Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 24, 2013

Have Some Nice Days ...

To all of us some contemplative, hope- and peaceful holidays. May the walls come down.

Picture courtesy of the Bethlehem Association

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on December 24, 2013 at 9:00 UTC | Permalink

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You too, Bernhard. Let it not be marred by ignorant or worse, malicious attacks from the anti-anti-Semite brigade, which I have discovered over the last 24 hrs is not dead yet.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 24 2013 9:27 utc | 1

Egypt PM labels MB 'terrorist' group after bomb kills 14
AFP, Dec 24 2013

CAIRO - Egypt's premier today declared the Muslim Brotherhood movement a "terrorist" group, after a car bomb ripped through a police building and killed at least 14 people. An Egyptian court has already banned the activities of the MB, while the interim military-installed authorities have often accused the group of funding and training militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula. Today's move to declare the MB a "terrorist" organisation will likely be seen as a further push by the interim authorities to isolate the movement ahead of the constitutional referendum. PM Hazem Beblawi's statement came after a powerful car bomb tore through a police headquarters in Mansoura early Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, mostly policemen, said medics and officials. Egyptian security sources said the explosion in the city, north of Cairo, was massive and a part of the building had caved in. Medics said the bombing wounded more than 100 people. "The majority of the casualties are from the police. The explosion was caused by a car bomb," Omar al-Shawatsi, the governor of Daqahleya, of which Mansoura is the capital, told state media. The impact of the explosion was felt around 20 km away and shattered windows of nearby buildings, the security sources said. The head of security for Daqahleya, Sami El-Mihi, was wounded in the blast and two of his aides were killed, security sources said.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 24 2013 9:34 utc | 2

Information Clearing Housensometimes makes mistakes . It has posted a 0has a piece on ex Guantanao inmate Moazzam Begg by the Guardian about and his having his passport confiscated, andon suspicion of terrorism may surprise ICH to know he is no innocent re syria

My letter to his site: Cageprisoners, showing he supports the jihadis in their waqr on syria

the ICH article:
Home Office Confiscates Moazzam Begg's Passport Following Syria Trip

Former Guantánamo detainee says his campaign against state complicity in torture and rendition is real reason for move

for once Her Majestys govts suspicions are on the money

Posted by: brian | Dec 24 2013 10:21 utc | 3

Isn't it interesting that the MB HQ is now in London, doubtless with the blessings of MI5 & MI6. The MB condemned the Egyptian bomb attack in an emailed statement from the group’s London press office released hours after the explosion. The statement said: "The MB condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on the police headquarters in Mansoura. The MB considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 24 2013 10:26 utc | 4

A far-fetched theory to go with the above, would be that Britain now backs the MBs, who are very much not the Saudis' preferred thing, in order to give the 'West' yet more deniability relative to whatever the hell the Saudis are doing.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 24 2013 11:20 utc | 5

Muchas appreciados, b, for another year's worth of excellent work!

Posted by: ahji | Dec 24 2013 11:30 utc | 6

Have a blessed Winter festivities/Xmas and happy new year to b and all her commentators/readers.

Posted by: Irshad | Dec 24 2013 12:14 utc | 7

Thank you for posting that about Mr Begg. One would thought that after being incacerated in Guantanamo Bay amd accused of terrorism, Mr Begg will stay away from jihadist hotspots like Syria. But this story shows the quanderry the BritishMuslim community finds itself in. A lot of them see the Syria crisis in a good v evil scenario where an opressed Sunni population is fighting to topple an evil dictator. A lot of them seriously worry and care about the humanitarian situation that Syrian refugees are facing. However a lot of Muslim institutions are either Salafi/MB orientated so they peddle the good v evil nonesense to the heedless masses. On top of that you have Saudi money/patronage that influences a significant portion of influential scholars. The onese who are not under salafi influence are influenced bu the propaganda of the Turkish govt and movements, who tend to be more anti-salafi and more pro-sufi orientated. So you have the 2 sids of the muslim Community who are stuck with negative anti-Syria propaganda which has now turned sectarian thanks to Suadi preachers and their media. One cannot have a reasoned debate with people as they are wmotionally charged and believe Gods on their side in battling with Bashar. Unfortunately the behaviour of Palestinian groups such as Hamas in this crisis did not help. Now Palestine is in tje back burner as WB is taken over by settlement and Jerusalem is Judaized with plans to allow Jews to enter the Haram al-Sharif sanctuary. 3 years ago there were convoys from UK to Palestine. Nowadays there are convoys of aid to Syria. I watched Al Jazeera last night and they showed the alleged govt bombing of Aleppo. One of the vehicles hit was an ex-NHS ambulance from Rochdale still in its priginal NHS ambulance colors! A lot of people gona have a shock when reality hits them!

Posted by: Irshad | Dec 24 2013 12:29 utc | 8

@1 Yes Rowan, Christmas time and seeing images of the apartheid wall are times we all reflect on how tough it is out here on the internet.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. Peace on Earth!

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 24 2013 13:25 utc | 9

Take note of a "pussy" hypocrisy on the part of the New York Times, the West's "paper of record." It has no problem printing the Russian Punk collective's name, Pussy Riot. But it can't bring itself to print the name of Syracuse Punk band Perfect Pussy. Different standards for artistic freedom; I guess when you're fighting a Cold War exceptions can be made.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Dec 24 2013 14:24 utc | 10

Happiness and health to all who frequent MoA. Thanks b!

Posted by: ben | Dec 24 2013 15:06 utc | 11

Re #10, apart from the "unprintable name," what I like best is the all too printable names of the philanthropists who made this display of respectable and even venerable "hardcore" possible. It took place in "the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium of NYU’s Kimmel Center."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 24 2013 15:53 utc | 12

Oh lookie!!! A global emergency is one hell of a business opportunity!!

Golly gee, lets get Bechtel or Halliburton in there...maybe Blackwater will be kind enough to provide security. After all, why not use the experts at fleecing the American taxpayer?? Undoubtedly, some sharp Japanese diplomat can figure out a way to get us to cover the tab. Just bribe a DC slut or two.

Are you fuckin' kidding me??? This emergency is gonna get the cooperation, of the corporate scumbag segment of our nation, while Japan refuses the asssistance of the global scientific community???

"RT: Experts say Japan is obviously failing to safely clean up the plant and needs help from outside. Do you agree?"

"AK: I do agree. I think it’s very difficult for Japan to do that for reasons of national pride and also because as soon as you bring the outsiders it upsets the thing they call a “nuclear village,” that’s a term we use in Japan for the scientists, the academics, the bureaucrats, the politicians and the contractors, operators in these cozy interrelated situations when anyone who comes in from outside and demands some kind of openness and professionalism will upset that nice situation. So it’s very difficult to actually bring them in and make use of them"

Interesting that an extensive internet search does not yield the discovery of the NRC beseeching nuclear scientists to render assistance. But hey, The Department of Commerce is Johnny On The Spot.


Let no disaster go to waste.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 24 2013 16:48 utc | 13

From November 2nd.....

"TEPCO accepts US offer to aid dangerous Fukushima cleanup"


“Secretary Moniz and I became consistent through our talking today with the necessity of further strengthening cooperation, to contribute to the nuclear power and decommissioning industry not only between the two countries but throughout the world, by sharing and accumulating technology and knowledge towards the stability and decommissioning of the power station,” Hirose said in a statement published on TEPCO’s website." End excerpt.

So, what did US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz do, immediately turn it over to the private sector, through the Commerce Department?

Note that TEPCO president Naomi Hirose welcomes the help of the "nuclear power and decommissioning INDUSTRY".

Just what we need, eh? Industry insiders and advocates for nuclear energy running the show over there.

Heres a typical blathering of an industry insider, prattled out a day after 3/11.....

