Monday, August 31, 2015

American Television and the plight of girls in Fiji

"Just a few years after the introduction of television to a province of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, eating disorders -- once virtually unheard of there -- are on the rise among girls, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Psychiatric Association meetings in Washington. Young girls dream of looking not like their mothers and aunts, but like the slender stars of ''Melrose Place'' and ''Beverly Hills 90210.'' 
''I'm very heavy,'' one Fijian adolescent lamented during an interview with researchers led by Dr. Anne E. Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, who investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a three-year period. 
The Fijian girl said her friends also tell her that she is too fat, ''and sometimes I'm depressed because I always want to lose weight.'' 
Epidemiological studies have shown that eating disorders are more prevalent in industrialized countries, suggesting that cultural factors play a role. But few studies have examined the effects of long-term cultural shifts on disordered eating in traditional societies. 
Dr. Becker and her colleagues surveyed 63 Fijian secondary school girls, whose average age was 17. The work began in 1995, one month after satellites began beaming television signals to the region. In 1998, the researchers surveyed another group of 65 girls from the same schools, who were matched in age, weight and other characteristics with the subjects in the earlier group. 
Fifteen percent in the 1998 survey reported that they had induced vomiting to control their weight, the researchers said, compared with 3 percent in the 1995 survey. And 29 percent scored highly on a test of eating-disorder risk, compared with 13 percent three years before. 
Girls who said they watched television three or more nights a week in the 1998 survey were 50 percent more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' and 30 percent more likely to diet than girls who watched television less frequently."

Women in Israel

In Israel: "One woman is killed by her spouse every 9 days".

The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, Fourth Edition.

US-supported Saudi-led coalition air strikes kill more civilians

"An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said. In another air raid on the capital Sanaa, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city." "The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning," resident Issa Ahmed told Reuters by phone from the site in Hajjah."

Nabi Saleh

"The village of Nabi Saleh has organized a weekly demonstration every Friday –without exception – since 2009, in protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and the confiscation of Nabi Saleh land by the nearby illegal Halamish settlement."

a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children

"The video clearly shows, once again, the truth about a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children." (thanks Amir)

Class analysis of Beirut protests

Comrade Amer writes.

Larry King and the "dark-skinned man" in the New York Times magazine

"A dark-skinned man approached and asked King if he would pose for a photo.  ‘‘Where are you from?’’ King asked. ‘‘Saudi Arabia,’’ the man said.  ‘‘I’m a Jew!’’ King informed him. ‘‘You sure it’s O.K. to get your picture taken with a Jew back in Saudi Arabia?’’  The man assured him that indeed Larry King had many fans in Saudi Arabia. They smiled for the picture. ‘‘Thank you, Mr. King,’’ the man said. They shook hands, and King looked him in the eye. ‘‘Now,’’ he said, ‘‘please, go fight ISIS!’’"

Oliver Sacks and Zionism

"But in “Uncle Tungsten,” his 2001 memoir about his childhood love of chemistry, he explained that the inflamed Zionist meetings his parents held before the war helped turn him away from organized religion."

Classism in Lebanon

"Some protesters that came last night from Baalbeck to Riad al-Solh Square were reportedly behind the riots, otherwise the protest in downtown Beirut in the Martyrs square was peaceful." (thanks Basim)

You, who are Charlie

"But then a leading French intellectual, the leftwing historian and sociologist Emmanuel Todd, lobbed what he called his own “magnificently crafted Exocet missile” at the nation, with a book arguing that the street rallies were a giant lie. The rallies, he argued, were not what they claimed to be – an admirable coming-together of people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds standing up for tolerance – but an odious display of middle-class domination, prejudice and Islamophobia. To Todd, they represented “a sudden glimpse of totalitarianism”. These “sham” demonstrations, he claimed, were made up of a one-sided elite who wanted to spit on Islam, the religion of a weak minority in France. The working class and the children of immigrants had been notably absent, he said. The most enthusiastic demonstrations, he decided, had occurred in the country’s most historically Catholic and reactionary regions, an affirmation of the middle class’s moral superiority and domination, and their Islamophobic quest for a scapegoat."

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Salutations to the (anonymous) comrade who carried this salutation sign to me yesterday during the lame protests.

