people after blowing himself up among crowds at a Shia Muslim procession outside the city of Kano, Nigeria." "Boko Haram, whose name translates to "Western education is forbidden" recently overtook Isis as the world's deadliest terror organisation. The terror group has pledged allegiance to Isis."

"Boko Haram appears to have a “diplomatic” presence in Saudi Arabia, in addition to other militant connections." "Boko Haram also has a deeper history of involvement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Yusuf found refuge in Saudi Arabia to escape a Nigerian security forces crackdown in 2004; Boko Haram has reportedly received funding with the help of AQIM from organizations in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia; and Boko Haram’s spokesman claimed that Boko Haram leaders met with al-Qa`ida in Saudi Arabia during the lesser hajj (umra) in August 2011.[27] More recently, the leader of a Boko Haram cell that was responsible for the November 25, 2012, attack on a church inside a military barracks in Jaji, Kaduna, was in Saudi Arabia during the months prior to the attack."

How ISIS sells Syria's oil to Turkey, then Israel

"IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation."

ISIS and its inspiration

Who are the Arab people? Ask the Guardian

Notice that all those who are interviewed to speak on behalf of Arab people are advocates of Gulf regimes.  

HRW on Palestine

a word from its director.  As if there is no Israeli discrimination in Areas A and B and in 1948 Palestine.

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
West Bank's huge "Area C" is where Israel's discrimination against Palestinians prevails.

Pro-GCC regime propaganda in Newsweek

Unbelievable article.  This Lebanese pro-Gulf regimes writer talks about the sons of royals as if they are really fighting in Yemen and as if the mercenary armies are not the ones who are actually doing the fighting and the dying.

How does she want to liberate the women of Iraq?

"she raised her concerns about gender equality with American and British diplomats, she recalled being told to take it up with tribal leaders."  And who is a better guardian of Arab women than American and British diplomats.

Who is Hugh Naylor's expert on Iran?

"an Iran expert at the ­Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.". Go no further.  This is like going to the anti-Semitic Institute for Historical Review for expert opinion on Israel matters.

Moshe Dayan no rape

From James: "Moshe Dayan on Zionism as Rape (and blaming Bedouins for it)
“‘The situation between us is like the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the young girl he has taken against her wishes,’ Dayan told the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tukan. ‘But when their children are born, they will see the man as their father and the woman as their mother. The initial act will mean nothing to them. You Palestinians, as a nation, do not want us today, but we will change your attitude by imposing our presence upon you” In Tom Segev, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East (New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2005), quoting from Shlomo Gazit, Sudden Trapped: 30 Years of Israeli Policy in the Territories (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan, 1999), p. 218."

Does the US Huffington Post know that the Arabic Huffington Post is a crude and vulgar outlet of Qatari regime propaganda?

Yesterday, the headline was: "A solidarity campaign with Turkey" in the face of Russian sanctions. 

The Saudi royal idiots don't know (or even care) that a US president can't keep the gifts

"Saudi king showered Obamas with $1.3 million in gifts in 2014"

US Economic Aid in Egypt

I highly recommend Dina Jadallah's US Economic Aid in Egypt: Democratization and Reform in the Middle East.  I think that it offers a radical alternative to the study of US foreign policy in the Middle East region.

Anti-ISIS coalition

Kim Ghattas on "radical Islam"

Ghattas, a March 14 Lebanese journalist who has written a hagiography of Hillary Clinton, found a solution to the ISIS problem: "Hassan believes that the best way to delegitimize the organization is to actually call it by its chosen name, “The Islamic State,” and describe its state as a caliphate."  Wow. Why didn't people come up with that idea before? I am sure that it would end its rule.  And Ghattas says that it should be no problem if we allow the Republican rightist bigots to dominate the terminology about Jihadi terrorist groups because--according to her--Arabs refer to ISIS and the likes as "Islam mutatarrif."  Of course, this is not true. But hey: she has consulted with other March 14 people, including a fellow at the Rafiq Hariri Center, and they agreed with her. Case closed.  I would like her make that argument about referring to Israeli criminals and terrorists with references to Judaism.  Would she dare?  Would she dare talk about "radical Judaism"?  Of course, I am opposed to blaming Judaism for crimes of individual Jews, or blaming Islam for crimes of individual Muslims.

