Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 27, 2013

Open Thread 2013-15

News & views ...

Posted by b on July 27, 2013 at 18:02 UTC | Permalink

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Today 1,000 prisoners escaped in a prison break in Benghazi, Libya

Last week 500 prisoners escaped in a prison break in Baghdad, Iraq

Most of those freed prisoners were some kind of Jihadis. Someone is seriously in need of man power. 1,500 angry people with little to lose can create quite a mess ...

Posted by: b | Jul 27 2013 18:06 utc | 1

One source with ties to the intelligence community told Narco News that a "team has already been dispatched" to apprehend Snowden via extraordinary rendition — the extrajudicial removal of an individual from one country for the purpose of transfering the person to another country. “That team is now shadowing him,” the source claims.
- Bill Conroy, Narco News, Jul 26

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27 2013 18:21 utc | 2

1) surely, Benghazi prisoners are of a different kind from Baghdad prisoners?

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27 2013 19:04 utc | 3

This here is the BBC on the jailbreak

Earlier protesters attacked offices linked to the Muslim Brotherhood following the assassination of the prominent political activist Abdelsalam al-Mismari.

AFP news agency quoted a security official saying that some of the escapees were linked to the regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi. The former dictator was toppled in an uprising in August 2011.

"There was a riot inside al-Kwafiya prison, as well as an attack from outside," the official said.

"Special forces called in as reinforcements were given orders not to fire at the prisoners."

AFP also quoted Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan saying local residents had set the inmates free because "they don't want the prison near their homes".

I guess the sinking ship of the Muslim Brotherhood (and Qatar) in Egypt affects Libya. Al-Mismari had blamed them the day before he got assassinated of corruption and of killing General Younis.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27 2013 19:36 utc | 4

One of the aspects of the current economic crisis is that there is a very large reserve army of labour, millions of young people looking for work. And something to give meaning to lives consigned to the scrap heap.

On the other hand there are Bandar (and Obama's) recruiting sergeants, their pockets full of cash, offering to train, equip and organise young men far wars sanctified by the thousands of preachers subsidised and sponsored by the same vaguely aligned forces, ranging from al quaeda, and the various forms the brotherhood takes, through to the Hariri-ites, to the Balkan and Caucasian volunteers...all of whom constitute a militia always at the service of the empire. Whose various parts the empire would rather see massacred than left to its own devices.

The situation in Egypt today, a bloodbath designed to cement an authoritarian regime which has declared war on its own people, is another aspect of the same crisis. On the one hand the government has nothing to give, while on the other thousands of young muslims are being driven into the arms of Bandar's recruiters. Their most likely destination is Syria/Iraq.

It is becoming crystal clear now why the emir of Qatar had to go, to clear the way for the Saudi/American plan for Egypt.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 27 2013 19:40 utc | 5

@4 Let's not forget that not everybody in Libya hated Ghadafi. In fact a lot of Libyans thought he was OK.

Posted by: dh | Jul 27 2013 20:06 utc | 6

6) sure, that's why they needed NATO.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27 2013 20:10 utc | 7

Severe economic sanctions on Iran are a key part of the US/Saudi effort outlined above, while the USA prattles about Iran/Hezbollah "interference" in Syria as a pretext for further aggression, and Obama bows to kiss the hand of the Saudi king.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27 2013 20:10 utc | 8

6) There seems to be a video of the jailbreak - looks very peaceful.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27 2013 20:19 utc | 9

I smell blowback. Abdel Mesmari is related to Nouri Mesmari. Nouri was one of Old man Gaddafi's inner circle. He got slapped around by Muammar, vowed revenge flew to France and offered his services to Sarkozy and cozzied up to pseudo philosoher BHL.
The "revolution" the Mesmari's supported is now devouring them, thus traitors.
The prisoners in Bengazi, I would say are mostly former Gaddafi people. The jails are full of them, so those would be the people mostly benefiting from being sprung. No?
Thousands of young men running riot across the Middle East and their relatives supporting them by compulsion or consent through blood ties is not a very good recipe.
I see much blood and fire through horse face Kerry's bumbling diplomacia my friends.
What a bunch of Pendejos.
I work in a very fancy restaurant, the people, the bourgeois, are spending so much money on garbage. I don't know where the money is coming from.
As a proud high school graduate, I am happily wasting away my days now in fine dining.
Then I open the paper, I am such a mentiroso. I open my app, on my iPhone. Haha..
So I look and Detroit is in Bankruptcy & other cities too, allegedly.
I keep expecting my fellow proletarians to engage in some resistance, but no we continue clearing tables and smiling while pouring San Pelegrino to the new guests.
I know I am not alone and others must be angry and disapointed at the lack of opportunity.
We live in these overpriced boxes and then go out of them to work for a measly pay.
The center cannot hold truthfully, we are becoming undone.

Posted by: Fernando | Jul 27 2013 20:39 utc | 10

I guess the Muslim Brotherhood did in Libya what they did in Egypt - alienate/intimidate/threaten/assassinate every potential or real ally so that everybody now sides with the old regime against them:

During his speech, Magariaf warned against the tens of thousands of people “who use arms or threaten to,” a reference to militiamen who have in the past threatened politicians and besieged ministries to press for the passage of the law. These groups will force Libyans to “remain stuck in a foggy period,” Magariaf said. He attacked parties that put their own interests above those of the country. ... Islamist parties, their supporters and militiamen stand to gain the most of the Isolation Law since they will be guaranteed the opportunity to fill the resulting vacuum, said Ziad Akl, a senior researcher at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies. The Isolation Law will affect everyone from college deans to ambassadors. That could include leaders of the 2011 uprising such as former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who heads the National Forces Alliance, and Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council that handed over power to the GNC. Discussions about the law escalated into clashes between its supporters and opponents in central Tripoli on April 30 and again on May 2 and 3, although no casualties were reported. The law was passed with 164 of the 169 lawmakers present voting in favor, and five opposed. Critics say lawmakers were pressured into supporting it.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27 2013 20:48 utc | 11

There will be a lot of hoopla soon over Obama awarding a Congressional Medal of Honor. No doubt there will be claims that the war has been a US success, that the war is ending and that the Afghan Army is taking over.

WASHINGTON — The White House announced late Friday that Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter will be awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his service at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. On Aug. 26, President Barack Obama will award Carter the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a cavalry scout with the 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Kamdesh district, Nuristan province, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009, according to a White House news release. He fought with Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in January.

What Obama won't mention is that Ty Carter's effort in Nuristan Province, northeast Afghanistan, was all for nought. This US battle loss precipitated a US decision to pull forces out of the province. It's a simile for the entire misguided twelve-year fiasco in Afghanistan. The entire justification for withdrawing from Nuristan (and Kunar) was basically that the US presence in these remote areas fuels the local insurgency, and if US forces just left, the foreign (read: Pakistani and al Qaeda) support would dry up. So it took a while but the US pulled out.

news report, Oct 29, 2009

The United States has withdrawn its troops from its four key bases in Nuristan, on the border with Pakistan, leaving the northeastern province as a safe haven for the Taliban-led insurgency to orchestrate its regional battles. The move by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChystal, follows the death on October 3 of eight U.S. soldiers as well as a number of Afghan National Army forces when their outpost in Kamdesh was attacked by more than 300 militants. On July 13, 2008, nine American soldiers were killed when their outpost in Wanat was attacked by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

But somebody forgot to tell the locals to 'dry up.'

news reports, Mar 2013 & Jul 2013

Nuristan was [finally] handed over by Nato last year and the alliance will be hoping it is not a template for other security transfers to Afghan forces as foreign troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014. Provincial police chief Gen Ghulamullah Nuristani says four of Nuristan's eight districts are on the verge of falling into militant hands. . .At least 20 militants and around 21 Afgan police forces were killed or injured during clashes that lasted for almost 48 hours in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan. This comes as local officials earlier in June warned that Taliban militants are preparing to launch a major attack on two main districts in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27 2013 21:11 utc | 12

Liberals in the US are all exercised about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, like it would be something new. Approximately 20% of U.S. crude oil and products come from Canada. A substantial portion of this amount comes from tar sands, and it comes to the US in pipelines, as seen here.

