Friday, December 19, 2014

"The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings"

"Human experimentation, in contrast, has not been politically refashioned into a legitimate or justifiable enterprise. Therefore, it would behoove us to appreciate the fact that the architects and implementers of black-site torments were authorized at the highest levels of the White House and CIA to experiment on human beings. Reading the report through this lens casts a different light on questions of accountability and impunity."

Israelis: when they try to claim that the handful of Arabs who are not opposed to Israel are "great"

Never mind that Salem does not promote Israel in Arabic, or that he has written anti-Semitic stuff, or that he is published in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, or that his claim to fame is a plagiarized play.  From Khelil:  "I remember you writing about Ali Salem and how Zionist media are keen to promote him and exaggerate his significance (it would be more accurate to say they invent his significance) all because he traveled to Israel. The Jerusalem Post has found their favorite Egyptian and wants readers to know that this guy’s books are “classics” and cites by way of authority Daniel Pipes’ journal: “Salem has written 25 plays and 15 books, and some of them Egyptian classics, said the article.” Silly "

Nir Rosen

""In it, he argues that the armed opposition has become hopelessly radicalized, while the Assad regime is nonsectarian in nature." “While the Syrian state was not the most attractive one even before the 2011 uprising, it also was not the worst regime in the region,” he writes. “It has strong systems of education, health care and social welfare and compared to most Arab governments it was socially progressive and secular…. It had a solid infrastructure and a relatively effective civil service.” "Rosen also argues against the assumption that Assad presides over an Alawite-dominated regime. “Most of the regime is Sunni, most of its supporters are Sunnis, many [if] not most of its soldiers are Sunni,” he writes. “The regime may be brutal, authoritarian, corrupt and whatever else it is described as, but it should not be seen as representing a sect.” The sectarianism that does exist in Syria, Rosen argues, is preponderantly on the side of the anti-Assad opposition."" So Nir does not believe in the theory that the Sufis and whiskey fans are running the "revolution" anymore?

fair and free elections

"This must be why Republicans demand that Cuba holds “free and fair elections” before any agreement between them. Because the one thing connecting the people the US backed during those 50 years – from Pinochet to the Indonesian military; Saddam when they liked him; the Emir of Kuwait; the Saudi royal family; Assad when they liked him; the Shah of Iran; Marcos in the Philippines; and Bin Laden when they liked him – is you can’t mention their names without thinking the words “free and fair elections”."

Governments don't interfere in the art of Seth Rogen in the West

"The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony Entertainment CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime."

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen to Western civilization, from what I read in the US media, is what Victor Hugo was to French literature.

decades of US plans to kill Castro: Castro won

"Fleming, it is claimed, told Kennedy, that killing Fidel Castro was not simply enough, he had to be thoroughly humiliated." "Other agents studied the possibility of killing Castro while he was diving. Plans were discussed which considered infecting his air supply with a biological agent. But Desmond Fitzgerald, the CIA's former head of Cuban operations said he bought two books on Caribbean mollusks, to find a seashell suitable to hold an explosive device, which would kill the communist leader on the sea bed. Another plan, which seemed similar to one discussed at the Kennedy dinner table involved a CIA campaign describing Castro as the anti-Christ, while a US submarine would light up the sky with starbursts announcing the Second Coming." (thanks Amir)

Will we ever laugh again, in the Western world?

Will we be able to laugh again in the Western world now that Sony censored yet another hilarious art project from Seth Rogen? I doubt it.

Learn about Islam from US media: secular Fatwas and semi Fatwas and kabab fatwas

"STEVEN CLEMONS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I think it helps  the right, because it makes everyone concerned about what might happen on their street corner in their local mall. This is the kind of act that al Qaeda wouldn`t do. Al Qaeda bombed planes and took on trophy targets.  They didn`t go after small targets like this.

MATTHEWS: But anyone with --you don`t need ISIS and the territory they`ve grabbed, Iraq, Syrian territory. All you need is somebody with a Web site to issue these semi-fatwas. Remember, they`re secular fatwas. What do you  make of it? " (thanks Basim)

Sony movies

What will befall Western civilization without Sony movies and the art of Seth Rogen? I shudder when I think.

