Monday, November 23, 2015

Harbingers of Hate

UN High Commission for Refugees

DDGD November 22, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by… The Rational Alliance for Rabid Debate: we believe in the necessity of a rational and wholehearted commitment to fearmongering and hate.

The Delirica  

Conspiracy Making: This short article, which dates back to May 25, 2015, continues to come up again and again on social media, and although many people seem to take it as true, since it is based on an unclassified Pentagon document, it actually offers an insight into how conspiracy theories are weaved.

This is what the article claims to reveal: “Confirmed Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” in a Proxy War Against Assad.” Below is an excerpt from the DIA report meant to back this claim:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

But this is the full quote taken directly from the unclassified document:

Can you spot the difference? The document speaks of a hypothetical scenario that could develop should the situation in Syria “unravels,” that is, should the state fail. The report, then, points to sponsors of the opposition as favoring this development as part of their effort to isolate Assad. There is no American plan here or a course being advocated, and the whole scenario is premised on having the Obama Administration continuing to do nothing.

Earlier in the report, the role of Iran, China and Russia in supporting the regime is also acknowledged. The report can be read here, there are many redacted sections.  

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Un-American & Un-Islamic: Slavery, racism and intolerance all have history in America. Yet, when we talk about oppression, injustice and censorship, we describe them as being Un-American. The reason for this apparent contradiction is simple: a nation prefers to define itself by the best it has to offer, even as it continues to combat its worst tendencies. The same goes for Islam. Slavery, intolerance, misogyny, homophobia are all part of Islamic history and some of their manifestations issues lingers to date to varying degrees. Still, Muslims define themselves by the best that their religion has to offer, including tolerance, conviviality, love of peace and justice, the “live and let live” spirit, all of which are values that can be found in the Quran. Fringe groups both in the U.S. and Muslim-majority countries exploit and revel in the negative aspects of their culture, with hate groups hiding under the protection of the First Amendment, and terrorist groups like Daesh justifying their acts under the pretext of return to authenticity,” but both sets of groups are denounced by the overwhelming majority as Un-American and Un-Islamic. No amount of legal or theological trickery can blind decent people as to the basic immorality involved in the speech and acts that reflect hate and nihilism.

But we have to note here that both epithets, Un-American and Un-Islamic, often reflect an ethical and moral judgement not a legal one. We cannot punish someone for being Un-American or Un-Islamic, we can punish specific crimes. Generally speaking, it’s Un-American to be intolerant, once again, we are referring to the aspirational nature of the statement here, not the historical reality affiliated with it, but unless the intolerant person decide to assault his neighbor for being different, then, no crime has been committed, and no punishment can be meted out by law. But society, in this case the neighborhood, can choose to shun the intolerant person. In this sense, Muslims shouldn’t wait for someone to commit an overt act of intolerance to be shunned, and for his behavior to be considered Un-Islamic. Most Muslims, in fact, don’t associate with people who hold radical views: extremists make them feel uncomfortable, just Christian extremists make most other practicing Christians uncomfortable.  

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The same people who advocated and now are busy defending and justifying the Iran deal are now focusing their energies as well on attacking Saudi Arabia, both on its dismal human rights record and its support for terrorism. The problem with stance, however, is that these very issues still apply to Iran who in addition to supporting Shia death squads in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, is also supporting the Assad regime of Syria, the Houthis of Yemen, Hamas and its affiliates in the Gaza Strip and the Territories, and even Daesh and Al-Qaeda. Iran is also still cracking down on dissenters, and continues to execute political prisoners after sham judicial processes. But none of this matter it seems. Iran is not simply giving a pass on all of these issues, its behavior has also been rewarded with an accord that, in practice, shields it from international and regional pressures, and preserve its core nuclear capabilities and knowhow. Only Saudi is being attacked. This lack of consistency by smart and knowledgeable people bespeaks of an ideological frame of mind and an ideological agenda, and undermines the issue of human rights and democracy, and the fight against terrorism. This attitude will not bring peace and stability to the region, and will shield America from repercussions. On the contrary, it is a way of stoking the fire, and guaranteeing further mayhem.
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Obama Says Russia Faces Strategic Choice as Assad Can't Stay. “It is not conceivable that Mr. Assad can regain legitimacy in a country in which a large majority of that country despises Assad, and will not stop fighting so long as he’s in power,” Obama said Sunday at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur. There is an increasing awareness on Putin’s part that the extremist group is a much bigger threat to Russia than losing an embattled ally in Assad or anything else in the region, Obama said. The downing of a Russian passenger jet last month drove that point home to Putin, he said. President Obama continues to make statements and predictions which he is clearly unwilling to back with actions. He believes fate will act on his behalf.  In the last five years, fate never did, and the situation in Syria and elsewhere worsened. It’s not clear what sort of Archangel Mr. Obama is listening to, but he is either the Fallen One, or something is being lost in translation.

