Thursday, April 17, 2014

gas attacks in Syria

How do the Western correspondents in Beirut decide when to cover claims by Syrian rebels about gas attacks against them? I mean, all Western media covered a week ago such claims by the rebels.  But there were other new claims by the rebels. Why are they not covered? Do they decide when to cover on the basis of the the resolution of youtube videos, for example?

"Lebanon: Ater the Cedar Revolution"

Regarding the new book, "Lebanon: After the Cedar Revolution" by Are Knudsen and Michael Kerr, eds, newly published by Oxford University Press.  It usually takes you a few pages to figure the political bias of a particular book on the Middle East but not with this one.  By page 8 you realize that the authors are parroting the propaganda of the Hariri movement.  Oddly, the authors consistently refer to the humiliating Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon (minus the Shib`a farms, the Kfar Shuba hills, and the Ghajar village) as "unilateral Israeli" withdrawal.  What does that mean? This is the actual Israeli official propaganda line.  It implies that Israeli magnanimously withdrew from occupied Lebanese territory as an act of Zionist generosity.  What is unilateral about a withdrawal that was caused by a brave and persistent resistant movement?  Was the Nazi withdrawal from France "unilateral" as well? How about the American withdrawal from Vietnam?  Furthermore, the authors refer to the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 as a "military retaliation".(p. 8)  Kid you not.  

War "boats" to the Lebanese army

Of course, we all know that the US is behind blocking any serious attempt at arming the Lebanese Army.  On behalf of Israel, the US wants to keep the Lebanese Army weak and to prevent it from possessing missiles and air defenses (and even sea defenses).  Yet, the US embassy in Lebanon makes regular announcements about the delivery of silly versions of weapons: like used vehicles, buses, bullets, etc. The other day, the US embassy announced that the US government provided the Lebanese Army with "war boats"--I am not making this up.  We don't even use that expression in English. These are small dinghy boats equipped with light sub-machine guns. 

Libyan militia regime

Are there still people who are claiming that there is peace and quiet in Libya?  Do you remember those who had supported NATO intervention who claimed that?

Afghan elections

Do you realize that while the Washington Post and New York Times have been assuring their readers that the Afghan elections was honest and fair, young people in Afghanistan have been mocking the elections and posting pictures and documents showing the extent to which the election was rigged and irregularities were widespread?  Also, do you remember that in the last presidential election both papers reported that that it was an honest election before they reversed their accounts weeks later when observers testified about the irregularities?  You will not learn about the world if you only read English and if you only read US newspaper.  You would be ill-served, trust me.

media of Saudi princes and Kim Kardashian

You have no idea how much obsession there is in the media of Saudi princes with Kim Kardashian.  Take the sleazy yellow journalism website of the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya:  It carries almost daily a leading story about her.  Yesterday (and today) a major headline and a story is about Kim Kardashian (that she fell--I am not kidding or exaggerating).  It is now the second most widely read story on the site (the first one is about a woman who drags a man like a dog on the streets of London). 

Why BDS against Israeli universities is a must: they are mere tools in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime

"For the first time in academia, the University of Haifa has launched an academic course to combat the delegitimization of Israel on the Internet. The ‘Ambassadors Online’ Program, offered by the University’s Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies as a four credit course, prepares students to be unofficial “ambassadors” for Israel on the Internet. “This program aims at training students, who are interested in investigating, studying and asking what it is that motivates the new anti-Semitism and de-legitimization of Israel, as can be seen among other things in the Apartheid Week, which is an expression of pure anti-Semitism. The ambassadors who will study in the program will fight this phenomenon and learn how to investigate it”, said Prof. Eli Avraram, the program’s academic instructor and the head of The Comper Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism."  And there are some faint-minded liberals in the US who say that the University of Haifa is "the most liberal" of Israeli universities.  Even Ba`thist universities don't recruit their students to serve as propaganda ambassadors for their regimes. (thanks Lisa)

Al-Jarba

Who in his/her right mind would brag that she/he is an "adviser" to the polygamous Ahmad Al-Jarba? Who?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reyhanlı attack

From Ali, the Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey:  "The post regarding the Turkish diplomat confession about Reyhanlı attack was carried out by al-Qaeda contains a manipulation. Turkish people don't "widely believe" that the attack was carried out by Bashar al-Assad regime.
Reyhanlı town has been a stronghold of AKP government and after a few hours of the attack, local people protested government...Although it was the biggest terrorist attack in Turkey's history, PM Erdoğan didn't (or couldn't) go to town because of huge reaction. Also protests erupted in Turkish universities, claiming the real responsible of Reyhanlı bombings was PM Erdoğan and FM Davutoğlu's interventionist policies in Syria.  Many sees these protest triggered the massive Gezi protests.