Hugh Naylor: his method of journalism

Would the foreign editor of the Post and Times allow a story about Israel to be attributed to "security officials and people in Israel, as he does here: "according to security officials and people in Lebanon".   He then adds: "has been widely reported in the Lebanese and Arabic media".  But he fails to add that the story only appeared in Saudi and Hariri media, exclusively. No other media reported about it.  But he leaves that out.  [This without me commenting on whether the story in question is true or not, or about what I know about it, but I am merely commenting about his method of documentation).  But this is my favorite part: Naylor says: "Hezbollah refuses to deny or confirm the reports", but then he cites this expert saying: "“Hezbollah’s response to this is very deliberate, and it’s a response that was certainly decided on by the senior leaders, even Hassan Nasrallah himself,” he said." Wait. You just said that Hizbullah had no response, and then cited an expert saying that its response is very deliberate, whatever that means??  Learn journalism from Mr. Naylor.

Gay Marriage in Lebanon II

Saja kindly translated my remarks from Arabic about the TV show on New TV in Lebanon, which dealt for the first time with gay marriage.
"Some remarks with regard to the “Lilnashr” show on gay marriage:
1)    Did you notice the episode’s formal title? It was “First public gay marriage for the eyes of Lebanese society.” What does “for the eyes of Lebanese society” mean? It insinuates incitement as if to call on Lebanese society to assault the two young men, or worse.
2)    Dear Pierre [Abi Sa`b, culture editor of Al-Akhbar] did a great job raising important points and answering questions but he wasn’t allowed to complete his points. Contrary to some inaccurate impressions of Pierre that stem from his civility and democratic spirit (in a positive way), Pierre is actually assertive in debates. I’ve seen him defend the resistance at a conference in Berlin and you would’ve thought he was about to brandish a sword.
3)    Why do religious figures get invited to discussions of this type? When did religious figures become experts on various life matters? Why do religious figures make the topics of food, drink and especially sexuality repulsive? This is their objective even if they don’t know it. Religious figures should only address their own fields of expertise albeit the orientalist Philip Hitti used to say that Muslim religious figures do not enjoy privilege over laypersons in religion (Abdullah Alayili shared a similar opinion).
4)    Who is this physician, George Yarid, who talks at the beginning of the show and compares the homosexual to the “normal person”? He said it twice. If the “physician” thinks this way, what would one expect of laypeople?
5)    What did Rima Karaki mean when she spoke of the gay “composition”? Is there a composition that differs from everyone else’s?
6)    Equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals requires avoiding both demonization and romanticization of homosexuals. They’re like everybody else; there are good and bad, funny and unfunny. Male chauvinism manifests itself in gay couples as it does in heterosexual couples. In the show Muhammad is insufferable and treats his boyfriend “Jennifer” with the same repression and control that a traditional man would display towards his wife. Frankly, I fear for “Jennifer” vis a vis both his boyfriend Muhammad as well as the rest of society. He didn’t let him speak and he was rude and admitted to his possessive drive in relationships. I’m concerned that “Jennifer” could be the victim of taunting in the relationship, which of course exists in homosexual relationships according to numerous studies in several societies.
7)    I fear that our racist society would accuse Syrians of bringing homosexuality to Lebanon since Muhammad is of Syrian origin. In fact, in his outstanding book, La Personnalité et le devenir arabo-islamiques even the unparalleled historian, Hisham Djait, blamed Persians for historically bringing homosexuality to Arab society. Seriously.
8)    The agenda behind discussing such topics in sensational shows (in both the west and east) isn’t a noble one, unfortunately. "

Sony art

How could a two-bit dictator in North Korea restrain or restrict the art production by...the Sony corporation. How could we then live?

Castro won

The US has asked for the release of what it termed "53 political prisoners" in Cuba.  America's closest allies in the Middle East hold 1000 times that number, without complaint from the US, of course.