"Radiation levels inside the containment will be many times higher than usual, but that is okay because no one needs routine access inside containment buildings and no humans will be over exposed. The containment walls, reactor coolant piping, and other equipment inside the containment building will condense and capture much of the radioactive materials that are entrained in the water. Other than those vented noble gases mentioned above, essentially nothing will be released to the environment"

So, nuclear industry companies are being welcomed in? Why, because they'll conceal the scope of the emergency. Are we to think Tepco's incompetency, dishonesty, and lack of openess is an anomaly unique within the industry?

And where is this mealy mouthed piece of shit Obama during this whole clusterfuck unfolding in Japan? Have we heard one single peep out of him about this global calamity?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 24 2013 17:07 utc | 14

church and wall.

Christ and anti christ.

the people of walls will hate into oblivion.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 24 2013 17:40 utc | 15

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and New Year, to b and to all here at MoA.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 24 2013 17:49 utc | 16

Season's Greetings to one and all who have contributed to MOA over the last year, and best wishes to all for a fruitful continuation of our on-going conversations in 2014. Naturally, this greeting applies especially to our moderator, for whose praise every superlative seems barely adequate. There are, however, many other regular contributors whose writings enrich this site, and I would like to express my particular thanks to those whose postings I most eagerly await to read with interest, edification, and intellectual stimulation. Among those are b himself, Bevin, Copeland, POA, Rowan Berkeley, Juan Moment, and many others including some like Remembering Giap and b real who were more active here in the past. I like to think that these and other regular contributors are striving to understand the political mechanics of the world we live in, and to confront their disparate analyses with those of others, both in their common points and in their opposed polarities. It is understandable that divergent views occasionally lead to fiery repartee, but I hope that our hosts openness to diverse opinions will continue to permeate not only his contributions, but all those who come to share in furthering our joint dialectic. Thanks again to all of you, and Happy Holidays.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 24 2013 18:23 utc | 17

@ 13: " Let no disaster go to waste."

Yep, here's the book...

Posted by: ben | Dec 24 2013 18:30 utc | 18


As you might know by now, I'm a huge respecter of Naomi. In my opinion, her "Bagdad Year Zero" deserved a Pullitzer.

But, uh, I guess we reserve such awards for those that actually deserve them, such as this wonderful peacenik Obama winning the....oh, never mind.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 24 2013 18:46 utc | 19

Happy Christmas, Bernhard. Thanks for the picture and for all you do.

Having declined many opportunities to 'sign' a Christmas card to Barack Obama, I finally sent him one of my own “I, Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 2009, swear that I will start no more wars for the duration of my presidency, no matter how much my ‘friends’ clamor for me to do so.” Maybe one of the 'volunteers' reading his mail will realize just how dangerous are the straits we navigate this Christmas.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 24 2013 20:35 utc | 20

Merry Christmas to b and all and pray for the liberation of Palestine and the end of the satan state,and for the victory of Syria who gave the world the message of Christ.Let us remember that Christianity started spreading from Damascus to the rest of the world.

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 24 2013 21:08 utc | 21

Merry Christmas to all.....let us hope for sanity, justice and peace.."b", the best to you for maintaining this site.....

Posted by: georgeg | Dec 24 2013 22:51 utc | 22

"In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles"

"But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”)."

"Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”"

"There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”."

....continues at the "The New Statesman" website.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 24 2013 22:55 utc | 23

A Very Merry Christmas to all in the sense of the celebration before the birth of Jesus. In the sense of the solstice celebration, the celebration of the end of the darkness and the coming back into the light.

But lets also give Jesus his due:

Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth anti-death penalty anti-public prayer (m6:5): but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shaming middle eastern jew.
John Fugelsang - tip of the hat to Ukiah Blog

Posted by: juannie | Dec 24 2013 22:55 utc | 24

enjoy the madness of civilization-in-decline as best you can, fellow moon bats. it's been a long time since I've shared a poem here, so in the spirit of Christmas in America, I offer an original poem, titled KILLING FROSTY:


war against the snow
use chemicals and sand
use shovels, trucks, and salt
use anything you can

I don’t trust your snowman
the dark coal of his eyes
that pointy carrot nose
and stick arms reaching high

look away, snowman
or I will stand my ground
reveal what I carry
then bravely shoot you down

that’s just how it is
that’s simply how it goes
when the white stuff falls
war against the snow

—William Skink

Posted by: lizard | Dec 24 2013 23:27 utc | 25

ever wonder why no jihadis attack israel?

Syria 24 English
This is a tweet by one of the prominent Wahhabi cleric,Mohammad Al #Arifi and it says:

"Some of the brothers have asked us about waging war inside Israel- we say to them, Jihad is not allowed in countries where there is peace - such as Saudi Arabia,Israel and Qatar... "

We must remember that this man was among the blood-thirsty Wahhabi clerics that gave the 'Fatwa' to kill all Syrians that are supporters of the Syrian government and rape the women. But to this criminal Jihad against the terrorist Israeli regime is not allowed.....

Posted by: brian | Dec 25 2013 1:06 utc | 26

Israel Passes U.S. Military Technology to China : conspiracy

Happy Christmas everyone!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 25 2013 8:43 utc | 27

Prompted by Juannie and Lizard, let me add an ol favorite of mine.

Comrade Jesus Christ

He was born in Asia Minor
A colonized Jewish man
His father the village carpenter
Worked wood in his occupied land
He was apprenticed to his father’s trade
His country paid it’s dues
To the colonial Roman conquerors
He was a working-class Jew

Though conceived three months out of wedlock
The stigma never stuck
He began a three year public life
But he never made a buck
Because he spoke out against injustice
Saw that capitalism bled the poor
He attacked self-righteous hypocrites
And he condemned the lawyers’ law

But they’ve commercialised his birthday now
The very people he defied
And they’ve sanctified their system
And claim he’s on their side!
But if he appeared tomorrow
He’d still pay the highest cost
Being a ‘radical agitator’
They’d still nail him to a cross

You see
He’d stand with the down trodden masses
Identify with the weak and oppressed
He’d condemn the hypocrites in church pews
And the affluent, arrogant West
He’d oppose Stalinist totalitarianism
The exploitation of millions by one
And ‘peace’ through mutual terror
And diplomacy from the barrel of a gun

He’d fight with Joe Hill and Waleca
Mandala and Friere
Try to free the third world’s millions
From hunger and despair
He’d stand with the peasants
At the pock-marked walls
They’d haul him in on bail
He’d condemn all forms of apartheid
And he’d rot in their stinking jails.

He’d denounce all dictatorships
And Mammon’s greed
And the exploitation of others for gain
He’d oppose the nuclear madness
And the waging of wars in his name
He’d mix with prostitutes and sinners
Challenge all to cast the first stone
A compassionate agitator
One of the greatest the world has known

He’d condemn all corrupt law and order
Tear man made hierarchies down
He’d see status and titles as dominance
And the politics of greed he’d hound
He’d fight against
The leagues of the Ku Klux Klan
And the radical, racist right
One of the greatest humanitarian socialists
Was comrade,
Jesus Christ.

Kev Carmody
Australian Singer / Songwriter

And for those interested in listening to a song of his, enjoy Thou Shalt Not Steal

Posted by: Juan Moment | Dec 25 2013 9:54 utc | 28

Interesting reports coming out this week, in re 'No Blowback for KSA'. Apparently the Arab oil emirates have been doubling their proven reserves estimates, in sort of a little boys peeing contest, and with oil production collapsing in Iraqi and Libyan civil war strife, together with early-tailoff in production of other MENA oil fields, the world is about to make KSA the richest royals in human history. Mirrored in this report is a similar one on the fracking 'boom' in America, which appears to be wildly over-hyped, as Montana, for an example, is already seeing driller bankruptcies and 1,000s of abandoned wells left uncapped, now the provenance of the sucker public taxpayer to clean up. This is expected to spread across the country in only 3 to 5 years, stopping only at Pennsylvania, and perhaps New York, which seem to have more significant reserves. What this means for America is our turn towards 'self-sufficiency' is a charade, and selling our surplus to China malfeasance, and converting our power production from coal to gas criminal neglect. Together with the war drums beating for a Carbon Tithe on gasoline and heating oil, by the time Hillary is firmly ensconced in office, the US should be tipping into a New Recession, and Americans will have the choice, once again, of paying rent, then buying groceries, or else buying fuel, or else paying for their national healthcare, but not all of the above. With the climate clearly getting colder, that means more frozen to death fixed income. Does AHA cover thawing and reanimation? Because you know Hillary's attitude: 'Who cares!?"