PS: Today's Zaman belongs to Fethullah Gülen community. Fethullah Gülen criticises PM Erdoğan with "going to far in Syria", disturbing the ties with US. Not the intervention itself his point of objection. "

Let me translate this story: the NYC Demographic Unit which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit will be renamed again

"The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said...The Demographics Unit, which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit in recent years..."

war crimes by Syrian rebels: always in passing

Such crimes by rebels are mentioned--if at all--only and always in passing and never told in headlines:  "Last week, two car bombs exploded near a sweets shop in a pro-government neighborhood, killing at least 25 people, including women and children, and wounding paramedics responding to the first blast."

Can someone tell Anne Barnard that Hafidh Al-Asad took over in 1970 and not in 1971?

"In 2000, Mr. Assad succeeded his father, Hafez, who had governed since 1971."  I suggest that the New York Times hires a Middle East fact checker to go over all dispatches by Ms. Barnard.  But then again, who cares about accuracy and facts when the propaganda message is rendered?

Patrick Seale

I forgot in my piece on Patrick Seale to mention that he carried secret messages between Hafidh Al-Asad and Itzhak Rabin.  I asked him about that and talked to me openly about that role he played. 

Let me guess: NATO will investigate and will find no fault in the behavior of...NATO

"A U.S. air strike in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, the Afghan president's office said on Tuesday."

Turkish diplomat says Reyhanlı attack carried out by al-Qaeda

"In a stunning revelation, a Turkish diplomat has for the first time admitted that the bloody Reyhanlı attack, which ravaged the border town of Reyhanlı on May 11, 2013, leaving 53 people dead and scores wounded, was carried out by Syrian elements of al-Qaeda, not by groups, as is widely believed in Turkey, affiliated with the Bashar al-Assad regime." (thanks Fadi)

Didnt the Washington Post AND the New York Times maintain that Afghans voted in defiance of the Taliban?

"But on voting day, the country seemed unusually calm, prompting Afghan politicians to speculate that the Taliban had intentionally allowed the election to proceed.  “I don’t think the other side put too much pressure,” said Hedayat Amin Arsala, a presidential candidate. “They even prevented some people from attacking.”"

A US Navy destroyer in the Black Sea: "while the ship was conducting “routine operations” in international waters"

Officials at the Pentagon on Monday protested what they described as a provocative flyover by a Russian attack aircraft that hovered near a U.S. Navy ship for 90 minutes on Saturday.

A military official who was not authorized to speak on the record said the Russian aircraft, a Sukhoi Su-24, made “multiple close-range, low-altitude passes” near the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, while the ship was conducting “routine operations” in international waters.

The ship had just entered the Black Sea, and its arrival there was celebrated in Kiev as a show of American support for Ukraine.

The crew aboard the American ship issued several queries to the aircraft using communication systems that are accessible to Russian military personnel. They went unanswered. The military official said the Russian plane appeared to have been unarmed.

“This was a provocative action,” the official said. “It is inconsistent with international protocols and what you would expect from a professional military.”"

When will the Russian government stop its intereference in Ukrainian affairs, when??

"Administration officials also confirmed Russian media reports that CIA Director John O. Brennan visited Kiev over the weekend, saying it was part of his scheduled trip to Europe.

U.S. officials typically do not comment on the CIA director’s travel. But State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said the administration decided to do so in this case to dispute information circulated by the Russian government.

“Senior-level visits of intelligence officials are a standard means of fostering a mutually beneficial security cooperation,” Psaki said, adding that reports that Brennan encouraged the Ukrainian government to “conduct tactical operations” against the pro-Russian demonstrators are “completely false.”"

Obama's deadly pivot to Africa

"Over the last several years, the US has been building a constellation of drone bases across Africa, flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions out of not only Niger, but also Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the island nation of the Seychelles. Meanwhile, an airbase in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, serves as the home of a Joint Special Operations Air Detachment, as well as of the Trans-Sahara Short Take-Off and Landing Airlift Support initiative."

