Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 30, 2012

Democratic Possibilities

According to Stephanie Speirs, director for Yemen at the National Security Council 2011-12, "Yemen is now a model for democratic possibilities."

Ballot of the February 21 2012 election in Yemen. One candidate, no "No" vote.

Such are the democratic possibilities the Obama administration wants everyone to have.

Posted by b on November 30, 2012 at 5:01 UTC | Permalink


Is there a litmus test out there to deduct the true essence of 'democracy?'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 30 2012 5:48 utc | 1

you have to google for 'democracy benchmarks'

for example these here

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30 2012 6:22 utc | 2

must read: we no can see jihadis being directed by a central command:
Exclusive: Inside Future Movement's Syria Arms Trade
It was soon revealed that the source had been working with Sakr for more than a year as part of an operations room established to support the Syrian uprising. (Photo: Haytham al-Moussawi)
By: Radwan Mortada
Published Thursday, November 29, 2012
Al-Akhbar has obtained recordings of Future Movement MP Okab Sakr organizing weapons transfers to the armed Syrian opposition at the behest of Future leader Saad Hariri.
The phone call is the first hard evidence of the role Sakr and his backers in Future were playing in providing arms and logistical support to the Syrian rebels.
In a three-part series built on documents, audio recordings, and interviews with sources close to Sakr, Al-Akhbar will shed light on Sakr’s attempts to hijack the Syrian uprising for his own means while running the armed opposition into the ground.
A few weeks ago, Al-Akhbar’s offices in Beirut received an anonymous phone call. The caller claimed he was in possession of “audio recordings which will expose MP Okab Sakr and his role is destroying the [Syrian] revolution.”
The news did not come as a surprise. Sakr’s connection to the Syrian opposition was well-known, and his role as an arms dealer to the rebels had been documented in the press.
Neither was it the first time that information about the existence of audio recordings of Sakr’s conversations had circulated.
Al-Akhbar initially doubted the caller and his motivations, but he promptly sent the first recording. It sounded a lot like Sakr’s voice, which was later confirmed by audio experts.
A few days later, the anonymous caller made another phone call to Al-Akhbar and gave his email address. Further communications were carried out over email and phone to identify the extent of the recorded material and its importance.
The source did not reveal the number of recordings in his possession, saying only that there were dozens. For further confirmation, he sent an excerpt from a second recording.
It was Sakr’s voice again and the voice experts were also inclined to believe so. Yet the recordings raised more questions about the identity of the source, including how the recordings came into his possession and what he hoped to gain by leaking them to the press.
It was soon revealed that the source had been working with Sakr for more than a year as part of an operations room established to support the Syrian uprising.
As for his motivation to provide the recordings, the source said that “Sakr ruined the revolution with his crazy dealings.”According to the source, there are several operations centers: one in Antakya, one in Adana, and one in Istanbul. He mentioned that Sakr had his own building in the Floriya neighborhood in Istanbul where meetings are held from time to time.....etc

Posted by: brian | Nov 30 2012 6:50 utc | 3

The Making of Terror and Lies in Syria, Free Syrian Army Exposed as Terrorists

Posted by: brian | Nov 30 2012 7:31 utc | 4

It is also not a democracy if there is a religious council that must approve all candidates and legslation before they can be voted on.

We can basically choose the kind of pseudo-democracy we want to see in this part of the world: secular, western-freindly despots or Islamist theocrats.

Either way, we are screwed, and the best thing we can do is to disengage ourselves as best we can, financially, policially and economically.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 30 2012 8:28 utc | 5

The nutter Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to call for cutting UN, Palestinian funds over statehood vote – The Hill’s Global Affairs:

It’s crystal clear that Abu Mazen and his cronies are not partners for peace and do not value their relationship with the U.S.,” Ros-Lehtinen says in a prepared statement. “The U.S must stand with our ally Israel and offer no U.S. taxpayer dollars and no political support for the PLO. As other UN bodies will no doubt use General Assembly resolution as an excuse to grant membership to a non-existent Palestinian state, U.S. law is clear: UN agencies that grant membership to a Palestinian state lose their U.S. funding.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs panel’s Human Rights subcommittee, called for immediate repercussions. “There needs to be a serious penalty imposed on a United Nations that has shown such anti-semitism and a disproportionate amount of attacks toward Israel itself,” Smith told The Hill.

Posted by: hans | Nov 30 2012 8:47 utc | 6

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 30, 2012 3:28:44 AM | 5

collective action can do a lot ...

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30 2012 8:57 utc | 7

here is a good question:
'"The soldiers were part of a UN force deployed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights".What were these two Austrian forces doing in Damascus when they were deployed in the Golan Heights?'

Posted by: brian | Nov 30 2012 9:23 utc | 8

ARABIC video showing proof of okab sakr organizing weapon transfer into syria!

Posted by: brian | Nov 30 2012 9:54 utc | 9

"democratic possibilities": next step: two candidates, a Democrat and a Republican, and voilà! we have real democracy

Posted by: claudio | Nov 30 2012 11:39 utc | 10

their definition of 'democracy' isn't the same as 'one person - one vote' and 'of the people, by the people and for the people'. rather, their usage implicitly refers to business opportunities for their players to get a stab at exploiting new markets and usurping decision-making at key levels.

Posted by: b real | Nov 30 2012 13:17 utc | 11

@ Hans

Fuck the US. Palestine and the UN don't need them. To show the scale of defeat just look at the countries that vote with Israel and the US even after US lobbying.

Nine votes against Palestinian Statehood: United States, Israel, Panama, Palau, Canada, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Czech Republic, and Microneisa.

A pathetic list compared to the 139 nations that voted in favor of Palestine including Russia, China, India, the entire Middle East, most of Africa, most of Europe outside of the UK and German abstains, and most of South America.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 30 2012 13:53 utc | 12

Yemen is the model for democracy? Haha. I guess know one is buying the "Turkish Model" lunacy.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Nov 30 2012 13:59 utc | 13

I am confused. Some years ago Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice said
Gadaffis Libya was "a model" for others to follow.,8599,1194766,00.html

Posted by: Pierre Gilly | Nov 30 2012 15:55 utc | 14

no 14 :-))

from the archives Interview with General Franco

We ended the lbng conversation by two appeals. The General appealed for tolerance. " There is much that is done in England which we Spaniards do not like," he said, " but we do not dream of asking England to conform to our Spanish tastes. May we then not expect a like British and American tolerance for the things in Spain of Which you may disapprove, but which suit us ? The essential thing -to-day is surely co-operation for common ideals and for defence against common dangers."

Posted by: somebody | Nov 30 2012 16:41 utc | 15

Syria. Optimistic (genuinely) for renewal and ‘democracy’: one expat med student, with family there, and went back to take on some (?) med care, on Reddit: quote:

....I think that when the revolution is successful it will lead to an Islam inspired democracy and not to a state like Iran or Saudi which seem to be what people think of when they hear Islamist state. The people have fought for so long and have sacrificed so much for them to allow a few dictators to get into power and declare a "Islamist" state where they are the dictators. Discussing this with many of the guys in Syria their vision is for a democratic state which has Islam as a way to empower the people rather than a dictatorial state that will use Islam to force obedience on its citizens. They feel that after the Taliban, Iran, Saudi and many other examples which have used the name of Islam to force their way into power many in the west have a negative response to the idea, but to them it means something completely different. And of course all this does not mean overlooking or disregarding the non-Muslims who make up a big number of Syrian citizens and have always lived in peace with the Syrians during and before this regime.

As for your second question, (will assad ever give up?) I don’t think he will, the situation now is similar for both sides, they are fighting for their lives, the rebels know that giving up is not an option, the regime is well known for its brutality and they will all end up dead, and Assad knows that he is finished, if he was to give up no jury will ever set him free so his only option is to try and weather the storm and then hope that the people will return to fearing him if he kills enough of them, it just seems like he greatly underestimated the number.

This (do you think that this war will end relatively soon, or that the violence there will continue to escalate over several years or more?) is a question that is hard to answer, the rebels control many areas on the ground and are courageous when it comes to defending them so the regime finds it extremely difficult to regain control, but on the other hand they have no heavy or advanced machinery so they are sitting ducks to planes, artillery. The balance of power has been a stalemate for so long now, but over the past few days there has been great gains by the rebels and hopefully this can be a sign of the end and a new beginning to Syria, but I feel that if Russia or Iran have their way they will try to tip the balance back into the regimes hands...

More at:

No comment, it is a slice of life, what some hope, believe.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 30 2012 17:21 utc | 16

Stephanie Speirs: "I disagree with Gregory D. Johnsen’s characterization of United States policy toward Yemen and the man who leads it, John O. Brennan."

Is Speirs qualified to criticize Johnsen?

Stephanie Speirs spent two years working on Middle East issues at the White House National Security Council, most recently overseeing US policy in Yemen during a tumultuous period of political transition and security challenges. Prior to the NSC, she worked on immigration issues for the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and managed field operations in seven states for the Obama presidential campaign. She attended Yale University, during which she studied and worked in Brazil, Italy, Korea, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Croatia.

Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. At the moment, he is a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in Egypt, working on Yemen. He has written for Newsweek, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, and The Boston Globe. (A partial list of publications is now available.) He has also held multiple fellowships from the American Institute for Yemeni Studies and was awarded the David R. Schweisberg Memorial Scholarship from the Overseas Press Club in 2006. Johnsen has also advised and consulted for a variety of different organizations and has testified before Congress as an expert witness. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen. He has appeared on CNN, PBS' NEWSHOUR, the Charlie Rose Show, BBC, NPR, al-Jazeera English and al-Hurra discussing Yemen and is often quoted in media outlets like the NY Times, the Washington Post and others. In 2001 and 2002 he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan. He holds a BA in History (honors) from Hastings College and an MA in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona.

You decide.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 30 2012 17:36 utc | 17

Speirs: "A.Q.A.P. grew in 2011 because of unrest and an influx of foreign extremists, but membership has declined after the signing of last year’s transition deal."

Last years transition deal. Wow. I bet Stephie had a hand in that, and it looks like her buttering up to Droneman Killer Brennan might have something to do with his prospects of a promotion to SecDef or something.

Zawya, Nov 19, 2012
Yemen's Hadi says committed to transition deal

The transition deal, sponsored by the United Nations and Yemen's oil-rich Gulf neighbours, was signed in Riyadh on November 23, 2011, after months of anti-government protests and deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Saleh troops.

The pact brought Hadi to power for an interim two-year period in a single-candidate vote.

It also called for a national dialogue where all parties, including the opposition, youth groups and northern rebels are to come together to agree on a new constitution and on formalities for a presidential and parliamentary vote.

Hadi has repeatedly urged all parties in Yemen to join the critical talks, but the Southern Movement, an influential alliance of groups seeking autonomy or independence for the south, said on October 3 it would not attend.

Hadi, during a ceremony to celebrate the first anniversary of a power transition agreement which saw former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down, also vowed that legislative elections would be held on schedule in February 2014.

He urged political parties in Yemen to "overcome differences" and demonstrate "cohesion and understanding" to pave the way for national dialogue.

The dialogue was scheduled for mid-November but has not yet begun, with no reason for the delay and no new date announced.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 30 2012 17:44 utc | 18

"One candidate, no "No" vote."

Think of that as Israeli-American democracy for their colonies of "untermemschen".

This article has some info that will probably surprise quite a few:

Americans Have Less Access to Justice than Botswanans … And Are More Abused By Police than Kazakhstanis

"But the World Justice Project – a bipartisan, independent group with honorary chairs including Supreme Court Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsberg and O’Connor – just released a report saying that Americans have less access to justice than most wealthy countries … and many developing nations.

Among high-income countries, the U.S. ranked near the bottom in access to civil justice … behind Estonia, United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and other countries.

Indeed, the report ranks developing countries such as Botswana and the former Soviet nation of Georgia as having more access to the civil justice system than the U.S.

Americans have experienced more unfair physical abuse by police than in Kazahkstan, Russia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Romania and other countries.

When compared to other countries in North America and Western Europe, the U.S. ranked third to last in checks and balances on the power of government officials and absence of corruption, and second to last in protection of due process, freedom of speech and other fundamental rights, access to civil justice, and access to criminal justice."

Comparison tables, more info and sources at the link. One can see where decades of neo-lib/neo-con fascist, zionist rule has left the USA. Like Israel, it's reputation for democracy and freedom is nothing more than a PR image to cover the fact it is a thoroughly fascist polygarchy as nasty as any of the others.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 30 2012 18:32 utc | 19

The Yemen election was kinda like the US election wasn't it?

Posted by: revenire | Nov 30 2012 18:33 utc | 20

the backstory on Yemen

The hit-job on Johnsen written (supposedly) by Stephanie Speirs and published in the NY Times was obviously ordered up by John Brennan to counter the effect of Johnsen's new book: 'The Last Refuge': Yemen, Al-Qaida And The U.S.

NPR: In his new book, journalist Gregory Johnsen charts the rise of Yemen as a haven for al-Qaida and explores the recent history of radical Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

from an NPR interview:

"[T]he Achilles' heel for the United States in Yemen is that too often it just doesn't know what's taking place on the ground. The CIA doesn't know what's taking place, it doesn't know who is in a particular car, it doesn't know who is really a member of al-Qaida. The State Department and diplomats, they're very, very good, very talented people and they tend to know a lot about Yemen but, as we've seen, there are very real security concerns, and the regional security officers often limit their movement and so they can't get out in the country and find out what's taking place. ... So both the CIA and policymakers in Washington tend to be operating more on assumptions than on hard facts.

Ooooh, that hurts.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 30 2012 19:22 utc | 21

the way-back story on Yemen

It doesn't take a conspiracy nut (like me) to see the possible comparison between Brennan-Speirs and Petraeus-Broadwell. Hey, national security is involved. Let's get the FBI on it. Look at the emails between the two.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 30 2012 19:26 utc | 22

Let's be clear -- scum like Brennan and Speirs have no interest in democracy. More than 2,500 people have been killed by Obama’s drones, directed by Brennan and some by Speirs, many of them civilians and bystanders, including American citizens, irrespective of the absence of any “imminent threat” to the United States. With people like this democracy will always be a possibility, not a reality. (h/t Nader)

I hope I haven't been too easy on them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 1 2012 3:25 utc | 23

Progressive Australians for Syria
11 hours ago
In Algeria, the Islamists lost heavily in the local councils election... It is very clear that Arabs have realised the reality of Arab "spring" and its devastating impact

الجزائر || الانتخابات المحلية : هزيمة نكراء للاخوان و للاحزاب الاسلامية

شهدت الانتخابات المحلية لانتخاب المجالس البلدية و الولائية في الجزائر نسبة مشاركة بلغات 44 بالمائة. حيث عرفت الأحزاب الاسلامية و حزب مجتمع السلم المحسوب على الاخوان المسلمين هزيمة أخرى بعد هزيمة الانتخابات التشريعية و جاءت في آخر الترتيب.

في حين فازت الأحزاب ذات التوجه الوطني و اليساري بأغلب المقاعد حسب الترتيب الآتي : حزب جبهة التحرير الوطني، التجمع الوطني الديموقراطي، الحركة الشعبية الجزائرية، جبهة القوى الاشتراكية ثم حزب العمال.....

Posted by: brian | Dec 1 2012 23:25 utc | 25

HNN Homs News Network
Clashes are continuing currently in the Al-Qaseir region following a car bomb near the Army Checkpoint which has wounded 12 Soldiers ..

In 'Aakrama a small explosive device was detonated in Al-Ahram Street near the Al-Za'im Hospital yesterday, which caused only minor material damage , while near the Public Garden an explosive device was found camouflaged amongst Children's Toys, that was wired to a Cellular Device for Remote detonation, but due to Communications being suspended in Homs, the Terrorists were unable to carry out their murdering plans, which was to kill and injure civilians ...



Posted by: brian | Dec 2 2012 1:28 utc | 26

Syria سورية
Dutch prosecutors say police have arrested three Muslim men who wanted to travel to Syria to fight in the country's civil war.
Prosecutors announced Friday the men, aged 22, 23 and 33, were arrested Thursday in the port city of Rotterdam "because they planned to travel to Syria to take part in international armed Jihad." They did not specify if the men were Dutch.

A search of their home uncovered knives, a sword and a crossbow.

The men's identities were not released in line with Dutch privacy law. They were due to be arraigned Friday by an investigating judge in Rotterdam.

Posted by: brian | Dec 2 2012 1:37 utc | 27


"Prosecutors announced Friday the men, aged 22, 23 and 33, were arrested Thursday in the port city of Rotterdam "because they planned to travel to Syria to take part in international armed Jihad." They did not specify if the men were Dutch."

What is missing from a lot of stories about these recruitings (and I'm not knocking the story), is how these people are recruited. They use Muslim people (assets) who have built up strong reputations as being anti-Israeli/zionist. The credibility of these assets serves to put their sectarian bigotry above reproach, or so they expect. I've seen these zionist toadies spewing more hate for Shiites than Israelis and even defending Israeli crimes against Shiites. While the recruiters are not all that sophisticated, their trainers are, and a lot of detailed psychological study has gone into recruiting methods. Paid for by us, through our taxes.

Whenever I see a so-called Muslim promoting hate towards Shiites I now assume the person is a "bought" Chalabi sort, or a total fraud working in deep cover, for Israel-America.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 2 2012 2:08 utc | 28

Russia, China and united Korea could tackle ecological challenges

"Russia, China, and a united Korea could assist in addressing challenges of climate change and "green growth" - ensuring economic development while minimizing environmental damage.

This conviction was voiced in interviews for several news agencies by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. According to him, if North and South Korea were to cooperate in this area with Russia, firstly, it would be possible to use cheaper and ecologically cleaner Russian hydropower plants to generate electricity.

"We could cooperate with Russia in many other areas, such as gas, for example. Namely, using gas, which produces less carbon dioxide during combustion than oil or coal," - said the South Korean president."

Friendship, co-operation with the "bad guys"? That is not allowed in Israeli-American authorised democracies. How long before Lee Myung-bak is assassinated, or forced to recant on upon an alter of kosher big macs?

Posted by: вот так | Dec 2 2012 4:56 utc | 29

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