Monday, August 31, 2015

American Television and the plight of girls in Fiji

"Just a few years after the introduction of television to a province of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, eating disorders -- once virtually unheard of there -- are on the rise among girls, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Psychiatric Association meetings in Washington. Young girls dream of looking not like their mothers and aunts, but like the slender stars of ''Melrose Place'' and ''Beverly Hills 90210.'' 
''I'm very heavy,'' one Fijian adolescent lamented during an interview with researchers led by Dr. Anne E. Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, who investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a three-year period. 
The Fijian girl said her friends also tell her that she is too fat, ''and sometimes I'm depressed because I always want to lose weight.'' 
Epidemiological studies have shown that eating disorders are more prevalent in industrialized countries, suggesting that cultural factors play a role. But few studies have examined the effects of long-term cultural shifts on disordered eating in traditional societies. 
Dr. Becker and her colleagues surveyed 63 Fijian secondary school girls, whose average age was 17. The work began in 1995, one month after satellites began beaming television signals to the region. In 1998, the researchers surveyed another group of 65 girls from the same schools, who were matched in age, weight and other characteristics with the subjects in the earlier group. 
Fifteen percent in the 1998 survey reported that they had induced vomiting to control their weight, the researchers said, compared with 3 percent in the 1995 survey. And 29 percent scored highly on a test of eating-disorder risk, compared with 13 percent three years before. 
Girls who said they watched television three or more nights a week in the 1998 survey were 50 percent more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' and 30 percent more likely to diet than girls who watched television less frequently."

Women in Israel

In Israel: "One woman is killed by her spouse every 9 days".

The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, Fourth Edition.

US-supported Saudi-led coalition air strikes kill more civilians

"An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said. In another air raid on the capital Sanaa, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city." "The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning," resident Issa Ahmed told Reuters by phone from the site in Hajjah."

Nabi Saleh

"The village of Nabi Saleh has organized a weekly demonstration every Friday –without exception – since 2009, in protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and the confiscation of Nabi Saleh land by the nearby illegal Halamish settlement."

a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children

"The video clearly shows, once again, the truth about a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children." (thanks Amir)

Class analysis of Beirut protests

Comrade Amer writes.

Larry King and the "dark-skinned man" in the New York Times magazine

"A dark-skinned man approached and asked King if he would pose for a photo.  ‘‘Where are you from?’’ King asked. ‘‘Saudi Arabia,’’ the man said.  ‘‘I’m a Jew!’’ King informed him. ‘‘You sure it’s O.K. to get your picture taken with a Jew back in Saudi Arabia?’’  The man assured him that indeed Larry King had many fans in Saudi Arabia. They smiled for the picture. ‘‘Thank you, Mr. King,’’ the man said. They shook hands, and King looked him in the eye. ‘‘Now,’’ he said, ‘‘please, go fight ISIS!’’"

Oliver Sacks and Zionism

"But in “Uncle Tungsten,” his 2001 memoir about his childhood love of chemistry, he explained that the inflamed Zionist meetings his parents held before the war helped turn him away from organized religion."

Classism in Lebanon

"Some protesters that came last night from Baalbeck to Riad al-Solh Square were reportedly behind the riots, otherwise the protest in downtown Beirut in the Martyrs square was peaceful." (thanks Basim)

You, who are Charlie

"But then a leading French intellectual, the leftwing historian and sociologist Emmanuel Todd, lobbed what he called his own “magnificently crafted Exocet missile” at the nation, with a book arguing that the street rallies were a giant lie. The rallies, he argued, were not what they claimed to be – an admirable coming-together of people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds standing up for tolerance – but an odious display of middle-class domination, prejudice and Islamophobia. To Todd, they represented “a sudden glimpse of totalitarianism”. These “sham” demonstrations, he claimed, were made up of a one-sided elite who wanted to spit on Islam, the religion of a weak minority in France. The working class and the children of immigrants had been notably absent, he said. The most enthusiastic demonstrations, he decided, had occurred in the country’s most historically Catholic and reactionary regions, an affirmation of the middle class’s moral superiority and domination, and their Islamophobic quest for a scapegoat."

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Salutations to the (anonymous) comrade who carried this salutation sign to me yesterday during the lame protests.

This is what Hamas is teaching in Islamic University in Gaza

The full translation of this book is: "Coil in Uncovering the Unbelief and Repugnancy of the Shi`ite religion".

This is about a dead guy who gives interviews

From a well-known American correspondent in the Middle East: "this is outrageous and an example of the kind of sloppy reporting (and accountability) that makes us all look bad. It’s not the first time this guy has been wrong but this is so obvious it’s scandalous. If you post it please do so without attribution. 