Mother Jones, Dec 15, 2011

Long before the Keystone XL became a cause célèbre, tar sands oil was already ubiquitous in America: It goes to fuel our cars and corporations' trucking fleets, and it's used in the production of products from aluminum cans to asphalt. Nearly 50 US refineries that handle tar sands oil. In these refineries, the heavy, molasses-like "bitumen" from the tar sands undergoes heating, blending, and other refining steps and comes out as useable fuel, ready to be pumped into a long-haul semi.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27 2013 21:29 utc | 13

"Liberals in the US are all exercised about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, like it would be something new.'

I'm inclined to agree, the concentration on this single issue seems to me designed to give Obama opportunities to practise the sort of empty demagogy that he does best.

On the other hand anything, which amplifies the transportation of this oil stolen from the Cree, and extracted in a manner which causes incalculable damage to the environment, needs to be opposed vigorously. The ready market which exists in the States and will be even more accessible if this pipeline is built is particularly important because the financial costs of extraction are so high.

A very good economic case can be made for a prohibitive tariff being placed on bitumen which, as residents of Arkansas know, is particularly difficult to clean up when it spills. It was, I believe, bitumen from North Dakota which was carried in the train which blew up Lac Magentique.

Of course all these stories are bagatelle compared with the extraordinarily drawn out world-wreck in Fukushima: as the clouds of lies begin to settle the effects of widespread radiation are beginning to evidence themselves. And, as the graveyard glows and crackles in the dark, our media trots past whistling a happy tune. How nice for us that is!

Posted by: bevin | Jul 27 2013 21:50 utc | 14

Of course a lot of the people who were calling for the "liberation" of Libya are now quiet uninterested in covering the anarchy it has left behind. Suppose they are all busy pimping for similar medicine in Syria.

Sadly the Egyptian counter-revolution is proving more successful than the revolution. Nothing more depressing than seeing the former revolutionaries now flocking towards Saudi-backed military rule. Robert Fisk reporting from Cairo had a good piece yesterday on it including noticing that a lot of the Pro-Morsi supporters getting gunned down are generally poor people while a lot of the Tahrir crowd cheering the military are more middle class.

He also has a piece today noting that medical staff at a hospital he visited went through 2 weeks of medical supplies in 2 hours. A lot of the Morsi supporters he notes were shoot in the head, some directly through the eyes. Clearly it was "shoot to kill" orders given, and clearly the military is lying when it says no live ammunition was used. The 37 corpses Fisk saw is proof enough of there lies.

Syria seems to be the same as it was in previous weeks. I had thought that Homs was close to being secured but the fighting is continuing on in a few districts. This UPI article is interesting in that it reveals that the much rumored big Syrian army offensive in Aleppo nicknamed "Operation Northern Storm" was actually a ruse and that after Al Qusayr, Homs was the location for the offensive. Either way I expect news of the rebels retreating from Homs will come fairly soon. In Aleppo there is a lot of rumors of a massacre in Khan Assal to the West of Aleppo city. FSA sources saying 150 Syrian soldiers were killed, Iranian sources say 50 civilians were killed. Truth is probably that they were militia, there was certainly a push to retake Khan Assal from the FSA before these reports spilled out.

The interesting news on Syria is the continuing clashes between the rebels and the Kurdish militias. Something must have happened recently because in the last few weeks the Kurds have gone from staying on the sidelines to hitting the rebels hard. This is important because the Kurds control a lot of the Turkish border areas, which could really mess up there northern supply lines. Already this week 2 Syrian border checkpoints have fallen out of rebel hands (Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn). Given that the Syrian army broke the rebel supply lines into Lebanon and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki ordered a few thousand more troops to guard the Iraq-Syria border, the thought of losing checkpoints along the Turkish border is not good news for the FSA.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 27 2013 23:59 utc | 15

I assume that Libya and its US-induced chaos never got mentioned in the Power hearing.

This haunts me--
SecDef Gates meets the troops, May 12, 2011

Q: Good morning, sir. Corporal Edwards from 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. My question is in regards to the conflict in Libya. I read article in the U.K. newspaper the Telegraph a little over a month ago, and it was an interview with one of the rebel leaders. He explicitly said that some of his fighters had fought with the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. I found this to be somewhat disheartening, since we as a country were supporting the rebels militarily and through public opinion. Who are these rebels in Libya? And how do we know that they won't be like the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, where we're supporting them today and then getting blown up by them tomorrow?

Corporal Edwards -- Patriot First Class

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 0:39 utc | 16

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Egypt.

The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt’s Military Coup

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 3:27 utc | 17

Can Salafists Save Egypt?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 3:33 utc | 18

Worth a listen from DU:

Posted by: ben | Jul 28 2013 5:07 utc | 19

16) you forget the answer - in May 12,2011 when Nato was already bombing

SEC. GATES: Well, I think that the honest answer to your question is that with the exception of some of the people at the top of the opposition or the rebels in Libya, we don't know who they are. And I think this is one of the reasons why there has been such reluctance, at least on our part, to provide any kind of lethal assistance to the opposition.

Clearly, after the way that Gadhafi has treated his own people, as the president has said, he needs to go. But I think most of us are pretty cautious when it comes to who -- who the opposition is. The truth is, my impression is that it's extraordinarily diverse. We deal with a handful of people in Benghazi, but we forget about those who led the uprisings in cities all over Libya when this whole thing started. And who are they? And are they genuinely anti-Gadhafi? Are they tribal representatives? Are they -- kind of who are they? And we have no idea who those people are, but they were the ones that led the major uprisings in Tripoli and a variety of the other cities.

There are tribal elements to this, and I don't think we know very much about the tribes that are involved and where their loyalties lie between Gadhafi and between the opposition and so on. So I -- and we have seen reports that there are some extremists that are fighting for the opposition. We see information and we hear from the opposition that they're trying to isolate those people and get them out of the movement because they realize the risks associated with that in terms of international support.

But the truth is, I think, frankly, one of the reasons that we have been as cautious as we have in terms of providing other than humanitarian support and some non-lethal assistance to the opposition is because of what we don't know. And I think we have to keep a wary eye on it in terms of how this thing progresses.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 5:37 utc | 20

Programmer under oath admits computers rig elections. From DU:

Posted by: ben | Jul 28 2013 5:57 utc | 21

Re Libya.
Here's a podcast on the myopia superimposed on the aftermath of US-NAZO's Stone-Aging of Libya, from Radio National.

Michael Smith, Retired Major General
Sunday 28 July 2013 12:30PM
After forty-two years of dictatorship under Gaddafi, security is vital to this fledgling country. Michael Smith was ideally placed to assist having served as Defence Attache to Cambodia and Deputy Force Commander for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.
Since retiring from the Australian Army, Smith was CEO of Austcare, now Action Aid Australia, as well as founder of the Australian Civil Military Centre. And then he received a call from the United Nations asking him to work in Libya.

Interestingly, the first words from the Major General's mouth address the need to help stabilise Libya to attract "foreign investment" which the (insane or dishonest) Major General appears not to realise was the reason Ghaddafi (whose crimes were minor compared with those of Bush, Cheney, Obama. Cameron and Sarkozy) had to be killed and Libya's considerable cash and gold reserves confiscated, and its infrastructure destroyed, to "help" Libyans.