The Daily Delirynth

A poster currently making rounds on social media
Refugenics: Scottish Newspaper Puts U.S. Governors To Shame With Refugee Welcome. “These people are fleeing their homes in the search for protection and security, and we are their refuge," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday, following Friday's deadly attacks in Paris. "We cannot let the actions of the few destroy the safety of the many.”

And when the Minister says “few,” he means less than 1 in a hundred thousand. After all, Europe received more than 800,000 refugees so far in 2015 (see picture at the beginning of the post), and only one case is known to have come masquerading as a Syrian refugee. Yet, somehow, this doesn’t matter, for populist  politicians that’s all it takes to demonize entire communities all over the world.

The Economics of Syrian Refugees. “… According to the United Nations, Turkey has taken in an estimated 2.2 million, Lebanon 1.1 million, and Jordan six hundred and thirty thousand.
Based purely upon these figures, you might think that the economies of these countries would be sagging under the burden, but they aren’t. According to a new report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Turkish economy will expand by three per cent this year and by four per cent next year. Lebanon’s economy is also growing, at a rate of about two per cent this year, which will expand to more than three per cent next year, the World Bank reckons. Despite an influx of refugees that now amounts to more than ten per cent of its population, Jordan, too, is bearing up. Its gross domestic product will rise by about three per cent this year, the International Monetary Fund says… If the United States were to take in more Syrian refugees, the numbers would be tiny compared to what is happening in the Middle East and Europe. At the top end of the range, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have called for sixty-five thousand migrants to be admitted over the next five years. As O’Malley pointed out during last week’s Democratic debate, “Accommodating sixty-five thousand refugees in our country . . . of three hundred and twenty million is akin to making room for six and a half more people in a baseball stadium with thirty-two thousand.”

Meanwhile, Russia, as Turkey before her, is using refugees as a way to pressure Europe. A (Very) Cold War on the Russia-Norway Border “The number of Syrians taking an unlikely route into Europe through the Arctic Circle has expanded from a handful to hundreds. And Oslo thinks Moscow is responsible.”

For his part, President Obama continues to strike a positive note on the situation: President Obama Met With Young Muslim Refugees And It Was Absolutely Heartwarming “They represent "the opposite of terror," he said.” What a fucked up world where to have remind ourselves that children represent the opposite of terror.

“Most of the children the president met with are Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar to escape persecution by the country's Buddhist majority, with many ending up in Malaysia, where Obama was attending a regional economic summit.”

Here, Benjamin Wittes of the Lawfare Institute, show us some of the faces of those rabid dogs. It turns out, they are eerily like us. Spooky.

And here is Sally from Syria:
This clip, featuring Sally from Syria talking about being forced to leave her home, comes from the astounding documentary HUMAN - a 6-hour epic story of#WhatMakesUsHUMAN. You can watch this highly recommended film in full here: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/human/
The Governor of the State of Washington, Jay Inslee, writes in the New York Times, explaining “Why My State Won’t Close Its Doors to Syrian Refugees.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, takes on New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie chiding him over his stands on Syrian refugees:

Mayor de Blasio addressing the issue of Syrain Refugees
In Atlanta Suburb, Refugees Who Came Before Show That Syrians Would Do Fine In America. Any objective attempt at studying the actual numbers and conditions involved in the overall refugee situation point to the relative ease of accommodating them. 

This article, on the other hand, reminds people of how well-integrated Muslims are in America: Muslims Raised Over $100,000 To Help Rebuild Black Churches In The South.

And almost every case one choose to spotlight, turns out a well-adjusted refugee with legitimate reasons for being here, and  who could pause no danger to American society and values:



Holocaust Museum Condemns Treatment Of Syrian Refugees In U.S. "While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees."

A number of the late night talk show hosts, had their critical comedic take on things, most notably: Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers: https://youtu.be/lkRpAK3OtqQ, https://youtu.be/VmpZcvvyML8.

