Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Official: in Jordan no news media can ever refer to stories or news of the King which is not authorized by the royal court

This is an actual story which will never make it into the Western press. The Jordanian potentate issued a decree that only his royal court can discuss the King and any news media which does not carry the wishes of the court will be punished.  In other news, Jon Stewart invited Jordanian king to discuss the democratic aspiration of the Arab youth.

India’s External Affairs Minister: China should take precautions against Saudi prince’s US-backed mission

"Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj who was responding to a question of Hindustan Times reporter about the visit of Saudi Arabia’s deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud to China and Japan and the important economic agreements planned to be signed between Saudi Arabia and some East Asian countries, said that India is not concerned about the Saudi Prince’s visit to Pakistan, China, and Japan. “We don’t have any strategic concern about Saudi deputy Crown Prince visiting Pakistan, China, and Japan. He has had his major strategic agreements in his last month travel to United States and no big strategic deal is likely to be clinched in this trip. I advise the Chinese officials to be cautious of Saudi prince’s US-backed mission in China,” said the minister."

CORRECTION: Wahhabi and Islamist standards: a woman is a pudendum

A parliamentary list in Jordan puts a picture of flowers instead of the face of the female candidate.

PS Some are saying that the picture above is photoshopped.  And that the image of the woman does appear.  (below)

US intervention is not intervention

"One can’t help but notice that to liberal hawks US interventions that cause massive death tolls simply aren’t acknowledged and the answer to a failed intervention is more intervention."

Who Killed Abu Muhammad Adnani?

The vague pronouncements of the US government leads me to believe that the US did not kill Adnani but it is hard for the US to admit that its enemies got to him first.  

Zionism is always racism

"Israeli Police chief: It’s ‘natural’ to suspect Ethiopians, Arabs more than others"

Lebanese court and freedom of expression

In Lebanon you can't criticize political leaders (whether they are dead or alive). The children of corrupt sectarian speaker of parliament (who allegedly for a bribe in 1982 facilitated the installation of war criminal Bashir Gemayel as president of Lebanon), Kamil As`ad, sued me in Lebanese court and won (against me and against Al-Akhbar) for criticizing Al-As`ad (who is dead).

A comprehensive review of the relations between Israel and Syrian rebel and opposition groups

Read here.

U.S. weapons used in war crimes

"Israel has for decades been the largest recipient of U.S. military aid." "Since President Obama took office, the U.S. government has done a staggering $110 billion in arms sales with the Saudi monarchy — amounting to an unprecedented increase. Like Israel and Egypt, Saudi Arabia has long been a close U.S. ally, but the U.S.-Saudi military alliance has grown dramatically since 2009. Throughout the past year U.S. weapons have kept flowing to Saudi Arabia, even while the United Nations and human rights groups have documented a slew of Saudi war crimes in Yemen." (thanks Amir)

Propaganda for UNIFIL--the protection guard for Israeli aggression in Lebanon

"Other than monitoring activity along the Blue Line, UNIFIL helps train and equip Lebanon’s army and navy to better operate in the southern border district and defend the coastline." (thanks Basim)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Polish anti-Semitic crowds: notice that Zionists are silent when it comes to real threats of anti-Semitism

Notice that boycotts of Israel generate more outrage in Western press than repugnant chants of anti-Semitic crowds in Poland.  But then again: Israel and Zionists have always been soft about European AND American anti-Semitism because the governments there are pro-Israel.

Another Iranian plot to kill a Saudi ambassador

After the diabolic plot in which the Iranian Revolutionary Guards hired a Texas salesman who hire a Mexican drug kingpin to stake out the Saudi ambassador in DC to assassinate him (whatever happened to that case, by the way) the Saudi intelligence service discovered yet another Iranian diabolical plot, this time against the Saudi ambassador in Iraq.  Only this time the Iraqi government said that the ambassador never told them about the plot.  

Someone needs to fact check the Fact Checker at the Washington Post

"Oddly, the New York Post described the journal as a “Saudi propaganda organ” even though the Saudi government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Presumably one cannot be both a Saudi propagandist and a Muslim Brotherhood operative at the same time."  No, Mr. Kessler.  You are wrong here.  You can be a Saudi propagandist and a Muslim Brother at the same time. In fact, the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, known as Jama`ah Islamiyyah, remain a tool of the Saudi regime and advocate for its royal family.  The Saudi regime was for decade a sponsor and funder of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The conflict between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood is quite recent.  

I never realized that Jihad, for Salafis, simply mean peace with Israel

Islam Alloush is "officially" ousted after giving an interview with an Israeli journalist in which he said peace with Israel is possible.

Gene Wilder

In the first version of this obituary of Gene Wilder in the Times, they made no mention of Richard Pryor.

What Liz Sly reports on Syria is not her own perspective: I discovered that she speaks for all "Syrians in Syria"

That's basically what Syrians in Syria were saying at the time. Not sure if true, but I don't think you can dismiss as nonsense.

There has never been a more sincere and passionate speaker more than this great man: George Habash in 1975

Watch here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Fath Movement imports Wahhabi standards that Women are pudenda

Fath movement censors the names of women from its municipal election lists.  It only says "sister..."

Al-Qa`idah in Syria approves of mainstream Western press but rejects Electronic Intifada

"Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria refused to grant The Electronic Intifada an interview, accusing the publication of “unprofessional” journalism.  This rejection comes as the group is reaching out to other English-language media outlets as part of a slick marketing effort."

