Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 21, 2013

Open Thread 2013-25

News & views ...

(still not well - hope to be back soon ... b)

Posted by b on November 21, 2013 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

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Electronic Frontier Foundation have compiled a long list of those drippety drippety things that keep appearing hither and yon. It has a search facility, though I don't know whether that means you can actually search for topics (or proper names) within the documents. Let's have a go and see if it does ... no, it only searches for terms in the titles, not inside the docs themselves. That would have been quite a feat, because the docs are not in html, they are in pdf.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 21, 2013 2:17:24 PM | 1

the link doesn't work


Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 21, 2013 2:45:00 PM | 2

Something I read this morning that I wasn't aware of, or if I was aware of it, having read more than five years ago a story about all the Afghans seeking shelter in Iran, is Afghanistan's status as #1 refugee-producing country. This is from Rod Nordland's story today in NYT:

Afghans are still the world’s most numerous refugees. The official number of Afghan refugees, 2.6 million, is more than double that of the next largest refugee groups, Somalis and Syrians — and when estimates of illegal migrants are included in the count, the lead grows.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Nov 21, 2013 2:58:46 PM | 3

open question for anyone here... how much of the middle east and extended area conflict over a religious conflict between sunni and shite, verses between countries?

Posted by: james | Nov 21, 2013 3:31:13 PM | 4

insert 'is' which i neglected to include in my haste to post!

Posted by: james | Nov 21, 2013 3:58:34 PM | 5

Sunni Shiite conflicts: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen (chronologically): 100 percent imported by the Saudis (I mean there may have been local skirmishes before, but the larger current conflit can be dated with precision); Iraq, Syria, Lebanon (I would say for those the responsibility is shared 50/50 by the Saudis and the locals.
No Shiite minority in any other Arab country except the Gulf (mainly Bahrein, KSA, Kuwait), but the Gulf is conflit-proof because it's the road our tankers full of oil are taking (Bahrein being the exception but it's hard yet to talk about a full-scale military conflict: it's a peninsula and the only road is a bridge to KSA, so it will be hard to ship wepaons to the Shiite opposition).
There has been Shiites in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, a long time ago. In Egypt, they left early 20th century, mainly to India. In Turkey, the Alevis are originally somehow related to Shiism, but they have changed their name (to get some tranquility?)

Corrections and additions may be needed, as I've probably forgotten some of it.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 21, 2013 4:06:18 PM | 6

Be well soon b.

Posted by: beq | Nov 21, 2013 4:11:37 PM | 7

thanks mina! - ditto beq's message as well - hope b gets well soon..

Posted by: james | Nov 21, 2013 4:34:48 PM | 8

Geneva 3 Talks; Iran Nuclear Negotiations 4 Dummies


Posted by: g_h | Nov 21, 2013 4:41:17 PM | 9

Rowan @1

The documents have been converted by EFF using an Optical Character Recognition algorithm and are searchable within each document. Alas, as you note, you cannot search the whole dump using the lame search function on their webpage.

But if you open any of the documents, you will find it easy to search that document using the search tool on that specific page.

Posted by: Pyne | Nov 21, 2013 4:43:32 PM | 10

Watch this Hillary Clinton laugh when discussing attack on Iran. Heartless bitc*

Posted by: hans | Nov 21, 2013 4:53:01 PM | 11

Rowan @1

In addition, if you download any of the documents and open them with your PDF reader, you will discover that the EFF OCR conversion did indeed work and that you can search using your PDF reader's search function.

Posted by: Pyne | Nov 21, 2013 5:08:44 PM | 12

I 'd like to trade 'Code Pink' for 'FEMEN'. Anyone think that could be arranged?

Posted by: par4 | Nov 21, 2013 5:26:50 PM | 13

Rowan @1 – Assuming the EFF has properly set up the whole thing, in a couple of days you should be able to use Google or Bing to search the lot.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 21, 2013 6:16:04 PM | 14

Gute Besserung B...

Posted by: Juan Moment | Nov 21, 2013 6:42:10 PM | 15

Damn. Feel better B.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 7:11:33 PM | 16

Future generations will be surprised to discover that any of us seriously doubted that the government of Afghanistan would sign an agreement with the US, allowing them to do just as they pleased and have done for the past twelve years.
They will be surprised because they will understand, as we do, that Hamid Karzai is not just a long time ally of the US but a senior officer in the CIA. He’s been a US government employee for years. He has a bodyguard supplied by the Pentagon, without which he would have been dead years ago and dare not stray out of its sight.
How intelligent Karzai is, I am unsure, but he knows enough to understand that if he turned against his patrons he would not last long. He is immensely rich. And the US knows exactly where every dollar came from, where it is invested and how easy it would be to entangle him in a corruption enquiry that would prove most unpleasant.

In other words the big news this week is not really news at all. I’m sorry to say this because I too was hoping that the worm in Kabul might turn and leave the US with no alternative but to leave Afghanistan with its tail between its legs. And I was being foolish. The US doesn’t ever leave, unless it is kicked out. It is still in Germany, Britain, Korea and Japan.

But that is nothing: it has been in the Philippines since 1898. It still maintains a Naval Base in Cuba, as an emblem of its commitment to defying the law of nations. It will remain in Afghanistan until it is kicked out.

As to the Loya Jirga, it is exactly like the Tribal Meetings the Crown used to call in Canada to give a semblance of legality to the expropriation of land from the indigenous nations. Anyone who might cause trouble will have been detained if he’s lucky but most likely killed, very probably together with wife, children and neighbours. Not to mention the volunteers rushing to the scene to rescue the wounded: they will have been killed too.
The cagier delegates will be subject to the sort of persuasion for which the US is famous- enormous amounts of money, not needed for Food Stamps or unemployment relief, is being poured into the numbered accounts that the new class of rich Afghans keeps overseas. And, if by chance, the Loya Jirga turns down the SOFA, like the elders who met to make treaties with the Crown, it will find that the record of the meeting was written in advance and the votes counted before they got there.
The US is determined not to leave Afghanistan because of its strategic position, overlooking Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia. It wants to establish a proxy army- the best of luck with that, guys- of Afghans who will do as the US wants, presumably under the hypnotic influence of Saudi financed Wahhabi preachers, and endlessly repeat the triumph of the mujahideen in driving the Soviet Union out, by sponsoring Uighur separatists, making Putin pay for being independent, keeping Pakistan’s kleptocracy up to the mark and, of course, infiltrating Iran to blow up science teachers and massacre border guards.
Experience has shown, over the past few years, that the more efficient the Afghan National Army gets the more Americans it kills. I expect that that will continue. From the government point of view, given that it costs more than a million bucks a year to keep one GI in Afghanistan (Friday night is Surf and Turf at the canteen: steak from Texas and Lobster from Maine air freighted in for the men…these things add up), casualties at the hands of the resistance are one of very few controls placed on the budget.

Unfortunately they are also the only means that Afghans have of sending Americans the message that they want to be left alone, so the war will continue in all its obscenity until the cost of parodying democracy in Afghanistan grows too high even for a government that no longer needs printing presses to make money.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 21, 2013 8:46:05 PM | 17

Sabu is an FBI informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur

Sabu also supplied lists of targets that were vulnerable to "zero day exploits" used to break into systems, including a powerful remote root vulnerability effecting the popular Plesk software. At his request, these websites were broken into, their emails and databases were uploaded to Sabu's FBI server, and the password information and the location of root backdoors were supplied. These intrusions took place in January/February of 2012 and affected over 2000 domains, including numerous foreign government websites in Brazil, Turkey, Syria, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nigeria, Iran, Slovenia, Greece, Pakistan, and others. A few of the compromised websites that I recollect include the official website of the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Internal Affairs Division of the Military Police of Brazil, the Official Website of the Crown Prince of Kuwait, the Tax Department of Turkey, the Iranian Academic Center for Education and Cultural Research, the Polish Embassy in the UK, and the Ministry of Electricity of Iraq.