Love poem to oil--kid you not

A Saudi columnist writes a love poem to the barrel of oil. (thanks Mariam)

Meet the jovial Saudi Minister of Oil


From the civil war in Lebanon

  The woman below (Samirah Bushnaq) was looking in 1986 for her two children after an explosion.  In the year 2002 (16 years later exactly), she posed for the picture (above) with her two children (now grown up, naturally).

New York Times calls the Sony movie with Seth Rogen "art"

"That determination and the cancellation of the film were new twists in a series of developments that has found a major studio fighting for its art".  It is art, by America's standards.  Hell, by America's standards Saturday Night Live is comedy.

The CIA Wikileaked report on Israeli terrorist campaign agaisnt Black September leaders

"Following the killing of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in September 1972 by the Black September faction of the PLO Fatah organization, Israeli leaders initiated a multidecade effort to eliminate PLO leaders. The subsequent killings of suspected PLO militants across Europe and the Middle East included low-ranking officials with questionable connections to the Munich events, as well as a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, who had no connection to terrorism, according to a book by a British journalist. 126 The program’s secrecy prevented its integration with other diplomatic and
military initiatives. International pressure following the July 1973 death of the Moroccan waiter forced Israel to curtail the effort. 127"

According to CNN, Israel has also added Kobani to its occupation collection

(thanks Fadi)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

President of AUB

The dean of the medical school, Muhammad Sayigh, met with Fu'ad Sanyurah, seeking Hariri support for his candidacy for president of AUB. 

Movie

Are Muslims going to be blamed now for the cancellation of the Sony movie, Interview?

Putin and U.S. Media

I wish the US media would treat the US president with the same cynicism and criticism as they treat Putin.  

that makes is credible: according to the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate

"In Iraq, Jaysh Muhammad (JM) suffered a significant setback in late 2004 after British
forces captured the head of JM and his replacements in short succession, according to
the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate."

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?

Surprisingly, Americans have a very favorable view of the US.

The hazards of heterosexual behaviour

"The hazards of heterosexual behaviour have been well documented. They include, but are not limited to, unplanned pregnancies, penile and cervical cancer, vaginitis, a host of sexually transmitted diseases (some of them incurable or deadly), a disproportionate propensity to engage in child molestation, global overpopulation, socially oppressive gender roles, and more. A recurring pattern of these health disorders resulting from the union of the penis and vagina has been named heterocopulative syndrome. These people could pose a serious public health threat if such practices continue unchecked and may be especially dangerous if employed as food handlers.(2)"

Look how an Israeli Jewish racist terrorist group is described in the Times

"Lehava, long known for provocative anti-Arab activities".  Do you notice that Jewish racist groups are always referred to as "provocative" or "controversial" but not racist in US media?

Is Saudi Arabia funding the Al-Qa`idah branch in Yemen?

In all Saudi media reports of bombings by Al-Qa`idah branch are reported rather sympathetically. And when children are killed, Saudi media carry the headline: bombings target Huthis.

Greenpeace and its liberal offenses

"Greenpeace said the activists were from other South American countries and Europe. The group’s leaders apologized earlier and pledged to cooperate with the inquiry."  I bet you that they were all from Europe. 

An American diplomat informs Americans about the Somali people

"“There are three things important to a Somali — his wife, his camel and his weapon,” Mr. Oakley told The Times in 1992. “In the Somali soul, there is the right to have a weapon.”"  His wife remembers her husband: "“Their idea of a crisis was a stiff diplomatic note, whereas for Bob it was natives coming over the wall.”"  He carried the best tradition of American diplomacy and cultural sensitivity.

It seems that all groups in the US support torture

Some CIA lies

"Consider just three examples. Hayden claimed that all of those conducting the program were “carefully chosen and carefully screened” and underwent more than 250 hours of specialized training. In fact, the CIA’s records show that it chose interrogators who “had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault,” according to the Senate report. Some interrogators were given no training at all; others had 65 hours — not 250. "

Death from police

Obama believes in killing people, not in toruring them

"Instead of capturing suspected terrorists, Mr Obama prefers to have them blown to pieces by drone-fired missiles."