AUB website features a saying by Donald Trump

PS I am just informed that they have removed it.

How the Lebanese Daily Start eulogized Israeli war criminal, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer

Yesterday, Daily Star of Lebanon carried the headline (from the AP story) that he was a "veteran politician" and said that he served as "a bridge between Arabs and Israel".  This war criminal was implicated with killing of Egyptian prisoners of war, and he was a liaison with the Lebanese right-wing death squads during the civil war. After I pointed out the Daily Star story on Facebook last night, it later changed the headline and deleted the reference to the "bridge" but it never apologized to its readers. The paper is owned jointly by Hamad bin Jasim of the Qatari regime and Lebanese man of letters, Sa`d Hariri.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Truth about Mother Teresa

"Over hundreds of hours of research, much of it cataloged in a book he published in 2003, Dr. Chatterjee said he found a “cult of suffering” in homes run by Mother Teresa’s organization, the Missionaries of Charity, with children tied to beds and little to comfort dying patients but aspirin.  He and others said that Mother Teresa took her adherence to frugality and simplicity in her work to extremes, allowing practices like the reuse of hypodermic needles and tolerating primitive facilities that required patients to defecate in front of one another."

The lousiest book to come out on Iran: revising the memory of the Shah

So this Cooper, author of this book, stumbled on an amazing discovery: he says that the despotic Shah was not bad but that Western media was manipulated into thinking that: " Cooper claims, for example, that Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, a nationalist-left activist who deposed the shah with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiniand later served as the first president, told him how they manipulated the Western media’s coverage of Iran." Wow. (thanks Fred)

Having failed as a mayor of Chicago he wants to fail as ambassador to the Israeli occupation state

"A persistent rumor had it that Emanuel — whose father is an Israeli immigrant and whose middle name is Israel — was seeking to be appointed U.S. ambassador to the Jewish state, a job that, while far from easy, might represent a graceful escape route from Chicago's financial, criminal and policing problems."

Zionism is always racism: why can't non-Europeans in Israel stop having children basically

"He describes the arrival of Soviet Jewry as a “human tsunami”; Moroccan Jews, the author concludes, were “less able to contribute economically to Israel”; and he claims that “Israel’s Ethiopians are unable to change their skin color and blend in like immigrants from earlier waves.”  One almost gets the feeling reading this book that if only Jews had all been non-Russian, white Europeans from Germany, then it would have been better to have millions of them. Perhaps it’s not demographics that is the problem, but not having enough white Europeans in Israel?"

By the way, how come no one in the Western press has written about the controversies and criticisms of the US ambassador in Amman?

Read here.

Comrade Joseph Massad responds to reviewers

Read here, now.

This is the funeral of someone the PA criminal collaborationist regime called "an outlaw"

Jaffa on my mind

I have been reading about Jaffa as of late.  What the Zionist gangs did to Jaffa (from the late 19th century) is sufficient to maintain anger at Zionism for eternity.  The Zionist battle against Jaffa was really the introduction of barrel bombs--which never bothers Western conscience when deployed against by Zionist gangs.  

What is not (or rarely) in US media: US killing of Syrian civilians

"The figures from the U.S. Central Command show a rate of one civilian death for every 200 strikes that U.S. planes have launched in Iraq and Syria.
That’s a vastly lower figure than the war in Afghanistan at its height — a rate of one dead civilian for about every 15 strikes — or during six years of counter­terrorism strikes in countries including Pakistan and Yemen, where the White House in a recent study found that a civilian died for every four to seven strikes." Source.

Sirhan Bisharah Sirhan

Some of us, Arabs in the US, feel that Sirhan Bisharah Sirhan, has been singled out for harsh treatment because of his ethnicity.  There is no question about it.  Arabs in the US are afraid of even mentioning Sirhan (not to lionize him and not to exonerate him but to speak about his rights as a prisoner).  I spoke to his brother this week and it is clear that Sirhan has been punished illegally for his ethnicity.  For example: he has been keen on preserving his Arabic while in prison, so he keeps a copy of the Qur'an in his cell. This basically led the prison guards and the prisoners to treat him after Sep. 11 like a dangerous Jihadi terrorist--Sirhan is Christian by the way.  There should be more coverage of this case, but Arab-American and Muslim-American organizations are busy lobbying for arms sales for polygamous Gulf dynasties.  Sirhan has been isolated ever since they found the Qur'an in his cell.

I love cats more than anyone and our cats (Bailey and Aaden are like our children but...)

Stray cats in Jerusalem gets better coverage than Palestinians in Jerusalem. (thanks Gregory) 

The lies of Uri Avnery and Amos Kenan

From James: "Uri Avnery on Kenan: “Amos Kenan was a moral person.”

Amos Kenan, “The Legacy of Lydda: Four Decades of Blood Vengeance.” The Nation 248.5 (Feb. 6, 1989).
In the afternoon, those of us who couldn't take it any more would steal off to Tel Aviv for a few hours, on one excuse or another. At night, those of us who couldn't restrain ourselves would go into the prison compounds to fuck Arab women. I want very much to assume, and perhaps even can, that those who couldn't restrain themselves did what they thought the Arabs would have done to them had they won the war.