Muslims Americans are trying to weigh in on the discussion by trying to remind their neighbors and colleagues of the essence of the American Experience, just like journalist Noor Tagouri had to do here

But things are getting tougher and messier, with some researchers believing that the current Anti-Syrian Muslim Refugee Rhetoric Mirrors Calls to Reject Jews during Nazi Era. Indeed, Syrian Muslim refugees are thought off as fifth columnists who would leech the resources of the state, sentiments that were expressed vis-à-vis the Jews escaping Nazi Germany.

For his part, Hisham Melhem, the famous Arab pundit Hisham Melhem rues the fact that “Compassionate and benevolent America was nowhere to be found in that cold and unwelcoming universe most elected Republicans and an increasing number of Democrats inhabit.”

Despite the domestic and international backlash, Josh Rogin argues that the “Republican Campaign Against Refugees Is Just Beginning.

Things are getting tough outside the U.S. as well. This video shows how Greek Coast Guard tried on several occasion to sink refugee boats:


UmReeka: Muslim Americans responded in a variety of ways to Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, call for establishing a database for registering Muslims in the country. This one by Wajahat Ali, a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, an award-winning playwright, an attorney and a former consultant for the State Department, is particularly noteworthy for its biting satire:

We could “Hunger Games” this situation and host a “Last Moderate Muslim Standing” — an annual competition where 50 moderate Muslims are chosen, one from each state, to fight to the death until only one remains.

For his part, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Author of 'Battle for the Soul of Islam' argues that Radical Islam grows when mosques are shut down, in an appearance on Fox News.

Armed protesters gather outside Islamic Center of Irving. Because the only way we can feel safe is by reigning holy terror on those doing absolutely nothing to terrorize us, except being there, and being so Goddamn different and all, especially those who don’t look so different and sound quite reasonable, and even American and all. These are the more dangerous ones.

But, contrary to these patriotic Ted-Cruz-supporting Christians, Satanists in 2 US states offer Muslims helping hand amid growing Islamophobia: “If there is anyone in the San Jose region who is Muslim and afraid to leave their home out of fear for some kind of backlash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us,” the San Jose, California chapter of the Satanic Temple posted on Facebook.”

Considering this climate of Islamophobia, American Muslims are reporting that the situation today is even worse than it was after 9/11.

Indeed, it seems speaking Arabic is itself sufficient to cause panic: Philly Passengers Pulled off Flight for Speaking Arabic.

The disturbing truth about Marco Rubio: The establishment’s favorite is running an extremist, Islamophobic campaign. The disturbing truth is that he turned up to be an Islamophobe, and if he’s an Islamophobe, then, he must be wrong about intervention in Syria, just like Richard Wagner was a terribly musician on account of his misogynistic and anti-Semitic views.

But some experts took to modern history to show that American Muslims have for long played an integral albeit less publicized role I American history, including fighting on its behalf. Muslims also fought in support of Western alliances on numerous occasions, including WWII: There are far more Muslims ready to fight for the West than against it. “Tens of thousands of Muslims serve in the U.S. military and in the military forces of countries across Europe. And they always have.” Muslims also fought for both sides of the American Civil War, and hundreds of thousands of Muslims fought for Allied forces in WWII, only a small number fought for the Germans in WWII. As an example of those thousands of Muslims who currently serve in the U.S. military we have this marine: Muslim marine burns Donald Trump with tweet over ID card comments, who destroyed Trump in one tweet, if only Trump had a sense of shame. 

In Hamtramck, Mich., long a home to Polish Catholic immigrants, the shift in everyday life is about to have its first effect on politics: It now has a majority-Muslim city council. A Muslim woman looks at the goodies on display at New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck, Mich. Thousands of Muslims have arrived in the past decade. Salwan Georges/For The Washington Post.

But, it’s probably the small town of Hamtramck, Michigan, with its population of 22,000 and which constitutes the only town in the U.S. where Muslims are a majority, and who have recently come to form the majority in the town’s council, that vividly underscores the possibility of conviviality between Muslims and non-Muslims. Despite misapprehensions on part of the Catholic Polish population who used to make the majority, rule of law and commitment to diversity continue to be observed. 

The Qalifate: With a dramatic terrorist attack and a hostage situation in Mali, suicide bombings in Nigeria, assassinations in Bangladesh, and attempts at infiltrating various GCC countries, including Kuwait, and the House of Saud itself, Daesh is sending a clear message to the world that it is still there and expanding, as its motto goes, despite aerial strikes and occasional territorial losses.  

