Revolution is in the Air: 6/13/11: Did Bin Laden Borrow His Porn Stash From Manuel Noriega? (Updated)

INDEX (stories follow)

 The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
EVENTS

Saudi-Qatari honeymoon: the ugliness grows

IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED
HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Headlines for June 13, 2011

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

EVENTS

Chinese riots enter third day

Police vehicles set on fire during Guangdong clashes which began after fracas between security officers and vendor

Chinese riots enter third day

Chinese protesters reach a standoff with riot police in Guangzhou province. The clashes highlight the authorities’ struggle to control social frustrations. Photograph: Reuters

Rioters burned police and fire vehicles in a third day of unrest in southern China‘s manufacturing heartlands, witnesses have reported.

Hong Kong broadcasters reported that armed police fired teargas as they sought to disperse the crowd and detained at least a dozen demonstrators.

The clashes, which began on Friday after a fracas between security officers and a pregnant street vendor in Xintang, Guangdong province, highlight Chinese authorities’ struggle to control social frustrations. It is thought that most protesters were migrant workers like the vendor.

Last week hundreds of migrant workers clashed with police in Chaozhou, also in Guangdong, following a dispute over unpaid wages. In Lichuan, Hubei, as many as 2,000 protesters attacked government headquarters last Thursday after a local politician who had complained about official corruption died in police custody.

Inner Mongolia recently saw its biggest street protests for 20 years, over the killing of a Mongolian herder who sought to halt coal trucks trespassing on grasslands.

Although the causes seem to have been very different in each case, the spate of incidents underlines the challenge that authorities face in preventing widespread grievances bursting out.

Unrest is thought to have become increasingly frequent, although data is hard to come by. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has estimated that there were more than 90,000 mass incidents in 2006, with further increases in the following two years.

China has increased its domestic security budget by 13.8% this year, to 624.4bn yuan (£59bn).

Police in Guangdong said on Sunday they had arrested 25 people after violence broke out on Friday night following a row between chengguan – low-level law enforcement officers – and a pregnant vendor during a crackdown on street stalls.

State news agency Xinhua said that Wang Lianmei fell during the dispute, while other accounts said that the chengguan had shoved her. The officers have a reputation for thuggish behaviour.

Other migrant workers from her province, Sichuan, quickly gathered, with some attacking police vehicles called to the scene with bottles, bricks and stones.

Another crowd gathered on Saturday as rumours spread that police had killed Wang’s husband, Tang Xuecai, and that she had been seriously injured. Local media said he appeared at a press conference on Sunday to say that his wife and their baby were fine and that he was happy with the government’s handling of the case.

“The case was just an ordinary clash between street vendors and local public security people but was used by a handful of people who wanted to cause trouble,” said Ye Niuping, the local mayor, urging residents not to spread “concocted rumours”.

The South China Morning Post said Xintang appeared to have calmed down on Sunday afternoon, with armed police and armoured vehicles patrolling the area, but that as many as 1,000 later gathered despite the heavy police presence.

“There were many people out on the streets late last night, shouting and trying to create chaos. Some of them even smashed police vehicles,” said a worker from the nearby Fengcai clothing factory, adding that bosses barred employees from leaving the plant.

An employee at a hotel in the area said police had told them to stay indoors.

State news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that officials had sent work groups to villages, factories and residential communities to set the record straight.

Guangdong police headquarters declined to comment and calls to the local police station rang unanswered.

“There is a lot of pent up anger and frustration among ordinary people – not just migrant workers,” said Geoff Crothall of Hong Kong’s China Labour Bulletin, noting the different causes behind the recent outbreaks of unrest.

But he added: “There are many towns in Guangdong which are still very much [divided between] locals and outsiders. Migrant workers are still doing the lowest paid, dirtiest jobs and suffer discrimination on a daily basis. That’s going to cause resentment and anger to build up.”