George Habash’s response: “A Reply To Amos Kenan’s ‘The Legacy of Lydda’and An Interview With PFLP Leader Dr. George Habash.”
“My own memories of Lydda completely contradict Kenan’s lies. . . .  When I reached Lydda I found my sister seriously ill with typhoid. She was my eldest sister who was married and had six children. The curfew made it impossible to obtain medicines or even to move about. I found the Clinic had been removed to what had been the CMS Hospital and was now barely a clinic. Nevertheless I felt obliged to stay there in order to take care of patients because there were no doctors left in the city to treat the sick and the wounded. Someone managed to get to the clinic to tell me that my sister was dead. I had to go to her home which was some distance from the Clinic. When I went outside and found my way through the streets, I saw terrible sights: dozens of bodies lay on the ground in pools of blood, old and young had been shot. Among the dead I recognized one elderly man, a good old neighbor who had a small Falafel shop, a man who had never carried a gun. The Israelis were killing defenseless, unarmed people indiscriminately.”"

According to the Post, the Mugabe government "violently" suppresses a protest: let us look at the details

"Anti-Mugabe protest violently quashed:  Zimbabwean police used batons, tear gas and water cannons to crush an anti-government protest in the capital Friday".  You have noticed the irony, have you not? Even when Israel faces Palestinian demonstrators with live ammunition, the Israeli methods are NOT referred to as violent.  Yet, water cannons by Mugabe's elected government are called "violent".  

A most silly review of a book on Karl Marx

"He was an avid reader of The Economist, while publicly dismissing it as the “European organ of the aristocracy of finance”."  I didn't get this: that because he was an avid reader he should have praised it in public?

Saudi UAE alliance with Israel

"In addition, Israel has established separate official channels of communication with Saudi Arabia, as well as with the United Arab Emirates, and these channels are considered “real and significant,” according to Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project."  The funny part of this NYT editorial is that the Zionist publication is faulting the Arab Islamic regime for not caring about the Palestinians.  

A Phoenician colony in Appalachia?

"They are said to be the progeny of Phoenicians who fled the Roman sacking of Carthage, or of pre-Columbian Turkish explorers (making them America’s first Muslims)."

"elections" in Jordan

There is no fake elections in the Middle East as farcical as those in Jordan.  Yet, there is no mention in the Western press about the various blatant intrusions and violations of laws and rules set up by the regime itself.  It is such a joke without any negative press in the US.  There are no elections in Jordan: the regime arranges for largely tribal envoys to sit together in a building but without any powers whatsoever.  Look what happened to the Islamists: it is not that the regime dissolved their party, but took it away and gave it to stooges of the palace.  And yesterday, the regime just like that cancelled an election announcement of candidates, for no reason.  Yet, from Jon Stewart to Meet the Press they invite the buffoonish king to speak about the Arab youth--like he speaks for them.

Left and Right in European elections.

This new account of Musa As-Sadir is interesting if there is any evidence to it

"Cooper writes that Sadr feared Khomeini’s rise to power and had secretly contacted the shah. “This is the juice of a sick mind,” he told a close aide of the shah about Khomeini. In July 1978, Sadr sent a message to the shah, offering to help him and speak to Khomeini on his behalf, the mediator between the two men told Cooper.  The shah welcomed the gesture and saw him as a means of blocking Khomeini’s power grab. Sadr, in the meantime, harbored a dream of returning to Iran to play a role in public life. Other moderate clerics viewed Sadr as the only charismatic leader who was capable of standing up to Khomeini. “By the summer of 1978, he and the shah were two men in search of a lifeline,” Cooper writes. The shah agreed to send a representative to West Germany to meet Sadr. A week before the meeting, Sadr traveled to Tripoli to meet Ayatollah Mohammed Beheshti, Khomeini’s aide. Beheshti never came. Instead, he told Gaddafi over the phone that his “guest” was “a threat to Khomeini.” Drawing on a variety of sources, Cooper deduces that Sadr was eventually killed on the orders of Gaddafi."   In those Western accounts of As-Sadr, there is one missing element of the story: that the closest ally (throughout his career from 1970 until his "disappearance") was the Asad regime.  If you forget that As-Sadr aligned with the Asad regime throughout the civil war, even when the Asad regime supported and armed the right-wing sectarian militia, maybe then you can fill in the blanks.  (thanks Basim)

PS By the way, the "variety of sources" minted in the review are along the lines: someone who told me and he knew someone who was very close to an aide to an assistant of As-Sadr.

PPS I told the story before: As-Sadr was once in my father's office, while the Shah's ambassador in Beirut arrived for an appointment with the speaker of Lebanese parliament, and As-Sadr would not even acknowledge him or greet him.

New York Times story about Russian disinformation campaigns

You read this long article and there is not one evidence to substantiate the claims of the story.  And here are the sources: "numerous analysts and experts in American and European intelligence point to Russia as the prime suspect".  Don't you like "numerous analysts"?  Can you imagine an undergraduate using such language for a source in a research paper?  And now this passage about the innocence of US government: "The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War."  Why not write something like this: the US government can never tell a lie.  But this is the best part: when the New York Times attributes negative perceptions of the US in Czech republic to...Russian disinformation; that there could not be another reason for such negative perception: "poll this summer by European Values, a think tank in Prague, found that 51 percent of Czechs viewed the United States’ role in Europe negatively".  And the article concludes by maintaining that any person, left or right, who deviates from US narrative of world affairs is merely a victim of Russian disinformation.  Increasingly, US media remind me of media back home in the Middle East.  The subtlety of the propaganda has all but disappeared.  

