Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ben Hubbard and Arab media: learning through Zionist eyes

So he wrote this piece about Arab media: nothing original,  just that media are split between two rival camps but:
1) He does not say that Qatari regime and Saudi regime media dominate more than 95% of Arab media, while Iran and Syria control the rest--to varying degrees (for example, he does not mention that Al-Mayadin--which he calls "pro-Iranian" is more pro-Syrian regime as it is not run religiously.  Minor point? Not really if you are writing about the media.
2) He relishes bringing in his pro-Israeli passion: "Once, after militants in Gaza fired a volley of rockets at Israel, I called a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad group to ask who was “responsible” for the attack." Do you think he ever calls Israeli government "after it fires a volley or rockets on Syria or West Bank or Gaza?
3) This is how he defines Hizbullah's mission: "Hezbollah and other groups committed to the destruction of Israel". But Mr. Hubbard does not explain why Hizbullah emerged after the Israeli invasion of 1982, which killed more than 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians and Syrians--mostly civilians. The date of emergence must have been a pure coincidence.
4) He leaves out from his tally the number of Arabic language propaganda media belonging to Israel, US, EU, and even Israel.  
5) As he concludes the article, he talks to two "objective" experts on Arab media. One is a professor of Arabic at Brown.  Fair enough.  The second, however, works for Al-Arabiyya TV, the same channel which he had earlier told us is a propaganda channel for Saudi regime.  Can you imagine if he were to speak to "an expert" on Arab media at...Al-Manar TV?  
6) I left the article learning about Zionist reading of Arab media what I knew not before.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Where was Islam?

Wait: Human Rights Watch released this statement about Jordanian regime's mass arrests against reform advocates

The statement says: "HRW condemns the Syrian regime of Bashshar Al-Asad".

Some wealthy Arabs are too cool to take their shoes off in mosques these days

Why is the Jordanian regime nervous?

Apparently, the reform advocates in Jordan were focusing in their campaign against corruption on the husband of Prince Basma (sister of King Khusayn--as Shimon Peres called him).  This explains the rush by the Jordanian government to ban any criticisms of government on social media because the talk focused on this guy.

William Polk (formerly ME professor at Harvard and Chicago) on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia

In the rest of his email letter about his trip to Saudi Arabai, professor Polk gushes about the hospitality of the King and his sons. They even flew him in a private jet. How nice is that?  

Repression by Iranian clerical regime

"Two women have been arrested for breaking “revolutionary norms and values” after being filmed riding a motorbike in IranOfficials in the city of Dezful said they had “exploited the opportunity” presented by a lack of police in a national park to commit an “obscene act” worsened by the spread of footage online.Colonel Ali Elhami, a local police commander, told the state-controlled IRNA news agency the women “committed an action against revolutionary norms and values by riding a motorcycle”."  You can't pretend you are against repression of women in Iran and not be against repression of women in Saudi Arabia--and vice versa.

John Kerry's speech on Arab-Israeli conflict

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "John Kerry's Speech: Declaring Israel as an Observer Member in the Arab League".

Saudi regime blackmails Lebanon

Saudi regime promised to the visiting Lebanese presidential delegation that they would release $400 million in military aid if Lebanon silences criticisms of Saudi Arabia in Lebanese media (i.e. in one newspaper only, Al-Akhbar).

When Kenneth Roth talks about Russia and Syrian regime he says "slaughter"--but not about US allies

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Another Saudi-led airstrike hits near a Yemen school, killing five including two children.

So When did Charles Lister discover that Nour Ad-Din Zengi is not a "moderate" Syrian rebel group?

The history.

Cory Booker

"Meet Cory Booker's Top Donor: A Right-Wing, Islamophobic, Pro-Israel Outfit That Backs Trump’s Extremist Agenda".  And yet, idiotic Muslims in New Jersey were recently honoring this Booker guy.

Qatari regime media and Lindsay Lohan

They are obsessed with her and they are on the edge of their seats hoping that she would convert to Islam.

