Friday, November 28, 2014

Happiness Index: but I still maintain that surveys across cultures and languages are rather meaningless

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Obama on Ferguson/Obama on the Middle East

From Nikolai: "Obama on Ferguson: "...There is never an excuse for violence."


Obama on the Middle East: "Nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war.  And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss.  For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But as Commander-in-Chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives.  To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties -- not just in our cities at home and our facilities abroad, but also in the very places like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu where terrorists seek a foothold.  Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.  So doing nothing is not an option."

Western humanitarian generosity: UK has only taken in 100 Syrian refugees

"In an open letter to David Cameron published by The Independent, more than 30 organisations attack the Government for accepting around 100 Syrians - despite committing to welcome many more."

Israel takes record for World's youngest prisoner, 11 months old

"11-month-old Balqis Ghawadra became the youngest prisoner in the world, after visiting her father in Eshel Israeli prison, occupied Beer Sheva."

Western fear of Muslims

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Sa`id `Aql

"Formerly a supporter of the Palestinian cause".  He never was a supporter of the Palestinian cause, unless this Gulf regime paper considers anti-Semitism (rampant among the Maronite militias and political leader of Lebanon) a form of support for the Palestinian cause, which is not, except by the standards of the House of Saud and its clerics.

Western export

""Support for Islamic State (Isis) among Arabic-speaking social media users in Belgium, Britain, France and the US is greater than in the militant group’s heartlands of Syria and Iraq, a global analysis of over 2m Arabic-language online posts has found.""

Hashish and the US

Comrade Amer: "Lebanon’s war on ‘hashish’ indistinguishable from war on the poor"

What was unusual about the Ferugson grand jury?

Some details.

Hugh Naylor of the Washington Post

I only recently read the dispatches of Hugh Naylor of the Washington Post. But I learned from Twitter that he, and Dexter Filkins, are fans of Fouad Ajami. That is all I need to know as I read them.

Israeli 2nd grade worksheet

"Teachers of one of Israeli schools delivered a worksheet to their students includes a list of rights. The strange thing is that the right of "Killing Hamas" was included in that list, what surprised the student's parents and let them to make a complaint against the school." (thanks Amir)

Sa`id `Aql dead

I will write something about him for Al-Akhbar English.

Is it official now? Did Nadim Houry of HRW join the Hariri family press office? He speaks their same words now

"Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said a "sentiment of Sunni victimization creates a terrain where (the Islamic State group) could — and I say could, I don't think they have done it yet — but could try and prey, and gain more and more support."" If someone were to say those words about Al-Qa`idah in the US, he/she would be accused of sympathy with terrorism.  (thanks Basim)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Is the US government horrified by the Israeli attack on Gaza?

And is the US government horrified by its own attacks on Syria? (thanks Marc)

How NATO produced a monster in Libya

"Research by Dignity – the Danish Institute against Torture – shared with the Guardian, paints a devastating picture of the human consequences of the regionalism, tribalism and factionalism that have wracked the north African country since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi three-and-a-half years ago."

Qatar's treatment of migrant workers

"More than 100 migrant workers who went on strike in Qatar this week over low pay have been arrested and are being processed for deportation, according to their co-workers."

It is a secret: The U.S. wanted to help the rebels oust Assad but didn't want to be open about their support

" "The U.S. wanted to help the rebels oust Assad but didn't want to be open about their support, so to have rebels trained in Qatar is a good idea, the problem is the scale is too small," said a Western source in Doha." (thanks Amir)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So was Mahmoud Abbas anti-Semitic? It depends on the week really

The state of Israel does not really care about fighting anti-Semitism and it has no qualms about welcoming anti-Semites provided they give support to Israel.  That was true of Sadat and true of all the Western anti-Semites (from Balfour on) who are celebrated by Israel for their support of Israel.  Take Mahmoud Abbas: one week Israel remembers that he is an anti-Semite, and when he serves Israel well, his anti-Semitism is forgotten. 

Sabah in English

(thanks Maya)

MESA and a new vote

In the next meeting of MESA, members will vote on whether members have the right to eat during MESA meetings.  This may pass by a landslide.

Lebanese singer Sabah, dead

She was perhaps the one Lebanese who transcended sect.  She proved that in practice through her marriages.  She was a happy person who liked to make people happy.  She was smart and sincere.  I saw her perform and appreciated her consistent enthusiasm.  My favorite song by her in my opinion is this one:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Look how the Washington Post describes the racist exclusivist religious bill of Israel

"Cabinet approves nation-state bill".  This is like describing the Nuremberg Nazi laws as "nation-state laws".

Lebanon and Saudi and Iranian interests

This silly article misses an important element: the lousy Lebanese government actually protects both, the lousy Iranian regime and the lousy Saudi regime from criticisms and attacks.  So the government bans insults to both regimes--if it can.

