Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 20, 2013

Open Thread 2013-22

News & views ...

Posted by b on October 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Permalink


The NSA’s Utah data center is still struggling to get up and running. The WSJ reported earlier this month that the site slated to hold exabytes of NSA spy data has been suffering from lightning arcs and meltdowns that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and prevented the NSA from using the center for its intended purpose: massive data storage and mining. The WSJ reported there had been ten incidents thus far. A source familiar with the project says:

The center underwent yet another shutdown over the weekend after electrical problems on Thursday and Friday. The data center was shut down through Tuesday. There aren’t arcs and fires anymore, but the experts on the site still haven’t figured out what’s causing the problems. They have figured out how to prevent flashes of lightning, though. They’re seeing a pattern of where it gets to the meltdown point and they stop it before it blows again. Contractors have been injured and taken to the hospital due to electrocution, but not in the most recent shutdown.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 20, 2013 11:38:18 AM | 1

@Rowan Berkeley #1
...experts on the site still haven’t figured out what’s causing the problems.

I guess this is what Iranian experts felt like when they were hit with Stuxnet.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 20, 2013 12:48:39 PM | 2

James Bond, Cuban-style:

"A close relationship with Kelly, who began to exercise an influence on my family, began there. She said that she wanted to make life easier for me, that I was a brilliant writer," recalled Agent Daniel in an interview given later to Pascual Serrano, with the Spanish website Rebelión.

"They would hand over three, four of five thousand dollars without even checking to see of we had organized the activity for which the money was requested. They liked themes such as micro-enterprises, how to organize the civil society, leadership courses; they provided us with manuals and things like that," the double agent confirmed, describing a process similar to the one developed by Keiderling in Venezuela.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 20, 2013 1:24:59 PM | 3

Rowan Berkeley@1

We have either covert snooping on perceived threats to national security or out-of-control snooping to gain commercial advantage on trade competitors, etc. But in the eyes of government, the two things are related.

With the increasing collusion between the state and the corporate sector, the people are becoming seen as The Enemy. And in a way, that's right; governments and corporations pursue their own interests, which in most cases are diametrically opposed to those of the populations they allegedly serve. As wages and living standards in the West decline, prices rise and the welfare state is destroyed, there is going to be tremendous unrest.

The surveillance state, the erosion of civil rights and ever-diminishing access to justice have been creeping up on us for years, but we've all been too busy trying to buy a house or watching the X-Factor to notice. Now, it may already be too late.

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 20, 2013 3:37:23 PM | 4

@4 i like what you said, especially the middle part.

Posted by: james | Oct 20, 2013 4:34:02 PM | 5

Finally we get a closer look at one clothier's shoddy stitching:

Counting The Dead: From England, One Man Feeds Western Media On Syria

He's practically a one man band, but Rami Abdurrahman's influence extends far beyond his modest home in this small English city.

The bald, bespectacled 42-year-old operates the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights from his house in the cathedral city of Coventry — and a review of recent media coverage suggests its running tally of killings and clashes is the most frequently cited individual source of information on Syria's civil war for the world's leading news organizations.

"He's just everywhere," said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. "He's the go-to guy for figures. ... I can't think of anybody who comes close."

Abdurrahman, who says he makes his living from a local clothing shop, says the Observatory relies on four unnamed activists in Syria and a wider network of monitors across the country to document and verify clashes and killings. But as the Observatory has increasingly found itself at the center of Western reporting on Syria's civil, some say his figures — and his sources — need more scrutiny.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 20, 2013 8:02:05 PM | 6

Re #6: That appears to be an AP story, by a certain Raphael Satter. Though it quotes Angry Arab to the the effect that "Something is going on which is quite fishy," and gives Rami Abd'ur-Rahman's real name, which is apparently Ossama Suleiman, it concludes with three reassuring voices in a row (Chatham House, Amnesty and HRW) saying he's kosher. That is, if you consider them reassuring. It does not mention MI6.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 3:03:30 AM | 7

Egyptians tell Israel to stuff its holocaust award
A member of the family of the first Arab honoured by Israel for risking his life to save Jews during the holocaust says the family isn’t interested in the recognition, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The Egyptian doctor, Mohamed Helmy, was honoured posthumously in September by Israel’s Vad Yashem holocaust memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during the Nazis’ genocide, but a family member tracked down by AP in Cairo said her relatives wouldn’t accept the award.

“If any other country offered to honour Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s great-nephew, told the news agency.

In a demonstration of grand hypocrisy, on 20 October Vad Yashem, which denies the Palestinian nakba and does not recognize that non-Jews also suffered at the hands of the Nazis, criticized the family’s decision. “We regret that political sentiment seems to have overcome the human aspect and hope one day that the latter will prevail,” the Jewish supremacists said in a written statement, as reported by AP.

