Thursday, January 31, 2013

Israel: an entire society go insane?

First, the Israelis boycotted  a regular review by the UN Human Rights Council, the first time any country has done so.  Then they proceeded to bomb a target inside Syria.  That's all within 24 hours.

The fact is that Israel is totally out of control is hardly anything you.  Two years ago I already posted an article entitled Israel's "FUCK YOU!" to the world.  So the events of the past couple of days only confirm what we already knew: Israel is a rogue state gone crazy.

And they are hypersensitive too.

Did you see how Israelis went apeshit with indignation over this excellent caricature of Netanyahu:

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, called the picture “absolutely disgusting.” Zuroff told The Times of Israel that it is “shocking” that The Sunday Times “has the incredible gall to publish such an anti-Semitic caricature of Netanyahu,” specifically on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed in Britain (...) Michael Salberg, the Anti-Defamation League’s director of international affairs, also slammed the cartoon, calling on The Sunday Times to apologize.  “The Sunday Times has clearly lost its moral bearings, publishing a cartoon with a blatantly anti-Semitic theme and motif which is a modern day evocation of the ancient ‘blood libel’ charge leveled at Jews,” he said in an emailed statement. This is the stuff which historically justified hatred of Jews and led to the wholesale slaughter of Jews.”  On its Facebook page, the World Zionist Organization-Israel said that the cartoon crossed “all lines of decency and morality.”

Reading that nonsense one could be forgiven that all this hot air was triggered by a simple cartoon, not a genocide (in all fairness, some Israelis did not take the bait and immediately stated that there was nothing anti-Semitic in this cartoon).

Still, overall it is undeniable that, on one hand, the Israelis allow themselves to completely and comprehensively ignore both international law and world public opinion while, on the other hand, they also want the entire planet to treat them with some kind of awed admiration and love.  Any criticism of them, Jews and/or Israelis, is considered a ultimate in crimethink.

It is undeniable that, at least for ethnic Jews, Israeli is a democracy.  Yes, Ethiopian Jews are regularly the target of racists attitudes, but at least legally they are on the right side of the "legal Apartheid Wall" which separates Israeli Jews and Israeli non-Jews (Palestinian, Druze, Russians, etc.).  Israeli Jews do have a meaningful choice of parties and politicians and what their politicians are doing is very much in line with the desires of a Israeli Jewish public opinion which supports the use of nuclear weapons, Apartheid laws against non-Jews or a military aggression on Iran.  The of the past couple of days just add another proof to the immense amount of evidence showing that the entire Israeli society is completely insane.

The Saker

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interesting speech by Belgian MP Laurent Louis

Click on the 'cc' icon to get English subtitles.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anti "gay parade" poster seen in Moscow

As many of you have probably heard from the outraged Western corporate media, the Russian Duma has passed a law banning the public propaganda of homosexuality (homosexual practices, however, remain legal). 

Supporters of this law demonstrated in front of the Duma building carrying the following poster.  The text in the middle of the posters ask the following question from the Russian deputies: In which parade will your son participate?

I would say that this is a well put question.

The Saker

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah marking the occasion of the birthday of the Holy Prophet

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household and on his chosen companions and on all messengers and prophets.

Scholars, deputies, brothers and sisters! Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings. I welcome you the warmest welcome on this blessed ceremony and this glorious and fragranced anniversary. I felicitate you all and all Muslims in this world on the birth of the Great Prophet of Allah, Mohammad Bin Abdullah (Peace be upon him and his Household) – the Master of all creatures and messengers and the Seal of prophets. I also felicitate you on these days which were announced since the revolution of Imam Khomeini (May Allah glorify his secret) as the Week of Islamic Unity – for proximity between Muslims and for moving together towards Allah Al Mighty under the banner of the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household). I also felicitate you on the anniversary of the birthday of the Prophet's grand great grandson Imam Jaafar Bin Mohammad Assadek (Peace be upon them).

First and as in every occasion, I would like to make an outline for my speech. I would talk first on the occasion. I also have a word on the general scene, a brief word on the Israeli elections and a word on the Lebanese status quo.

If we want to evaluate any personality or to have a positive or a negative ruling on it or if we want to specify the degree of its positivism or negativism and give it a mark, there are adopted norms on top of which are the following two:
The first norm is the personal or individual characteristics which this personality possesses on the level of its mind, spirit, soul, and eternality. We call these characteristics personal capabilities and skills whether they were good or bad. According to them, we rule on the personality positively or negatively.

The second norm is the deeds of this personality and its out product, tradition, influences, achievements and what it made and left for people whether they were achievements or catastrophes and calamities.

As for the first norm, we find that our Great Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his Household) has mental, moral, spiritual, and psychological perfections which reached the peak in everything.

The praise we find in the Book of Allah Al Mighty for this Great Prophet and what was mentioned also by the prophets who preceded him and all those who were contemporary with the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) - whether those who believed in him such as his companions and his Household or those who were his enemies and antagonists - used to acknowledge these perfections to the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household).

Allah Al Mighty describes this Great Prophet as having great manners. Allah Al Mighty talks about his mercy, his leniency, his great manners, his humbleness, his emotions, his humanism, and his perfections.

Everyone acknowledges his faithfulness, loyalty, and respect of promises, treaties and agreements. Thus we find that his enemies and antagonists did not find one fault in this personality. They did not find one imperfection or flaw to penetrate through. Some might consider that there might be a remark for example because he was illiterate. This is a point of strength and not a point of weakness. This is his miracle. This is the evidence on his connection with Allah Al Mighty. This is evidence on his divine knowledge. Thus this is the personality of the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household).

Keeping the issue of abuses aside as I will go back to it later, even today this great personality is being acknowledged by Muslim and Christian men of intellect, philosophers, senior figures, and elites on the international level who approach historic figures fairly and justly and in a scientific and objective way. I do not believe that there is another personality which has gained this level of consensus, praise, esteem, reverence, and glorification.
As for the second norm, we mention what this Great Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household) has left, made, and achieved besides the intellectual, cultural, spiritual, moral, social, political and civilizational changes which this Great Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household) has made through his movement and mission as well as the nation which he founded and which he launched in history and is still persistent until our day on human and faithful grounds. Brothers and sisters! One of the most important aspects which we must remind of today is that the Prophet of Allah and the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him and his Household) has restored humanity at that time and since that time to the primary humanistic pillar. Even more, he promoted this humanistic aspect. The society of the Arab Peninsula and even the whole world at that time, whether that section of the world which was controlled by the Roman Empire or the Persian Empire was ruled with discrimination on the level of sex – male and female. The state of women was not as such in the Arab Peninsula only. It was as such in the entire world. Discrimination was also on the level of race – white, black, yellow or red. Discrimination was on the level of Arabs and non-Arabs, on the level of tribes (Qoraish and non-Qoraish), and on the level of kinship (this kinship or that kinship).

This great humanistic Prophet came to tell all people: You are all sons of Adam, and Adam was created from clay. He came to tell them that people are equal just as the teeth of the comb are. He came to convey to them the words of Allah Al Mighty: {O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female}. He addressed the community which used to belittle women and bury girls alive saying: {O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made ye into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you}.

Thus males and females have the same humanistic value. Arabs and non-Arabs have the same humanistic values. The white, the black, the yellow, and the red have the same humanistic value. The lord and the slave – as in that time there were slaves – have the same humanistic value.