Ammar al-Wawi is a commander with the US-trained Division 30 Syrian rebel group (the 54 guys the US trained at a cost of millions of dollars each who were routed by Jabhat al-Nusra recently). He is not hard to reach and has given many media interviews, but he was declared dead by Jamie Dettmer in December 2013. ( It was clear at the time that Wawi was not killed by Jihadists (because he was giving media interviews!) but Dettmer repeated the lie in several other articles ( and  As far as I can tell, a correction has not been issued. "

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Anne Barnard is at it again: she explains Lebanese political divisions to American readers

"The main political divides in Lebanon are between the March 14 movement, which came together to demand the end of Syria’s military presence in Lebanon in 2005 after the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and the March 8 movement, which backed the Syrian government."  But here is the mystery, Anne: you mention the sponsor of March 8, but who is the sponsor of March 14? Unless you are implying that only one side is sponsored by a regional tyrannical power.  Let me guess: March 14 is sponsored by Finland?

PS Also, there are tons of organizations sponsoring the protests: most of them are leftists. She managed to speak to the one non-leftist organization among them.

PPS: She is wrong: Nuhad Al-Mashnuq is related to Muhammad Al-Mashnuq. It is the same Beiruti family. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flash: Palestinian women teach an Israeli terrorist a lesson

Odors and Protests in Lebanon

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Odors and Protests in Beirut: Legacy of Rafiq Hariri."

Israeli police

From Eyal: "A Palestinian from Jenin was assaulted in Netanya by locals. Despite
being injured from the blows, but managed to escape his assailants and
call the (Israeli) police. They proceeded to arrest... the Palestinian,
and nobody else. You can always trust the police here to fight crime!

By the way, for those who haven't noticed, over the past year, over half
of the police commissioners in Israel resigned: Several due to
allegations of sexual assault against female police officers and one due
to a corruption scandal involving a lawyer and a district prosecutor
official who had conspired to help shield people from criminal
investigations. So now the minister of internal security has decided to
appoint someone 'clean', from outside the police force, as the new chief
of police. He appointed... you guessed it, a retired high-ranking
military officer, Gal Hirsch.

The same Hirsch, during his tenure as the head of the Israeli Military's
officer school, introduced numerous Jewish religious texts into the
commander's library and the cadets' library, and initiated the
construction of the Great Synagogue at the officer school. He commanded
a division of the force invading Lebanon in the war of 2006. Indeed, an
"inspiration" to us all."

Saudi mufti meets with US-Saudi new ally in Yemen, Shaykh Zandani (a Ben Ladenite)

Do you notice that the Brazani police state in northern Iraq still gets good press in the US?

""Kurdish security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Thursday night saw the execution of a security plan in which Arab Sunnis_of which there are tens of thousands as refugees in the Kurdisn areas_that have been under observation were being arrested in a series of raids throughput the area. Plainclothes Kurdish security forces could be seen in unmarked cars throughout may areas of the capital, as, according to the officials, steps were taken to prevent ‘sleeper cell’ attacks inside the city.""

Threat to world peace

"Washington alone builds roughly eight new warships a year, including a brand-new nuclear carrier every four or five years" (thanks Krim)

Notice that a Zionist in the US is able to say things that a non-Zionist would be accused of rabid anti-Semitism for saying it

Where is the ADL about this statement by this Israeli Zionist? "Natalie Portman revealed in a recent interview that she believes her childhood Jewish education placed too much emphasis on the Holocaust, arguing that the Jewish community must focus more on other injustices being perpetrated around the globe."

From Jadaliyyah: on Lebanon

Comrade Maya: "Lebanese media pose these young men as “hooligans” or “dogs,” in diametrical opposition to the non-sectarian, educated, independent thinking, middle class and non-violent protestors. The license given to armed forces to break their bones and bodies is more generous than the license given regarding the bones of “peaceful protestors.” These are discourses on masculinity that proliferate across borders in the twinned eras of the war on terror and of neoliberal securitization. They intersect and traffic alongside discourses on sectarianism, masculinity and violence in Lebanon."

US embassy in Beirut and its dirty media tricks

So the US government is strongly on the record on the side of the corrupt Lebanese government and its repressive security services. But just in case, today the US embassy seems to have ordered the bribable Lebanese journalists through to leak to imply that the US government is not pleased with repression. Nothing in public statement. The US government wants, typically, to have it both ways.

Saudi dilemma

"Yet the key difference between the aforementioned military defeats and the ongoing Saudi-led campaign
in Yemen is the group constituting the opposition. Riyadh’s expensive war against the Houthis will face scrutiny from a growing unemployed youth population. There will likely be international opposition as well as criticism from voices within the ruling family. Whereas Saddam Hussein’s regime relied on brutal and reprehensible tactics to maintain a firm grasp on power, Mohamed bin Salman is in no position to execute members of his extended family as a means to 
hold power. The Deputy Crown Prince faces a dire dilemma in terms of his next move."

Take this as a rule: when the corrupt PA denies it is lying

They steal and then deny.

When it comes to information and evidence about Hizbollah, Nicholas Branford only relies on objective and neutral sources

From Basim: "According to Matt Levitt, a counter-terrorism and intelligence specialist with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mughassil was living in Beirut prior to the 1996 attack. “He basically ran the Khobar operation – directing surveillance, providing funds, arranging for the explosives to be driven from Lebanon – from his Beirut apartment,” Mr. Levitt says."

Libya is a Western model

"Administration officials say that even though the NATO intervention in Libya, emphasizing airstrikes to protect civilians, cannot be applied uniformly in other hotspots like Syria, the conflict may, in some important ways, become a model for how the United States wields force in other countries where its interests are threatened."

