Thursday, June 30, 2016

"After Brexit: Reckoning With Britain's Racism and Xenophobia"

"This xenophobia takes different shapes according to the historical moment, but neoliberal policies have only ever intensified these sentiments. Migrants are today blamed for taking up places in housing and schools, burdening the country's publicly-funded universal health system and weakening the working class. Scant attention is paid to how, beginning with Margaret Thatcher's scorched-earth neoliberalism, policies of privatization and austerity -- during both feast and famine -- have led to a degradation of national life, a diminishing of social mobility and a growth in inequality in the UK.
In the 1990s, under the reign of Tony Blair's New Labour, Thatcher's policies continued in new guises: the fiercely beloved National Health Service (NHS) was funded, but often via public-private partnerships that have in fact burdened the NHS with serious debt and crumbling infrastructures, while enriching private investors and developers. Instead of preserving unused schools, local councils were encouraged to sell off their school buildings in the 1990s, again benefiting property developers who turned these attractive Victorian structures into high-end housing without anticipating the acute future need for school buildings and school places. The sale of social housing, which had been a pillar of Thatcherite policy of privatization, has been exacerbated by wholly inadequate construction of new affordable housing and no effort to replace the stock of social housing lost under Thatcher."

Look at him: he is admiring his picture like he has never seen it before

Three unconscious Arab rulers

There are today at least three Arab rulers who are ruling while unconscious: in UAE, Oman, and Algeria.  

It speaks volumes about the follies of Western policies in the Middle East that this clown is actually taken seriously

Voting of leftists in Western countries

One thing struck me about leftists in US and Europe: they really really take voting in often lousy electoral systems--especially in the US--way too seriously.  Worse: American leftists can easily make arguments to vote for the Democratic Party.  Voting is a cult in the US (Hannah Arendt called it "work", not politics).

Foucault against the left

"It is not difficult to discern Foucault’s animosity toward the post-war Left project. Obviously he was very hostile to Marxism. In an interview for a Japanese journal titled “How to Get Rid of Marxism,” he openly described Marxism as nothing more than “a modality of power in an elementary sense.” He elaborates: “the fact that Marxism has contributed to and still contributes to the impoverishment of the political imaginary, this is our starting point.” In another interview with the “new philosopher” Bernard Henri-Levy, he discusses the question of revolution. For Foucault in 1977, “the return of the revolution, that’s our problem (…) You know it very well: it’s the desire itself of the revolution that is a problem.” This assertion is very interesting, as Foucault not only dismisses the idea of revolution but also makes a subtle reference to its return in the context of the union of the Left and its expected victory in the legislative elections of 1978."

tactical retreat: the code word

a spokesperson of the New Syria Army (the militia created by the US) said that the humiliating defeat at Bou Kamal was a mere "tactical retreat".  Is this not the term used by Free Syrian Army for their successive defeats since the outbreak of the Syrian war?

US weapons--YET AGAIN--land in the hands of ISIS terrorists: How Obama administration policies in Syria are strengthening ISIS

"Video posted by the news agency showed jubilant Islamic State fighters parading in trucks sporting the New Syrian Army’s insignia and fawning over heavy weapons and ammunition belts apparently captured in the fighting. One militant is shown mutilating the corpse of a rebel fighter and cutting off the head.  The New Syrian Army withdrew from the area, marking the latest setback for U.S. plans to train and equip Syrian rebels capable of battling Islamic State militants...“They did nothing,” he said. “They went to the border and came back. This was more a media show than anything else.”"

reckless US embassy in the Ivory Coast causes the beating of gay men: if only US embassies spare people around the world their support

"Several gay men in Ivory Coast say they have been assaulted and forced to flee their homes after the US embassy published a photo of them signing a condolence book for victims of this month’s killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The photo, published on the embassy’s website, shows the faces of six men with the caption “LGBTI community signing the condolence book”. It was taken at the embassy on 16 June, the same day prime minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and other officials signed the book in honor of the 49 people killed in the Orlando attack.The photo has been widely shared on social media and two of the men said that in the days after it was published an angry mob punched and kicked them while shouting anti-gay slurs. The men spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity for their safety."