Gazan innovation

"In a ground-breaking invention, a Gaza citizen and his son found a way to convert certain plastic waste into liquid fuel." (thanks Amir)

Do you notice that the Qatari and European-funded Syrian Observatory can verify weapons use in Syria from London?

"This decision, "as well as dangerous information on the regime's recent use of toxic gases against civilians in the town of Kafr Zita," in the central Hama province, represent "clear defiance" of the UN Security Council, Faisal said in Riyadh. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said residents choking from poisoning in the rebel-held town of Kafr Zita were hospitalised after bombing raids on Friday." (thanks Basim)

“800,000 Palestinians Imprisoned By Israel Since 1967”

"As the Palestinian people mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17, more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children, have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel since 1967, while at least 5,000 Palestinians are currently held by Israel, a report by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees has revealed."

In Jordan

In Jordan, the government arrested citizen because he tossed a shoe at a table where the prime minister was supposed to speak.  He would be put on trial, it is said, for "contempt toward the symbols of the state".  Do you notice that manners and absurdities of pro-US Arab absolutism never gets covered in the Western press?  They are really protected which proves my theory: Western media follow the dictates and inclinations of Western governments in foreign policy especially in the Middle East region. That was not the case in full only decades ago.

Taxes % of GDP

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do you know?

Western reporters talk about the rebels being denied a supply route in Qalamoun. None of them--none--mention that they have been using the area to basically equip and send car bombs to Lebanon and Syria. Is that too inconvenient?

The new Saudi intelligence chief

Embedded image permalinkAccording to the official language of the decree, the new Saudi security chief has been assigned but not appointed to the position.  It is a matter of time before a Saudi prince is appointed to the position.  He has been serving as deputy to Bandar.  This is another picture of the guy.  Some Saudis commented that the family name of Idrisi is not Saudi; it is said that his family hails from Egypt.

Syrian rebel shelling

Did you find in any US newspaper in the last few days any reference to indiscriminate shelling of Damascus by Syrian rebels?  Do you ever read that whenever rebels are pushed out of an area they immediately respond with car bombs?  But for some reasons Western journalists in Beirut find barrel bombs objectionable but not car bombs. 

The new Saudi chief of intelligence

Embedded image permalink
Saudies tell me that this is the new chief of intelligence. 

Prince Bandar Sacked

Saudi King sacked Prince Bandar. Condolences are being accepted at the Washington Post by Bob Woodward and David Ignatius. Please bring tissues.

Look how this headline from Reuters justifies the repression in the Saudi kingdom of horrors

"Concerned for stability, Saudi Arabia tightens curbs on dissent" (thanks Fadi)

South Sudan

Why the West ignores South Sudan crisis? Because the West insisted on creating South Sudan.

US liberation

The US occupation likes to leave little toys for the children.

can you imagine the (justifiable) international outrage if this was said by an Arab?

"Former foreign minister Bob Carr has suggested Julia Gillard’s dogged insistence on supporting Israel in a controversial United Nations vote was because Australian foreign policy had been “subcontracted” to Jewish donors."  Notice that ADL was uncharacteristically silent.

How to attack someone over something they have not said

This writer invented something and attributed to me (he claimed that I wrote "where is Sh`iite outrage"--those who read me know that I would never use such language), and then attacking me for saying it (or more accurately for not saying it).

American atheists and their soft religious spots

"Despite claims by David Silverman, president of the 501(c4) political lobby group American Atheists, atheism does not earn an atheist the title of freethinker. With very few exceptions, movement atheists are not. They're parrots. Don't believe me? Ask an atheist to opine on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and he or she will invariably wax lyrical about religious motivated violence, Islamic extremism and suicide bombers. In other words, expect a recital from atheist luminaries Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens."