This is an American-Saudi war in Syria (not to be confused with the American-Saudi war in Yemen)

"First was the murder of Gen. Abdo Khodr al-Tellawi with his two sons and cousin in Homs' Bab Tadmor district on April 17, 2011, while they were going to the general's home in the Zahra district. Tellawi, whose arms and legs were chopped off, was an Alawite — a religious minority of which embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a member. The second event came soon after, when a bus headed to Zahra was stopped and 13 people were killed, including three women. One woman was forced to march naked in the streets. All the victims were Alawites, he said. But Alawites did not retaliate, and kept silent for four months. The rebels continued their violent anti-Alawite campaign, cutting off roads and picking up Alawites." (thanks Amir)

Hariri movement and the protests on Saturday

For a whole week the Hariri movement has been demonizing the protest movement blaming Hizbollah for it, and today Interior Minister even faulted a US conspiracy.  But today, out of panic the Hariri movement seems to shift gear and wants to steal the momentum by calling on their supporters to participate--in a protest against corruption, mind you.

Is ISIS really getting an unfair bad press? Well, this Daily Telegraph correspondent in Beirut thinks so

Ziad sent me this.

Bashshar and not responding to Israeli attacks

I won't even cite his lousy words, but you should read the lousy answer that Syrian tyrant, Bashshar Al-Asad, gave to the question about why his lousy regime does not respond to Israeli attacks.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Who says Western media don't care about Arab women?

"The perfectly polished pair stepped out in complementary outfits for the high-profile occasion. Queen Rania looked elegant in a cream knee-length dress that had billowing sleeves with slits to the elbow and a neck-tie detailing. She carried a pale pink box-style bag by Kate Spade and wore high-heeled pointed courts with a tie-fastening. Meanwhile young Princess Iman bint Abdullah looked smart in a white dress with a bold red pattern around the waist, caged beige sandals and a white crochet cardigan." ( thanks Basim)

Forgotten Gaza

"It’s not merely because the Gaza Strip has been categorised as “the world’s largest open-air prison” that Dr. Zeyada’s metaphor hits home. It’s also because being Palestinian in Gaza - existing, more or less, in a permanent state of traumatic stress - often amounts to psychological torture."

Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is

"Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is; you do not say that the chronic shooting of unarmed black citizens by the police is a major problem since not everyone agrees that it is; and you do not object when a major presidential candidate stokes dangerous nativist resentments while demanding mass deportation of millions of people. These are the strictures that have utterly neutered American journalism, drained it of its vitality and core purpose, and ensured that it does little other than serve those who wield the greatest power and have the highest interest in preserving the status quo."

Oh, how beautiful: when all the social classes unite in downtown Beirut

"The protest on August 22 attracted a broad spectrum of Lebanese from different regions, economic backgrounds, and sects."  They were all so united and nice and loving but when they saw poor Shi`its coming from a poor quarter in the city, they all panicked and called on the security forces to remove them by force and to name them to defame them.  Oh, how beautiful and united it was.

Israeli weapons fueling South Sudan civil war

"Israeli weapons are being used in South Sudan by the local army and its senior officers, according to a recent UN report." "According to the current report, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army has been implementing a scorched-earth policy, and has been involved in indiscriminate killing, rape, pillaging, destruction of infrastructure and uprooting of civilians from their homes."

Everyone understands that

"So American military power is at work every day all over the world, and I think everyone understands that."

The U.S. has around 800 military bases outside of the nation's borders

"The U.S. has around 800 military bases outside of the nation's borders." "Largely, people of course don't like their land occupied by foreign troops — and I think it's worth thinking, for American audiences, to think about how it would feel to have foreign troops living next door, occupying your land with tanks. ... There have also been a number of harms that these bases have inflicted on local communities — there have been accidents, crimes committed by U.S. personnel, environmental damage — a whole range of damage that people were quite upset about." (thanks Amir)

"civil society organizations"

The Saudi regime, like Western governments, discovered that "civil society organizations" can become a mere tool in the hands of government. Yesterday, the Saudi regime issued a statement on behalf of Yemeni "civil society organizations" in which the latter vomited the rhetoric of House of Saud on Yemen.  In Lebanon, Hariri family basically orders "civil society organizations" around.

It is Hebrew not Arabic: no need for alarm

"'Arabic Terror Threat' Was Actually A Hebrew Welcome Sign"

US ambassador in Jordan is really pissing people off

Read here.