The Dalai Lama is speaking about...himself--kid you not

"There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won't come next, who will disgrace himself or herself. That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama." (thanks Basim)

Just explain it to me

If Iran or Cuba were to make a movie that deals with the assassination of an American president, there would be laughter in the US and the UN or an uproar?

The Interview

Regarding the Sony movie about North Korea, The Interview. How come no one mentions the most important element of the story: that the movie is so unfunny and that Seth Rogen was funny in no more than one movie.  We watched the trailer in the theater and it was painful to watch.

Israeli drones are tested on civilians

"Israeli drones are marketed as “battle proven” due to extensive Israeli use in attacks on the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Lebanon. The marketing strategies use the Israeli colonization of Palestine as a selling point."

Among the dead in Syria

"More than 120,000 fighters supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been killed in the country's civil war since it began in 2011, a group monitoring the war said on Wednesday." (thanks Amir)

Western just bombing

"Western just war theory progressed in lockstep with justifications of slavery."

US suppresses its own history toward Iran

""...senior State Department officials “decided to delay publication because of ongoing negotiations with Iran”...
Dr. Stephen P. Randolph, the Historian of the State Department, confirmed yesterday that the status of the Iran volume “remains as it was in September” and that no new publication date has been set....
The suppression of this history has been a source of frustration for decades, at least since the Department published a notorious 1989 volume on U.S. policy towards Iran that made no mention of CIA covert action.""

Gay marriage in Lebanon? For the first time on an Arabic TV station

New TV dedicated a show to the issue of gay marriage in Lebanon and hosted two men who want to get married (and they appeared on the screen, without any disguise).  Unfortunately, and like US TV shows dealing with serious issues, the matter was totally sensationalized and not dealt with professionally.  Here is my critique of the show itself (if anyone wishes to translate, let me know). 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What kind of society produces physicians who will supervise waterboarding and “rectal feeding,” or psychologists

"We are a nation whose constitutional commitment to high-flown Enlightenment ideals is undermined by a vein of mendacity that too often makes the whole enterprise feel like an elaborate self-delusion. We have long been such a nation, maybe from the beginning. By day, Thomas Jefferson wrote passionate and glorious prose about the rights of man; by night, he pursued his manly privilege in the slave quarters." "What kind of society produces physicians who will supervise waterboarding and “rectal feeding,” or psychologists who spin the supervision of a secret torture program into an $80 million government contract? What ideal of America is being preserved by such methods, and will it bear their mark forever?" (thanks Amir)

BDS matters by Joseph Massad

Comarde Joseph: "Denmark’s parliament and the European Parliament itself are the latest bodies set to consider votes guaranteeing Israel’s survival in its present form within the 1948 boundaries only. Even neutral Switzerland agreed, upon a request from the PA, to host a meeting of signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention to discuss the 1967 Israeli occupation only. Expectedly, in addition to the Jewish settler-colony, the world’s major settler colonies — the United States, Canada, and Australia — are opposed to the meeting and will not attend.

These moves are unfolding as international support for the Palestinian-initiated boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has begun an accelerated move to the mainstream in the US and Western Europe. Academic associations calling for support for BDS include the Association for Asian American Studies, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the American Studies Association and the American Anthropological Association (which voted to defeat an anti-BDS resolution).

An exception is MESA, the Middle East Studies Association, whose members most recently voted to grant themselves the right to debate BDS, and in the process unwittingly granted the Zionists one full year to lobby and prepare to defeat a BDS resolution on which members may be asked to vote next year."

When yellow Israeli media, like Haaretz, publishes stories without sources about Hizbullah

Look at the verifiable and reliable sources: "Reports from Lebanon say that Hezbollah’s internal security forces have uncovered a high-ranking agent working for Israel’s espionage and intelligence agency.  According to the reports...."  Of course, the name of the writer is the token Arab in the paper, and he does not mention that the "reports" were published "exclusively" in Saudi and Hariri websites.