How did that society tolerate this speech with their inferiority vision for slaves? Still this religion and this Prophet came with this humanistic speech which opposed all what was prevalent in traditions, cultures, customs and popular sentiments prevailing at that stage.

Yes, he came to tell them that from the humanistic perspective, you have the same value. Still you contend for superiority not with regards of your sex, race, tribe, or kinship. You are superior with your good deeds and virtues and through evading bad manners, sins, shameful deeds and wrongdoings.

The best among you is the best to his family. Those who are most loved by Allah are those who benefit mankind most. He put this standard.

Even more, the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him) stressed on the humanistic dimension even in treating others - for example, dealing with orphans, the poor, the needy, the poverty-stricken, those who have no breadwinner, the afraid, the aggrieved, and refugees. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) stressed on helping all of these groups. He stressed not only on helping them materialistically and providing them with a safe shelter. The poor, the needy, orphans and the distressed are not a group of people whom man may benefit from on the worldly level. For example, man may help the poor and the needy to gain their votes in elections in this world or to be rewarded in the Hereafter with a place in Heaven. This Prophet was not content by this. He also said you must nurture human emotions towards these people and these groups – love, fraternity, respect and esteem. Thus the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) used to sit with the poor, eat with them, talk with them, treat them humbly, and live their life to stress this aspect in the relation with them. Someone might be rich and has enormous amounts of money. He might give the poor and the needy as much money as you want. Still if a poor man comes to shake hands with him, he would become startled. He might believe it is not appropriate to sit and eat with the poor. So there is a big difference between the two.

Moreover, the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) sought to move man from his selfishness and from thinking within the limits of his personal interests or within the limits of his tribe or clan to become a humanistic human being and an international human being who cares for the worries of people, feels sorry for the pains of people, shares people their happy moments, thinks of saving people, and extends a helping hand for people, and this is a great humanistic assertion.

Unfortunately, these days there is a deliberate, dubious campaign to offend this Great Prophet and to challenge his humanity and the humanity of his religion and mission. This is indeed one of the most important challenges of the Islamic nation and all of the Islamic scholars today.

Hereof, I will usher to the general scene by and by. We are facing an offense such as some movies or caricatures or books or articles that do not resort to mental and scientific argument. We do not object if someone makes an argument based on evidences and proofs regarding our conviction, intellect, religion and Prophet. There is no problem in that. In fact, our Qoran calls for this kind of dialogue, argument, wisdom and good advice. However, as for offense, abuse, and humiliation, this is not accepted by anyone for anyone's sanctities.

Indeed we must express our wrath, resentment and conviction. However, what I want to say today also on the anniversary of this Great Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household) is that it is our responsibility also to work positively and tell the whole world about this Prophet and his biography, characteristics, perfections, religion, mission, and speeches. There are things that are unjustly and oppressively attributed to the Prophet of Allah. There are things which are fabricated on the religion of the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household). Such things must be made clear.

If anyone has misconceptions, these misconceptions must be clarified. Moreover, the whole world must come to know about this great, extraordinary, historic personality.

Anyway here we recall the rule that says "It may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you". Perhaps we in general – the Islamic movements, the Islamic scholars, the followers of the Islamic factions apart from our different currents – for decades and perhaps for centuries have been trying to talk about the leaders of every sect whether scholars or jurists. That was on the basis that we all agree on the Prophet of Allah. There is a consensus on the Prophet of Allah. Thus let's exert our efforts to let others know about those we disagree on.

However, today and before this challenge and apart from whether that is right or wrong, all Muslims - the followers of all the Islamic factions - must give the priority to present to the world their Prophet whom they all unanimously agree on his prophecy, respect and esteem as he forms their great gatherer. To fulfill this obligation, intellectual, scientific, cultural, media, research and advertising efforts must be exerted. No negligence or shortcoming is allowed because the other bloc is carrying on this battle. The offenses against the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) are not a transient issue or a personal effort. They are rather backed by sides which thoroughly scrutinize what they need from this campaign which is as we said in previous occasions causing sedition between Muslims and Christians and among Muslims as well as dragging Muslims to reactions which might be inappropriate or not taken into consideration….. There are many targets for that, and this must be confronted.

Among the major challenges now in the general scene at the level of our region is the increase of magnitude of conflicts, struggles, clashes and divisions in many of the countries in the Arab and Islamic worlds. This exists whether on the level of sects – that is between Muslims and Christians as is taking place in some countries in the Islamic world such as Nigeria – or on the level of factions – meaning Shiites and Sunnites. However, I like to look at things more pragmatically. To avoid giving things more than their magnitude because the nature of struggles that exist now transcends the topic of sects and factions, we say it might be that the citizens of some Arab countries are all Muslims. So there are no Christians. They might also be of one sect. Thus there are no Shiites. Moreover, they may all be from one Sunnite jurisprudential sect. Still there are disturbances and unrest. That's because in all the Arab and Islamic countries there are national and Islamic currents as well as Sufis and Salafis. There are east and west. There are also north and south. There are tribes and clans…. There are social statuses and various and diversified trends. Consequently, it is not true to limit the chaos, disturbances and challenges that exist now in the region to being a sectarian or a factional trouble. It is not true to limit what is taking place to this as it is far more than that.

Commenting on this status quo which we will try to approach, we say that we in Lebanon are part of this region. We in Lebanon have our troubles too. We are part of the Arab and Islamic world, and our country is influenced by what is taking place in the Arab and Islamic world whether we like it or not. It is also influenced by what is taking in the region too. It might also be that Lebanon is the country which is most influenced by what takes place in its environment. Well, while approaching these developments in the region, I want to say the following points:

First, if there are conflicts, tensions, and struggles in the region, do not get terrified, and let no one frighten us. This has always existed. There have always been conflicts, struggles and conflicts all through history. This has always existed in the history of Muslims and non-Muslims too. This has always existed among Christians too. This has always existed among the followers of religions and among the followers of races. This has always existed in the history of the world since Allah created Adam until this very day. What is taking place is what the angels have talked about {Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?} this is the history of mankind as long as human beings are human beings and have desires and are greedy and impatient. This takes place naturally.

Well, the most serious and important catastrophe is that we do not know how to deal with these crises i.e. that we in view of these catastrophes lose consciousness, fail to arrange priorities, lose our nerves and our ability to take decisions, and fail to take initiatives. Well that is dangerous. However if we all acted with consciousness, assumed responsibility, and were not terrified and shocked and decided to address these crises, struggles and conflicts in a wise, responsible way, we can overlook many negative points which may fall in all cases. This is first.

Second, even in approaching the countries where there are multi-religions or various factions, the struggle is not always in core and in essence sectarian or factional.

We will talk in numbers too regarding this issue. I will not say all struggles, wars, and conflicts. I am not talking about intellectual, ideological, religious and jurisprudential conflicts. No, I am talking about struggles, conflicts, wars and divisions in which people launch attacks against each others and kill each others. Most of these wars and struggles that took place have political backgrounds and political goals that are related to authority, control and holding grip of the capabilities of the nation. They have nothing to do with religion, Shiites, Sunnites, Islam, and Christianity. So I am saying most of the wars. I am not saying all of the wars.