The United Arab Emirates ambassador has been ordered to pay three former employees almost a quarter of a million euro for breaches of work rights

"The United Arab Emirates ambassador has been ordered to pay three former employees almost a quarter of a million euro for breaches of work rights.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal  accepted evidence that the women from the Philippines were forced to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week for €170 per month.

The tribunal described these conditions as horrific and awarded each claimant €80,000.

The ambassador did not attend the hearing but an embassy spokesperson said he would be pleading diplomatic immunity."

The racist exclusive religion bill in Israel

The fact that US media refer to this bill as "controversial" is quite stunning from a propaganda point of view. This is like referring to Nuremberg Nazi laws as "controversial".

anti-Semitism in Western media

Do you notice? Western Zionist media are no more bothered with anti-Semitism in the Saudi press because they are now aligned with the House of Saud.  This guy maintains that "Jews are terrified" at the number of Muslims in Western countries.

Children of Western covert policies in Syria

"A propaganda video entitled "Race Towards Good" shows Kazakh fighters undergoing physical training and practising using American, Russians and Austrian-made sniper rifles. At the end of the video, a Kazakh child recites a speech for the camera, saying, "We're going to kill you, O kuffar [unbelievers]. Insha'allah [God-willing], we will slaughter you." "

US-Israeli collaboration

This is quite amazing. Imagine if Russia and Iran together collaborated on the production of viruses and malware.  Can you imagine the world outrage and UN protests?  (thanks Talal)

Western intelligence agencies are the World's biggest malware producers

""Regin is the latest malicious software to be uncovered by security researchers, though its purpose is unknown, as are its operators. But experts have told the Guardian it was likely spawned in the labs of a western intelligence agency."" (thanks Amir)

US war crimes: 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes

"A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November."

American media and peace and non-violence

Only when blacks in the US protest, do the US media uniformly call insistently for peace and non-violence. US forces invade and bomb around the world, and that never lead to people of the media (liberals and conservative alike) to suggest that maybe peace and non-violence would be more appropriate in US foreign policy.  I guess violence and nuclear weapons are only safe in the hands of the White Man.  Enjoy.

MESA: too little, too late, too cowardly

It has been proven that among all area studies associations and even among the academic professional associations, MESA is the most conservative and the most establishment.  It will stigmatize MESA--it should--for years to come that Asian Studies and American Studies associations were ahead of MESA in adopting BDS.  There should be a serious talk among MESA members to split off from the mother organization to form a more progressive academic association for Middle East studies (there was a similar debate back in the late 1960s when AAUG was formed, by the way).  There is a clear Zionist or Zionist-fearing mood and currents in MESA, or the latter mood is the strongest.  It is beyond me how this organization elected as president a man who fiercely fought BDS from within the leadership of MESA.  The vote yesterday was nothing to celebrate: it was a vote on the right of members to debate BDS. Hell, the US constitution of previous centuries grant that right to MESA members.  Right to debate? Are you kidding me? I wait for MESA leaders to grant me the right to think and debate? That really required a vote? How insulting and how patronizing and I can't believe that this went on without a whimper.  What is next? A resolution to grant members the right to obtain beverages during the conference?  Don't get me wrong, MESA will eventually adopt BDS but it will be بايخة lame because it will come at the end of series of such measures by academic associations that don't even deal with the Middle East. The vote yesterday was part of various Zionist and Zionist-fearing tactics by some in MESA leadership and membership in order to delay and block the wave of BDS within MESA.  There were 79 odd members yesterday who voted against the right to debate BDS.  Think about that. Some in this organization don't believe that MESA members should have freedom of speech (granted by the constitution) if such freedom may harm Israeli interests.  Amazing really. The fact that members allowed such a vote to proceed is basically a symptom of the internalization of internal repression, regardless whether it was intended as such by drafters and supporters.  And why did MESA ban the press from covering the event? What is there to hid? It is yet another indication of the Zionist-fearing mood in this organization where many academics are too afraid to be seen or heard making a criticism of Israel or even considering the adoption of BDS. The fat that the press was banned is evidence of how much Zionist intimidation is internalized by the establishment of MESA.  And yet, an Israeli diplomat snuck into the meeting (uninvited) to report to Israeli newspapers about the proceedings.  Make such conferences open and allow people and Zionists in the media to watch debate, even if that makes many academics nervous because they fear that their academic advancement may be hurt by the expression of reservations about Israel and its war crimes.  The summary of the story is this: MESA will adopt BDS and it will be--to its eternal shame--the last area studies association to do so, and it is the one that specializes in the Middle East.  Oh, and I was informed that some yesterday were expressing alarm that if MESA were to adopt BDS some Israeli academics may not be able to obtain funding to travel to attend MESA. This concern, apparently, supersedes concern over an entire nation of natives who were uprooted and expelled by the Zionist forces. 

