They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

#Notabugsplat targets drone operators

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.
To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face. Link

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

UK Atheists investigated by Saudi Ambassador?

Can we expect a UK investigation into the status of  Atheists by the professional groveler and ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins?

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents


UK Muslim Brotherhood April 1st joke

Almost fell for this! David Cameron orders review of the Muslim Brotherhood's UK status. To be completed by non other than John Jenkins - the UK's ambassador to Saudi Arabia - the region's leading sponsors of terror - and bank rollers of the Egyptian coup leader al-Sisi. Oh Yeah, we believe you.

Good one.

Prime Minister David Cameron has commissioned a review of the Muslim Brotherhood's UK activity, No 10 says.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian political organisation, which Cairo has declared a terrorist group. Link

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Egypt: 'Vote For The Pimp' campaign takes off

Asad Abukhalil's Angry Arab blog notes that the translation can also mean 'vote for the bastard', or equally 'the opportunist' ....also, 'the Motherf****r' works.  Take your pick.
Currently 104k 'likes' on Facebook

Friday, March 28, 2014

Egypt: BBC uncovers systematic torture. No surprise!

The silence of western leaders regarding Egyptian abuse of Islamists - whilst foaming at the mouth regarding Ukraine  - is further evidence of their dubious morality. Let's not forget, the last time Egypt cracked down on Islamists in this way they tortured and executed  Sayyid Qutb - author of Milestones, and a revered influence of Dr Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri - leader of Al Qaeda, and others.  Obama may wish to raise this with the sponsors of al-Sisi - Saudi Arabia - on his current visit to that nation.  But lets not hold our breath.
Blowback there will be. But what we call 'terrorism' is easier for al-Sisi  to deal with than political Islam.  Same in Saudi Arabia. It's political Islam they fear - not car bombers.

[...] A 15-year-old boy told the BBC how he was accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of the new government's crackdown.
He says he was electrocuted repeatedly.
"When they electrocuted me I used to fall down on the ground, and I could not stand up. At the same time they were beating me," he said.
"And sometimes they would throw water to increase the voltage."
Democracy activist Yassin Mohammed was arrested at a protest in January and held for 42 days.
The 19-year-old says he was tortured and electrocuted, and is speaking out on behalf of others who have had the same treatment.
"They took off my trousers, and then they put the wires on me. I was screaming and shouting. You feel that's it. You are going to die," he said. Link
Sayyid Qutb - imprisoned and tortured by Egypt. Executed in 1966 aged 59

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John McCain: Putin, Barrel Bombs, Ukraine?

Sen. John McCain, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U).  I guess you really had to be there for any chance of understanding the meaning of it all.

For those that don't buy McCain's cold war rhetoric try this, which was recommended by Peter Hitchens here, and is well worth taking the time to read. Alternatively, for those without the time or inclination John McCain has further deep insights on offer: Senator John McCain: “We Are All Ukrainians”. Pass the sick bag.
"Vladimir Putin is not a democrat, he's an old KGB colonel, and Vladimir Putin wants to restore what was once the Russian empire, and so he went in to Crimea which is the home of the Russian fleet and now he is on the borders of eastern Ukraine. The President (Clinton) and I were just talking, what will Putin do now? I don't know. We don't know what he is going to do. But we know that he has the military in a position where he could go into eastern Ukraine at least and he is threatening other small nations in the region. So we in the United States must care about these people whether they are dying from these horrible barrel bombs that are being dropped on Aleppo and Damascus or whether it's people now who are being imprisoned and beaten in Ukraine. And so, if America stands up and shows Vladimir Putin that we will be steadfast in our defense of these people then I believe that it is less likely for him to move forward with his desires to restore the old Russian empire."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Svoboda Hiccup in Ukraine Narrative

Who can explain this, what on earth were they - Svoboda - thinking, filming it, let alone posting it on the internet? As much as ISIS is allied with Bashar-al-Assad, these right wingers must be allied to Putin.  Or not as the case may be.  Perhaps they are just stupid?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BBC license fee payers join the Kiev propaganda war

Whatever your views on Ukraine, it's interesting to see that the BBC (BBC Media Action) is doing its bit.
As for 'Soviet-style' referendums, what would we call last year's Falklands referendum, if not 'Soviet style' -  "of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum - on a turnout of more than 90% - 1,513 were in favour, while just three votes were against" - I ask you?

"Amongst a sea of union jacks and a chorus of Land of Hope and Glory, there was no doubting the sentiment as jubilant Falkland islanders gathered in Stanley to celebrate their unity over their future, and a referendum that showed 99.8% in favour of remaining British."