I have no time to make a survey. I will give two or three examples only. For example, one of the greatest wars in the history of Muslims is that between the Umayyads and the Abbasids. This war led to the killing of tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands in these changes. Well what have the Sunnites, the Shiites, the religion of Islam and the Prophet of Islam to do with the battle between the Abbasids and the Ummayads? It was a battle on authority. It was a battle on who was to rule and lead the nation.

After that, a lengthy war took place between Al Amine and Al Maamoun and the Abbasids. This war lasted for years, and tens of hundreds were killed in it. What have Shiites and Sunnites to do with this war? I am saying this so that some won't hold us responsible for things we have nothing to do with. Sunnites and Shiites have nothing to do with that. Some quarreled over power, and they made the War of Dahes and Al Ghabraa. They destroyed the nation because of power. Well, in the time of the Abbasids, their government lasted for hundreds of years. There were wars between princes and ministers. They kill each others. They wage wars and invade cities. What have Sunnites and Shiites to do with the war of princes and ministers? That lasted for hundreds of years. They might have exploited religion, sects and factions, but that was not the truth about the battle that took place.

Well, we will talk now about a nearer history. Some 500 years ago, there was a war between the Ottomans and the Mamluks. What have these wars to do with Sunnites and Shiites? What have religion to do with that? What have Islam to do with that? On the contrary, when the Ottomans grounded the Mamluks, it was that the Mamluks first recorded a great national victory. As a consequence, the Ottomans, grounded them. So the point here is that we do not say the struggle is factional. No, that is not the case. Perhaps some struggles were on factional basis. They were the fewer wars. However, the overwhelming majority of wars were not as that.

Well, some years ago, one of the most dangerous wars that took place in our region and set the foundations of a totally new political and security stage as it brought along the American fleets to the region was the war of Saddam Hussein on Kuwait. Well, was that a religious war? Was it a war between Sunnites and Shiites? What have we to do with it? What have Sunnites and Shiites to do with this war? It was a war to control oil and land. It was a war of power. Well, yes as I said at times it is possible that someone exploits this issue. For example, if the war was between the Ottomans and Mamluks it was a war on power; however if it was between Ottomans and Safawis or between Safawis and Ottomans it becomes a war between Sunnites and Shiites. Well brothers! No, it was not a war between Sunnites and Shiites. It was rather a war on power. I do not want to take a stance from the Ottomans or the Safawis. We are not making a historic research now. We are only taking an example.

Well if the Ayyoubites and the Mamluks fought, that would be a war on power. However if the Ayyoubites and the Fatimites fought, the struggle would be factional. However in its depth, this is not a factional struggle. In its depth, it is a struggle on power.

So many of the wars that took place and many of the struggles and conflicts that are taking place now – I do not want to talk about history and not to stop at talking about history – are political in depth and have nothing to do with sects and religions. They have nothing to do with Islam, Christianity, Shiites, and Sunnites. Well, we will take also the war which Saddam Hussein launched on the Islamic Republic of Iran and which lasted for more than eight years. Well, thanks he did not give the conflict a factional dimension. He couldn't give the conflict a factional dimension for a natural, practical reason which is that a great number of the Iraqi Army generals and soldiers who were fighting in Iran were Shiites. So how was he to say that his was a factional battle? Thus he said that his battle was between the Arabs and the Farsi people. However, unfortunately, some of the current Arab regimes do not ask about Sunnites and the Sunni people. They do not care about the people of Palestine. When we come to statistics, we find that most of the people of the Arab world are Sunnites. Still we find tens of millions of hungry people, tens of millions of illiterate people, tens of millions of unemployed, tens of millions of…. There are regimes which have piles of hundreds of billions of dollars; still they do not do anything for the people of Sunnites. However, when they get engaged in a conflict with Iran, the conflict becomes a Sunnite-Shiite conflict!!! Well, no my brother! The conflict is not Sunnite-Shiite. Even in the Iraqi-Iranian war, Iran did not deal with the battle as a Sunnite-Iranian battle. That was the war of Saddam Hussein and some of the regimes stood by his side and spent hundreds of billions of dollars in that war and bloody battle. Well, pursuant to this reading, let's say what is required from us.

What is required from us first is to view any conflict or struggle in Lebanon or in any country other than Lebanon – whether in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, or Libya – and among Muslims, Christians, Sunnites, Shiites or various Islamic, national or Islamic currents from a political perspective and not from a factional perspective. That necessitates evading factional and sectarian speech as well as factional and sectarian mobilization.

That's because some people may get the genii out of the lamp but they can't return it back in. There are many evidences on that. You may make a snake of your factional and sectarian speech. However, after that you won't be able to control it; then it kills you. Thus we must be very careful. Thus today, any factional or sectarian speech mounts to an evil word which may destroy everything and devastate everything.

Second, we must bound the problem to its limits. So we limit the trouble within the country it is in between two definite sides. We limit it there. Thus we do not generalize and evoke all causes with each other and link files to each other because as such it will be difficult to solve any.

Third O brothers, sisters, our Arab and Islamic world, Christians, Muslims, Shiites and Sunnites, nationalists and Islamists! Unfortunately, some groups are leading grounding clashes with each others; still they are children of the same revolution. This exists in more than one Arab country.

Well, where to does that lead? The only solution is that people have tolerance on each other. Patience, openheartedness and dialogue are better than rushing for conflicts. Even in the places where there are conflicts, we must go back to dialogue. We must search for a settlement. We must search for an address and a solution. This is what we call for anew today in all squares from Syria to Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq (on light of the ongoing developments) and Lebanon so that no one conflicts with anyone else.

After all, all people have things to say. All people have logic. All people may have a right or rights. Thus we must listen to each other, and we must try to address our cases in this logical way even if it takes a longer time. That is much better than going to conflicts in which we destroy our countries, societies and peoples while the west and Israel look at us and rejoice at our misfortune and consequently abandon even these whom they dragged to be engaged in a battle here or a battle there. There are many evidences on this.

So the main point is that the country remains. Here I recall His Eminence Sayyed Mussa Assader (May Allah restore him to us safe and sound). In the 70s, he held a great festival in Baalbeck and another one in Tyr in which he talked about the rights of the deprived. However, when the civil war erupted in Lebanon, he halted everything. He said that the state was drifting away and the country was being destroyed. We want a country to live in and a country which we can demand our rights from. No one destroys a country or destroys a state for the sake of rights and reforms. Well, there must remain a country. There must remain a state so that he demands rights from it and so that he carries on reforms in. That can't be achieved except through dialogue, discussions and a settlement. Even if there is confrontation, let it be a peaceful confrontation, and let every form of conflict and fighting be evaded.

Today the obligation of elites, scholars, leaders, politicians, writers, men of intellect, establishers, and the media in our Arab and Islamic world is very great. That's because people listen to them, follow them, and obey them. Consequently, their worldly and otherworldly obligation is greater than in any time in the past.
Well, I have a brief word on Israeli elections.

In brief, the Israeli elections lead to the following conclusions. Well if in this world many people are not concerned and do not follow what is taking place on the level of the Israeli entity, we consider ourselves concerned no matter what Lebanon's preoccupations are and no matter what the preoccupations of the region are. That's because the origin of the problem is there. The story started there. It started with creating this entity and founding this entity. Much of what took place and what is taking place in the region is caused by this entity and for the sake of the stability and continuity of this entity.

