Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saudi developments

A whole change of regime is under way in Saudi Arabia. More later.  

Guantanamo diary

"The torture methods approved for Mr. Slahi, for instance, mimicked those used by America’s Communist adversaries in the Cold War, which were famous for producing false confessions. Predictably, Mr. Slahi describes how, desperate to stop the brutal treatment, he finally decided to tell the interrogators whatever he thought they wanted to hear, fabricating plots and implicating others in nonexistent crimes. Some interrogators, though, doubted his confessions and asked for a polygraph test. He denied plotting terrorism or supporting Al Qaeda, and the test results variously showed “no deception” or “no opinion,” undermining his supposed admissions."

Look how the New York Times refers to confessions of Israeli war criminals

"The wrenching, taped testimony".  You almost want to say: oh, those poor Israeli war criminals. It must have hard committing massacres.


"Because of his Western education, Prince Mohammed is believed to favor liberalization on matters like education and opportunities for women."  Wait. So can we say: because of his Western education he has been more brutal and repressive than his own father?  Can we say that because of his Western education he has been jailing people for calling for reform?  Also, Sayyid Qutb and Muhammad Atta were Western educated.

Notice that Christian militias are not named when they commit war crimes

And why don't they use the term Christianist to describe them?

Look how the New York Times describes the shooting at demonstrators in Egypt

"At least 18 people were killed in political violence on Sunday"

American socialism

"Long ago, some American mayors called themselves socialists, although, writes historian Morton Keller (in “America’s Three Regimes”), “their collectivist impulse did not go much beyond public utilities: ‘gas and water socialism.’ ” "

This is an American liberal columnist

"But if, in the end, action needs to be taken against Iran, Israel will need the support of all Americans."

ils ne sont pas suffisamment nombreux pour avoir un candidat

From a reader:  "Zheng Ruolin, Chinese anchor: Il (=Houellebecq) a décrit une scène que.. en 2022 je crois, il y aura 2 candidats, un candidat musulman et un candidat d'extrême droite. Est-ce que ça peut être un scénario dans le futur de la France?
Richard Artz, French correspondent for Paris-Match in China: Euh... Je ne pense pas. Un candidat d'extrême droite, ça c'est possible. Un candidat musulman, ça m'étonnerait quand même: euh... ils ne sont pas suffisamment nombreux pour avoir un candidat."

Real record of Prince Salman

"Yet Salman has an ongoing track record of patronizing hateful extremists that is now getting downplayed for political convenience."

Tsipras and Peres?

"He recounted that in 2012 he arranged a meeting between Tsipras, then newly the head of the opposition, and then Israeli president Shimon Peres – who is well respected in Israel, and has a bloody history as a war criminal.

Arye Mekel, the former ambassador, claimed that the meeting went "very well" and Tsipras listened to Peres "like a pupil before his teacher, and avoided criticism of Israel"." (thanks Asa)

Sources of the Washington Post

From Bashir: "I don't know if you have seen this but maybe worth quoting, so funny! What an amazing analysis that required utmost anonymity!

A Lebanese political analyst who has close ties with senior Hezbollah officials described the latest attack as “a trap set by Hezbollah.”
“It’s important to note that Hezbollah’s first statement was called Communiqué No. 1, which means that it is signaling that it is ready to fight more,” said the analyst who requested anonymity, because of the tense situation."

Why Scotland did not fly the flag half-mast for King Abdullah

"Speaking with KaleidoScot, Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament, explained why Scotland chose to react differently: “I thought the UK position bizarre, craven and cheap. Not least barely days after our PM was in Paris to support free speech he now descends on Riyadh to mark the passing of a man whose regime implacably opposed any such ideas.

“Of course, the reason is even more basic, money. The Saudi regime has over the years purchased countless billions of British bombs, tanks and guns and London is quite content to turn a blind eye to abuses of every value they claim to uphold." (thanks Mohamed)

The UN is Outraged

From a reader: ""Separately, in Gaza, the United Nations said it was "outraged" when Palestinian protesters climbed the perimeter of a U.N. compound and damaged it. U.N. officials took Hamas to task for not preventing the incident."

Was the UN ever "outraged" about the Israeli attacks upon its facilities in Gaza last year?  About attacks that killed people?  If so, I don't recall."

Israel supplied ex-Panama president equipment to spy on foes

From Richard: "My guess is that the US directed him to Israel for the equipment, plausible denial and all th

"Now scores of Panama’s political and social elite are learning that the eavesdropping program that Martinelli’s security team set in place sprawled into the most private aspects of their lives – including their bedrooms. Rather than national security, what appears to have driven the wiretapping was a surfeit of the seven deadly sins, particularly greed, pride, lust and envy."

" . . . .  Alemán said the government believes Martinelli’s security team kept active wiretaps on “between 150 to 175 people,” among them the Roman Catholic archbishop of Panama, opposition political leaders, rival business tycoons, supreme court judges, U.S. Embassy personnel, his own Cabinet members and even the woman identified publicly as his mistress."