The propaganda of Martin Chulov: FAKE NEWS Propaganda in the Guardian newspaper

And here I used to recommend the Guardian newspaper as an alternative to US media after Sep. 11.  Now the Guardian has become indistinguishable from the New York Times and Washington Post in its propaganda coverage of Syria.  This story is--simply put--made up.  As you all know, Syrian rebels regularly, if not daily, produce fake news and spread them throughout  social media and they are often carried in Gulf regime media, which in turn inspire Western media to reproduce them citing the authority of Qatari regime or Saudi regime media.  This story is made up by Ahrar Ash-Sham.  And you will see in dispatches by Western correspondents in Beirut, like Chulov, a reference such as this: "said one senior Lebanese leader".  Lebanon is deeply divided between two camps: one camp is led by HIzbullah and the other is led by the Saudi embassy in Beirut.  To which camp do you think this Lebanese "leader" belongs to?  And they cite "a Lebanese leader" as if any of the Lebanese leaders are independent and neutral about the war in Syria.  This is like citing "a US leader" in a story about Israel.

The battle for human rights worldwide: a priority

The battle for human rights worldwide should now include as a priority a campaign against fraudulent Western human rights organizations, like HRW, for its services to the agendas of Western governments.  

This is how Human Rights Watch whitewashes crimes and repression in Jordan

Can you imagine HRW including in its report on Syria what the regime "promises" about reform and human rights?  Or about Cuba?  "In March 2016, under King Abdullah’s instructions, Jordanian authorities also presented the Comprehensive National Human Rights Plan, a 10-year initiative that calls for changes to numerous laws, policies, and practices. It includes positive changes, such as a commitment to allow suspects the right to a lawyer at the time of arrest and to move jurisdiction over crimes of torture and ill-treatment from the police court to regular courts."

Finally, an Iranian cleric that the West can do business with

"All of the candidates you hear about who could replace Khamenei are much more hardline and have more radical views," said Mehdi Khalaji, a former seminarian from Qom who is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy." (thanks Basim)

Let us see if Kerry and Obama will speak out against this repression in Saudi Arabia: Sudanese arrested for posting

Don't you like it when Human Rights Watch hand liberal media express concern and worries that Trump may be bad for human rights worldwide as if Obama was ever in his 8 years good about human rights (other in countries which oppose the US).  "Two Sudanese men have been arrested in Saudi Arabia after posting their support for protests in their home country on Facebook, amid signs that ties between the two states are growing stronger following years of tension."

Try to find this in Western media: Mass arrests against reform advocates in Jordan--Western human rights orgs silent

Western human rights organizations and media are all silent about what is happening in Jordan. There was a campaign of mass arrest against opposition and reform advocates after a campaign against corruption spread and calls for publicizing names of corrupt individuals were posted.  Some of those arrested were former military and intelligence people and former MPs.  How could you expect Western human rights organizations to care when you have director of Human Rights Watch posting praise for Jordanian official, Prince Zeid bin Ra`ad, who was appointed in his UN post by the Israeli ambassador at UN.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Charles Lister explains why he was wrong about the Nur Ad-Din Zingi Syrian rebel group

When asked by Max Blumenthal in a public form at the Hariri-Saudi-funded Atlantic Council, Lister explains: yes, he did label the Zingi group as "moderate" and now he thinks that they are not moderate and that they are "disgusting". But the explanation is that the group changed: it was a moderate and secular and feminist and democratic group but something happened to it and changed.  This is like when Saudi royals say that Bin Laden was a very nice guy but that he was corrupted by Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri, or when Western correspondents in Beirut say that the Syrian rebels were all secular and moderate and feminist but that when the regime shot at demonstrators they grew beard the next day and became Jihadis.  

William Polk and the House of Saud

Former Middle East studies professor at Harvard and Chicago (and US government official), William Polk, is still alive.  He recently received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia from his friend, Sultan bin Salman, who he met in southern France.  So Polk visited the Kingdom and came back with a glowing report which he circulated to some of his friends.  One of them published in a Saudi newspaper.  Don't you like experts on the Middle East when they praise the Saudi kingdom? I am sure it is based on "shared principles" and "love of knowledge".