Piety is not a major requirement for one to be a member in a fascist organization. Hate, propensity to violence and a willingness to kill, these are the main requirements. For this reason, we should not find such revelations about any of the terrorists involved in the Paris Attacks surprising: Family of Paris Attacker Says He’s Not Religious, ‘Never Went to the Mosque’ & Was a Petty Criminal. But, and for a longer look at each of the terrorists involved in the attacks, this Washington Post review will do: 9 young men and their paths to terror in Paris.

EuroGroan: Britain poised for Syria air strikes after Labour revolt against Jeremy Corbyn “Up to 60 Labour MPs could back military intervention in Syria in defiance of Jeremy Corbyn on the basis of a UN resolution calling for "combat by all means" to be used to wipe out Isil.”

Jihad at the heart of Europe “Brussels is not just Europe’s political and military capital—it is also the centre of its terrorist networks.”

Vladdie's New Boy's Club
Pumania: Vladimir Putin’s massive, triple-decker war room revealed. There you have it! Vladdie the Pu unveils his new Boys Club. No Girls Allowed.  And as a show of force, Vladdie forces Airlines to change Beirut routes due to Russian 'military drills'. He also calls on Russian bombers deploy Kh-101 cruise missiles over Syria. Finally, he lets slip the fantastical rumor that he is 'sending 150,000 soldiers to Syria to WIPE OUT evil Islamic State.' Or is it a rumor?

And who wouldn’t fear the Vladman now. After all, he just killed all these people, including 97 children:

“The figure supplied by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is more than double the overall toll it gave in its last report on the Russian campaign three weeks ago… It said 381 IS fighters had been killed, along with 547 militants from Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and other rebel forces. The strikes also killed 403 civilians, including 97 children, according to the monitor.”

In this Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 photo released by the Tasnim News Agency, members of the Basij, the paramilitary unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, gather around a replica of Jerusalem's gold-topped Dome of the Rock mosque as one of them waves an Iranian flag from on top of the dome during a military exercise. Thousands of paramilitary forces from Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard have held a war game simulating the capture of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israeli control, state media reported Saturday. (AP Photo/Tasnim News Agency, Mahmoud Hosseini)

Qomapolis: Iran's Guard simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque “…largely for show.” The Mullahs’ Wet Dream.
In a common mistake, the Guard set up a replica of the gold-topped Dome of the Rock mosque instead of the nearby gray-domed Al-Aqsa mosque. Official photos showed one of the troops going to the top of the dome and waving an Iranian flag and a red flag, a symbol of martyrdom.

It seems they’ve masturbating to the wrong picture. Does anyone know why they are fighting anymore?

Not “largely for show,” but may not be highly effective when it comes to serving the ultimate goal of stopping Iran from becoming a regional nuclear  power: World powers to help Iran redesign reactor as part of nuclear deal.

A general view of the Arak heavy-water project, 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran January 15, 2011
Leader’s aide: Iran not to leave Assad, Abadi, resistance front alone “TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader’s top Adviser for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati underlined that Tehran will continue support for the Syrian and Iraqi governments as well as the resistance fronts in Lebanon and Palestine.”

Saudocalypse: Saudi Arabia And Russia Clash Over Syria – Analysis. Oh yes, Saudi clashes with Russia, and Iran, in Yemen and Syria. They all have vendettas against each other, and now they are giving themselves more reasons to hate and suspect and fight each other, but always through proxies, always at the expense of other people’s lives.


So, and in a meaningless little twist, and on Saudi’s behest: U.N. committee condemns Iranian intervention in Syria war.

Without explicitly naming Russia, it said the General Assembly "strongly condemns all attacks against the Syrian moderate opposition and calls for their immediate cessation, given that such attacks benefit so-called ISIL (Daesh) and other terrorist groups, such as al Nusra Front." "ISIL" and "Daesh" are names for Islamic State… The resolution also condemned the presence in Syria of "all foreign terrorist fighters ... and foreign forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime, particularly the al Quds Brigades, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (of Iran) and militia groups, such as Hezbollah."

The condemnation is deserved, but Saudi is not blameless. But Saudi collapse won’t solve the problem. If all three powers collapsed, now that might be something to look forward to: a well-deserved, well-earned mayhem for all.

In the meantime, and back in the real world, Saudi to host mid-December conference to unite Syria opposition: TV. But I doubt the Russians, Iranians, the American and he Europeans will let Saudi manipulate this game: each side wants its useful idiots and opportunists to take part, and somehow each side will find ways to get its way. This might be as thorny a problem as the issue of Assad’s departure, but it receives little attention these days. Perhaps it’s for the best.