I do not want to make an analysis. I will only say the conclusion. A retreat among the leading and establishing parties in this entity – such as the Labor Party and the Likud Party is clearly recorded. A strong leading party is lacked. This is what Netanyahu was calling for when saying Israel needs a strong party that leads it. The elections did not bring forth a strong party that leads Israel or this entity.

Essential and central leaderships are also lacking. Do you still recall what I once said? Well, in fact it was not I who said so. Someone once told me - when Sharon was bullying, intimidating and frightening the whole Arab world and the entire region - not to be afraid of Sharon adding that he can't do anything and that Sharon is the last of Israel's kings. Then I said in one of my speeches that Sharon was the last of Israel's kings. It is evident that he is the last of Israel's kings. Well, who would come after Sharon?

Yes, they agreed on Netanyahu as there was no alternative. For them, he is the best among the present figures. However, the crisis of trust is evident as far as Netanyahu is concerned.

So the absence of great central leaderships, the steadfastness of the fanatic religious parties following their advance, and the increase of the number of parties and parliamentary blocs indeed complicates the process of taking a political decision. In general all what took place in the elections clearly expresses a crisis in the leadership of the entity, a crisis of parties, a crisis of trust and consequently a crisis of an entity.

However the thing which we must not have been deceived with in the past and we must not be deceived with now and in the future is the story of the Right and the Left and the Middle and the middle of the middle and the right of the right and whatsoever.

As for Al Qods, Palestine, the rights of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Cause, the Palestinian refugees, the Arab causes and rights from Golan to Lebanon to Sinai to Egypt, Israeli greed, and Israeli threats to the governments and the peoples of the region whether by the Right or the Left or the Middle or the middle of the middle or the left of the left (they are all the same), our experiences have taught us that most of the Israeli wars were launched in the era of the Israeli Left cabinets. Well here let no one misunderstand our analysis of the Left and the Right. They are all alike. If the Right, the Left, the Middle, or a national unity cabinet comes into power, as far as this aspect in the confrontation, things do not differ. Well, it goes without saying that when there are many parties, it will be difficult to take a political decision and there would be difficulty in performance as I said. However as far as the project, the vision, the antagonism, greed and threats are concerned, nothing changes. Thus it is not allowed that we bet on anything on this level.

The guarantee of Gaza is the strength of the resistance in Gaza. The guarantee of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian rights is national reconciliation, the integrity of the Palestinian people, and their adherence to the choice of the resistance.

The guarantee of Lebanon – regardless of the ruler in Israel and no matter whether it is Netanyahu, Sharon, Shimon Peres, Barak or Labeed or whoever – is in the formula which we have always talked about. It is the Army-People-Resistance equation. Our national power with its various elements is what protects Lebanon. The enemy does not differ whether the Middle, the Right or the Left are ruling. The enemy looks at Lebanon. If you have power and capacities and can create deterrence power, you can defend your country. As such you can excavate oil and gas and protect your country and your borders…. Any other thing is useless. The experience of tens of years with the Israeli enemy says so.

The same applies on the level of the region. Thus I say: The best response to the Israeli elections regardless of conclusions and analyses is a call for a greater adherence to the resistance. We must all cooperate so that the Palestinian people be strong in Gaza, in the Bank, in Palestine and outside Palestine.

We must all cooperate so that the resistance in Lebanon remains strong and increases its strength. We must all cooperate to defuse mines found in our Arab region. This is the response to the Israeli elections.

Concerning the Lebanese situation, the issue which is meeting great interest and is dominating the Lebanese scene to a great degree is parliamentary elections and the elections law.

I will talk a little on this issue because at the level of our party, we still abstain from making journalistic interviews. Consequently, we are not that much partaking in contests and discussions. We still so far insist on this inclination because unfortunately a great section of the political and media scene does not lead scientific and objective discussions or even a respectful discussion. They are rather abuses and curses. Thus man keeps himself apart from contests which are so base. This conduct is really good.

The issue of elections law is always a sensitive issue for the Lebanese. However, I believe that at this timing it is even more sensitive. Perhaps all the Lebanese political forces and all the Lebanese sects – as this is the status quo – might be viewing the elections law at this stage with more sensitivity than in any time in the past as a result of the conditions, the fears, the apprehensions as well as the sharp divisions through which the country has passed. What is taking place in the region also helped in that.

For example, if we talked about Christians and Muslims, today the apprehensions of the Christians are indeed greater not only for Lebanese reasons but also because of what is taking place in the region.

We don't say that some Christians are exaggerating. When Christians see what is befalling the Christians in Iraq and the Christians in Syria and what is taking place in other places such as Nigeria among other countries they have the right to feel afraid apart from who is held responsible for what is taking place. I am not holding anyone responsible, and I am not trying anyone. I am rather depicting facts.

So the developments in the region complicated the Lebanese discussion and the Lebanese vision to the elections law.

The vision to this law isn't on the basis that it is a normal elections law and that it will lead to a normal parliament. There is a fateful look. For some the ongoing argument is seen as if we are going back to divide Lebanon anew however through an elections law. That means we would be going back to what we have been running away from. Once I talked about an establishing national conference. At that time many people made big fuzz about that. However, now I assert to you that many in Lebanon are discussing today the elections law with an establishing mentality. Well, this is their right; here I am telling you this is their natural right.

Thus and due to the sensitive and critical stage and the regional and international situation, we Lebanese must have more patience on each other. We must have more discussions. We must also try to relieve all apprehensions even if some people have more apprehensions and fears.

In this framework, the most important thing is that we put accusations aside as that does not make any step forward or backward. On the contrary, the accusations might at time be offensive.

For example, I heard some political leaderships and deputies – some of them are Christians and others belong to various political currents – as saying when talking about the Orthodox Meeting proposal as being originally the project of Hezbollah. I will not say all what they said. They said it was the project of Bashar Assad or the project of President Elie Frizli. After all, President Elie Frizli is a part in the Orthodox Meeting. Well discussing sensitive and fateful laws through which a country is being build and the fate of a country is being set for four years are not to be approached with such grudge. Do they mean that the Orthodox Meeting draft is Hezbollah's project and that Hezbollah has dictated it on his Christian allies and imposed it on General Aoun, MP Franjiyeh, and Tashnaq Party i.e. the Christian allies? Do they mean that Hezbollah imposed this project on them and convinced them of it? The Christian situation went in bets – Bkirki, the Lebanese Forces, and all.

This is humiliating to all Christians in Lebanon. It contains a humiliation to Bkirki and to all the Christian leaderships and to all the Christian forces whether we agree with them or not. This was not said in an interview or in an article. No that was worked at and is still being written in statements and declarations. I call that scattering dust. I mean that there is not any sense of responsibility in approaching this issue. This is above all lying and fabrication. This is not true, and this is exaggeration too.

Now if it seems to you that Hezbollah is that much able to dictate on his Christian allies and to run the Christians – all of the Christians including Bkirki and even March 14 Bloc – according to the project that Hezbollah wants, well then hand us the country and settle down. What is this exaggeration?

However, what is more important than this exaggeration is humiliating the Christians with this tongue.

No, the issue is not as such. On the contrary, when the draft of the orthodox project was presented to us during discussions, we took a decision. I am not sure if the brethrens' answer was refusal or reservation. So our stance was at least that of reservation. However, then our allies talked with us and explained the anticipations, data, conditions…. Thus we accepted. This is the truth, and this is what took place.