This is what Hamas is teaching in Islamic University in Gaza

The full translation of this book is: "Coil in Uncovering the Unbelief and Repugnancy of the Shi`ite religion".

This is about a dead guy who gives interviews

From a well-known American correspondent in the Middle East: "this is outrageous and an example of the kind of sloppy reporting (and accountability) that makes us all look bad. It’s not the first time this guy has been wrong but this is so obvious it’s scandalous. If you post it please do so without attribution. 

Ammar al-Wawi is a commander with the US-trained Division 30 Syrian rebel group (the 54 guys the US trained at a cost of millions of dollars each who were routed by Jabhat al-Nusra recently). He is not hard to reach and has given many media interviews, but he was declared dead by Jamie Dettmer in December 2013. ( It was clear at the time that Wawi was not killed by Jihadists (because he was giving media interviews!) but Dettmer repeated the lie in several other articles ( and  As far as I can tell, a correction has not been issued. "

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Anne Barnard is at it again: she explains Lebanese political divisions to American readers

"The main political divides in Lebanon are between the March 14 movement, which came together to demand the end of Syria’s military presence in Lebanon in 2005 after the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and the March 8 movement, which backed the Syrian government."  But here is the mystery, Anne: you mention the sponsor of March 8, but who is the sponsor of March 14? Unless you are implying that only one side is sponsored by a regional tyrannical power.  Let me guess: March 14 is sponsored by Finland?

PS Also, there are tons of organizations sponsoring the protests: most of them are leftists. She managed to speak to the one non-leftist organization among them.

PPS: She is wrong: Nuhad Al-Mashnuq is related to Muhammad Al-Mashnuq. It is the same Beiruti family. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flash: Palestinian women teach an Israeli terrorist a lesson

Odors and Protests in Lebanon

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Odors and Protests in Beirut: Legacy of Rafiq Hariri."

Israeli police

From Eyal: "A Palestinian from Jenin was assaulted in Netanya by locals. Despite
being injured from the blows, but managed to escape his assailants and
call the (Israeli) police. They proceeded to arrest... the Palestinian,
and nobody else. You can always trust the police here to fight crime!

By the way, for those who haven't noticed, over the past year, over half
of the police commissioners in Israel resigned: Several due to
allegations of sexual assault against female police officers and one due
to a corruption scandal involving a lawyer and a district prosecutor
official who had conspired to help shield people from criminal
investigations. So now the minister of internal security has decided to
appoint someone 'clean', from outside the police force, as the new chief
of police. He appointed... you guessed it, a retired high-ranking
military officer, Gal Hirsch.

The same Hirsch, during his tenure as the head of the Israeli Military's
officer school, introduced numerous Jewish religious texts into the
commander's library and the cadets' library, and initiated the
construction of the Great Synagogue at the officer school. He commanded
a division of the force invading Lebanon in the war of 2006. Indeed, an
"inspiration" to us all."

Saudi mufti meets with US-Saudi new ally in Yemen, Shaykh Zandani (a Ben Ladenite)

Do you notice that the Brazani police state in northern Iraq still gets good press in the US?

""Kurdish security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Thursday night saw the execution of a security plan in which Arab Sunnis_of which there are tens of thousands as refugees in the Kurdisn areas_that have been under observation were being arrested in a series of raids throughput the area. Plainclothes Kurdish security forces could be seen in unmarked cars throughout may areas of the capital, as, according to the officials, steps were taken to prevent ‘sleeper cell’ attacks inside the city.""

Threat to world peace

"Washington alone builds roughly eight new warships a year, including a brand-new nuclear carrier every four or five years" (thanks Krim)

Notice that a Zionist in the US is able to say things that a non-Zionist would be accused of rabid anti-Semitism for saying it

Where is the ADL about this statement by this Israeli Zionist? "Natalie Portman revealed in a recent interview that she believes her childhood Jewish education placed too much emphasis on the Holocaust, arguing that the Jewish community must focus more on other injustices being perpetrated around the globe."

From Jadaliyyah: on Lebanon

Comrade Maya: "Lebanese media pose these young men as “hooligans” or “dogs,” in diametrical opposition to the non-sectarian, educated, independent thinking, middle class and non-violent protestors. The license given to armed forces to break their bones and bodies is more generous than the license given regarding the bones of “peaceful protestors.” These are discourses on masculinity that proliferate across borders in the twinned eras of the war on terror and of neoliberal securitization. They intersect and traffic alongside discourses on sectarianism, masculinity and violence in Lebanon."