Adam Shatz and the conventional wisdom about Obama

1) this is not true: "The Arab Spring stirred hopes of reversing this bleak trend, and Mr. Obama initially gambled on its success, defying old allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel and expressing support for pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia."  Obama clearly favored the pro-US dictatorship and even tried hard to arrange that they stay in power and allowed them to use force to stay but when it became impossible for them to stay, he pretended that he was for democracy.  If anything, Obama was a leader of the counter-revolution movement from day one.
2) Shatz faults Obama because he did not fight a bigger war in Syria. If he did, he would have been declared a man of peace by Shatz.

How Syria is covered in Western media

So Western governments and even Western human rights organizations fund organizations in developing countries and then cite their reports as reliable information by natives.  "The report from the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) found that Syrian regime helicopters dropped 12,958 barrel bombs in 2016 in total. The strikes resulted in the deaths of 653 civilians, SNHR found, including 166 children and 86 women. "

Notice: This guy never uses the word "slaughter" about US and its allies--but uses it daily about Syria and Russia

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
It's not just the Saudis. United Arab Emirates bombers also use Western weapons to kill Yemeni civilians.

Zionist US media are allowed to cover Palestinian protests

But only if they are not against Israel. Daily protests and complaints by Palestinians are ignored but if one protest or demonstration is held against Hamas it is widely covered in the New York Times. Of course, the crisis should be first blamed on Israeli occupation and second on Hamas government.  The size of the demonstration is inflated. 

Al-Ahram's Headline: US gets ready to Confront Muslim Brotherhood

Corruption in Israel

So this Israeli writes in the New York Times to tell you that corruption and rape among politicians in Israel is not a big deal because Israelis do things differently and are cute about it.  Just remember how US media came to Rabin's defense when he opened a secret bank account (against the law in the occupation state).

The Kerry tape: U.S., rather than fighting ISIS, used jihadists to pressure Assad

"Kerry and his associates said we and the Saudis and Qatar and Turkey had provided huge amounts of aid to the rebels, who unfortunately were sort of aligned with extremists." "Combine this with the wikileaks revelation that the US State Department and Hillary Clinton knew our Arab allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were giving ISIS “clandestine financial and logistic support” as it swept across Iraq and Syria in 2014, and you have the anti-interventionist view of America’s role in the Syrian war all nicely set out by John Kerry and someone in the State Department: We and our Arab allies supplied weapons. This caused the violence to escalate.  The good rebels “kind of” work with extremists, who get direct funding from our Arab allies. We thought the rise of ISIS would prove useful in pressuring Assad, but Putin intervened not because Russia wants to bomb civilians but because of the rise of ISIS."

First week of 2017: Israel demolishes homes of 151 Palestinians

"The number of Palestinian buildings demolished in the first week of January 2017 is almost four times as high as the weekly average for 2016: 20 structures. In 2015, the average was 10 structures a week, according to the records of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, between Monday and Thursday the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration demolished 65 structures in Palestinian communities, and seven rainwater cisterns. The Jerusalem Municipality demolished another two homes in East Jerusalem. Some 151 people, including 90 children, lived in the buildings that were demolished." (thanks Amir)

I don't like flags and I don't like nationalisms but...

for Palestine and the Palestinians anything and everything.

Yes, because Obama and Kerry speak regularly to GCC regimes about human rights

Ben Hubbard (@NYTBen)
WaPo Editorial: Tillerson doesn’t seem to realize speaking up for human rights is part of the job

Obama's defense of Sudanese dictatorship

In the name of a joint effort against "terrorism", Obama administration lifts sanctions against Sudanese dictatorship at the time when repression there has increased.  This is also Obama Doctrine.  This is what Human Rights Watch does not see.  

