Friday, April 30, 2004

Oh, and LA reminds me of Beirut, and I don't mean that as a compliment to either city. Both are big on fakeries (and bakeries); and they both thrive on ostentation, superficiality, imitation, lack of style in architecture, sexist plastic surgery, excellent restaurants and beaches, contempt for the poor, rigid social hierarchies, and promotion of sexist cultures. The urban (Napoleonic) design of LA also makes it revolution-proof. Not Beirut.
Being a Saudi political activist means learning to do jail time
Where US snipers fire at ambulances
Pictures of US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners of war. American patriots amused.
There were 1,442 state and federal court-authorized communications intercepts in 2003, up 6 percent from 2002, a U.S. court agency reported Friday.
Asked how many American troops have died in Iraq, the Pentagon's No. 2 civilian (Paul Wolfowitz) estimated Thursday the total was about 500 — more than 200 soldiers short.
U.S. Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners Inflame Arabs (but not American
U.S. Forces Turn to Saddam General
Anti-American grafitti
What the US papers don't say
When you disagree with the cruel US colonial war in Iraq, people often tell you that you do not speak for Iraqis. They often give you anecdotal evidence instead: as in, once I met this guy, who knew this woman, whose uncle once talked to somebody, whose nephew talked to an Iraqi on the phone, and she/he reports that a neighbor told her that Iraqis are just thrilled with US bombs and with US prisons and occupation of Iraq. Well, let us refer the matter to Iraqis. Let them speak for themselves. This is the most comprehensive poll of Iraqis, EVER, and it was conducted by Iraqis in face-to-face interviews (and Geraldo was not present, to my knowledge). Full text: this is Part I, and this is Part II. Among the findings: 52 % of Iraqis do NOT think that US war was justified; 61 % of all Iraqis think that attacks on US troops can be (or sometimes can be) justified; 58% of all Iraqis think that US forces in Iraq have conducted themselves very (or fairly) badly; 71 % of all Iraqis think that US forces are mostly occupiers; and 57 % of all Iraqis want US forces to leave immediately--one more time, IMMEDIATELY. In Baghdad--not in Fallujah, the picture is more negative. 60 % of all Baghdad residents think that invasion has done more harm than good; 59% do not find US military action to be justified (although 100 % find the actions of the 38 Macedonian soldiers to be admirable, just admirable); 67% of all believe that attacks on US forces are (or sometimes are) justified; and 81 % believe that US forces conducted themselves very or fairly badly. To that I say: "liberation" my potato. And notice that US media will not be highlighting the poll, or sharing the findings, although I am sure that they will find some 52 % of Iraqis who enjoy fresh bread, and will attribute that percentage to the occupation. Leave it to US media to put a positive spin on US colonial adventures.
To those from UCLA who emailed me, I will be speaking tomorrow afternoon at Ralph Bunch's hall. He (Ralph Bunch, that is) was a lousy person, if you ask me. There are two good biographies of him. He was mostly silent about racial injustice, and did not mind being used as the token black member of several administrations. He was enamored with Zionism, and could not see the justice of the Palestinian position. I would not name a hall after him; not even a chair, or a table, or a toothbrush. He is a safe person to celebrate during Black History Month.
I am finishing Bob Woodward's book. Will share my reactions (to those who care).
I am addicted to Northern California weather. I believe it is the best weather the world over. Southern California is more warm; too warm for my taste. I keep my house at 63 degrees (F) during the summer. We had an unusually hot weather last week. No, I do not blame Bush for the weather (I blame Dick Cheney).

Thursday, April 29, 2004 to UCLA.
Now who is really behind the attacks on US troops in Iraq? Well, here is the chronology according to US officials: first, it was Saddam Husayn; no, it is his cancer-stricken deputy who looks like my grandfather on his deathbed; no it is the man with the wooden leg (Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi) who hops and jumps around the Middle East; no, it is the Republican Guards; oh, who would have guessed: it is all Saddam's briefcase which has all the plans plotted; oh, no, we mean these are foreign terrorists; oh, no it is the people in Tikrit; no, it is Iran; oh, no we mean Syria; oh, did we say Syria, we are talking about Hizbullah; ok, but now the truth has been revealed. The New York Times is citing a new Pentagon's report which now shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is Saddam's former secret police (elements of which are now part of the occupation apparatus). But I like how the Times adds this: "While the report cites specific evidence, other important assessments of American intelligence on Iraq have been challenged and even proven wrong."
IDF admits it killed Palestinian lecturer by mistake. But they admit that the killing of other tens of thousands of Palestinians over the decades was NOTa mistake.
"In their new book, "The Bushes," Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, who interviewed many Bushes, including the president's father and his brother Jeb, quote one unnamed relative as saying that W. sees the war on terror "as a religious war": "He doesn't have a P.C. view of this war. His view of this is that they are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know." "

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I am leaving tomorrow for UCLA. Will be back Saturday night. I shall try to update from LA but may not have time.
The quality of life for Iraq's poor has deteriorated since the defeat of the Saddam regime, according to a new survey commissioned by Christian Aid.
Pictures from Iraq. (May offend US propagandists).
"The U.S. goal cannot be a free Iraq, but an Iraq that does not endanger Americans."
The U.S. military announced Tuesday that 64 Iraqis were killed on Monday during two clashes near the holy city of Najaf. And every one of the 64 is a terrorist thug, rest assured.
In Two Sieges, U.S. Finds Itself Shut Out: Officials See No Good Options for Ending Fallujah, Najaf Standoffs.
A Pentagon official acted to award a contract to a group that included his friends.
A Shiite cleric who fled Iraq for the U.S. returned, euphoric, after American troops invaded. Today, he just wants them gone.
From White House Press briefing (Helen is Helen Thomas).
Q Maybe they're defending their own country against an occupation.
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, we have liberated the Iraqi people, and we're moving forward to transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people, so that they can realize a free and peaceful future. As I said, this is critical to winning the war on terrorism. There are thugs and terrorists who are trying to carry out innocent attacks on innocent men, women and children. Look at what they've done, look at the attacks they've carried out that have led to the deaths of school children. Look at the attacks that they have carried out that have led to the deaths of their fellow Iraqi citizens.
Q And we haven't we killed any civilians? Have we killed any civilians?
MR. McCLELLAN: The United States military and coalition forces go out of their way to make sure that civilians are not targeted and not killed.
Q Have we killed any?
MR. McCLELLAN: We target those who seek to carry out their evil acts and seek to return to the oppressive regime of the past -- and that's not going to happen. (thanks Eric)
Economic woes have Latin Americans preferring autocrats,says a new UN survey.
A second unit of the Iraqi armed forces has mutinied at Fallujah after being involved in heavy fighting with insurgents.
British commanders fear getting sucked into US operations as Falluja battle rages. But US troops can always rely on the support of the 38 Macedonian soldiers in Iraq.
It turns out photographs surfaced showing American soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqis being held at a prison near Baghdad.
For those who asked me, I will be talking about--I mean against--US war and occupation of Iraq at UC, SF at 6:00PM tonight (at the library I think). They will show the documentary "Breaking the Silence." I hope I like it as I have not seen it before.
eyewitness reports are now emerging from Fallujah.
The US (beacon of freedom) supports free press in ME: but Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met Tuesday with Qatar's foreign minister for "intense discussions" about the government-funded Al Jazeera satellite TV station.
News from "liberated" Afghanistan: Afghanistan forced to admit secret execution
Burning with anger: Iraqis infuriated by new flag that was designed in London (thanks Holly)
US secret agents quiz boy over art
US gunships pound Falluja