Crimeans turn out for 'Soviet-style' referendum

 SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Balloting began at 8 a.m. in a Crimean referendum that asks peninsula voters whether they want to join Russia or simply declare more autonomy from Ukraine for the region's two million residents. The vote is widely considered to be a sham with an outcome pre-determined by the Kremlin and its prime minister in Crimea, Serhiy Aksyonov, whose authority the central government in Kyiv does not recognize.
Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight.
But that didn't stop thousands from coming out early Sunday to partake, as music streamed from polling stations where women sold baked goods and hot drinks. The mood, a Kyiv Post journalists said, was oddly festive.
"It's like a Soviet-style referendum," Kyiv Post journalist Oksana Grytsenko reported from a Simferopol polling center. "People are bringing their children here, listening to music, eating baked goods."
Editor’s Note: This article has been produced with support from the project, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action [...] Link

Kiev: A 'circus' (at gunpoint)

Just a quick google. Let's discount a few of the shots below as 'photoshops', then what are we left with?  Pea shooters? I hate to break the news, but I know of no government in the world that would have permitted these scenes without a serious and violent response. HMG most definitely included.

The world needs a strong Russia. What comes after Obama?  Possibly a swing to the right. Another Bush? Worse? The world needs a counterweight, and rightly or wrongly Russia is all we currently have. Putin may well be a 'strongman', or even a 'thug'.  However without him/Russia where exactly would we be today? Boots on the ground in Syria? Iran? It's not black and white, good versus evil. Do we need to always point that out?

Kiev has appealed to the international community not to recognise the result of the vote, which interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk described as a "circus" carried out at gunpoint. Link

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ukraine: Hitler the name, propaganda the game

When they begin comparing the  'adversary of the day' to Hitler, you know sensible debate is off the table. Hillary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler. Before Putin, it was Gaddafi, before Gaddafi it was Saddam Hussein, before Saddam it was ....just Google it folks:
Speaking at a fundraiser in California, Clinton drew a parallel between Adolf Hitler's rhetoric that ethnic Germans living in neighbouring countries he later invaded were oppressed, and Vladimir Putin's claim that ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat by nationalists and radicals.
The former US secretary of State, who is widely expected to run for US president in 2016, particularly criticised Moscow over the issuing of passports to ethnic Russians living in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said
 On March 6, 1937, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull apologized to the German Embassy for the insulting remarks about Adolf Hitler made by New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia three days earlier. La Guardia, speaking on March 3 to the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, had proposed building a “chamber of horrors” at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Hizzoner suggested that the pavilion have, “as a climax … a figure of that brown-shirted fanatic who is now menacing the peace of the world.”
La Guardia was born in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1882 to an Italian Catholic father and an Italian Jewish mother. Irene Luzzato Coen, of Trieste, was a descendant of the Luzzatto family, which boasted many rabbis and Jewish scholars. He was raised Episcopalian but made no effort to hide his Jewish ancestry, and from early on he denounced the Third Reich’s treatment of Jews. In 1931, for example, while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, La Guardia (who was mayor from 1934 to 1945), warned in a speech about “Hitlerites mov[ing] in and tak[ing] control of the government” in Germany. Two years later, he supported a U.S. boycott of German products and called Hitler a “perverted maniac” whose program included “the complete annihilation of the Jews in Germany.”
After La Guardia’s World’s Fair remark, the German Embassy complained to the State Department. In their reports of the incident, Germany’s government-controlled newspapers referred to La Guardia as “New York’s gangster-in-chief” and a “dirty Talmud Jew.”
Hull sought to placate Germany, but as he noted in a public statement, “In this country, the right of freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen and is cherished as part of the national heritage.” Nevertheless, the secretary of state made clear that, personally, “I very earnestly deprecate the utterances which have given offense to the German Government.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned the incident in a cabinet meeting, also on March 6. In “The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes,” which was published posthumously, the secretary of the interior reported that Roosevelt turned to Hull and asked him, “What would you say if I should say that I agreed completely with La Guardia?” In response, Hull said he believed Roosevelt should reprimand La Guardia. According to Ickes, “The President, still with a grin on his face, touched his left wrist lightly with the first two fingers of his right hand and remarked to Hull: ‘We will chastise him like that.’”
In 1944, when the Germans occupied Hungary, the mayor’s sister, Gemma La Guardia Gluck, who had settled in Europe as an adult, was arrested with her Hungarian husband, Herman Gluck, in Budapest, and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Herman died there. Gemma was taken to the Ravensbruck labor camp and was held by the Germans, who knew the identity of her brother was, until the war’s end. For a variety of technical reasons, including the fact that she lost her U.S. citizenship when she married Herman, Gemma was unable to return to the United States for some time. She was finally repatriated, together with her daughter and grandson, a few months before La Guardia’s death in September 1947.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Syrian Jihadist regretted no WMD in 9/11 planes