Imo, we'll know we have true democracy in the West when the next "leader" who proposes destroying an entire country because of one "Evil-doer" will be lynched by an angry crowd for insulting their intelligence; followed by everyone in the crowd being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Exemplary Service to Sanity & Humanity.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 28 2013 6:12 utc | 22

You have to read conservative websites to find out what is going on in Syria

There are not enough secularists in the opposition to cause Assad to lose a night’s sleep, much less threaten his grip on power. To oust him, the opposition needs legions of Islamic supremacists — armed by the United States. Zarate and Moore try to navigate around this inconvenience by omitting any mention of the Muslim Brotherhood and suggesting that there are only two camps: “moderates” and al-Qaeda. This distortion may be marginally less risible than the Obama administration’s laugh-out-loud tactic of conceding the Brothers’ significance but misrepresenting them as “largely secular.” Still, it is unavailing all the same.

Contrary to the authors’ claim, foreign fighters are not flocking to Syria because they are affiliated with al-Qaeda. They are reacting to a fatwa issued in May by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the world’s most influential Sunni sharia authority and the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief jurist. Qaradawi declared that the jihad in Syria against Assad and his Shiite backers — primarily, Iran-backed Hezbollah — is a duty for every able-bodied Muslim who is trained to fight.

Qaradawi, who also serves as the backbone of international support for Hamas — the terrorist organization that is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch — is notoriously anti-American and anti-Israeli. His prior fatwas, in addition to fomenting murderous rioting over such trivial slights as the publication of unflattering cartoon images of the prophet Mohammed, have called for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq, as well as suicide bombings against Israel. Crucially for current purposes, Qaradawi has been the powerhouse behind the Brotherhood’s Syrian enterprise — drumming up international political and financial support for the “rebels.” It is no coincidence that shortly after Qaradawi’s fatwa, Egypt’s Islamic-supremacist government — then led by the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi — cut off diplomatic ties with Assad, called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and declaimed that “Hezbollah must leave Syria.”

Qaradawi, it is worth emphasizing, is not al-Qaeda. Like all Islamic supremacists, he and the Brotherhood share al-Qaeda’s dream of installing sharia in every Islamic country and, ultimately, establishing a global caliphate. As a result, they work with al-Qaeda on common goals, such as vanquishing Assad. But knowing he has the ear of the Obama administration — which, shockingly, just rolled out the White House red carpet for his deputy, Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah (who also endorsed terror attacks on Americans in Iraq) — Qaradawi is now laboring to relegate al-Qaeda to the rebel sidelines, playing into the Washington fiction that al-Qaeda is America’s only enemy.

There are two major al-Qaeda affiliates operating in Syria: the aforementioned Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the group cited by Senator Paul, Jabhat al Nusra. The latter, which employs all the savage tactics for which al-Qaeda is infamous, is among the most able of the anti-Assad militias. Consistent with the Obama/McCain approach of blinking at reality, the administration formally declared Nusra a terrorist organization back in December, as if that would deter the FSA militias — many of which publicly scoffed at the maneuver. Despite what Zarate and Moore assert, Nusra continues to work closely with the FSA.

Among those lavishing praise on Nusra for doing “very well in its jihad against the tyrant regime of Damascus” is Qaradawi. Through his International Union of Muslim Scholars, he has urged Nusra to reconsider its pledge of fealty to al-Qaeda, reasoning that “this pledge causes internal and external dangers, and its impact on the revolution is dangerous because it breaks the ranks of the mujahideen.” Translation: “Hey Nusra, go right ahead with your savage methods, but could you pipe down about the al-Qaeda connection? That way, the morons in Washington will pretend you’re a ‘moderate’ and keep giving us the money and weapons we need.”

The Brothers have decided they need Nusra, so Nusra will remain a key force regardless of Obama’s paper terrorist designations and Idriss’s dreamy vision. Nusra’s vision, like the Brotherhood’s, is that Syria will become an anti-Western sharia state in the Sunni mold.

As for ISIL, it is true enough that FSA leaders are squabbling with that al-Qaeda affiliate. ISIL has killed a couple of FSA commanders and is imposing its sharia dictates on territories the “rebels” have captured. But more than anything else, the disputes illustrate the impotence of the FSA. Idriss & Co. can huff and puff, but they cannot enforce ultimatums against al-Qaeda, and they cannot stop their component militias from fighting side-by-side with al-Qaeda.

The stubborn fact of the matter is that Islamic supremacism pervades Assad’s opposition. Al-Qaeda is only a small slice of the problem. There are legions of Islamic supremacists, both indigenous and foreign, in Syria. Even if al-Qaeda were to vacate the scene, arming the “rebels” means arming what Qaradawi more accurately calls the “mujahideen.”

Plus a good summary why Saudi Arabia does not like the US Muslim Brotherhood strategy.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 7:09 utc | 23

According to Human Rights Watch many of the killed protesters in Egypt were executed with shots to the head and chest..the military is going crazy.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 28 2013 7:42 utc | 24

Somebody, that "good summary" contains one line of argument that I do not accept:

When the Brotherhood called for Islamic unity before it came to power in Egypt, thus softening the Sunni-Shiite divide, the Saudi regime felt undermined by such slogans. When Morsi visited Iran in 2012, Saudi attacks on the rapprochement reached a high tone. He tried to redeem himself when he denounced Alawite President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, but the damage had already been done. Saudi Arabia feared that Morsi would make Egypt drift toward Iran, with whom Saudi Arabia competes for hegemony at the regional level.

The MBs don't have any more sympathy for Shi'ism than the Sauds do. Morsi's visit to Tehran didn't have any concrete results, nor I suppose did Morsi expect it to. It was the case that Iran subsidised Hamas, though no longer. Iran is always ready to try to coopt any MB branch that shows interest in being coopted. I personally have never comsidered Hamas to be a real "resistance" to Israel, anyway. What in fact has Hamas ever done for the "resistance", apart from talk? Nothing, really. It provides Israel with regular pretexts to ignore the needs of the Gazans, that's all. Anyway, here another Al-Monitor article on exactly the same subject: Iran's ambiguous interest in the MBs.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 8:06 utc | 25

I wonder why Finian Cunningham, a very regular Press TV commenter without any political affiliations that I know of, is so certain that Sisi & Co are US stooges? Obviously the MBs say they are. They always accuse everybody, including Hezbollah and Assad, of being USraeli stooges. According to R Fisk, the MB demonstrators apparently painted "Stars of David" all over the nearest Army barracks. But seriously, Sisi & Co are not good news for the USA. That should be obvious.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 8:16 utc | 26

24) sorry, what you are saying is not true

The Muslim Brotherhood is pan-Islamic

His (Hassan al Banna's) approach aimed at neutralizing local nationalism by considering all are inhabited by Muslims to be one Islamic fatherland (wathan).[13] If not in one Islamic state, then in an association of Muslim nations (Hayatu Ummam Islamiyya). This attitude was paralleled by Banna’s striving to play down the significance of differences among Islamic groups and schools. He even devised a prayer for the use of his follower, combining the sentiment of Egyptian-Nationalism and Islamic solidarity.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 10:02 utc | 27

25) As always, the US hedges on lots of sides. So yes, Al Sissi, the Muslim Brotherhood and human right groups are all US stooges. Apart from that, and first and foremost, the fight for their own interest.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 10:06 utc | 28


Its not the first time US chose to support the "wrong" side. Just past weeks Israel have pressured west to support the military regime in Egypt so MB seems more than right in their assessment that the military are tied to US and Israel interests.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 28 2013 10:18 utc | 29

The notion that the criminal brotherhood are moderates is nothing but Al Jazeera lies.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | Jul 28 2013 10:21 utc | 30

@somebody, 26: It's absurd to claim that the MBs are accepting towards Shi'ism. Especially now, when they're up to their necks in sectarian killing all over Asia. Israel could be said to have pressured the West to support the military regime in Egypt, because Israel as I argued a month ago draw a thick red line when it comes to Jihadis in the Sinai, even if in reality the target of the Jihadis in the Sinai was Egypt itself, not Israel. You may remember I wrote a comment saying General Sisi might have rung up the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Council and said, "How do you really feel about the Jihadis in the Sinai? Because I don't like them." And the Israelis said, "You're right, good and faithful General Sisi, why don't you deal with them." But by doing this they were bypassing the US, which in its mad, CIA-driven way, was still encouraging Morsi, because he wanted to join the Sunni Jihad against Syria, and the US were probably thinking this was all "good for the Jews," whereas the Israelis wanted to put a limit on this global Sunni Jihad rampage thang.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 10:59 utc | 31

30) I find Assad's explanation that the confrontation between Shiites and Sunnis was invented to counter the Iranian revolution quite convincing though obviously theological differences have accompanied political ones throughout. Let's say the theological differences between Sunnis and Shias are not insurmountable (less than between protestants and catholics) but the bar can be raised if so desired (and theologians have to eat). Sunnis are quite diverse themselves.