Why there is no debate on Syria: why there is only one point of view allowed in US press

It is simple. Just as there is no debate on Israel in the US, the Zionists have appropriated the Syrian issue and its rhetoric in the US (including the lionization of the Syrian rebels.  Have you met one Zionist in the US who has not championed Syrian rebels?  So just as Zionists only impose one point of view and one standard terminology on Israel, they also have permitted the same narrow parameters of debate on Syria.  I was thinking yesterday: there are at least three sides to the Syrian conflict: those who are pro-Syrian regime, those who are pro-Syrian rebels, and those who abhor both sides.  Who among the three groups were permitted space in US media: from the New York Times to Democracy Now? Who?

The Dean of Columbia's school of journalism conflates Jihadi Syrian rebels with civilians

"If Aleppo’s rebels and its civilian volunteers". This must be the cutest apology I have seen for Syrian Jihadi rebels.  Why not attach them to civilians (or civilian volunteers) and thus make them part of the civilian population.  So the civilians living under duress in the lands of ISIS and Nusrah are mere civilian volunteers?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Paul Wolfowitz

American liberals are bragging that Paul Wolfowitz may vote for Hillary.  

The Clinton Era

Doctors without Borders

I noticed that their reaction to Saudi bombs on their hospital in Yemen has been quite muted.  I wonder why.

The New York Times confirms: US bombs and rockets never hit civilian areas in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

"although Syrian and Russian attacks have repeatedly hit predominantly Arab rebel groups backed by the United States, as well as hospitals, schools and civilian areas."

US media won't cover this: A Palestinian female poet is arrested by Israel for her poetry

A Palestinian female poet is arrested by the Israeli occupation state for her poetry.  

Sources of American Zionist concerns

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Sources of American Zionist Disquiet: The Unrestrained American Generation".  

Friday, August 26, 2016

I am embarrassed to say that this is from IC (my elementary-to-high school) school in Beirut: from its alumni magazine.

Roger Cohen of the Times refers to Jihadi groups (including Al-Qa`idah and Islamic Turkistan Islamic Party) as Syrian "opposition"

"Today, as then, Aleppo is divided between a beleaguered eastern sector controlled by opposition groups and a larger western sector controlled by Assad’s brutal regime."  Which reminds me, how come all the fanatic Zionists of the US are such fanatic supporters of Syrian Jihadi groups and the Syrian "revolution"? Is there a correlation between the two positions?  

It is official: Israel is found innocent of war crime charges...according to Israel

"The Israeli military on Wednesday cleared its forces of wrongdoing in three deadly incidents that occurred during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip, including an airstrike that killed 15 members of one family.  Israel’s investigative process is at the heart of a Palestinian case to press for war-crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Palestinians say Israel has a poor record of prosecuting wrongdoing in its ranks.  The Israeli military said Wednesday that it had closed a total of seven probes without filing charges after a special team collected testimony from Gaza residents and Israeli officers."

How US government promoted Jihadi terrorism among children of Afghanistan during the Cold War

"The United States spent millions printing textbooks for Afghan children and adults that encouraged violence against non-Muslim “infidels” like Soviet troops, as in this excerpt from a book for Pashto-speaking first graders."

So in a long article about Saudi Arabia in the Times, who comes to the defense of Saudi despotism? The same guy who wants democracy in Syria

"“Americans like to have someone to blame — a person, a political party or country,” said Robert S. Ford, a former United States ambassador to Syria and Algeria. “But it’s a lot more complicated than that. I’d be careful about blaming the Saudis.”  Of course, Ford is a fellow at the Saudi-Hariri-funded Atlantic Council (of course, Saudi funding in Washington comes with no-strings-attached).

"What Orthodox Women Wear to the Beach Is No Different From a Burkini"

"Moshe Sebbag, the rabbi of the Grand Synagogue of Paris, announced this week that he supports the French ban on burkinis, the modest swimwear some Muslim women wear to cover up on the beach. Wearing a burkini, he said, is not “innocent” and it sends a message.  But, we ask Sebbag, what difference exactly is there between the garb Orthodox Jewish women wear to the beach than the burkinis that some Muslim women wear?  And why should one religious group of women be allowed to follow their traditions over another?"

Decades of U.S. policy of propping up pro-U.S. tyrants

"Is Clinton loyalty really so strong that people are going to argue with a straight face that the reason the Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti and Emirates regimes donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation is because those regimes simply want to help the foundation achieve its magnanimous goals?" "Was she doing it as a favor in return for those donations, or simply because she has a proven affinity for Gulf State and Arab dictators, or because she was merely continuing decades of U.S. policy of propping up pro-U.S. tyrants in the region?"

"America is the only developed nation that lets drugmakers set their own prices on life-saving medications."

"America is the only developed nation that lets drugmakers set their own prices on life-saving medications."

Saudi media and the North Korean potentate

Do you know that Saudi regime media now refer to the North Korean leader as "dictator"? Those Saudi regime media just can't stomach dictatorships.