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Dec 25 2013 11:15 utc | 29

Others will probably have already noted this Stanley Fischer's possible move to the FED cited at Pat Lang's SST site.
Fisher has solid academic and professional credentials, but, as both
Lang and the post cited suggest, the problems raised by his activities as a dual national seem substantial, indeed insurmountable if one invokes the traditional criteria governing appointment of officials charged with defending the interests of U.S. citizens. I doubt, however, that it will be possible to create sufficient public pressure to ensure a serious debate regarding Fischer's impending nomination, much less to stop it. Nevertheless, one can hope that the rather blatant character of this power-play will foster further investigation of the unobtrusive but pervasive Israeli penetration of key control points of U.S. economic governance: not only the position which Fischer is slated to occupy at the Fed, but also U.S. Treasury Department's division for "Terrorism and Financial Intelligence" and the "Office of Foreign Asset Control".
I would welcome informed comment on these matters since my knowledge is quite limited, and they seem to lie close to the intersection between "conspiracy theories" and "verifiable facts found in the public record". One can scarcely believe that the scheduling of the investigation and ratification of this appointment during the holiday seasons (when the public is most distracted with its own private affairs and the Senate is not in session) is merely a coincidence.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 25 2013 11:24 utc | 30

Algal Biohydrogen Production From Water. The problem is that 'our' neoliberal corporate economic structure puts the greediest, most ruthless, and simultaneously most stupid people on earth in charge.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 25 2013 11:26 utc | 31


Americans have been deliberately brainwashed since Legend of Sleepy Hollow over a 100 years ago that jihadis are some kind of wraithe-monsters. They're not. They're businessmen and patriots. Daniel Boone and William Henry Harrison were jihadis. The Israelis are first of all about business, and zionism, an extreme form of mafia protectionism. They take American foreign aid money, and recycle it into baaksheesh, a trick our own politicians use, as for example, in 2009, when Hillary and Milliband unilaterally grifted Karzai $5 BILLION a year stolen from US humanitarian aid funds, and popped it right into Karzai's Bank of Kabul. Of course, he lost it all on Dubai R/E speculation, proving that he's not a jihadi, and that Americans are poor judges of whom to pay off. Heck, Jefferson bribed the Barbary Pirates!

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Dec 25 2013 11:27 utc | 32


What can Werner hold up as a viable tree-spiking model? Algeria against the French? No, that would be the obverse model. His model are the French intelligencia who demonstrated against Algerian colonialism. You remember their famous names ... ummm ... Instead there were the Évian Accords, which lead to the commercialization of sparkling bottled water. : )

Naomi knows better. She's playing the same role as Arafat. A journalistic rice bowl. All the dozens of climate models have missed the observed data, all of them. By far. Loss of tilth and desertification caused by deforestation and non-renewable irrigation are the cause. And when has a Warmist ever chewed on their sweater about tilth or deforestation?

Warmism is a Globalist screed, used by international capitalists to aggregrate artisanal lands for biofuels, 880,000 square MILES of pristine forest and prairie put to the plow for Globalist GMO biofuels plantations just last year alone. If these Globalist Wahhabis need cadres of tree spikers, well, it won't be too difficult to find Cli-Fi fodder.

But if these refuseniks seriously believe they can stop capitalism by not taking showers and cutting back on Starbucks, ...proof of 1980s genetic brain damage carryover to today.

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Dec 25 2013 11:41 utc | 33

... they seem to lie close to the intersection between "conspiracy theories" and "verifiable facts found in the public record"... Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 25, 2013 6:24:18 AM | 30
I think the reason they seem that way is that a very vigorous thought control program is in operation to draw a cordon sanitaire between discussion of 'zionists' on the one hand, which has evidently been forced into legitimacy by elements of the 'progressive' bourgeois Left, most eminently Jewish ones; and on the other hand the discussion of Jewish sectional interest within the USA itself, which is still strichtig verboten, as I discovered when Louis Proyect offered to punch my teeth down my throat. In fact the strength of the strichtig is all the greater according to the trade-off which has evidently been made, because allowing discussion of 'zionists' increases the risk of it. This is similar to what happens according to psychoanalysis, when a prohibition is lifted and adjacent prohibitions have to be strengthened.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 25 2013 11:45 utc | 34

according to this report. Ford is still US ambassador to syria! but his diplomatic value is his ties to the insurgency! Imagine if an ambassador to US was there to aid a coup d'etat by terrorists

The Cable said the White House has decided to keep Robert Ford in his current position as the US ambassador to Damascus, Syria because Egyptian authorities indicated they did not want him as the US envoy to Cairo over his ties to militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“He’s absolutely the wrong person for this job, at least right now,” an unnamed Arab diplomat familiar with the case told The Cable.

White House officials confirmed that Ford was not welcomed by Egyptian officials but also said the diplomat’s ties to Syrian militants were so important for Washington that it will keep him in the Arab country.

Posted by: brian | Dec 25 2013 12:43 utc | 35

Americans have been deliberately brainwashed since Legend of Sleepy Hollow over a 100 years ago that jihadis are some kind of wraithe-monsters. They're not. They're businessmen and patriots. Daniel Boone and William Henry Harrison were jihadis....

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Dec 25, 2013 6:27:29 AM | 31

LOLOLOL what!? wacko

lets see an eg of your businessmen and patriots in action:

Footage of a huge 'martyrdom' truck bombing by the Nusra Front outside Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo which was recently overrun by insurgent groups after a long siege.

A recent innovation has been the use of customised armour plated vehicles designed to continue their advance even if they come under fire allowing them to reach their target when previously it might have been impossible.

Suicide attacks have become a key tactic in the conflict with Al Qaeda linked opposition groups known to have carried out dozens, many of them instrumental in bringing about key victories.

listen to the ALLAH AKBARS and the rerun of the bombing with great many businesssmen do this, and how can foreign jihadis be syrian patriots!

Posted by: brian | Dec 25 2013 12:47 utc | 36

happy holidays all - thanks b for keeping this site lit, a dependable oasis in a desert of derelict - and cheers to those who contribute info & insights

Posted by: b real | Dec 25 2013 13:36 utc | 37

Thanking b. and friends for the ongoing gift of this lively whiskey bar. Peace please, a long tall draught of peace. Chin chin.

Posted by: d.l.finn | Dec 25 2013 17:33 utc | 38

thanks for another year b. for always being here. peace everyone.

Posted by: annie | Dec 25 2013 17:47 utc | 39


Posted by: beq | Dec 25 2013 21:19 utc | 41

Not a part of the world you focus on, but China Matters does a good job of taking apart a Washington Post propaganda piece on Colombia. Well worth a read.

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 25 2013 22:45 utc | 42

I'd like to say some thanks, too, for this good site, to b and to many of you regular commentators. This place is a nice refuge with open-minded and often smart views. Cheers folks.

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 25 2013 22:55 utc | 43

I tried to post this once and it got lost. So this time, I'll just offer a link and a quote:
...some of the nastiest, unreconstructed Cold War counterinsurgency operations in the world are conducted in Colombia under the U.S. aegis. Death squads and the largest number of IDPs (Internally Displaced Population) in the world (5 million! Five times the number in Sudan or the DR Congo!) matter less to the US government than preventing the strategic and diplomatic embarrassment of Colombia joining Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela in the ranks of left-dominated anti-US regimes in Latin America.