US embassy in Beirut and its dirty media tricks

So the US government is strongly on the record on the side of the corrupt Lebanese government and its repressive security services. But just in case, today the US embassy seems to have ordered the bribable Lebanese journalists through to leak to imply that the US government is not pleased with repression. Nothing in public statement. The US government wants, typically, to have it both ways.

Saudi dilemma

"Yet the key difference between the aforementioned military defeats and the ongoing Saudi-led campaign
in Yemen is the group constituting the opposition. Riyadh’s expensive war against the Houthis will face scrutiny from a growing unemployed youth population. There will likely be international opposition as well as criticism from voices within the ruling family. Whereas Saddam Hussein’s regime relied on brutal and reprehensible tactics to maintain a firm grasp on power, Mohamed bin Salman is in no position to execute members of his extended family as a means to 
hold power. The Deputy Crown Prince faces a dire dilemma in terms of his next move."

Take this as a rule: when the corrupt PA denies it is lying

They steal and then deny.

When it comes to information and evidence about Hizbollah, Nicholas Branford only relies on objective and neutral sources

From Basim: "According to Matt Levitt, a counter-terrorism and intelligence specialist with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mughassil was living in Beirut prior to the 1996 attack. “He basically ran the Khobar operation – directing surveillance, providing funds, arranging for the explosives to be driven from Lebanon – from his Beirut apartment,” Mr. Levitt says."

Libya is a Western model

"Administration officials say that even though the NATO intervention in Libya, emphasizing airstrikes to protect civilians, cannot be applied uniformly in other hotspots like Syria, the conflict may, in some important ways, become a model for how the United States wields force in other countries where its interests are threatened."

This is an American-Saudi war in Syria (not to be confused with the American-Saudi war in Yemen)

"First was the murder of Gen. Abdo Khodr al-Tellawi with his two sons and cousin in Homs' Bab Tadmor district on April 17, 2011, while they were going to the general's home in the Zahra district. Tellawi, whose arms and legs were chopped off, was an Alawite — a religious minority of which embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a member. The second event came soon after, when a bus headed to Zahra was stopped and 13 people were killed, including three women. One woman was forced to march naked in the streets. All the victims were Alawites, he said. But Alawites did not retaliate, and kept silent for four months. The rebels continued their violent anti-Alawite campaign, cutting off roads and picking up Alawites." (thanks Amir)

Hariri movement and the protests on Saturday

For a whole week the Hariri movement has been demonizing the protest movement blaming Hizbollah for it, and today Interior Minister even faulted a US conspiracy.  But today, out of panic the Hariri movement seems to shift gear and wants to steal the momentum by calling on their supporters to participate--in a protest against corruption, mind you.

Is ISIS really getting an unfair bad press? Well, this Daily Telegraph correspondent in Beirut thinks so

Ziad sent me this.

Bashshar and not responding to Israeli attacks

I won't even cite his lousy words, but you should read the lousy answer that Syrian tyrant, Bashshar Al-Asad, gave to the question about why his lousy regime does not respond to Israeli attacks.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Who says Western media don't care about Arab women?

"The perfectly polished pair stepped out in complementary outfits for the high-profile occasion. Queen Rania looked elegant in a cream knee-length dress that had billowing sleeves with slits to the elbow and a neck-tie detailing. She carried a pale pink box-style bag by Kate Spade and wore high-heeled pointed courts with a tie-fastening. Meanwhile young Princess Iman bint Abdullah looked smart in a white dress with a bold red pattern around the waist, caged beige sandals and a white crochet cardigan." ( thanks Basim)

Forgotten Gaza

"It’s not merely because the Gaza Strip has been categorised as “the world’s largest open-air prison” that Dr. Zeyada’s metaphor hits home. It’s also because being Palestinian in Gaza - existing, more or less, in a permanent state of traumatic stress - often amounts to psychological torture."

Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is

"Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is; you do not say that the chronic shooting of unarmed black citizens by the police is a major problem since not everyone agrees that it is; and you do not object when a major presidential candidate stokes dangerous nativist resentments while demanding mass deportation of millions of people. These are the strictures that have utterly neutered American journalism, drained it of its vitality and core purpose, and ensured that it does little other than serve those who wield the greatest power and have the highest interest in preserving the status quo."