King of Jordan: pelted with stone

So all Arab media and Arab internet websites reported that the convoy of King PlayStation was pelted with stones by angry protesters.  Yet, Western media are so enamored with the family that has been on the payroll of Zionists and others since its colonial founding, that the BBC website carried silly denials along those lines: “”What happened is that a group of young Jordanians thronged the monarch’s motorcade to shake hands with him,” he said.  He explained that when police “pushed them away, there was a lot of shoving“.”  I mean, would the Western media carry such obvious and blatant lies if they were about the Syrian or Iranian potentate?  Now will his wife, Queen Youtube tweet on that? She should write this: oh, today, while were driving, the people threw stones at us and made obscene gestures at us.  Oh, our people really love us.  Will tell you more about next Davos, if I am allowed to leave the country again.  (thanks Khusro)

Israeli propaganda in Saudi media (and in the media of Syrian Muslim Brothers)

Saudi media clearly are taking the script from Israeli propaganda.  Media of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and of the Saudi state are now repeating a story that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and of Hizbullah are participating in shooting at protesters in Syria.  Now why? Why would the Syrian Army need help from Hizbullah?  I mean, is there a shortage of people in the Syrian security services who are willing to shoot at people? What would a handful of Iranians or Hizbullah fighters (trained to fight Israel) bring into the repression festival in Syria? This is very much a typical Mossad lie.  Did you forget that the liars of the Mossad claimed in 2006 that they found the bodies of 3 Iranian revolutionary guards but then they failed to produce the bodies?  We are used to Israeli lies.  The Syrian Muslim Brothers is a tool of not only Saudi Arabia, but of Israel too.  Make no mistake about it.

Saudi-Qatari honeymoon: the ugliness grows

“Saudi Arabia’s vibrant private sector is keenly looking to explore how best it could benefit from the upcoming mega development projects planned for the 2022 world soccer event.  The country hopes to send a huge trade delegation comprising more than 100 businessmen from different sectors to Qatar later this year to help achieve the above objective.” (thanks Sultan)

The butcher of Hama: a friend of the West (and Saudi Arabia)

“But while Mahar al-Assad can expect to be hunted down and tried for crimes against humanity if the current regime is toppled, his uncle, dubbed “The Butcher of Hama”, is living in luxury in a £10 million townhouse in Mayfair, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.  Rifaat al-Assad, 73, the former vice president of Syria, moved more than a year ago to a Georgian mansion off Park Lane, next door to his son Ribal, 36, who lives in a similar property.  Ribal, who runs a protest group opposing the current regime in Syria and met the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, last week, appears regularly on British television as a critic of the current crackdown.”

Syrian regime blames gays for the protests–I kid you not

A crude and vulgar Syrian regime propagandist appeared on New TV yesterday and in the last minute of his appearance, he blamed gays for the protests in Syria.  Kid you not.

Maher Arar: My Rendition & Torture in Syrian Prison Highlights U.S. Reliance on Syria as an Ally

Button2_maherararAs Syria continues its brutal crackdown on demonstrators, we speak to a Canadian citizen who was repeatedly tortured by Syrian authorities after he was rendered to Syria by the United States in 2002. Maher Arar was seized at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 and sent to Syria, where he was tortured and interrogated in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year. He now works as a human rights advocate in Canada. “The cooperation with the Syrian government, as well as other dictatorships in the Middle East post-9/11, gave some kind of legitimacy to those dictatorships,” says Arar. He calls on the United States and the United Nations to declare the Syrian regime illegitimate and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. [includes rush transcript]

Syrian Troops Pursue “Scorched Earth” Policy; Videos Document Children Tortured to Death

Button1_syriaThe Syrian army has taken control of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour following what state media has described as heavy fighting by “armed groups,” who residents say are mutinous soldiers defending the town. Our guest Neil Sammonds, Syria researcher for Amnesty International, is interviewing refugees who have fled the violence by crossing into Turkey. They tell him Syrian military forces have destroyed houses, burned crops, slaughtered livestock and contaminated water supplies. We speak with Razan Zaitouneh, a lawyer and human rights activist based in Damascus. She has documented that children are among those killed by snipers, or kidnapped by security forces, tortured and killed. [includes rush transcript]

IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED
HISTORY & ANALYSIS

RAF pilots carried out secret raids in Yemen

“RAF pilots carried out unauthorised attacks deep inside Yemen in the 1970s without the advance knowledge of political masters in London, a new book has disclosed.  The Yemen government had always claimed without any proof that secret attacks were made against it by RAF and Royal Navy aircraft while Oman, with help from the SAS, fought a vicious counter insurgency campaign.  But for the first time the RAF pilots who served under the Sultan have spoken about their role in flying cross-border raids into Yemen territory without authorisation from London.  The first mission happened in 1972 when a fort inside Yemen was attacked by five Strikemaster jets armed with 500lbs bombs following a border incursion in the Dhofar area.” (thanks Nu`man)
After the US captured Noriega, it planted porn, cocaine and "voodoo" materials in his homeAfter the US captured Noriega, it claimed to have found porn, cocaine and “voodoo” materials in his home

Apparently it wasn’t enough that Osama Bin Laden had spawned a movement of mass murdering fanatics who killed thousands of innocent people around the world, most of whom were Muslim. Now US “officials” speaking “on the condition of anonymity” are claiming that Bin Laden was a porn hound who kept an “extensive” stash of adult films in his home.

The US media has gone wild over the story: Lawrence O’Donnell led with it last night on MSNBC; Reuters reported on it; and the NY Post blared out the headline,“Osama Gone Wild.” At the Daily Beast, Asra Nomani published a long think piece explaining how Bin Laden’s supposed porn addiction “reveals the Muslim world’s dirty secret.”

The revelations about our latest national folk devil’s perversions made me wonder if Bin Laden borrowed his porn stash from the jailed former Panamanian strongman and bygone boogeyman Manuel Noriega.

Back in 1989, after Noriega was captured by US forces in Panama, the press was given exclusive access to the dictator’s inner sanctum. Time Magazine reported at the time:

But other evidence suggested that the dictator was losing control of himself: U.S. troops searching his various hideouts found, along with pictures of Adolf Hitler, collections of pornography and sophisticated weapons and more than 50 kilos of cocaine. In one Noriega guesthouse, searchers found a bucket of blood and entrails, which they said may have been used for occult rites to protect him. Was the accused drug trafficker deteriorating into a megalomaniac drug user?

As Michael Parenti later noted, the Hitler picture came from a Time-Life photo history of World War II, the only “voodoo” implements found were San Blas Indian carvings, and the cocaine was actually tortilla flour. The “evidence” appeared to have been planted by the US to destroy whatever was left of Noriega’s reputation. “But,” Parenti wrote, “these belated corrections received scant coverage.”

Is it beyond the US to rehash the same tactics it deployed against Noriega, a former CIA asset, to discredit Bin Laden in the eyes of the world? Of course not, especially given Bin Laden’s assiduously cultivated image of piety. The charge not only looks extremely shabby, it adds an air of silliness to an affair the US has otherwise presented as deadly serious. Bin Laden was the spiritual leader of a movement that murdered thousands of innocent people across the globe. That fact alone should be enough to discredit him.

Update: Grace D. reminds me of the following “discoveries” by US forces in the compound of Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam (as reported by AP): “In addition to finding a lot of liquor, electronics, Cuban cigars and porn — U.S. soldiers say they found pictures of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush.”

Update #2: Bin Laden had weed! I wonder if he was posting #weedcommandments on Twitter.

Update #3: In 1992, Turkish police told the press they found a stash of caviar in the home of communist militant leader Dursun Karatas. They also claimed to have found “a stereo, large screen television with remote control, computer, fax, video, carpets, luxury items…”

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When the White Man poses as the Native “girl”

The admission by Tom Macmaster that he was the man behind the blog “a gay girl in Damascus” should not end the conversation.  I thank may friends and readers who kept on investigating this case until it was cracked, but the primary credit goes to Electronic Intifada.  This story is bothersome on so many levels, but i was even more upset when I read Macmaster’s remarks to the Guardian in which he criticizes Western media coverage of the Middle East and even took a shot at Orientalism.  Macmaster should know that he is worse than a classical Orientalist (and clearly does not possess the knowledge, erudition, and rigor of classical Orientalist).  This man is delusional and racist: he took it upon himself to fabricate an identity of a native “girl” (I mean, is there anything more Orientalist than the White Man of the West posing as a Damascene “girl” and writing on her own behalf?  Is there anything more racist, sexist, patronizing, and offensive?)  Macmaster does not know what he has done and he has the chutzpah of writing this:  “While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground.”  What did he mean by that?  He basically is saying–if I now pose as the racist White Man in the West for a second, and I don’t mind taking that license from somebody posing for a long time as a lesbian “girl” and even exposing and communicating with many in the gay and lesbian community in Syria and the Arab world–that while he lied and fabricated but that his lies and fabrications are true and accurate.  He really sounds delusional and is divorced from reality.  This is the White Man privilege, which permits MacMaster to lie and fabricate and to arrogantly claim that his lies and fabrications are not inaccurate.  This mentality behind the creation of this identity is the same one that was around during colonial times.  The natives can’t speak for themselves: that they have to be represented by the White Man who can best explain them to the West.  Beyond all that, Macmaster damaged the efforts of well-meaning and sincere Syrian dissidents (I am not talking about the lousy Ikhwan or Khaddam or Ma’mun Humsi or Rif`at Asad or other pro-Saudi tools): this scandal is a great help to the propaganda of the Syrian regime.  Macmaster should not only apologize to the readers of the blog: he owes a bigger apology to the people of the Middle East and to gays and lesbians in the region, and even to Middle Eastern studies.  This is a smug and arrogant and delusional White Man.  I bet he hears voices in his head: probably the voices of Lord Cromer.

Not all uprisings are alike

I don’t support all uprisings and I don’t support all movements against dictatorships.  Don’t get me wrong: I want an end to all dictatorships (Arab or Iranian) but I don’t necessarily associate with or endorse the dominant opposition movements.  Some opposition movements guarantee that the future government will be as lousy as the current dictatorships.  The Libyan Tansitional Council, the Green Revolution, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (and its lousy affiliates like Rif`at or Khaddam or Humsi or the various liberals in DC) all are part of the Saudi-Qatari-sponsored Counter-revolution and should be fought early on.  I worry that any support for the brothers by leftists would repeat the tragic blunders of Tudeh when they supported Khumeini.  Supporting a true revolution require that we should speak out against opposition movements and trends that sabotage real revolution.

PS Amel sent me this (I cite with her permission):  “it’s the same scenario in Yemen…the Islah party here (offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood) has been trying to hijack the revolution from the start. the rifts are starting to become public since saleh’s departure. the main organizers are mostly members of Islah…Islah is tied to the Ahmar family, the clan that ha sfor the past few weeks been engage din violent clashes with the regime. a power struggle between the Ahmar clan and Saleh’s regime was playing out up until his departure, and it goes back several years. Hamid al-Ahmar in particular is the head of Islah.  So Islah is attempting to control all the decision making in the square. The youth are dissenting…today they were supposed to hold a demonstration against the leadership, which would mark the first time that the youth have made public their frustration with the leadership within the Square. it was cancelled and instead they are holding a press conference tom at 10am to discuss this problem and what steps to take. At 4pm tomorrow they are planning a sit-in not against the regime, but against the leadership.   I am very worried about the influence of the Islah party here…not sure what hey are capable of doing if the youth begin to rebel against their leadership…”

 

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood

If you want a free Syria, you need to fight the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood with the same vehemence through which you fight the Syrian regime. The same.
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This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Background & Analysis, Bahrain, Bin Laden, Counterinsurgency, Egypt, Events, Imperialist Interference & Views, Libya, Syria, US Foreign Policy, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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