Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Netanyahu celebrates Arab Spring by green-lighting hundreds of new setttlements

It's been more than two years since I blogged.

Heck, now with activity on Twitter, and my published articles in the midst of grading papers, who can figure out any time to think up a topic let alone write one.

But this was a gem I had to do something about.

I live for articles like this one "Israel to build new West Bank settlements" because they confirm my skepticism of the misnomer that Western Media continues to shove down Middle Easterners' throats.

Arab Spring.

There can be no "Arab" Spring nor Arab "Spring" without the resolution of key issues in the region; chief among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arab - barring the Anglo protectorates of the Gulf - society has since World War II been shaped in various ways by this conflict.

You cannot have an "Arab Spring" while Gaza is bombed with impunity (five times this past week) and Palestinians live under the tether and yoke of occupation.

Neither can you have an "Arab Spring" if many in the region still don't recognize Israel. (But we'll leave the Arab penchant for playing the ostrich to another posting some time in the future)

The terminology mistakenly applied by western journalists, analysts, researchers and the like is designed to borrow credence from the regenerative trends and reformative changes that produced the Age of Enlightenment.

The Age of Enlightenment paved the way for a giant leap in the sciences and allowed for the Industrial Revolution.

But the Arab Spring has .... well, nothing. Too early, you have to be patient, wait for Revolution 2.0 and 11.x, some people who bemoan my position tell me. Yes, meanwhile more than 30 percent (even by the most optimistic figures) of the Arab World are illiterate.

That's nearly 100 million people, hoss.

I believe in fundamentals. You get the fundamentals right and you're likely to build something that stands the test of time.

In the Arab world, the fundamentals have not even been set; there is no infrastructure that allows for even a glimpse of a better future - Spring - down the line. There is the century-old misappropriation of priorities, which Arabs appear to excel at.

Only discernible change I have seen since the Tunisian protests is that the Palestinian issue - integral to this part of the world no matter how you look at it - has faded from public and regional media interest. Not that it had much of an impact by a long shot before 2010.

I remember chuckling last summer when Egyptian media heralded a new era because post-Mubarak diplomacy had resolved the Hamas-Fatah civil war. Fanfare, hoopla, confetti - celebrations abound in Egyptian media as it was declared that the two rival factions were forming a unity government.

Two weeks later, Hamas and Fatah were back at pricking one another. If I search carefully, I may come across an article now and again which cites some Palestinian official hoping for reconciliation. In fact, I just read - again - that they were forming a unity government under the auspices of another round of post-Mubarak diplomacy, following Qatari diplomacy in February.

Arab Spring, indeed.

PS: Another great article which of course will garner (don't you hate that word!) little to no attention, outcry, action in Arab media let alone the public.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bravo Huffington Post, shame to CNN

CNN, FOX and others ignore Wikileaks story

Yes, it is an embarrassing story for the US image abroad but I really thought that CNN, FOX and others would swallow their hubris a bit.

Five hours after Wikileaks, a whistle blowing website run by The Sunshine Press, released "a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff", most US news corporations have not reported the story.

Most have gone for the Tiger Woods sexational story instead, which is truly depressing.

One would have thought that mind-numbing editorial decisions which have squandered the opportunity to substantially report on stories beyond the village mentality had been a thing of the past.

Not really it seems. I am truly saddened.

According to Wikileaks: The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website"

So, Wikileaks, which is audience-funded launches an entire website to this and CNN, FOX, and MSNBC don't even carry the story in their World sections.

Thankfully, Al Jazeera's English and Arabic websites carried it. As did the BBC and Huffington Post (See my earlier post).

Let's see how much longer the US media machine can hide the story from the viewer.

Wikileaks 10: Pentagon 0

You can't hide the truth. Despite the fact that most media has fallen prey to Journocrapitalism, there is no hiding the truth from determined persons.

The Pentagon tried to lie its way out of the murder of innocents on July 12, 2007. They failed.

There is nothing more to add to what is written here:

Wikileaks versus the Pentagon

Wikileaks exposes video

Sunday, April 04, 2010

CNN chooses flair and fluff over fact

Today by pure chance I fell upon Fareed Zakaria's GPS show, an interview with Shahrukh Khan, also known as King Khan, India's top-grossing actor.