The huge fiasco of the US-created Syrian rebel militia, New Syria Army: what US media won't report

I woke up today to see what US newspapers are saying about the huge fiasco in Bou Kamal in Syria.  The entire force of 200 fighters, aided by Jordanian special forces, were eliminated: 40 killed and 15 taken prisoners, and tens are missing out of a force of 200 US-trained militia men.  The force was expecting the clans of Bou Kamal to come to their rescue but they didn't.  All Arabic newspaper, including Qatari regime and Saudi regime newspaper have front page headlines about the fiasco but the New York Times had none, and the Washington Post carried a story by Free Syrian Army propagandist, Liz Sly, in which she typically minimizes the losses and quotes Free Syrian Army (why Free Syrian Army, don't ask me, but that is her regular sources on anything from Morocco to Yemen) to the effect that they will eventually be victorious, or something like that.  This is one of the biggest setbacks of US strategy in Syria but it won't stop Hillary and other like her (like the 51 US diplomats acting at the behest of AIPAC) who want more US military intervention in Syria.  This is a good account of what happened and it is not in US press.

The Guardian justifies the bombing of two Shi`ite villages under siege in Syria

This is a crude propaganda piece. I only need to cite this to make my case: "According to Amir Toumaj, a researcher with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies", or this caption in justification of bombing of a village by the rebels: "An attack on a tunnel used by forces loyal to President Assad in the village of Foua, Idlib. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images" (caption of the picture of bombing in the article). (thanks Stephen)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Israel's cruel & inhuman treatment of Palestinians

"A human rights NGO has accused Israel of forcing Palestinians to withstand “cruel and inhuman” conditions at its borders." “Making people wait in line for hours, in unbearable conditions, highlights the cruel and inhuman aspects of military control over a civilian population. “The occupation has now entered its 50th year. This glaring injustice has gone on for nearly a half century, aided by ignorance and indifference.” "

a xenophobia virus that infects many Western democracies today

"This vote turned on anti-immigrant sentiment and refugee resentment — the culmination of a xenophobia virus that infects many Western democracies today. It matters not whether you blame modern globalism or ancient tribalism. What counts is that you take account of the intolerance."

American Red Cross apologized for its racism

"The American Red Cross has apologized for a water safety poster that has been called racist for showing black people engaging in inappropriate behavior." (thanks Amir)

He has a smart identity card. Aren't you proud of him? With this card, he will defeat ISIS.

PS. He already is being mocked.

The journalism of David Ignatius

Basically, David Ignatius praises whoever is ascendant in a particular Gulf regime.  In this long article he basically says: Muhammad bin Salman could be great for Saudi Arabia and US, but on the other hand he could be a disaster.  Any other possibilities, Mr. Igantius? 

Michel Kilu and Nusrah Front

Are you aware that the secular Syrian opposition figure, Michel Kilu, had praised Nusrah Front and called it "a resistance force"?  All those who praised Al-Qai`dah in Syria or who were silent about its mayhem are responsible for the spread of the Jihadi menace in the world today.

It is now official: Saudi regime supplied the Israeli occupation army with intelligence on Hizbullah during July war

Former head of Israeli military intelligence admits that the Saudi regime supplied the Israeli occupation army with intelligence about Hizbullah during the July war.

I am holding this Zionist organization responsible for my safety: they have triggered death threats against me

These Zionist hoodlums at this organization have incited violence against me by tossing horrible labels against me.  I am legally and publicly holding them responsible for any harm that is inflicted on me.  

This Zionist group has been harassing me and leveling false accusations against me

This fanatical Zionist group, which enforces the repressive standards of American Zionists who basically want to have the right to decide who can and who can't have freedom of speech in the US, has been harassing me as of late on Twitter, and they have been leveling various accusations against me.  Notice how they substantiate their claims of anti-Semitism.

France and Turkey

There is no question that the terror in Turkey produced far less sympathy in the West and Arab world than the terror in Paris.  The quality of blood differs between the two places.  As for the responsibility of the Turkish government by providing arms and aid to Syrian rebels: the Turkish government is as responsible as the US and French government by allowing arms and aid to reach a variety of Salafi Jihadi rebel networks.  Those governments are all accomplices along with the GCC regimes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Unbelievable: give a Zionist an opportunity and they will inevitably resort to bigotry"

From Basim: "The hostages were given food but the meals never varied - meat, rice, potatoes and lots of bananas. Sara jokingly called it the "Ugandan diet"."

ABC News refers to Israeli indiscriminate bombing and shelling as "divisive tactic"

From James: "You may be amused at ABC's headline on Israel's decision to stop "The Hannibal Directive":
Next up:
“Jack the Ripper Drops Divisive Tactic for Saving Prostitutes from a Life of Sex Work”"

Israeli war crimes against fishermen

"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights recorded 139 incidents in which Gaza’s fishermen were shot at by Israeli naval forces during 2015. Twenty-four fishermen were wounded. There were also six incidents in which boats were shelled and chased. More than 70 fishermen were arrested last year and 22 vessels were confiscated. These incidents are part of the economic warfare Israel wages against Gaza’s fishermen." (thanks Amir)

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Lebanese call for random killing of Syrian refugees

The head of the municipality of Al-Qa` (which was hit by terrorist bombings today) called on the residents of Al-Qa` to immediately shoot at any "stranger".