Thus, this approach to this file with this level of sensitivity is untrue.

Second, we will discuss intentions. Well, let's first put intentions aside. Now there are intentions which are normal. For example, someone might search for an election law which preserves his size if he already attains his size. Another might search for an election law that gives him his actual size if he does not enjoy his actual size. These are righteous. Whoever seeks an elections law to preserve or to achieve his actual size according to his own conviction is righteous. I will say even more. If someone was discussing an election law to take a size greater than his actual size, this is his right too. After all, this is political work and a political operation. However, I am not discussing the law according to intentions. Now tell me what is the law?

Intentions take us to another place. Amal Movement backed the Orthodox Meeting. General Aoun and Minister Franjiyeh agreed on the Orthodox Meeting because they want to get rid of elections. This is groundless.

We have several choices. We have several projects. Thus we do not discuss intentions and we do not talk in an accusing tongue. To approach the issue in a scientific, objective way, according to us – Hezbollah – the essential principle in any election law which we look forward to is relativity. Why? This is apart from our size or what it provides us with – as someone might say that relativity gives us the majority as a political bloc today; well it might not give us the majority tomorrow. You know that in this country alliances change and people may become antagonistic. Moods might change and are influenced by the situation in the region. Thus relativity may change us to the minority. So it is not what this law gives us. We must rather be fair and adjust the validity of representation to all the political currents in Lebanon which are within sects or that transcend sects. Their only choice to be represented in the parliament is an elections law based on relativity. This is righteous apart from what relativity provides us with. The rest is mere details to us.

Now, we accept Lebanon as one electoral district based on relativity. We do not have any problem in that. If you agree on it, let's trust in Allah and adopt it. We accept Lebanon on the basis of the relativity in districts. We accept Lebanon as broadened districts. We accept the project of the government which it submitted to the Parliament – i.e. relativity in 13 districts. We accept the proposal of the Orthodox Meeting. These are mere details. However, according to us, the attractive point in this stance of ours is the adoption of any of these proposals to relativity.

Why do we adopt relativity? That's because relativity gives everyone the chance to be represented in the Parliament. It gives all the political forces which have the least popular bases the chance to be represented in the Parliament. I will talk about relativity and my information may not be complete; I will be talking according to my follow up. In discussing relativity, in fact so far perhaps the primary problem - if not the only problem; however I will be precautious and say the primary problem - which the other party has in relativity is arms. They thus raise the slogan of "No relativity with arms". However, that is not true. Is there any chance so that we all talk on this topic and discuss it for a while?

First: This resistance exists since before 1992. In that year we ran the elections and partook in it. In 1996, 2000, 2005, and 2009 where were arms used? In which electoral district were arms used to impose electoral options? Isn't this evident? Isn't this clear? If you talk about intentions, we talk facts. These are facts. Since 1992, were arms used in any electoral district to impose electoral options?

Second: The arms you are complaining about as causing pressure in elections aren't today the arms of the resistance. All people have arms. Now if you want to impose an electoral option on one of the villages with power, do you need to use Zilzal Rocket or Fajr 5 or Ayoub Drone? All you need is a Kalashnikov to impose an electoral choice on whomever you want so as to cause terror and to bully. Well Kalashnikov exists wherever you want. All the Lebanese own Kalashnikov. The overwhelming majority of the Lebanese in all the Lebanese regions own them.

Second: If arms are influential in elections, its influence on the law of majority is more than in the law of relativity. That's because in the law of majority it is enough to gain 50% + 1 to gain the elections; whereas through the law of relativity no matter how great the pressure was a definite ratio may exceed the limit and lead a deputy to the Parliament. In my viewpoint, the problem of arms with the law of majority is much greater than the problem of arms with the law of relativity. Consequently, talking about arms is incorrect. I do not want to give it another label. I want to say that it is incorrect.

The problem is not in that at all. I will even say more. I do not take it for granted that arms intervene in elections whether with us or with others. So I am not defending Hezbollah only. Even as far as others are concerned, we never found that one day arms were used to impose political choices despite the existence of arms in Lebanon.

What is more dangerous is the arms of money. Once I may say who directly told me – and he is a primary supporter to our friends in the other bloc: We in 2009 paid 3 billion dollars in the parliamentary elections! This is in small Lebanon! At that time I told him jokingly: Had we known that, we would have told you to give us the 3 billion dollars and to take the elections in exchange.

Which is more dangerous: money or arms? Or is it the media which penetrates into every house around the clock and which includes a part which is unfortunately unjust and misleading. A part of this media fabricates lies and groundless stories and uses them to cause provocations.

Hereof I ask: which is more dangerous money or arms? The media or arms? Which is more influential in elections?

We like to hear scientific, objective discussions just as I said I understand the fears of sizes. I say and I respect this background and I do not have any problem in that. The problem of those who refuse the option of relativity so far is that the option of relativity gives the political forces their normal sizes; it is not unjust with them; it does not give them bigger sizes; it does not give them lesser sizes. It rather gives them their actual sizes.

Some consider that their guarantee is in having sizes bigger than their actual sizes. I respect this apprehension. However, we must approach things in a way that observes all apprehensions.

I have a final word on the Orthodox Meeting. Christians today have this apprehension. To step out of the atmosphere of bets as some are betting on whether Hezbollah and Amal Movement will vote, I clearly believe and say: When we tell others that we accept, then when the proposal will be voted on we will vote on what we approved. So far both of us have taken this decision. I will talk about Hezbollah at least.

Now if tomorrow morning a parliamentary session was held – and despite the fact that some of our other allies have reservations; some of the personalities which we respect very much have reservations on the Orthodox Meeting – and the laws were voted on, if the government's law is proposed we will vote for it. If the law of Lebanon as one electoral district is proposed, we will vote for it; if the proposal of the Orthodox Meeting is proposed, we will vote for it. What I am saying is clear. So let no one say the Hezbollah and Amal are making bargains, maneuvering, or working to cause sedition between Christians. No! We are faithful, and we are convinced.

Christians with their overwhelming majority today believe that this law gives the chance for what they call a valid representation and for what they call truthful equal sharing. That's because there is a dispute in the country over interpreting truthful equal sharing.

Well, let us – all of the Muslims with all our Lebanese sects – give the Christians this chance. Let's head to the parliament and to elections without anyone thinking that he will take less than his size. As for he who takes more than his size usually and can't attain that this time, let him have no problem in that. Let him be a bit humble in this stage. In the parliament, let people consider that they take their actual sizes. In the Parliament, the validity of representation, actual sizes, truthful equal sharing, and anticipations and fears are unquestionable. The upcoming parliament may give the historic chance for people to see again how they may make reforms in the regime and develop the regime. Consequently, they won't need to form frameworks beside the parliament so as to meet and make dialogue, arguments and discussions. On the contrary, all the Lebanese would be in a valid representation system in the parliament. They will talk with each other, make laws, approve on the policies of the government and the like. This is a chance. Why not take hold of it?

As for us, we are not closed. We will never close the door of discussion. As some parties among Christians have anticipations, Muslims also have anticipations. We must look and see if we may reach somewhere. Anyway, this is the track we believe in.

I call on the Lebanese to discuss the elections law. On the basis of a just and fair elections law, let's move towards parliamentary elections. Forget about waiting for what will take place in Syria – especially those who were waiting for the fall of Damascus and for a dramatic change in Syria to bully the rest of the Lebanese. Let this issue aside. It is clear that field data, political data, and regional and international data confirm that things reached a place in which the dreams many were building on a definite fact can not be fulfilled.