Mohamed Helmy was in fact the exact opposite of what Israel and the hypocrites of the holocaust industry stand for. As Mervat Hassan told AP, “Helmy was not picking a certain nationality, race or religion to help. He treated patients regardless of who they were,” she said.

Posted by: brian | Oct 21, 2013 3:04:49 AM | 8

Chris Hedges' latest, worth serious consideration.

Posted by: ben | Oct 21, 2013 11:41:40 AM | 9

I don't think Mr Hedges even tries to tell us in this article, ben, who is going to do the fighting in this 'class war'. The whole point about globalisation is that the US no longer has a recognisable working class, of the sort that could generate a fighting trade union, which could then be wired into a Leninist-type revolutionary scheme. These working classes are now all in the 'less developed world', where trade unions in any independent sense are strictly forbidden as subversive. Therefore, I think, we have to resort to geopolitical factors. That is to say, nobody claims that defeat in WW1 'caused' the Russian revolution, but it certainly contributed to the critical mass of the revolutionary explosion. Anybody who is in doubt about the permissibility of reckoning such factors into the mix is invited to read Althusser on 'Contradiction and Overdetermination'. So, my point is, something analogous to a military defeat will be required to push the US people into anything resembling a revolutionary mood. The sort of conditions I have in mind include the rationing, black marketeering or general shortages of basic foodstuffs and of energy, the collapse of bourgeois parties and the rise of fascist parties, the prospect of a US Army largely composed of foreign troops, an unemployment situation resembling that of the mid 1930s, rioting and looting, etc etc. Then we shall see whether Leninist-type entities actually arise and start the 'class war' in earnest (and I realise that their battles will be as much against the fascist parties as against US troops). In the meantime, I recommend listening to Webster Tarpley's weekly World Crisis Radio programs, because he is a very good barometer.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 12:24:59 PM | 10

The French have called the US ambassador in for a demarche after reading this in le Monde this a.m.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 12:35:25 PM | 11

Medley, local radio or fash mag. :))

Arthur Silber, blogger, on glenn greenwald (Oct 14, 2013):

A 14 min. extract from “The Americanization of Emily.”

1964, with Julie Andrews, by Chayefsky. Comedy, Drama. Was a mainstream won’t regret the 14 mins.

Ilargi at the Automatic Earth (Oct 18, 2013) - Winter in America gets colder and why we choose Poverty.

> A good news round up, the causes and conclusions are left in the shade, Ilargi is aware I’m sure.

Some music, Miss American Pie:

Cheers all round at the bar the round is on me. Smoke a cig on the dark, dirty pavement?

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 21, 2013 1:01:16 PM | 12

Personally I think that Silber's views on Greenwald are meaningless. Greenwald is doing an expert job of getting the max stuff out to the max outlets. I heard the same sort of moaning about Assange. What are we supposed to do, exactly? Start a campaign among the truly radical to ignore Greenwald and Assange as "agents of mass distraction"? Wouldn't that constitute an even more time-wasting distraction?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 1:12:54 PM | 13

@10 You're right about the US not having a recognizable working class. The only thing that might upset them would be a life without ballgames and TV.

Posted by: dh | Oct 21, 2013 1:22:41 PM | 14

@ 10 ... I do, but what is Webster Tarpley a good barometer off?

@ 13 yes, the idea that Greenwald and Assange are engaging in what Tarpley would say is a 'limited hangout' or Sibal's quibbling over Greenwald's 'sanitized ...[and] redacted tidbits' regardless of how seriously one takes them into consideration tend to distract from focusing on the content of the information divulged.

Posted by: thirsty | Oct 21, 2013 2:35:18 PM | 15

ungrateful Gazans go to syria on mistaken belief they are aiding muslims!

Gaza Salasfists Killed in Syria
JABALIYA, Gaza Strip — Fahd al-Habbash sat in front of a laptop with Jabhat al-Nusra’s black banner behind him and recorded his will. The video was posted on YouTube by a Salafist group in Gaza, the Shura Council of Mujahideen, after Habbash died in Syria during a fight with regime forces.
About This Article