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 25 2013 23:07 utc | 44

The top officials of the government of Egypt do not speak rationally or reasonably. They do not make sense. That much is clear to me (whereas I'm unclear about the depth, breadth and sustainability of the political opposition). The incoherence and nonsense coming from the government is an omen and prognostic of big troubles for Egypt in the upcoming few years.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 25 2013 23:16 utc | 45

Although they seem to be few in numbers, those here interested in the Fukushima clusterfuck might enjoy this debate...

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 25 2013 23:22 utc | 46

★ Syrian Patriot ★ @yusef_al_azma 2h
This is #Syria: Syrians visiting their soldiers and celebrating christmas with them at the checkpoints.
since the jihadis have outlawed christmas, this must incense them

Posted by: brian | Dec 25 2013 23:38 utc | 47

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 25, 2013 6:16:41 PM | 43

outlawing the MB as terrorists as was done in syria makes great sense...i totally approve of this action...cause they ARE terrorists and sort under Morsi to get the egyptian army to attack syria, and ordinary egyptians to go on jihad to syria

Posted by: brian | Dec 25 2013 23:41 utc | 48

Thanks POA. Your arguments are convincing, at least to me but I have a particular bias toward your position. I found it interesting that Rod seemed to drop out of the debate and leave it to his cheerleaders. Pathetic, but once again that’s from a biased standpoint.

Might I remind you

...the pretention and bias is palpable, so it becomes impossible to actually glean understandable science from any debate.
so why even bother. Other than to get you to do some serious homework, which is equally palpable.

Interesting that you were totally unaware before 3/11. You sure got up to speed quickly. If I had your gift for written discourse I would be writing a ton of letters to editors and posting on blogs like MoA where you would reach more open-minded audiences, that might see through complacency as the urgency was eventually recognized.

Anyway, I’m encouraged that you are out there making whatever noise you do to try to stem what seems inevitable.

Posted by: juannie | Dec 26 2013 1:04 utc | 49

Why do we build the wall, my children, my children?
We build the wall to keep us free, that's why we build the wall.
-Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown

emerging from occasional lurkage. solstice greetings to bernhard, uncle $cam, juannie, annie, beq, and all.

Posted by: catlady | Dec 26 2013 1:18 utc | 50

best of the season to b and the informative comments from many different posters. thanks and all the very best in the new year. thank you!

Posted by: james | Dec 26 2013 4:43 utc | 51

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 10 Dec
...government was democratically elected in 2010. Also, Yulia #Tymoshenko was a gas oligarch who made a fortune dubiously in the mid 1990s.

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 10 Dec
PT: It really needs to be pointed out to celebrities like George Clooney, who comment on things they know nothing about, that #Ukraine's...

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 10 Dec
What on earth does George Clooney know about #Ukraine?! His video came straight out of a Hollywood film. Full of banal small talk.
Marcus Papadopoulos @DrMarcusP 12 Dec
My live interview with RT on the ongoing situation in #Ukraine:

Posted by: brian | Dec 26 2013 4:55 utc | 52

Marcus Papadopoulos @DrMarcusP 24 Dec
Here is a link to my live interview with RT in which I discussed the West's frenzy over #Khodorkovsky :

Posted by: brian | Dec 26 2013 4:55 utc | 53

back in 2011, when Robert Ford was still US Ambassador-at-large in syria
Ford had joined in demos in HAMA with the 'opposition'

french embassy snipers shoot at dmonstrators

Posted by: brian | Dec 26 2013 5:35 utc | 54

Cuidate much B, gracias por tu excelente labor.

Posted by: Fernando | Dec 26 2013 7:02 utc | 55

Le Monde, getting creative to push Qatar agenda and support the Muslim Brothers:
title: A bomb explodes in Cairo without victims
article: A bomb explodes in a bus and makes 5 lightly injured

Prostitution in journalism is achieving new heights

Posted by: Mina | Dec 26 2013 9:23 utc | 56

interesting coincidence: movie about a COUP being made in a Thailand that has what looks like a coup(aka colour revolution) in action:

'Today, it’s Hollywood actor Owen Wilson, who’s found himself caught up in the Thai political debate.

Wilson is being accused of siding with anti-government protesters since a photo of him wearing a whistle with a Thai-flag strap wrapped around his neck went viral on Thai social networks.

Wilson himself was in Thailand in November for the shoot of his action-thriller movie The Coup.

Posted by: brian | Dec 26 2013 9:23 utc | 57

I found an article which refers to Ford as 'ex' Ambassador to Syria, but formally he still is Ambassador to Syria, even though he is officially committed to overturning the govt he is supposedly accredited to. The US just doesn't care any more about international protocol. They tore up the rule book. This is speaking metaphorically, but however metaphorical, the rule book of international protocol is almost as old as human history and more important to civilisation than any number of supposedly 'revealed' religious texts. The US just doesn't care any more, and in a sense it never did, because unlike the UK, which is based on a quite explicit political decision to create a synthetic national religion which would be a perfectly balanced compromise between all the naturally occurring religions, the US is based on Calvinism, the most intolerant and totalitarian form of Christianity ever created. Anyone who claims the US is not a confessional state is deluding themselves. So, as good Calvinists, they despise the rest of the world, because it isn't Calvinist, and hence isn't saved. This is a close parallel to the essential faith of Judaism, I suppose, but the mystery is this: because they resemble each other so closely, they ought to hate each other more than anyone else. This would be what Freud called "the narcissism of small differences." The only possible way in which they could not hate each other would be if one was suborned by the other, and was covertly in the other one's pocket. I invite you to draw whatever conclusions you can from this dubious piece of reasoning of mine.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 26 2013 9:52 utc | 58


US, French and Japanese companies have been working together on this since 3-11. The
consortium is to compare results, examine new technology and plan a course going forward.

"In August 2013, TEPCO admitted that up to 400 tons of contaminated water flows into the Pacific Ocean every day[118][119] and that an estimated 20 to 40 terabecquerels of tritium was lost into the sea since May 2011. Under its safety regulations and normal circumstances, TEPCO **was allowed to dump 22 terabecquerels per year**, but TEPCO admitted that there was no control and it was unknown when the tritium loss had started."

As they say in Tijuana, 'don't drink the water!'

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Dec 26 2013 9:57 utc | 59

Speaking of contemplation - at this time of Year, and Jews...

I'm hearing that Putin seems to be contemplating releasing all of GreenPeace's Arctic Oil Rig over-enthusiasts without further penalty - apart from scaring the crap out of them and taking them out of circulation for a few months. I'm pretty sure he didn't have any of them killed or maimed and I haven't heard them complain that any of them had their personal belongings looted/pilfered.

I'm comparing GreenPeace's experience with what the Jews did to the people on the Mavi Marmara. Imo the Mavi Marmara people were on a selfless mission of mercy, which makes their mission slightly less dangerous or threatening than the GreenPeace Arctic Oil Rig folks. Neither the GreenPeace folks nor the Mavi M folks were armed, and neither posed anything other than an imaginary threat to the safety of the people who intercepted and arrested them.

However, the difference in the way Russia reacted to GreenPeace, and the way the Jews over-reacted to the Mavi Marmara folks is worth remembering and contemplating at length and in detail.

The Jews, Bless their innocent little souls:
- killed 9 of the Mavi M folks, and bashed dozens more,
- told lots of porkies about them to justify their own insane cowardly violence,
- looted the persons and the belongings of the Mavi M folks (apparently God told them that was OK - again).

So if Obama is thinking about using GreenPeace as the basis of a new smear campaign against Putin, I hope he goes ahead with it and then has to be reminded what his "Israeli" friends did when faced with a similar non-threat.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26 2013 11:26 utc | 60

Meanwhile in Turkey there seems to be an open-out fight for power. Following the german (online) news and skimming through the occasional comments on spiegel-online, I get the impression that Erdogan is sitting on the brink of a colour revolution. Numerous statements indicate that he may soon have "lost all legitimacy"™.
I'm not that familiar with Turkey's politics, but it looks like the typical blueprint of Egypt and Ukrain in that there's a foreign-based Opposition (ok, there's probably a huge difference between Gülen and Klitschko, but Klitschko is very "freedom-oriented" and close to western politics, Gülen has his base in the US for ten odd years).
The way I see it, the syrian operation has brought some instabilities for the whole region, and relations are shifting everywhere at the moment; Greece, a direct neighbour, is taken over by the IMF, no one knows exactly what will happen in (or maybe: to) Iran.
To cut it short, my guess is that Erdogan's (party's) rule has come out of favor with western elites and he's to be replaced by Gülen (party).
Can anyone make sense of what's happening there and which turn Turkey's politics may take if one assumes that Erdogans time is over soon?