I do not want to talk about the Syria issue. Our stance from the Syrian issue is very clear. However, I would like to say let's keep this issue aside. We do not want to become strong with Syria on anyone, and let no one get strong with the Syrian situation on anyone else. Let's keep this issue aside. Let's talk for a while. This is our country; these are our people; these are our problems; these are our crises; these are our sects and we also have forces which transcend sects. Still these are our sects; these are our political forces; these are our fears; these are our expectations. How are we to get together?

Thus I hope that no one deals with the elections law as an election laws only. Everyone is acting as if the elections law is for a period of time even if they are not saying so. Everyone must deal with the issue as an issue that is establishing for a long period we are about to reach.

It remains that the elections law must not keep the government negligent of the daily demands, a serious, responsible, productive dialogue with the Syndicate coordination body, the Lebanese University cause, the refugees cause – all of the refugees-, the security situation and even the cause of the prisoners and the arrested. Indeed, I here add my voice to all those who say this is a righteous cause. It is the cause of the arrested Islamists. Your stance from them is baseless here. What matters here is that there are people who were arrested four or five years ago. Now there is a hall. That is over now. Well try them. As for arresting people for extra years, this is unjust. This is oppressive apart from whether your or my stance from these Islamist arrested is positive or negative.

If there is a righteous case, we must all say this is righteous and just. Justice must be achieved. We must not say set the arrested free under whatever conditions. We are saying try them. However it is unfair to keep them in prison for five years without trial. This does not apply only to the Islamist arrested but also to any prisoner in the Lebanese prisons. The Lebanese Court and behind it the Lebanese government through encouragement and incentives - that is if we say they do not intervene in justice - must address this issue.

We must move on in addressing all of these cases as Lebanese and as a Lebanese government. The elections law must not preoccupy us. However, we hope that the elections law is approached with such a spirit. Perhaps we will be able to reach a definite beneficiary result for our country and its present and future time.

Again I say hundred returns. May Allah's blessing be bestowed on you on this kind anniversary and great birthday. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holocaust And Extermination A Terrible Normality

By Michael Parenti for "Information Clearing House"

Through much of history the abnormal has been the norm. This is a paradox to which we should attend. Aberrations, so plentiful as to form a terrible normality of their own, descend upon us with frightful consistency.

The number of massacres in history, for instance, are almost more than we can record. There was the New World holocaust, consisting of the extermination of indigenous Native American peoples throughout the western hemisphere, extending over four centuries or more, continuing into recent times in the Amazon region.

There were the centuries of heartless slavery in the Americas and elsewhere, followed by a full century of lynch mob rule and Jim Crow segregation in the United States, and today the numerous killings and incarcerations of Black youth by law enforcement agencies.

Let us not forget the extermination of some 200,000 Filipinos by the U.S. military at the beginning of the twentieth century, the genocidal massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in 1915, and the mass killings of African peoples by the western colonists, including the 63,000 Herero victims in German Southwest Africa in 1904, and the brutalization and enslavement of millions in the Belgian Congo from the late 1880s until emancipation in 1960—followed by years of neocolonial free-market exploitation and repression in what was Mobutu’s Zaire.

French colonizers killed some 150,000 Algerians. Later on, several million souls perished in Angola and Mozambique along with an estimated five million in the merciless region now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The twentieth century gave us—among other horrors—more than sixteen million lost and twenty million wounded or mutilated in World War I, followed by the estimated 62 million to 78 million killed in World War II, including some 24 million Soviet military personnel and civilians, 5.8 million European Jews, and taken together: several million Serbs, Poles, Roma, homosexuals, and a score of other nationalities.

In the decades after World War II, many, if not most, massacres and wars have been openly or covertly sponsored by the U.S. national security state. This includes the two million or so left dead or missing in Vietnam, along with 250,000 Cambodians, 100,000 Laotians, and 58,000 Americans.

Today in much of Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East there are “smaller” wars, replete with atrocities of all sorts. Central America, Colombia, Rwanda and other places too numerous to list, suffered the massacres and death-squad exterminations of hundreds of thousands, a constancy of violent horrors. In Mexico a “war on drugs” has taken 70,000 lives with 8,000 missing.

There was the slaughter of more than half a million socialistic or democratic nationalist Indonesians by the U.S.-supported Indonesian military in 1965, eventually followed by the extermination of 100,000 East Timorese by that same U.S.-backed military.

Consider the 78-days of NATO’s aerial destruction of Yugoslavia complete with depleted uranium, and the bombings and invasion of Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Western Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now the devastating war of attrition brokered against Syria. And as I write (early 2013), the U.S.-sponsored sanctions against Iran are seeding severe hardship for the civilian population of that country.

All the above amounts to a very incomplete listing of the world’s violent and ugly injustice. A comprehensive inventory would fill volumes. How do we record the countless other life-searing abuses: the many millions who survive wars and massacres but remain forever broken in body and spirit, left to a lifetime of suffering and pitiless privation, refugees without sufficient food or medical supplies or water and sanitation services in countries like Syria, Haiti, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Mali.

Think of the millions of women and children around the world and across the centuries who have been trafficked in unspeakable ways, and the millions upon millions trapped in exploitative toil, be they slaves, indentured servants, or underpaid laborers. The number of impoverished is now growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. Add to that, the countless acts of repression, incarceration, torture, and other criminal abuses that beat upon the human spirit throughout the world day by day.

Let us not overlook the ubiquitous corporate corruption and massive financial swindles, the plundering of natural resources and industrial poisoning of whole regions, the forceful dislocation of entire populations, the continuing catastrophes of Chernobyl and Fukushima and other impending disasters awaiting numerous aging nuclear reactors.

The world’s dreadful aberrations are so commonplace and unrelenting that they lose their edge and we become inured to the horror of it all. “Who today remembers the Armenians?” Hitler is quoted as having said while plotting his “final solution” for the Jews. Who today remembers the Iraqis and the death and destruction done to them on a grand scale by the U.S. invasion of their lands? William Blum reminds us that more than half the Iraq population is either dead, wounded, traumatized, imprisoned, displaced, or exiled, while their environment is saturated with depleted uranium (from U.S. weaponry) inflicting horrific birth defects.

What is to be made of all this? First, we must not ascribe these aberrations to happenstance, innocent confusion, and unintended consequences. Nor should we believe the usual rationales about spreading democracy, fighting terrorism, providing humanitarian rescue, protecting U.S. national interests and other such rallying cries promulgated by ruling elites and their mouthpieces.

The repetitious patterns of atrocity and violence are so persistent as to invite the suspicion that they usually serve real interests; they are structural not incidental. All this destruction and slaughter has greatly profited those plutocrats who pursue economic expansion, resource acquisition, territorial dominion, and financial accumulation.

Ruling interests are well served by their superiority in firepower and striking force. Violence is what we are talking about here, not just the wild and wanton type but the persistent and well-organized kind. As a political resource, violence is the instrument of ultimate authority. Violence allows for the conquest of entire lands and the riches they contain, while keeping displaced laborers and other slaves in harness.

The plutocratic rulers find it necessary to misuse or exterminate restive multitudes, to let them starve while the fruits of their land and the sweat of their labor enrich privileged coteries.