" . . . . When Martinelli first approached U.S. diplomats about helping him with wiretapping, he asked them to expand a U.S. program aimed at suspected drug traffickers, known as Matador, according to multiple secret U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in late 2010. When U.S. diplomats noted that U.S. and Panamanian law forbade such wiretapping, Martinelli turned to Israel, purchasing a $14 million package from MLM Protection Ltd., which offers “cutting edge, customized security solutions.”

Muslims not allowed

"In the five months since Jan Morgan banned Muslims from her gun range in Hot Springs, Ark., business has boomed and predictions of a lawsuit brought by federal civil rights enforcers have so far proved inaccurate." (thanks Bailey)

Harsh and disproportionate

"Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called Wednesday for a "harsh and disproportionate response" to a multi-pronged Hezbollah attack that injured several IDF soldiers on Wednesday." (thanks Regan)

ISIS into the kingdom?

"ISIS has an opportunity to flip the Kingdom. Here's how."

My mother had written this poem about me when I was in my teens.

My sister, Mirvat, found this poem that my mother had written about me when I was in my teens. Under the original French is Mirvat's translation into English.  We both didn't know about this poem.

"Mon benjamin chéri est un etre très cynique
Qui se moque de tout meme du bon Dieu
Ses longues discussions sonnt vraiment trs typiques
Il s'excite très for en invoquant les cieux

Sa logique pour lui est très souvent très spéciale
Il veut meme forcer le partage des idées
Idées controvorsées mais jamais impartiales
Et qui ne finissent jamais d'etre discutées

Il est posé et meme très sympathique
Sa face bon enfant est délicieuse à voir
Mais ne lui ddemandew pas d'etre idyllique
Ses deux pieds bien sur terre ne le laisseront pas choir."

Translation into English by Mirvat:
My beloved youngest child is very cynical
He mocks everything, even God
His long discussions are really very typical
He sounds very excited when mentioning heaven

His own logic is very special
He even wants to impose sharing his ideas,
Controversial ideas but never neutral
Their discussion never come to an end.

He is composed and even very funny,
His baby face is delightful  to see
But do not ever ask him to be idyllic
His two feet are down to earth and will not let him fall

This is how a propagandist for a Saudi prince is identified in the New York Times

"said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and commentator".  Prominent? He used to be a Bin Ladenite and then became a Wahhabi liberal and then worked for Prince Khalid Al-Faysal before switching princes and now works for Prince Al-Walid bin Talal.

Michelle Obama unveiled

What is this fake controversy about Michelle Obama being unveiled in Saudi Arabia? There were many Western women who traveled to the kingdom unveiled.  Also, Western media are acting as if the Saudi King and princes are some ascetic highly religious people who just can't accept violating the teaching of their militant sect.  People: these are Saudi princes who build a special entrance for prostitutes in their palaces in Morocco.

Obama presses India on women's rights and then flew to Saudi Arabia where he didn't raise the subject

"Mr. Obama said India needed to combat human trafficking and slavery, elevate the status of girls and women in society".  Is this guy for real? He is worried about democracy in India?

B'Tselem is not sure whether the children slaughtered by Israel were legitimate military targets or not

"In some cases, B’Tselem established the presence of militants in houses that became targets. Yet in the absence of detailed explanations from the military, B’Tselem was unable to establish whether the buildings could be considered legitimate military targets by virtue of the military advantage gained by the attacks, or whether the collateral damage was proportional."

Michael Young a few days ago: “Hizbollah will not hit back at Israel. It can’t”

From Nicholas: "More than this, Michael Young - columnist, occasional self-proclaimed military affairs specialist, cheerleader for the Iraq War and for yet another massive war in Syria - also adds here in his National column from a few days ago:
"...the party will have limited latitude to retaliate from the traditional fronts for last weekend’s attack. To spare Lebanon Israeli retribution, it will hesitate to do so from Lebanese territory. And because it has not acknowledged that its members were plotting against Israel from the Golan, it may also refrain from responding from there...""

This blog and its future

Yesterday, I was wondering to Michele about the future of this blog.  How long will I keep it going? I thought about that after reading the Andrew Sullivan is quitting his.  I have been doing this since 2003 (and for free, doesn't Sullivan charge readers?), and I believe it was the second blog on ME after Juan Cole.  Obviously, the contents have changed: in the beginning I used to post art and translate poetry daily.  I also now kind-of-blog on FB in Arabic on political issues. Too much.

This grotesque insult to the victims of the Holocaust is similar to Holocaust denial

"Iran is the 'new Auschwitz that the Jews as a people are looking at,' says Krauthammer".

New York Times on Shib`a Farms

From Yasmine: "Re your post yesterday on how western correspondents refer to Shebaa Farms, New York Times said Israel annexed it, 'a move not recognized by the United Nations.'

'Not recognized' is passive voice for "it's illegal". Annoying!!"