Sabu also infiltrated a group of hackers that had access to hundreds of Syrian systems including government institutions, banks, and ISPs. He logged several relevant IRC channels persistently asking for live access to mail systems and bank transfer details. The FBI took advantage of hackers who wanted to help support the Syrian people against the Assad regime, who instead unwittingly provided the U.S. government access to Syrian systems, undoubtedly supplying useful intelligence to the military and their buildup for war.

All of this happened under the control and supervision of the FBI and can be easily confirmed by chat logs the government provided to us pursuant to the government's discovery obligations in the case against me. However, the full extent of the FBI's abuses remains hidden. Because I pled guilty, I do not have access to many documents that might have been provided to me in advance of trial, such as Sabu's communications with the FBI. In addition, the majority of the documents provided to me are under a "protective order" which insulates this material from public scrutiny. As government transparency is an issue at the heart of my case, I ask that this evidence be made public. I believe the documents will show that the government's actions go way beyond catching hackers and stopping computer crimes.

Jeremy Hammond


Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 21, 2013 9:29:54 PM | 18

'... so the war[s] will continue in all its obscenity until the cost of parodying democracy in Afghanistan grows too high ...'

I came to that realization a good long while ago. The wars will continue until the economic collapse of the USSA.

It'll be tough on me and my compatriots ... but it will be a good thing, as it is clear, after a decade and more, that we have not what is required to stop them ourselves. An avenging deus ex machina is literally our only 'hope'.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 21, 2013 9:30:44 PM | 19

#3 mike Apparently Afghan refugees have been settling in Iran since the Soviet war. Commentators at Goingtoiran (a number of Iranians there comment in English) have noted that these immigrants make up a big part of their farm worker population. It has resulted in a migration of Iranian farm workers from the Eastern farms to urban areas. Sounds a bit like what has happened in the US where day labor farmworkers in the US today is made up mostly of immigrant Hispanics whereas 50 years ago these workers were mostly people born in America.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 21, 2013 9:47:15 PM | 20

My reading of Afghanistan is that the SOFA which the Yankees arranged for Karzai (a very clever individual imo - not a comment on his "purity") to submit to, will prove to be the biggest blunder they've ever talked themselves into. The timing, pre-Loya Jurga, is an unforgivable insult to the Afghan people and won't be forgotten or forgiven. The 15,000 'US security force' is an interesting number.

15,000 sounds, to me, like the most optimistic number of human drones the Yankees expect to have to sacrifice/abandon in order to maintain a semblance of security while the lucky ones escape. The Afghan fiasco will redefine the meaning of SNAFU. The Yankees are gutless military morons. And they're not going to be able to keep it a secret for much longer.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 21, 2013 9:48:58 PM | 21

I used to consider myself an artist and still consider myself a bit of a radical, so I should be a little more hip to these things... but I am completely mystified as to the motive of the gentleman nailing his balls to Red Square.

Can anyone elaborate?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 10:07:19 PM | 22

To add to @18, there were major redactions from Hammond's statement, or order of the judge:

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.

He says the attacks on foreign government sites by the FBI came after the Stratfor hack, which was late December, 2011. He was arrested on March 5, 2012.

So I guess we can take an educated guesses. Lebanon, Iran, India come up: DuckDuckGo Search results for "Government Websites Hacked 2012"

Or this site tracked a lot of hacks day by day, month by month (no idea their reputation, but they do have many of hacks listed daily during this period):

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 10:29:08 PM | 23

Targets supplied by FBI to Jeremy Hammond

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 21, 2013 10:41:58 PM | 24

Wish you a full and faster recovery! :)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 21, 2013 11:08:30 PM | 25

@22 That was foff. He was protesting against the apathy and impotence of the so-called Left.

Posted by: dh | Nov 21, 2013 11:23:59 PM | 26

US drops support of muslim brotherhood

Posted by: spiuk1 | Nov 22, 2013 12:57:43 AM | 27

canada the subversive : canadian hypocrisy on syria : no respect for syrian sovereignty

a good eg of the failure of 'democracy'>elected to serve canadians , the present regime tries to fail and subvert a sovereign state by aiding islamic terrorism.

Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 3:08:04 AM | 28

ashley HandsOffSyria @Way2Wonderland 46m
@CDekki I agree. Jones admitted he didnt even know who Mother Agnes was but "looked her up" once so-called anti-war activists wrote him a

ashley HandsOffSyria @Way2Wonderland 49m
@CDekki letter telling him to pull out. The same ppl who wrote the letter have articles openly calling for US air aids on Syria.

ashley HandsOffSyria @Way2Wonderland 48m
@CDekki Then Jones wrote a blog to defend his decision but copy/pasted all the points on Agnes from the letter from the prointervention site
ashley HandsOffSyria ‏@Way2Wonderland 1h
@CDekki Yes. Jones more so than Scahill. Scahill ignores. Jones blocks but for the ones he does answer he dismisses as "Assad supporters".
so Jones, who thinks he is helping syrians, would block millions of syrians supporters of president Assad?

Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 3:29:29 AM | 29

Can someone explain me the fishy points in the London story?
The captives freed on Oct 25th, put in a secure location, and noz the captors freed on bail the day of their arrest? Are they diplomats? and the UK tabloids who didn't interviews the whole street?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22, 2013 4:11:16 AM | 30
Spot the difference
Posted by John HilleyUser InfoEmail User on November 21, 2013, 3:23 am, in reply to "Owen Jones elaborates on Mother Agnes."


Mother Agnès claimed that the Syrian opposition faked films of Bashar al-Assad’s 21 August 2013 sarin-gas attack on Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus. In her 50-page dossier on the horrible events of that fateful morning, she wrote that the dead, gassed children documented in those videos “seem mostly sleeping” and “under anaesthesia.”


Mother Agnes is perhaps most infamous for publishing a 50-page report claiming that the video footage of the Ghoutta massacre was faked, that the children suffocating to death had been kidnapped by rebels and were actually sleeping or “under anaesthesia”.


According to Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest exiled by the Assad regime for speaking out against its suppression of peaceful protests and currently a prisoner of al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate, ISIS, Mother Agnes “has been consistent in assuming and spreading the lies of the regime, and promoting it through the power of her religious persona. She knows how to cover up the brutality of the regime”.


A Jesuit priest named Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, who was been exiled by the Assad dictatorship and is now imprisoned by ISIS, an al-Qaeda group, has denounced her for being “consistent in assuming and spreading the lies of the regime, and promoting it through the power of her religious persona. She knows how to cover up the brutality of the regime.”


Moreover, Syrian Christians for Peace have denounced Mother Agnès for claiming there had never been a single peaceful demonstration in Syria. The also accused her of failing to disburse any of the money she raised in the name of their beleaguered community. They have asked “that she be excommunicated and prevented from speaking in the name of the Order of Carmelites.”


Syrian Christians for Peace have previously attacked Mother Agnes for publicly claiming that there had been no peaceful demonstrations in Damascus, despite been seen witnessing one herself. They further claimed that they had never received any money she had raised, and even called for her to be “excommunicated”.


Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 4:28:35 AM | 31

apparently :PULSE IS very angry at Medialens Re: Spot the difference
Posted by The EditorsUser Info on November 21, 2013, 8:40 am, in reply to "Re: Spot the difference"

I don't know if you're aware of the angry abuse the Pulse Media guy has sent us on Facebook (not sure how to search for his posts) - very extreme. Jones' Pulse-based response reminds exactly of the 'research' behind Laurie Penny's 'harrassment' claim on Brand mentioned in the latest alert.


Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 4:37:46 AM | 32

Mina @ 29.
The Lambeth slavery couple are probably out on bail. Suspects are only kept in custody if Mr Plod thinks they pose a danger to the general community, or that they could re-offend. The fact that they were released suggests that they have enough (liquid) assets to pay adequate compensation to their 'slaves' if/when they are convicted of slavery/unlawful detention, smoothing the path for the slaves to sue their asses off.
Warning: I'm only a Bush Lawyer. But that's roughly how it will play out.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 22, 2013 5:51:51 AM | 33

Well it still looks strange that all the UK MSM have closed any comment section on this affair and that the UK police does not want to tell the nationality of the captors!! Usually they jump on the neighbours, so with the "worse case they have ever heard of" that's all very weird not a single picture of the captors has been released!

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22, 2013 5:57:59 AM | 34

"Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 4:28:35 AM | 30"

Plagarism, eh? To be expected I suppose from a Johann Hari clone,

Hopefully Oh-wen Jo-wens' complete self-implosion will be not far behind

Posted by: foff | Nov 22, 2013 6:03:58 AM | 35

In another recent case in Manchester, an 84 old diplomat took only 13 years for holding an handicaped teenage girl which he had brought back (aged 10) from Pakistan in his cellar and raping her once in a while.

The 3 women were freed on October 25th (!)and placed in "a secret location for their own safety" so why release the accused on bail? and the police waited a month to take the captors for less than 24 hours? Royal treatment I would say. I think they will encourage vocations! According to the NYT, one of the women was married to the male captor. I still fail to understand why they don't place such crackpots (including the wives, in the two cases) in custody or psychiatric asylum.

You bet the MSM prefer to keep busy "watching" orange revolutions all over the world...

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22, 2013 6:14:41 AM | 36

Targets supplied by FBI to Jeremy Hammond

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 22, 2013 6:23:01 AM | 37

for James @ 4. No doubt some good responses to your question, see above.

But I’d be wary of casting too many conflicts in such a narrow frame.

1) they are often provoked (as in Iraq), 2) isolated incidents are interpreted in this way when commentators do not understand the underpinnings, or wish to hype ‘religious’ differences, 3) these supposed conflicts serve to obscure socio-economic, territorial, political differences and aims, allegiances that are of another type. Not to mention straight Mafia type interventions... 4) overall it is a Western divisive ‘Orientalist’ strategy: “them Ayrabs, they can’t get along anyway and aren’t ready for ‘democracy’...”

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 22, 2013 11:39:06 AM | 38

Afghans are still the world’s most numerous refugees. at 3.

Maybe. It depends how you count, and what the effect is. (Africa is left out.)

Lebanon - a tiny country - with 1 million or more Syrian refugees (1), plus all the temp. workers who have not returned home, plus non-refugees who have family or claims or money etc. has had its population jump about 25% in the past roughly two years. Plus the flood of incomers is ongoing. (2)

Lebanon has asked for help but obtained none. Nor have Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, which are other destinations. Imho the situation in Lebanon is about to explode.

1. Many refugees are not registered by the UNHCR. This link gives the official tip of the iceberg, Lebanon:

2. The Guardian. The numbers are right insofar as they can be but the problems I feel are played down.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 22, 2013 12:13:32 PM | 39

paolo dall'oglio,

formerly of deir mar musa, is (if still alive) a western agent against the govt of syria.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Nov 22, 2013 2:40:47 PM | 40

Let's hope it's a hoax

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22, 2013 3:10:50 PM | 41

pathlogy of irans Green movement as shown in tweets: revelations from Irans Green (anti ahmadinejad) movement: Rohani so bad Netanyahu is preferable! and she hates Chavez:

SaloumehZ @SaloumehZ 15m
@LevySuzy Rohani is a fraud. Netanyahu is right not to trust him.

NOTE: SaloumehZ
Member of Iran's Green Movement for freedom and democracy in Iran. Photo - Neda Agha-Soltan
Tehran, Iran
SaloumehZ ‏@SaloumehZ 1h
RT @DKurdistan: BBC Report Confirms Iranian Soldiers Are Running The Show In Syria -
SaloumehZ ‏@SaloumehZ 3h
RT @freeWorld2: "@Maziari: This is ultra polluted TEHRAN. Capital of #Iran, under Islamist Fascist Tyranny."
she hate islamists? and hates communists....but pollution is not rooted in ideology!

ch_mom ‏@ch_mom 2h
@SaloumehZ r u tweeting from Iran?

SaloumehZ ‏@SaloumehZ 1h
@ch_mom Tehran
SaloumehZ ‏@SaloumehZ 21 Nov
@TheUReact They are determined to make nuclear weapons to attack Israel and start WWIII
(THEY being Iran, is she defending israel?)
SaloumehZ ‏@SaloumehZ 20 Nov
@claudiapapo Yes it is my dear Claudia. Masburro is even worse than Chavez!

Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 7:25:47 PM | 42

ingratitude incarnate: not long after shaking hands with thesaudi devils, Netanyahoo compares 'progressive' israel to fundamentalist islam (code for Iran)

how can these two bozos who are backing fundamentalist islam in the form of alqaeda affiliates in syria not crack a grin (fooled yuh!)?

';“What we see here today is the future,” Netanyahu said in introductory remarks at an event at Tel Aviv University that was also attended by French President Francois Hollande.'

Netanyahoo says relations with saudi arabia are good!

Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2013 7:41:37 PM | 43

Ukraine refused to ‘sign a suicide note’, sending the EU’s ‘geopolitical project’ onto the rocks
RT: What do you make of President Putin's statement that the EU “blackmailed” and “pressured” Ukraine over the trade pact suspension?

JL: He is absolutely right. All the Western press are accusing him of blackmail but he is absolutely right. That is what I have just said about Armenia. They’ve told Armenia that all chance of signing an agreement with them is off the table as soon as they sign the customs agreement. And that message was obviously meant for Ukraine. We have to see this in the context of geopolitical projects.

It is no coincidence that all of the EU’s chief envoys, ambassadors and rapporteurs on this Ukrainian issue have been Poles. They have been Polish citizens. Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski, was the special envoy, the EU’s ambassador to Kiev is Polish. This is an old geopolitical dream of Poland, which has always regarded Ukraine as its back yard. And there is no other way to see this. It did not need to be like this however. This is, after all, only a trade agreement. And where I think Ukraine has been very clever, I think one has to give credit to Yanukovich on this, is that he has offered a three way talk, a tripod discussion between Ukraine, the EU and Russia. His government always said it wants to be a bridge between the EU and Russia. And that amiably reasonable proposal has been angrily rejected by the EU, because precisely the geopolitical project consists in forcing Russia as far out of European affairs as possible.

RT: Would this trade deal with the EU help Ukraine's economy, which is experiencing hard times right now?

JL: It would have finished it off. It would have been a coup de gras to an economy which is already very weak. And I’m not just saying that out of polemical reasons. Anybody who has followed the sad story, very sad, and in some cases catastrophic story of the Eastern European economies as I have in the 1990s and 2000s, I’m thinking especially of countries in the Balkans, weaker countries like Bulgaria and Romania. But also now countries like Greece and Cyprus. Anybody who has followed the history of those countries over the last 15-20 years can see how signature of this agreement and indeed the preparation for the signature is absolutely catastrophic for the economies, because the industries can’t stand up to the competition, because EU regulation is too costly for these weaker economies and because their natural markets are in the East, particularly with Russia. It would have been signing a suicide note.

Posted by: brian | Nov 23, 2013 1:59:02 AM | 44

It's now clear to me that one of the London captors must have been Rowan Berkley. This explains his amazing internet productivity and why he didn't post for 3 days.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 23, 2013 7:15:12 AM | 45

No, here I am as normal, Mina.