There is no theological authority in Islam, believers choose their guides. Much like protestants with similar political effects. It is very hard to find two Muslim emigrants in Europe who agree on theology (never mind politics).

I have no doubt that Gulf states (with lots of money) favour sectarian exclusive groups. The Muslim Brotherhood goes where Islamic money is. Hamas had no ideological problem working with Shiite Iran.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 11:39 utc | 32

plus 30 It's absurd to claim that the MBs are accepting towards Shi'ism. Especially now, when they're up to their necks in sectarian killing all over Asia.
It makes me wonder what they need Al Nusra for.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 11:41 utc | 33

Saudi prince defects from Royal Family

Prince Khalid Bin Farhan Al-Saud has announced his defection from Al Saud royal family through a statement, calling on other princes to break their silence and reveal the truth for sake of God.

In his statement on Saturday, the Saudi prince referred to his ‘sufferings’ under reign of Al Saud regime describing them as bitter experiences that will be revealed by the Saudi twitter writer Mujtahid and Saudi activist Saad al-Faqih, who is currently living in London.

He said he thanked God that helped him understand the truth about Saudi regime through a “direct horrible personal experience” so that he could have a taste of what people suffered from throughout the country.

“With pride, I announce my defection from Al Saudi family in Saudi Arabia,” he wrote in his statement.

“This regime in Saudi Arabia does not stand by God’s rules or even (country’s) established rules and its policies, decisions, and actions are totally based on personal will of its leaders.”

“All that is said in Saudi Arabia about respecting law and religion rules are factitious so that they can lie and pretend that the regime obeys Islamic rules.”

He criticized the royal family for considering the country as its own property while silencing all voices from inside and outside the government calling for any change and reforms.

Khalid Bin Farhan said the ruling family has deliberately pulled the country to the current condition where cries of oppressed people are ignored. “They don’t think about anything but their personal benefits and do not care for country’s and people’s interests or even national security,” he added.

H warned that current problems of the Saudi Arabia are not “temporary or superficial” and they do not end at unemployment, low wages and unjustified distribution of common wealth, facilities and services.

“The problems are deep and real,” he said adding that they are concerned with political and financial corruption and abuse of power by the regime and fraud in the parliament and judiciary system.

The Saudi prince said everything that the pro-reform opposition says about country’s political, economical, judiciary, social and security condition as well as their abuse of religious values are true and “the situation is even worse than what is said in criticisms”.

He called on all those who cared for the future of the country to join him and the reform stream and break their silence on Al Saud corruptions.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 11:56 utc | 34

Hmmm. I traced that back from forums to, but looking at the latter, I see things I frankly don't believe, such as that Israel is selling heavy artillery and tanks to the Syrian rebels:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 12:06 utc | 35

34, you can have Turkish Hürriyet as a source if you prefer that.

But yes, that, too, is based on Al Alam.

To add to the minute difference of Shiites and Sunnis in theological terms - yes Iranians go to Jeddah for Hadj - and Saudi cannot refuse though they do not like it.

Compare that to the potential of a Protestant pilgrimage to the Vatican.

Al Alam, by the way, does not say what you claim - you leave important details from your quote

Israeli regime has concluded an agreement with Saudi Arabia to pave the ground to supply required weapons to foreign backed militant groups in Syria, Israeli Radio reports.

According to report, Saudi Arabia has already accepted to provide financial resources required to purchase Israeli army old weaponries to be delivered to the militant groups fighting against Syria government.

According to the agreement, it was decided that Saudi Arabia covers a fund of at least 50 million USD to enter negotiations with Israeli army over the immediate delivery of weapons.

The report cited unnamed Israeli regime security sources as saying that Israel has accepted to deliver weapons including tanks and heavy artillery, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, ammunitions, communication devices as well as light war vehicles.

The sources also added that the delivery of such equipment to the militant groups will pose no risk to Israel as all the weaponries are belonging to old generation.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 12:31 utc | 36

It's perhaps significant that this story was originally headlined "Egypt's New Nasser?" but the headline has now been changed. You can see a link to the old headline at the bottom of this story, in the "Read more on this issue" section, right above the comments.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 12:32 utc | 37

Barry has just declared that the US won the Korean war 'for 50 million koreans living in freedom'
(even though South korea was a right wing dictatorship up until the late 80s.)

Posted by: heath | Jul 28 2013 12:34 utc | 38

@somebody #19
you forget the answer - in May 12,2011 when Nato was already bombing

I didn't forget anything, except that you are still around talking nonsense.
No matter what he said, SecDef Gates was a principal implementer of Libya.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 14:06 utc | 40

39) That is what I meant. Gates was blatantly lying whilst saying frankly, truth and honest.

It is what people should expect when politicians use these words.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 14:34 utc | 41

The talk about religion is mildly interesting from a theological viewpoint, but the real issues concern political and economic power. National governments and political parties, not religions drive events. Who will control the countries in the region? Oil and gas. Who will make money off the Gulf gas field? It's Iran and Russia and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, the big dogs in the fight. Theology? Not so much.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 14:38 utc | 42

@somebody #40
That is what I meant.

I guess you forgot to say what you meant.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 14:41 utc | 43

On religion, simply look at the U.S. The government uses religion to promote its interests. So we have prayer breakfasts, In God (i.e. Government) We Trust, military chaplains, the whole gamut of religious tools that the government uses to exert and disseminate control over its citizens and foreigners, when they can. If it weren't Christianity, it would be some other religion, the government doesn't care. And so elsewhere, because Americans aren't so special in this regard.

So religion is a tool of people who are really interested in power and profit. That's why George W. Bush was "born again."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 14:54 utc | 44

Good rant from a new player on Acronynym TV. Worth a listen.

Posted by: ben | Jul 28 2013 15:20 utc | 45

The US has told Afghanistan that the Bilateral Security Pact must be signed by October. Good luck on that. First there must be a Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA), and also the Afghans' terms must be met, and the terms require opposition attacks to disappear when in fact they are increasing.

sina, Jul 27, 2013

U.S. has to accept Afghan conditions before inking BSA: Official

KABUL, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Chief of staff of President Hamid Karzai's office has categorically stated that Afghanistan has its conditions for inking security pact known as Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States.

"Since Afghanistan would pay high price for giving military bases to U.S, the country has its conditions before inking the security pact and one of the conditions is ensuring durable peace and security in our country," Abdul Karim Khuram said during a recent interview with a local television channel TV-1.

Khuram noted "It would make no difference to have security pact with U.S. but Afghans live in misery, suffering from suicide attacks and bomb blasts".

He also added that inking security pact with United States would earn the enmity of regional countries with Afghanistan.

Although the document for inking the security pact has not been finalized, Afghan conditions are clear, Khuram said, adding the conditions include guaranteeing viable security, equipping the national security forces and supporting Afghanistan's economy by United States to achieve self-reliance.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 15:29 utc | 46

@heath #37
Barry has just declared that the US won the Korean war 'for 50 million koreans living in freedom'

And "winning the war" meant bombing the bejesus out of Koreans in their cities, north and south. The first wave of B-29 bombers dropped HE - high explosive, to blow their mostly wooden structures apart. Then the incendiary bombs in the next wave, then the fragmentation bombs to get the little people scurrying around below the bombers. Thus the stage was set for the coming dictatorship in a "liberated" South Korea.