Human Rights Watch speaks on Lebanon: how its office in Beirut is part of March 14 political coalition

1) look at this sentence: "Witnesses said that some protesters threw firecrackers and water bottles over the police barrier near the Grand Serail".  I don't understand the point. Is HRW trying to say that this is violent that justifies the government's violence?
2) "The Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, which monitors freedom of the press, ".  Are you kidding me? You cite the most discredited media organization in Lebanon? Skeyes? The one that refuses to include in its definition of the Middl East region all Gulf regimes?  That same organization is your reference? the organization that is aligned with March 14, which controls the government of Lebanon? This is how you gather information?
3) this is another source for HRW: "Nada Andraos, a journalist from LBC TV, a local station. He does not mention that this is the same station that described all poor protesters as thugs and uncivilized and the same Andraos is the one who talked about poor protesters like this: "they don't look like they are activists or students or teachers".
4) The statement does not mention that the security forces guilty of the abuses mentioned (mildly) are controlled by March 14 and their sponsors in SA and USA.
5) the statement did not utter one word about the hate sectarian language of March 14 journalists in Lebanon. Not one word especially that those journalists loudly called on the authorities to use force against them.
6) Notice that the statement mentioned only one organization among all the organizers of protests, and the one mentioned is the most conservative of the bunch.

This is a reporter with LBC-TV, the station founded by Bashir Gemayyel: she is talking about the poor protesters

It is always about social class, stupid.

Did the US violate its own law and international law by tipping of Saudi Arabia?

It seems that the US tipped off the Saudi regime to order the Lebanese Security Services (a militia run by Hariri family and funded by Saudi Arabia and US and is playing a big role in repressing the Lebanese people) to arrest a Saudi dissident (who is accused by Saudi regime of involvement in the Khubar bombing).  Even if he is guilty (and he has not been tried), the US government led to his arrest by a government that beheads.  Is there not an American law against surrounding a wanted man to a government that does not even have a semblance of rule of law, as the recent report by Amnesty International indicated?

US-trained, US-armed, and US-funded Lebanese Security forces uncover terrorist weapons

In an official statement yesterday, Lebanese Security Forces announce with great fanfare (the last word is according to Watt of Arabic origin but he does not provide a convincing etymology) that they captured...firecrackers--I KID YOU NOT--with the protesters and that it was "highly explosive".

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lebanese police rush to erase the "damage"

Statue of Riad Sulh (so-called founding father of Lebanon). It says: "I am Michel Dik: take it from the hands of Sa`ahah". Michel Dik assassinated Sulh for his role in the execution of Antun Sa`ahah, the founder of SSNP.

Correction: it is Macedonia. Only in Beirut: fixing her lipstick during a protest

Leftist activist, Ayman Muruwwah, was beaten by Lebanese security thugs (US-trained and equipped and funded)

“almost incomprehensible”

"With a staggering four in five Yemenis now in need of immediate humanitarian aid, 1.5 million people displaced and a death toll that has surpassed 4,000 in just five months, a United Nations official told the Security Council Wednesday that the scale of human suffering is “almost incomprehensible”."

a complaint with the New York State Attorney General's office

"Taxpayer dollars in the United States and Israel are subsidizing Jewish terrorism against Arabs, a complaint filed with the New York state Attorney General’s Office alleges."  Personally, I don't think that we should refer to Jewish terrorism or to Muslim terrorism but it is safe to refer to Christian terrorism. You can't compare.  But seriously: instead of referring to Jewish terrorism we should call it: Israeli-inspired terrorism.

US-backed, Saudi-led bombing is helping al-Qaeda to grow in Yemen

"Meanwhile, al-Qaeda continues to grow and take more territory as the US-backed, Saudi-led bombing destroys infrastructure and plunges millions of Yemenis, most of whom already lived in abject poverty before the war began, into further desperation." "Leading human rights organizations maintain the US and other Western allies of Saudi Arabia can be held accountable for war crimes being committed by the coalition." (thanks Amir)

Socio-economic grievances in Beirut

This short video explains what is happening: a guy who admits that he belongs to Hizbollah expresses his socio-economic frustrations and says that he is opposed to all ministers and MPs, even those who belong to Hizbollah.  (thanks Laure)

The cement wall that lasted one day in Beirut

Photographer is Husayn Badyun.

Saudi media is outraged

As if Iraqi or any non-Saudi papers are allowed to publish in Saudi Arabia:
"London-based pan-Arabian newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat has announced the decision to stop publishing its edition in Iraq, after repeated violations by the Asaaib Ahl al-Haq militia, which they say is “close to Iran and to the former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.”

It added that armed militia were breaching the law, and censoring content by ‘deleting or amending articles and the reports in the newspaper’ that criticized Iranian policy in the region. Asharq Al-Awsat said in the most recent incident, the militant group even changed their first page headline." (thanks Basim)

Down with Capital in downtown Beirut

The graffiti says: "Down with Capital: in the middle of Commercial Filth" (the last expression is a corruption of the term "Al-Wasat At-Tijari" or commercial district--it rhymes in Arabic of course).

It has never been clearer: this is the time to study the conduct of Western human rights organizations

You watch them on twitter and read the statements of Western human rights organizations.  Just because they are sympathetic to March 14 in Lebanon (the ruling party) they really are going most soft about the repressive and brutal government. The director of Human Rights Watch office in Beirut even praised the "wisdom" of the Lebanese prime minister (because he removed the Cement walls from the Serail as if he did that on his own volition and not in response to popular pressures).

