December 22, 2010 § 4 Comments
Max Blumenthal discusses his must read article The Great Islamophobic Crusade. Here’s an excerpt:
Little of recent American Islamophobia (with a strong emphasis on the “phobia”) is sheer happenstance. Years before Tea Party shock troops massed for angry protests outside the proposed site of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, representatives of the Israel lobby and the Jewish-American establishment launched a campaign against pro-Palestinian campus activism that would prove a seedbed for everything to come. That campaign quickly — and perhaps predictably — morphed into a series of crusades against mosques and Islamic schools which, in turn, attracted an assortment of shady but exceptionally energetic militants into the network’s ranks.
Besides providing the initial energy for the Islamophobic crusade, conservative elements from within the pro-Israel lobby bankrolled the network’s apparatus, enabling it to influence the national debate. One philanthropist in particular has provided the beneficence to propel the campaign ahead. He is a little-known Los Angeles-area software security entrepreneur named Aubrey Chernick, who operates out of a security consulting firm blandly named the National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination. A former trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which has served as a think tank for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a frontline lobbying group for Israel, Chernick is said to be worth $750 million.
You can read the rest of this excellent article at Max’s website.
December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
The WikiLeaks founder talks about secrets, leaks and why he will not go back to Sweden.
December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
Ali Allawi on his book The Crisis of Islamic Civilization. (see Robin’s review)
The Carnegie Council is the world’s leading voice promoting ethical leadership on issues of war, peace and global social justice. Its mission is to be the voice for ethics in international policy.
Thank you very much, Joanne, and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I had really two choices. One was to try to summarize Islamic civilization in half an hour, or to discuss this more in a personal way and a personal capacity which I thought might be interesting at such an early hour. I’ve called my talk, “In Search of Islam’s Civilization.”
I was born into a mildly observant Muslim family in Iraq. The 1950s in the Middle East and the broader Islamic world were a time when the secular elements of society, the ruling political class, and cultural and intellectual feats had moved far from an overt identification with Islam. It appeared then to be only a matter of time before Islam would lose whatever hold it may have still had on the peoples and societies of the Muslim world.
December 22, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Originally published at the Muslim Institute.
I never managed to finish T.E. Lawrence’s vastly overrated “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. It’s a poorly written, narrowly partial and self-dramatising account of the Arab Revolt against Turkish rule during World War One, as poor a rendering of history as one would expect from Lawrence, with his poor Arabic, poor knowledge of the Arab nationalist movement, and his strange belief that he could pass as an Arab, despite his blond hair and stumbling speech. I got as far as his description of the Syrians as “an ape-like race.”
A far, far better book on early Arab nationalism is George Antonius’s “The Arab Awakening,” which covers the period from Muhammad Ali’s brief unification of Egypt and Syria in the 1830s to the struggle for Palestine in the 1930s.
December 22, 2010 § Leave a Comment
December 21, 2010 § 1 Comment
The Reut Institute sent their “National Security Team” for a whole year in London; conducted interviews with over 150 people (“experts and activists from a range of fields”); Studied biology, economics, terrorism, the internet and Frank Sinatra. All this in order to investigate the BDS movement. They wrote a report, mouthfully titled “Building a Political Firewall against the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy: London as a Case Study” and this is their conclusion:
Hamas Did It Because They Want to Destroy Israel!
December 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday we wrote about photojournalist William Parry’s Christmastime project in London: projecting images of Israel’s apartheid wall in Bethlehem onto monuments and buildings in the British capital.
The goal, says Parry, is to “provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush, to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas.”
The images used in the projections are primarily of Palestinian children from the Aida refugee camp who have decorated a portion of the wall with a Christmas message to the world. Click here for yesterday’s overview of the project and to see the original images taken by Parry in Bethlehem.
Over the fold are pictures from last night’s projections at Marble Arch, the National Portrait Gallery, and Parliament, where Parry reports his group was nearly arrested.
December 20, 2010 § 4 Comments
About a month ago, one of my colleagues was describing to me a forthcoming trip, when he paused and reflected, “I’m still not sure whether I want to be groped or zapped.” It is a question many Americans have contemplated in recent weeks, “groping,” of course, being the instantly-infamous “enhanced pat downs” airport travelers can opt for if they refuse a “zapping,” the new X-ray backscatter or millimeter-wave machines that provide TSA shockingly clear body images. Both types of machine are known as Advanced Imaging Technology [AIT].
A few days ago I traveled internationally and had some opportunities to experience these notorious new security measures. Because AIT, according to Congressional testimony by Columbia University biophysicist David Brenner, delivers radiation at a rate of “20 times the average dose that is typically quoted by TSA and throughout the industry,” I leaned toward being groped rather than zapped. The TSA has been lying about other things, after all, proclaiming that the AIT machines don’t record or store images when in fact they can and sometimes do.
Exhausted after entering customs in Detroit after a fourteen hour flight, however, I was in no mood to have my privates jostled, so I opted for a zapping. It seemed innocuous enough. I cleared my pockets, stood in the transparent cylinder, and raised my arms as the panels rotated and emitted a flash of light. Not even Aldous Huxley was imaginative enough to have predicted the scene. While I was in the cylinder awaiting the zap, I rolled my eyes at a skeptical woman who seconds earlier had flatly proclaimed to the agent, “I’m not getting in that thing.” She grinned at me, a favor I was able to return a minute later after I had gathered my belongings and passed her as she stood in an area designated for miscreants, a TSA agent’s hands down the back of her pants.
December 20, 2010 § 11 Comments
Two dozen children, aged 5-17, from the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, cut out stencils of letters, stars and Christmas trees and sprayed painted ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS WORLD FROM BETHLEHEM GHETTO’ on Israel’s illegal separation wall. Photographed by UK-based photojournalist William Parry, images of the children and their message – along with powerful images of checkpoints and life under occupation – will temporarily ‘hijack’ prominent wall spaces in central London throughout the week leading up to Christmas, with the help of projection artist, Beverley Carpenter. (photographs of Bethlehem and of the projection project in London can be found over the fold!)
The idea is to provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush, to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas. We’re bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London this Christmas.
The children who painted the message on the wall are third and fourth generation refugees, at risk of being made refugees again because of the wall’s devastating impact. We are complicit in suspending their rights to justice and freedom through our governments’ biased support of Israel.”
December 20, 2010 § 1 Comment
The French in Algeria pioneered many of the torture techniques that were subsequently used in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. French ‘counterinsurgency’ specialists, who had already fought the Vietnamese, trained American soldiers and interrogators throughout the 1960s.
Al Jazeera examines the bitterness still provoked by France’s colonial war in Algeria and how it fuels resentment between France and its Muslim community.