He was asked about his film "My Name is Khan" about a Muslim man married to a Hindu woman living in post-9/11 America.

Interesting. I am intrigued enough to watch the film. Khan was rather eloquent.

But I was quickly reminded why I cannot stand the smug, biased coverage that is CNN.

Tours of the Tyrant, was the network's promotion of a special segment about pictures released of Kim Jong-il.

Zakaria called the North Korean leader a rapacious tyrant.
Then he beamed a smile to the viewers.


What does Zakaria's description benefit the viewer? There were no facts offered, no story - the whole thing was designed to belittle and ridicule a leader that has become fair target for US and most Western media.

But I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see this. As usual CNN does not disappoint in choosing flair and fluff over fact.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines .... (while shaking my head)

Well, it has been a while since I have written but I return today with this little gem.

Look at the headline to the far right from the sports story on Lindsey Vonn in the screen capture of the Huffington Post on April 2, 2010..
Reads "Lindsey Vonn Hand Shake Goes Horribly Wrong".
I grimaced when I first read it. OMG, maybe she fell down and twisted her wrist or arm or shoulder came out of her socket.
Or the footballer kicked her instead of the ball, or she fainted or she tripped and ...

A range of scenarios came to mind conjured up by the phrase "Horribly Wrong".

Except it was nothing that dire. The story was that the man she shook hands with had moments earlier picked his nose.

Sensationalizing a headline? You be the judge. Here is the story.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cooking up an Iraqi election?

While the themes of the March 7 Iraqi elections may have been nationalism and democracy, behind-the-scenes actions at polling stations and during the vote count point to disturbing trends.

Dozens of reports have emerged from voting stations throughout southern Iraq and abroad that election officials assigned by the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) have intimidated, threatened, and forced voters to choose Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister, and his State of Law coalition.

Several elections officials were disqualified. In Jordan, police were called to settle a very heated argument between two polling observers. In London, police scuffled with Kurdish voters who had improper Iraqi national certificates and were disallowed to vote. It was reported that Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president intervened, and the Kurds were allowed to cast their votes.

No investigation was carried to examine why their papers were believed to have been faulty.

And the IHEC is now coming under scrutiny. Hours after polls closed, members within the Shia-dominated State of Law coalition started to declare victory. The IHEC said they would declare poll results based on a count of 30 percent of votes on Tuesday, March 9.

This was then postponed to March 10. On Wednesday afternoon, there was yet another delay and the IHEC promised Thursday, March 11 to release the results of the 30 percent count.

Meanwhile, the world media which lauded the elections as free and fair - and some conservatives highlighted the efficacy of the Bush administrations efforts to create a true democratic state in the radical Muslim World - has failed to pick up on this.


What's the hold-up? Unless it is to cook the results?

Check this out:

For Immediate Release 10 March 2010
No. 3

There have been suspicious delays in announcing the election results in Iraq, amid fears that extensive efforts are underway to distort the real outcome of the poll.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Struan Stevenson MEP, President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq said:

"On Monday, March 8, the election commission in Iraq announced that by Tuesday, 30% of ballots would be counted and the results would be made public. But, regrettably, the commission refrained from announcing the results as the day closed. I now understand that the count has been completed, but still no results have been announced. This makes me deeply suspicious that attempts are going on behind the scenes to manipulate the outcome of the poll. Following the illegal expulsion of over 500 secular, anti-sectarian candidates on trumped-up de-Baathification charges and endless accounts of violence, intimidation and blatant fraud throughout the poll, I fear that the mullah's regime in Tehran may now be trying to install a puppet Prime Minister in Iraq.

"I have been telephoned and emailed by many people since the polls closed, including journalists, police officers and even a voting station director. All of them gave me disturbing reports about attempts to distort the election results. They also view the delay in announcing the results as ominous and believe that ballot papers and ballot boxes are being tampered with. One thing is clear, however, in almost all of their messages to me, they emphasized that the delay is a very important sign, indicating the victory of Iraqi nationalist forces over what the Iranian regime is seeking to achieve inside Iraq.

"The widespread fraud which took place during the elections and the delay in announcing the results, not only question the legitimacy of the election but also amount to a plan to drive Iraq into crisis. The United Nations, U.S. and European Union must robustly confront any distortion of the Iraqi people's votes and prevent that country from plunging back into sectarian violence."