The US attacks by, air, sea and land, aiming at the southward invading army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North), which nevertheless unifies the peninsula in five short weeks (except for the US defended port city of Pusan); with little resistance from South Korea’s ROK military as most of its soldiers either defect or go home; over the next three years US will commit dozens of high death toll documented atrocities (some recently apologized for) as American planes level to the ground almost every city and town of any appreciable size in the entire peninsula, north and south, in the end threatening to drop the atomic bomb, and be charged with germ warfare by some not easily dismissed sources.

The US may have killed 20% of the population of Korea, said General Curtis Lemay, who was involved in the US air war on Korea. If so, that is a higher rate of genocidal slaughter than what the Nazis inflicted on Poland or the Soviet Union. The Korean War may be unknown ancient history to us, but it is no more ancient history to Koreans than the Nakba is to Palestinians.

The war has not ended, although there was an armistice sixty years ago. There are 28,500 U.S. troops stationed on more than 100 bases stretching from the DMZ south to the port city of Busan. Plans call for consolidating the troops onto fewer than 50 bases, with the majority stationed in regional hubs in the areas around Pyeongtaek/Osan and Daegu.

Politically for the U.S. military-industrial complex, Korea is the gift that keeps on giving, particularly as a result of U.S. military provocations. The U.S. is in violation of the Armistice Agreement in this regard.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 15:42 utc | 47

If the people of Israel were not using electric voting machines, I would applaud this decision:

Posted by: ben | Jul 28 2013 15:50 utc | 48

Afghans are mostly illiterate, but they're not mostly stupid. On U.S. aims, they get it.

khaama, Jul 28

One of the most perplexing issues I encountered time and again in my travels between Afghanistan and the United States is the sense of disconnect between America’s Afghan policies and Afghans’ perceptions of those policies.

During my recent trip to Kabul last month, almost every person I spoke to – everyone from taxi drivers and shopkeepers to politicians and government officials – expressed extreme suspicion about America’s objectives in Afghanistan.

Most of them delved into conspiracy theories, believing that the US has some “hidden” agenda, seeking to expand its military reach into Iran, China, and the oil-rich Central Asia, using Afghanistan as a jumping board. A natural conclusion, therefore, was that America deliberately keeps Afghanistan unstable as an excuse to maintain its military presence in the region.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 15:53 utc | 49

Don @ 18, Thanks so much for the link. Neoliberal divide and conquer playbook spelled out so clearly. The Egyptians should seriously consider massive general strikes next. Just stop, sit down, whether in the streets or nay... shut down the country. Obviously all sides allowed to be considered at this point should not be considered at all. And what do the people of Egypt (and elsewhere) do about an entirely corrupt court system?

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jul 28 2013 16:12 utc | 50

There was an actual meaningful (if not sensible) discussion on teevee today, it appears.

CBS news

There are "zero privacy violations" in the National Security Agency's collection of phone records, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Sunday on "Face the Nation,"
There are no recordings of phone calls; there are no dossiers. They do not record your e-mails. None of that was happening, none of it, zero," Rogers said.
"That's a pretty impressive record - zero privacy violations, 54 terrorist attacks that saved real American lives and our allies as well - that's real success," Rogers said, making the case that without the program, the United States could not as effectively thwart another 9/11-type attack.

Not necessarily, countered Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo, who said: "If you look at section 259 of the Patriot Act, if you define it broadly, you can collect people's medical records, financial records, credit card records - you name it - anything is on the table. ...We don't need to do this to fight an effective war against terrorism."

With Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Udall introduced legislation that would require the NSA to show to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a link between a person and a terror or espionage threat on the executive branch. Udall said the bill is "the way in which to protect not just our people, but the bill of rights. The bill of rights is the biggest, baddest weapon we have.

"...The N.S.A. Is literally collecting every phone record of every American, every day," Udall said. "And, look - the content of those phone calls is not available, but I think knowing when I call somebody from where I call somebody and for how long I call somebody is a violation of your privacy. There are apps that you can get on your smart phone or your smart tablet or your computer... that can take that phone data and give a pretty good impression of what you do during your daily activities."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 16:44 utc | 51

@Don Bacon #17

Very enlightening article... thanks for linking. Have shared it with a few other forums.

Posted by: Crone | Jul 28 2013 17:08 utc | 52

Syrian army 'makes key gains in Homs'

Syrian government forces have taken most of the Khalidiya neighbourhood in the central city of Homs, one of the few remaining districts there under rebel control, activists and media say.
The pan-Arab television station al-Mayadeen said 80% of Khalidiya was now under the control of government forces.
Activists said that only the Old City of Homs and a few other districts remained under rebel control.
Kalidiya was their lifeline. Cut off they will soon give up.

Brave Syrian soldier drops his weapon and has a chat with the rebels explaining to them that they are all Syrians: video

Posted by: b | Jul 28 2013 17:10 utc | 53

Fox News interviewer can't handle a good scientist:

'Zealot' author Reza Aslan responds to critics

Reza Aslan, author of 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,' says he wrote the book as a historian, not as a Muslim


AP: Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Posted by: b | Jul 28 2013 17:12 utc | 54

Catholics outraged over the death of a hermit and sisters of their faith by US and Israeli backed rebels in Syria It’s believed that Maroud a hermit was shot to death while defending many of the religious sisters from the US backed rebels. The monastery that gave them shelter was attacked and pillaged on June 23. The situation is unclear or what exactly being done to the sisters, as you know these men are guilty of rape, mutilation, eating hearts and other heinous crimes on innocent people. I do not even want to think or imagine what harm is being done to them. The world has gone mad and american politicians look like the worst people on earth for supporting the terror in Syria.

Posted by: brian | Jul 28 2013 17:37 utc | 55

news headline
Treasury secretary: Raise debt ceiling without a fight

--The U.S. National Debt has risen by $6.5 trillion, or 70% since 2008.
--In 2008 there were 234 million working age Americans and 145 million of them were employed. Today there are 243 million working age Americans and 142 million of them are employed.
--In 2008 there were 28 million Americans in the food stamp program. Today there are 46 million Americans collecting food stamps.
--The country’s outstanding public debt is already $38.22 million above the statuary debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion. Debt is now at $16,738,220,000,000.00, according to Treasury data.
--Sequestration has had some effect. The hemorrhaging of the US treasury has been stanched just a tiny bit. US government deficits that in FY12 were running about $3 bpd (billions per day) are now in FY13 running less than $2 1/2 bpd. Yeah!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 18:05 utc | 56

Don keeps saying religion is not a factor in real politics, but I think he's wrong. It's a mass psychological factor of incalculable importance. And in its arch-hypocritical way, the US is going to launch a global crusade for religious freedom, except it won't really be global, it will be highly selective, naturally. "Today, when religious freedom in many parts of the world is under siege, one of the aims of US foreign policy should be to combat such intolerance."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28 2013 18:26 utc | 57

57) Agree, religion is most powerful, it is how we are taught to interpret the world as children, there is no way to shake that influence off in later life. And there are things most people aren't strong enough to handle without religion - like death.
No human being is truly rational.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 18:54 utc | 58

@RB #57
My point is that "it's a mass psychological factor" which is used by political operators to advance their political and economic objectives, so delving into religious differences ad nauseum is about as interesting as focusing on the sex lives of bees, which would be interesting to beekeepers but that's about all.

The most dynamic example is the Samarra Iraq mosque destruction in Feb 2006 which ignited religious differences in Iraq and changed everything, not only in Iraq. That incident was abetted (if not conducted) by the U.S. So good luck on a worldwide campaign to combat religious intolerance, under those conditions (government promotion of religious intolerance).