By the way: to clarify what is written on twitter by some Western correspondents and NGO types about Beirut

It is true that some supporters of Hizbollah are accusing one faction (not all) of the protesters and organizers of ties to an American conspiracy. But it is also true that March 14 supporters, journalists, and officials are also accusing the entire protest movement of being a Hizbollah conspiracy. This Hariri journalist in An-Nahar is quite explicit. Conspiracy theories go both ways, in Lebanon and elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is happening in Beirut now: what human rights organizations are NOT tweeting about

It is obvious that Saudi ambassador issued orders and the news media of Lebanon stop their live coverage of downtown protests.  Now, I am being told by people there: a massive force of security people are beating people brutally.  

US-trained, US-equipped, US-funded Lebanese Security Forces kick protesters

Watch the videos.

Worse than Israel? Bashshar speaks

Who cares that Bashshar Al-Asad gave an interview.  I have more interest in listening to songs by Barry Manilow than to listen to an interview with Bashshar.  Today, he said that terrorist groups can be "worse than Israel".  Worse than Israel? Is that why your lousy regime does not respond to Israeli aggression and occupation? 

Israel's military offensive on Gaza last summer damaged or destroyed 17 out of 32 hospitals as well as 50 out of 97 primary health centers

"The healthcare crisis been exacerbated by the blockade as well as three devastating wars since 2008. The World Health Organization says there is a chronic shortage of pharmaceutical supplies and medicine in Gaza, with patients in need of tertiary care prevented from traveling from the territory due to the blockade, which Egypt maintains in Gaza's south. Meanwhile, Israel's military offensive on Gaza last summer damaged or destroyed 17 out of 32 hospitals as well as 50 out of 97 primary health centers, according to a UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs report last September."

"My office has received new reports of shameful treatment meted out to Arab Americans on their arrival in Israel"

"In the past year Israel has continued to demonstrate that it has no intention of ending their practice of discriminating against persons of Arab descent. My office has received new reports of shameful treatment meted out to Arab Americans on their arrival in Israel. Two cases, in particular, deserve to be noted." "George's case is especially instructive. When the Israeli border control agent told him that he could not enter Israel, George attempted to engage the agent saying, "I'm coming as an American citizen." To which the agent replied "No, no, you belong with the Palestinian people. This is our Israel, this is for the Jews. No Palestinian should come to Israel. You should have gone through the Allenby Bridge." "

White House to Congress: The agreement would make it easier to bomb Iran

"In meetings on Capitol Hill and with influential policy analysts, administration officials argue that inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities under the deal will reveal important details that can be used for better targeting should the U.S. decide to attack Iran."

Oil export from US-controlled Northern Iraq to Turkey & Israel

"Up to three-quarters of the oil supply in Israel was reported from Iraqi Kurdistan, a Financial Times report said Sunday. Between May and August 11, 19 million barrels of oil from Kurdistan were imported by Israel, the equivalent of $1 billion." (thanks Amir)

Mahmoud Abbas prepares for his succession

This is a scandalous leak about how Mahmoud Abbas is preparing to appoint his crooks and thieves (or more of his crooks and thieves) in the PLO.

another example of how Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are mere arms of US foreign policies

Notice the lawyerly and mild language used by Western human rights organizations to the repression in Beirut.

Why there is scant references to Lebanon in Western press

Compare the feverish coverage of the sectarian Hariri protests in 2005.  There is little coverage of Lebanon's protests in Western media. Reason? Simple.  It is a government which is supported by US and Saudi regime, and its repressive security forces are trained, equipped, and funded largely by US/EU, and Saudi regime.  Furthermore, the corrupt class in Lebanon is what US media calls "pro-US".  Notice that in articles in WP and NYT there isn't a reference to the simple fact that the prime minister and Minister of Interior and Minister of Environment are all part of what Western media calls "pro-democracy March 14."

Hugh Naylor does NOT believe that Lebanon was ever occupied by Israel: he explains

"One of the slogans that Nabolsi tagged read, “Lebanon was occupied by Israel, and now it’s occupied by its own leaders.” That was a reference to years of Israeli military control over parts of Lebanon. It ended in 2000."

Protesters scrawled "thief" on Hariri picture in downtown Beirut

That lousy Hamas movement

Hamas movement in Gaza removed the name of Ghassan Kanafani from one of its school. When Ghassan Kanafani and his comrades were working for the liberation of Palestine, Hamas founders were at the feet of Gulf and Jordan monarchs.

US Department of state spokesperson

Like I had predicted, the US Department of State spokesperson urged "restraint" in Lebanon but he did not specify who he was directing his call to.  He of course expressed his government support for the corrupt and violent government of Tammam Salam.  

Hariri and Hizbullah

the statement by Hizbollah and Hariri movement yesterday was despicable: it basically reiterated the right of the state to repress its citizens.

Saudi and Hariri media in a state of panic

Marching orders have been issued. All Saudi and Hariri media today are claiming that all the protesters in Beirut are "rioters" and "anarchists" who are sent by Hizbollah. Hizbollah in reality is as far from the protests as far as I am from Mars.  Sectarian agitation in those media is in full force: sectarianism is the first and last refuge of Harirism.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The look of my blog

I was just looking at it: wow. It does look so antiquated belonging to the look of blogs from another century.

wait: I could swear that Western governments and media insisted for a few years that rebels don't have chemical weapons?