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 26 2013 11:41 utc | 61

Another thing about Turkey: can anyone point me to the "official" stance that Gülen has taken on Syria over the last two - or maybe more interesting, the last ten - years? I tried to google, but it looks as though at least Gülen himself hasn't given a single statement about that.

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 26 2013 11:46 utc | 62

laying down the gauntlett: if a 'democratic' government wants to use its military to invade another peoples country,kill the inhabitants and remove the 'democratic' government to favor religious extremists, noone should complain if the military decide to remove the belligerent government! #egypt

Posted by: brian | Dec 26 2013 13:34 utc | 63

In Iraq, more than 6,700 people have been killed in year 2013 in bomb attacks and similar politically motivated violence, according to AFP figures based on Iraqi security and medical sources. It is an average of 20 a day. It is the highest level of killing in Iraq since year 2008. 44 people were killed in bomb attacks yesterday.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 13:56 utc | 64

عام و أنتم بخير للجميع و سوريا و قائدها بالف خير. الله محيي الجيش.

Translates as wishing for a happy and successful year 2014 in Syria.

The Syrian army in year 2013 proved itself poor and weak at fighting the rebellion. There is no reason to believe the army can perform significantly better in year 2014. The situation is going to be a long slow slog again in 2014.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 14:17 utc | 65

Has anyone sorted what's going on in Turkey? Erdagon reshuffled his cabinet this morning, 3 more resigned, I can't make much sense of the graft and corruption charges that are being brought as it seems to me to be standard operating procedure in every govt in the world. Internal coup? Judiciary going rogue? WTF?

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 26 2013 15:03 utc | 66

Penny's latest on Syria:

Posted by: ben | Dec 26 2013 16:02 utc | 67

There is one quite illuminating theory about Turkey: it is that Erdogan & his cronies have been running a pretty massive sanctions-busting black market into Iran, and making many millions out of it, and that the USA want to get rid of him because of that. Thus, CIA's boy Gulen starts a conspiracy inside the police, as so often happens, especially in Turkey, to manufacture and plant fake evidence because real evidence is too well hidden.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 26 2013 16:07 utc | 68

From RT on Turkey:

Posted by: ben | Dec 26 2013 16:07 utc | 69

#68 I don't even think there's much need of planting evidence. Judging Turkey from afar, I'd agree with the idea that it's a massively corrupt system. It's more of who will publish their "evidence" and when. Maybe if they (say the Gülen movement) had come up with these allegations or evidence of corruption say 5 years ago, it would have been swept under the rug within days. Obviously some people think that now's the right time to come up with this stuff.
The trade they've done with Iran might make an explanation, as Ricciardone has seemingly demanded that turkish Halkbank "cut their ties" to Iran. link
Maybe what's happening now is retaliation for that or maybe just a warning.

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 26 2013 17:05 utc | 70

Yes, that's the case I mean. I found a couple of items on it: Erdogan replaces 10 ministers amid corruption scandal, AP, Dec 26 2013 and this one from a fortnight ago: Iranian gold stars in Turkish corruption scandal, Al-Monitor, Dec 13 2013. But I assure you there is a pattern of false evidence on a large scale even in cases that presumably do have a real basis. I noticed it during the Ergenekon - Sledgehammer affairs, and at first I was very confused by it. One exceptionally confusing possibility would be that of "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold", the basic plotline of which is that MI6 plants false evidence against someone in the Stasi who actually is one of their agents, so that it will be discovered and the repercussions of that will perversely serve to shore up the credibility of their agent. But I don't think Turkey is quite that subtle. To evaluate possibilities in such a case, you have to find out whether the Public Prosecutor's Office is in the pocket of the police, or is serving the same masters that they are serving, because it's the Public Prosecutor whom the police would have to convince.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 26 2013 17:18 utc | 71

In the following two videos from Syria recorded on 27 November 2013, rebels from the group "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" publicly execute seven rebels who were affiliated with another rebel group. The executed rebels were accused of looting in Aleppo City, and were executed for that reason. The announcer at the scene says the executions are done in the name of "the Islamic people of Syria". A big black banner overhead says "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria". The executions took place in the town of Al-Atareb in western Aleppo province. I remember in year 2012, when the Syrian army was still fighting for control in Al-Atareb, the town was largely empty of people and was a war-zone. In this video from a month ago, the town is repopulated with loads of rebels -- many hundreds of rebels are watching the executions -- and the rebels are completely in control of the town. The government has withdrawn from the contest in this town.
Info in Arabic about the leader of the executed group is at

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 20:07 utc | 72

Parviziyi, what can you tell us about the "barrel bombs," so much in the western press lately?

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 26 2013 20:56 utc | 73

Regarding Turkey and a possible color revolution to oust Erdogan:

One of the difficult things about analysis of US client regimes is determining their degree of servility. The degree varies from state to state and I doubt it is ever 100%. Erdogan may have aimed for more independence than his western overlords can accept. Consider:

1) The whole Mavi Mamrmara scenario. Perhaps they needed Erdo to build up some Arab/Muslim world cred, but he may have played his role with too much gusto for their taste.

2) The 2010 Iran-Turkey-Brazil nuclear fuel deal. Turkey was offering to hold Iran's LEU in escrow until the west provided the fuel for the research reactor. The US ultimately rejected the deal, but it seems to me that if the US trusted Turkey to stab Iran in the back and not return the fuel, it would have accepted the deal and reneged on it later. After that Turkey, along with Brazil, voted against more sanctions at the UNSC.

3) And as Rowan mentioned, there is the trade with Iran, though I suspect it will be too lucrative to resist, even for a new Turkish government.

Balanced against that is the absolutely disgusting behavior of Turkey towards Syria and its unbridled support for Al Ciada/terrorism. It seems to me in this regard, Erdogan was doing yeoman's work for his higher ups. But even then, perhaps Erdo wasn't going along willingly.

So while I feel Erdogan deserves to be thrown under the bus, run over by both wheels, and then dragged three times around the walls of Istanbul, it may be whoever comes after him will be even worse WRT Syria and the resistance axis.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 26 2013 21:19 utc | 74

nice photo that. speak softly and carry a big stick ;-)

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 26 2013 21:38 utc | 75

Thanks for all the hard work, b. Your site is a beacon in the wild.

Posted by: maff | Dec 26 2013 22:10 utc | 76

@ Ruralito #73: The "barrel bombs" are for real. The Syrian gov't doesn't deny using them. Lots and lots of video evidence clearly shows the use of them, including videos where the person holding the camera is inside a helicopter as a barrel bomb is being dropped from the helicopter. Throughout year 2013 the Syrian air force has been dropping bombs of various kinds, including "barrel bombs", in various rebel-held places. One website where you can see very frequently updated reports and videos of the effects of gov't bombing from the air (and shelling from the ground) is which is an anti-government blog updated hourly or more often.

In terms of destructiveness, "barrel bombs" are relatively low-grade, low-impact bombs, and they are not professional-grade bombs. They can be thought of as "homemade bombs" where explosives are simply put into a barrel. They are usually dropped from a helicopter. Lower-grade bombs may be either (1) "barrel bombs" or (2) professionally made bombs of relatively low power. The Syrian air force also has higher-grade, more powerful bombs, but they don't use them as much as lower-grade bombs.