Milk & Honey with a spot of garlic: Spain ‘issues arrest warrant’ for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over 2010 Gaza flotilla attack. ‘We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled.’ Oops!

North of Holy: Syria’s only hope of peace is if Assad is removed “If Russia abandons its support for the regime, it will find a political opposition ready to defeat Isis and create a democratic Syria.” What makes this article unique is that its authors are Khaled Khoja, Mouaz al-Khatib, Ahmad al-Assi Jarba and Hadi al-Bahra, who are respectively, the current and the three former presidents of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.

“Let us be clear: Assad never has been, nor will ever be, an alternative to Isis. He will never bring peace to Syria, nor will he ever be capable of taking on extremists. There is no capacity on the regime’s side to regain control and restore stability to the country. Moderate forces of the opposition are the only forces that have proved capable of combating Isis and winning back territory, as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) did in 2013. But, thanks to the failure of our western partners, Syria’s moderates are deeply under-resourced. Despite our repeated appeals, we never received the support needed from our friends.”

Syria conflict: My plan for dealing with President Bashar al-Assad, Isis and the refugee crisis. Apparently the decision to postpone dealing with Assad is about political pride, according to Michael Graydon. So he proposes Assad stays for now, to appease Russian, then, says nothing about Syria’s future. Yes, for pundits these days, “It’s all about that State, ‘bout that State” when most of the suffering is being inflicted by that fucking Ass.


A review of two recently published tomes focusing on Syria’s Alawites shows an agreement between scholars to the effect that 'insecurity lies at the centre of the contradictions in Alawi identity between diversity and integration, solidarity and conflict'Syria's Alawites -- Regime Hostage or Regime Partner? This might a good opportunity to finally publish my own study on the subject presented during an electronic workshop back in July 2015: The Alawites of Syria and the Reinforcement of Tribal Identity in the Levant.  


To defend ourselves from this heresy, Muslims could start with this easy admission: While religion can help improve us, it can also turn into a source of hubris, pride and even oppression. It's not just obvious from my own experience and observation, but it's right there in the Muslim scripture.”

The above conclusion reached by Mr. Moghul is exactly why I hate attacking Daesh on the basis of what constitutes “real Islam.” Because such attempts always leads to an assault on “the heretics.” But people have the right to be heretics. Islam itself, and so many other belief-systems flourishing today began as heresies.  Of course, I am not suggesting that Mr. Moghul himself intends to declare war on all heresies, indeed, his intentions are quite clear and positive. But his approach is no different than what all groups which consider themselves Islamic, including Daesh, are doing: they all go back to the scripture to find justifications for their actions, and to condemn other groups as heretical; and they all succeed, including Daesh. Scriptures are rife with enough contradictions and vagueness that everyone can find the answers that they are looking for there.

Scripture is not the answer, even for the faithful. Reason is. Even scripture often appeals to reason in order to justify itself (only to reject it and its advocates when they reach conclusions other than what it is preached). Such cynicism notwithstanding, if the faithful doesn’t have it in him or her to conclude on the basis of his own thinking and feeling about such things as terrorism, targeting of civilians, and collective judgment and punishment, and on holding children accountable for the crimes of their fathers and siblings, then, recourse to scripture is often meaningless. The faithful will simply look for those texts that will support their already reached conclusions. The ability to call something Un-Islamic on moral ground has to happen in the face of any historic precedent for it in the life of the prophets or the companions. Since the detailed context of any historical precedents cannot be fully ascertained and understood after so many centuries, it’s the general principle should apply. And it is this agreement on general principle that led to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a group as diverse as the panel that was put it together.

Quote of the Day

"The anti-Muslim situation right now is so much hotter, in fact, than it was after 9/11 that it's a little bit astounding… We've never seen so many politicians making such outrageous Islamophobic comments both as concerns refugees who are coming here as well as just Muslims in general.” --Heidie Beidrich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which studies and reports on extremist groups.

Tweets of the Day
Video(s) of the Day

Fade to Black: Filmmaker Amer Albarzawi was living in Raqqa, Syria, two years ago as it became the stronghold of the Islamic State. He uses stop-motion technique to create a 1 minute on movie that captures the essence of the transition from a period of brief freedom enjoyed when people took control of their own city, until the moment IS/Daesh took over. https://youtu.be/WIrSDKcO-4M

The biggest crisis since WWII: #RefugeeCrisis
Cartoons
 


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