Summary :
Salafist sources in Gaza say dozens of young Palestinian men have gone to Syria to fight with al-Qaeda affiliates against President Bashar al-Assad's forces.Original Title:
Gaza Salafists Killed Fighting Syria's Assad
Author: Hazem Balousha
Posted on: October 17 2013
Translated by: Rani Geha
Categories : Originals /pulse/countries/PA Palestine /pulse/countries/syria Syria Security
Habbash started his video — which included photos of him participating in the fighting and photos of him after his death — by saying, “Jihad for the sake of God and for the support of [Islam] is not restricted to a certain class of Muslims. Every Muslim who is not from 'the people of excuses' has a religious duty to come to the support of [Islam] and help vulnerable Muslims everywhere. … [The decline of religion and the humiliation of Muslims], which we have been suffering for years, are due to [Muslims] leaving jihad and the absence of governance in accordance with Sharia. That led to the hardening of these tyrants around the necks of Muslims around the globe.”
“My message to my parents: If you hear news of my death or my departure from this transient world, rejoice and know that this is what I wanted,” he continued.
Habbash's will and martyrhood video
Habbash’s YouTube video is but one of many posted by Palestinians from Gaza who were killed fighting in Syria. The videos were posted by a Salafist group at odds with the ruling Islamist Hamas. Some videos contain clear criticism of how the Gaza government is preventing fighters from “performing jihad against the occupation.”
Al-Monitor visited Habbash's home in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip and met his father, Nizar, who was visibly saddened by the loss of his eldest son. Nizar thought that his son left Gaza to live abroad, not to fight in Syria.
“We didn’t know that he had traveled to Syria, and he didn’t tell his wife that. He told us that he was going to Norway via Turkey, to live there because of the poor living conditions in the Gaza Strip. He used to call us and tell us that he was in Turkey. [He last called us] 10 days before his martyrdom,” Nizar said.
Habbash was married and had two daughters, one of whom was born while he was in Syria. She is now four months old. He worked in a Palestinian police agency affiliated with Hamas in Gaza. Before that, he had worked in Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. But, according to his father, he did not seem to have Salafist inclinations.
An informed source in a Salafist group in Gaza told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Palestinian youths in Gaza are being contacted and urged to travel for jihad to Syria and join the legions of mujahedeen there who come from all corners of the globe.” That call is having some resonance among young Palestinians in Gaza.
Although the source declined to disclose the number of Palestinians who traveled to Syria from the Gaza Strip, he estimated them to be in the dozens. They left Gaza through Rafah, then went to Turkey, then crossed into Syria after receiving training near the Turkish-Syrian border at the hands of the mujahedeen.
“A number of young men fought in Syria and were martyred for the sake of God there. Some were wounded and receiving treatment in Turkey. Some are still fighting there. And some returned to the Gaza Strip,” the source added, noting that the closure of the Rafah crossing is preventing many from traveling to Syria.
“… Dozens of fighters were recruited from the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip or abroad, specifically refugees residing in Lebanon and Syria, to participate in the ongoing jihad between right and wrong. We are still preparing other groups as well,” the source said.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, has taken a supportive stance toward the Syrian opposition, but the group is — at least publicly — trying to steer clear of the fighting.
Hamas official Bassem Naim told Al-Monitor that Hamas only fights against the Israeli occupation and will not deviate from that, to not weaken the Palestinian resistance.
However, an informed Hamas source confirmed to Al-Monitor that a number of Palestinians are fighting in Syria. Some are with Jabhat al-Nusra, while others support the Syrian regime alongside Hezbollah.
“We tried hard, through some of the sheikhs close to them, to prevent a number of young al-Qaeda followers from traveling to Syria, because it affects the Palestinian cause and the support it gets from the Arab and Muslim world,” the source added. However, he did not say how successful those efforts were.
Al-Monitor tried to reach some of the young men who returned from fighting in Syria through intermediaries. But they refused to speak and only said, “We are not allowed to talk to the media about it.”
Hamas is trying to restore its relations with Iran after a cooling period and cessation of Iranian support resulting from Hamas’ position on the Syrian crisis. Hamas political bureau Vice President Mousa Abu Marzouk told Al-Mayadeen TV that Hamas wishes to reopen channels with Damascus, although this was flatly rejected by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hazem Balousha is a Palestinian journalist based in Gaza City. He has worked as a news producer for BBC World Service, contributed to Deutsche Welle and has written for The Guardian, Al-Raya (Qatar) and other publications. He is the founder of the Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development (PICD).

Posted by: brian | Oct 21, 2013 5:19:51 PM | 16

reflecting on the gaza salafist story
1. none of these jihadis wage the sort of well armed jihad against occupying israel
2. the shadowy recruiters show no interest in aiding palestinians...merely in using them.
3. the jihadis are primed to see the acts as in the name of their god

4. this sounds reasonable:'Jihad for the sake of God and for the support of [Islam] is not restricted to a certain class of Muslims. Every Muslim who is not from 'the people of excuses' has a religious duty to come to the support of [Islam] and help vulnerable Muslims everywhere. … [The decline of religion and the humiliation of Muslims], which we have been suffering for years, are due to [Muslims] leaving jihad and the absence of governance in accordance with Sharia. That led to the hardening of these tyrants around the necks of Muslims around the globe.”'...........but its based on false premises. Thus reasonable men can be turned into fanatic killers

Posted by: brian | Oct 21, 2013 5:26:58 PM | 17

@7 Agreed, but it is nice to have a closer look as opposed to him just being presented as "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" and letting western nincompoops assume it is some well-funded, well-respected human rights organization instead of what it is - a man who puts out the press releases for every pressed shirt.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 21, 2013 7:51:13 PM | 18

"The whole point about globalisation is that the US no longer has a recognisable working class, of the sort that could generate a fighting trade union,..."
You are quite wrong Rowan, there is not only a vast class of propertyless workers desperately trying to make livings in face of appalling difficulties. My guess is that IWW type unions, defying Taft Hartley and right to work idiocies,which are already growing and organising service workers (Walmart and fast foods for example) will soon become forces to reckon with.
As to getting "wired into a Leninist-type revolutionary scheme" that plan didn't even work in Russia; elsewhere it has been a recipe for tin pot Lenins (Healy, Cliff degenerating steeply into Callinicos et al) and utterly useless sects selling papers to the -amazingly polite-militants the capitalists are crushing.

