Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For those who care, my computer's broken. I won't be able to post or check email for a while. Be good!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Female suicide bomber kills thirty Shi'a pilgrims

The attack on the pilgrimage route in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, came a day after a bomb killed eight in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala, to which hundreds of thousands if not millions were headed to mark Arbain.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Democracy now program on the stimulus package

AMY GOODMAN: For more on the economy, we’re joined now by two guests. Here at the firehouse studio, Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City. A former Wall Street economist, he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire. His latest article, “Obama’s Awful Financial Recovery Plan.” It’s online at

Michael Hudson, let’s begin with you here in New York. Why do you think that Obama’s financial recovery plan is “awful”?

It Couldn't Happen Here. Could It?

The French are reacting to a situation almost identical to ours--economic collapse, government impotence, corporate corruption--by turning hard left. National strikes and massive demonstrations are occurring every few weeks. How far left? This far: the late president Fran├žois Mitterand's Socialist Party, the rough equivalent of America's Greens, is considered too conservative to solve the economic crisis.

US intel confirms Iran not developing nukes

This is a Iranian website, so I don't know how much it can be trusted, but here it is.

Angry Arab post

"Even for those women for whom college is not an option, the Internet and satellite television have opened windows into the lives of women in the West. “Satellite has shown an alternative way of being,” said Syma Sayah, a feminist involved in social work in Tehran. “Women see that it is possible to be treated equally with men.”" Oh, yes. How true. I mean, what better lessons on feminism than Desperate Housewives or Baywatch or MTV or mainstream Hollywood movies? Oh, yes. That world of American TV shows is an incredible lesson in gender equality and feminism. Those American soap operas are the best educational tools if you really want to learn about feminism. I mean, who write this stuff? Do they even know how dumb they sound? I mean, most internet traffic is Western pornography, is that also--according to the New York Times--a lesson in feminism?

I disagree with As'ad here. Watching tv shows from a different culture does show an "alternative way of being". First of all, the women did not mention Baywatch or Desperate Housewives. And no one claimed pornography is feminist.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No country for women redux

Jordanian man gets 6 months for double ‘honor killing’

“He took out his gun, killing his sister on the spot with four bullets and the Syrian shepherd with six shots,” the source said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why is the 'NYT' protecting Americans from Lieberman's racist message?

Ethan Bronner of the Times writes a front-page piece on Avigdor Lieberman ("A Hard-Liner Gains Ground in Israel") without mentioning racism or discrimination (or ethnic cleansing). No mention of the Haaretz report that he was a member of outlawed, terrorist Kach party. No quotes from Arabs. Bronner even prints one Israeli's risible claim that Lieberman's loyalty oath is no different from the American pledge of allegiance.

And WTF does this line mean?

"Taken together, Mr. Lieberman's proposals aim toward an ethnically purer Jewish state, in many ways a classically conservative goal. "
Classic? Compare Bronner to TNR's alarm (Lieberman is an "extremist" who "has focused much of his campaign inciting public anger against Israel's Arab minority), or the LATimes frank report on a "far-right" politician:

Alarmed by Lieberman's rise, many rivals denounce his rhetoric as racist and inflammatory.

"This is a person who brings out the darkest urges of part of the Israeli public," said Shelly Yacimovich, a lawmaker from the left-leaning Labor Party. "His slogan endangers democracy. He is the moral red line we must not cross."...

According to the newspaper Haaretz, the new immigrant also took a membership card from the far-right Kach party, which had been outlawed for its racist platform...

"No one can demand that I join the army and fight against my Palestinian brothers," said Abbas Zakour, an Arab lawmaker. "No one can dictate to nearly a million and a half Arabs to sing the anthem. Certainly no one who came from Russia 20 years ago can tell me what to do in my ancestors' land."

Ahmed Tibi, another Arab in parliament, has called on the international community to boycott Israel if Lieberman rises to power, as it did Austria when far-right leader Jorg Haider joined that country's government....

Tzipi Livni [has lamented] "the trend for a party whose entire slate is based on hate..."

21 killed in Iraq attacks

The explosions, which targeted civilians and security personnel, took place in Baghdad and in the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday, police sources said.

In Baghdad, sixteen civilians were killed and 45 others injured after two simultaneous car bombs exploded.

Security and medical sources said that the bombs were planted in parked cars at a bus station in the Shia district of Bayah.

IDF shooting non-violent protesters

A representative of the Popular Committee against the Wall in the village of Ni’lin, Ahed Al-Khawaja, said that Israeli snipers, shooting from nearby hilltops or from stands of trees, are causing debilitating injuries, especially among young men who come to demonstrate.

UK bars maker of anti-Islam film

A Dutch right-wing politician who made a film critical of Islam has been refused entry to the United Kingdom on the grounds that his visit would pose a threat to public security.

Hamas playing politics with aid groups

A local NGO in Beit Lahiya that agreed to speak to IRIN on condition of anonymity had planned to provide emergency assistance in rebuilding and repairing homes after the war.