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 23, 2013 8:13:57 AM | 46

In Syria, the big development is the upcoming battle of Qalamoun. Qalamoun is a mountain range on the Syria/Lebanon border just North of Damascus City. It's important because after the battle of Qusayr, which cut rebel supply lines in Homs, the Qalamoun mountain range is the last rebel supply line into Lebanon. (Current Map of Qalamoun).

This rebel loss would:

- Cut off supplies from Lebanon reaching the Damascus front.
- Also prevent rebels entering Lebanon (important after the recent Beirut bombings)
- Secure the last part of the Damascus-Homs-Aleppo highway which runs close to the mountain range.

The rebels in the mountain range seem to be fighters who retreated from Damascus in recent months (especially Ghouta) and reports are Al Nusra dominates (though ISIS have been moving in to prepare for the upcoming battle). All in all around 2,000 - 3,000 rebels are thought to be in the area. Yabrud is the largest town/city and located at the entrance to the mountain range.

Al Akhbar did a 3 part series travelling around the area in advance of the battle.

- Part One: The Throne of God and Cherry Trees.
- Part Two: Our War has no Red Lines.
- Part Three: Cave Commandos Vow More War on Lebanon.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 23, 2013 8:49:23 AM | 47

@31 Very nice exposure brian.

@26 haha. No wonder he seems so sore.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 9:03:15 AM | 48

unhappy with NATO in pakistan
Thousands of people protesting US drone strikes have blocked a road in northwest Pakistan that is used to transport NATO troop supplies and equipment in and out of Afghanistan. |

Posted by: brian | Nov 23, 2013 9:09:19 AM | 49

Hollande’s confused and unpopular social changes. One might hope that in this domain he would be confident and find approval. (Economy and taxes etc. set aside.)

H has changed the school time-table.

L’Education Nationale! (It is yet only very partly in effect.)

The change is rather profound, details left out. Poll results show not only that ppl oppose it, but how starkly and crazily France has become divided, along a UMP vs. Socialist line, much like the Blues and Reds in the USA, which should have been avoided by a ‘normal’, ‘consensual’ Prez.

3 responses were on offer:

> maintain the reform as is *=FOR*

> maintain it but give (...) more time and leeway for implementation

> abandon it *=NO*.

The intermediary category results in numbers that are smaller than if basically for and basically against tot up to 100.

In %:

Overall: NO: 54, FOR: 22 (ouch)

Those directly concerned: Parents w. kids in primary school:

NO 65, FOR 21

By pol adherence:

Socialists, NO 23, FOR 47

Left all together (incl. Socialists) NO 27

UMP (Sark’s party) NO 72

National Front NO 76

Right all together NO 69

Modem (center) and unaffiliated, NO: 46 and 60

Note the high NOs from parents and unaffiliated.


It is impossible to find a ‘leftist’ or ‘rightist’ philosophy of primary education in this fight, though various stances might seem to be tied to one pov or another, or the converse. (E.g. longer hours is more community-minded and frees parents to work; longer hours are needed for a more rigorous, serious education - and for shorter hours, similar pro and con...) An opaque mess.

Much like Obamacare, where Dems and Reps argue for and against, all with reasons that are pretty much beside the point or even fake and obfuscate the deeper issues.

I post not to bash Hollande, though I think he is clumsy stupid and foolish, but to point to the deliquescence of so called ‘democratic’ debate and votes, particularly in Republics, the end of a model. It will take some time to perish.

What follows is up in the air, but it will not be pretty.

It is morally right to be outraged at drone attacks. No question. But maybe closer to home is worthy of attention....

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 23, 2013 11:22:47 AM | 50

That's the way it functions
Obama Bombs a School Because They Think They Saw a Guy There a Couple Days Ago
Asylum Seekers in Germany Unwittingly Used as Intelligence Sources

The NSA should be charged in cheating people's money. What did they do against Wahhabism or pedophilia since they exist?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 23, 2013 11:34:14 AM | 51

1. "Saudi Israelia" - the latest in fake left conformist non-thinking completely ignores the fact, obviously because it is contra to other fake leftist-conformist-nonsense-in-error, that it actually means nothing geopolitically. This is like stating the key to the NFL championship lies in Jacksonville and St. Louis.

Fact is, what we are actually observing today (and fake leftism is willfully ignoring) is the now rather open embrace of the imperialist brotherhood among the US, Russian and Chinese ruling classes.

Oh, sure, there will continue to be wordist confrontations, the diplomatic dust-ups, the endless propaganda spewing from state organs (RT, PressTV) and the corporatist state organs (MSM) but as donkeytale has patiently explained to youse loosers for almost a decade now, don't follow the words and especially dont choose one propaganda source over another simply because it conforms to your bias.

Look at the actions of the players. Pyrrhiod.

"Russo Americana" trumps "Saudi Israelia" every day of the week.

And make no mistake. Russo Americana is the real enemy of the people.

2. Glenn Greenwald - this libertarian opportunist wolf in fake leftist sheep's clothing has sold his soul to the techno fascist billionaire class. He's been trying hard for this result for years but it was his lucking into Snowden that finally put him over the top.

Rather than stand loyally by the Graun which bravely published his one and only piece of real journalism and then endured extreme police state retribution (the UK being a far more effectively fascist country than the US of A-holes), the always scheming for the dinero grande GG took the very quick exit and the up to $250 million in largess from the former overlord of Paypal (remember who cut Wikileaks off at the balls in the most crucial moments after the Manning leaks?)

Glenn Greenwald is a capitalist fantasticast fraud. Remember, you read it here first. He has built a huge readersheep (telling you what you want to hear) for a reason and it wasnt to lead the socialist revolution on the streets, or even to foment the fake one on the internets. He's got you right where he wants you, doing nothing except fawning over his infotaining blather while he rakes it in.

Will this venture succeed where Wikileaks failed?

Perhaps. Assnage was also a libertarian media mogul in the making who stepped on his dick before he could succeed in business without really trying.

But as a betting man I'm thinking....

Nyet. This "new" "journalism" enterprise has overhyped failure written all over it. Still, I will give it a chance and Greenwald his props as long as he continues to interact regularly with us plebes in the threads. But I will view him truthfully for what he really is: a capitalist reactionary selling soap to lazy idealists.

3. Spaking of failure: Green/Third Party Moronity

Yes, we have seen numerous sellouts and ideological failures by Obama. Although, as I rightly predicted way back in 2005, Obama is a centrist not a leftist, and without a coup d etat any President is just as much an exorbitantly well paid functionary inside the capitalist system as are any of us subsistence wage slaves. No matter how much we blog fake leftism nothings into the loving arms of the NSA from inside our corporate cubicles.

Whatcha gonna do about it loosers? If you arent taking to the streets and fighting to force change the only way it can happen (see all of recorded history for dtales) then all the blogging in the world is simply an infortaining waste of time. And if you are onec again going to fight the inevitable Hillary/Christie matchup with another woefully impotent non-campaign by some Green Party nobody in 2016, than this is no longer even marginally infotaining.

Clearly, the third party claptrap needs to stop now. Its a mirage. The history of third parties is a lie.

And no, I still believe that Hillary would be the absolute worst choice ever for Presidit just as I believed in 2008. Bill Clinton is really the Demotard sellout that you wish Obama to be. It is not even close if you study each of their records closely. She must be stopped at all costs. She is Bill as Bill is she and we be fucked together (hahahahohohohehehe)

But please, please, hold your noses and keep it inside the Party, which is the only chance of any electoral based success. And as donkeytale has explained to youse loosers for almost a decade, there is very little good that can result from the electoral process. But even if you are a committed socialist revolutionary you should follow the advice of Lenin and Trotsky and play the party game for whatever advantage you can while it is still the only game in town.

To that degree at least, the Tea Partiers follow Marxist strategery far more than do infotained leftists, who follow no strategery at all.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 23, 2013 2:09:24 PM | 52

' It is morally right to be outraged at drone attacks. No question. But maybe closer to home is worthy of attention.... '

Yes Noirette, it seems precisely to keep people arguing over nothing rather than something that these non-issue issues are raised. Hollandaise is Obama sauce.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 23, 2013 2:39:32 PM | 53

All I know about France is what I read I the papers ...

The rise of Europe’s far right

23 November 2013

It is widely predicted that Europe’s far-right parties will register significant gains in next May’s European elections.

The rightist parties will campaign primarily on the basis of opposition to the European Union, in most instances posing as opponents of austerity measures imposed by the EU throughout Europe. By shifting somewhat from their usual preoccupation with immigration and Islam, they hope to capitalise on popular hostility to the EU and its austerity agenda.

The “mainstream” political parties—of the official “left” as well as the right—are politically responsible for a situation in which the far right can strike such a pose, since the entire political establishment is implicated in the savage attacks that have been inflicted on Europe’s workers since the financial crash of 2008.

Throughout Europe, social democratic parties—in government and in opposition—have worked to ensure that the working class pay for the crisis of the profit system through mass unemployment, wage cuts and the decimation of social services. As a result, the social democrats have become as unpopular as the EU itself.

The same holds true for the trade unions, which have stifled all opposition to austerity and the EU, despite efforts by workers year after year to fight back, particularly in those countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal hardest hit by austerity.

The pseudo-left groups have acted as a political brake on the working class, insisting on the sanctity of the EU and opposing any break with the social democratic and trade union bureaucracies. This allows the far right to capitalise on the resulting political paralysis of the working class and channel social discontent along reactionary lines. ...

The most spectacular gains for the far right have taken place in France, due to the broad-based hatred for Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party (PS) government. The National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen is securing a quarter of the vote in recent polls. It heads a new alliance with Geert Wilders’s Dutch Party for Freedom forged for the purpose of mobilising the anti-EU right on a common platform.

Last month, the FN easily beat the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in an election for the canton of Brignoles, after the “left” candidate supported by the PS and the Communist Party (PCF) was wiped out in the first round.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 23, 2013 2:51:43 PM | 54

"Rather than stand loyally by the Graun which bravely published his one and only piece of real journalism and then endured extreme police state retribution (the UK being a far more effectively fascist country than the US of A-holes), the always scheming for the dinero grande GG took the very quick exit and the up to $250 million in largess from the former overlord of Paypal (remember who cut Wikileaks off at the balls in the most crucial moments after the Manning leaks?)"

I challenge anyone to read this out loud without gasping for breath.

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 23, 2013 4:03:48 PM | 55

Lol, just remembered who donkeyfail reminds me of: Leskow! Who used to flog his book to the rubes on AM radio. "I'll tell you how to get $10,000 from the government to learn mechanical engineering! $5000 to learn veterinary surgery!..."

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 23, 2013 4:47:23 PM | 56

Snowden was great and brave, but unfortunately he was about as low on the totem pole as you can get. What we need now is a sort of John Stockwell type - a higher up in a three letter agency - to come out and give us the human anecdotes to go along with the documents.

As for Omidyar, he unfortunately looks to be a very Arianna Huffington-meets-Mike Bloomberg type character.

I'd love to be surprised, but one sees, visiting his sites (, that he seems very much to be the sort of "progressive" billionaire who are trying to "do good" but unfortunately seem to not understand that their entire existence is based on the fact that this country is doing "very bad".

He's got this sort of childish rose-colored glasses view of things (which probably comes from living a life of incredible success and money of a 1%er). He's going on a "journalistic adventure". He thinks Steve Jobs thought "different" - and that the iPod constituted a "breakthough" and that Steve Jobs "changed the world again with the iPhone" apparently seeing these things with no downside or even making any attempt at seeing the legacy of Apple - here and in China - with any critical distance at all. "Steve expanded our world with technology, but he also showed us that thinking differently is indeed how we can change the world. And for that, I am truly thankful for his passion, his example and his inspiration." Excuse me for being crass, but is this "masturbate the fellow billionaire" day?

This guy is obviously no radical. In fact he seems the classic brand of people I always think of along side those "billionaire balloonists" - those rich clowns who decide to throw their cash (and sometimes - *cough* hopefully *cough* - their lives) away on childish egoism like flying around the world in a hot air ballon or other such silly bullshit. Of course what Omidyar is doing is not that silly, but will he just end up as an Ariana Huffington whose contribution to the national discourse has changed nothing except for, perhaps, the massiveness of her bank account?

Luckily, others are already sniffing the PayPal/Wikileaks issue donkeytale mentioned: You can see Alexa O'Brein, an activist closely identified with the Manning case, voice her concerns:

I would just suggest viewing his twitter feed. It's not particularly pretty. And I can't help wondering if these internet billionaires have internet billionaire reasons for being against NSA spying - reasons which have more to do with their continuing billions than with civil liberties.


And I'll start with this first and worst sign: A retweet of Ariana Huffington tweet about Brown Moses. Ack...

Note that the article is about Brown Moses:
Arianna Huffington ‏@ariannahuff 18 Nov
Inside the one-man intelligence unit that exposed the secrets and atrocities of Syria's war @bbosker Retweeted by Pierre Omidyar

In the end it comes down to what we can hope for from this endeavor. Greenwald is obviously about civil liberties. Scahill about foreign affairs. Could they not find anyone on with a high profile to discuss domestic economic issues? Economic justice? Income inequality?

We'll see I suppose. I want to be hopeful but... If all the world ends up with is HuffPo Deux... that'll be pretty fucking sad.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 5:46:26 PM | 57

@56 lol. The guy with the question marks all over his suit? You think The Riddler would sue his ass.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 5:50:59 PM | 58

allen ginsberg


Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 6:21:55 PM | 59

@58, wouldn't get much. Last I heard, Leskow, was selling his Plymouth Duster on Craigslist.

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 23, 2013 6:26:34 PM | 60

The Israeli Nuclear Arms Link to the JFK Assassination

"For ten years Israeli propagandists called Final Judgment author Michael Collins Piper a "liar" and an "anti-Semite" for charging that Israeli intelligence played a role in the JFK assassination conspiracy because of JFK's bitter secret conflict with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over Israel's efforts to build nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Certain self-styled "JFK assassination researchers" scoffed at Piper and refused to address the thesis of his book.

"However, on July 25, 2004, many of Piper's critics were red-faced and silent when Israel's respected Jerusalem Post carried a story headlined: "Vanunu: Israel behind JFK Assassination." The newspaper reported that famed Jewish-born nuclear physicist, Dr. Mordechai Vanunu, recently released after spending 18 years in prison for exposing Israel's covert atomic weapons program, had charged that supporters of Israel's drive for nuclear weapons were involved in the JFK assassination precisely because of JFK's interference with their ambitions.

"The Israeli government dismissed Vanunu's allegations, but what he said received attention in newspapers worldwide, with the notable exception of the United States where one and only one newspaper, mentioned Vanunu's charges and that was American Free Press, the Washington-based weekly that published Final Judgment. However, as widely read Internet writer, Rev. Mark Dankof, put it quite correctly: "The Vanunu-Piper allegations about Israel will not go away
Silvia Cattori: It seems that in the 1960s, President Kennedy asked that inspections be carried out in Dimona, Israel. Do you see any links between that request and his assassination?

Mordechai Vanunu: In believe that, at that time, the United States opposed the Israeli nuclear program. Kennedy tried to stop Israel but he was assassinated before he could do it. For me, his assassination had to do with the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Israel and in other countries. Those who killed him were in favour of nuclear proliferation. Thanks to his death, proliferation continued. In fact, presidents Johnson and Nixon, who succeeded Kennedy, saw no inconvenience with that. They let Israel act. We can simply see that there was a change in that direction after Kennedy’s assassination…

Posted by: brian | Nov 23, 2013 8:44:27 PM | 61

Seems like a worthwhile news site - as far as I can tell, it is for the Shia community in Pakistan? I may be waaay off with that:

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 9:05:18 PM | 62

BBC puff piece, but shows the insane privilege of the Saudi princes - including your requisite cowering servants:

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 9:19:01 PM | 63

@63 The video is sort of like going to the house where a mass murder has taken place and filming the drapes. "Aren't these nice drapes?"

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 9:22:16 PM | 64

@55. "I challenge anyone to read this out loud without gasping for breath."

...or bursting into laughter.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 23, 2013 9:37:25 PM | 65

Iran, six world powers clinch breakthrough nuclear deal

Iran, six world powers clinch breakthrough nuclear deal

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 23, 2013 10:12:44 PM | 66

@66 Cue Saudi Israelia fuming, sputtering, and pants pooping in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 23, 2013 10:51:45 PM | 67

zeitgeist? first Russell Brand, now Hungergames 2

Hungergames and call for revolution
'The greatest surprise about Catching Fire is that the film holds one of the biggest subversive messages to sneak out in the guise of populist entertainment since In Time (2011). In fact, while Marxism and the advocation of social uprising are considered verboten topics in popular American intellectual discourse, Suzanne Collins has managed to create a parable for Marxist revolution and sneak it out to the public to be eaten up as mass entertainment by the old Star Trek (1966-9) standby of disguising it in science-fiction terms. (To be fair, the film is being celebrated just as equally by the right wing – see this article at The Hollywood Reporter, although the thinking behind this seems bizarre to one’s thinking). The first film sketched a world where the poor are kept in thrall to a decadent elite by the bread and circuses of reality tv shows that go to the next most logical extent. While most of the audiences for the film are going to be coming in because The Hunger Games has been pushed as the next big franchise, Catching Fire contrarily spends its first hour almost entirely defying that. While the first film ended with the hint of romance, this spends much of the first hour subverting that and giving us a romance that only exists for the public eye – something that operates at almost ­the complete opposite of say the Twilight series. While the first film made a strong and populist appeal for star appeal and franchise building, this spends much of its time attacking and undermining celebrity and reality tv that its audience has been raised on – the catwalk fashion show becomes a revolutionary protest symbol, for instance. Some of the ideas the film engages in – particularly the issues surrounding the manipulation of celebrity, especially a scene where the pissed-off former winners go on tv and alternately denounce the system and try to cheer on support while being applauded – are surprisingly sophisticated. More importantly, the film taps into the issues of economic disparity that have become a major issue since the 2008 Recession – the vast number of peoples in the US in particular who are becoming increasingly sidelined in terms of employment, workers’ rights and the widening income divide, the increasingly authoritarian deployment of militarised security forces. You can only applaud the boldness of a film that asks us to sympathise with its heroine’s stance against a corrupt regime and digs beneath the issue of celebrity and mass media, all in ways that are almost certainly likely to pass by the series’ teen audience who will cheer on these points oblivious to the big political messages they are.'

Posted by: brian | Nov 24, 2013 12:47:28 AM | 68

Thanks to ruralito, copeland, guest 77 and appreciate the reactions.

Yes, love to make people laugh and even more to invoke the rare thoughtful serious response (by guest 77) to my challenging assertion against the prevailing groupthink.

It's really the groupthink that is the true problem for the infotained not GG or even Omidyar.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 24, 2013 3:57:34 AM | 69

I never had a doubt that Gmail grouping my emails in one single thread (now imitated by Yahoo, who used to have search options far better than the ones offered by Gmail), was meant to facilitate the NSA search, not individuals'. But now that Windows8 requests the creation of a microsoft live account, and that it comes on laptops for which no possibility of installing windows7 is offered, I just think that the cacophony of the EU "discovering" the US big ears is meant to inform its population (mainly: the business community) that it is time to go back using snail-mail (and by the way, it will help national postal systems not going banckrupt more quickly).

Woodward seems suspicious of The Guardian and of Greenwald. I admit that the Paypal story is something that makes me reflect twice.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 24, 2013 6:54:00 AM | 70

@ 52, donkeytale.

Well Assange is a weak social-democrat, not a libertarian. Snowden is a true libertarian.. Greenwald is completely a-political, not libertarian, and as you say an “opportunist wolf ” .. who never imho pretended to be leftist, but was hailed by so-called progressives in the USA merely because he isn’t Republican and put out some criticism of the Gvmt. in his Salon ‘salad’ days. Plus he is openly gay, sorta cute, and seemingly propre sur lui , clean, respectable, well-spoken. Not just being picky, political attitudes of these ppl as individuals and your argument don’t mix well and are a distraction from your main point(s) which I agree with *for a large part.* Maybe your point is just that they aren’t ‘leftists’ so shouldn’t inspire trust or admiration from the ‘left’? Anyway I don’t think this is worthy of debate, more important:

This "new" "journalism" enterprise has overhyped failure written all over it.

The old journalism - print, slanted TV news, sectored news (Fox vs. Maddow, le Figaro vs. Libération..) but mostly the authority of the MSM is waning and therefore disdained and under mild attack by a new ‘young’ class who demand more participation, less spin and slant, more ‘Real News’, etc.

So there is an open door for new entrepreneurs. Ta-ra! - Pierre and Glenn! However, they will, imho, replicate the old models with some new slants and techno tricks, pandering to a new segment audience that can be exploited, but it won’t change anything, precisely because they are politically neutral / confused. Ya know, Avaaz petitions and the like? Of course, they are looking to be the Media Moguls (Glenn) and the New Charitable Patron upping Bill Gates (Pierre.)

The instituted forces (present power structure) can’t be attacked, they know it. Ppl will see that and turn away. In any case, Joe6 or Marcia who have lost their homes and jobs or are being paid a pittance for semi-slave labor will not know or care, while the PTB may salute the new journos for ‘independence’ etc. and dole out some prizes while keeping a steady watch...

On the other hand, opening up journalism or ‘news, opinion pieces, etc.’ even somewhat will be a good thing, who knows...

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 24, 2013 8:26:06 AM | 71

Despite some people's best efforts to portray them as such, on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever, the London slavers don't look like they might be Muslim

LONDON SLAVES: Women lived with captors in political 'collective'

Posted by: foff | Nov 24, 2013 8:30:36 AM | 72

From his commentary @ 52, the donkey would have us believe that the elites of the USA, Russia, and China are joined, and that all the diplomatic snorting the national governments do, merely amounts to "wordist confrontations". And after reading this, how is someone to deny that the terrifying international crisis over Syria, that has absorbed our concern for so long, and came on the heels of the war against Libya, was probably just another "diplomatic dust-up"? By the same token, during the late Russo-Georgian war, another "diplomatic dust-up" with American fingerprints on it, those Russians were probably just joshing, when they rolled out one of their mobile nuke launchers to be photographed.

The donkeytale is proud to have revealed (in 2005!) that Obama is a centrist, after all. But others of us, who are by no means of the "fake left" might reasonably conclude that Obama is a political fraud, and is neither leftist nor centrist. Secondly, "Russo Americana" is a ludicrous figment of donkey imagination. Those big, and expensive, war games the Chinese and Russians were recently organizing do not stand out as a sign of three-way fraternization, or of any bonding between their elites, and US elites. This is simply a case of donkeytale's ass doing the talking. Old donkey skims over a lot of reality, regarding imbalance and the inherent danger of monopolar, hegemonic military power, that has been vested in the Pentagon.

And as far as "Saudi Israelia" is concerned. it seems less like a leftist talking point, and more like an Israeli disinformation campaign. And Libya in chaos, after being devastated by the west, was surely no "wordist confrontation" to recall one of donkeytale's terms. What country's leaders would persist with winking and flirtation when aggression comes too close to their borders?

And this brings me to donkey's obliviousness to his audience; for I daresay that many--if not most-- readers here at MOA are very familiar with Greenwald's writing, his activist discipline, and his record of work. But donkey says, "Rather than stand loyally by the Graun which bravely published his one and only piece of real journalism and then endured extreme police state retribution ...the always scheming for the dinero grande GG"--yes, as the donkey sees it-- GG is selling out for piles of cash. Wow, what a laugh it is to read that Greenwald wasn't a journalist before the big breaking story, his biggest scoop!

The trouble with this is that Greenwald left the Graun on good terms, with mutual admiration expressed, between the parties. And it is precisely because of the incisiveness of Greenwald's arguments, the brilliance of his writing, his meticulous care to footnoting and supporting citations, his tireless investigations and his evident commitment to his work, that Snowden sought him out.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 24, 2013 10:34:06 AM | 73

"[GG] who never imho pretended to be leftist"

I don't call it pretending, but he certainly has moved in those circles (appeared on shows, spoken on panels with, etc...), and I think, lays a great claim to the mantle as much as any of the DemocracyNow, Occupy left does.

He is a person after all, flawed whatnot - what would any journalist do having been handed THE huge story of our times? Jump into a ditch? He was handed the world's most devastating collection of documents ever to have been pulled out of the beating heart of the US security state. However you take that decision has to color your view of Snowden as well. But Greenwald will make his own professional decisions, by which he should be judged and questioned fiercely.

The fact is there are few places in the USA for a "dissident" to go and get media coverage and find other like-minded people to work with - and that is the US left. That Greenwald would move towards them is no surprise really - his other options are zilch. The question is what he has planned, what he believes in, and what he will do with his newfound power.

Presuming Snowden is a brave soul doing the right thing - which he seems to be based on my judgement (whatever that is worth) and that of others - then he could have given the documents to anyone and gave them to Greenwald. If Greenwald is a fraud, Snowden has made a grave mistake. But he chose him no doubt by judging him as well as one can judge anyone - by looking at their track record.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 11:21:50 AM | 74


Hahaha... That article could have been entitled "Woodward's Sour Grapes".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 11:28:07 AM | 75

If nothing else you 2 thoroughly deserve an "A"-grade for hero-worship.

I'd award you both an A+ if I could

Posted by: foff | Nov 24, 2013 11:28:46 AM | 76

The puerile snipes do a groundless character assassination, and then make themselves innocent with their infantile jest about "hero worship" which is only a transparent ploy to cut off further thought. They would poison solidarity too, if they could get away with it. But the main objective they have is to bring excellence into ridicule and divide us against one another. The enemy strikes at our strength first and not our weakness. They want to drive us down to their nihilistic level by persuading us that none of our best and brightest can be trusted.

These shit-for-brains counter-revolutionaries can't fool anyone here. The feckless calumny and unsupported slander that these tumbleweeds so recklessly propagate is enough to make a person feel sick.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 24, 2013 12:22:59 PM | 77

If you've been to Aleppo, this video will break your heart

Posted by: Mina | Nov 24, 2013 1:16:28 PM | 78

An alternative, non-"Hero Worshipping" view of Mr Greenwald and friends.

Viva the New Journalism

Some asshole who works for an establishment newspaper with a right-wing editor pronounced the death of Establishment Journalism. To which I reply:

Viva the new journalism of Alan Rusbridger, dutiful smasher of computers on government orders and sender of David Miranda to Heathrow after dutifully so smashing.

Viva the new journalism of lying — repeatedly — about the size of your document trove to teach the rubes valuable lessons in proper whistleblowing.

Viva the new journalism of leaking 300 pages in four months from a trove that exceeds 60,000 documents.

Viva the new journalism that probably suppressed at least one story on government orders.

Viva the new journalism of putting 50k plus docs in the care of the New York Times since they had proven themselves so worthy with Cablegate.

Viva the new journalism that talks about the crucial role of the heroic journalist far far more than it talks about the secrets in his care.

Viva the new journalism that smacks down critics with childish insults and fallacies that would shame Donald Rumsfeld.

Viva the new journalism that worries over what mass surveillance means for Mark Zuckerberg.

Viva the new journalism that hoards leaks while it negotiates movie and television rights with Sony and HBO

Viva the New Journalism, same as the Old Journalism

Posted by: foff | Nov 24, 2013 1:30:03 PM | 79

Viva the new internet troll, who posts a story with a dozen links, all pointing back to the same blog.

Viva the new internet troll, who will suggest that "judging people on how they damage the US empire" is "hero-worship".

Viva the new internet troll, who will never have his hands on one internal government document, much less 300, much less 60,000.

Viva the new internet troll, tearing down people who have actually accomplished something instead of accomplishing something himself.

Viva the new internet troll, who would probably do more than Snowden to take down the Empire, if he wasn't such a secret worshipper of it.

Viva the new internet troll, same as the garbage right-wing flak factories of old.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 2:27:07 PM | 80

imitation is they say, the sincerest form of flattery

Posted by: foff | Nov 24, 2013 2:30:45 PM | 81

Viva Copeland and guest77 and others who are calling the obvious in defense of this high minded and intelligent host and commentators blog. It saves b from having to continually police the trash and eject these (probably) paid disrupters. Again (probably) reruns from those banned by b in the past. I suggest shunning. ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSE to their garbage. Reminds me of the chimps technique of slinging feces at opponents. It speaks so highly of this watering hole that so much energy, time and again (probably) money is spent trying to disrupt.

I now await and welcome the scorn and abuse from that which I so disdain.

Posted by: juannie | Nov 24, 2013 3:48:28 PM | 82

@82 That would definitely be the wise thing to do.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 9:54:59 PM | 83

@82 Thanks juannie, for your supportive words.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 24, 2013 10:15:58 PM | 84

More about Pierre Omidyar: It's really long, I haven't made it through the whole thing but looks like a decent investigation. That Greenwald dismisses the lengthy critique by tweeting that it is "dumb" is a bit, well ... sigh.

And yet what no one seems able to specify is exactly what ideology Omidyar Network promotes. What does Omidyar's "idealism" mean in practice, and is it really so different from the non-idealism of other, presumably bad, billionaires? It's almost as if journalists can't answer those questions because they haven't bothered asking them.

So let's go ahead and do that now.


Update: Glenn Greenwald responds to this piece on Twitter: "The idea that someone would build a pro-business, neoliberal outlet around Scahill, Poitras, Segura, Bates etc is just dumb." When asked about Omidyar Network's investment history, he said "I have no idea what you're talking about there. I don't speak for Omidyar Networks. You should ask them that.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 10:40:23 PM | 85

No doubt b will recover from his illness, examine the spore left by this latest incarnation of this tenacious and obnoxious resident asshole sock puppet, and take appropriate action.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 24, 2013 10:57:59 PM | 86

Though it could be a sham as it is based on "captured audio", but rumor is General Sisi is planning on slashing subsidies on Egyptian's basic goods.

Citing his love for austerity, he is basing his new plan on a recent 50% cut in German salaries which - unless I missed the riots in Berlin - never occurred.

In a new leaked audio tape, the Egyptian coup leader Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi has called for an end to subsidies on bread and energy in Egypt, as well as a 50 per cent reduction of public sector salaries.

Citing other examples, Gen Al Sisi said: "I would like to tell you that Germany reduced 50 per cent of the salaries for its austerity plan, and people accepted that measure." However, he did not give any details about when and how Germany carried out this measure.

But whatever happens - they could probably afford to cut the salary of the guy who thought it was a good idea to design the General's full dress baseball cap... He looks like a fucking idiot.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 24, 2013 11:09:33 PM | 87

As I already pointed out, the Greenwald situation calls for a "layered reaction", and this is a new concept for strategists, at least on our side. It means we have to defend the position Greenwald has won in the MSM, while simultaneously condemning the likes of Scahill for their uninformed prejudicial behaviour in the Stop War Conference. And we shall do this, by zeroing in on concrete errors in what Scahill in particular publishes. No doubt, he will start pushing out a "moderate rebels good, Assad bad" line on Omidyar's channel as soon as he can, and that is the time to blast him full of holes.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 25, 2013 2:30:09 AM | 88

"layered reaction", and this is a new concept for strategists, 

The fact one even feels the need to actually utter such horseshit should tell any intelligent person that they're backing the wrong people, but no.

Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 5:52:36 AM | 89

That Greenwald dismisses the lengthy critique by tweeting that it is "dumb" is a bit, well ... sigh.

The effort required to continue to hero worship greenwald will only get worse in future

Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 5:57:03 AM | 90

"layered reaction", and this is a new concept for strategists,
The fact one even feels the need to actually utter such horseshit should tell any intelligent person that they're backing the wrong people, but no. Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 5:52:36 AM | 89
It's evidently a new concept for you, foff, but I'll extrapolate: a "layered reaction" is what Stalinist functionaries made famous as 'doublethink' - I'll support Omidyar but without actually supporting him, so that I can oppose him without seeming to do so. All right?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 25, 2013 6:15:36 AM | 91

They want to drive us down to their nihilistic level by persuading us that none of our best and brightest can be trusted.

That's what some might say, referring to their President and the Government.

Posted by: DM | Nov 25, 2013 8:35:42 AM | 92

Glenn Greenwald responds to this piece on Twitter:

"The idea that someone would build a pro-business, neoliberal outlet around Scahill, Poitras, Segura, Bates etc is just dumb."

When asked about Omidyar Network's investment history, he said "I have no idea what you're talking about there. I don't speak for Omidyar Networks. You should ask them that."

Viva the New Journalism, indeed

Off to a great start

Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 9:18:13 AM | 93

I suppose that the basis of this suspicion of Omidyar and Scahill must be the fear that somehow they will "put one over" the public in its innocence.
It is hard to see where this comes from. Journalism, after all, is a public activity. Whatever Greenwald or Scahill write and Omidyar publishes will be in the open for readers to evaluate. If Greenwald suddenly starts interpolating commercials for usury into his articles, it is unlikely to be done at a subliminal level. And, what we can see we can reject.
If Scahill refuses to heed the evidence that Assad's government was uninvolved in chemical weapons attacks we can judge his credibility for ourselves.

From my reading of these snippets of evidence and factoids it would seem that Omidyar has been involved in some idiotic political scams, such as the microlending affair. Should this be surprising? He is, after all, a man who made a fortune out of the market. It would not be surprising if this had left him in joint awe of himself and free markets, and that he had concluded that he could save the world with his fortune.
Maybe he is still obsessed with the neo-liberal ideology.
Or perhaps he has seen its limitations.

Maybe both: he feels that the market will only be free when everyone has access to unbiassed information. Maybe he feels that if Snowden and Greenwald are given the freedom to act they can inform us all, without fear of the state or favour of the advertisers, about the extent to which our privacy is compromised.
Who knows? Or cares?
The point is that whatever Greenwald writes and Omidyar publishes will be out there, for us to evaluate. And that will be the time, when it exists, rather than now when it is merely a gleam in the entrepreneurial eye, to judge it.
On the other hand those who want to discredit Snowden's authenticity or Greenwald's credibility need nothing more to go on. Their intention is to destroy the source of revelations embarassing the state. It doesn't matter to them whether Omidyar is a Marxist or a follower of the Austrian school of economics. Or whether Snowden is an idealist or a provocateur. They are the enemies and they must be discredited.
And doubt must be cast on their motives and their 'information.'
That is how the Police State operates. It depends upon our curious inability not only to make up our own minds but to encourage everyone else to judge things for themselves.
It is as if we were jealous of Greenwald's power and afraid that those who listen to us might drift away and do as he tells them.

That's the way large sections of the sectarian left think: like all authoritarians they are afraid of democracy. They want the people to decide but only if they reach the "right" decision. It is an old liberal infection, and within it is the germ of imperialism and every other form of exploitation justified as if slavery were an academy for freedom and expropriation a form of saving.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 25, 2013 10:12:17 AM | 94

@94 It could just be old-fashioned jealousy too bevin. Anybody who takes a high paying job risks losing their street-cred.

Posted by: dh | Nov 25, 2013 10:54:37 AM | 95

#94 and several other comments look to me like nothing more than what was described in a link in #79 as a collection of "fallacies that would shame Donald Rumsfeld."

October 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm

one of the things that gets me most is how right-wing all the discourse from GG and his sycophants has been. not just on ip etc. but everything.

never mind the dishonesty of the whole “people are just jealous” thing, who the fuck decided that “envy” is something to be derided and sneered at on the left? what’s wrong with looking at inequality and vast disparities of wealth and power and feeling pissed off that you don’t have what someone else has? isn’t noticing the unfairness of privilege a prerequisite for attacking it systematically? (you know, like socialists are supposed to do).

isn’t sneering at poor people something republicans do? every other trope trotted out has also come from exactly the same statist capitalist classist playbook.

“you can’t disagree with Snowden [or Greenwald] (or my interpretation of what he said) cos he risked his life” exactly the same argument used to justify sycophancy to the military or support for undercover CIA goons (“it’s easy for you to throw stones from a position of safety but our soldiers are out there risking their lives and you should respect that”)

“Glenn works so hard on this. its a really tough job and he’s constantly under attack” substitute Obama for Glenn in that sentence

or any CEO in “Of course Glenn deserves lots of money. do you think he should work for free?”

“people who disagree with me have emotional issues, they’re narcissists, they have warped personalities that make them court failure, they just want to tear people down because they can’t handle being on the winning side…” indulging in such poisonous bullshit is completely unjustifiable for anyone who claims to be left-wing or give even two-fifths of a fuck about oppression or freedom. imputing mental issues to left-wing critics has always been a prerogative of the powerful. since mental illness and mental health are largely social constructs, those closer to what’s considered “normal” get to impute all sorts of deviant impulses to people who disagree with them. after all Glenn wears a suit and works for a newspaper, the people complaining are just shut-in tech nerds and anarchists with funny hair, the dominant narrative works in his favour.

and now we have people who not that long ago would wax lyrical about how twitter or blogs were going to sweep away the fuddy-duddy old media paradigm, and make the establishment press obsolete now running inference for a douchbag establishment newspaper and it’s right-wing shit of a boss and we’re constantly told that only proper journalists writing for proper newspapers have the savvy to be trusted with this by people who used to preach distrust of the media.

watching the utter weirdness of so-called lefties coalescing around a charismatic leader expounding right-wing opinions dressed up as radicalism i get the idea this is what the start of Trotskyism must have looked like.

Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 11:04:24 AM | 96

#95 exactly as described in #96

Posted by: foff | Nov 25, 2013 11:05:26 AM | 97

Not today, foff, mate. Come back next week, when we are away. Better still don't call us, we'll call you.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 25, 2013 11:23:00 AM | 98

And some worship anonymous bloggers.

Posted by: dh | Nov 25, 2013 11:24:56 AM | 99

foff is just engaging in predictve contrarianism, just presenting one of the logical ends to this story; as Bevin has warned us to 'let play out'. Greenwald's so-called hordes don't need to be corralled any more than we here do. So what if a few absorbent ninnies take whatever is posted by the outlet literally - and this is assuming Greenwald will take this sinister and demonic turn to some big lie or other.

Clever terminology aside, I'd hardly call it a Hitchens Moment. Salon----Guardian----Omidyar. Where's the pattern shift, foff?

Posted by: L Bean | Nov 25, 2013 11:28:49 AM | 100

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