Anyone who believes that the working people of the advanced countries are living comfortably, have given up hope and are drugged by the media doesn't get out much: there is widespread anger. It needs focus, and that will come, not from missionaries waving Marxist texts but, from the struggles which dignity makes necessary.

We live in a revolutionary era.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 21, 2013 9:58:21 PM | 19

good blog at the NY Review of Books by Charles Simic:

“ Some of us notice them, while others don’t seem to, even though there are 46.5 million of them according to the latest census and they are everywhere if one cares to look. A tall man in his late fifties, whose portrait might have once hung over the boss’s desk in some company office, packing grocery bags in a supermarket with grim efficiency; a meek-looking old couple in a drug store waiting their turn at the cash register with a bottle of generic ibuprofen and a box of tissues, who, upon learning the price for each put the tissues aside and pay with small change for the painkiller; a handsome, middle-aged father, unshaven and looking unkempt, waiting with his small son for a school bus outside a modest home in the suburbs; the tired and resigned look of fast food workers and store clerks in a mall, some of them young, but many of them middle-aged and even older, most of them being paid minimum wage for their work and needing an additional job, food stamps, or some other form of government assistance to support their families; a soup kitchen in New York with people who could be one’s relatives waiting patiently in line.

"Anyone who averts his eyes from the hopeless lives many of our fellow citizens lead and tells himself and others that these men and women only have themselves to blame, is either a fool or a soulless bastard.

"Not that those who still call themselves middle class are in great shape either. As one travels around the country, one is struck by how poorly dressed many Americans are and how run-down their cities and towns have become. Everyone knows what bankrupt Detroit looks like, but there are many other towns whose air of complete defeat is just as palpable. I once asked a taxi driver in one such place what people do there and he gave me a long list of all the big name manufacturers and businesses that have closed their doors over the past decade or two, confessing that he had no idea how his neighbors managed to make ends meet. I’ve no idea either.

"Even for people with impressive past work experience and a range of skills, finding a job that pays a wage one can live on and that comes with healthcare benefits has become extremely difficult. It’s especially hard for young people. It’s been years since I’ve heard of any of my graduate students getting a decent job. Working as a waiter or a waitress in a trendy restaurant where tips are good is often the best they can hope for. For many others, it’s much worse, of course. Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty,” the richest country in the world no longer cares if millions of its less fortunate citizens live or die.

"If one needs proof, one can start with what happened to food stamps in Congress, the so-called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that goes to 47 million Americans every month, almost half of them children and teenagers. Some of those benefits, approved in 2009, will be terminated on October 31. With fuel prices expected to increase this winter, this means, for many families in cold states, choosing between staying warm and having enough to eat. According to The Boston Globe, former US senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said that the stimulus was never intended to be a permanent source of money. “All stimulus funding was to be temporary,” said Gregg, an immensely wealthy man and now the chief executive of a banking industry group. John Cochrane, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, also opposed the stimulus, arguing that it advanced the false assumption that “completely wasted federal spending helps the economy.” Worries about people who need help are a legitimate concern, he said, but food stamps discourage people from finding better jobs because recipients are worried they’ll lose the benefit. “At some point,” he said, “you have to be a little bit heartless.” .............

Something's gonna give.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 21, 2013 10:33:27 PM | 20

Bevin, how are these struggles of yours going to get coordinated, or as I put it 'wired in to a revolutionary scheme'? I'm quite content for it not to be 'Leninist'. I don't sleep with 'The State and Revolution' under my pillow. But I would certainly want it to be coordinated in some way, because otherwise you will get the situation of Germany in the 1920s, where the fascist parties, largely composed of demobilised soldiers with battlefield experience and fronted for the cameras by panicked petit bourgeoisie, simply mop them up one after another. "So tell me, great leader, & please make it quick..."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 10:35:32 PM | 21

I'll fill in a couple more boxes before you answer. You mentioned the IWW, who I shall classify as anarcho-syndicalists. This invites a comparison with the Spanish Civil War, about which one could certainly say, "If the Stalinists hadn't screwed everything up, then the combined forces of anarcho-syndicalists and Trotskyites would have defeated Franco." But to make the comparison complete, you would also have to suppose that in the Spanish Civil War, the main imperialist countries, the US and Britain, would have sent expeditionary forces to aid Franco. Then what would have happened?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 10:54:12 PM | 22

@19 & 20 That may all be true bevin but where's the anger? OWS flickered and died. The Tea Party is looking crazier by the day. Truckers didn't show up for the big protest. Who will be leading the revolution? Jon Stewart?