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I will be speaking on Flashpoint at 5:10PM (Pacific). You may listen live or taped.
American patriots should celebrate. Begin organizing the parades. Make sure you display large images of destruction and killing in Fallujah. You may use the caption: "Muslim Fags (or Faggots) take this." You know that your celebrated Top Guns wrote this very phrase on many of the missiles on fighter jets before embarking on bombing missions in Afghanistan during that celebrated war of revenge that was supported by 93 % of Americans. How patriotic of you. You know that Afghanistan did not have many bombing targets--mostly villages, as Rumsfeld complained. But yet you managed by the end of March of 2002 to drop some 22,400 bombs and missiles over Afghanistan (and only 25 % percent missed their targets according to US Central Command figures). That is wonderful of course. Because in the 1991 war in Iraq, 70 % of the 88000 tons of bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq missed their targets (according to Rick Atkinson's Crusade--don't worry; he is no lefty. He is a fellow patriotic Washington Post reporter. There are no figures I can cite for this war. We don't' have them. American patriots can now be proud of their boys (you never celebrate the girls--I notice); the more than 130,000 troops in Iraq are participating in the campaign against the city of 300,000 people: Fallujah. What a resounding victory you will have. That was the lesson of Vietnam for you, no? Not that foreign occupation and colonization do not work. But that more firepower was needed. After all, a mere 3 million Vietnamese were killed. This time, you shall spare no effort. Turn on the TV screen. Watch American gunships pound the shit out of Fallujah live. It must be exciting for you. There are some hundreds of insurgents--call them terrorists or satanic creatures--. After Sep. 11, all manners of killing become acceptable once you invoke the presence of Arab/Muslim terrorists. After the war in Iraq, the US first called foreign fighters terrorists. Now, all of them are terrorists: the Sunni rebels are terrorists, the followers of Muqtada As-Sadr are terrorists, and whoever rejects the occupation of his/her country is a damned terrorist. American patriots still want more revenge. The thousands of innocent lives in Afghanistan and Iraq are not enough. American patriots want more Arab/Muslim blood. This will help promote the myth that once we kill those terrorists, maybe then, only then, the US forces will finally be showered with flowers and tiramissu. That will happen, if only you stay patient and do not get squeamish no matter how many Iraqi civilians are killed. Those are poor Arabs after all. They dress funny, and their men favor moustaches, and their women sometimes veil. How can American patriots identify with them. Tune in, and watch the Fallujah carnage. It will not end your mess in Iraq, but it is a great moment of enthusiasm for you, to quote Karl Marx. I in fact heard many American patriots on US "news" channels yesterday getting frustrated over the delay of the Fallujah "battle." They were worried that it may not come. While I do not want to take away from your celebration, I want you to remember another quote by Karl Marx when he observed that the weight of dead generations weighs heavily on the living.
I hate having to deal with this. I received complaints that somebody was signing comments using somebody else's name. Please (G) use your own name. If you run out of names, feel free to use my suggestions: potato 1, potato 2, potato 3, potato 444.OK?
This is the transcript of the interview with the Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan in which he said: "Bin Laden started with good intentions..." (thanks Neal)
Arab dictatorships are beyond reform. Amnesty International call for release of Syrian human rights activist.
Free Iraq! " "I hope (Iraqis) will understand that in order for this government to get up and running, to be effective, some of its sovereignty will have to be given back, if I can put it that way, or limited by them," Powell said in an interview with Reuters. "It is with the understanding that they need our help and for us to provide that help we have to be able to operate freely, which in some ways infringes on what some would call full sovereignty," he said."
Did you see that? US favorite puppet, Hamid Karzai, was at the head of a Soviet-style military parade in Kabul today. Western mercenaries (who keep him alive) were present all around. The occasion was the 12th anniversary of the victory of the mujahedeen, the army of fanatical fundamentalists who fought (with the support of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Bin Laden) against the communist government which was oppressive but promoted secularism, women's rights, education for everybody, and weakening of the clerical powers in Afghanistan.
The New York Times should devote a special page in every issue for funerals of Israelis. The paper has now established a consistent record of publishing pictures and accounts of Israeli funerals. As for the Palestinians, well, you know that Arabs--"they"--do not value human life the way "we do." As a result, no pictures of their funerals will be shown. Why do I say this? Because at a time when Palestinians are being shot at as pidgeons on a daily basis, the New York Times today has a picture of an Israeli morning at the tomb of an Israeli who was killed TWO YEARS AGO. Maybe this will help you understand why Angry Arab is angry.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Just as the US government was keen on linking any group or government with Al-Qa`idah to mobilize American public opinion after Sep. 11, the US has consistently claimed that Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi is part of Al-Qa`idah. And just as we now know that Ansar Al-Islam is not part of Al-Qa`idah, Abu Mus`ab has emerged with a claim of responsibility today using a new name of a new group, that is different from Al-Qa`idah. Apparently, he thinks of himself as prince (not to be confused with Prince Bandar Bin Sultan), as in Amir of the Tawhid and Jihad Community organization. Tawhid (unity or unification, although it has more theological connotations here) has a special Wahhabi resonance, but Arabic newspapers (including Al-Hayat) have been maintaining that Abu Mus`ab's organization is separate from Al-Qa`idah in Iraq. I also noticed that the statement by this new group also ends with a denial that it had killed "innocent" people. That is noteworthy because the Bin Laden kooks do not even deny that they have killed innocent people. I was reading the latest bulletin that is produced by Al-Qa`idah (known as Mu`askar Al-Battar) and circulated on Arabic websites, and they--Bin Laden kooks, that is--do not even deny that they kill innocent people, including innocent Muslims. On p. 6 of this bulletin, there is an admission of the killing of "some boys" for example. I do not know whether one can read a rift or competition between Abu Mus`ab's group and the Bin Laden's group. The recent attack in Saudi Arabia reveals that Al-Qa`idah has become aware of rising Muslim disgust with their killing of innocent civilians. But it is doubtful that they care too much about public opinion, even in Saudi Arabia. Also, this publication (Mu`askar Al-Battar) rails against "secular" Arab intellectuals.
The American dilemma in Falujah is symptomatic of the American dilemma in Iraq as a whole. In other words, the US cannot win; neither in Falujah and neither in Iraq. If the US decides to demolish Falujah and to proceed with brute forces, taking the city street-by-street and building-by-building, it will please the US constituents for sure: those American patriots who do not feel that the US has exacted enough revenge on Muslims/Arabs since Sep. 11. Two wars, and tens of military interventions around the world are not enough after all for the patriots of the country. The US can easily achieve a "military" victory--if that is what you call a battle between an army of 130,000 (aided by fighter jets and helicopter gunships) pitted against some hundreds of insurgents led by the man with the wooden leg--if you believe the US press, that is, but that will only make US efforts (of colonization and subjugation) all the more difficult in Iraq, and it will inflame Muslim/Arab opinion further. If, on the other hand, the US exercises caution and seeks a diplomatic solution, American patriots will be furious, and will feel that America's enemies are not punished with sufficient force. And America's enemies in Iraq will certainly feel emboldened if the Falujah insurgents succeed in appearing--merely appearing--as winning in their efforts against the US forces. This is the dilemma of US occupation all over Iraq. You may ask for the solution or for the alternative. My student Brian asked me about that today, and about a possible role for the UN. There is no solution anymore. It is too late; way too late. The time when the US could have surrendered the country to the UN has long passed. The UN does not want to manage the Iraq mess. Annan does not even want to send back his team to clean up after the US, as he has done with meticulous obedience during his lousy tenure as secretary-general. I do believe that the US has no choice but to leave; in a few months, as Ralph Nader said. The Arab League may be willing to assemble a force, and the UN could help in arranging for immediate elections. I do not worry that Saddam's forces will return. They are gone forever, I am certain. The Iraqis will prevent a return of the Ba`th. Their successors, however--militant fundamentalists of different strips, do not present an attractive model. This war may eventually kill Iraqi unity and territorial integrity. As an anti-nationalist, I believe that people should be free to split if they want, and secede if they so desire. But the path of fragmentation is often covered with corpses.
I am not making this one up. Saudi Ambassador in US, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, said this on MSNBC's Hardball: "Bin Laden started with good intentions.". Somebody: please, get us the full transcript.
Interview with former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski on America's occupation regime in Iraq and Washington's faulty anti-terror strategy. (thanks Gabriela)
Rumsfeld's Police Secret
The Unknown Genocide
Feminism’s Future
The Decline of America's Soft Power, by Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
Sadr the agitator
Iraq: US Facing Opponents it Trained.
Israel achieves progress in its war on "terrorism": Israeli Defense Forces [the name of the Israeli army was coined by George Orwell] manage to kill a 14-year-old Palestinian boy and injure a 15-year-old girl in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Bush still wants the world to be grateful to Sharon.
A black and white case of US injustice: Jose Padilla was a devout Muslim, born on the wrong side of the tracks. White, middle-class John Walker Lindh shared his religion but little else. Rupert Cornwell examines their unequal treatment before the law.
The fact that reconstruction in Iraq has been halted, and the fact the country is witnessing several uprisings, does NOT mean that George W. Bush is not making progress. He is.
"That minaret has now been leveled by U.S. military ordnance, missiles and mortars. There's nothing left at all of that minaret." Nobody can accuse US of not doing enough to win hearts, minds, and fists of Iraqis.
The new American flag of Iraq meets with public disapproval. It reminds Iraqis of the Israeli flag. US offers to design a new flag with a portrait of George W. Bush (smiling). Upon hearing the new idea, Iraqis take to the streets in jubilation.
Angry Arab's posted picture (of the little girl in Falujah) in Philadelphia.
A roll-call of former British diplomats blasted Tony Blair on Monday and said it was time for the prime minister to start influencing America's "doomed" policy in the Middle East or stop backing it. In an unprecedented letter signed by 52 former ambassadors, high commissioners and governors -- the top ranks of British diplomacy -- Blair was urged to sway U.S. policy in the region as "a matter of the highest urgency."
News from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave: Secret Service Investigates Teen's Art Project Depicting Bush As Devil. Students were encouarged to portray Bush with angel's wings.
When cornered, change the subject. Full text: Prince Bandar on Meet the Press. (thanks Ellen)
THE WORKING POOR: They are the forgotten ones unemployment numbers don't track.
Report alleges 20 percent of Iraq reconstruction costs lost to corruption.
US to hold detainees at Guantanamo indefinitely. But American patriots want them to be held longer.
Afghan Leader (famous US puppet Karzai) Courts Taliban members.
Inside North Korea: historic images reveal full horror of a city . 'obliterated'

Sunday, April 25, 2004

You do not have to know Arabic. Look at the picture of the little girl (from 1st page story) in tomorrow's (Monday's) Al-Hayat issue. The picture was taken outside Al-Falujah.
Mother Teresa's and Multinational Corporations: "When once a chairman of a multinational company came to see me, to offer me a property in Bombay, he first asked: ‘Mother, how do you manage your budget?" I asked him who had sent him here. He replied: ‘I felt an urge inside me.’ I said: other people like you come to see me and say the same. It was clear God sent you, Mr. A, as He sends Mr. X, Mrs. Y, Miss Z, and they provide the material means we need for our work. The grace of God is what moved you. You are my budget. God sees to our needs, as Jesus promised. I accepted the property he gave and named it Asha Dan (Gift of Hope)." If those words do not move you, nothing will. I am shaking as we speak. Is this a divine experience I am going through? Help. (thanks Julie)
From the New Zealand Herald: Four schoolchildren were killed by gunfire in Baghdad last night, shortly after a roadside bomb ripped through a United States military vehicle. Some witnesses said the children, all aged around 12, were shot dead by US troops who had opened fire randomly after the blast on Canal St in eastern Baghdad.
"On Iraq and many other key foreign policy issues -- such as the Israeli- Palestinian dispute -- what's more notable about the 2004 campaign is how much the two men appear to agree." (thanks Rob)
A Revitalized Women's Movement? Let's Hope So (no thanks to Brandy).
This is from today's issue of the (pro-US, pro-Saudi) Arabic daily Al-Hayat(my translation): "...And the angry people [in Madinat As-Sadr in Baghdad] carried the remains of the bodies in front of the TV cameras that were shooting the site, and they accused US helicopters of firing missiles on the market. And in Ash-Shahid As-Sadr Hospital nearby, relatives of the dead and injured sat on the floor crying. One woman yelled: "This Bush, we don't want him..."
Mayyada from Jerusalem tells me that she is having problems getting into the comments' section. Let me know if others are having a problem. Neal: help!
Revealed: the secret technique of celebrated journalist Bob Woodward (scroll down to the middle)
"In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power. In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it. In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings ("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down With America!") without shutting them down....In Bushworld, we're making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists...In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements." (by By MAUREEN DOWD)
"France took its turn, after so many other famous peoples, to impose its laws on North Africa; to her fell the difficult and dangerous mission of reviving and expanding in this land the civilization which Rome in former times had there deposited. … Islamism, in its deplorable state of decline, was unable to regenerate anything. So a new, strong people was needed, governed by generous notions and the great principle of humanitarianism, to bring Africa out of the mindless state into which it had been plunged by twenty centuries of oppression, war, struggles and invasion…." (Algeria 1830: Legacy of an Occupation) (thanks Mark)

Saturday, April 24, 2004

This is an actual headline from the Washington Post: "Bush's Oratory Helps Maintain Support for War"
Sunni leader warns of nationwide uprising if Fallujah is hit
Whistle-blower: 'I feared brain-washing... They were out to destroy my personality'
Refugees executed in desert of Sudan: Julie Flint reports from Darfur where state militias are killing women and children.
US heroes in action: American troops fighting insurgents killed scores of civilians in protracted battles in a remote town on Iraq's Syrian border last week.
A Warning to Those Who Dare to Criticize Israel in the Land of Free Speech
I was at a bookstore and ran across a collection of thoughts and reflections by none other than the Mother (whose mother, I wonder?) Teresa. I had to read it, of course. What a joke. It basically confirms all of Nietzsche's critique of slave morality and the weak in you. And what vapid expressions. I swear her writings had the depth of such statement: "birds fly, and where are my keys". She of course has tons of stuff that urge the poor to accept their misery and poverty.
I watched Kill Bill Vol. 2. I am now certain that Quentin Tarantino is a nasty misogynist. No doubt about that. I should explain that I have watched and enjoyed all of his movies, and even his scripts for movies. He is quite talented and original. And I like how he matches picture, camera angle, color (or black and white), word, scene, music, and ambiance all together. But it is indubitable that he relishes showing women being beaten, humiliated, insulted, smashed and thrown around. He has the imagination of a wife-beater for sure. Such movies produce images and ideas that make wife-beating, and abuse of women in general, as macho.
I do not understand missionaries or proselytizers. In Angry Arab republic, that occupation (or profession?) will be banned; and all former missionaries and proselytizers will be sent to special Darwinian rehabilitation camps, and be turned into teachers of Evolutionary Theory. They will also have the choice of joining the faculty of Karl Marx or Michael Bukunin's institutes. If they believe that they are saved and that they have eternal salvation, all powers to them. But why do they have the need to tell me that their god or their prophet loves me when that love is meaningless to me. I once had a student on my campus (that I never saw before or taught) come to my office to tell me that Jesus has been telling her every day when she sees me to come and talk to me and deliver the message of Christianity to me. When I told her that it is hopeless and that I am an atheist she was crushed. She started to cry, and would not stop. But she did not give up. She came two days later, and told me that Jesus told her, again, to come and talk to me. I live in a very religious area here in California. I do not answer my phone or my door bell (as my friends know)--unless I can identify the caller or visitor. And there are people constantly going house to house with messages of Christian propaganda. I even once received a timesheet for the voluntary cleaning of the local church. Just now, this couple rang my door bell. I first ignored it. But then opened the door to find myself face-to-face with a Christian couple bringing me a message of Christian love, and wanting to discuss it. I must confess to you that I get very rude with proslytizers. I told them: "I am an atheist and have never believed in god." I sensed a look of contempt in their eyes when I said that. Maybe if I hang a sign outside declaring my worship for Satan they will leave me alone.
One senior American officer said that in any urban fight, American troops could turn Falluja into "a killing field in a couple of days." (thanks Hani)
I will finish reviewing and proofreading the galleys of my new Saudi Arabia book this weekend. My friend Valerie--may she be blessed--will do the same this week. Hopefully, the number of errors, typos, and mistakes will be minimized. The late Edward W. Said--who very much liked my Bin Laden book--if I may immodestly tell you that--was astonished at the number of typos and errors in that book. I am usually not pleased with things I write. I also quickly get bored with what I write, and cannot re-read it. I must confess that I am rather pleased with this final product. The book should be available in a matter of weeks now. House of Saud beware. Having read the books out there on Saudi Arabia, I feel that I have something to say. The books on Saudi Arabia since Sep. 11 can be divided into two groups. The first group is by right-wing/Israelis who wish to bash Islam, Saudi Arabia, and Arabs, and those books are rather devoid of informed research. They are largely vapid polemics. The second group (like House of Bush and House of Saud or Michael Moore's) are by conspiratorial leftists who want to establish links between House of Saud, Bush family members, Bin Laden, alligators, and Charlie Manson. This group largely rehashes what is contained in the French book La guerre des Bush : Les secrets inavouables d'un conflit by Eric Laurent, which is full of mistakes and errors. He, without boring you with details, for example, claims that Bin Mahfouz family is related by marriage to Bin Laden family. That is not true, etc. I do not like the title. I only am responsible for the subtitle. I have decided to compromise on title and cover decisions, and stick to fights over substance.

Friday, April 23, 2004

"I am a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. All of these men are – we are very important people."
Dramatic new allegations have been made about a massacre allegedly committed by pro-government forces in western Sudan.
U.N. Distances Itself From an Envoy's Rebuke of Israel and the U.S.
Negroponte, a Torturer's Friend
U.S., U.N. Seek New Leaders for Iraq: Embezzlers, kooks, and Saddam's former henchmen will be replaced by new embezzlers, kooks, and former Saddam's henchmen. Celebrations fill the streets of Iraq.
The US now has a crush on, or may be in love with, a new Middle East dictator.
A majority of Americans still believes Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with al-Qa'ida and that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction or a programme for developing them, according to a new opinion poll.
A photograph of a Palestinian boy tied to an Israeli police jeep has been handed to justice officials charged with investigating complaints over the use of "human shields" against demonstrators.
News from "liberated" Afghanistan. Death by burning: the only escape for desperate Afghan women. Bush offers to bomb more villages in Afghanistan to free the women.
Arithmetic of colonization. (The ratio of human worth). Four American lives in Falujah equal 600 Iraqi lives.
For those who asked, here you can listen to Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 4(the Italian symphony). As a bonus, you can listen to Orff's Carmina Burana. The latter is a free and less impressive rendition.
The U.S. has determined that nearly half of the more than 200,000 Iraqi security officers refused to fight in the battle against Sunni and Shi'ite insurgents in early April. The US is perplexed. Why would Iraqis refuse to kill other Iraqis in the new "liberated" Iraq?
People (in the US that is) are always asking me for my alternative solution to the current US occupation in Iraq, and to the current mess. They always stress that we cannot "just leave." This explains the consensus within the political spectrum over the continuation of the American occupation and colonization (enlightened for sure--colonization of the White Man is always enlightened especially when inspired by god, as is the case with the divinely inspired George W.) of Iraq. This also explains why John Kerry (who admitted in the past that he had committed war crimes in Vietnam) wants to send more troops and wants to employ more firepower. This passes as the debate in the US between the two parties. You always have to prove that you are more "patriotic"--that word again--by proving that you are willing to go to war, preferably against brown-skinned Arabs/Muslims. That earn you credit in the US political system. Such are the rules of American politics. This also explains why Howard Dean (who squandered $50 million of precious money on his losing campaign) kept reminding voters of the many wars that he has supported, and of his willingness to go to war again, at the drop of a hat, if elected president. Only Ralph Nader, to his credit, has proposed a withdrawal of troops within 6 (long) months. Those who preface their remarks about Iraq by talking about the need to stay the course and keep the troops are subscribing--willingly or unwittingly--to past colonial discourse and thought. They seem to be saying that Iraqis cannot rule themselves by themselves because they belong to an inferior stock of people. Do we need another century, with another series of wars of national liberation, to achieve a universal (nay American) acceptance of the principle of self-determination?
Graveyard of Justifications: Glossary of the Iraqi Occupation
Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 4.
This is the new "liberated" Iraq: "The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday." From today's NYTimes. I do not understand. How much more information do Americans need before they realize that the administration's lies and deceptions were NOT confined to the WMDs issue, but also covered their empty promises of "freedom" and "democracy" for Iraqi? Could the intentions of the administration be made more clear than this clear and explicit expression? How many lies do Americans have to hear before they recognize them as lies? And this is what is known as "transfer of authority"? Transfer of authority my potato. Do you now see why Angry Arab is angry?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Face of feminism in 2004
US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy
Salem Chalabi's ties to US cause political transparency concerns
Fewer Come to Israel, And Many Are Leaving
One more time; the only democracy in the Middle East is Cyprus. Israeli Police are prohibiting Palestinian men below 40 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday
UN guilty of 'sins of omission' yet again
Saddam's war criminals (his former generals) reinstated to new US-trained army.
Fighting or waiting to fight, boys in Gaza bear the brunt of the Israeli incursion
Guardian newspaper says: "Evidence suggests homegrown terrorists - not al-Qaida - carried out bombings in response to attack on Falluja." And yet I heard an American official today blaming, you guessed it, Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi.
Sovereignty for Iraqi interim govt 'will be limited': Senior US officials say it will be bound by the transitional law. No. No way? Really? I was under the impression that Iraq has been fully liberated and that full sovereingty has been restored to Iraqis? No?
"...a growing imbalance in global spending by the world's governments - with $900 billion spent annually on the military, $300 billion on support for the world's richest farmers, but only $56 billion on development assistance for the poor..." But Wolfensohn is the last person to speak. If there is justice on earth, James D Wolfensohn would be made to live on less than a $1 a day, just like the one billion people of the world who live on that income.
I find it amusing to watch the ideological transformation of international embezzler Ahmad Chalabi. Before the war, when he (wrongly) had assumed that he (along with US forces) would be greeted by Iraqis with "sweets, flowers, and tiramissu", Chalabi was a staunch secularist. Now, after realizing that his only supporters are his bodyguards (and he may not even be sure of that), he has affiliated himself with the clerics in Najaf.
UN (really US) envoy AlAkhdar Al-Ibrahimi reminds me of Yaser Arafat--who enjoys sending millions to the private account of his wife in Paris, how he says one thing in Arabic and another in English. Ibrahimi criticizes US in French interviews, and praises US in English interviews. But then again; he has to protect the job of his daughter at CNN.
AlJazeera noted a great irony today. Here is the Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu being released from jail for revealing the truth about Israeli nuclear weapons, and George W. Bush was railing yesterday about (potential) Iranian nuclear weapons.
My friend Mary was at a Florist's store in Washington, DC. And she witnessed the wife of a Senator assault another woman in the parking lot. She has not given me the name yet; perhaps fearing that I would post it here. I would not do such a thing. Never. (30 minutes after posting this, I found out the name of the woman. She is Wanda Baucus, wife of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. So there Mary).
HRW: Iraq: U.S. Treatment of Detainees Shrouded in Secrecy: Detainees Must Be Treated in Accordance With Geneva Conventions.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

To use an American cliche, you can take Colin Powell's word to the Bank. "Powell told reporters that leaders of 13 coalition countries with whom he spoke by telephone Monday and Tuesday ``all expressed steadfast support'' for their respective troop commitments." A few hours later, the Dominican Republic announced that it will pull out its 302 troops in Iraq in the coming weeks. Poland is also considering a withdrawal of troops.
America's Prisoners, American Rights, by David Cole. Since Sep. 11, this man has done more to protect the constitutional rights of Americans than anybody else, in my opinion.
"While the administration’s policies toward Iraq and Israel generate the most headlines, its hostile approach to the independent Arab media might be the clearest window into its contempt for the Arab public. Satellite television stations such as Al Jazeera have been the most powerful and potent voices demanding democratic reform in the Middle East since the late '90s, long before the Iraq war. But the Bush administration has chosen to treat these stations as enemies, echoing the worst Arab dictators in its denunciations." (excellent point Marc)
The new Iraq? Saddam's former Ba`thists tapped for leadership roles.
Full text: the new report by Council on Foreign Relations on female eduction. More than 100 million children in developing nations between the ages of 6 and 11 — 60% of them girls — are not in school. (Please: do not launch one of your wars of "liberation" to free them, ok?)
For some reason, the number of visitors to the site has been substantially increasing as of late. I also feel that I need to explain this to non-US visitors: I have been sharing my hate mail with readers of the site. But it is only fair to say that I get far more messages of support and encouragement from Americans. That is really true. I have received more than a dozen just today. But modesty--regardless whether real or fake--prevents me from sharing any of them. Also, several new visitors to this site have written to me expressing their astonishment at the comments' section. Some have shared ideas about "moderating" the section. As the old timers of the site knows (this site is now only a few months old--when did we start Neal?), the comments are published as is, which explains what you are getting. But that is fine. Finally, I need to take every opportunity, especially as many new visitors have joined, to express my gratitude and thanks to my former student Neal (who is now at Bristol U in UK), who took it upon himself to conceive, design, and launch the site. As some of you know, I used to have a list of 160 odd members, to whom I would send a selection of articles and commentaries. Neal kept urging me to turn it into a site, and I kept resisting. I feared that it looked narcissistic to have one's own personal site. He ignored my rejections, and went ahead with it, and I got convinced. So Neal deserves the praise, and I deserve the blame for this site.
Iraqi Journalist slain with his driver by US troops had supported occupation. Reaction to his death shows moderates losing faith in Americans.
I am not making this one up. Bush says world owes Sharon a 'thank you' for his long record of killing and terrorizing Palestinians.
War criminals of the world unite! Your time has come.
CBS News (and other US news outlets) do not care to show us images of dead Iraqis. But when it comes to the famous dead Princess, it is a different matter.
I will be on Flashpoints this afternoon at 5:00PM (Pacific Time). You can listen live or taped.
I was wrong: Democracy has been brought into Iraq: Last week, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, spokesperson of the CPA, told Iraqis to "change the channel to a legitimate, authoritative, honest news station" rather than watch Arab media. Iraqis complied, and asked Kimmit what vegetables he recommends that they should eat.
For those who care: transcript of my Democracy Now interview this morning. I was awakened at 4:30AM.
The former Iraqi (US appointed) minister of interior, Nuri Badran, gave an interview to the Iraqi daily, Az-Zaman (run by a former Saddam propagandist, turned US occupation propagandist), in which he was quite critical of the occupation, and of the manners in which civilians in Iraq were made to suffer. I turned to Saudi TV to learn about developments regarding the massive bombing of the former Public Security building in Riyadh, and was so annoyed with their coverage. The anchorperson actually said that the explosion caused "deaths and injuries." The number is a state secret, perhaps. They gave no details, and no information on the ability of Bin Ladin kooks to strike in so many places in the kingdom. Street battles in Riyadh are now common occurances in the Kingdom of Horror. And what a conflict? You cannot take sides in a fight between Bin Laden kooks versus House of Saud kooks. Both sides are terrorists if you ask me, and I do not use that term casually. So the Jordanian King has "postponed" his meeting with Bush to protest the Bush's endorsement of the Sharon's plan. Even US puppets are mad at US these days. But the real reason for King `Abdullah's visit may not be political. My friend Amer learned (from his confidential sources) that the king may have a serious gambling problem (allegedly), and that he discusses Palestinian affairs with his contacts in Vegas.
Bush mobilizes women
Kook news: The French justice minister yesterday ordered the expulsion of an Algerian-born Lyon kooky imam who declared he was in favour of women being stoned, wives being beaten and France becoming an Islamist republic.
That upsetting of the Shiite hierarchy, accomplished through the barrel of a gun, has potentially grim consequences for the American ability to control Iraq, particularly if Mr. Sadr remains at large after the standoff. But even if he is somehow silenced, he has shown that in this volatile atmosphere, the voice of Shiite radicalism can trump that of moderation.
I will be speaking on Democracy Now this morning. You can listen live.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I dont want to get you worried, but: "Intense combat in Iraq is chewing up military hardware and consuming money at an unexpectedly rapid rate -- depleting military coffers, straining defense contractors and putting pressure on Bush administration officials to seek a major boost in war funding long before they had hoped.
The Pentagon deleted from a public transcript a statement Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made to author Bob Woodward suggesting that the administration gave Saudi Arabia a two-month heads-up that President Bush had decided to invade Iraq. This is the deleted text.
Have you seen this man?
Sharon pledges Israel will keep killing; Bush praises Sharon's peace advocacy.
U.S. to keep tabs on Vanunu after he walks free Wed
I have been alerted by Mark Bellis and Jivan Vatayn that it was Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) (long before George Bernard Shaw) who had said: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." I stand corrected. You may consult Life of Johnson (Boswell). 1 Vol. v. Chap. ix. 1775.
Been thinking about patriotism lately. How could I not? I see it everywhere around me, in US and Middle East. What an overrated virtue. And why should it be a virtue anyway? Is there anything more sentimentally mawkish? I was citing George Bernard Shaw's the other day (that Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels). Patriotism is a form of conformity, and a tool for governments to instill obedience and spread ignorance. I have never felt such a worship for flags or symbols of countries. Why should I? What do they mean? If I do not like (or understand) religion--any religion--why should I have reverence for relics of pagan belief systems? You know that flags, national symbols, and emblems are but modern forms of totemic symbols of ancient people. Flags and anthems mean nothing to me. I was displeased in the last trip to Lebanon when the organizer of one talk I gave in my family's home town (Tyre in South Lebanon) insisted on beginning the event with the Lebanese anthem. I protested. And a few years ago, I was giving a talk at some Rotary Club here in California and they insisted on doing a pledge of allegiance. I refused to stand up or participate, and two people immediately left to protest my rudeness. One person later asked me about my stand. I explained that I feel no obligation to pledge allegiance to any god or nation or flag or potato--OK, maybe for a potato. I only owe allegiance to my own set of principles and beliefs. Nothing more. Patriots will leave our earth as misguided as those who die and hope for the delights of heaven. You want delights? Go eat mangoes. Now. When I had my citizenship test years ago, I was asked about the number of stripes in the US flag. How would I know, I told her. Is this Jeopardy we are on? She could not understand how a political scientist would not know the answer. I did offer a guess of 28 stripes or so. Pure guess of course. Take the Lebanese flag: they have a silly cedar in the middle, because ultra-nationalist Lebanese are proud of the silly cedars. I keep telling them that Morocco has more cedars than Lebanon, to no avail. I always recommend replacing the cedar with something else; something more meaningful, like a fried chicken, or an eggplant, or a hummus dish. Why not? Before I go on, let me cite from the last page of Edward W. Said's Culture and Imperialism:
"No one today is purely one thing. Labels like Indian, or woman, or Muslim, or American are not more than starting-points, which if followed into actual experience for only a moment are quickly left behind. Imperialism consolidated the mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale. But its worst and most paradoxical gift was to allow people to believe that they were only, mainly, exclusively, white, or Black, or Western, or Oriental."
"The conflict may have abated, but its causes have not. Ten weeks before the planned handover of power to Iraqis on June 30th, Mr Bremer has yet to spell out what kind of government he will install. He has recently tended to ignore the Governing Council, for example when appointing a new interior minister. Sensing a political vacuum, various factions, including those led by members of the Council, are building up their own militias—sometimes in the guise of private security firms—and cementing their grip on the parts of the country they seized after the invasion last year. Sufi brotherhoods, who command the loyalty of millions of Sunnis, are creating a military wing. The only Iraqi brigade to fight on America's side this month was one composed of Kurdish peshmergas and the Free Iraq Forces of Ahmed Chalabi, a member of the Governing Council." From the Economist magazine (the best magazine there is), April 15th, 2004.

"In 1997 Paul Wolfowitz, the most important neo-con Vulcan, justified the first Bush administration's decision not to march into Baghdad on the grounds that “conceivably, this could have led the United States into a more or less permanent occupation of a country that could not govern itself, but where the rule of a foreign occupier would be increasingly resented.” " From the Economist, April 15th, 2004. Economist, in case you did not know, is the best magazine there is.
Mubarak: "Arabs Hate U.S. More Than Ever"; Angry Arab: "Arabs hate Mubarak more than Ever.
A biographical sketch of the new US colonial administrator of Iraq. (thanks Saleh)

Monday, April 19, 2004

" "So I just want to make a toast, without getting too cheesy. To the president of the United States." They all raised their glasses. Hear! Hear!"
U.S. troops shot to death two employees of U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya today and wounded a third in the central city of Samara, the station
If you look at the stats below, you will notice that most Arab visitors come from Lebanon, followed by Saudi Arabia (followed by Iraq, interestingly enough). This is rather surprising because I was told by a Saudi that my site has been banned in the Kingdom of Horrors. This tells you how difficult it is to ban sites, even if you spend millions on censorship as the House of Saud does.
Arabic newspapers of tomorrow (Tuesday) are talking about leaflets distributed around Baghdad with the signature of the `Awdah (Return) Party. This is an offshoot of the Ba`th Party of Iraq, and was formed before Saddam's capture. The party has a military wing, called Wihdat At-Tala'i` (Unit of The Vanguards). Apparently, those dudes want to return Saddam to power. It has been circulating flyers in Sunni areas of Iraq. I do not understand. Do they honestly think that Iraqis will allow the return of Saddam to power? Have they any clue to the depth of Iraqi detestation and contempt for Saddam? I am certain that if Saddam is released that he will not last (alive) for more than a few hours. In fact, I purchased a whole body of books from London last month about Iraq: there is a new body of literature by people who lived under Saddam talking about their experiences. I just finished reading Ibrahim Az-Zubaydi's book on Dawlat Al-Idha`ah (The Radio State). Another book describes the horror visited upon members of one family, some of whom were in their teens. But the US problem is bigger than they care to admit: I was reading a statement by the 85-year old Shi`ite member of the puppet council, Muhammad Bahr Al-`Ulum (he got his son to serve as minister of oil). This fellow has been the most loyal supporter of US project, but is now expressing strong criticisms of US and the suffering of Iraqi civilians. That tells you something about the Iraqi public mood. And who does Bush nominate to become the first US ambassador to Baghdad? A Spanish-speaking US diplomat with experience in covert operations in...Latin America. This is akin to me pontificating about Chinese affairs. Also, cronyism and nepotism are rampant in the new Iraq. When the US occupation authority was planning to appoint a "minister of defense" (with the power to move the new formidable Iraqi army units) puppet council members Ahmad Chalabi and Iyad `Allawi (the former is the international embezzler, and the latter a former functionary of Saddam's intelligence apparatus) got into a fight. Each wanted a relative. What did Bremer do? He appointed a `Allawi family member who was related by marriage to Chalabi. It is better for my nerves to write about peaches and mangoes.
At a time when you are surrounded by suffocating propaganda, wars and imperial designs, leaders who take orders from "god", and human suffering all around you, small things may make you happy, or may make Angry Arab less angry. After a 4-mile run, I was rather pleased to enjoy my first water-melon of the season. And the inventor (genius, really) who got rid of water melon seeds deserves a Nobel Prize (in medicine or physics or chemistry or literature, or even peace--just give her/him one for me even if you have to create a new category of Nobel Prize in Fruit Improvement Technology). My mother swears that fruits and vegetables in the Middle East have more taste than those in US. Now I am no expert: in the French distinction between a "gourmet" and a "gourmand", I am more the latter than the former. But I must confess that the mangoes in Lebanon, which are served to Angry Arab upon arrival for his daily visits to his mother's house in Beirut, are particularly delicious. But Angry Arab is least angry when the peach season begins. I shall declare the official beginning of the peach season in a special post.
From LATimes: "U.S. and foreign authorities are fearful that developments last week, including President Bush's support for a controversial Israeli initiative and Israel's assassination of a leading Palestinian militant, could galvanize Islamic terrorists."
For those of you who are fans of US wars of "liberation": The total tonnage of ordnance dropped by British aircraft on Iraq far exceeded the amount dropped during the Kosovo war, in about half the time, figures released today show, raising questions about the conduct of the war. The RAF dropped 914 bombs between March 20 and April 30 last year, they show. Among the bombs dropped by the RAF were 66 BL755s, which release 147 "bomblets" over a wide area, up to 10% of which fail to explode. The figures do not include more than 2,000 Israeli-made artillery cluster shells used around the southern city of Basra.
Peace is at hand in Iraq: British troops 'may have to stay 10 years to keep order'
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has promised President George Bush the Saudis will cut oil prices before November to ensure the US economy is strong on election day, the journalist Bob Woodward says.
A comprehensive study of 328 criminal cases in the US over the last 15 years in which the convicted person was exonerated suggests that there are thousands of innocent people in prison today.
What language do visitors to this site speak?
Language Language code Language # % of total
en-us English (United States) 50507 88.7
en English 1500 2.6
en-gb English (United Kingdom) 1435 2.5
de German (Germany) 733 1.3
en-ca English (Canada) 518 0.9
fr French (France) 310 0.5
ar-lb Arabic (Lebanon) 293 0.5
en-au English (Australia) 263 0.5
ar-sa Arabic (Saudi Arabia) 165 0.3
sv Swedish 142 0.2
ja Japanese 122 0.2
it Italian (Italy) 96 0.2
ar-iq Arabic (Iraq) 89 0.2
el Greek 83 0.1
ar Arabic 70 0.1
nl Dutch (Netherlands) 69 0.1
es Spanish (Modern Sort) 52 < 0.1
pt Portuguese (Portugal) 45 < 0.1
da Danish 37 < 0.1
fi Finnish 35 < 0.1
is Icelandic 35 < 0.1
he Hebrew 33 < 0.1
nl-be Dutch (Belgium) 28 < 0.1
fr-ca French (Canada) 23 < 0.1
en-ie English (Ireland) 22 < 0.1
no Norwegian (Nynorsk) 21 < 0.1
es-mx Spanish (Mexico) 16 < 0.1
tr Turkish 16 < 0.1
ar-qa Arabic (Qatar) 15 < 0.1
ar-eg Arabic (Egypt) 15 < 0.1
ms Malay (Malaysia) 15 < 0.1
ar-sy Arabic (Syria) 15 < 0.1
pl Polish 13 < 0.1
en-za English (South Africa) 12 < 0.1
ko Korean 10 < 0.1
en-nz English (New Zealand) 10 < 0.1
cs Czech 8 < 0.1
et Estonian 8 < 0.1
pt-br Portuguese (Brazil) 8 < 0.1
de-at German (Austria) 7 < 0.1
es-co Spanish (Colombia) 6 < 0.1
sl Slovenian 5 < 0.1
ru Russian 5 < 0.1
de-ch German (Switzerland) 5 < 0.1
ar-bh Arabic (Bahrain) 5 < 0.1
fr-ch French (Switzerland) 5 < 0.1
ar-ye Arabic (Yemen) 4 < 0.1
ro Romanian 4 < 0.1
hu Hungarian 4 < 0.1
fa Farsi 3 < 0.1
es-ar Spanish (Argentina) 3 < 0.1
ar-jo Arabic (Jordan) 3 < 0.1
en-tt English (Trinidad) 2 < 0.1
hr Croatian 2 < 0.1
es-cl Spanish (Chile) 1 < 0.1
zh-tw Chinese (Taiwan) 1 < 0.1
lv Latvian 1 < 0.1
ca Catalan 1 < 0.1
en-jm English (Jamaica) 1 < 0.1
ar-ae Arabic (U.A.E.) 1 < 0.1
es-pe Spanish (Peru) 1 < 0.1
Iraq: Seeds of a national uprising?
Mutiny in the Ranks: Neophyte Iraqi soldiers refused to follow U.S. orders only to find themselves stripped of their jobs—and their uniforms.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

"Thought, having lost its autonomy, no longer trusts itself to understand reality, in freedom, for its own sake...The socialization of mind keeps it boxed in, isolated in a glass case, as long as society itself is imprisoned. As thought earlier internalized the duties exacted from without, today it has assimilated to itself its integration into the surrounding apparatus, and is thus condemned even before the economic and political verdicts on it come fully into force."
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia.
Kerry: Rantisi's killing was justified because Israel "has every right in the world to respond to any act of terror against it."
8,875 to 10,725. The minimum and maximum estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq so far, according to, an organization of British and American Other groups have even higher estimates. academics.
To my surprise, I received a call yesterday from Radio Sawa (the US Middle East propaganda radio). The reporter asked me to record an interview about the Rantisi assassination for the next news report. I said that I do not trust their editing process, and that my words may get distorted. I said that I would only do it if it was live, to know that my words would be heard without editing or censorship. She said that she would ask the news director and call me back. She never called back.
"We tend to believe abroad that Palestine is nowadays almost completely deserted, a noncultivated wilderness, and anyone can come there and buy as much land as his heart desires. But in reality this is not the case. It is difficult to find anywhere in the country Arab land which lies fallow; the only areas which are not cultivated are sand dunes or stony mountains, which can be only planted with trees, and even this only after much labor and capital would be invested in clearance and preparation...We tend to believe abroad that all Arabs are desert barbarians, an asinine people who does not see or understand what is going on around them. This is a cardinal mistake. The Arab, like all Semites, has a sharp mind and is full of cunning...But when the day will come in which the life of our people in the Land of Israel will develop to such a degree that they will push aside the local population by little or by much, then it will not easily give up its place...One thing we certainly should have learned from our past and present history, and that is not to create anger among the local population against us...We have to treat the local population with love and respect, justly and rightly. And what do our brethren in the Land of Israel do? Exactly the opposite!...and they behave toward the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, infringe upon their boundaries, hit them shamefully without reason, and even brag about it. Our brethren are right when they say that the Arab honours only those who show valour and fortitude; but this is the case only when he feels that the other side has justice on his side. It is very different in a case when [the Arab] thinks that his opponent's actions are iniquitous and unlawful; in that case he may keep his anger to himself for a long time, but it will dwell in his heart and in the long run he will prove himself to be vengeful and full of retribution."
Zionist writer Ahad Ha'am, "Emet me-Eretz Israel" (Truth from the Land of Israel), 1891 in Kol Kitvei Ahad Ha'am (Complete Works of Ahad Ha'am), (Tel Aviv, 1946), pp. 24-29.
News from "liberated" Afghanistan: Province Bans Female Performers on Airwaves
U.S. troops deride the 'spray and pray' tactics of Sadr's fighters but say they are tenacious and bold -- and are learning from their mistakes
US forces cultivate Iraqi sources, but gain little
"The American confrontations with Sadr and in Fallujah also have roiled the political landscape by further isolating members of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council from the Iraqi population. In the first few days after Sadr's militiamen clashed with U.S. forces and the Marines surrounded Fallujah, council members -- usually a publicity-hungry lot -- had little to say in public. Although most of them regard the insurgents and militiamen as just as much of a threat as U.S. officials do, few wanted to risk the fallout from condemning a cleric or advocating tough counterinsurgency measures."
Congratulations to Robert Collier of the San Francisco Chronicle for winning the national Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi award, in the large-circulation foreign correspondence category, for his war reporting from Iraq.
Two things, at least, bring me great frustration in dealing with Middle East media. Firstly, it is hard to convince people in the Middle East that there are several time zones in the US. Yet, they still operate on the assumption that Eastern Time Zone applies to the whole of the US. So today, I received a phone call from Al-`Alam TV at 4:00 AM. Kid you not. Obviously, I did not pick up the phone. Secondly, they think that California is this little tiny place. So I was supposed to go on Al-Manar TV, and as the time for the 90 minute program came, I tuned in and heard the anchorwoman announce my name, and I was surprised because I assumed that they were going to do it by phone. I had told them to call my home number, but then checked my office number only to find 16 messages waiting. The gist: that they have reserved a satellite hookup for me from a TV studio in LA. LA!!! I had to explain that it would not be possible for me to drive to LA in the few minutes I have, as it is some 6 hours drive from my home. And that was that.
Baby Pictures, by Brandy Baker. (thanks Brandy)
You will not read about this poll in the US press. A comprehensive poll of Iraqis was conducted in February and March of this year by the Independent Institute for Studies of Administration and Civil Society in Iraq. Among its findings, 73.1 % of Iraqis favor direct elections even if this delays the "transfer of powers." In other news, Bush continues to make progress (where, I do not know).

Saturday, April 17, 2004

"I cannot pretend aught truly to know,
I cannot pretend that I as a teacher
might help or convert a fellow creature."
Goethe (Faust)
"...And I see; what do I see?
death, ashes, and fire."
Khalil Hawi (River of Ashes)
These are from impressions of a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia after his return from a trip to the region. "The most charitable characterization of the Iraqi Governing Council (widely known as "Ahmed Chalabi and the Twenty Thieves")...They see it as truly Orwellian to describe a large U.S. force accompanied by a small number of foreign auxiliaries as "the coalition," foreign occupation as "freedom," desecularization as "democratization," the establishment of a hand-picked government of exiles as a "transfer of sovereignty," and the presence of a plague of federally funded U.S. carpetbaggers and mercenaries as "reconstruction" and "development." " (He had answered my questions about Saudi Arabia candidly although he remains close to House of Saud princes.)
This is Adam Shatz's first part article on Hizbullah in NYR of books. Adam spent time in Lebanon and interviewed Hasan Nasrallah, among many others. He (and I) would like to thank Mirvat for her help during his visit to Lebanon.
Innocent victims in Falujah: "These include the mother of six-year-old Haider Abdel-Wahab, shot and killed while hanging out laundry; his father, shot in the head; Haider himself, and his brothers, crushed but dug out alive after a US missile struck their house. They include children who died of head wounds. They include an old woman with a bullet wound - still clutching a white flag when aid workers found her. They include an elderly man lying face down at the gate to his house - while inside terrified girls screamed "Baba! Baba!" They include ambulance crews fired on by US troops - and four-year-old Ali Nasser Fadil, wounded during an air strike. The New York Times reporter who found the infant in a Baghdad hospital described him lying in bed, "his eyes wide and fixed on a spot in the ceiling". His left leg had been crudely amputated. The same reporter found 10-year-old Waed Joda by the bedside of his gravely wounded father. "American snipers shot at us as we were trying to flee Falluja," said Waed."
If you have been enjoying your Heroin, be grateful to "liberated" Afghanistan.
Russia dumps its children on the streets
Saudi ambassador in DC was told of US war plans before Colin Powell.
Uzbekistan is repressing a religious resurgence. The former Communist government makes no excuses -- but the backlash is deadly.
"President Bush Backs Israel, Yet Again."
The case has set off alarm bells that Mossad agents may be masquerading as harmless New Zealand travelers abroad, the New Zealand Herald said.
Now that he has united Sunnis and Shi`ites, Bush will try to unite Protestants and Catholics: Sunni Group Allies Itself With
A Saudi TV presenter who says she was beaten by her husband has allowed newspapers to show pictures of her swollen face to highlight domestic abuse. (thanks Rick)
For those who care, I will be speaking on Radio Monte Carlo next Tuesday at 8:30AM (Pacific Time).
I am not making this up: Neo-consrvative MICHAEL LEDEEN wants a regime change in Iran, to protect the regime change project in Iraq.
Bush Legitimizes Terrorism, by Robert Fisk.
"The Carnage According to Gen. Kimmitt" by my friend Virginia.
I (and the Lebanese Minister of Culture) will be guests on Bayna Qawsayn program on Al-Manar TV tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:30AM (Pacific Time). I will appear via phone.
I watched footage of Muqtada As-Sadr yesterday on Middle East TV stations. Again, I am really astonished at his arrogance and rudeness. He would be walking through a crowd and people would try to touch him or greet him, and he would actually give them dirty looks, or wave them off. What is with that? So my message to you all is this: when you walk through the masses, and the masses are trying to greet you or salute you, be nice to the masses. Wave to the masses, and throw candy in their directions, ok? And then he gave his Friday sermon, reading it, as usual, as he is not capable of improvising it. The message he was sending was inescapable: he seems to be denying press reports to the effect that he has accepted the mediation of the governing puppet council, or the dissolution of his Mahdi Army. He stood by his earlier known positions, and railed against the governing council. I also notice one change in his attitude to the religious leadership in Najaf. Gone are the days when he would refer to them as "the Silent Seminary" in contrast to his "Speaking Seminary" in a sharp rebuke to what he perceives as the passivity of As-Sistani's leadership. His relationship with Iran is not as easy to understand. One representative of his in fact was quoted in an Arabic newspaper warning of a US-British-Iranian conspiracy, and Arabic press reports talked about Iranian anger over As-Sadr in the wake of the assassination of the Iranian diplomat in Iraq. I do not know whether they were accusing As-Sadr's people of responsibility for the assassination. I do not think that As-Sadr would do well if he was a contestant on the Apprentice.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The security of New Zealand passports is under the spotlight after two suspected Israeli spies were caught allegedly trying to obtain the documents.
Retired general assails U.S. policy on Iraq
We found the answer to the Iraq problem: Private military companies in Iraq are demanding the right to carry more powerful weapons.
Protests were lodged yesterday against the restrictions that are to be imposed on the Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who is due to be released from prison next week.
The fall of the fabricator: America quietly sacks its prize witness against Saddam
"Some American officials say that they expect Ahmad Chalabi, an exile favored by the Pentagon, could be marginalized as a result of the new plan. Aides to Mr. Brahimi make no secret of the envoy's disdain for Mr. Chalabi. Mr. Rumsfeld is described by knowledgeable diplomats as still favoring a major role for Mr. Chalabi in Iraq."
"Nevertheless, in my case I pray that I be as good a messenger of His will as possible." George W. Bush, as quoted in the new book by Bob Woodward. This makes me wonder: why does this god of yours (Christians, Muslisms, and Jews) only speaks to fools, dictators, war-enthusiasts, fanatics, fascists, bigots, and people afflicted with dementia?
Denmark is to declassify intelligence assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction after newspaper leaks led to criminal charges against three men.
This powerful argument in favor of war in Iraq may change your mind: Miss USA told Reuters she would use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said.
The proposed Israeli evacuation of Jewish settlements and soldiers from the Gaza Strip would allow the military to continue to enter Gaza and permit Israel to maintain control over its airspace, seaports and border crossings.
Liberation eludes Afghan women: Forced marriages, beatings, suicides persist despite Taliban's fall
The changes in US Middle East policy announced by Bush yesterday are very very significant. To be sure, US policy has been solidly pro-Israeli since Harry Truman gave recognition to Israel. But Bush has now endorsed the right of Israel to undertake unilateral steps, although American policy has been based on the rejection of unilateral steps by any side. Maybe by "any" they meant Palestinians. He also supported Israel's right to retain whatever it wants from the West Bank and Gaza, as if this land is his land to dispense with. Bush also came out categorically against the right of return although UN resolutions (to which he strictly adheres in the case of Iraq) give Palestinians the right of return or compensation (I support the Palestinian right of return AND compensation). Finally, Bush--for the second time--comes out in support of the preservation of Israel as a Jewish state. What does that mean? He basically is supporting the right of Israel to maintain its Jewish majority status. But what if the Palestinian percentage of the population (which now stands around 18 %) continues to increase? What will Bush do? What if the Palestinians naturally due to their high birth rate become a majority? Will this Bush support the right of Israel to expel or exterminate any Palestinian who would exceed the set limit, say, of 40 % of the population? How can a state be supported to preserve a certain demographic characteristic? This is like saying we support the right of the US to preserve its white majority status. On another note, I commented on the last Bin Laden tape to SF's Channel 4 (I did that because you asked me, Yun). I believe that this indeed is Bin Laden, although I was rather surprised that his manner of speech sounded different. He sounded weak and fatigued compared to previous tapes. Reports that he may be ill could very well be true. Yet, and despite the reports of a US manhunt for him, the release indicates that he may not be in a state of panic, which only reinforces my suspicion that Bin Laden may be neither in Afghanistan nor in Pakistan. He presumably is very proud of his command of the Arabic language, and I can see that this speech had his distinctive speech markings. He is, like Saddam, very long-winded. It takes him to say in 5 sentences what can be said in one. Bin Laden, I believe, is more kooky than ever. I strongly believe now that he views himself as the Prophet of Islam (although Muslims believe that Muhammad was the seal of all prophets). It bugs my mother that Bin Laden takes it upon himself to speak on behalf of all Muslims. Now I know that he can speak on behalf of his fellow kooks (all of whom can be fit in one cave or two). But to speak on behalf of world Muslims where most Muslims have not been moved by his words, and have ignored his repeated calls for Jihad? I also believe that this truce idea was uncharacteristic of Bin Laden, but it fits into my theory that he views himself as a Prophet for Muslims. And just as Muhammad signed the Hudaybiyyah Peace Treaty with Pagans, Bin Laden is trying his hand at diplomacy. I do believe that Al-Qa`idah remains stronger than we are led to believe, and I do not buy the claim (by Bush officials) that 2/3rd of all its leadership have been either killed or captured. And I believe that Al-Qa`idah now operates on the assumption that smaller cultish outgrowths of the mother/father organization will undertake its message of Jihad.
Balfour to Bush
CNN to Al Jazeera: Why Report Civilian Deaths? (thanks Ben)
AN Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada Sadr from his car, police said
I am not making this up: He really actually said that: General Calls Insurgency in Iraq a Sign of U.S. Success. It this is US success, what is US failure?
Iranian's murder fuels Iraq tensions
Israeli embassy in Washington to invite John Kerry for visit
Mordechai Vanunu
US reels from Arab and European fury
Gunmen rule in a city gripped with fright