Now about those ecclesiastical differences between Free Will Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists and Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists . . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 19:01 utc | 59

"No human being is truly rational."
I would expect somebody -- not just anybody -- to say that. :-)

I would add: Particularly human beings who do not visit Moon of Alabama; they have an excuse.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 19:04 utc | 60

"--In 2008 there were 234 million working age Americans and 145 million of them were employed. Today there are 243 million working age Americans and 142 million of them are employed.
--In 2008 there were 28 million Americans in the food stamp program. Today there are 46 million Americans collecting food stamps. "

These are telling indications of a crisis which is deep rooted- real wages have been falling since the mid seventies.
To put them into perspective, the increasing poverty and unemployment both occur in an era of unprecedentedly low interest rates and, as the deficit figures indicate, enormous subventions to banks and corporations trillions in debt drawn against the future earnings of working class (aka middle class) taxpayers.

The government has been splurging money while the economy gets worse. And, contrary to intuition, it has not been spending on social services, job creation or infrastructure but on a welfare programme for the stock market. The bubble economy of 2008 is ready to burst again.

And none of this is "economics." The entire thing is politics, nothing has happened without being anticipated: there are no new jobs because there is no job creation. There are no public programmes and there is no incentive for corporations to use the subsidies they get from the state to create employment. Or even demand.
Which is where sequestration comes in: current indications are that further contraction in the real economy is coming. For example as the demand for Food Stamps rises, the supply is being contracted by Congress. The poor are getting much poorer. States and municipal governments are laying off staff and cutting wage bills, services are being cut. All this means less public employment and less demand to fuel private investment.

The economy is in a death spiral, skilfully piloted by the Federal government. No wonder they are monitoring the internet, social media, public spaces, telephone calls and even the snail mail. They are looking for, not a fight, but lots of little outbursts of anger to be suppressed, in an exemplary fashion.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 28 2013 19:14 utc | 61

59) Now about those ecclesiastical differences between Free Will Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists and Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists ...

never mind the above, most of us in Europe used to be extremely worried about the rationality of G.W. Bush

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28 2013 19:24 utc | 62

Homs is secure, aided by the Qusayr victory, Aleppo is next. Israel, ever helpful, has announced a 50 million dollar arms deal to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons and equipment for the insurgency in Syria.

Press TV

Homs is almost clear and clean now. I think it’s a matter of days before the government of Syria will announce that Homs is a free and safe city. And what only remains after that is the city of Aleppo from being freed from the rebels, from the gang’s hands.

So they are putting in extra effort. The Saudis are trying to hang on after having lost their cards in Qusayr. They have lost their cards also in Lebanon, let’s look at that from a different point of view. And now its their last final battle.

I think the Israelis were involved all along, all the time before, since the crisis. Now the Saudis are stepping strongly announcing they have reached a certain agreement with the Israelis in order to support and supply the arms for arming the gang groups on the ground of Syria.

So now it’s clear that they are taking a new step, a new form I think in order for them to hold Aleppo because they know, or as I know, that after the holy month of Ramadan the army is preparing for a major attack to liberate the whole city of Aleppo.

Ramadan: Jul 8 - Aug 7

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 19:33 utc | 63

CBS News

80 percent of U.S. adults face near-poverty, unemployment, survey finds

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 19:40 utc | 64

@23 "Qaradawi declared that the jihad in Syria against Assad and his Shiite backers — primarily, Iran-backed Hezbollah — is a duty for every able-bodied Muslim who is trained to fight."

This goes a long way in explaining Israel's strategy. Israel cannot afford to appear pro-jihad and, among hasbara bloggers, one hears denials of supporting terrorists by Israel: "Show me the proof!" So, they make a show of only bombing Hezbollah assets. Like the pro-rassler who plays the proverbial "bad-guy", Israel pleads innocent to the ref who's just caught him gouging his opponent.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 28 2013 19:50 utc | 65

They are looking for, not a fight, but lots of little outbursts of anger to be suppressed, in an exemplary fashion.
Yes. We have the Border Patrol manning internal highway checkpoints in our area, holding up traffic including large numbers of trucks with drivers who get paid by the mile and not for the lost minutes at a checkpoint where the PRINCIPAL PURPOSE is to harass American citizens, not to anything productive.

These worthless checkpoints, like other forms of government surveillance, are merely intended to show who's boss, to spark "little outbursts of anger" which would bring out their fighting spirit with the guns they are issued. It is bound to happen, given the government's motivation and its increasing funding for all these surveillance efforts.

I had a Border Patrol car follow me up a dirt road the other day, to a point where I like to initiate a hike up a hill. He asked me if I was going up. He told me to be careful (it's near the border). I do have to be careful. Not of the Mexicans; I've given them water before. Careful of him, is what he probably meant.

They are looking for, not a fight, but lots of little outbursts of anger to be suppressed, in an exemplary fashion. Yes.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 19:52 utc | 66

. . .there are no new jobs because there is no job creation.

Those jobs didn’t just disappear, of course. American businesses sent them overseas under the prodding of consultants and private equity businesses. The US government plays a key role in this process.

First come the "free trade" laws which eliminate tariffs on goods manufactures overseas, including those destined to be components of goods assembled domestically.

Outsourcing corporate investment and jobs is one of the primary obligations of US ambassadors and their commerce desks. Embassies use taxpayer money from USAID to train foreign workers to take US jobs.

All of this foreign investment and job outsourcing is done with the entusiastic assistance of the American Chamber of Commerce office located in each country -- a virtual arm of the embassy. These American Chambers are sclosely affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce.

In this country, there are a myriad of outsourcing firms -- it's an industry, and this industry has annual conferences. One of the speakers at the conferences has been Robert Reich, an ex-labor secretary (under Clinton) who has been an early and persistent proponent of outsourcing US jobs. - Robert Reich, April 22, 2004:

"Outsourcing isn't to blame for the slow recovery. The jobs recovery has been anemic because there hasn't been enough demand to restart the jobs machine. . .Despite the long-term trend toward outsourcing IT jobs, there will continue to be plenty of IT work in the United States in years to come. In the next five years, outsourcing won't amount to much. At most, we're talking about a few hundred thousand jobs subtracted from an American labor market that is likely to generate 10 million new jobs."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 20:05 utc | 67

headline, BBC News
Mid-East peace talks to resume in Washington

Actually, reading further, they are not "peace talks" they are procedural talks, which are normally done by underlings in advance of peace talks, and probably this is what will be done.

Mr Kerry had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and they had agreed that the talks would "serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural work plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months".

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28 2013 23:27 utc | 68

To the economic comments: I thought this was an extremely poignant view of the changes that the United States has undergone in the last 30 years:

Especially heart wrenching is to see homes taken from families who had already paid in so much on them, only to have the bank take them and resell them for far less than the original owners had put in. What kind of evil is this? The same as always, I'm afraid.

Since 1992, Bill Moyers has been following the story of two ordinary, hard-working families in Milwaukee — one black, one white — as they battle to keep from sliding into poverty. A remarkable portrait of perseverance, Two American Families, which airs July 9, raises unsettling questions about the changing nature of the U.S. economy and the fate of a declining middle class. Check your local listings here.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 29 2013 0:16 utc | 69


I may have actually come across this here, I'm not sure. Apologies if it is a repost, but it is well worth it.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 29 2013 1:12 utc | 70


Interesting video, about economic collapse and revolution, curious as to what you think. I thought the one displayed just below in the comments called "how to start a revolution" was more interesting than the first.

It is interesting that it is pointed at Americans, and that it mentions an Obama action - the NDAA - and uses the Oath Keepers (an interesting group to say the least) as an example of a "revolutionary" group. More interesting that the creator has also made videos regarding the Trayvon Martin case, attempting - in my opinion - to play its importance down (I could go into at length the problems I see with his argument, and though he does make some obvious points he misses much).

The fact that it mentioned the book "from dictatorship to democracy" was also interesting. I thought that was a manual for colour revolutions.