Posted by: dh | Oct 21, 2013 11:00:03 PM | 23

I slagged off Arthur Silber for his anti-Greenwald article, and I slagged off Chris Hedges for his 'class war' article, but by a happy synergy, here is Chris Floyd building on Arthur Silber to produce an anti-Greenwald article which even I have to admit is good: here.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21, 2013 11:42:13 PM | 24

Money is sooooo goooooood: women's breasts banned on FB but decapitations are okay

Posted by: Mina | Oct 22, 2013 4:36:59 AM | 25

president Assad interview with Telasur: on the relation of and importance of latin america tov middle east:

'TeleSUR: I cannot finish this interview without mentioning the leader Hugo Chavez who visited Syria and went with you to Maaloula, which only a few days ago suffered an attack carried out by extremists. When he was in Maaloula, President Chavez said “Nothing human or humanitarian can be used to justify an attack and an aggression against Syria. How can we not support the Syrian government? How can we not support the government of President Bashar al-Assad?” How can they support armed groups?” Could you please give us your impressions and your recollections of President Chavez’s visit to Syria? And what do you think of the position of Venezuela and the ALBA countries in defending freedom and defending Syria and the rights of the Syrian people?

President Assad: We have always said that the developing world, of which we are both a part of, has been through a number of stages in its pursuit of independence. The first stage was with the evacuation of foreign forces from our occupied countries, which most countries have been able to achieve through their independence. The second stage, which is more important, is the independence of political, economic and military decisions - the independence of national decision-making so to speak. This was achieved in Latin and Central America in the past two decades. There were two symbols for this independence: President Castro - five decades ago, and President Chavez. When we remember President Chavez, we remember this second stage because the endeavors we are facing in our region, in the Middle East, are similar to those that you went through earlier in Latin America.

When you achieved independent national decision-making, the situation in South America, and even Central America, became much better and political stability started to yield economic benefits. When you started economic development, some countries emerged as industrial powers and have become important economic powers. This is the natural outcome of independence. To date in the Arab region, we have barely achieved minimum independent political decision-making and in a limited number of countries. The conflict with the West now is in part related to this point, in other words, gaining independent national decision-making. I believe that South America in general, Venezuela and President Chavez, and before him President Castro, are important role models to be followed on the road towards independence and freedom sought by nations trying to shrug off Western hegemony in the form of long decades of direct colonization and, today, indirect colonization.

There are many similarities in temperament, in emotions and in the warmth felt by citizens of the same nation in your country and in ours. There are also similarities in our histories. President Chavez and President Castro aside, there are many presidents in Latin America today walking the same line of President Chavez.

But, I would also like to especially mention my friend and brother President Maduro whom I know through a number of meetings, during my visit to Venezuela and his visits to Syria. We are very happy that the Venezuelan people decided to choose this person to represent and enforce the political line taken by the President Chavez. He is a resilient and proud leader who has a clear understanding of our region; I am sure that he will continue to lead Venezuela to the path of independence. We all know that the United States and some of its allies had great hopes that Venezuela will return to America’s embrace in the absence of President Chavez. With President Maduro at the helm, these dreams have evaporated. I believe that as Arab states, we should follow the path of Latin America if we want to make a mark in the world, to be independent and advanced.'

Posted by: brian | Oct 22, 2013 8:37:17 AM | 26

Art and well clothed interesting people: The Tehran Times

Posted by: b | Oct 22, 2013 12:21:18 PM | 27

A coffee commercial you are unlikely to ever see on U.S. TV :-)

Posted by: b | Oct 22, 2013 1:05:33 PM | 28

Hmm, yes, for those of you who don't like the wrap around giant embed feel, that could be:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 22, 2013 3:00:12 PM | 29

I don't follow Russian news closely enough to know the reaction of the government towards the recent unrest (as portrayed in the West at least) in Moscow. I hope the reaction was firm and clear that such things are unacceptable and that the fascists who are involved in anti-social street violence are dealt with harshly.

These skin headed fools are exactly what the US and US puppets like Navalny would like to see for Russia - a polarization of the society on ethnic-religious lines which will surely, if left unchecked, affect even Russia's foreign policy.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 22, 2013 8:15:02 PM | 30

I've been reading a memoir of the Egyptian Minister of Information during the period between the '67 - '73 wars called "The Road To Ramadan".

It is a quick and worthwhile read. It is fascinating to go over this (recent) history again.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 22, 2013 8:19:39 PM | 31

ignoring the will of the people and refusing to learn from history: india opens nuke plant on tsumani exposed coast
an eg of the stupidity of the mix of science economics and politics. Will the regime also assume responsibility for any disaster?

