Rae Abileah in her own words (crossposted from Mondoweiss).
Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke in the Capital on Tuesday, May 24? I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, when Netanyahu was praising young people rising up for democracy in the Middle East, and I took my cue to stand up from my seat in the Capital Gallery, unfurl a banner, and shout, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”
PBS Frontline has just aired a documentary “WikiSecrets” — I’ve seen the first few minutes, and already it comes across as a hatchet job. In the interest of transparency, Wikileaks has released the full video of Martin Smith’s interview with Julian Assange because it predicted that the film would distort reality. This is a very interesting interview, so don’t miss.
On 24 May, 2011, 9pm EST, PBS-Frontline will air a documentary “WikiSecrets”. WikiLeaks has had intelligence for some time that the program is hostile and misrepresents WikiLeaks’ views and tries to build an “espionage” case against its founder, Julian Assange, and also the young soldier, Bradley Manning.
In accordance with our tradition of “scientific journalism” (full primary sources) we release here our, behind the scenes, interview tape between Julian Assange & PBS Frontline’s Martin Smith which was recorded on 4/4/2011. In the tape, Assange scolds Martin Smith for his previous coverage of Bradley Manning and addresses a number of issues surrounding the 1917 Espionage Act investigation into WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning.
The Frontline documentary will include footage of a number of individuals who have a collective, and very dirty personal vendetta, against the organization. These include David Leigh, Adrian Lamo, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Eric Schmitt and Kim Zetter. While the program filmed other sources, such as Vaughan Smith who provided a counter-narrative, these more credible voices have been excluded from the program presented to the US public.
In the following audio, Jeff Blankfort interviews Prof. Geoffrey Wawro, author of Quicksand: America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East, (Penguin, 2010) with a focus on US support for Israel, the pro-Israel lobby and whether Israel is a strategic asset or liability.
Amid debate with Joshua Landis in the comments section of the previous post, I wrote this:
Another point about sectarianism. Remember the fight bewtween Alawis and Ismailis some years ago in Masyaf (was it Masyaf?). There was a good piece about it on Syria Comment. Somebody at the time (perhaps Joshua) pointed out that the fight wouldn’t have reached the proportions it did if there had been respected civil society figures who could have knocked the young men’s heads together. But there weren’t any such figures, because any natural authority figure was perceived as a threat by the regime and had been removed. Masyaf is a microcosm of Syria.
Then a visitor called AK posted the following comment, which is very worth reading.
Syrians lived together even before the arrival of Al Assad family to power. Mind you, majority of Alawii are poorer now than forty years ago. You just need to visit any Alawii village (including Kurdaha) to establish that yourself..
Barack Obama gave a major speech on the Middle East on Thursday, May 19, and it is clear from the subsequent commentary that he impressed few people. The main reason for this is that he did not say much new or indicate that there would be any serious changes in US policy in the region. It was essentially more of the same with some tweaking here and there. Nevertheless, he did manage to anger some people. For example, Israel’s hard-line supporters were outraged that he said: “Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” For them, the 1967 borders are “Auschwitz borders” and thus can never serve as a basis for negotiations.
Today another 29 Syrians, including a child, were slaughtered in their streets. Today Hugo Chavez referred to Syrian President Bashaar al-Asad as “my brother.” He claimed that Syria is “the victim of a fascist attack,” but he wasn’t referring to his fascistic brother, he was referring to the people.
Lance Selfa at Socialist Worker analyses Chavez’s perverse stand. It should be noted that Turkish PM Erdogan has regained his popularity since he took a strong line against Qaddafi and Asad.
WHEN THE revolution sweeping the Arab world struck Libya and Syria, the governments there chose to act in the same way that the Bahraini monarchy did against its internal opposition: Open fire on unarmed crowds, arrest large numbers of people and outlaw demonstrations.
These actions have rightly received widespread condemnation from supporters of the Arab revolutions. But they have received at least tacit support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who is widely considered an important figure on the international left.