A "presumptive field test" gave American military officials a "preliminary conclusion" about their foe, but "further analysis is needed to possibly determine the source of the chemical weapon." (thanks Regan)

at the height of the protests in Beirut

March 14 figures found time to honor the US ambassador in Lebanon.

nascent alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel

"For these Arab states, the new Washington dispensation means forging security arrangements that a few years ago would have seemed unthinkable. Perhaps the most astonishing of these developments is the nascent alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel."

Yesterday, in Beirut

The protesters were split along class lines. Middle East protesters didn't like the poorer protesters who dared to show without polo shirts, and who were not enamored with the non-violent tactics of the original protesters.  And the original protesters even called on security forces to "remove by force" the uncouth" protesters. Kid you not.  They accused them--without evidence--that they were stooges of Berri.

Video: Israelis celebrate child slaughter

"Flag-waving Israeli extremists sing songs celebrating and calling for the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children." (thanks Amir)

Lebanese French daily describes the poorer protesters as "dogs"

Finally. The US ambassador in Lebanon has spoken:

So this is what he said after visiting the prime minster to express solidarity with him:
"#AMB Hale: US deeply troubled by images, reports of injuries from weekend #Lebanon protests. We support investigation, accountability, restraint".
Notice he did not say who he is calling for restraint and he did not mention what he is talking about regarding accountability, and the statement about "reports of injuries" does not mention whether he is talking about victims or shooters among the US-trained repression police of Lebanon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sign from downtown Beirut: "We defeated Israel. And corruption defeated us".

Minister of Interior following developments in Beirut from a Greek island

Watch here.

What happened in Beirut today? signs of divisions already

Comrade Raed Charaf who was there explains: "I was there today between 6 and 9 pm. I saw indeed organized groups of young boys in their teens coming together, walking in rows while holding each bottles of water in their hands tied together in a weird fashion. There were certainly 300 of them, and some random people were already calling them "khandaq el ghamik" boys among the crowd at about 8h00 and calling them "mendassin". I must say that there were groups who openly chanted (with drums) that they were coming from Hayy El Selloum, the crowd was loving those (the drum is always awesome and they had decent lyrics for their age), but a larger crowd as I said came with plastic bottles and they did look agressive, forcing their way between assembled people. But frankly, they weren't mean, they just seemed their age. I came to one of them who was masking his face with a "anonymous mask" and asked him "who are you boys? you seem to be an organized group". He replied "were lebanese citizens, why would you consider us something else". I told him, yes but beyond that. He pretended not hearing me and left. He wasnt totally frank, but he also wasnt mean or agressively defensive... All of this to say that from what I saw, khandak el ghamik or not, those organized groups (they were organized for sure) didnt have any hatred or grudge towards the demonstrators, and were especially angry at security forces. it did look though like they had unfinished business with the security forces, since they were finding their way to reach the front line only. These boys came for a fight, that is for sure. If Nabih Berri is organizing a play of the sort, he is very competent... in what he does. Which he is usually, by the way. These boys could be Amal or whatever, but frankly, I think their attitude is genuine, regardless of whether it's being instrumentalized. And I repeat, I didnt witness in them any grudge towards the other demonstrators. They were not bullying the women and other people present... unless they got excited at other points of where I was standing... I dont know, it was too big today and very uncentralized, contrary to yesterday's demo. So I couldnt keep track of most of what was happening.
I heard that they presented a problem since the morning, and I know that the tol3et ri7etkoun bunch consider them as sabotagers, but I think anyway that the whole movement is now beyond the initial NGO organizers.
I dont know what happened with the security forces, I left at 9 and apparently, something was already happening in the other end of the demo which we didnt feel where we stood. Lets face it, in France for example, in Paris, you have bands of boys like these called "casseurs" who participate in demos and start braking into shops and burning cars. It is not political, it just happens when you have boys in poor neighborhood not having a decent taste of what the gentrified city has to offer. I think that in order to have a clear answer, someone has to sit with them tomorrow, during the day, before the climax point, and chat decently with them. if they sustain their defensive mechanism, it means that they are "encouraged", otherwise, let's face it, this was to happen one day or another in lebanonesia.
Today's demo by the way, more than yesterdays, had a lot of elements of lower middle class and popular ones, which is a sign of success in my opinion. The number of participants could be around 10 thousand people in my estimate."

Has the US government uttered a word about Lebanon?

Man/woman: during February 2005, the US government could not shut up about Lebanon. I guess it is different when the government is controlled by the US.  

Statue of Riyad As-Sulh in downtown Beirut

He is considered a founding father of Lebanon (although in volumes of the private papers of Chaim Weizman he is mentioned as being on the "pay of the Zionists" (see volume 8, for example).

khartoon on Yemen

By the talented Khalid Albaih on Beirut protests

US embassy in Beirut silent

If the protests were happening in Tehran or Havana the US government would be in full force in support of the protesters.  But the US government is silent because the government is its tool.

Means of repression

All the equipments of repression in the hands of Lebanese security services are gifts from US and European embassies. The Lebanese know.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

From today's protest in Beirut

Although I don't like foreign language signs in Arab protests: they smack of catering to Western correspondents in the city.

