Sunday, February 01, 2015

New York Times on the courage of the represnetative of the Jordanian monarchy at the UN

"and living up to a pledge given in his first statement on the job, his public comments have been unflinching: condemning the “meanspirited house of blood” of the Islamic State’s extremists; denouncing Sri Lanka’s outgoing government for obstructing the work of an inquiry into war crimes allegations".  Wow. How much courage does it take to attack ISIS and also the government of Sri Lanka? This man is quite daring and deserves a courage award. The New York Times falsely claimed in the article that criticized the US for the torture report. He did no such thing. He in fact praised the US for releasing the report as if the US government released the report willingly.

Scandalous: Director of HRW showers praise on the representative of the Jordanian monarchy at the UN

"Yet those familiar with his career applauded the choice. “He had all the attributes we wanted,” Kenneth Roth, the Human Rights Watch executive director, remarked of the prince, who has agreed to drop his royal title in his new post. “He is a man of stature and principle with a long and demonstrated commitment to human rights.”"  Would Roth dare shower praise on the representative of a regime that is not a client of the US? Would he have said that if this was a representative of an Iranian or Syrian or Cuban regime?   And what are the attributes you wanted, Roth?  Royal pedigree? 

Kobani lesson

The lesson of Kobani is that only Marxism can defeat Islamism. 

Dawkins wants regime change in Iran by spreading porn

Richard Dawkins today suggested broadcasting "loving, gentle, woman-respecting erotic videos" in Islamic theocracies as a means of challenging institutionalised religion. In a tweet he has since deleted, the controversial scientist and outspoken critic of religion asked: "Good idea to beam erotic videos to theocracies?" " (thanks Amir)

Electronic pledges of allegiance are religious permissible according to Wahhabiyyah cleric

A senior Wahhaiyyah cleric states that electronic pledges of allegiance to the Saudi King are religiously permissible. (thanks Jamal)

Mere alibi

The token Arabs in Zionist centers in Washington, DC are an alibi for the racism and hostility against Arabs in those centers.

An Arab at WINEP

"Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, a Palestinian scholar". Where can we find about his scholarship?  By the way, Dajani claims that he earned two doctorates (one from University of South Carolina and another from the University of Texas and both in political science).  Something is fishy here.

Dahlan is now Serbian: let us hope that he fully abandons his Palestinian nationality

"Serbia grants citizenship to Muhammad Dahlan".

Faruq Ash-Shar`'s new book, "The Missing Narrative"

Faruq Ash-Shar`'s new book, "The Missing Narrative" is out.  It deals with the era of Hafidh Al-Asad and negotiations with the US and Israel.  The author is a good writer and the account is quite interesting but it also shows the silly antics of Arab negotiators.  At one point he mentions that Bill Clinton greeted him at the door and said: "that this was a nice gesture from the president".  When I read that yesterday, I kept thinking about the great Lee Duc Tho.  Kissinger famously said about this great man: He made me age prematurely.  Tho never earned any degrees and devoted his life to communist struggle and spent close to a decade in jail fighting the French colonialists.  But he did not need degrees: this solid man used to lecture the former professor at Harvard sitting across the table from him.  He never wavered and never compromised and acted like he was the representative of the Great Power, and he was.  Even if you read Kissinger's account of Tho you realize that. And who does the Arab side have?  Saeb `Urayqat and Amru Musa and `Abdul-Halim Khaddam and Faruq Ash-Shar`.  Arab negotators are too impressed with empty gestures (Mahmoud Abbas in his account of Oslo expressed his pleasure and pride that Henry Kissinger even moved his chair in one event).   But the account by Shar` also reveals that Hafidh Al-Asad and his administration were greatly deceived by the Clinton administration and that Hafidh really liked Clinton and trusted him.  The Asad regime (from this volume at least) acted as if they even thought that the Clinton administration deceived the Americans but they couldn't countenance that they themselves were deceived by the American side.  Lee Duc Tho.

`Imad Mughniyyah and US role in Lebanon

All the accounts about the various violent deeds attributed to `Imad Mughniyyan conveniently gloss over this fact: that the US military was involved in Lebanon between 1982 and 1984 and that it too engaged in acts of terrorism against the Lebanese civilian population.  Some newspaper make it sound that the Bir Al-`Abd car bomb was the only act of violence by the US in Lebanon. This is not to mention that the US was sponsoring the terrorist regimes of Amin Gemayyel. So both sides have blood on their hands.

Muhammad bin Nayif did not earn his BA degree from Lewis and Clark

Saudis on Twitter are having a field day.  It is now official that Muhammad bin Nayif, unlike his own cv did not graduate from Lewis and Clark.  I was suspicious because early reports in the Arabic press only indicated that he has a BA from an "American university" without naming it.  I was in the midst of trying to verify when Time magazine published this story that the university is now confirming that he didn't graduate.   Yet, the statement by the University is reeking with pathetic obsequiousness in the hope of Saudi financial contributions.  This corruption of Gulf royal degrees is rampant. Prince Turki bin Faysal did not graduate from Georgetown (although the university later awarded him an honorary degree).  I also believe that the graduate degree (from SAIS) by Bandar bin Sultan and the other from his brother Khalid (from Auburn University in Alabama) are also corrupt.  Of course, British universities are even more corrupt and Oxford University admitted a son of Shaykh Zayid of UAE knowing that he does not even speak English (they hired a tutor for him).  University of Exeter was the worst: it basically sold degrees to wealthy officials and royals in the Gulf.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

There is "retaliation" and there is "sharp retaliation" which is a term coined by New York Times to refer to retaliation against Israel only

"Hezbollah antitank missiles killed two Israeli soldiers as they drove in a disputed area along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, a sharp retaliation for Israel’s deadly drone strike last week".

New York Times is lying here

"a strip claimed by Israel, Lebanon and sometimes Syria".  The previous text said "and Syria" but they sneakily added "Sometimes" later. In fact, Syrian officials more than once said that they consider the farms Lebanese.  As if the lands are Syrians, the Israeli terrorist state has the right to occupy it.

US State Department spokesperson on Israel's right to launch wars at will

"MS. PSAKI: Well, we will have a statement on this that may be going out during the briefing, in my name. So if it does, I’m happy to reiterate that, but you should have that in your inboxes soon. We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon, as prescribed by UNSCR 1701. We also, of course, condemn the act of violence and will be watching the situation closely.

QUESTION: You condemn the act of violence – you’re referring to?

MS. PSAKI: The attacks.

QUESTION: The Hezbollah attacks?

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. Just on a technical question: There are some who have made the argument that this area, Shebaa Farms, is Israeli-occupied Lebanon. What’s the U.S. position on the status of this area?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check with our legal team on the specific status, Matt. I’m happy to do that.

QUESTION: Do you know if anyone – the Secretary or anyone else – has been in touch with either the Israelis or the Lebanese about this issue?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any calls to read out from the Secretary this morning. As you know, he flew back and arrived early this morning. I can certainly check on contacts with our teams on the ground. I would certainly suspect that our teams in Lebanon and Israel have been in touch with relevant authorities.

QUESTION: Jen, do you think that the Lebanese army or the Lebanese Government bear any responsibility in this attack?

MS. PSAKI: I think this is an attack that obviously just happened. We certainly encourage all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation. You’re familiar with our views on Hezbollah. As I mentioned, we strongly condemn Hezbollah’s attack today near the border, but beyond that I’m not going to speculate further.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: You began your comments on this by reaffirming your belief that Israel has the right to self-defense, and then – which might be taken as that they have a right to defend against attacks like the one that killed the two soldiers, and now you say, however, that you encourage all sides to refrain from any actions that could escalate the situation. Which is it? I mean, do you feel that the Israelis should not take any actions that would escalate the situation, or do you feel that they have every right to attack in self-defense against such things?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they have the right to, Arshad, but certainly our preference is to reduce the tensions and the violence and the back and forth from here."

Bush's favorite Shi`ite cleric in the US

"A nationally known Muslim leader, Al-Qazwini announced he was stepping down during his Friday afternoon sermon, the most popular gathering time for Muslims. Afterward, when members asked him to stay, Al-Qazwini said he would reconsider if the board dissolves.

"The entire board has to be dissolved, with the exception of the founding fathers" of the mosque, Al-Qazwini said, according to a recording of his afternoon sermon. "The entire system has to be dissolved. The by-laws have to be dissolved.""

The Washington Post is lying here

"The exchange of fire took place in a contested area known as Shebaa Farms. Hezbollah says the area belongs to Lebanon, and the United Nations defines the area as part of Syria. The Israelis claim it is theirs." The Post changed the language and it claimed that Syria claims it was Syrian which is a lie as the Syrian government said more than once that it is Lebanese. The notion that the UN defines the area as "part of Syria" is, in international legal language, bullshit. The UN does NOT define which borders are between countries: this is an ignorant belief common among March 14 politicians in Lebanon and the Post correspondent in Beirut reproduced the propaganda talking point of March 14 without realizing that it is not true.  Countries demarcate borders among them and they simply deposit the agreement with the UN. The UN has no role whatsoever in demarcations.

The president of my school in Beirut (IC)

Let me ask you this: would an Arab who had fought with Hizbullah or Hamas be allowed to serve as head of a private school in the US?  "Bergman served four years in the Navy, including a tour in Vietnam, and later went on to university and obtained a teaching degree in History, Geography and Physical Education. His international teaching assignments have included schools in Australia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore."

This piece about SA in the Economist

It reads as if it was written by a PR firm hired by the Saudi embassy in London.

Valls explains

"Holocaust denial was outlawed in 1990, and “apology for terrorism” last year. There is a “fundamental difference”, declared the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, in a speech to parliament on January 13th, between the “freedom of impertinence” and “anti-Semitism, racism, apology for terrorism, Holocaust denial”."

class matters

Germany and Israel

"One, by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think-tank named after the chancellor who negotiated with Israel’s David Ben-Gurion, found that 70% of Israelis see Germany positively. That makes Germany their favourite country in Europe, as thousands of Israelis in Berlin would agree. But a poll by the Bertelsmann Foundation, another think-tank, found Germans more sceptical toward Israel, mainly because of its treatment of Palestinians: 36% have a positive opinion, but 48% are critical. Among young adults, it is more than half."

Guantánamo Diary

"It is compelling reading nonetheless, chiefly for its contents but also because of the idiosyncratic command of English that Mr Slahi picked up mainly during his confinement. He vividly describes being deprived of sleep for days on end and chained to the floor of freezing cold rooms. He is force-fed seawater, sexually molested, subjected to a mock execution and repeatedly beaten, kicked and smashed across the face, all spiced with threats that his mother will be brought to Guantánamo and gang-raped. At one point, Mr Slahi admits to his interrogators that he is beginning to hear voices that aren’t there. But the torture, he says, failed—not to make him talk, but to tell the truth. Instead, he writes, he simply admitted to anything he thought his jailers might want to hear.

Their actions are baffling and often contradictory: an interrogator questions him about a suspected terrorist who travelled to Iraq in 2003—even though, as his captors knew full well, Mr Slahi had been in prison since 2001 and could not possibly know the answer. The book is also shot through with thick black “redaction” marks, in which an American censor has deemed certain passages too secret to be published. Yet information that is blacked out on one page is often freely available a few pages later; at other times it is trivially easy to deduce what the missing words must be from the surrounding context.

Fourteen years after his trip to the Mauritanian police station, Mr Slahi remains in Guantánamo Bay. Throughout the book, he protests his innocence, maintaining that he had cut his ties to radical Islamism in the early 1990s. It is impossible for his readers to know whether that is true. But a federal judge reviewed the government’s evidence against him, found it wanting, and in 2010 ordered Mr Slahi’s release. Barack Obama’s government appealed, and the case remains pending. Ten years after penning his diary, and with the world’s most powerful democracy having failed to give him a trial, Mr Slahi remains in jail."

New Saudi King's terrorist ties

"Salman also helped recruit fighters for Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan Salafist fighter who served as a mentor to both Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

French police question 8-year-old on suspicion of "defending terrorism"

"Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of “defending terrorism.” " (thanks David)

Canada tracks millions of downloads daily

"The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system. According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA." (thanks Amir)

The Pakistani press but not the Arabic press publishes criticisms of House of Saud

"Saudi Arabia, among some other Arab states, also funds mosques in Western cities where many clerics, whose salaries are reportedly paid by Riyadh, preach hate against the West and non-Wahabi sects. While the official Wahabi clergy stick to a literalist, joyless interpretation of Islam, they overlook the injunctions against rule by despots. They have thus provided the Saudi royal family with a spurious legitimacy in exchange for the tight control they wield over internal social policy. The royal family and the clergy are in a symbiotic embrace that has made them a barrier to change.

With an army of some 7,000 princes to keep in style, the House of Saud has a strong incentive to maintain a lucrative status quo. This creates their leverage with Washington, London and Paris: with the world’s biggest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia has been ensuring a steady supply of oil to the global markets.

The other factor that keeps leaders like Obama and Cameron onside is the rich market for arms the kingdom has become over the years. These purchases, often accompanied with allegations of vast bribes, generate jobs as well as obscene profits.

Finally, the ‘stability’ repeatedly evoked in the recent eulogies to Abdullah refers to his role in leading the fight to roll back the Arab Spring. From Egypt to Bahrain, it has been Saudi money and political support that has blocked change. Simul­tan­eously, however, Saudi Arabia has also reportedly financed extremist rebel groups in Syria. "

UAE repression

UAE: repression on all fronts.

Germany Owes Greece 11 Billion Euros From Nazi-Enforced "Loan"

"Germany owes the impressive amount of 11 billion euros to Greece, solely due to the forced occupation loan taken by the Nazis during World War II and which remains unpaid until today, a new official Greek report, handed to the Finance Ministry, revealed. Despite the outboasting report, Berlin, on its part, insists not to recognize that debt." (thanks Nikolai)

Does the US really want to declare war on Hizbullah?

Hizbullah clearly has not wanted to declare war or to engage in war with the US during the years of Nasrallah's leadership.  In fact, Hizbullah did not, as far as I can tell, engage in operations against US interests since mid-1980s (the TWA plane was the last attack although Hizbullah says that it never formed as an organization until after 1985, which is a way to distance itself form past attacks).  The publication of the role of the US in the assassination of Mughniyyah in the Washington Post today will lead the party to reconsider its stance toward the US.  It has been clear that Israel has always wanted the US to adopt the same enemies that Israel has.  Hamas has also never engaged in attacks on the US or its interests but Zionists in the US government want the position of the US to mirror that of Israel.  The US role in the assassination should be read in that regard.  That the US decided to adopt Israel's enemies, and to ensure that they become enemies (foolishly or calculatingly) of the US will have consequences that the policy makers who decided to involve the US in the assassination didn't consider.  But, hey, we are talking about the brilliant minds of Bush and Cheney here.  There are several problems with the article in the Post today: 1) why do ignorant US media still insist that Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah was a leader of Hizbullah?  He never was.  2) the chronology of the deeds of Mughniyyah in the chart are not accurate. The kidnapping and killing of Col. Higgens in 1988 was NOT perpetrated by Mughniyyah but by a small off-shoot of Amal Movement called "The Faithful Resistance" led by Mustafa Dirani. 

This blog and its future

Thanks to all those who wrote asking me to keep the blog.  I have not decided to close down the blog but I only discussed the matter with Michele in the wake of the announcement by Andrew Sullivan because it made think about the future of this blog which is now more than 10 years old (12, since I started in 2003).

Saudi royal decrees

To decrees got my attention from the list of Saudi royal decrees.
1) The appointment of Tamim bin `Abdul-`Aziz bin Yusuf As-Salim as "assistant to the private secretary of the Servitor of the two Holy Sites at the rank of Excellent."  So even the appointment of an assistant to the private secretary requires a royal decree?  What an institution-based regime.
2) The appointment of Hazim bin Mustafa `Abdul-Wahid as "chief of the private affairs of the Servitor of the Two Holy Sites at the rank of Minister".  I don't mean to bother you but what are "the private affairs" of the Servitor?

PS Yes, I actually read all the royal decrees.

Muhammad bin Salman is 29-years old

By the way, Muhammad bin Salman is only 29-years old and they suddenly in the recent decrees made him 35. 

The US government and the assassination of `Imad Mughniyyah

As some of you may remember, I had expressed my belief of a US role back in 2014:
"Monday, June 30, 2014
Who Killed `Imad Mughniyyah
Oh, I forgot to add one element to my critique of Kai Bird's The Good Spy.  The author maintains that there is evidence that the US government and not the Mossad was behind the killing of Mughniyyah.  I believe that.  If Israel had the intelligence about Mughniyyah's whereabouts, it is most likely that it would have provided the intelligence to the US knowing how much the US wants to get him.  And if the US had the intelligence about his whereabouts, it is doubtful that it would have provided it to Mossad to do the job when it has been wanting to do it for decades." 
But the dumbest propaganda about the Mughniyyah assassination came from the US Director of Central Intelligence who had maintained in 2008 that the assassination was due to "an internal" matter within Hizbullah or that Syrian government was behind it. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The real accomplishments of `Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The real accomplishments of `Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz".

The Media of Saudi princes

Si le Hezbollah libérait la Palestine, le titre d’al-Arabiya ressemblerait à «Le Hezbollah refuse de libérer l’Andalousie».
Asad Abukhalil, blogueur libanais aux Etats-Unis - @asadabukhalil - 23200 abonnés.

Nasrallah's speech

The April 1996 understanding is now dead.

Flagrant contradiction in New York Times article: so is this Israel a "vibrant democracy" or not??

From Dan: "Did you notice the flagrant contradiction in the New York Times article about the new documentary on "previously unaired admissions of brutal behavior" by Israeli soldiers in the 1967 war?

In the first half of the article, we read the following:

“Asked to respond to the film, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the Israel Defense Forces said it was ‘representative of Israel’s vibrant democracy, where everything can be and is openly discussed,’”

Then, further down in the very same article we read:

“She [the director] was deep into the project before she discovered that the film, too, would be subject to censorship, she said.
Israel forbids the filmmakers to reveal how much they were forced to change, and the military censor’s office refused to discuss it.”"

See how people in Saudi Arabia are expected to pledge allegiance to the King and the Crown prince and the crown price of the crown prince

Look at the new Saudi schtick: they make cut-out pictures of the King and the two crown clowns and then they have somebody stand behind them to extend his hand which is then shaken by the citizens. 

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.

Look at this idiocy: BECAUSE OF HIS WESTERN EDUCATION

"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.’ ” "