Rebel-held neighborhoods where the bombs are dropped do very often contain some women and children in the neighborhood. Women and children are civilians. So the bombs are dropped in rebel-held neighborhoods that do contain some civilians. In the past few weeks, neighborhoods in Aleppo city and some of the towns of Aleppo province have been targeted with low-grade bombs from the air ("barrel bombs" and other lower-grade bombs). An anti-government cameraman Youtube uploader who's based in Aleppo and has a bunch of videos of the after-effects of recent bombing-from-the-air in Aleppo is: .

In this way, the Syrian army is able to attack rebel-held areas with low casualties or no casualties for itself, and it makes all large gatherings of rebels vulnerable to a devastating attack, and makes all rebel-held areas insecure.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 22:39 utc | 77

I don't quite get why there should be a "colour revolution" against Erdogan (or for that matter against Morsi)?

I see absolutely no reason for the West to try to force out Erdogan (or Morsi for that matter); is there anything of substance that the West wants and that Erdogan did not or would not give?
Besides Turkey's whole economy is in the West's pocket, why would they resort to colour revolution? They can force any government in Turkey (through economic means) to do anything they want.
"Colour revolution" would be meaningful if there were the possibility of a government in Turkey which would bring Turkey out of the orbit of the West.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 26 2013 22:43 utc | 78

POA, I doubt I can add anything to your continued postings over at “Atomic Insights”. However the debate has stimulated some thoughts for me. I’m glad that Rod has finally responded. Your reply was so exceptionally polite and summarily succinct that it showed me another side of you I hadn’t yet seen. Congrats.

Rod makes a point that I hadn’t really considered before although now that he has made it, it is so obvious that I’m surprised I hadn’t. I think it totally logical and expected that the fossil fuel industries would have taken a strong stand against the nuclear industry. However I see a conundrum here. If many, if not most, politicians are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industries (which seems apparent) how/why have they so strongly supported the nuclear industry? How did Price Anderson ever get through congress and continually supported? If I had more time and search knowledge (now I have the proclivity) I would try to establish the financial ties between the two. My bet would be that we would see overlapping stockholders and BODs from both industries. But that’s merely a supposition. You continue to make an obvious point that there is little or no mainstream press reports of the Fukushima scenario and I have seen little or no critical mainstream media challenging the nuclear industry, ever.

The following strikes me as an extremely naive belief:

Though I maintain a reasonably skeptical attitude about the possibility of individual malfeasance, even up to the very top of certain corporations and governments, I generally believe the written documents and testimonies offered by people who are under oath or in positions of responsibility. Until there has been some documented instances of egregious lying and organized actions to cover up, it is more logical to believe that people generally tell the truth, especially when they are facing serious consequences for being discovered in a lie.

My position for years has been “the only time they tell the truth is when it just happens to support their agenda”. I can’t support this with a myriad of linked quotes and instances but my memory over my lifetime has been of one lie after another. 1984 awakened me in high school and I have witnessed nothing or very little to refute it since.

It will be interesting to see if Rod (Tucker won’t) does try to answer any of your questions. Wish I could join in and support you but I’m sure I would embarrass you as Tucker has (in my view) been embarrassing Rod. If you have the time you obviously don’t need my help.

Posted by: juannie | Dec 26 2013 22:49 utc | 79

So, within six months of Malcolm's specific suggestion to Sykes, the United States of America, guided by Woodrow Wilson, was on the side of the Allies in the Great War.

Was Wilson guided by Brandeis* away from neutrality -- to war?

In London, the War Cabinet led by Lloyd George lost no time committing British forces first to the capture of Jerusalem, and then to the total expulsion of the Turks from Palestine. The attack on Egypt, launched on 26 March 1917, attempting to take Gaza, ended in failure. By the end of April a second attack on Gaza had been driven back and it had become clear that there was no prospect of a quick success on this Front.

From Cairo, where he had gone hoping to follow the Army into Jerusalem with Weizmann, Sykes telegraphed to the Foreign Office that, if the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was not reinforced then it would be necessary "to drop all Zionist projects ... Zionists in London and U.S.A. should be warned of this through M. Sokolow... "

Three weeks later, Sykes was told that reinforcements were coming from Salonika. The War Cabinet also decided to replace the Force's commander with General Allenby.

Sykes was the official negotiator for the whole project of assisting the Zionists. He acted immediately after the meeting at Gaster's house by asking his friend M. Picot to meet Nahum Sokolow at the French Embassy in London in an attempt to induce the French to give way on the question of British suzerainty in Palestine. James Malcolm was then asked to go alone to Paris to arrange an interview for Sokolow directly with the French Foreign Minister. Sokolow had been previously unsuccessful in obtaining the support of French Jewry for a meeting with the Minister; since the richest and most influential Jews in the United States and England, with the notable exception of the Rothschilds, who could have arranged such a meeting, were opposed to the political implications of Zionism. In Paris, the powerful Alliance Israélite Universelle had made every effort to dissuade him from his mission. Not that the Zionists had no supporters in France other than Edmond de Rothschild, [Y]but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no reason to entangle itself with them. Now James Malcolm opened the door directly to them as he had done in London.


Ardent Zionists Supreme Judge Brandeis was a Frankist. Brandeis' family also had interesting connections.

Never understood what is Kabbalah (Madonna et al.) by reading what and who was Jacob Frank it seems to be the same thing: Kabbalah and Frankists. And everything make sense, as usual the devil is in details. Another example how an empire's political class manage its foreign affairs, by employing the Native Informant (not in strict sense) to its imperial needs.

Consequence: It is that we have the photo of ancient Bethlehem with that infamous wall. An the Western world would like to see Turkey in state of disintegration as well, at last that was Wilson's
original idea.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 26 2013 22:59 utc | 80

Here's a video showing a result of a Syrian army or air force bomb or shelling in which everything nearby that is combustible has completely combusted, and nothing is left except rubble and dust, and thus you can see that the explosive is far more powerful than a "barrel bomb": . On the other hand, by contrast, here's an example of the effects of a "barrel bomb":

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 23:53 utc | 81

In terms of destructiveness, "barrel bombs" are relatively low-grade, low-impact bombs. They are not professional-grade bombs. They can be thought of as "homemade bombs" where explosives are simply put into a barrel. They are usually dropped from a helicopter. Lower-grade bombs may be either (1) "barrel bombs" or (2) professionally made bombs of lower power. The Syrian air force also has higher-grade, more powerful bombs.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26 2013 23:58 utc | 82

The Syrian gov't doesn't deny using barrel bombs. Lots and lots of video evidence clearly shows the use of barrel bombs, including videos where the person holding the camera is inside a helicopter as a barrel bomb is being dropped from the helicopter. Throughout year 2013, the Syrian air force has been dropping bombs of various kinds, including "barrel bombs", in various rebel-held places. One website that has been documenting this during the year with very frequently updated reports and videos of the effects of gov't bombing from the air (and shelling from the ground) is which is an anti-government blog updated hourly or more often.

Rebel-held neighborhoods where the bombs are dropped do very often contain some women and children in the neighborhood. Women and children are civilians. So the bombs are dropped in rebel-held neighborhoods that do contain some civilians. In the past few weeks, neighborhoods in Aleppo city and some of the towns of Aleppo province have been targeted with bombs from the air ("barrel bombs" and other lower-grade bombs). An anti-government cameraman Youtube uploader who's based in Aleppo and has a bunch of videos of the after-effects of bombing-from-the-air in Aleppo a few days ago is: .

In this way, the Syrian army is able to attack rebel-held areas with low casualties or no casualties for itself. It makes all large gatherings of rebels vulnerable to a devastating attack, and makes all rebel-held areas insecure.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 27 2013 0:08 utc | 83

In Syria, rebel-held neighborhoods where bombed are dropped by the government do very often contain some women and children in the neighborhood. Women and children are civilians. So the bombs are dropped in rebel-held neighborhoods that do contain some civilians. In the past few weeks, rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo city and some of the towns of Aleppo province have been targeted with bombs. An anti-government cameraman Youtube uploader who's based in Aleppo and has a bunch of videos of the after-effects of bombing-from-the-air in Aleppo a few days ago is: .