Posted by: brian | Oct 23, 2013 2:20:49 AM | 32

Ebay is selling a letter written by Albert Einstein at the time of the Deir Yassin massacre in April 1948 to an American Zionist, denouncing the Zionist militias’ terrorist activities. It’s interesting that Einstein’s word, catastrophe, is also the Palestinians’ word in Arabic, the Nakba. The letter’s text:

Posted by: brian | Oct 23, 2013 3:34:44 AM | 33

now for something completely different!

'Gabriel Over the White House is one of the most amazing artefacts to have emerged in the video era. The film was little seen when it came out and prints were out of general circulation for many years – it, for example, rarely screens on tv. The film’s notoriety as a political fable grew in infamy. Seeing it is a truly unique experience.
Gabriel Over the White House was produced by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst – the same real-life figure that became the model for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941). The film is almost a dramatised political campaign speech. It sits right atop the major issues of the Depression era – unemployment and homelessness, Prohibition bootlegging and mobsters. It is a fantasy of a desire for ruthlessly decisive action to solve these sweeping problems. (This was made before Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, and uncannily prefigured many things that Roosevelt adopted as President, albeit less extreme). The President is initially portrayed as a flabby politician who ignores the pressing problems until an accident and the ambiguous suggestion of angelic intervention. It is what he he becomes after that point that makes Gabriel Over the White House so amazing (and notorious). Newly reformed, he initiates martial law; fires his weak-minded congress; nationalises bootlegging; mobilises the army against mobsters, court martials them before a military tribunal and sentences them to execution before firing squad – even admittedly without any evidence.

It is when Gabriel Over the White House finally starts to take on US foreign relations that it gains a spectacular tackiness, seeming to embody the most obnoxious attitudes of American imperialist bombast, wherein the US builds up a massive Naval power (the scenes of which contain an interesting early prediction of an Air Force of bombers), all to scare other nations into paying outstanding war debts. “The United States must have the greatest Navy in the world because we want world peace,” The President says at one point. (Clearly, US financial needs are equal to world peace – which these days may actually be closer to the truth that one thinks). What is alarming about this is that when a country like Germany, which in actuality ended up being financially crippled into massive inflation by war debts (all of which created the conditions that allowed Adolf Hitler to rise to power), objects to this, it is dismissed as being no more than a cowardly bad debtor. A truly unique film.'

Posted by: brian | Oct 24, 2013 8:10:52 AM | 34

While Saudi Arabia is Oppressing women by usurping their right to drive, Women's in Iran are giving tough competition to Men's in Car Racing.

Laleh Seddigh, 28, is fast emerging as one of Iran's foremost race car drivers, leaving the best of the men racers behind in her saloon car.

"Resistance from men does not bother me," Seddigh told AFP at a recent track race event held at Tehran's Azadi stadium. "Once I get on the track I like to use my technical skills, take control and dominate the other drivers."

Posted by: brian | Oct 25, 2013 2:52:46 AM | 35


$13B US Justice Department fine of JP Morgan turns out to be.... tax deductible.

Despite the media trumpeting the "historic" $13B fine... the banksters will only be paying $9B when all is said and done.

JPMorgan Chase & Co's preliminary $13 billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. government could end up costing the bank closer to $9 billion after taxes, because the majority of the deal is expected to be tax deductible, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The deduction also means the government is getting less than it appears in this deal. Banks can often deduct legal settlements from their taxes, but cannot get tax benefits from penalties for violating laws.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 25, 2013 6:34:26 AM | 36

More Bassam Youssef in English

Greenwald co-sign Le Monde's article on the NSA's spying of European leaders (who feign to be surprised, as if had not been the case already since 2001)
As a matter of fact, the European communiqué does NOT ask the US to stop spying on them
Title of the article "Les Vingt-huit se gardent d’appeler les Etats-Unis à cesser leurs activités d’espionnage de pays alliés"
Quizz: Poland, The Netherlands, or the UK?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 25, 2013 7:24:49 AM | 37

Looks like NSA chief and former-NSA chief belong to different churches!

Posted by: Mina | Oct 25, 2013 8:52:43 AM | 38

Man Sits Behind Ex-CIA Director On The Train, Eavesdrops, And Live-Tweets His Conversation

Posted by: Some1 | Oct 25, 2013 1:44:06 PM | 39

7.3 off the coast of Japan. The Fukushima nightmare continues.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 25, 2013 4:40:16 PM | 40

#'s 38 & 39.....

Wonderful knowing that such men wield such power, isn't it? What a fuckin' genius Hayden is, eh?

God help us.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 25, 2013 4:42:44 PM | 41

POA @40

Makes for good click-bait headlines. But guess what? Nothing happened. The quake was centred more than 100km of the cost, at the nuke plant the intensity was more like 3.