I think it is really interesting that we're seeing such things aimed at Americans. And with 100,000 views in less than 20 days, it is no joke. And it is interesting how focused it is on Obama and Democratic Party related transgressions (Fast and Furious, Trayvon, NDAA) while avoiding talking about the legacy of GWB.

I do wonder what this is all about. I do wonder what is being planned for the US by those who - even as milquetoast, corporate-friendly, emipire-oriented and weak as he is - Obama is still too much.

It's a devilish video, if you ask me.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 29 2013 2:03 utc | 71

Now about those ecclesiastical differences between Free Will Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists and Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists . . . Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28, 2013 3:01:07 PM | 59
Don, reductio ad absurdum is something the government do rather a lot. That should warn you not to do it. You seem to be defending yourself against a personal fear of the irrational. Consider the suicide bomber. You may maintain that the majority of suicide bombers are motivated simply and solely by the promise of their recruiter that after the execution of their mission, he will give their families a large lump sum. I don't find that convincing, myself. Consider also the composition of the death squads. It makes rather a substantial difference whether they have military targets, or whether consider it their job to kill civilians of other sects indiscriminately. The decision as to which their policy shall be is doubtless determined by men with money, but it is not a non-religious decision.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 29 2013 4:26 utc | 72

It's a given that "The American Dream" was a dream. For one thing, the US high-consumption high-refuse economy is unsustainable for the health of the earth. But the corresponding adjustments are, and will be, difficult. People who are used to living in large homes may have to accommodate to trailer living, and other down-scale changes. People who are used to taking a job will have to learn how to make a job for themselves, which is the case for most people in the world.

The are other blog-sites which are mainly composed to complainers and whiners about the situation, which does no good. People have to change their expectations and their lifestyles, is all.

I would hope that people could also get away from any fake culture they are following, and get closer to nature and other really important life factors. That's important -- get grounded in reality.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 29 2013 5:43 utc | 73

71)you are right guest77, the video in the comments is an interesting video
You are also right, it is color revolution stuff. It tries to be generic, the use of "the system", the recommendation of Gustave le Bon, the emphasis on leadership and dealing with crowds (after having denounced hierarchy :-)) betray it as vile right wing stuff. At the same time is is very professionally produced so there is money backing it.
I guess part of the elite is panicking as the obvious solution means the rich pay taxes (that also applies to Greece and other places). Basically it is directed at anybody trying to unite and organize people.
I guess it is typical US libertarian tea party stuff. Fact is they robbed the term revolution from the left.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 29 2013 7:02 utc | 74


Talk about ringing the wrong bell: when they used the term "monkey see, monkey do" to explain the process of building ideology.


It is true, but it seems to me "the dream" has been forced into that paradigm only lately. It wasn't that long ago that a quality product meant something that worked for years that your countrymen produced, that you kept nice and had repaired or repaired yourself. This throwaway culture (in all respects, from material goods to art and music) is something new entirely.

There is no reason the average American, who never had too much they didn't make to begin with, has to shed their living standards imho. The ultra wealthy, on the other hand, will have to give up their system of making money off of others consumption and degradation if regular people across the globe are to be able to return to something resembling a dignified lifestyle.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 29 2013 10:52 utc | 75

75) I found the distinction between "there is nothing more dangerous than armed men with utopian dreams" and "a broad and abstract vision based on principles" quite intriguing.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 29 2013 11:34 utc | 76

Well, after browsing around from that video back to the makers, all I can say is, this is totally phony, Madison-Ave-type scripting:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 29 2013 12:27 utc | 77

2 crows ,birds of steel,a wall of fire,a city destroyed

Posted by: jub | Jul 29 2013 12:34 utc | 78

Jub, you told us earlier you were a member of AIPAC. What is it about Nostradamus you find so inspiring?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 29 2013 12:59 utc | 79

I am sorry for asking such a question, but: Where are the actual written documents and evidences which back Snowdens allegations? Did he just "say the NSA does this and this" (guardian, greenwald interview) or has he released at least some kind of written document in which he specifies what exactly he witnessed and who exactly did it? Id be happy for any hint. Ciao

Posted by: Kal | Jul 29 2013 13:11 utc | 80

The slides, Kal. Many appeared in WaPo, some in Guardian, some in the Brazilian paper O Globo. All the slides are marked Top Secret. When the first batch appeared, some people remarked that they were very amateurishly made, which is true. But I don't think that's unusual, and I've seen lots of military briefing slides. Strictly speaking they aren't slides, they're PowerPoint images.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 29 2013 13:23 utc | 81

@guest77 #75
Griping about the rich is a waste of time and removes the focus from where it should be -- making a living in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 29 2013 13:33 utc | 82

I am sorry for asking such a question, but: Where are the actual written documents and evidences which back Snowdens allegations?
There is only a sealed (i.e. secret) complaint against Snowden, and a lot of BS.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 29 2013 13:34 utc | 83

Here's a map of Sinai, showing US military base and terror incidents.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 29 2013 14:39 utc | 84

Good news department-

DefenseNews, Jul 24, 2013

Pro-defense Bloc Crumbling in US Congress

WASHINGTON — Time and again, the US House last week considered amendments to a Pentagon spending bill. And each time, unlikely coalitions of Republicans and Democrats voted to divert funds from Afghanistan projects, slash war spending — and nearly kill a controversial anti-terrorism program.

An examination of vote records reveals a pattern that exposes fissures in what Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dubbed Capitol Hill’s “solid center” that since 9/11 “always” supported defense issues.

Time and again, members of this once-solid pro-defense voting bloc rejected spending hundreds of billions of dollars on new Afghanistan infrastructure projects and even on the country’s security forces, which White House and Pentagon officials say is the key to keeping out the Taliban and al-Qaida after US troops leave.

Time and again, once pro-defense members joined other Republicans and Democrats to form a deficit-slashing voting bloc that reflects the priorities of many Americans and an increasing number of their representatives.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 29 2013 14:47 utc | 85

#81, It is the equality, solidarity part that is missing from the freedom part in the US.

People who are able to make a living are supposed to share. Not everybody is in that position. And things are bound to change throughout your life.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 29 2013 17:01 utc | 86

"It is the equality, solidarity part that is missing from the freedom part in the US."
"Liberty, Hierarchy, and the devil take the hindmost." Is that what you mean?

Posted by: bevin | Jul 29 2013 17:59 utc | 87

@81,83 thanx.I think its bizarre those slides arent shown (even if theyre sealed bla) around the world. There is something disturbing about snowden. I went to a rally in my german hometown on saturday, and political parties, representing the controlled opposition such as die linke, die Grünen und natürlich die Piraten were shouting out slogans like "edward snowden is our hero" and "stop stop watching us". The speeches at the end of the rally were watered down fluffy-feel-good stuff, nothing subversive whatsoever. One guy who held a speech even said "we can be thankful the americans were protecting us from terrorist attack after 9/11 BUT, now enough is enough, yada yada"...I still think snowden is a good PR/ limited hangout. Apparently noone cares about it. We were about 400 in a city of 200.000 to take to the streets. Usual sheeples were lookin with that IDontKnowWhatToDo-Grin...

Posted by: Kal | Jul 29 2013 18:16 utc | 88

They may not be shown on TV - I don't have a TV, so I don't know. But I have accepted for a long time that people who don't take the trouble to look for things on the Internet just won't find out about them. As it is, they are rather too scattered for my taste: When I wrote 81 I tried to find the collected slides (to go on calling them that) on WaPo and Guardian but they didn't seem to have had the good sense to collect them all at one URL and mark it. But let me just show you some which I copied:
and here is the whole set of nine PRISM slides:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 29 2013 18:45 utc | 89

@89, thnx, ive been searching the inet for it, and all it came up with "Snowden released documents", "he has files", "Snowden has had access to classified documents"...But anyway thanks!