Oh, how beautiful: when all the social classes unite in downtown Beirut

"The protest on August 22 attracted a broad spectrum of Lebanese from different regions, economic backgrounds, and sects."  They were all so united and nice and loving but when they saw poor Shi`its coming from a poor quarter in the city, they all panicked and called on the security forces to remove them by force and to name them to defame them.  Oh, how beautiful and united it was.

Israeli weapons fueling South Sudan civil war

"Israeli weapons are being used in South Sudan by the local army and its senior officers, according to a recent UN report." "According to the current report, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army has been implementing a scorched-earth policy, and has been involved in indiscriminate killing, rape, pillaging, destruction of infrastructure and uprooting of civilians from their homes."

Everyone understands that

"So American military power is at work every day all over the world, and I think everyone understands that."

The U.S. has around 800 military bases outside of the nation's borders

"The U.S. has around 800 military bases outside of the nation's borders." "Largely, people of course don't like their land occupied by foreign troops — and I think it's worth thinking, for American audiences, to think about how it would feel to have foreign troops living next door, occupying your land with tanks. ... There have also been a number of harms that these bases have inflicted on local communities — there have been accidents, crimes committed by U.S. personnel, environmental damage — a whole range of damage that people were quite upset about." (thanks Amir)

"civil society organizations"

The Saudi regime, like Western governments, discovered that "civil society organizations" can become a mere tool in the hands of government. Yesterday, the Saudi regime issued a statement on behalf of Yemeni "civil society organizations" in which the latter vomited the rhetoric of House of Saud on Yemen.  In Lebanon, Hariri family basically orders "civil society organizations" around.

It is Hebrew not Arabic: no need for alarm

"'Arabic Terror Threat' Was Actually A Hebrew Welcome Sign"

US ambassador in Jordan is really pissing people off

Read here.

Human Rights Watch speaks on Lebanon: how its office in Beirut is part of March 14 political coalition

1) look at this sentence: "Witnesses said that some protesters threw firecrackers and water bottles over the police barrier near the Grand Serail".  I don't understand the point. Is HRW trying to say that this is violent that justifies the government's violence?
2) "The Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, which monitors freedom of the press, ".  Are you kidding me? You cite the most discredited media organization in Lebanon? Skeyes? The one that refuses to include in its definition of the Middl East region all Gulf regimes?  That same organization is your reference? the organization that is aligned with March 14, which controls the government of Lebanon? This is how you gather information?
3) this is another source for HRW: "Nada Andraos, a journalist from LBC TV, a local station. He does not mention that this is the same station that described all poor protesters as thugs and uncivilized and the same Andraos is the one who talked about poor protesters like this: "they don't look like they are activists or students or teachers".
4) The statement does not mention that the security forces guilty of the abuses mentioned (mildly) are controlled by March 14 and their sponsors in SA and USA.
5) the statement did not utter one word about the hate sectarian language of March 14 journalists in Lebanon. Not one word especially that those journalists loudly called on the authorities to use force against them.
6) Notice that the statement mentioned only one organization among all the organizers of protests, and the one mentioned is the most conservative of the bunch.

This is a reporter with LBC-TV, the station founded by Bashir Gemayyel: she is talking about the poor protesters

It is always about social class, stupid.

Did the US violate its own law and international law by tipping of Saudi Arabia?

It seems that the US tipped off the Saudi regime to order the Lebanese Security Services (a militia run by Hariri family and funded by Saudi Arabia and US and is playing a big role in repressing the Lebanese people) to arrest a Saudi dissident (who is accused by Saudi regime of involvement in the Khubar bombing).  Even if he is guilty (and he has not been tried), the US government led to his arrest by a government that beheads.  Is there not an American law against surrounding a wanted man to a government that does not even have a semblance of rule of law, as the recent report by Amnesty International indicated?

US-trained, US-armed, and US-funded Lebanese Security forces uncover terrorist weapons

In an official statement yesterday, Lebanese Security Forces announce with great fanfare (the last word is according to Watt of Arabic origin but he does not provide a convincing etymology) that they captured...firecrackers--I KID YOU NOT--with the protesters and that it was "highly explosive".