Ayman al-Zawahiri's recently assassinated envoy - Abu Musab al-Suri - may well have considered ISIS actions in Northern and Eastern Syria to be counter productive and over the top.  The killings beatings and beheadings of those it considers its enemies - most everybody - did little to enhance the image of Salafist Jihadism, or win the hearts of ordinary Syrians. However it would be wrong to characterize al-Suri as a moderate in any way shape or form. His January 2005 statement below, which was released to several websites at the time, illustrates his uncompromising approach to the killing of  civilians - especially those who voted for George W Bush.
'I feel sorry because there were no weapons of mass destruction in the planes that attacked New York and Washington on 9/ 11. We might have been relieved of the biggest number possible of voters who elected Bush for a second term! The last option remains the destruction of America by strategic operations through nuclear, chemical, and germ weapons of mass destruction, if the mujahideen were able to get them, in cooperation with those who possess them, or through purchasing them, or through manufacturing and using primitive atomic bombs, called dirty bombs' [radiological weapons].

Bergen, Peter L. (2006-01-20). The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Abu Musab al-Suri killed in Syria

News of the death of  Abu Musab al-Suri will come as a blow to AQ and to those seeking an end to infighting amongst salafist jihadists in Syria. In the excerpt below, from his pamphlet titled “Observations on the Jihadist Experience in Syria”, he outlines some prerequisites for successful jihad. From lessons learned previously in places such as Algeria - where the bloodthirsty GIA demonstrated how to lose a war by alienating all but your own hard core of followers - al-Suri understood that wanton violence without a shred of political justification or a credible end game is counter productive to the cause - and as in Iraq during the days of al-Zarqawi will lead to failure.  ISIS are apparently on the same path as al-Zarqawi.  They will alienate just about everyone, until they themselves are hunted down and executed with the same uncompromising brutality as they show for their enemies. Their enemies being everyone else. 

Without doubt Al-Suri was a terrorist.  However, he was also a brilliant strategist and a prolific and influential writer.

 "Knowledge is the most important weapon of this age. The ignorant cannot lead this important struggle no matter how sincere and dedicated they are." —Abu Mus‘ab al Suri, The Call to Global Islamic Resistance

In his pamphlet “Observations on the Jihadist Experience in Syria,” taken from his longer book on Syria, Al-Suri captured the need for a strategic approach to jihad.17 He details lessons learned from every aspect of the Syrian insurrection, but his overarching message is that jihad will fail if it is not treated as a form of guerrilla warfare based on classic communist strategic thinking about insurrection, minus communist ideology. Both the topography and demography of the target country must be studied. Revolutionaries need to operate within the target country and rely on themselves. They must have a detailed plan that benefits from both study of the target country and lessons learned from other Muslim and non-Muslim guerrilla wars. Jihadists must be close to the people and unite them under a well-conceived ideology and political concept.

Ryan, Michael W. S. (2013-07-30). Decoding Al-Qaeda's Strategy: The Deep Battle Against America (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) (Kindle Locations 3952-3958). Columbia University Press. Kindle Edition.

Monday, February 10, 2014

CIA Drones Target Phones

US willingness to risk  wiping out innocent lives in the pursuit of  alleged jihadists is, as always, quite breathtaking.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Tony Blair's values and his support for Al-Sisi

Tony Blair's contribution to regional peace over the years is difficult to locate within a résumé rich in unnecessary war, strategy blunders, crimes against humanity, and the ultimate sacrifice of thousands. His professed desire for an 'open-minded' society in Egypt whilst backing the Al-Sisi presidency-in-waiting as the force to bring it about is 'pure Blair'.
"We should support those people in the region who want the open-minded society and the modern economy. That means we support the government here in Egypt,"- 2014
You want the open society, the modern economy, the  eggs, the beans, a few French fries and a glass of extremely lite democracy with that perhaps?  And if you don't like it no need to tip. Just keep your mouth shut or the dessert will be arrest or a bullet in the head. This society is going to be open, with you or without you.  
 Tony Blair made clear the war on terror comes before democratic rights today as he urged the West to do more to boost "moderate" Arab states - 2006
Al Qaeda's foremost 21st century recruiting sergeant has, not for the first time, shown his true colors.
This is a man who embraces Gulf sponsors of salafist jihadism, whilst maintaining a hostile and uncompromising position towards Islamist political engagement - such as that of the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair's inconsistencies, contradictions and neuroses are documented across the internet. No amount of reputation management can change that.