Israeli services to homicidal regimes

"Now that the coup has restored Honduras to its rightful position as glorious hub of right-wing extremism, it’s even easier to bring the Israelis in. And current Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández knows it." "Documenting Israel’s “considerable” services to various homicidal Central American outfits through 1983—when Fateful Triangle was first published—Chomsky notes that the particular significance of Israeli assistance to Honduras had to do with Ronald Reagan’s “increasingly visible efforts to foment disorder and strife by supporting the Somozist National Guard based in Honduras in their forays into Nicaragua, where they torture and destroy in the manner in which they were trained by the United States for many years.” According to Chomsky, Argentine neo-Nazis had initially been considered for the role of U.S. proxy in Central America, but the Israelis apparently beat them to it." (thanks Amir)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The dirty hands of Israel

"One of the world’s most evasive digital arms dealers is believed to have been taking advantage of three security vulnerabilities in popular Apple products in its efforts to spy on dissidents and journalists.  Investigators discovered that a company called the NSO Group, an Israeli outfit that sells software that invisibly tracks a target’s mobile phone, was responsible for the intrusions. The NSO Group’s software can read text messages and emails and track calls and contacts. It can even record sounds, collect passwords and trace the whereabouts of the phone user.  In response, Apple on Thursday released a patched version of its mobile software, iOS 9.3.5. Users can get the patch through a normal software update."

Israeli cyber arms dealer

It appears that the company that provided the spyware and the zero-day exploits to the hackers targeting Mansoor is a little-known Israeli surveillance vendor called NSO Group, which Lookout’s vice president of research Mike Murray labeled as “basically a cyber arms dealer.”

Nicholas Kristof: the liberal who wants more US bombing of Syria

"In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote (in response to the siege of Aleppo, but before the photo went viral): “Many experts recommend trying to ground Syria’s Air Force so it can no longer drop barrel bombs on hospitals and civilians. One oft-heard idea is to fire missiles from outside Syria to crater military runways to make them unusable.”"

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Religious police and the secular police

So an armed man in Saudi Arabia is forcing a Muslim woman to cover up, while an armed man in Nice, France is forcing a Muslim woman to uncover herself.  And both speak in the name of some higher (religious ore secular) virtue.  

I will never again say that the world does not care about Gaza

"Rescued Gaza zoo animals move to new sanctuaries" outside of Palestine.  Let the people go Gaza suffer but let the animals live in safe sanctuaries in the West.

An Egyptian who was sentenced in Saudi Arabia for leaking a secret document to Iran

If you read your ruling, the man was also convicted of dabbling in magic.  I am not making this up.

Arabs in America as "low hanging fruit"

"The FBI informant went after a “low hanging fruit” by targeting Hamdan, Weiss said. Weiss said when the informant kept bringing up Hezbollah, Hamdan kept saying: “I am not interested”, and that he could not join even if he wanted to. “The other individual, undaunted, would say, ‘We have connections; we can do things,’” Weiss continued. “Hamdan responded he’s not interested in connections.” The maximum sentence for Hamdan’s offense is eight years. But he agreed with the prosecutor to serve five years and three months, as a part of his plea deal, according to his attorney. He has already spent more than two years in jail, as he was denied bond." (thanks Basim)

What would happen if French police were to remove the covering of an orthodox Jewish woman on a Nice beach?

I think if that were to happen, the laws against anti-Semitism would kick in, and the law would protect the Jewish woman from being forced to remove her covering.  But if a Muslim woman were allowed to use the Nice beach covered in a burkini, the laws against anti-secularism would kick in, and she would be forced to remove her burkini.   

In 1925, French police made sure that women on the beach adhered to the appropriate length of the swimsuit

Repressive secularism: or the day that will live in infamy in the history of Western attitudes toward Islam

There is no picture that captures the crux of Western Islamopohobia like this image from the French beach of Nice.  It is the illustration of Colonial feminism.  It has not generated much uproar in Western societies but it has stirred quite an uproar this morning on Arab social media.  The immediate comparison is being made to the Saudi religious police (the Mutawa`ah): Saudi regime has a religious police and France has a secular police and both apparatuses of the state are being used against Muslim women: either to dress them or to undress them.  Both impose a strict order and dress code on women: either in the name of religious virtue or in the name of liberal secular virtue, but both see the female body as a threat to the moral and political order.  This picture, no matter what will happen next, will serve as convenient tool of recruitment and mobilization by Jihadi groups in the world over--by groups and individuals who preach a civilizational conflict between "the Islam" and "the West".  In the West, it will also serve as a recruitment and mobilization tool by Right-wing fanatical politicians and parties, and that ALWAYS includes French socialists.  Yet again, since the days of the National Front in the 1930s, the ugly face of French socialist colonialism is being uncovered for Arabs and Muslims to see. The remarks of the French prime minister were quite blunt and quite candid.  It is quite telling about the fake invocation of "secularism"--only in the face of Muslims, that the state which never allowed its theoretical adherence to secularism to interfere in its official and declared sensitivity to the Jewish question after WWII (and that is a good thing given the past anti-Semitism of the state and society).  No one can be convinced that this law against the Burkini could be invoked against say a Christian nun or an Orthodox Jewish woman.  There would be world-wide outrage, but conservative Muslim women who are covered have now become a threat to the Western political and moral order--very much the same argument (in reverse) of the fanatical Muslims who want to impose a dress code on women.  But that is what women are for those fanatics on both sides: a body and a sexual object: to be covered or uncovered, that is the question.  No matter what will happen next, the pictures of this scene will live in infamy and no matter what France does or does not do, it can't be erased. This is what it has boiled down to: the repressive powers of the state are used against a Muslim women, in the name of her own liberation.  It is always the Western colonial white man who knows what is best for Muslim women, because she can't speak for herself and because the Western man is on a mission to liberate her--by force, naturally.  At least this morning, Arabs (secularists and religious, leftists and conservative) are in agreement: this is a very ugly face of the French republic.  