Celebrating retaliation against the Israeli occupiers

"People celebrating the latest Hezbollah retaliation in the neighborhood of Dahiya, Southern Beirut"

Palestinian girl, 14, in Israel prison for throwing rocks

The fate of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, tried before an Israeli military court for hurling rocks at passing cars in the West Bank and sentenced to two months in prison, has gripped Palestinians who say her treatment demonstrates Israel's excessive measures against stone-throwing youth.  Malak al-Khatib, arrested last month, is one of only a rare few female Palestinian minors who have ever faced arrest and sentencing by Israeli authorities.  "A 14-year-old girl won't pose any threat to soldiers' lives," said her father, Ali al-Khatib. "They are well equipped and well trained so what kind of threat could she have posed to them?"" (thanks Michele)

More than 370,000 children have been left shell-shocked by Israeli attack on Gaza

"Four boys from the Bakr family died in the missile strike and four were injured. In the immediate aftermath, Sayed was left paralysed with terror, unable to speak, writhing hysterically against a wall. Today, more than six months later, he is one of hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza who need treatment for shell-shock." "There is no shortage in Gaza of stories of severely traumatised children still gripped by the after-effects of the war. The 50-day conflict left 539 Palestinian children dead and close to 3,000 injured,"

ISIS operative confesses to getting funds "through" the U.S.

"Yousaf al Salafi – allegedly the Pakistan commander of Islamic State (IS) or Daish – has confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the United States."

Ignoring the Wahhabi-ISIS connection

"ignoring the uncomfortable fact that most of the worst Islamic extremism and terrorism of the past two decades has tracked back, through funding and religious influence, ultimately, to Saudi Arabia." "Many would agree that the extremist Sunni ideology of Isis is merely a step on from, or the application of, the Wahhabi Islam that is the basis of Saudi Arabia. It is this extremism that is driving the burgeoning sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia, potentially disastrous on a hitherto undreamed-of scale." (thanks Amir)

Defiance among the people of South Lebanon

This video of South Lebanese people talking defiantly against Israel has been going viral.

Greek Politics

In one week, US and European media will start writing that the leftist Greek government failed in solving the economic problems of Greece.

McCain and Kerry discuss spreading secularism with young Saudi moderates

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet

"During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).  This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises." (thanks Amir)

Israeli occupation forces on fire

Netanyahus sued by former caretaker over 'racist and physical abuse': Zionism is always racism

" Benjamin Netanyahu is being sued by a former caretaker who alleges that he was subjected to racist and physical abuse by the Israeli prime minister’s wife, Sara.  Manny Naftali, 35, a former soldier, claims that he was subjected to humiliating treatment by Mrs Netanyahu, mostly with her husband’s knowledge.  In a suit filed to the Jerusalem district labour court, Mr Naftali, who worked for 20 months at the Balfour Street residence, described one incident when Mrs Netanyahu complained him about a Shabbat meal. “We are sophisticated Europeans,” she said, according to Mr Naftali. “We don’t eat as much food as you Moroccans. You are stuffing us, so that when they photograph us abroad, we look fat.” "

What is in a name?

From Basim: "And rest assured Israeli propagandists will go out of their way to cite the Zionist name for the area in order to give legitimacy to its occupation:

"Initial reports indicate a military vehicle was hit, apparently by an anti-tank missile in the area of Har Dov," the army said on its official Twitter feed, using Israel's term for the Shebaa Farms which is also close to the ceasefire line with Syria."

Wilson Center

I just noticed that media adviser to Rafiq Hariri is now "senior scholar" at the Wilson Center.   Washington, DC think tanks crack me up.

Shib`a Farms

Western correspondents in Beirut will manage to obscure the occupation status of Shib`a farms tomorrow. You will see phrasing as "Israeli-controlled" or "disputed Shib`a farms" or "a little tiny piece of land that no one cares about" or "why can't Arabs let Israeli occupation forces roam the region unmolested?"

And notice

That although the Hizbullah operation targeted Israeli soldiers in occupied parts of South Lebanon, Western correspondents will manage to make the attack a humanitarian calamity and will manage to talk to the families of the dead Israeli occupation soldiers and will make them to be the saddest people on the face of this earth.  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda, anything.

Hizbullah attacks Israeli occupation force in occupied South Lebanon but...

I am sure that Western correspondents in Beirut will forget to refer to the attack as "retaliation" in response to an attack by Israeli occupation force in Golan and they will also forget that the attack targeted occupation soldiers ON LEBANESE territory and not on this weird invention of "Lebanese-Israeli border".  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda. Anything.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singer Sabah on Palestine

The late singer, Sabah, describes how the events in Palestine make her cry. (thanks Yusuf)


Notice that every story in the Western media refers to Syriza in negative terms as in "the anti-austerity" or the "anti-reform" there is always "anti" preceding any description of the party leaving us with the impression that they don't stand for anything except to reject.