PS I know that the first thing Western journalists will look for is whether the picture of Hasan Nasrallah is in the sign. No, it is not. But there is an image of Hizbollah Minister, Husayn Hajj Hasan.

Academic jargon deciphered

The corrupt regime in Lebanon

The corrupt regime in Lebanon is the code name for Saudi Harirism.  It has also Berri and Jumblat as key elements.

Hizbullah and Lebanon's protests

Yet again, with its sickening silence, Hizbullah proves that it is a right-wing reactionary party. I wrote in Arabic: it may release a statement in a few hours in which it will state that the municipally of Tehran has the solution to the trash problem.

You have to see the language that Human Rights Watch uses when the regime happens to be in the US/Saudi camp

This is the HRW director in Beirut:
Nadim Houry (@nadimhoury)
The excessive use of force by security forces this evening is shocking. Who ordered or authorized this? #Lebanon #YouStink
Who ordered this? As if it is a mystery. Let me help you, Nadim: the Prime Minister is a member of the Saudi-Hariri March 14 group. The Minister of Interior is a member of the Saudi-Hariri March 14 group. Those two are directly responsible and they alone can give orders to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces who are equipped and fined by the US and the Saudi regime.

HRW: She almost added: because many speak French there

expect better from than shooting on protesters expressing their political views

Well, in Saudi Arabia; he would have been beheaded

"Taliban Present Gentler Face but Wield Iron Fist in Afghan District:In Kabul in 1996, a Taliban militiaman attacked and arrested a man after he was found with half a kilogram of opium."

More than 65 civilians in the province of Taiz, Yemen, have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes today

"More than 65 civilians in the province of Taiz, Yemen, have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes today, including 17 people from one family. The deaths occurred when the strikes hit civilians and homes in the area. Those who survived the bombings are searching through the rubble with their bare hands in the hope of finding survivors, as well as the bodies of victims of the attack."

The brothers who funded Blair, Israeli settlements & Islamophobia

"In 1990, he plead guilty to six felonies and agreed to pay $600 million, including $200 million in fines, to settle what The New York Times had called "the biggest fraud case in the history of the securities industry". Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but served only 22 months." "In recent years, the Milken brothers have focused their attention on philanthropy, working on a wide range of causes, several linked to pro-settler and Islamophobic groups." "The Milken family foundations have also given a substantial amount of money to MEMRI," "Other recipients of the Milken brothers’ crooked fortune include: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, the largest international donor of Israel’s occupation forces;"

Tal Az-Za`tar

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Tal Az-Za`tar: Lest we forget, lest we forgive".

Forgotten war in Yemen

"The coalition, which has the backing of the US and UK, started air strikes and a de facto naval blockade of Yemen’s ports in March, since when more than 4,300 people have been killed, nearly 2,000 of whom are thought to be civilians. “Even if the port is closed for a day – and we’re expecting it to be closed far longer than that – it’s going to have a huge impact on children and innocent civilians, who continue to pay the highest price in this conflict,” said Mark Kaye, Save the Children’s advocacy director for Yemen." (thanks Amir)

Friday, August 21, 2015

No 2

A fifth no. 2 in ISIS has been killed. It is estimated that only two other nos. 2 remain at large. 

Not only has the United States blessed the brutal Saudi air war on Yemen, it has taken an active role in it

"Yemen has been the target of a brutal U.S.-backed war led by Saudi Arabia. While ordinary civilians are suffering horrific violence and starvation, there is deafening silence from the U.S. and others who claim to be defenders of human rights." "Not only has the United States blessed the brutal Saudi air war on Yemen, it has taken an active role in it. Recently “the Pentagon more than doubled the number of American advisors to provide enhanced intelligence for airstrikes,” the Los Angeles Times reported. This has directly contributed to a surge in airstrikes and subsequent civilian casualties." "The richest and most powerful country in the world—the United States—is aiding the richest and most powerful countries in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia and the UAE—in bludgeoning the poorest in the region and one of the least powerful countries in the world: Yemen. What is remarkable about the Obama administration’s silence on Yemen’s civilian suffering is that it is mirrored by everyone else’s muteness. Neither right- nor left-wing forces in the United States have taken much interest in the carnage and starvation there."

A Saudi-led coalition air strike killed 13 teaching staff and four children in northern Yemen

"A Saudi-led coalition air strike killed 13 teaching staff and four children in northern Yemen, in a raid apparently targeting Shiite rebels, medics and witnesses said Thursday. UNICEF condemned what it called Tuesday's "senseless bloodshed" in Amran province that it said killed 17 civilians and also injured 20 other people."

PS Notice how Western media, just like in the case for Israel, try to rationalize and justify and dismiss Saudi war crimes in Yemen: "a raid apparently targeting Shiite rebels".