Thursday, April 15, 2004

My students have heard me complain about this: do you know that Howard Dean spent $50 million on his failed campaign? How many hungry that money would have fed? How many homeless it would have sheltered? How many shirtless it would have clothed? I say that Howard Dean has always been "arrogant and elitist" (or "elitist and arrogant").
British officials blast U.S. for its 'HAM-fisted overkill' in Iraq
Two American soldiers have deserted, claiming asylum in Canada rather than serve in Iraq. They argue that the war is illegal under international law
Baghdad Shiites bridge their historical divide with Sunnis in the wake of the US siege of Fallujah.
Even moderate Shiite leaders say the fighting in the Sunni triangle city has moved opinion decisively against the coalition.
"It is very difficult to know who is taking the decisions on the American side," said Hussain al-Shahristani, an influential Shia figure, in an interview with The Independent. "You hear one thing from [Paul] Bremer [the chief US civilian official] and another thing from the US army."
Young female chimps outsmart males
Even puppets of the US in Iraq complain about the US
With Bush you can always count on him to make a bad situation worse: from a bad Road Map, to a worse Sharon Map

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I read that the US has asked Iran to intervene in Iraq to calm the Shi`ite political mood. It seems that Iran has influence over As-Sadr, after all. But any irony in that? What price will Iran extract from the US? The mess in Iraq is such that the US will be asking for help from any government that may offer it. So much for the push for democracy and human rights in the region. Don't be surprised if Bush's wars on terrorism result in more US support for Middle Eastern oppression. After decades of US opposition to Israeli settlements (although the US diplomatic tone on settlements has been softening) the New York Times is reporting today that US will now support the preservation of "some" Israeli settlements. And after decades of official US opposition to "unilateral" steps or moves by any party in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the US will now be supporting Sharon's unilateral steps. But then again; Israeli unilateral steps are cute, as opposed to Palestinian unilateral steps. Finally, several of you urged me to split my posts into paragraphs. To that I say, no way. No. I will not do that. If that strains your eyes, have them checked. OK? Also, in Angry Arab's republic, the disgustingly sexist Hooters' restaurants will be closed down, and turned into either shelters for battered women, or to centers for feminist studies. All former managers of Hooters' restaurants will be sent to feminist rehabilitation camps. OK? (Maria (my ex) suggested that I need an editor for the site. I cannot agree more, given all my typos, mistakes and errors. This, however, does not negate this: that Angry Arab is always right). OK??
US military 'pressuring' journalists
At least 80 foreign mercenaries - security guards recruited from the United States, Europe and South Africa and working for American companies - have been killed in the past eight days in Iraq.
An Eyewitness Account From Inside the US siege of Falluja
A U.S. military offensive in Falluja last week in which 600 Iraqis may have died has raised concerns about excessive use of force and needs immediate investigation, a leading human rights group said Tuesday.
"In the photo, a smiling Lance Cpl. Ted J. Boudreaux Jr. is standing next to two Iraqi boys. All three have their thumbs up as one of the boys holds a cardboard sign that reads “Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad, th[en] he knocked up my sister!”"
Refugees tell of rising anger in Fallujah. All those angry at the US must be enemies of freedom.
He's banned beards, honoured melons and offers dental advice. Who is this dictator? The friend of Bush's "freedom," of course.
World set back 10 years by Bush's new world order, says Blair aide. 10 years???
L'Amérique, Mon Amour
Adam Shatz's experience with Zionism.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Well, N.B. Christiansen, who deserves credit--or blame--for setting up this site, has introduced a new change whereby the links now open new windows. Let me know what you think. We are making progress. He said it. George W. Bush actually said it tonight in his press conference. I stayed in my hotel room tonight to watch the press conference live. He handled it with the same skill and ability that I would handle—without preparation—a test in advanced calculus right now. At one point the cameras showed Condoleeza Rice and she had a horrified look. And Bush kept saying that he does not care about polls, and the only reason he had this press conference—if you can call it a press conference--is the decline in his poll standing. He relishes press give-and-takes with the same eagerness that one looks forward to having her—or his—wisdom teeth pulled out. Would somebody please count the number of times the words free (freedom) and terrorism (terrorist) appeared in his statements? He looked so unsure—I don’t blame him—and so confused at some points. I believe that this press conference will signal the beginning of US retreat from Iraq on the long run. There is certainly a change of tone. I was shocked, for example, that external forces were NOT blamed (except that reference to foreign terrorist fighters, but that is a vague formulation). Where was the Iranian conspiracy peddled by Rumsfeld only a few days ago? And where was the Zarqawi conspiracy running Iraq which has been dominant in US propaganda about the war? None of that. Not even a reference to Syrian troublemaking. Most notable: is that Muqtada As-Sadr, who only yesterday according US military leaders in Baghdad, was to be captured or killed, now is merely expected to submit to Iraqi legal procedures, or something to that effect. That is a change in the formula—to As-Sadr’s favor, which indicates that Muqtada As-Sadr has succeeded in winning Sistani’s opposition to his arrest. Sadr is not wanted by US troops anymore, mark my words. I like it when neo-conservatives justify their wars by engaging in reverse cultural sensitivity. Bush, for example, said that we--brown-skinned people—desire freedom just like anybody else. How nice. How touching. But if US version of freedom is cherished by brown-skinned people, how do we explain the Iraq mess? True, he did identify those who are opposed to civilization. OK. That is a new theory: so instead of the Clash of Civilizations, we now have the Clash of Civilization versus the anti-Civilization. And you thought that Huntington’s thesis was a hard sell? It was incredible how he struggled to make the case for why Iraq was posing a threat to US. He did indicate that US is surrounded by oceans, and that they were not secure. That was an important piece of information that we did not know prior to tonight. He did say that Iraq posed a threat to the “region.” I wonder what that meant, and why should Americans care to support a war to protect that Middle East “region,” although I think that he may have Israel in mind. And he said that US is a liberator and not an imperialist power. His evidence: Germany and Japan, and then added Asia. I do not know what he meant by Asia. Was he talking about the Philippines or Vietnam?
I read an opinion by Israeli historian Amatzia Baram in the US press, who, I read, is advising the US occupation in Iraq. Baram, mind you, was one of those who assured the US government that Iraqis, especially Shi`ites, would greet US forces as "liberators" and greet them with "sweets and flowers". He did not speculate, in fairness, whether they would make tiramissu for them. This Baram was analyzing Arab culture by the typical references to "honor" "tribes" and "face saving." Those dreaded cliches about Arab society. These are the people who reduce analysis to that over-quoted proverb, "Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the stranger." And this is not true. Arab royal families are closer to US than to one another. So there. And Bush met with Husni Mubarak. I laughed when I saw that picture. Does the US government think that they reach out to Arab public opinion when they cuddle the Egyptian dictator who is nicknamed the "laughing cow" by Egyptians who think that he resembles that cow on the famous (but not delicious) French cheese? What will Mubarak do for them? Today's statement by Grand Ayatollah Sistani cannot be underestimated. This could be the last step before Sistani issued that one fatwa--eagerly awaited by non-Iraqi Arabs--which would begin the countdown for US withdrawal from Iraq. I was certain that US occupation would not work; but Bremer's mistakes and arrogance, only expedited US failure beyond anybody's expectations. To trigger a fight with Muqtada As-Sadr before June was just idiotic. Muqtada was digging for this kind of fight, that only made him look like a victim of US intolerance for press criticisms. In fact, before this episode, As-Sadr had been largely deflating on his own. He would issue ultimatum, warnings, and statements but not follow through, which made his "credibility" suffer. He was looking weak, before Bremer elevated him. He has been marginalized by Sistani. But now: he is getting the popular glory that had eluded him. Sistani's statement could indicate a prospect of a Sistani-As-Sadr's alliance: Sistani needs as-Sadr for street power; and As-Sadr needs Sistani for moral-religio legitimacy. Bremer could have easily went along with proposals by the governing puppet council to diffuse the crisis, but he is too stubborn. When asked on Meet the Press last Sunday to identify the party to which powers will be transferred at end of June, he answered by stressing that this was a good question. He has no clue. Rumsfeld wants to convince himself and the public: that it is all an outside conspiracy; that all Iraqis are solidly on US side, except the "thugs, criminals, and terrorists." If they believe that, the situation is worse than I had thought. If they do not believe that, they are only deceiving the US public. Watch Bush today repeat this cliched answer. It is all about an international conspiracy; I wonder if they will blame Zarqawi again. I have not heard his name in a while. How can they link him to the Shi`ites knowing his bigoted anti-Shi`ism, which he shares with Bin Laden. We are witnessing the Lebanonization of Iraq. And when militias take over, it takes years, or decades to dislodge them.