Obama's favorite journalist

Putin and the Far Left in the US

Regarding this article, while I don't agree with the thrust or orientation, I do believe that the far let has to be more critical of Putin and his policies and military role.  We can criticize the military-intelligence apparatus and its endorsement of Hillary and its attack on Trump (not for the right reasons) while also maintaining a critical stance of Russian government.  This of course should be done in conflict with the crazy mainstream media's coverage of Russia and its agitation for a return to the Cold War.  

What is happening in Jordan: what Western media and human rights organizations ignore

There has been a strong and wide campaign on social media in Jordan against corruption in government.  How has the royal regime responded? It has been issuing new laws and regulations banning criticisms of government and saying that they amount to "hatred culture" and "terrorism".  i am not making this up.

Finally. New York Times persuasively explains why it considers Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers terrorism

"Asked by The Electronic Intifada to comment why The New York Times used that term to characterize an attack on soldiers, Jodi Rudoren, deputy international editor and former Jerusalem bureau chief, replied, “A truck ramming into a crowd felt like terrorism.”"

Thursday, January 12, 2017

In Defense of the Syrian Observatory: about civilian casualties in Syria

Göran sent me this (I cite with his permission):  "I read your post on the Syrian Observatory and its suspicious statistics on Syrian war casualties. In this case, concerning the number of Islamic State fighters killed in a US raid on Deir ez-Zor.
I agree that this lone guy in the English countryside, with his secretive brotherhood of informers, on each and every side of the front lines, is simply not credible. The problem is who is credible?
You may be correct in your assessment of this specific incident. But this does not reflect the general tendency of SOHR. I haven’t found any clear signs of political agenda or bias in SOHR statistics. Apart from this early practice of counting Syrian rebel combatants as “civilians”. Mr. Abdel-Rahman’s sympathies are clearly on the opposition side. Yet his numbers consistently undermine many main themes of opposition propaganda.
When the Syrian regime (presumably) launched the Sarin gas attack 2013 on the Damascus eastern Ghouta suburbs, SOHR statistics showed only 502 deaths, about a third of the official American assessment. Abdel-Rahman commented: "America works only with one part of the opposition that is deep in propaganda."
We are often told that Russian air raid are solely focused on civilian targets (especially schools and hospitals) and conscientiously avoid hitting the Islamic State organization.
Not so, if we are to believe SOHR statistics. Since September 2015, 10,340 people have been killed in Russian air raids. 62 % of the casualties were combatants, almost equally distributed between rebels/islamists (3,068) and IS (2,887). The 38% civilian casualties presumably include both collateral damage and the Russian deliberate targeting of hospitals and schools.
We are also told that the Syrian army has collapsed and it is now mainly foreign “sectarian” militias doing the fighting for the regime side, while the opposition remains mainly Syrian.
Not so. According to SOHR statistics more than 90% of regime fatalities last year were Syrians (either army or domestic militia), while only 9% were non-Syrians, and that includes Palestinians. Only 1% regime side fatalities 2016 belonged to Hizballah.
On the opposition side (including rebels, islamists, Kurds and the IS), however, 62% of the killed last year were non-Syrians.
We are further told that the majority of the victims in the Syrian war are civilians.
Not so, according to SOHR. Of the total 49,742 killed in the Syrian conflict last year, only 27% were civilians and less than 10% were women or children. Which of course is terrible enough. But I would be surprised if any independent estimate of civilian casualties of an Israeli or American war has ever been this low.
According to SOHR statistics from the last month of the fighting in Aleppo city (Nov-Dec), a total of 993 were killed in east Aleppo, due to ground fighting, shelling and air bombardment, 45% of which were civilians. 56% were combatants from both sides. 130 were killed by rebel shelling of west Aleppo, 100% of which were civilians. Not a single combatant was killed. 

 Fatalities in Syria 2016
13 617
2 885
1 855
8 877

Total rebels
21 467
   Syrian rebels
8 170
   Foreign fighters
13 297

Total regime
14 192
  Syrian army / militia
12 886
  Foreign pro-gov't fighters
1 306


49 742

I wonder: would Human Rights Watch dare say that about Hizbullah?