“After the war the Hamas authorities came to the headquarters of our association, summoned us to the police station and ordered us not to provide emergency assistance,” said the director. “The Hamas authorities accused us of taking money from Fatah.”

Funded by the Swiss government, the NGO engages in advocacy work for women’s and children’s rights and sustainable development projects like raising domestic animals.
It’s a political issue; Hamas NGOs are giving to Hamas and Fatah NGOs to Fatah.
“NGOs contacted us and presented us [with] an official statement by the social affairs ministry asking local NGOs to coordinate with the ministry in providing aid and to disclose all information,” deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza, Jaber Wishah, told IRIN. “This is unacceptable; the work of aid institutions and NGOs must be independent.”

Arab reporters banned from campaign meet of Lieberman's far-right party

Israeli Arab journalists for Channel 2 television and the Israel Broadcasting Authority were not permitted to enter a campaign gathering held by the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu Party in Haifa on Sunday. Haifa Deputy Mayor Yulia Shtraim, a member of the party's municipal faction, said she would not allow the two journalists to enter the hall "because of the Arabs' demonstration and what [the demonstrators] say about Lieberman," referring to party head Avigdor Lieberman.

democracy my teezi

Syria human rights update

When Saeed Razavi Faghih returned to Iran after studying abroad in France, he received a summons to the Revolutionary Court six days later. Authorities promptly sent Faghih to the notorious Evin Prison, claiming he violated a travel ban – though his outspoken journalism has gotten him in trouble before.

At the opposite end of the region, in Marrakech, a student solidarity march at Cadi Ayyad University ended violently with Moroccan police using intense force to shut down the rally. One arrested student, Abderrazak El Gadiri, was tortured by police and died the next day as a result of injuries.

In Syria, authorities continue to withhold information on student Mohammad Abdulqadir Talib, arrested months ago for donating $20 to impoverished Iraqis. Talib has been subjected to extreme torture to admit false acusations against him.

Some Syrian teachers have met even more brutal fates. The Syrian Human Rights Committee has recently reported the death of two teachers killed under torture. The corpses of Islamic studies teacher Yusuf Jabbouli and secondary mathematics teacher Mohamed Ameen al-Shawa have been returned to their families after their arbitrary arrests.

No country for women

Saudi judge sentences pregnant gang-rape victim to 100 lashes plus a tear in jail for committing adultery.

Importance of religiosity chart

from this article

Importance of religiosity chart

Poll: Afghans blame US more than Taliban for violence

A nationwide survey of Afghans out Monday shows plummeting support for US and NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan, and a rise in the number who believe attacks on those troops are acceptable.
The biggest complaint: civilian deaths resulting from US and NATO air strikes, which 77 percent say is unacceptable because the risk to civilians outweighs the strikes' value in fighting insurgents.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More theft

The Israeli government charges $170 to $350 for each truck to pass through their checkpoints.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

UN halts aid

The UN aid agency in Gaza says it has suspended all aid shipments, accusing the Hamas government of seizing hundreds of tonnes of food supplies.
Ten lorries carrying flour and rice were taken from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, the UN's Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) said.
Hamas admitted a "mistake" had been made and says it will return the goods.
But Unrwa says deliveries will not restart until it has assurances that such seizures will not happen again.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Hamas must immediately release the seized aid shipments.

US objects to release of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist

Washington - The release of Pakistan's leading atomic scientist who confessed to running a nuclear smuggling network would be "extremely regrettable," the US State Department said Friday. A Pakistani court on Friday ruled that Abdul Qadeer Khan should be freed after five years of house arrest for providing sensitive nuclear material and information to countries like Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Israel to Obama: hold Iran's feet to fire, or else

"It need not be conclusive or threatening, but it will be very serious and ... scare the daylights out of the president that unless the international community mobilizes to address the situation, the Israelis will," Miller said.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Maliki's Triumph

The voting shows that Mr Maliki and his Dawa party are stronger but the significance can be exaggerated. Although he fought a secular campaign, on important decisions Mr Maliki does not generally act without seeking the opinion of the Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Even Andrew Sullivan gets it

The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hamas police 'seize aid for Gaza'

A UN spokesman said policemen raided a UN warehouse on Tuesday after officials refused to hand over the aid to a Hamas-controlled ministry. Hamas denied its men had taken any aid. UN spokesman Christopher Gunness said Hamas police took 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iraq's Shocking Human Toll: About 1 Million Killed, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans

We have a better grasp of the human costs of the war. For example, the United Nations estimates that there are about 4.5 million displaced Iraqis -- more than half of them refugees -- or about one in every six citizens. Only 5 percent have chosen to return to their homes over the past year, a period of reduced violence from the high levels of 2005-07. The availability of healthcare, clean water, functioning schools, jobs and so forth remains elusive. According to Unicef, many provinces report that less than 40 percent of households have access to clean water. More than 40 percent of children in Basra, and more than 70 percent in Baghdad, cannot attend school.