Struan Stevenson, MEP
President, Delegation for relations with Iraq
The European Parliament
Rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How the Dalai Lama got into Tiger Woods' pants

I admit, I am not a fan of the Dalai Lama. Personally, while I stand by the plight of the people of Tibet, I don't know what this man has done to deserve so much fanfare.

The Chinese, who periodically moan and groan whenever a Western official meets with the Buddhist leader, are as much to blame for his cult of personality.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't necessarily say that the Dalai Lama is an evil man, even though he seemed to be out of touch with reality when he said:

"Of course, I have great respect for, in fact, I love President Bush, because he is very frank, very straightforward. His intentions are good, but some of his policy in spite of his sincere motivation and right goal, and some of his method becomes unrealistic because of lack of understanding about reality."
How a man allegedly of peace, who campaigns on behalf of his occupied people, can say he has respect for Bush, a man who has destroyed the peace ... well it's beyond me. Is he being diplomatic, and if so, are we to understand that diplomacy comes before the guiding tenets of Buddhism?

I will just call the Dalai Lama stupid.

Moving along, however, how related is the Dalai Lama visit to the US with Tiger (has) Wood? Sure, Tiger has shed light on his Buddhism but that's like asking the Pope what he thinks of Raul Julia.

On February 20, the Dalai Lama was in Beverly Hills to support a charity organization which advocates better care for orphans around the world. Given the latest disaster in Haiti, such support is well-timed.

But some journalist decided to ask the Dalai Lama what he thought of Woods' sexcapades. Say what? Why would the Dalai Lama care; furthermore, why not ask the Dalai Lama about Haiti or orphans around the world?

No, Woods' dick and where he put it and how often was the most pressing issue. AP reported it, FOX News ran it et voila, you have yet another brilliant example of journocrapitalism.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Al Jazeera's website wakes up

Someone put things right. Finally. Even though it comes some 12 hours late.

But the BBC News Americas website remains a mystery. Do they just not like the news out of the US Department of Justice. As of 10 EST, the BBC has already reported on Alexander Haig's passing away, but still nothing on the torture memo.

Hmmm ...

Al Jazeera, BBC go apeshit over Tiger Woods

What a disappointing day for journalism.

Take a look at this snapshot from the BBC News Americas website.

The lead story is "Repentant Woods sorry for affairs".

Nowhere on that page is there any mention of the Department of Justice's ruling following an investigation into the memos sent out by two Bush administration lawyers authorizing the use of aggressive interrogation techniques, including the much-maligned waterboarding, etc.

Compare the BBC website's choice of leading stories with oh, say the Huffington Post:

The Huffington Post is leading with the story, and has an interesting play on words to express ... well, dismay, for one.

This was the Huff Post front page as of 0500 EST.

The Huff Post also includes several links to other news stories related to this as well as entries by their usual slew of bloggers.

One would expect a story such as this, which paved the way for all kinds of human rights violations in Bagram, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be picked up by the world press. Alright, maybe not the whole world cares, but one would expect a news organization like Al Jazeera, which has championed itself as the network which covers stories other media to do not, to cover such an event.

Disappointingly, no. Al Jazeera English as of 0600 EST has not yet made any mention of the DOJ report, but has covered and written on its website extensively about the Tiger Woods affair.

Both Al Jazeera English's TV coverage and website have failed to cover the DOJ story.

Arabic Al Jazeera metioned the DOJ story in its morning news hour, but nothing yet on its website.

One has to question what is going on. Arabic Al Jazeera has a huge stake in covering this story, particularly since one of their own cameramen, Sami Haj, was held at Guantanamo and, by his own accounts and those of his lawyers, torture in lieu of the aforementioned memos.

Did the Al Jazeera networks drop the ball? Or are they chugging along on the BBC railroad?

These are difficult questions, to be sure, but they must be asked. How can we, as media consumers, trust the media, any media?

The Tiger Woods story has transfixed audiences, mostly in North America, and the BBC and Al Jazeera (at least English). Both the BBC and Al Jazeera are hoping to lure the audience with lurid stories of affairs and sexual romps. This is what sells. It is a shame that the BBC chose to lead with this story on its Americas page.

But it is a travesty that Al Jazeera is quickly failing its audiences and falling into the pit of journocrapitalism.

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