By foremost cartoonist of the Arab world

Page Liked · 3 hrsEdited
#Khartoon - Laws - To cover or uncover? Women in France are having their liberties stripped in the name of freedom, while others in the name of religion"

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hummus and Muhammara news

Public Service announcement: 1) All Hummus packaged at Trader Joe's-are Listeria-contaminated Sabra Hummus which should be avoided like the plague; 2) Trader Joe's, even in Modesto, carries a Muhammara dish which is rather delicious.

PS Thanks to Fred Lawson for the tip about the Muhammara.
PPS It is a matter of time before the Israeli occupation state declares Muhammara an Israeli dish, and before Sabra produces a Listeria-contaminated version of it.

"Viggo Mortensen Takes Aim at Israel's 'State Terrorism' "

The actor asserted, "No one in the media seems to have a problem with anyone criticizing Palestinian terrorism, but if anyone dares express any objection to the Israeli government's acts of state terrorism against Palestinian civilians, one is rapidly vilified and censored."...He bemoaned in the interview that not much progress had been made over the past five years since the declaration. "Sadly, very little has changed in terms of the free rein that the government of Israel is given by the U.S. and other influential governments in terms of their handling of the Palestinian question," he said."

The role of U.S. president is to support the decisions made by Israel

"The latest batch of Clinton emails show that then-Secretary of State Clinton was shuffling her schedule to meet with big Clinton Foundation donors who care about Israel. “I’m on shuttle w Avigdor Liberman…. I want to stop by to see hrc tonite for 10 mins,” wrote one of them. When Donald Trump tried to take a “neutral” position on Israel, Hillary Clinton told the leading Israel lobby group AIPAC that he had “no business” being president and she was going to take the relationship with Israel “to the next level.” When Bernie Sanders tried to stake out a neutral position on Israel, Clinton’s catspaw at the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, complained privately, “The Israel stuff is disturbing.” Or as Anne Lewis, Clinton’s political guru who is also a Zionist, said, “The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel.” " (thanks Amir)

The notion that US and Canadian college campuses have become hotbeds of anti-Semitism

Notice all US media accounts of anti-Semitism on US college campuses are purely anecdotal: that one person told someone that someone, etc. Also, notice that any bad experience by any Jewish student is considered anti-Semitic, which is not necessarily the case.  If someone yells at a Jewish or Muslim students it does not mean that that person is anti-jewish or anti-Muslim unless that person yelled against the person only because of his/her faith.  If a Jewish or Muslim student received a bad grade, it does not mean that the teacher is anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim unless the grade was received because of the faith of the recipient   I am sure that there are individual anti-Semites on US college campuses (and among the US population) but the notion that there is rampant anti-Semitism on US college campuses is ludicrous.  This is an example: "In the past year alone, as a Jewish student at McGill University in Montreal, I’ve been called a “Zionist b—-.”"  Why do you say "as a Jewish" student? How do you know that? The Republicans on campus are very pro-Israel on college campuses and most are not Jewish? She added "as a Jewish student" in order to make the statement anti-Semitic   Her sentence for example qualifies as a sexist and reprehensible comment against her but not necessarily anti-Semitic.  Being labeled pejoratively for your gender is certainly sexist but being labeled ideologically is not bigotry in itself.  

Deep-packet inspection in Egypt

"Deep-packet inspection is the one of the most invasive things a country can do to its internet. Employed by repressive regimes from Russia to Bahrain, it lets governments look into the content of web traffic as it moves over the network, allowing them to censor websites in real time and conduct detailed surveillance of citizen's activities on the web. They also require sophisticated equipment, usually provided by a western company. As a result, DPI installations are usually kept secret for as long as possible."

Road to the throne? Media Empire of Prince Muhammad bin Salman

Source here.

From Jadaliyya: the Dubai Paradox

"The city-state's strict commitment to its historically pacific tactic are however very well being revised. Although never stated explicitly, it became clear throughout our meetings that the UAE was, indeed, at war. In fact, the exacerbated contextual sediment of the last ten years–comprising, notably, the amplification of time-honored tensions between Sunni and Shiite factions in proximate Iran and the wave of Sunni Arab revolutions in 2011–has urged the UAE's national army to adopt a firmer, more outwardly military strategy. As reminded by two actors we met, Dubai’s security tactic can no longer remain strictly confined to the endogenous protection of a safe haven. The renewed and more robust geopolitical trajectory of the UAE has transpired most revealingly when Dubai, under the auspices of the Federal Army, sent boots on unstable ground within the 2015 Saudi-led coalition's intervention in Yemen. Prior to our arrival but still fresh in people’s minds, a national day of mourning had been declared by Dubai’s prince as an homage to the Emirati soldiers that had been killed during a particularly violent day of the conflict. Patriotic advertisements for army recruitment flooding national television complemented officials’ remarks that the UAE had for a long time been actively engaged in an air campaign in Syria, while noting that one of France’s prime economic interests in the Emirates was in the sector of arms trading. 
As one embarks on the Thales metro or deciphers a recruitment advertisement for the army, one easily perceives that the rather pro-active stance of the UAE regarding regional affairs has affected Dubai's urban space. A less patent, yet particularly telling example thereof was revealed at our meeting at the Dubai South headquarters. The planning of the futuristic south-western sector– branded as Dubai 2.0–is imbued with strategic considerations, most discernible in the UN-encouraged establishment of a district that will be entirely dedicated to the provision of out-flying humanitarian assistance to the surrounding war, tension and terrorism ridden turmoil. These latest developments inspire a daring question: can we imagine a future where the UAE would be acting as a potent and intervening stabilizer of the region? If so, to what degree would such a path alter the branding, planning and governance of Dubai? The seemingly paradoxical imbrication between a securitized urban space, advertised as a safe haven for capital, and an increasingly active geopolitical presence in the broader region, raises questions concerning the long-term sustainability of this strategy, and the potential risk such aggressivity could breed."