Thus we had a profit-driven imperial rule that helped precipitate the great famine in northern China, 1876-1879, resulting in the death of some thirteen million. At about that same time the Madras famine in India took the lives of as many as twelve million while the colonial forces grew ever richer. And thirty years earlier, the great potato famine in Ireland led to about one million deaths, with another desperate million emigrating from their homeland. Nothing accidental about this: while the Irish starved, their English landlords exported shiploads of Irish grain and livestock to England and elsewhere at considerable profit to themselves.

These occurrences must be seen as something more than just historic abnormalities floating aimlessly in time and space, driven only by overweening impulse or happenstance. It is not enough to condemn monstrous events and bad times, we also must try to understand them. They must be contextualized in the larger framework of historical social relations.

The dominant socio-economic system today is free-market capitalism (in all its variations). Along with its unrelenting imperial terrorism, free-market capitalism provides “normal abnormalities” from within its own dynamic, creating scarcity and maldistributed excess, filled with duplication, waste, overproduction, frightening environmental destruction, and varieties of financial crises, bringing swollen rewards to a select few and continual hardship to multitudes.

Economic crises are not exceptional; they are the standing operational mode of the capitalist system. Once again, the irrational is the norm. Consider U.S. free-market history: after the American Revolution, there were the debtor rebellions of the late 1780s, the panic of 1792, the recession of 1809 (lasting several years), the panics of 1819 and 1837, and recessions and crashes through much of the rest of that century. The serious recession of 1893 continued for more than a decade.

After the industrial underemployment of 1900 to 1915 came the agrarian depression of the 1920s—hidden behind what became known to us as “the Jazz Age,” followed by a horrendous crash and the Great Depression of 1929-1942. All through the twentieth century we had wars, recessions, inflation, labor struggles, high unemployment—hardly a year that would be considered “normal” in any pleasant sense. An extended normal period would itself have been an abnormality. The free market is by design inherently unstable in every aspect other than wealth accumulation for the select few.

What we are witnessing is not an irrational output from a basically rational society but the converse: the “rational” (to be expected) output of a fundamentally irrational system. Does this mean these horrors are inescapable? No, they are not made of supernatural forces. They are produced by plutocratic greed and deception.

So, if the aberrant is the norm and the horrific is chronic, then we in our fightback should give less attention to the idiosyncratic and more to the systemic. Wars, massacres and recessions help to increase capital concentration, monopolize markets and natural resources, and destroy labor organizations and popular transformative resistance.

The brutish vagaries of plutocracy are not the product of particular personalities but of systemic interests. President George W. Bush was ridiculed for misusing words, but his empire-building and stripping of government services and regulations revealed a keen devotion to ruling-class interests. Likewise, President Barack Obama is not spineless. He is hypocritical but not confused. He is (by his own description) an erstwhile “liberal Republican,” or as I would put it, a faithful servant of corporate America.

Our various leaders are well informed, not deluded. They come from different regions and different families, and have different personalities, yet they pursue pretty much the same policies on behalf of the same plutocracy.

So it is not enough to denounce atrocities and wars, we also must understand who propagates them and who benefits. We have to ask why violence and deception are constant ingredients.

Unintended consequences and other oddities do arise in worldly affairs but we also must take account of interest-driven rational intentions. More often than not, the aberrations—be they wars, market crashes, famines, individual assassinations or mass killings—take shape because those at the top are pursuing gainful expropriation. Many may suffer and perish but somebody somewhere is benefiting boundlessly.

Knowing your enemies and what they are capable of doing is the first step toward effective opposition. The world becomes less of a horrific puzzlement. We can only resist these global (and local) perpetrators when we see who they are and what they are doing to us and our sacred environment.

Democratic victories, however small and partial they be, must be embraced. But the people must not be satisfied with tinseled favors offered by smooth leaders. We need to strive in every way possible for the revolutionary unraveling, a revolution of organized consciousness striking at the empire’s heart with the full force of democracy, the kind of irresistible upsurge that seems to come from nowhere while carrying everything before it.

Michael Parenti’s most recent books are The Culture Struggle (2006), Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader (2007), God and His Demons (2010), Democracy for the Few (9th ed. 2011), and The Face of Imperialism (2011). For further information about his work, visit his website:  This article was originally posted at Dandelion Salad

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alain Soral and Pierre Jovanovic at a joint conference in Lyon, France

Alain Soral and Pierre Jovanovic are most definitely the two most brilliant French intellectuals alive. They both have therefore been totally banned from ever appearing in the French corporate media. Even though they both publicly exist only through the Internet and through public meetings, they are very popular in France and I encourage all of you who understand French to listen to this very interesting conference.


 The Saker

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Newsflash for the intellectually challenged: guns are completely irrelevant!

There are certain topics which I really hate.  I hate them not inherently, not because they make me feel somehow uncomfortable, but because both sides of the issue are equally repulsive, self-righteous, ideological and totally stupid.  One such topics is "abortion rights".  Oh how much I hate both pro-lifers and pro-choicers!  But today I am going to vent about another topic which fills me with an overwhelming desire to, maybe, "shoot them all!"?

Gun control.

Rather than going into some fancy analysis (after all, I am only venting, not analyzing), I will just tell each side why I hate them so much.

Gun controllers - I hate you because:

a) You are totally obsessing over a completely irrelevant topic.  Yes, guns don't matter one bit in our society. They matter far less than cars, phones or computers.  And if you are going to give me that crap about guns killing people, I will ask you about "car control" or "obesity control".  Bottom line: you are like dumb sheep who follow the purely ideological agenda of your political leaders who instead of looking at the real issues want to have you all get upset about a topic which they, the "One Percenters", don't give a shit about.

b) Your entire outlook is predicated on a total fallacy: that regulating or banning guns will reduce violence.  In fact, it won't even reduce *gun* violence for a simple reason: gun violence is only legal when engaged in by representatives of the state, all other form of gun violence are illegal.  And since the action itself is illegal, it is hardly going to be controlled by making illegal the acquisition of the implement needed for the illegal action.  Got it?

c) You are confusing everything and anything: automatic weapons with semi-auto, clips sizes with calibers, hollow-point rounds with "cop killer" ammo, assault rifles with submachine guns, submachine guns with machine guns, and I won't even go to hunting rifles or knives (which most of you also want to regulate/ban).   Most of you see an AR-15 semi-auto and think of it as an "military assault rifle".  The fact is you don't care one bit about the "firearms" or "guns" you want to ban, as long as you get to "disarm the brutes" (or so you think).  You always begin with "military weapons" (whatever that means) and you end up banning knives and box cutters!

Gun righters - I have you because:

a) You are actually dumb enough to say with a straight face that giving guns to people will protect them from tyranny.  Let me break it to you: not only have their been plenty of tyrannical regimes which were more than happy to distribute guns, a single platoon of well-trained government goons will easily wipe-out several hundred of gun-toting civilians who would be dumb enough to challenge them.

b) For all your "concealed carry license" and gun magazines, you fail to realize that 99% of all folks out there cannot defend themselves with a gun.  Not with a handgun, not with a rifle, not with an assault rifle.  Most folks can only miss and freak out. If you had any common sense you would realize that a dog is far, *FAR* better defense against violence (including gun violence) than a frigging gun.  Let me break it to you again: there is a darn good reason why cops regularly go to the shooting range - guns are hard to use.  And then, look at how often even trained cops end up doing God knows what (mostly miss, run and duck) when in a shoot-out.

c) Most of you cretins think that guns are somehow patriotic.  They are not.  They are just tools, implements, devices.  They are no more "American" than knives or even fly-swatters.  The only thing truly American about guns is the mental dysfunction which consists of thinking of guns are patriotic.  In other, civilized, countries guns are simply no big deal.