Still major shit thing - but the danger comes more from the usual suspects: corporate mismanagement, incompetence and obfuscation.

Posted by: Philippe | Oct 25, 2013 8:11:08 PM | 42

Looks like the 7.3 off the coast of Fukushima caused only a 3 ft tsunami and the damaged Nuclear Reactor plant escaped unscathed. But the following partially falls under “corporate mismanagement, incompetence and obfuscation”.

However: From Global Research

Humankind’s Most Dangerous Moment: Fukushima Fuel Pool at Unit 4. “This is an Issue of Human Survival.”

We are now within a few weeks of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In November TEPCO will begin an attempt to remove over 1300 fuel rods from a pool 100 ft above ground level perched in Unit #4. The structure is badly compromised from the initial explosions and is being further compromised by the settling of the building due to softened soils upon which the structure sits due to the huge amounts of water that have been used at the site for cooling.

According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

Is anyone really paying any attention to what is happening at Fukushima and what is happening to the Pacific environment not to mention Northern Hemispheric atmosphere? My insight this morning was that the only difference between Casandra and the most of us is she was cursed with the psychological lack of denial and complacency.

What can those cursed as Casandra was do? World Action Now on Fukushima

Posted by: juannie | Oct 25, 2013 8:49:02 PM | 43


Well..."nothing happened".....


Kinda underscores how "corporate mismanagement, incompetence and obfuscation" can have potentially catacalysmic ramifications, eh? So far we have dodged the bullet in respect to the spent fuel rods. But even a three magnitude, occuring during the process of removing these rods, could result in unspeakable calamity.

Like I said, the nightmare continues. And we will be having it for a very very long time. Will we be able to dodge the bullet for the entire duration of this event? We shall see.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 25, 2013 8:52:42 PM | 44

Hey, what happened to "somebody"? Did b turn him into a "nobody"?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 25, 2013 10:17:48 PM | 45

Hayden has an adulatory interview in the WaPo. Most interesting thing he says is that he thinks NSA and CYBERCOM (Fort Meade) should merge.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 26, 2013 2:50:27 AM | 46

@45 - he is looking for e new nickname, after b's post

Posted by: claudio | Oct 26, 2013 3:08:41 AM | 47

Emptywheel has a nice thing about Hayden & Alexander:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 26, 2013 4:52:49 AM | 48

Just started reading this site. This guy is a true hero....

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 27, 2013 11:53:40 AM | 49

thank you for that link, PoA.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 27, 2013 1:01:55 PM | 50

Vale Lou Reed.
Legend has it that Velvet Underground's first album sold only 30,000 copies but everyone who bought a copy started a rock band...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 28, 2013 12:32:42 AM | 53

*Japan is ready to counter China if it resorts to force in the pursuit of its
geopolitical interests, *

this coming from someone who has been ass licking the evil empire, that very
embodiment of might is right

*I've realised that Japan is expected [sic] to exert leadership not just on the
economic front, but also in the field of security in the Asia-Pacific* [sic]

the japs seem to be outshinning their fukus mentors in double speak these days,
no mean feat that.
ah, taking up the white men's burden, no less ! [1]

except abe san is a moron, it werent the chinese who have been raping japan,



but abe san wanna stand up to china ?
can an isle of de facto eunuchs, who allow the muricuns free access into their
daughters' bedrooms, able to stand up at all ?
how pathetic have the descendents of samurais become these days ?
ur forebears must be turning in their graves, abe san. !

[1] japanese were accorded *honorable white men* status by their white overlords.

+Wasn't it Kan's predecessors who allowed the United States to bring nuclear
weapons into Japan? When local media blew the whistle on this, none of those
politicians showed any guts in pushing to either scrap the secret deal with the
U.S. or declare that they would oppose future U.S. attempts to bring nuclear
weapons into the country. The question is, can they oppose it?+

+two rapes a month. Almost every person on Okinawa has a family member who
has been assaulted. Then the soldiers go off to kill poor people in Iraq and
Afghanistan. It makes my blood boil+

Posted by: denk | Oct 28, 2013 1:12:30 AM | 54



Posted by: denk | Oct 28, 2013 1:25:01 AM | 55

Is Egypt Trying to Block
Israel's African Union Bid?
good for egypt
Israel doesnt have 'allies' only these 'allies' not know how israel is treating africans?
FOOLISH africans

Posted by: brian | Oct 28, 2013 8:14:13 AM | 56


whoa, somebody is missed. I strongly distance myself from any "nobodies" posting here ... :-))

Just incredibly busy and tired of the internet.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 30, 2013 9:59:35 AM | 57

another post deleted by atimes
first off, i've no respect for any media which find it necessary to gag humble me, i mean *der diplomat* of course.

then the author is parroting that hackneyed cold war era hogwash about *mao killed millions of his own citizens* , this surely ranks right at the top of the century's one hundred worst lies, for which murikka hog them all.
surely this must be the most pathetic rationale to excuse the japanese crimes , ever.

