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.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"The Forgotten US Government Plan to Round Up Arabs"

"The 40-page memo described a government contingency plan for rounding up thousands of legal alien residents of eight specified nationalities: Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco. Emergency legal measures would be deployed—rescinding the right to bond, claiming the privilege of confidential evidence, excluding the public from deportation hearings, among others. In its final pages, buried in a glaze of bureaucratese, the memo struck its darkest note: A procedure to detain and intern thousands of aliens while they awaited what would presumably become a mass deportation. Van Der Hout read the final pages carefully. The details conjured a vivid image of a massive detainment facility: 100 outdoor acres in the backwoods of Louisiana, replete with specifications for tents and fencing materials, cot measurements and plumbing requirements."

When US bombs kill Syrian civilians, it is not covered (except with the qualifier of "allegedly")

"US airstrikes on a Syrian village have killed at least 73 civilians, a majority of them women and children, activists say".   How come you don't use "allegedly" when the same "activists" report Russian and Syrian regime bombing? 

The US-Gulf regimes war in Yemen

"This US-backed war is not just a case of the Obama administration sitting idly by while its close ally goes on a destructive spree of historic proportions. The government is actively selling the Saudis billions of dollars of weaponry. They’re re-supplying planes engaged in the bombing runs and providing “intelligence” for the targets that Saudi Arabia is hitting. Put simply, the US is quite literally funding a humanitarian catastrophe that, by some measures, is larger than the crisis in Syria." (thanks Amir)

Children of Syria

Translating something I wrote in Arabic: Some people love half of the children of Syria. Others love the other half of the children of Syria.  I am looking for someone who loves all the children of Syria.  

French official Islamophobia and war-mongering

In a way it is good that those recent policies of France: 1) whole-sale endorsement of Netanyahu; 2) close alliance and arming with the Saudi regime; 3) blatant official domestic and foreign policy Islamophobia; 4) full-scale endorsement of Jihadi rebels in Syria; that all took place under the leadership of the French socialist party.  For those who think that there is a meaningful difference in Western systems between left and right.  

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis today protested under the headline "We won't bow down to House of Saud"--will this be covered in Western Press?

Prime Minister of France on the Burkini

«Le burkini n'est pas une nouvelle gamme de maillots de bain, une mode. C'est la traduction d'un projet politique, de contre-société, fondé notamment sur l'asservissement de la femme

The Henry Kissinger

"Last week, the first tranche of those declassified documents was released. The documents revealed that White House and U.S. State Department officials were intimately aware of the Argentine military’s bloody nature, and that some were horrified by what they knew. Others, most notably Henry Kissinger, were not. In a 1978 cable, the U.S. Ambassador, Raúl Castro, wrote about a visit by Kissinger to Buenos Aires, where he was a guest of the dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, while the country hosted the World Cup. “My only concern is that Kissinger’s repeated high praise for Argentina’s action in wiping out terrorism may have gone to some considerable extent to his hosts’ heads,” Castro wrote. The Ambassador went on to write, fretfully, “There is some danger that Argentines may use Kissinger’s laudatory statements as justification for hardening their human rights stance.”.   The latest revelations compound a portrait of Kissinger as the ruthless cheerleader, if not the active co-conspirator, of Latin American military regimes engaged in war crimes. In evidence that emerged from previous declassifications of documents during the Clinton Administration, Kissinger was shown not only to have been aware of what the military was doing but to have actively encouraged it. Two days after the Argentine coup, Kissinger was briefed by his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, William Rogers, who warned him, “I think also we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long. I think they’re going to have to come down very hard not only on the terrorists but on the dissidents of trade unions and their parties.” Kissinger replied, “Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement . . . because I do want to encourage them. I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States.”

Syrian regime kills children. Syrian rebels kill children. US bombing kills children. Russian bombing kills children. Killers all around in Syria.

Meanwhile in govt-held West Aleppo, websites showing Reem, injured recently by rebel mortar. . Syria

The picture on left is in East Aleppo, while the picture on right is in West Aleppo. Of course, Western media don't see civilian victims in West Aleppo.

Ashraf Marwan

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Ashraf Marwan: A Banner of an (ongoing) Israeli Epoch in Contemporary Arab History".  

Both sides in Aleppo are engaged in killing civilians: this is from a Syrian opposition human rights organization

Maya Gebeily (@GebeilyM) tweeted at 4:55 AM on Sat, Aug 20, 2016:
#SYRIA: #Aleppo civilians killed since July 31 from SOHR:
165 in rebel fire on w. Aleppo
168 in air strikes, bombardment in e. Aleppo

PS Gebeily is AFP correspondent in Beirut.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

What is happening in Venezuela

"The US government has not only cheered, and funded, these anti-democratic actions. By absurdly declaring that Venezuela is an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security and pressuring investors and bankers to steer clear of the Maduro administration, the White House has prevented Venezuela from obtaining much-needed foreign financing and investment.  An honest account of the crisis must include both of these aspects: the government’s costly errors, and the destabilizing actions of the opposition and US government. To ignore one or the other is to misrepresent reality and perpetuate false all-or-nothing narratives that blame the crisis, in its entirety, on either “socialism” or the “Empire.” Such narratives may comfort those seeking affirmation for preconceived notions, but they will not aid those seeking to know why Venezuela is in crisis and how it might get out of it...First, Venezuela is not a dictatorship. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), formerly the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR), has been repeatedly affirmed at the polls, winning twelve of fifteen major elections between 1998 and 2015. The government has won these elections cleanly, and has immediately conceded on the rare occasions when it has suffered defeat, including last December’s parliamentary elections...Second, while Venezuela has moved away from free-market capitalism, its economy is hardly socialist. The private sector, not the state (and still less the social economy), controls the overwhelming majority of economic activity. Between 1999 and 2011, the private sector’s share of economic activity increased, from 65 percent to 71 percent." (thanks Ben)

"Children of Israel" and Super Pac

"Children of Israel LLC contributed $150,000 in 2015 to Pursuing America’s Greatness, a Super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee’s presidential run; $400,000 in 2016 to Stand for Truth, a Super PAC supporting Ted Cruz; and $334,000 to the Republican National Committee." "Fox is also a prolific, longtime GOP donor under his own name. He most recently gave $100,000 to Team Ryan, a joint fundraising committee set up by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and $25,000 to Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee. In addition to his Children of Israel contributions to their Super PACs, Fox personally gave $2,700 to Huckabee’s presidential campaign and $5,400 to Cruz’s. Fox also gave $5,400 to Marco Rubio’s campaign, as well as — surprisingly — $5,400 to campaign-finance reformer Lawrence Lessig’s abortive presidential run."