Monday, August 22, 2016

King of Jordan's book: "Our Last Best Chance: A Story of War and Peace"

How come people have not read or mocked this book by the buffoonish king of Jordan? Here are some gems from the book:
On handling Arab-Israeli war: “One afternoon my brother Faisal and I were hiding in the basement with assorted aunts, cousins, and other relatives”. (p. 18) 
On Karmah battle of 1968:  “Although the Fedayeen took part in the fighting, the victory was achieved by the army”. p. 22
According to this guy, Nasser placed hydrochloric acide in King Husain's nose drops to kill him--kid you not.  p. 23 (he then tells the hilarious highly unlikely story of the dead cats, according to which the King's chef wanted to poison the king so he experimented first on cats in the palace).  
"Arabic is my first language…And yet before too long I had mastered English and I picked up a British accent that has stayed with me”.  (p. 26)

On his high school heroism:  "So we locked arms and pounded each other on the back..  I jumped onto a bed and leaped at my antagonists, knocking him over. He fell and hit his head hard on the floor...but because I had taken down a much bigger boy, the others began to show me a little more respect”. p. 32)

US-UK-Saudi PR firm gets the Syrian rebel's message out to Fox News, Reuters & NYT

"The British government is picking up the Western-backed opposition’s $1.4 million annual tab influencing policymakers in Washington and at the American United Nations mission in New York, Justice Department records reveal. And Saudi Arabia helps get the rebel point of view in the media via the kingdom’s $8 million contract with PR giant MSL Group (formerly Qorvis)." "Separately, Riyadh pays to provide "media support" for the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, an umbrella group that includes the opposition coalition, as part of a broader contract with MSL Group worth $7.96 million in 2015. The PR firm has helped to get the opposition's message out to major media outlets such as Fox News, Reuters and The New York Times, according to the latest available lobbying records."

The real purpose of US-linked "pro-democracy" dissidents

"It’s not a secret the US State Department, USAID and other US-linked organizations supported many dissident groups; it’s openly discussed on the website  of the State Department–funded National Endowment for Democracy. (Here’s an archived page describing more than 50 groups the NED boasted of supporting in 2011.) The US government and allied NGOs routinely meddle in the affairs of other countries; that’s the entire purpose of their “pro-democracy” efforts. That’s what “soft power” means."

Homophobe blamed gays for God's wrath, then his house was swept away

"In a 2015 interview with Messianic Jewish pastor Jonathan Cahn, Perkins agreed that Hurricane Joaquin, a devastating storm that hit the Bahamas last year, was “a sign of God’s wrath”, punishment for abortion and for the legalization of same-sex marriage." "As a member of that “homosexual community” who has endured this rhetoric for his entire adult life, I must admit I found it difficult to not raise an eyebrow at the mental image of Tony Perkins paddling in a canoe after his house was swept away in the flood that’s currently affecting Louisiana." (thanks Amir)

How an Israeli football team was greeted in Scotland

Details here.

I have one question for New York Times on its coverage of Israel

Has there been a movie dealing with Israel (favorably) which has not been declared a masterpiece? Has there been a book dealing with Israeli (favorably) which it has not been recommended for the Nobel Prize in literature? Has there been a dish appropriated by Israel which has not been declared the most delicious food on earth? Has there been a potato stolen by Israel which has not been declared the best potato in human history?  Has there been ever a book, article, short story, or an utterance by an Israeli which has not been declared a pearl of wisdom?  But then again: the newspaper which declared that Howard Stern is a feminist would not object to praising all things Israeli.

Bashshar Al-Asad's world view

He lives on a different planet in which Brics countries rule supreme.  He thanked India for its support, as India has become a strategic partner with Israel.  

American Zionists are worried; they are very worried indeed

The poster was part of a multimillion-dollar effort to combat the BDS movement, led by Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. While this kind of attack campaign is one tactic, a key aim is to win back hearts and minds for Israel via social media pushes, cultural fairs and subsidized trips to the Jewish state...The effort kicked off this last semester at six California campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and San Jose State University, and will expand to 20 more college campuses this fall.  The Adelsons and other supporters of Israel are alarmed by the precipitous growth in young Americans’ support for Palestinians. A Pew Research Center poll in May found that 27% of millennials now sympathize more with Palestinians, up from 9% in 2006 — while their generation’s support for Israel has declined in the same period from 51% to 43%. A main cause, Israel supporters say, is the mushrooming BDS campus movement. In the last four years, student governments at eight of nine UC undergraduate campuses have voted to support the campaign.  “It’s the No. 1 nonmilitary threat to Israel and the Jewish people,” David Brog, executive director of the new Adelson-funded task force, said of BDS. “Our goal is to change the younger generation from neutral, if not opposed to, Israel to support of Israel.” The Maccabee Task Force — named after a small Jewish rebel group who prevailed over the Greeks two millennia ago — mainly aims to beef up positive education about Israel with such methods as hosting “peace tents” for dialogue during anti-Israel campus events and Israel cultural fairs — complete with free falafel and iced coffee.  But Brog said the campaign also will target what he called “lies” about Israel perpetuated by Students for Justice in Palestine and BDS." (thanks Sal)