Rabba Square victims of Al-Sisi's open-minded society

'Our values will win it! - more classic comedy Blair (2006)

"We will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world." He said this "unconventional" war must be won through these values."This war can't be won in a conventional way, it can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternatives," he said.

Syria: Salafi jihadists the winners in Geneva

The US, France, and Gulf States successfully pressured Ban Ki-Moon into rescinding Iran's invitation to Geneva II ostensibly because of Iran's unwillingness to sign up to the sacred principles agreed at Geneva I - outlined in the Geneva communiqué. 

Whilst it suited the US,  Saudi Arabia - and consequently France -  that Iran didn't attend, there is no reason to think that Iran's presence could possibly have made matters worse.  It would be easier to argue the reverse, recognising Iranian influence over both Hezbollah and the Assad government. The key difference between Iran and the SNC is that the former has weight, whilst the latter doesn't.

On the ground Bashar al-Assad is primarily at war with Salafi jihadists, many of whom would sooner slaughter minorities than share power with them.  They have no interest in pluralism, democracy, or human rights beyond those offered by an unforgiving interpretation of Sharia law. What is more, neither are they interested in 'an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms' - requirement number one in the Geneva communiqué. It's not in their playbook. 

The SNC's political demands are out of proportion with their military accomplishments. Their inability to speak for the majority of fighters opposed to Assad, or deliver a cessation in violence,  makes the road forward a difficult one. Without doubt further compromise from all sides at the table is called for. The SNC, logically, is the party that needs to compromise most of all. Whether Saudi Arabia likes it or not. And then when they reach some sort of tentative deal there's the real issue of  AQ, its affiliates and like-minded groups to deal with. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Edward Snowden ARD TV Interview full video

Cryptome  has a compressed video file ( 82MB) of Edward Snowden's interview broadcast on German public broadcaster ARD TV on Sunday available here

WARNING: Your details are being logged by GCHQ 'Squeaky Dolphin' which gives British spies 'broad real-time monitoring' of Blogspot/Blogger Visits. Link

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Fitch raises Egypt outlook, cites oppression benefits

“Significant financial assistance from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has eased the pressure on reserves, the exchange rate and the budget, and boosted business confidence,” Fitch said in a report today. “The political scene has been calmed through a tough crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and restrictions on protests.” Link
Egyptian security forces calming the political scene in Cairo

Egyptian protesters killed as state crackdown widens

Thirteen people were shot dead as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with police across Egypt on Friday, defying an ever-widening state crackdown on the movement that ruled the country until six months ago. Link

Friday, January 03, 2014

NSA: To Protect and Infect VIDEO

Jacob Applebaum explains some of the strategies and tactics employed in the war on internet freedom.  

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Hollande and King Abdullah find common ground $$$

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah with Francois Hollande during their meeting in Riyadh, on December 29, 2013

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Oh God, Vatican turns to Blair for advise on Syria

Like other aggressive atheists I have some respect and admiration for the reigning Pope. After all, he reached out to people like me. Some would say he grovelled, although I am too magnanimous for that. I fear our Pope has been receiving some seriously poor guidance from his managers concerning the forthcoming Vatican workshop on Syria.. Blair has already damaged its credibility by just appearing on the speaker list. Did anyone glance at the man's CV? A Vatican PR fuckup of the first order. Brainstorming is the very last thing we want from Blair.  The Vatican might not be the Crawford Ranch, and indeed the pope isn't the president of the United States for that matter, but Blair is a curse, like always. 
The Vatican will host a brainstorming workshop on Jan. 13 about how to achieve a cease-fire in Syria so humanitarian aid can be delivered and how to end persecution of Christians there.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has lined up experts from the United States, Russia and elsewhere. Speakers include Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, and Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian who is a former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Negotiations between the Damascus government and opposition representatives are scheduled to begin on Jan. 24 at the U.N.'s international headquarters in Geneva.
Pope Francis has said a military solution to the Syrian conflict would be "futile."
Syria's Christians fear they are being targeted by extremists seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. Link