By bombing, the Syrian army is able to attack rebel-held areas with low casualties or no casualties for itself. It makes all large gatherings of rebels vulnerable to a devastating attack, and makes all rebel-held areas insecure.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 27 2013 0:16 utc | 84

"An anti-government cameraman..." You appear to be "anti-government" too.

So, how do you know all this, from internet? Are you PR driven poster/blogger?

"Here's a video showing a result of a Syrian army or air force bomb or shelling in which everything nearby that is combustible has completely combusted,"

I do not see anything which has been burned, let alone effects of thermo-baric explosion, just sheer destruction and ruins. It fits pattern, say, of Aleppo hospital shown here: or some other landmarks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 27 2013 0:49 utc | 85

On 13 June 1917 Weizmann wrote Sir Ronald Graham at the Foreign Office that "it appears desirable from every point of view that the British Government should give expression to its sympathy and support of the Zionist claims on Palestine. In fact, it need only confirm the view which eminent and representative members of the Government have many times expressed to us ... " This was timed to coincide with a minute of the same date of one of Balfour's advisers in which it was suggested that the time had arrived "when we might meet the wishes of the Zionists and give them an assurance that H.M.G. are in general sympathy with their aspirations. "To which Balfour remarked, "Personally, I should still prefer to associate the U.S.A. in the Protectorate, should we succeed in securing it."

The Protectorate has been secured ever since, it is well and live.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 27 2013 1:20 utc | 86

Some interesting (if unsurprising) background on Obama's new appointment to Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James:

James is the former president of the technology and engineering sector at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), one of the largest pentagon contractors. It has a history of dubious activities, large-scale waste of tax-payers money & outright corruption which they seem to have paid their way out of every time.

SAIC was originally formed in 1969 by John Robert Beyster essentially as a lobbying firm for the Military Industrial complex, & who saw the company's role as "the job of SAIC's employees was to "sell your high-tech ideas and blue-chip expertise to the army, navy, air force, CIA, NSA, Atomic Energy Commission and any other government agency to money to spend."
Since then it has expanded massively alongside it's growing list of court cases, where it has been repeatedly fined for blatant violations of the law, including fraud, but with no-one seemingly ever prosecuted on criminal charges - relatively small fines is generally the only consequence.

It was also heavily involved in promoting the Weapons of Mass Destruction propaganda in the lead-up to the Iraq war, and appears to be heavily involved in 'perception management'/propaganda programs in media on behalf of the pentagon, intelligence agencies & arms manufacturers (including paying staff to alter wikipedia entries on their behalf, ie. they are likely major players in the astrotuf campaign business on behalf of the military industrial complex).

As for James herself, she was in charge of “corporate responsibility”(?!!!) when they were undergoing a massive fraud case on the $700 million CityTime payroll project...

Some fluff pieces for some more background on her:

(Basically she was staffer on Capitol Hill, networked her way to a position as Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs, jumped to SAIC, & now is back to big government.
Her career advice : I tried to hit the ground running by building a network, getting to know others and offering them help... ; Seek out and be very attentive to a mentor... )

Posted by: KenM | Dec 27 2013 4:10 utc | 87

Juannie #78....

I pretty well give up over there. I'm getting nowhere. But you can do me a favor....

If you don't mind, check out what he claims to be an answer, and let me know if I'm missing something. It just seems like a dodge to me. I've shown it to couple different people, and they concur. Frankly, I think the guy is a major asshole, unemployed, and has filled his own ego to the brim by preaching to a very small choir.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 27 2013 4:25 utc | 88

@neretva'43 | Dec 26, 2013 5:59:58 PM | 79: I have done quite a lot of work on Frankism. The first thing I need to explain is this: when Reform Judaism, or what later formalised itself as Reform Judaism, was getting under way in Western Europe, from about the mid-eighteenth century onwards, as a response to the European Enlightenment, naturally enough there was a big pushback from Orthodox Rabbis and their attendant intellectuals. At that time, conversely to Reform not yet being formalised as 'Reform', there was no brand name, 'Orthodox'. So a more correct name for what was later called 'Orthodox Judaism' in those days might simply be 'normative Judaism'. This may seem trivial, but the correct use of words is always a necessary starting point for accurate and objective analysis. Now, to proceed, the natural tendency of the 'Orthodox' was to discredit, or smear, the 'Reform' intellectuals by saying that they were all out-and-out heretics. This is similar to when the Right wing in politics accuses everyone to its own Left of being secret Communists, which they very often do, and there are many instances of the US Right doing this, to this very day. To some extent this is conscious propaganda, and to some extent it is a genuine illusion, or delusion, on their part. Imagine everybody across the political spectrum as being lined up in a straight line extending towards the Left. Due to optical foreshortening, all an extreme Right-winger sees is one solid hunk of people to his Left, and he cannot distinguish the centrists, the moderate Leftists, and the extreme Leftists. They're all just one solid lump. So this type of illusion or delusion in religion works in just the same way.

Sabbatai Tzevi was, briefly, very popular among European Jews. This is not something they like to remember, but it's true. Sabbateanism was by no means purely a phenomenon of Eastern or Mediterranean Jewry only. Western Jews may have been less ready to abandon all their worldly wealth and flock to the feet of Sabbatai, but they believed in him. When Sabbatai, under threat of death from the Sultan, converted to Islam, there was a fairly large faction that claimed this was just a sort of Holy Deception, and that Sabbatai was still the Jewish Messiah regardless. This created a sort of mass-psychological kink, such that when Jacob Frank appeared, and in due course converted to Catholicism, they were ready to see this as a further stage in the Messianic Holy Deception. And this underground current never completely died. At least one important Western European rabbi, Jonathan Eibeschutz, was indeed a secret Frankist, as has been proven since. So to that extent, the wild-sounding claims of the 'Orthodox' that everyone to the Left of them was a secret heretic, had some basis in fact. But ultimately, 'Reform Judaism' became a respectable form of Judaism, looked at objectively, and to continue to claim that it is all manipulated from behind the scenes by secret Frankists became a patently absurd claim. I could give you dozens of detailed links, because the whole thing is fascinating to me, but it is more important just to give you an objective overview, which is what I've tried to do here. OK?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 27 2013 7:01 utc | 89

Anyone seen this? Interesting wording. Seems the UN report on chem attacks in Syria determined that sarin was used in two separate locations, "against soldiers". Interesting wording, indeed.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 27 2013 7:17 utc | 90


"...if a 'democratic' government wants to use its military to invade another
peoples country, kill the inhabitants and remove the 'democratic' government..."

Wow, I thought you were talking about Hillary and her State/CIA Wahhabists.
"Who CARES about Benghazi!?" Let's go topple US another stable MENA regime.
Prince Bandar has 'made the arrangements' for her next presidential campaign,
as he made to get sarin to AQ 'rebels' (sic) ahead of O'Biden's 'Step Aside'.

Now we get to suffer through the Pentagonal dog-and-pony-show of gyning up
their latest +10% budget increase into 'full battle rattle' by next spring,
then State/CIA massaged 'Iran talks broke down', 'we can't wait for proof',
and we'll have wiped out the top three oil/gas competitors to KSA and Qatar.

Meanwhile, AfriCom has finally born fruit, boots on the ground in Djibouti.
Did you know Nigeria nationalized (federalized) all the resource lands of
the Nigerian people the same week O'Biden was sworn into office, and the
very first move O'Biden made was to set up AfriCom, with 57 African bases?

If it's anything like Afghanistan, we'll lose $100 billion, and get nada.
Recent energy analyses of foreign oil and domestic fracking this week all
state USA is gonna get a shellacking when the surplus suddenly evaporates.
This all benefits 10s Ms of jobless and homeless American people ... how?

Party like it's 1999, folks.