George W. Bush and anti-Islam bigotry

Liberal US media love to remind readers that George W. Bush had loving attitude toward Muslims (his bombs over the heads of Muslims, notwithstanding) because he visited a mosque after Sep. 11. They never remind readers that he invited to his inauguration Rev. Franklin Graham. For some reason this association never hurt Bush the way Obama's association with Rev. Wright hurt him.

Franklin Graham and anti-Semites

I don't see the reason or the purpose of engaging with a notorious hater and bigot, like Franklin Graham.  This is like engaging in a dialogue with anti-Semites.  Professional bigots should be ignored and not engaged with.

Jordanian intelligence apparatus

The story in the Times is not surprising.  It only surprised those in Western media who for decades--and largely at the behest of US intelligence agencies AND at the behest of Mossad--have presented and promoted the Jordanian intelligence agency as a professional and effective organization while it is indistinguishable from Ba`thist Syrian and Iraqi intelligence services and pioneered some of the torture techniques (like the Rotisserie torture) which were later adopted by other intelligence agencies.  Journalists like David Ignatius and Bob Baer all contributed to the false image of an organization that has historically been always run and staffed by thugs, crooks, torturers, executioners, embezzlers, and arms merchants.  But its services to Israeli occupation and repression has made it a sacred cow in the West.

Saudi-US relations

""Yet Murphy's argument missed a critical detail: the fact that Saudi Arabia has not controlled the global Salafi-Wahhabi movement since 1980s".  So has controlled it?  Albanian government?

"Turkey-Israel deal leaves Gaza siege intact"

"Palestinians in the Gaza Strip expressed anger and dismay on Monday about the deal normalizing relations between Israel and Turkey that leaves them under a suffocating siege. An Israeli human rights group that monitors the decade-old Israeli blockade of Gaza has also confirmed that the deal does not end Israel’s tight control over the territory that has greatly exacerbated the devastation to Gaza’s economy and society from three major Israeli military assaults since 2008.  Turkey put its once close military and political relations with Israel in the deep freeze six years ago, after Israel attacked the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara as it sailed in international waters as part of a flotilla to Gaza in May 2010, killing nine people and fatally injuring a tenth. Turkey imposed unprecedented military sanctions on Israel in 2011 over the incident. Efforts at reconciliation had been stalemated by the conditions demanded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: an Israeli apology and compensation over the Mavi Marmara attack and an end to the siege of Gaza. The breakthrough apparently came when Turkey dropped the third and biggest of these demands and accepted that Israel would maintain its blockade. In a face-saving measure, Israel will allow Turkey to increase its “humanitarian” role and infrastructure projects in the besieged territory."

Persecution of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

The plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon does not get much attention in Western media, for so many reasons.  For one, all Western correspondents in Beirut are busy propping up the so-called Syrian rebels.  Their interest is elsewhere. Furthermore, Western governments want to keep the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and for that they don't give a damn about what befalls the refugees.  And Western human rights organizations are all tied to the Hariri political establishment in Lebanon and rarely publish reports that are harmful to their political and propaganda interests.  There are not only curfews being imposed on refugees (throughout Lebanon, among Muslim and Christians, and in March 8 and March 14 areas of Lebanon).  And the Phalanges Minister of Labor has worked hard to impose the fascist xenophobic standards of his party, by trying his best to exclude and discriminate against Palestinians and Syrians in Lebanon.  One town (Tirtuj in Jubayl has this week order a clean-up campaign and they ORDERED (see picture above) all Syrian refugees in the village to participate.  And the racist Lebanese Awni Foreign minister has issued a degree this week saying that all municipalities under the political control of his party will restrict work of Syrian refugees.

When the DailyBeast reports about the Middle East

Basically, DailyBeast journalism on the Middle East is: 1) half chit-chat with March 14 journalists in Beirut cafes; 2) things that are made up along the way as those correspondents write their articles; 3) Israeli Mossad planted stories.  Look at this: "Almost immediately after the explosion that killed Badreddine in Damascus, Hezbollah pinned the blame on Israel. That was no surprise. Accusing Israeli intelligence for all manner of attacks is practically a reflex for Hezbollah."  Just simply untrue.  Hizbullah did not blame Israel and was criticized by some for not blaming Israel.  But then the article adds that Iran has blamed the US "at the highest levels of the Iranian regime." The source?  "an Iranian official with knowledge of information sent to top leaders told The Daily Beast."  And whenever you read in Western media stories citing "some Lebanese journalists with sources in Hezbollah", you know that they are referring to Lebanese journalists on the payrolls of Hariri/Saudi regime.