Comrade Chris on teaching Arabic

"What does such an event have to do with the Language Flagship Program specifically and military funding for language training more generally? A 2012 article in the University of Texas at Austin’s Life & Letters entitled “Humanities and the Military” describes a collaboration between Flagship students there and Texas Army National Guard soldiers in a “weekend-long language and culture workshop conducted by the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Middle Eastern Studies and Center for Middle Eastern Studies for soldiers who will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.” One of the coordinators of the program is quoted as saying “All of the participants seemed intent on learning as much as they could about Afghani culture because they knew that this information might help them accomplish their mission more effectively.” This collaboration is painted in positive terms:  linguistic and cultural information being used to help improve relations between two culturally disparate groups. The context for this contact, though, is war and occupation, and such information, as we have seen, can be used to gruesome effect. The university seems to be aware of this potential, or at least of the danger of having its government funded students associated with such a collaboration. In a subsequent version of the article, all references to the Flagship program have been removed, as has the following statement by the director of the NSEP: “We are proud of the partnerships that The Language Flagship programs have made with ROTC and the services.”

Even if not a single US student were using the language and culture he or she learned to such ends, it is important to think very carefully about how our knowledge and expertise might be used by the entities that fund this education. After my stabbing, an Egyptian friend tried to counter some of my doubts by telling me that a knife-maker is not responsible for the uses his knives are put to. Perhaps not, but what if that knife maker happens to be sponsored by the military?"

This is an outrageous act of provocation: US warship was peacefully sailing in the Black Sea--which is off the shores of New Jersey when a Russian fighter jet flew 10,000 miles to provoke it

"A Russian fighter jet aggressively taunted an American warship in the Black Sea by making “numerous close-range low-altitude passes” and exhibiting what some Pentagon officials described as provocative behavior and unprofessional conduct."

Why do I have the feeling that ADL would have had a different reaction if the shooter was a Muslim?

"Karen Aroesty, ADL St. Louis Regional Director. “While it is too early to label these shootings as a hate crime,"  It is never too early if the shooter is a Muslim.  This is an organization that labels BDS as anti-Semitic, but it is too early to regard shooting a Jewish community center as a hate crime? What gives, Mr. Foxman?

Millions of Afghan and Iraqi faces in US government database

"... federal agents can potentially tap facial databases held by driver’s-license registries, state criminal justice systems, the FBI, the State Department and the Defense Department, which has several million searchable faces, mostly Afghans and Iraqi men. Together these amount to an estimated 400 million facial images in government hands ..." (thanks Krim)

Yesterday, Syrian rebels killed three Lebanese journalists who were traveling in a vehicle marked with "Press" sign

Notice that Syrian rebels become anonymous "gunmen" whenever they commit war crimes: "In Syria on Monday, three journalists from Al Manar, Hezbollah’s television station, were killed when gunmen fired on their car on the outskirts of the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, the station reported."  Gunmen? We don't know who these gunmen are? Imagine the media reaction if three Lebanese Hariri journalists were killed by Syrian regime troops.

Torture by Syrian rebels: always in passing

Look how it is only mentioned in passing: "United Nations investigators said that several armed opposition groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Nusra Front, had detention facilities in hospitals, schools and other public buildings in areas under their control, and that those most at risk of being held for interrogation included activists and people trying to document abuses." And notice that they always manage to identify groups that are banned by the US but never mention torture by Free Syrian Army.  I really think that the worse human rights abuses have been committed by the moderate FSA--but I dont have concrete evidence to point to.  But when it came to sectarian killings and indiscriminate shelling, the FSA is a pioneer.

Manning

"An Army general has upheld Pfc. Chelsea Manning’s conviction and 35-year prison sentence for giving classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, the Army said Monday."  If Manning was a Russian who leaked secrets of his government he would be hailed as a hero and the US government would be hypocritically calling on the Russian government to reduce his sentence.

Look how deceptive this chart from the Economist is?

Notice that they decided to showcase not the actual spending by country but the increase in spending from last year, perhaps to avoid putting the US in the spotlight.

Israel can be trused with all sorts of MWDs

"The United States and three European allies want a global body controlling nuclear exports to consider whether to establish closer ties with non-members including Israel, despite its assumed atomic arsenal, a confidential document showed. The issue is sensitive as Israel is outside a 1970 international pact designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and the Jewish state is widely believed to be the only country with such arms in the volatile Middle East."

Ethiopian maid in Lebanon

Yesterday, an Ethiopian maid was saved by civil defense workers from suicide as she was spotted trying to jump from a balcony.  But no one asked why she was trying to kill herself and there would be no investigation by police in the matter. Her second attempt will most likely be successful.