Posted by: Kal | Jul 29 2013 19:53 utc | 90

Al Jazeera, Mohammed Ayoob

Israel-Palestine negotiations: The road to nowhere

Settlements are rendering a two-state solution an impossibility and upcoming negotiations are little more than a sham.

Why is it then that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so eager to push both parties into another set of negotiations that are highly likely to be not only unproductive but counterproductive, by fuelling Palestinian anger by their failure and thus bringing us a step closer to the inevitable third intifada? The answer is simple. The United States needs Israel and the Palestinian Authority to start negotiations for the sake of negotiations well before the UN General Assembly convenes in September so that it can be spared another major embarrassment on the issue of Palestinian statehood when the General Assembly convenes. If Kerry can demonstrate that an American-sponsored peace process is underway he can forestall criticism both of Israel and of the United States in the General Assembly for lack of progress toward Palestinian statehood.

The primary reason for the Kerry initiative is to deflect international criticism of the United States for its failure to stop Israeli colonisation of the West Bank which is rendering Palestinian statehood impossible. It has become increasingly clear to seasoned observers of the Middle East that Washington's inability to make a dent in Israel's settlement policy is not only a question of the tail wagging the dog; it demonstrates that on the Palestine issue the dog and the tail have switched roles.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 30 2013 0:51 utc | 91

@Kal: The slides are not sealed, Rowan was referring to the idicment against Snowden. The slides are widely available. See:

@Don "Griping about the rich is a waste of time and removes the focus from where it should be -- making a living in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be."


I do get the impression that you've got a pretty secure life in a rural environment, well apart from most of the interactions that a lot of people are dealing with these days. You may have done it all yourself and chosen well, I don't know. But that's not everyone's life Don. If we all moved out to the rural South West... well you'd likely find you'd have a lot more to gripe about yourself.

So when you suggest one not "gripes" as you call it and takes "the world as it is" - to in essence keep ones mouth shut and just get along - tell me, where does it end? If your home is foreclosed on, do I "make a living in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be" and keep my mouth shut and take it? When the rent is raised but my pay is not, do I "make a living in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be" and keep my mouth shut? If the kids are sick and insurance just wont pay: suck it up and take it? And when the Border Patrol threatens you on what used to be a quiet county road do I suggest you quit "griping" about the BP and just accept this new order?

No, I don't Don. I've got too much respect for you as a fellow who seems to see what is going on in this world. I know that those same things that are closing in on you are the same things closing in on me. And I know who is the cause of it and I know they'll strangle every last one of us if it means they get to have a little more of what there is to have in this world.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 30 2013 1:26 utc | 92

@ guest77 #92
It isn't black and white, there's always a need for balance.
I can assure you that I've devoted time and treasure to fighting the system, marching, anti-war website, etc but still I recognize that I haven't changed a thing, and that's okay because I will survive and be happy with the one life that I have, which is mainly the one I've created between my ears.


Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. . .

However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him. . .

I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then?

I could quote Thoreau forever. Have you read Walden recently? That's the way I live, in my trailer, and I recommend it. (I was living in a VW bus for 5 years when I met my woman, and she upscaled me.) I've been on this orb for 76 years, so I think I'm qualified to give advice. No doubt you will too, when you're "elderly" also. Hah.

Anyhow, I'm going to Washington state this week. Do some hiking, including 104 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail with the Sierra Club. Just got back from a 74 mile backpack in the Sierras, 11,000 feet altitude plus. I'm mentioning this because out there is where the real truth is, and the real America too. You can't BS a tree, and wish a hill with a 1600 foot gain away. They are what they are. Thoreau knew, in 1840. That's where I'm at. I recommend it, on any level. Get as close to nature as you can, and don't anguish over the BS and the bad times of the rich and famous. And read Thoreau.

I don't like to get this personal, but you asked for it, and you're worth it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 30 2013 2:32 utc | 93

The problem with "the rich" is that, in order to protect their gains (which are almost invariably 'ill-gotten'), they corrupt society.

Fearing democracy, (for little reason, because most poor people do not envy the wealthy their vulgar displays and empty gluttony, but merely ask that the priority in the distribution of the wealth that labour creates should be to feed the hungry, minister to the sick, illuminate the prospects of the youthful and sustain the vulnerable) they overwhelm it by monopolising the media, buying up representation and poisoning rational discussion.

My gripe with the rich is that they have used their wealth to buy the Supreme Court and the Presidency, Congress and the various states, to get them all to work together to make the rich richer by devouring the wherewithal of the poor and the weak. Civil rights, privacy, judicial impartiality, respect for international law, the Bill of Rights, honour, all are co-lateral damage in the war waged to defend wealth.

My gripe with the Koch brothers is the government of Wisconsin, Stand Your Ground laws, the Federalist Five on the Supreme Court and a Federal bench full of apologists for kicking the shit out of prisoners shackled to the ground. I'm sure that, personally, they are as charming as the average Kiwani or Lion. More so in all likelihood.

Apart from the power they buy, let them do as they wish. They are boring, light minded people, the real "sheeple" who loom so large in the eyes of sneering elitists, are none other than the conformist, cowardly, greedy, tasteless, selfish and thoroughly un-original rich.

That's my gripe with them: let them get on with consuming until they explode, I don't care. But first let us reserve the milk of mothers, for babies, the medicines of the sick and the pensions of the elderly from the excess in which they wallow. And let us reintroduce the regulations that were designed to prevent greedy people from blowing up whole communities in Quebec to save a man's salary.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 30 2013 2:48 utc | 94

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28, 2013 3:33:39 PM | 63

the zionist entity likes to call itself the 'only democracy' in a region of arab dictatorships..but without the alliance with those dictatorships, israel would have vanished from the pages of time ages ago

Posted by: brian | Jul 30 2013 5:00 utc | 95

#93 from Thoreau, Walden

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday's liberty for the rest. Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there? You boast of spending a tenth part of your income in charity; maybe you should spend the nine tenths so, and done with it. Society recovers only a tenth part of the property then. Is this owing to the generosity of him in whose possession it is found, or to the remissness of the officers of justice?

There is also the Thoreau who came out in support of John Brown. I

Posted by: somebody | Jul 30 2013 12:33 utc | 96

@Kal: The slides are not sealed, Rowan was referring to the idicment against Snowden. The slides are widely available.
No, I was referring to the slides, because that's what Kal asked about. S/he didn't ask, "what is the evidence they've got against Snowden," s/he asked:
Where are the actual written documents and evidences which back Snowdens allegations? Did he just "say the NSA does this and this" (guardian, greenwald interview) or has he released at least some kind of written document in which he specifies what exactly he witnessed and who exactly did it?
In other words, what evidence did Snowden offer? And the answer is, the slides, of which there are apparently 41 in total, and of which we have seen so far, I think, 10. This is the original story, from before Snowden even identified himself. It says "slides and supporting materials":
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 30 2013 13:30 utc | 97

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jul 28, 2013 3:20:43 PM | 7
american + NSA = superliars

Posted by: brian | Jul 30 2013 16:59 utc | 98

@somebody #96
Thoreau said that he came into the world not to change it but to live in it -- and then he set about changing it. But, and my point is, he didn't let nasty world conditions keep him from living live to the fullest, with self-development (not world change) being at the top of the list. Life didn't rule him -- he ruler his life.

The lesson he had learned, and which he tried to teach to others, can be summed up in one word: Simplify. That meant simplify the outward circumstances of your life, simplify your needs and your ambitions, and learn to delight in the simple pleasures afforded by nature. It meant also to scorn popular opinion, refuse to accept the common definitions of success, and refuse to be moved by the judgment of others. And don't just think that they are good ideas, but practice them.

"Direct your eye right inward,
A thousand regions in your mind
Yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be
Expert in home-cosmography."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 30 2013 17:27 utc | 99

Where is all the media hype of the latest massacre in Syria? well, maybe this explains...

West war crimes in Syria exposed

Posted by: too many wtf | Jul 30 2013 17:51 utc | 100

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