over all, this reads more like another thinly veiled smear job on china, than an ostensible critique of japan.
no wonder, this is from *der diplomat*, enuff said.

the author claims that japan's dealing of its past is *above average* when compared to others, no kidding ?
where were u during this past months when top japanese officials , including abe , fell over themselves repeating their whitewash of the comfort women, saying their ww2 aggressions is a matter of *definition* ?
apparently the author again went awol, when abe pose in a jet fighter with 731 boldly emblazoned on it , a naked in your face provocation .
can u imagine the hue n cry if merkel appeared in public sporting nazi insignia ?

dont bother please, japan can spare us those meaningless, half hearted *apologies*, action speak louder than words.

*Germany gave up 24 percent of its traditional territory to these two countries, the
two biggest victims.*

*Japan’s intransigence about far-flung territorial claims is particularly hard to
fathom given its undisputed role as aggressor nation, aligned with Nazi Germany.
It invaded nearly all of its neighbors, left millions dead and committed unspeakable
war crimes in China, Korea and Southeast Asia. Is it not a bit unseemly for Japan
to be tussling over territory that it once used as a springboard to terrorize its

japan's current antics is like rubbing salt into a wound, some *above average* performance indeed !
but according to this esteemed writer, the chinese are *hypocrites* who just couldnt have enough of japan's *apologies* !

Posted by: denk | Oct 30, 2013 10:28:12 PM | 58

pakistan says the no of civilians killed in fukus drone attacks consititute
only 3% of the total casualties.
hmmm, i've lost track of how many times i read reports of drone attacks
killing dozens of hundreds of civilians, but i've a vague picture that
this 3% figure sounds like a whitewash attempt.

Posted by: denk | Oct 31, 2013 6:19:23 AM | 59

Erdogan in the Wild, wild west :-))

"Since 2006, I've been insisting on this blog that the really worrisome aspect of the AKP government regarding Turkey's democracy was not the religious fundamentalism of some of its members, but its consistently neoliberal policies behind it."

I had written this sentence one and half year ago when introducing the "Anti-Capitalist Muslim Youth" to my readers a full year before this organization would attract worldwide attention because of its role in the Gezi Park protests.

I remembered this sentence when Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan spoke today about the recent protests against the removal of hundreds of trees for a road construction passing through the campus of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. His words are revealing to catch a glimpse of wild capitalist qualities in political Islam:

Everything can be sacrificed for roads, because roads are civilization. But those who are not civilized do not know the roads’ value. In our values, roads do not recognize any obstacle. Even if there is a mosque in front of a road, we would demolish that mosque and rebuild it somewhere else."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31, 2013 7:24:35 AM | 60


i said *the diplomat* is intel didnt i ?
i thought its muricun intel, but hey its tokyo based !
*What better way to justify terrorism than to have the blessing of the Dalai Lama?! Beijing is confronted with an extensive propaganda campaign, which is now gaining steam, led by media outlets like The Diplomat. The Tokyo-based magazine already attracted negative attention last week and did not waste any time before launching another attack on the Chinese government. Beijing is reluctant to address this issue and one editorial in the China Daily is not enough to counter the Western propaganda, no matter how accurate it is [emphasis mine]:
most likely a muricun jap joint project hehehe !

banned by *the diplomat*

Posted by: denk | Nov 1, 2013 12:07:41 AM | 61

everybody knows that the 1965 indon genocide was muricun orchestrated, [1]
few r aware that the japs were up to their eyeballs in that bloodbath, where up to a million innocent chinese were framed as commie 5 columists n slaughtered like sacrifiicial lambs.

* Besides certain Western oil companies, Japanese oil firms and other Japanese interests were connected with those plotting Sukarno's overthrow and the demise of the PKI.
Besides the 1973 Chilean coup, among the many other coups in which the CIA has been a prime agent after Indonesia 1965, was that in Cambodia in 1970, of which many observers noted the same complex of CIA plotters, Japanese secret societies and oil interests behind the military takeover there. Even Suharto's Army was implicated *

the more i dig, the more i see the corroboration between two of the world's most unrependent empires.

make way, fukusi, as far as im concerned,
the current evil triumvirate is fukusj, [fuck uk, us, jp.]

im not so sure about the mushroom club members tho.

Posted by: denk | Nov 1, 2013 6:22:23 AM | 62


*Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani government have come under heavy fire for a sudden U-turn on its policy over US drone strikes in the country's northwestern tribal areas along Afghanistan border following the Sharif's visit to Washington last month*

what did kerry tell sharif behind closed door ?
[obama had to accompany michele to a hair salon]
*either u r with us, or we bomb u back to stone age* ? [1]
*u wanna with us, or gadaffi* ?


Posted by: denk | Nov 1, 2013 7:17:29 AM | 63

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