Even Israeli terrorist vigilantes get respect in the US press

"As in Israel, New York's police volunteers wear uniforms. But in New York, their badges identify them as "auxiliary," while Israeli badges do not differentiate. NYPD volunteers can't carry guns or arrest people. Israeli volunteers can do both". (thanks Basim)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Students in California might face criminal investigation for protesting a film promoting Israeli terrorist army

"LAST MONTH, A GROUP of students at the University of California, Irvine gathered to protest a screening of the film Beneath the Helmet, a documentary about the lives of recruits in the Israeli Defense Forces. Upset about the screening of a film they viewed as propaganda for a foreign military, the students were also protesting the presence of several IDF representatives who were holding a panel discussion at the screening.  That student protest has since become the subject of intense controversy. The school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is now facing the possibility of being banned from the campus. In addition, a legal representative for some of the students involved in the protest, Tarek Shawky, told The Intercept that the students were informed by the university that their cases have been referred to the district attorney for criminal investigation."

Another view of Venezuela crisis

"None of the Chavista activists I spoke to, most of whom I’ve known for years, expressed any support for the opposition. All, however, expressed significant criticisms of Maduro and the government. Jesus Rojas, who has supported the government since Chávez’s 1998 election, said, “Many people don’t believe in Maduro anymore. While we still have hope in the process, we don’t see a short-, medium-, or long-term solution. There’s uncertainty.” Switching to English he added, “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. We’re fucked.” Despite this, Rojas says he continues to the support Chavismo and the PSUV and will never vote for the opposition. “If I voted for Chávez and against the fourth republic governments [preceding Chávez] that brought us neoliberalism and bad times, it doesn’t make sense to go back to the bad government of the fourth republic.”....When I asked Gimenez why she continues to support the government, she replied, “Because it’s not a lie that 3 million senior-age Venezuelans are receiving a pension that’s worth minimum wage. When Chávez got to power, not even 300,000 seniors received a pension, and the pension wasn’t even a fifth of the minimum wage. It’s not a lie that schools opened to all children with a meal every day.… It’s not a lie that they opened more opportunities for studying at the university level. And it’s not a lie that education at all levels is free, totally free. Oh, but this education has errors, we don’t doubt it. It’s part of a [process in] construction.… It’s not a lie that healthcare, with all the problems we have right now with the dollar, and the import of medicines…that they’ve provided a space for healthcare in all of our communities. It’s not a lie that our citizens with disabilities, who were rendered totally invisible before, they didn’t have machines to treat their disabilities, now we have physical therapy centers, and today [people with disabilities] are prioritized in terms of jobs, and for many things. It’s not a lie, and I’ve lived it, that people in our rural zones lived in straw houses with mud roofs…and now there are real houses in our rural zones, and not just in our rural zones, but in the urban zones, the million and some houses that have been constructed are a reality.… There’s still much to do, but this is a reality…. And it’s not a lie that in any street corner you go to, people will talk to you about politics, about what’s happening, about the international situation, if they participated or not, if the communal council stole the money or didn’t steal the money. There’s a political participation that can’t be hidden....In addition to grassroots efforts to build a new, communal system of production and distribution of food and basic goods, there are also grassroots efforts to “rescue Chávez’s legacy” and forge an alternative way of doing politics that stands in contrast to the corruption and bureaucracy of the government. This movement, referred to by some as “critical Chavismo,” has taken on several expressions. According to Jimenez, there are two networks of critical Chavismo, made up of leftist parties and social-movement organizations that support the government in a critical way, and are careful to maintain their autonomy. One network, known as the Frente Patriótico Hugo Chávez (Hugo Chávez Patriotic Front), brings together “the PPT [Fatherland for All, a left party], the Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora, a radical current within the PSUV, and a number of smaller movements.” The Red de Comuneros is part of a second network, “which doesn’t have a name yet, and includes the PCV [Communist Party], workers movements, some unions, including Polar, a fraction of the CANTV union, and the Alexis Vive collective [a grassroots movement based in 23 de Enero parish in Caracas and active in other states, including Lara].” Jimenez says, “Our slogan is: Neither Bureaucracy, nor a Pact with the Bourgeoisie.” This movement is trying to push the government “to really go with the people, and not just say that they are.”” (thanks Ben)