On the brink of a famine in Yemen

"Shortages of food, potable water, and fuel have created a “perfect storm” for Yemenis and 13 million people urgently need aid, the UN’s World Food Programme’s director Ertharin Cousin stated." "The UN’s under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, who also toured Yemen, said the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing of Hodeida port, used by aid agencies to land supplies, was a violation of international law. “I am extremely concerned that the damage to the port ... could have a severe impact on the entire country and will deepen humanitarian needs,” he told the UN Security Council." (thanks Amir)


A Syrian dissident who I respect alerted me to this: I posted an article yesterday from Counterpunch about the suffering in Fu`a and Kafrayyah. I was rather eager to posed about a subject that is never covered in the mainstream press. But the Syrian dissident is right: the article (after a careful reading) smacks of sympathy and apologia for the Syrian regime. Her reference for example (citing a pro-Syrian regime source): " Syrian Arab Army’s 63rd Brigade of the prestigious 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah".   There is nothing prestigious about a regime army that has committed war crimes against its people.  And pro-Syrian regime sources refer to Syrian regime army as "Syrian Arab army".   I should have added a disclaimer under the post.

Ms. Bajjani

Many thanks for the book.  I got it. But you didn't leave for me an address or email to thank you.  I had already obtained the book in Beirut and read it on the plane.  Best.

A Syrian rebel commander about Israel

"According to one Syrian opposition commander speaking in Amman: "Israel is the most humane country in the Middle East."" (thanks Reza)

Saudi-funded political ads against the Iran deal

"Television stations across the country are being flooded with $6 million of advertisements from a group called the “American Security Initiative” urging citizens to call their U.S. Senators and oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
Though the American Security Initiative does not reveal donor information, the president of the new group, former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., is a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia. Coleman’s firm, Hogan Lovells, is on retainer to the Saudi Arabian monarchy for $60,000 a month. In July 2014, Coleman described his work as “providing legal services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia” on issues including “legal and policy developments involving Iran and limiting Iranian nuclear capability.”"

I swear I am not kidding: did Nichola Branford write this lousy piece on Hizbollah in the Economist?

This sentence gave it in: "and fighters on the ground say Iran still calls the shots." As in all Nicholas Branford work of fiction about Lebanon, Hizbollah fighters and commanders always manage to tell him very damaging things about Hizbollah to carry it to Western readers.  And notice that those interviewed in the article are all foes of Hizbollah, and notice that WINEP is identified without a reference to its political affiliation.  Even the Economist in the time of Marx was less bad than this.

How does Human Rights Watch document its reports? "HRW cites a pro-FSA group's statistics in their report - look at their language"

From Basim: "According to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC), a local monitoring group, government aerial and shelling attacks killed at least 462 civilians and 16 fighters in eastern Ghouta between January and June.

From VDC website on their classification of those killed:

1-The victims; the killed: the center classifies the victims into two main types according to the party that was "claimed" to have committed the crime. Consequently, we have two separate tables and statistics:

a-The Revolution's Martyrs: who were killed by regime forces and thugs. This classification is divided into two main sub-classes: Civilian and Non-Civilian.The former includes the names of all the documented civilians who are thought to be murdered by the regime forces, while the latter includes the names of officers, defected soldiers and volunteers in the Free Syrian Army(FSA). However, this classification also includes all other armed elements of brigades and battalions that do not directly affiliate to the Free Syrian Army's command, and the foreign fighters that are fighting against the regime forces.

b-The Regime's Casualtieswho were killed by anti-government fires. This classification includes the officers and soldiers of the regime's army, in addition to all the foreign elements that are fighting alongside the regime's forces, the members of the so-called "The Army of National Defense" and the militiamen who are considered semi-governmental members, and whoever has a rank that refers to the fact that he is an officer or a soldier. It also includes the civilians who were killed by anti-government forces in the operations announced by those forces.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Israel Refuses Asylum for Ghana Citizen Because 'She Chose to Be a Lesbian' read more:

"Interior Ministry concludes Mavis Amponsah, who claims she was persecuted in her home country for being a lesbian, chose to 'adopt' lifestyle; she was questioned in English, which she doesn’t speak."

Hamas and a dolphin spy

Foreign Policy website among many other websites circulated a story that Hamas accused Israel of sending a dolphin to spy on Gaza. Hilarious. But the story is not true: it was carried only by Safa Palestinian news agency and it attributed to "private sources".

This is what mainstream Western correspondents in Beirut don't report about Syria

"Infant Rimas Al-Nayef was one of at least 5 children killed by NATO-backed terrorists’ shelling on August 10, 2015 in the northwestern Syrian village of Foua. Another 25 residents were killed by the up to 1,500 rockets and mortars which Jebhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) and other terrorist factions rained down on Foua and neighbouring Kafarya village, just north of Idlib. Scores more were injured on that day alone. Yet, scarcely a peep in the corporate media, as massacres committed by western-backed “moderates” do not merit media coverage, do not suit the war agenda."

Zionist apartheid

"Burston is by no means the only well-known figure to describe Israel’s policies toward the indigenous Palestinians as a system of apartheid. South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu insisted in no certain terms “I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed.” Prominent indigenous and women of color feminists, including acclaimed scholars Angela Davis and Barbara Ransby, visited Israel in 2011 and recalled “see[ing] for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.” Several members of the delegation grew up in apartheid South Africa, in the Jim Crow South, or on US Indian reservations and witnessed striking parallels to their own experiences."