Sleazy media of Saudi princes: Al-Arabiyya

This is top news in the media of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya: "Kim Kardashian arrives in UAE, lounges and parties in Abu Dhabi".

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lousy MESA resolution

The lousy MESA resolution, apparently, supported debate on BDS.  Debate? We need a resolution or a vote for the right of debate? Are you kidding me? I don't know who was behind this language or resolution, but it seems to me that Zionist watered down a move to endorse BDS by the membership. Right of debate? Oh, I never had the right of debate of BDS before MESA awarded me that right.

MESA: BDS

I hear that a BDS vote passed by a landslide at MESA.

Chronicle of Higher Education

There is an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the push for BDS within MESA. Would someone kindly or unkindly send me a copy? thanks.

Wait: are Syrian activsits also combatants??

From Angry Arab's chief correspondent in Turkey: "Can you see any difference with a combatant and what Reuters call as an 'activist'. Note that these 'activists on ground' have been used as the main source of information for over three years by western media outlets...

"We targeted the town with dozens of mortar shells and dozens of hell cannon shells and Nusra's forces made progress and control buildings which are in the first line of defence of Nubl," said media activist Ahmed Hamidou who was accompanying battalions involved in the campaign."

Mugabe and Zimbabwe

I don't get the Western media obsession with Mugabe and Zimbabwe but I do maintain that there is more than a tinge of racism to their coverage.  I mean, the obsession is way out of proportion to the abuses in Zimbabwe. Are Western media trying to convince her that Zimbabwe (where they are elections and opposition figures and media) is worse off than, say, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and the various other places where Western government enjoy the warmest of relations?  Get over it. Colonial powers were kicked out of Africa (although the US is trying to make a come back through the window).

They never ask the King of Jordan in US media about such matters: Jon Stewart is too busy asking him about what Arab youths want

"The state security prosecutor general ordered Mr. Bani Rushaid’s arrest on charges of harming relations with a friendly country".

Look at this headline in the Times: what is considered weapons by Israel

Headline:  "Israelis Confiscate Weapons Bound for East Jerusalem".
Details: "Thousands of commando-style knives, swords, fireworks and small devices capable of delivering an electric shock were found hidden in two shipping containers". Only Israeli propagandists can make firecrackers seem more menacing than Israeli nuclear weapons.

American liberals and their defense of Israeli racism

There is no issue that can prove the vapidness and falsehood of American liberalism than Israeli racism and their support for it.  Israel was founded on racism and separation and war crimes and yet American liberals resort to fake and tricky methods to justify over and over again their support for Zionism.  They resort to different methods. I have always believed that no matter what Israel does, be it nuclear weapons use, concentration camps, extermination chambers, American liberals and conservatives would not have qualms for it but some liberal Zionists may register mild complaints that such methods may corrupt the "soul" of Israel (that is the kind of Zionism espoused by Leon Wieseltier and Amos Oz among others).  Look at this article. The only criticisms cited are by people who argue that racism is bad for the racists themselves, and not for the victims.

The NYT’s unsubtle war on fairness in covering the Arab-Israeli conflict

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "The NYT’s unsubtle war on fairness in covering the Arab-Israeli conflict".

This is cute; Zionists now love the media of Saudi princes

"When Hisham Melhem of Al Arabiya News wrote this month that the real reason the administration does not hit Assad’s positions is because it would “negatively impact Iran’s posture in the negotiations” on the nuclear issue, he was voicing the views of many in the region. " Not only do Zionists love the media of Saudi princes but they also like to assume that the royal Saudi media speak for the Arab youth. Hilarious, if you ask me.

Those insolent natives

From Peter: "“Once again, the assailants were believed to have acted alone, a deep new challenge to Israeli intelligence services. Once again, they were Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, with Israeli identification cards that allowed them to move freely, and a host of grievances about their treatment in a restive patch of fiercely disputed turf.”
Professor, this reminds of my history class where Southerners argued for slavery on the basis the slaves were better off as slaves.

Racists tend to be obtuse."

Carnegie Beirut

According to the director of Beirut Carnegie Center, the Lebanese Army will immediately liberate the Lebanese Army hostages and Palestine once a new president is elected.

وفق مديرة مركز "كارنغي" في بيروت, لينا الخطيب, إن الجيش اللبناني سيحرّر الرهائن ويحرّر فلسطين ومزارع شبعا فور إنتخاب رئيس للجمهوريّة.
"يُحرم الجيش اللبناني من فرصة استعادة كرامته في أرض المعركة، وهذا يعود بشكل رئيسي إلى عدم وجود رئيس للجمهورية."