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Dec 27 2013 8:06 utc | 91

The Syrian army in year 2013 proved itself poor and weak at fighting the rebellion. There is no reason to believe the army can perform significantly better in year 2014. The situation is going to be a long slow slog again in 2014.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26, 2013 9:17:33 AM | 65

It's the nature of this war - the foreign supporters of this aggression intend it to be a long slow slog. Syria and her allies have no choice but to conserve their forces and dig in for a painstakingly long counter-insurgency.
So far, they are turning the tide. The "Assad regime" was supposed to have been crashed in weeks, remember? It's the Other side who seem worried worried about 2014.

Posted by: Muyaka | Dec 27 2013 8:43 utc | 92

In this video from a month ago, the town is repopulated with loads of rebels -- many hundreds of rebels are watching the executions -- and the rebels are completely in control of the town. The government has withdrawn from the contest in this town.......

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 26, 2013 3:07:00 PM | 72

and who are these 'rebels'? from where?

Posted by: brian | Dec 27 2013 9:37 utc | 93

@KeepingtheLeith 8h
At Yalda, in the rural south: 3 terrorists killed by the SAA:

Abdul-Mawlaa (Tunisian)
Ramiz Al-Kurd (Lebanese)
Abu Salma Al-Mahdi (Libyan)

@KeepingtheLeith 5h
What does it tell you when the }NDF can get 100,000 soldiers in 7 months, while the #FSA can't even get 50,000 without foreigners? Go figure

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 5h
The reason for the SAA's sudden attacks in #Douma has 100% to do with them closing the last supply route for the terrorists in #Adra.

@KeepingtheLeith 5h
These #FSA supporters are right - the SAA isn't getting bigger. However, the #NDF has grown from 80,000 to 100,000 soldiers in over a month!

@KeepingtheLeith 8h

4 Terrorists killed at Khan al-Sheikh:

Muhammad Faayeq Abdul-Hay (Chadian)
Udayy Al-Zubaydi (Qatari)
Shaadi Hamaayed
Ali Sawaaliha

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 8h
4 terrorists killed and another 6 wounded in an operation at Khan al-Sheikh. Among the dead was a Chadian terrorist fighting with J.N.

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 8h
The #SAA is on a roll in Khan al-Sheikh, as they have secured almost 80 percent of the town!

@KeepingtheLeith 15h
Douma terrorists:

Bashar Tandanaar (Turk)
Abdullah Al-Baqr (Saudi)
Awwal Al-Mishal (Qatari)
Ayedh Al-Fahd (Iraqi)
Sayf Tarawina (Jordanian)

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 15h
Ma'arrat Al-Arteeq: SAA attacked a group of terrorists belonging to ISIS and killed 5.

Posted by: brian | Dec 27 2013 9:38 utc | 94

77) But that is what Erdogan tried before he was forced to switch course - remember "no problems with neighbours" - that would be Iran, Syria and Russia.

The Gülen mouvement that is attempting to take down Erdogan has strong US/CIA links. The corruption allegations concern the evasion of Iran sanctions.

Erdogan has also asked recently to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

This here is a good summary of what is going on:

Europe might have lost Ukraine and Turkey (not that I think EU citizens really wanted them).

Posted by: somebody | Dec 27 2013 10:33 utc | 95

new BBC wording reflecting the new Western Syria policy

The former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah has been assassinated in a big bomb blast in central Beirut. He was an adviser to the former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim. Four others were also killed in the suspected car bombing near government offices and the parliament. At least 50 people were injured.

The Syrian war has increased Lebanon's Sunni-Shia tensions. Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah movement is helping Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. President Assad comes from the Alawite sect, a heterodox offshoot of Shia Islam.

so far nothing new

now it comes

Reports say Mr Chatah's car was targeted as he was travelling to a meeting with his Sunni opposition parliamentary bloc.

Some of the Syrian rebel groups are affiliated with the Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda network.

Iran, which backs Hezbollah, saw its embassy in Beirut attacked last month.

Mr Chatah was a staunch critic of President Assad and Hezbollah.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 27 2013 10:39 utc | 96

This post at China Matters is of interest. It suggests (to me at least) that the U.S. may well find itself being manipulated by another difficult ally. One wonders why no one ever suggests that the U.S. adopt as an amendment to its own constitution, something along the lines of the anti-war, anti-militarism amendment forced on the Japanese for theirs. Perhaps because the possibility for success of such a step is roughly equal to that of the survival of a popsicle in Hades.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 27 2013 11:25 utc | 97

recent Mintpress founders (Mnar A. Muhawesh ‏@MnarMuh) tweets on the Ghouta controversy

Syricide ‏@Syricide 14h
@MnarMuh @MaxBlumenthal On the bright side, good news or bad, chances are you at least increase your readership :)

Mnar A. Muhawesh ‏@MnarMuh 14h
@Syricide @MaxBlumenthal Most importantly, learned who our true friends & allies are .

Syricide ‏@Syricide 13h
@MnarMuh Never occurred to the sheeple that the ferocity of the Saudi reaction added weight to the story. A crackpot would have been ignored

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Brown_Moses @Syricide I agree with you 100%, unfortunately, Dale was forced to detract, Yahya is being silenced/threatened & pressured

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Brown_Moses @Syricide "allege" was the key to the story. Same kind of interview John Berry for newsweek did before we invaded Iraq.

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Brown_Moses @Syricide sharing what those people said to readers.MPN nor Dale/Yahya never said this was the case. Residents & rebels +

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Brown_Moses @Syricide that's because he brought interviews to Dale, and she did the rest of the reporting based on the interviews. Simply +

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Syricide him and Dale. Both were pressured to detract to discredit story. Shows us state of journalism today.

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Syricide Yahya had told Dale that a UN investigator advised him not to report on this or his career would be over, look what happened to +

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Syricide on alnusra using chemical weapons was smeared or attacked, even UN investigators +

Mnar A. Muhawesh @MnarMuh 14h
@Syricide I was pretty disturbed by @Brown_Moses's attack on Seymour Hersh's investigation. But, almost every journalist that reported +

Posted by: brian | Dec 27 2013 11:26 utc | 98

Commenter "brian" at #90 above repeated his oft-repeated theme that a very large percentage of the rebel fighters in Syria are non-Syrians. Gathering the data to quantify the percentage hasn't been done, and can't be done. But it is clear that during year 2013 there was an increase in the percentage of non-Syrians among the rebel fighters. It is clear from a mountain of anecdotal evidence, even though you can't turn a mountain of anecdotes into quantitative data.

One of the rebel groups whose percentage of non-Syrians is among the highest is "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" ("ISIS"), which is one of the biggest rebel organizations in northern Syria. The following is a telling anecdote about ISIS. During Ramadan in August, amid a series of Ramadan-themed street events, ISIS did video interviews with local people on the street in Aleppo, and the interviews were published by ISIS. All of the people interviewed were supportive of ISIS's goals. Now here's a nugget from ISIS's own video:

Question by ISIS interviewer: “What do you think about the guys from the Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria][i.e., ISIS]?”

Answer by a local resident of Aleppo: “May the Almighty bless them! They left their homeland, their families, their kids, and came to help us....”

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 27 2013 13:27 utc | 99

somebody @92 wrote:

"Erdogan has also asked recently to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization."

That is a very helpful comment. Now I can see why the US is attempting to destabilize Erdogan, even though he bent over backwards, and against Turkey's interests, to support them over Syria.

The book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins clearly explains the playbook of the US corporate state. First attempt to buy off key leaders of the target state. If they can't be bought or don't stay bought, attempt to install a bought-and-paid-for replacement. If that fails, the ultimate action is to kill the leader. The attempt by Erdogan to side up with the SCO is as provocative to the US as Hussein's attempt to use gold for oil rather than the US dollar. Ditto Gadaffi and Iran, the rise (and convenient fall) of the Euro, and further down the line, the Renmimbi. A move by Erdogan towards the SCO might complicate an attempt by the US to use the Chechens (travelling via Turkey, revealed as a result of the Boston attack) to create trouble in Russia during the Sochi Olympics.

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 27 2013 13:41 utc | 100

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