Sarah Leah Whitson (@sarahleah1)
.@hrw - Tillerson conflating Islamist political groups like Muslim Brotherhood w violent extremists like AQ is ignorant of facts,

Aloïs Brunner and the Syrian regime

This is a typical Zionist ploy: to talk about Nazi infiltration of Arab lands.  Zionist hoodlums, especially official US Zionist organizations, were utterly silent about US recruitment and shipment of top Nazi scientists and intelligence terrorists who were recruited to work for the US military-intelligence apparatus.  There were no cries and protests by those groups about US utilization of a large contingent of Nazis: they were in the hundreds.  Yet, Israel and its supporters have for years peddled stories about Nazis in Arab governments.  They did that about Nasser.  There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever about use of Nazis by Arab governments--nothing verifiable.  Also, what was left of those Nazis when US took the bulk of them, and left what was left to the Soviet Union.  Here is another story about Brunner: all the stories about him being in Syria are not in any way verifiable and not even proven.  All are rumors which have been traced to Zionist organizations relying on the account of someone who told someone who told someone.  Brunner would have been in his 70s in the 1980s, and yet they have him training Syrian regime about intelligence--when the regime had the use of East European regimes at the time.  Notice that Zionists in the US never talk about the contacts between Saudi regime and the Nazi regime at its time. They never do.

Anti-BDS rules at a US IT company

From a reader: "Attached is a screenshot from a recent business compliance course (the compulsory ones for all employees) for an IT company where a friend of mine works (if you publish it, please don't mention names). On the right side, they mention that if they receive a request from a (potential) customer that wants to boycott Israel (not mentioned by name, just the flag), the company might decide to follow the regulation and report that customer to the US authorities."

Meet a WINEP Hizbullah expert

US soldier dressed in Iraqi fatigues photographed in Mosul

Seth Meyers

Meyers would be good if he is funny and interesting but he is neither.

Trump's pick for CIA: trained by Frank Gaffney

"Occasionally, Pompeo gestures at the idea that not all Muslims are the enemy, but he’s often quick to assign collective guilt. In June 2013, he took to the House floor to falsely accuse Muslim leaders of failing to condemn terrorism in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. “When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith, and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith,” he said. Then he added: “The silence in the face of extremism coming from the best-funded Islamic advocacy organizations and many mosques across America is absolutely deafening. It casts doubt upon the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith.”
In 2014, Pompeo appeared on a Family Research Council podcast along with the group’s president, Tony Perkins. Both were indignant at Obama’s claim that America isn’t engaged in a clash of civilizations with the Muslim world. “It is in fact a clash of civilizations!” said Perkins. “This is exactly what we’re facing here, and if he is unwilling to acknowledge that, how in the world do you protect Western civilization?” Pompeo responded: “In Western thought, there is this idea that you can’t address an evil absent calling it by its name. President Reagan understood that. President Bush, although he did not complete the mission, I think he understood that deeply.” Perhaps someone in the Senate can ask him how he plans to complete George W. Bush’s mission when he gets to the CIA."

Zygmunt Bauman, dead: his "liquid" Zionism

Bauman has died and the obituaries in the West did not bother to mention his interesting views on Israel and Zionism.  I don't support all his views on Israel: he refused the calls for boycott and gave lectures there in recent years.  He also had family ties to Israel. He was in Poland a hard-core communist and he was expelled from Poland after his father visited the Israeli embassy and inquired about emigration to Israel.  But when he moved to Israel he could not last: he said that he was escaping from nationalism.  He famously in an interview in Polish compared Israeli racist separation wall with the Nazi wall around Warsaw Ghetto.  That really infuriated Zionist hoodlums around the world.  He later tried to "clarify" his remarks but then added: that if the Palestinians were to have ignited the wall, the Zionists would have been the first to draw that analogy.  He was very critical of Israeli and Zionist political exploitation of the Holocaust for political ends.  But he believed in dialogue and all that.