A couple of days ago I saw this cretin Obama standing with is VP offering a new set of gun control measures.  Half of the morons reacted with delight, half with outrage.  And ever since the airwaves are filled with a deluge of imbecilic statements about guns.  What is really happening, of course, is this:

The USA is ruled by a tiny plutocracy which holds total power over society.  There are no liberals here, and no conservatives.  All I see is *serfs* who must toil in increasingly worsening conditions to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.  And in order to create the ILLUSION of a political life, the One Percenters simply toss in the "gun control" issue, so the pseudo-liberals can "feel liberal" and the pseudo-conservatives can "feel conservative".  And as long as you morons keep on taking that kind of nonsense seriously, you are doing exactly what the One Percenters want you do to: arguing about a completely irrelevant topic while your masters are laughing at you.

Wake up guys,  you are being conned!  Stop it!

The Saker

Friday, January 18, 2013

Burn, burn - Africa's Afghanistan

by Pepe Escobar for the Asia Times

One's got to love the sound of a Frenchman's Mirage 2000 fighter jet in the morning. Smells like... a delicious neo-colonial breakfast in Hollandaise sauce. Make it quagmire sauce.

Apparently, it's a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people - with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years - in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.

So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali. Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The formerly wimpy Hollande - now enjoying his "resolute", "determined", tough guy image reconversion - has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.

French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.

The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it's "ready to help" the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).

Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based "observatory", hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and - oui, monsieur - France itself.

Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council - faster than a collection of Marvel heroes - duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors - part of the ECOWAS regional bloc - were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened - and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.

Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate - and impoverished - countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.

To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe's cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.

Turbulence ahead

General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon's AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what's really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those "vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara"?

It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government's incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.

The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010. Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department's Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon's Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this "freedom" business Mali has been the proverbial "steady ally" - as in counterterrorism partner - fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Over the last few years, Washington's game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.

An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch's papers - for instance, The Times of London - and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.

Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs' independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.

After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The "international community" spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other - Islamist - groups; Ansar ed-Dine ("Defenders of the Faith"); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Meet the players

The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration - and development - for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi's army. But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.

AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to "The Doctor", Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.

Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African "Geronimo", aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as "The Uncatchable", has recently joined MUJAO.

MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It's the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, "in the name of Allah", to respond by attacking "the heart of France".

Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of - inevitably - Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It's interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.

Gimme 'a little more terrorism'

No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo's military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad - especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu. How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It's useless to ask the question to US drones.

The official "leading from behind" Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing "could rally jihadis" around the world and lead to - what else - attacks on the West. Once again the good ol' Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.

There's no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to. The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that "from categorically refusing an intervention - saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous", Algiers went to "open Algerian skies to the French Mirages".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.

So let's turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcoming The Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).

Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, "Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the 'Global War on Terror' has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002."

In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, "a little more terrorism" in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush - or the neo-cons behind him - wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.

Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that "little more terrorism". Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as "terrorists"; the perfect pretext for Bush's Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon's Operation Flintlock - a trans-Sahara military exercise.

The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.

The Tuaregs - the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel - number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.

Keenan's analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine's Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO's Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.

Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That's the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.

Round up the usual freedom fighters

Washington's "leading from behind" position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.

And that's it.

Not really. Anyone who thinks "bomb al-Qaeda" is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.

Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon's overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road - and by the (Niger) river - and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali - just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And - Pipelineistan beckons! - there's plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.

As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller was saying that AFRICOM's mission was to protect "the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market"; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of " challenging US interests".

AFRICOM's spy planes have been "observing" Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are - what else - contractors who do not wear military uniforms.

Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM's commander, once more gave a big push to the "mission to advance US security interests across Africa". Now it's all about the - updated - US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to "strengthen democratic institutions"; encourage "economic growth, trade and investment"; "advance peace and security"; and "promote opportunity and development."

In practice, it's Western militarization (with Washington "leading from behind") versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa. In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.

Already in early December a "multinational" war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.

The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, "multinational" proxy army about to get into the action, it's the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony "in trouble" to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.

Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.

A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it's been reported), led by who else but the "uncatchable" Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.

The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced - what else - the new French "crusade" and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.

As blowback goes, this is just the hors d'oeuvres. And it won't be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.

So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about "peace"); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed "kinetic military operations".

Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There's no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at

Meet the charming 'freedom fighters' the West wants to put into power in Syria

Pope thanks CIA war criminal for "protecting the world"

by Jay Janson for "Information Clearing House"

Panetta said the Pope said to him, “Thank you for helping to protect the world.” said he replied, “Pray for me.” Fellow Catholics, can only hope that the Pope said something else that Panetta was reluctant to mention to US foreign policy promoting reporters. One paragraph re Panetta’s crimes, Reagan’s Assist. Sec of Treasury quoted, and the usual plea for a responsible public to call for prosecution of illegal war.


Panetta, at Vatican, Says Pope Thanks Him for Service, NY Times, 1/16/13, by Elizabeth Bumiller,
"ROME — Leon E. Panetta had an audience on Wednesday morning at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI, who told him, Mr. Panetta said, “Thank you for helping to protect the world.” Mr. Panetta said he replied, “Pray for me.”
Mr. Panetta, ... who attends Mass every Sunday, is halfway through a week-long trip to Europe meant as a goodbye tour of American allies"
The reader is invited to read the whole short NY Times report before going on to the paragraph below on Panetta's to-be-prosecuted crimes, a quote from Reagan's Asst. Sec. of Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, and the author's commiseration with fellow born-Catholics.

During Panetta's time as CIA Director and Secretary of Defense US illegal wars (illegal, even according to Ron Paul), have gone on un-mercilessly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen at the cost of thousands of lives of men,women and children murdered in their own beloved, innocent and poor nations. Under Panetta thugs were paid to destroy the government in the most prosperous and democratic nation in Africa before US NATO bombing took place while a near million Libyans in a population of only six million demonstrated for their Green democracy government and Gadaffi. At last count 60'000 have died in Syria for the attempt of the former former colonial powers led by the US and satellites like Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do the same there in the face to similar massive pro-government rallies which are denied coverage in the Pentagon fed network news programs.

'It is a known fact that the CIA has violated US law and international law with its assassinations, kidnappings and torture. But it is not this criminal agency that will be held accountable. Instead, those who will be punished will be those moral beings who, appalled at the illegality and inhumanity of the CIA, leaked the evidence of the agency's crimes. The CIA has asked the US Justice (sic) Department to investigate what the CIA alleges is the "criminal disclosure" of its secret program to murder suspected foreign terrorist leaders abroad. As we learned from Gitmo, those suspected by America are overwhelmingly innocent." [Paul Craig Roberts, CIA's Hypocracy Astonishes the World,, 9/6/2009]

Those brought up as Catholics, can only hope that the Pope said something else to that monstrous war criminal that Panetta was reluctant to mention to US foreign policy promoting reporters.

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer