Thursday, April 17, 2014

terrorism mindset

"The answer lies in a cultural-political mindset that has been cultivated over several decades. When a section of policy makers began to develop a vocabulary around Arab and Muslim terrorism in the 1970s, Hollywood stepped in to visualize this new enemy. Dozens of films about brown terrorists bent on attacking the U.S. and Americans, like "Black Sunday" (1977) and "True Lies" (1994), shaped our collective imaginations so effectively that when the Oklahoma bombing occurred in 1995, it was automatically assumed that Arabs were responsible.

The real trauma of 9/11 elevated this mindset, creating fear and paranoia that terrorists are everywhere. Though we are twice as likely to die from a lightening strike than a terror plot, government campaigns such as “See Something, Say Something,” and popular television shows like “24” and “Homeland,” have inculcated a pervasive threat consciousness.

This ritualistic and repetitive depiction of a vulnerable homeland is what has allowed for the emergence of a surveillance state that now sees fit to monitor all its citizens. Few politicians have challenged such invasive surveillance for fear of being cast as “soft on terrorism.”

Thus, a “terrorism mindset” espoused by politicians and bolstered by the culture industry has justified the creation of a massive national security state that systematically violates our civil liberties. "

Aqsa mosque shootings

Scores of Palestinian worshipers were shot by Israeli troops at Al-Aqsa mosque but that is not worthy of coverage.

The new Saudi interim chief of intelligence

About his family name: "he is saudi.. originally from Assir, which his family ruled from ottoman times until 1934. the family is originally form fez, morocco, but way back
saudis you are talking to don't know their history". (thanks Edouard)

Tamarod as a front of the Egyptian military

"For the first time, one of the five founders of the Tamarod, the movement that led the protests that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood last year, admits his movement was taking orders from the army. “We were naive, we were not responsible.” " (thanks Yusuf)

Russian sympathizers threaten Ukrainian military

"The Ukrainian military on Tuesday secured an airfield threatened by Russian sympathizers".  Basically, the Ukrainian military is using its military and its "anti-terrorism" forces against protesters. Imagine if this was done by an anti-US regime.  And look how the White House invokes the same language used by the previous Ukrainian government: "“The Ukrainian government has a responsibility to provide law and order, and these provocations in eastern Ukraine are creating a situation in which the government has to respond,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said."

This is how the Style section of the Washington Post talks about Golda Meir in a review of a play about her

"The narrative frame for “Golda’s Balcony” is the Yom Kippur War, when Israel came under surprise attack on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar by Egypt and others among its hostile neighbors, and Meir faced an anguishing decision. With the military outlook bleak, Israel’s allies wavering and the prospect of Jewish annihilation becoming real again...This peace-loving woman who seemed constitutionally incapable of running from a fight was now poised to ignite the most cataclysmic one in history."  Do I really have to comment about this? But I like when Zionist media refer to the 1973 war as "surprise attack".  Arabs should have notified Israel that they were about to attack.  Not doing so was clearly anti-Semitic.  Note the word "anguish" appears.  And Jewish annihilation? This is why Arabs went to war in 1973?

Contextualizing the story of US killing of Afghan civilians to death in the New York Times

Look how far the New York Times goes in order to justify the death of civilians by US strikes: "The American-led military coalition issued a statement saying that it was aware of the reports of civilian casualties, and that “we are looking into these allegations and will provide more information as available.”

The number of civilian deaths at the hands of coalition forces has been in rapid decline, in large part because conventional American troops rarely leave their bases anymore. Special Operations forces continue to conduct missions, typically alongside their Afghan counterparts, as advisers. On occasion, when overwhelmed by insurgent fire, they call in air support.

But even those airstrikes have grown rare, as coalition officials contend with an increasingly tough political landscape. Drone strikes have also contributed to civilian deaths, though the coalition says it scaled those back."

How much graffitti I wrote in my youth around Beirut

"The Athens police rarely arrest graffiti artists, unless they are suspected of belonging to anarchist groups or the extreme-right Golden Dawn party."

Saudi Arabian residents and Western music

"Saudi Arabia residents are more likely than other nations to listen to Western music."

"Syrian refugee family in Turkey 'trying to leave this miserable life'"

"A few months ago, Ameena worked long hours sorting underwear packages in a garment factory that only employs girls. For five days of work, the 12-year-old earned 230 lira a month, about $120. Disgusted, the family kept Ameena home and lost the income. Hannan has lobbied the Turkish authorities for assistance. "I went to the municipality and asked for help but I got nothing," she says. She got her residency card, hoping that would help. "Instead, they have put obstacles in front of us," she adds."

a rare view from Syria--that is too bothersome to the Western correspondents in Beirut

"People here see their country as being threatened by foreign powers (above all Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all backed by the West) who are sponsoring the jihadist groups that make up the opposition. I was struck by the fact that this argument is not made only by the Alawite coterie around the president. I also heard it from Sunni Muslims, Christians and members of the various other cultural and religious groups that abound in Syria. How can this square with the Western narrative that President Assad's government, with the aid of a handful of tribal followers, is hell-bent on the destruction of the rest of the country? Consider the facts. Only a handful of members of Assad's 30-strong cabinet (I was told two) are Alawite. The prime minister is Sunni, as are the interior minister, the justice minister, the foreign minister, even the defence minister. The delegation that travelled to Geneva for the failed peace talks several months ago was also almost entirely composed of Sunni Muslims (though they would probably reject sectarian terms, and prefer to think of themselves just as Syrians)."

Azerbaijan is a trusted partner of the U.S. and NATO

"It is also noted in the resolution that Azerbaijan is a trusted partner of the U.S. and NATO, and this is confirmed by Azerbaijan's participation in peacekeeping operations in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan, and transportation of 40 percent of goods to Afghanistan through the country's territory." (thanks Amir)

Criminalizing criticism of Israel in Canada

"This essay will argue that revisions to the Canadian Criminal Code proposed by the Harper government contain wording that is designed to enable lawfare prosecutions of human rights activists in precisely the manner desired by Mr. Netanyahu and his associates."

Reuters discovers something called Ahab School of Sunni Islam: where do those Western journalists learn about the Middle East and Islam?

"But the al-Saud dynasty has always ruled in conjunction with powerful clerics of the kingdom's official Ahab school of Sunni Islam and treads carefully around questions of religious or social change for fear of provoking a conservative backlash." (thanks Basim)

Torture in Jordan

You won't read about torture in Jordan in the Western press.

An environmentalist Ayatullah

Grand Ayatullah Bashir Najafi is an environmentalist.

member of the Israeli military/intelligence apparatus is identified as "civilian" in the New York Times

Look at the headline:  "Israeli Officer Killed on Way to Seder in West Bank".
Then you read the story: "It was the first killing of an Israeli civilian..."  In fact, the Israeli press identified the man as a member of the Israeli military/intelligence apparatus.

Edward Snowden and the Nobel Prize

If there was someone who uncovered international mass surveillance, as Edward Snowden has done, by the Chinese or the Russian government, he/she would have been awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. I have no doubt.

gas attacks in Syria

How do the Western correspondents in Beirut decide when to cover claims by Syrian rebels about gas attacks against them? I mean, all Western media covered a week ago such claims by the rebels.  But there were other new claims by the rebels. Why are they not covered? Do they decide when to cover on the basis of the the resolution of youtube videos, for example?

"Lebanon: Ater the Cedar Revolution"

Regarding the new book, "Lebanon: After the Cedar Revolution" by Are Knudsen and Michael Kerr, eds, newly published by Oxford University Press.  It usually takes you a few pages to figure the political bias of a particular book on the Middle East but not with this one.  By page 8 you realize that the authors are parroting the propaganda of the Hariri movement.  Oddly, the authors consistently refer to the humiliating Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon (minus the Shib`a farms, the Kfar Shuba hills, and the Ghajar village) as "unilateral Israeli" withdrawal.  What does that mean? This is the actual Israeli official propaganda line.  It implies that Israeli magnanimously withdrew from occupied Lebanese territory as an act of Zionist generosity.  What is unilateral about a withdrawal that was caused by a brave and persistent resistant movement?  Was the Nazi withdrawal from France "unilateral" as well? How about the American withdrawal from Vietnam?  Furthermore, the authors refer to the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 as a "military retaliation".(p. 8)  Kid you not.  

War "boats" to the Lebanese army

Of course, we all know that the US is behind blocking any serious attempt at arming the Lebanese Army.  On behalf of Israel, the US wants to keep the Lebanese Army weak and to prevent it from possessing missiles and air defenses (and even sea defenses).  Yet, the US embassy in Lebanon makes regular announcements about the delivery of silly versions of weapons: like used vehicles, buses, bullets, etc. The other day, the US embassy announced that the US government provided the Lebanese Army with "war boats"--I am not making this up.  We don't even use that expression in English. These are small dinghy boats equipped with light sub-machine guns. 

Libyan militia regime

Are there still people who are claiming that there is peace and quiet in Libya?  Do you remember those who had supported NATO intervention who claimed that?

Afghan elections

Do you realize that while the Washington Post and New York Times have been assuring their readers that the Afghan elections was honest and fair, young people in Afghanistan have been mocking the elections and posting pictures and documents showing the extent to which the election was rigged and irregularities were widespread?  Also, do you remember that in the last presidential election both papers reported that that it was an honest election before they reversed their accounts weeks later when observers testified about the irregularities?  You will not learn about the world if you only read English and if you only read US newspaper.  You would be ill-served, trust me.

media of Saudi princes and Kim Kardashian

You have no idea how much obsession there is in the media of Saudi princes with Kim Kardashian.  Take the sleazy yellow journalism website of the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya:  It carries almost daily a leading story about her.  Yesterday (and today) a major headline and a story is about Kim Kardashian (that she fell--I am not kidding or exaggerating).  It is now the second most widely read story on the site (the first one is about a woman who drags a man like a dog on the streets of London). 

Why BDS against Israeli universities is a must: they are mere tools in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime

"For the first time in academia, the University of Haifa has launched an academic course to combat the delegitimization of Israel on the Internet. The ‘Ambassadors Online’ Program, offered by the University’s Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies as a four credit course, prepares students to be unofficial “ambassadors” for Israel on the Internet. “This program aims at training students, who are interested in investigating, studying and asking what it is that motivates the new anti-Semitism and de-legitimization of Israel, as can be seen among other things in the Apartheid Week, which is an expression of pure anti-Semitism. The ambassadors who will study in the program will fight this phenomenon and learn how to investigate it”, said Prof. Eli Avraram, the program’s academic instructor and the head of The Comper Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism."  And there are some faint-minded liberals in the US who say that the University of Haifa is "the most liberal" of Israeli universities.  Even Ba`thist universities don't recruit their students to serve as propaganda ambassadors for their regimes. (thanks Lisa)

Al-Jarba

Who in his/her right mind would brag that she/he is an "adviser" to the polygamous Ahmad Al-Jarba? Who?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reyhanlı attack

From Ali, the Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey:  "The post regarding the Turkish diplomat confession about Reyhanlı attack was carried out by al-Qaeda contains a manipulation. Turkish people don't "widely believe" that the attack was carried out by Bashar al-Assad regime.
Reyhanlı town has been a stronghold of AKP government and after a few hours of the attack, local people protested government...Although it was the biggest terrorist attack in Turkey's history, PM Erdoğan didn't (or couldn't) go to town because of huge reaction. Also protests erupted in Turkish universities, claiming the real responsible of Reyhanlı bombings was PM Erdoğan and FM Davutoğlu's interventionist policies in Syria.  Many sees these protest triggered the massive Gezi protests.

PS: Today's Zaman belongs to Fethullah Gülen community. Fethullah Gülen criticises PM Erdoğan with "going to far in Syria", disturbing the ties with US. Not the intervention itself his point of objection. "

Let me translate this story: the NYC Demographic Unit which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit will be renamed again

"The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said...The Demographics Unit, which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit in recent years..."

war crimes by Syrian rebels: always in passing

Such crimes by rebels are mentioned--if at all--only and always in passing and never told in headlines:  "Last week, two car bombs exploded near a sweets shop in a pro-government neighborhood, killing at least 25 people, including women and children, and wounding paramedics responding to the first blast."

Can someone tell Anne Barnard that Hafidh Al-Asad took over in 1970 and not in 1971?

"In 2000, Mr. Assad succeeded his father, Hafez, who had governed since 1971."  I suggest that the New York Times hires a Middle East fact checker to go over all dispatches by Ms. Barnard.  But then again, who cares about accuracy and facts when the propaganda message is rendered?

Patrick Seale

I forgot in my piece on Patrick Seale to mention that he carried secret messages between Hafidh Al-Asad and Itzhak Rabin.  I asked him about that and talked to me openly about that role he played. 

Let me guess: NATO will investigate and will find no fault in the behavior of...NATO

"A U.S. air strike in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, the Afghan president's office said on Tuesday."

Turkish diplomat says Reyhanlı attack carried out by al-Qaeda

"In a stunning revelation, a Turkish diplomat has for the first time admitted that the bloody Reyhanlı attack, which ravaged the border town of Reyhanlı on May 11, 2013, leaving 53 people dead and scores wounded, was carried out by Syrian elements of al-Qaeda, not by groups, as is widely believed in Turkey, affiliated with the Bashar al-Assad regime." (thanks Fadi)

Didnt the Washington Post AND the New York Times maintain that Afghans voted in defiance of the Taliban?

"But on voting day, the country seemed unusually calm, prompting Afghan politicians to speculate that the Taliban had intentionally allowed the election to proceed.  “I don’t think the other side put too much pressure,” said Hedayat Amin Arsala, a presidential candidate. “They even prevented some people from attacking.”"

A US Navy destroyer in the Black Sea: "while the ship was conducting “routine operations” in international waters"

Officials at the Pentagon on Monday protested what they described as a provocative flyover by a Russian attack aircraft that hovered near a U.S. Navy ship for 90 minutes on Saturday.

A military official who was not authorized to speak on the record said the Russian aircraft, a Sukhoi Su-24, made “multiple close-range, low-altitude passes” near the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, while the ship was conducting “routine operations” in international waters.

The ship had just entered the Black Sea, and its arrival there was celebrated in Kiev as a show of American support for Ukraine.

The crew aboard the American ship issued several queries to the aircraft using communication systems that are accessible to Russian military personnel. They went unanswered. The military official said the Russian plane appeared to have been unarmed.

“This was a provocative action,” the official said. “It is inconsistent with international protocols and what you would expect from a professional military.”"

When will the Russian government stop its intereference in Ukrainian affairs, when??

"Administration officials also confirmed Russian media reports that CIA Director John O. Brennan visited Kiev over the weekend, saying it was part of his scheduled trip to Europe.

U.S. officials typically do not comment on the CIA director’s travel. But State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said the administration decided to do so in this case to dispute information circulated by the Russian government.

“Senior-level visits of intelligence officials are a standard means of fostering a mutually beneficial security cooperation,” Psaki said, adding that reports that Brennan encouraged the Ukrainian government to “conduct tactical operations” against the pro-Russian demonstrators are “completely false.”"

Obama's deadly pivot to Africa

"Over the last several years, the US has been building a constellation of drone bases across Africa, flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions out of not only Niger, but also Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the island nation of the Seychelles. Meanwhile, an airbase in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, serves as the home of a Joint Special Operations Air Detachment, as well as of the Trans-Sahara Short Take-Off and Landing Airlift Support initiative."

Gazan innovation

"In a ground-breaking invention, a Gaza citizen and his son found a way to convert certain plastic waste into liquid fuel." (thanks Amir)

Do you notice that the Qatari and European-funded Syrian Observatory can verify weapons use in Syria from London?

"This decision, "as well as dangerous information on the regime's recent use of toxic gases against civilians in the town of Kafr Zita," in the central Hama province, represent "clear defiance" of the UN Security Council, Faisal said in Riyadh. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said residents choking from poisoning in the rebel-held town of Kafr Zita were hospitalised after bombing raids on Friday." (thanks Basim)

“800,000 Palestinians Imprisoned By Israel Since 1967”

"As the Palestinian people mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17, more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children, have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel since 1967, while at least 5,000 Palestinians are currently held by Israel, a report by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees has revealed."

In Jordan

In Jordan, the government arrested citizen because he tossed a shoe at a table where the prime minister was supposed to speak.  He would be put on trial, it is said, for "contempt toward the symbols of the state".  Do you notice that manners and absurdities of pro-US Arab absolutism never gets covered in the Western press?  They are really protected which proves my theory: Western media follow the dictates and inclinations of Western governments in foreign policy especially in the Middle East region. That was not the case in full only decades ago.

Taxes % of GDP

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do you know?

Western reporters talk about the rebels being denied a supply route in Qalamoun. None of them--none--mention that they have been using the area to basically equip and send car bombs to Lebanon and Syria. Is that too inconvenient?

The new Saudi intelligence chief

Embedded image permalinkAccording to the official language of the decree, the new Saudi security chief has been assigned but not appointed to the position.  It is a matter of time before a Saudi prince is appointed to the position.  He has been serving as deputy to Bandar.  This is another picture of the guy.  Some Saudis commented that the family name of Idrisi is not Saudi; it is said that his family hails from Egypt.

Syrian rebel shelling

Did you find in any US newspaper in the last few days any reference to indiscriminate shelling of Damascus by Syrian rebels?  Do you ever read that whenever rebels are pushed out of an area they immediately respond with car bombs?  But for some reasons Western journalists in Beirut find barrel bombs objectionable but not car bombs.