He argues that beheading and war crimes should not disqualify Nur Ad-Din Az-Zanegi rebel group

Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) tweeted at 6:20 AM on Mon, Aug 22, 2016:
Controversial, but @AbuJamajem is largely right:
- “In #Syria, U.S. Can Keep Its Hands Clean or Get Things Done”

One is legal and one is not

Do you remember her? She wrote in the New York Times about Aleppo a few weeks ago

Here, she maintains that my declaration of love for ALL Syrian children (and not half of them) is a message of hatred:

He said he's waiting to support Syrians who love all Syrian children. To utter such a spiteful statement & claim to "principled" is beyond.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A new realignment in the Middle East:

There is a new realignment in the Middle East but its shape are not yet final or clear.  Al-Arabiyya (the news station of Muhammad bin Salman) hosted Gulen, and the adviser of Erdogan has described that as "hosting of a terrorist".  Turkey's new relations with Iran and Russia may signal a shift but I can't see how Turkey can for many reasons abruptly shift course on Syria.  

Oh, also on Uri Bar-Joseph's book "The Angel: The Egyptian Spy who Saved Israel"

Forgot to mention: of course, as typical in Israeli books on Arabs there is a racist section.  Here we goes: "the centrality of shame in Arab society.  Whereas in Western culture, much of a person's worth in society turns on the question of guilt versus innocence, in Arab culture the question is much more one of shame versus honor.  Shame reflects not just on the individual but also on the groups he associates with..." (p. 319)  And this guy got his PhD from Stanford: he may have used his time there to take a few courses in Anthropology (they have good anthropologists there).

Ashraf Marwan: the story as told by Israel

I have written a lengthy critique in Arabic in Al-Akhbar of the new book by Uri Bar-Joseph, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel".  Typical of Israeli academics (hence the need for BDS), the author comes from a military-intelligence background in the Israeli occupation army, and he only got his PhD in 1990, although before that date (when he was still in Israeli military intelligence--assuming he isn't anymore) he was writing books as "expert" in the US.  He is author with the fanatic, Amos Perlmutter, "Two Minutes Over Baghdad", which is an Israeli propaganda book which claims that Saddam was about to equip missiles with nuclear warheads and whose writings is always about the skill and talent of Israeli occupation killers.  This book is no exception.  It does have less mistakes than you would find in most Israeli books on the Middle East (although there are still mistakes: Saud was NOT crown prince in Saudi Arabia back in 1974 (p. 247), and his transliteration of Arabic is consistently flawed but that is standard in Israeli Orientalism).  The book, like all Israeli books which pass through the rigid Israeli censors when dealing with intelligence matters should be read with a very critical eye.  It also has typical Israeli justifications of war crimes: he refers to the Israeli bombing in war of attrition as bombing into "deep Egyptian territory" (p. 56) when those bombing included an elementary school and a factory, among other civilian targets.  But the book totally debunks the thesis of the 60 minutes program on Ashraf Marwan (which hired by the account of the book people from Israeli military intelligence as consultants) especially the claim that Marwan during Nasser's era was a high ranking official. He never was. This book makes it clear: that Nasser was incorruptible and that he would not tolerate any use or abuse of power by his children and their husbands or wives, and that the motive of Marwan may have been that he was snubbed by Nasser, who argued with his daughter, Mona, to divorce the sleazy corrupt Marwan after he received cash payments from Kuwaiti Prince, Abdullah Mubarak As-Sabah (this Sabah also gave cash to Sadat and his wife from the mid-1960s and was known for his payments to Lebanese press).  Marwan was so hurt by Nasser contempt for him, that he volunteered for the Mossad.  But the spying only occurred during Sadat era when he rose through the hierarchy of Egyptian political and intelligence power.  I don't believe that Marwan was a double-agent as Egyptian regime claimed: they never provided any evidence for that while this book provides material about his spying for Israel. But like all spies and agents of Israel (including King Husayn) they all did that for money and not for ideology. Even Jonathan Pollard: as much as he tried to give ideological justifications for his spying, he was doing it for the money and the jewelry for his wife.  Did Marwan save Israel in 1973, no, this is an exaggerated claim and I believe that the book is intended to bring up a past issue in order to try to salvage the sagging fortune and reputation of the Mossad, which totally lost its "aura" among Arabs and non-Arabs alike.  I am happy to live to a time when Mossad agents were universally mocked with their cheap disguises in Dubai during the Mabhuh assassination.  So Mossad will be digging into their files to try to obtain some Western "respect", just like Rodney Dangerfield. The book also suggests that US intelligence may have been instrumental in the rise of Marwan during the Sadat counter-attack against the Nasserists in May 1971.  Is there one spy for Israel who is not a creep and who is not involved in prostitution (Elie Cohen opened a brothel in Damascus for all intents and purposes) and dirty games?

PS Also, in every Israeli propaganda book, they manage to tell you about the wife and children of the Israeli killer, and how his wife was waiting for him at night, etc.  To humanize killers. A classic Israeli method of propaganda:  Humanize the killers and demonize the innocent.