Syriza's U-turn on Israel is now complete

"During a visit to Israel in July, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias even said that Greeks needed to "learn to love Israel" and disgracefully called Israel part of a "line of stability" in the region – something that will some as news to the friends and relatives of those 551 Palestinian children murdered by Israeli during its summer 2014 war against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
This was a climb-down by the Syriza-led government on previously decent Syriza policy, much as it has made fundamental reversals of policy in domestic economic matters.
But Syriza as a leftist movement put some distance between itself and its government's contacts with Israel: Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was from the Independent Greeks (a right-wing coalition partner) and Kotzias is an independent.
Or it did put such distance until this week. As of now, the Syriza U-turn on Israel is complete."  I always tell people: never pin your hopes on a Western leftist party. They will sure disappoint you.

Will we screen them? White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

"According to the New America Foundation, white Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States — bigger even than Muslim extremists. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists. Surprised? You might be. Almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that New America defined as terror, 19 were carried out by non-Muslims. Scared? You should be."

How Western governments forgave the Sudanese dictator because he allowed himself to be bought off by Saudi regime

"The International Criminal Court wants to try Bashir for his alleged war crimes, so Sudan’s participation in the US-sponsored coalition has raised eyebrows among human rights activists in the West." "Unquestionably, the Obama administration faces a dilemma. It has been led into a de facto military partnership with a regime it has punished by means of economic sanctions and an arms embargo for its human rights abuses, including genocide and state-sponsored terrorism." "The price Sudan pays for this financial lifeline is participation in Yemen’s escalating civil war." (thanks Amir)

The futility of those international polls

Look at those results for example.  Look at the Middle East section and compare Lebanon's answers to other Arab countries. It is clear that they did not understand the question (or it was not translated to them) as the headline states.  I think that they are answering a different question: of whether they have those democratic rights in their present-day countries now.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The future of college education in Lebanon and the Arab world

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Future of College Education in Lebanon and the Arab world".

What do you say about a state that was founded on theft and occupation?

"13 Delicacies That Aren’t Israeli".  Circulate, damn it.

It is Palestine, damn it, not "Israel".

Oraib Toukhly Sukkar
April 7, 2014Edited
My dad received his U.S. passport in the mail, with place of birth stating "Israel". He placed the passport back in the envelope, returned it to the passport agency with a sticky note saying: "I was born in the state of Palestine, the city of Jerusalem in 1941, there was no Israel then, the state of Israel occupied my home land in 1948. Kindly reinstate my correct identity." 2 weeks later, passport corrected, Palestine reinstated, no questions asked.
My ultimate respect to the system and hats off to baba !!

Friday, November 27, 2015

ISIS is more popular in states allied with the US, Israel & Saudi Arabia

"Isis is almost universally detested across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, even in Muslim-majority countries, a new poll has shown." "In Lebanon, where Isis’ recent bombing in Beirut killed 43 people, 99 per cent of respondents said they had a “very unfavourable” opinion of the group, while 94 per cent of Israelis and 89 per cent of Jordanians felt the same." (thanks Amir)

Israel's favorite French Imam offers condolences to Charlie

"L'imam Charlghoumi rend hommage à "Charles" (Charlie Hebdo)" (thanks Jerome)

It is official: the reason why US bombed the hell out of a hospital in Kunduz is that US Special Forces "were fatigued"

"He said another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued."  This is true and makes sense.  I heard that when troops are fatigued they bomb the hell out of hospitals.  

Jodi Rudoren discovers "Israeli food": she is impressed

How could the correspondent of the paper not know that this dish is an old Lebanese-Syrian dish which my home city of Tyre specialized in long before the Zionist entity was even formed?  "He offers a finely chopped salad, excellent thin fries and a dish called msabbaha, where chickpeas swim in tahini."  But those who claim that Palestine was a "land without a people" can easily claim that Musabbaha was invented by an Israeli chef.

Committee for the "Development of Conscience" in Egypt

Tyrant Sisi just formed a Committee for the Development of Conscience".

Jordanian royal convoy--kid you not

Behind ISIS lines: what Western correspondents in Beirut would not report

There was an operation by Hizbollah commandos behind ISIS enemy lines to kill the mastermind of the bombing in Burj Barajnah.  No Western media reported on this,  Natürlich.

Have you ever wondered how the Jordanian royal convoy is prepared?

I have wondered for years but this "liberal" Jordanian newspaper, Al-Ghad, provides the crucial answers. (thanks L.)

This achievement is destined to immortalize Lebanon

Lebanese flags made from garlic, parsley, and onions.  Never underestimate the scientific achievements of the Lebanese people.