The New York Times writes a tribute to Cynthia Ozick without telling readers that she is an unabashed bigot who denied the existence of the Palestinian people

Just two samples of the racism and ignorance of Cynthia Ozick, who received recently a long tribute in the Times:
"When, some years ago, Golda Meir contentiously remarked, "There are no Palestinians," she was historically correct..."
"By replacing history with fantasy, the Palestinians have invented a society unlike any other, where hatred trumps bread. They have reared children unlike any other children, removed from ordinary norms and behaviors."  If this woman wrote those words about blacks or about Jews, there would be pickets outside of the office of the New York Times.  But bigotry and denial of the Palestinian people is considered a respected point of view in US society.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dispelling myths in tenure-track hiring of women of color (in political science)

"Overall, women of color were not placed as well as the general female population, with 28.8% hired into tenure track faculty positions. Compared to the general population of female candidates, women of color were less likely earn academic faculty appointments (43.8% compared to 56.5%) and more likely to be placed in non-academic positions (18.1% compared to 11.6%) or not placed at all (23.7%15.4%)."

"There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person,” Brooke Goldstein declared to enthusiastic applause at a meeting of key Israel lobby"

" “Why are we using the word Palestinian? There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person,” Brooke Goldstein declared to enthusiastic applause at a meeting of key Israel lobby operatives in New York earlier this month." "The clip of Goldstein denying outright the existence of Palestinians can be seen above." "In her presentation, Goldstein acknowledged that efforts to promote Israel as a democracy with “great beaches” had failed to stem the support for Palestinian rights, so “we have to focus on the offense, on Islamists and how they violate the basic civil rights that liberals hold very, very dear.” Efforts to exploit and promote Islamophobia as a way to build support for Israel are not new, but the New York meeting heralded a renewed push in that direction."

"the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) had a role in at least 22 of the U.S. entertainment industry’s projects"

"Between 2006 and 2011, VICE reported, the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) had a role in at least 22 of the U.S. entertainment industry’s projects. Some of the productions listed by VICE included the films Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, television shows like Top Chef and Covert Affairs, and documentaries such as the History channel’s Air America and the BBC’s The Secret War on Terror. The book, The Devil’s Light, also had the help of the CIA." "Uglier Hollywood portraits have also been produced without the CIA consent, such as Syriana, which was developed with the help of former agents." (thanks Amir)

BBC, like all US media, now provides justification for the Israeli murder of Palestinians

"Since then, another 31 Israelis have been killed in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks in Israel and the West Bank.  More than 200 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in the same period."  Imagine if they provide the same qualifications for Israeli occupation terrorists who are killed by Palestinians (in far smaller numbers)(thanks Basim)

Hizbullah versus the US

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Dilemmas of Hizbullah in the face of the Total US War".

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trump can go farther than Brexit

He may initiate a move to pull the US out of planet earth.

A Saudi professor at King Saudi University, who ran a "cultural communication program", reacts to Brexit

كاميرون يعلن استقالته بعد إعلان نتائج استفتاء خروج بريطانيا من اللهم شتت شملهم ومزقهم شر ممزق كما فعلوا ويفعلوا بالمسلمين
He reacts to the resignation of Cameron by writing: "O, God, may you fragment them and tear them apart just as they did and still do to Muslims". Word for word

When these Muslim-Americans spoke to the FBI about why they were on the list, agents pressured them to become informants to spy on their own communities

"Ramzi Kassem, an associate professor at CUNY School of Law and the founder and director of the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project, told me earlier in the year that the watchlists “are notoriously arbitrary and inaccurate. People are placed on these lists without ever being told why or given an opportunity to contest their listing. And the lists appear to focus disproportionately on individuals with Muslim-sounding names.” Being included on the watchlist can also have consequences beyond not being able to fly. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of people on the no-fly list. When these Muslim-Americans spoke to the FBI about why they were on the list, agents pressured them to become informants to spy on their own communities. That was the price to pay to get off the no-fly database."

"U.S. officials use threats & intimidation to censor BDS activists"

"A report issued last year by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights documented 152 incidents of free-speech suppression on U.S. campuses in 2014." "Threats, punishment and intimidation are all being routinely used to stifle dissenting viewpoints on Israel-Palestine, says Omar Shakir a fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a co-author of the report." "Threats to speech, have come not only from university administrations but from law enforcement as well." (thanks Amir)