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Total number of comments: 43 (since 2010-09-06 06:34:55)

alec

Website: https://foliovision.com

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  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
  • ISIS and Israel on the Golan Heights
    • Israel has not attacked ISIS in the Golan Heights as Israel's goal is dismembering Syria. Why would Israel fight a group which is occupying Syrian territory?

      The second goal Israel has is to formally annex the Golan Heights (Israel has no international recognition for its 1981 annexation law) and start drilling for oil on the Golan. Genie is a joint investment of Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney among other unsavory types. Stolen land, stolen oil.

      Israel probably paid ISIS to run off the international peacekeepers. Israel actively shelled the Syrian Arab Army from across the border when the Syrian army was trying to remove ISIS. Israel is providing high quality medical care for wounded ISIS troops before sending them back to fight the elected Syrian government.

      The real question is why does the international community allow Israel to flout international law and allow Israeli proxies to attack UN peacekeepers.

  • Top 4 Reasons Iran will stand by Syrian gov't despite High Casualties
    • Billy, mercenary armies have not fared well across the pages of history. Syria's Arab Army and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are not mercenaries but people fighting what they believe is a just war.

      Odds are, whatever the neocons do, they will lose and are just building up long term enemies against themselves and America. Short sighted, stupid, selfish. In short, neocon.

  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • So President Bashar Assad is to blame for being strong-armed into an illegal rendition program. Service to the Empire given on the promise of immunity to attacks on the Syrian state. As often, the duplicitous Americans not only break their word but turn cooperation as a weapon against the counter-party.

      This has been going on for a long time. Heard of the Trail of Tears? The Cherokee were America's Indian allies.

      Your irony about America's capabilities and interference is as misplaced as your other dismissive assertions. Over 800 military bases around the world weren't put there for decoration. President Obama has claimed repeatedly that America is the "one indispensable nation":

      I see an American century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs. That includes shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st.

      I.e. if the American President has to stack the United Nations or manipulate the ICC in the Hague through America's European partners peons to get his way, he'll do that too.

      Not quite sure why you think a wave of the hand replaces study and reading in the consideration of foreign policy.

    • President Assad is in the middle of a civil war, provoked by yet another American backed color revolution. People die in civil wars.

      Barrel bombs: Actually people die in peace time now if the US would so chooses (drone wars). How is losing your family to a drone strike any different than losing your family to a barrel bomb?

      Torture: Abu Graib and Lynndie England ring a bell? Or Guantanomo Bay torture, where a rather impressive catalogue of torture techniques was employed by CIA and DOD.

      War criminals: a war of aggression is the greatest war crime reasoned Nuremberg prosecutors.

      To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

      The United States of America invaded and destroyed Iraq based on intelligence it knew false. While there, depleted uranium was used to foul the soil and rend much of the land uninhabitable without expensive reclamation. Indeed many US soldiers have died from radiation exposure. Deliberately endangering civilian lives is another war crime.

      So until the ICC in the Hague have had time to consider the weighty cases against George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there's scant reason for them to consider small fry like Bashar el-Assad.

      For that matter, barrel bombs are not a war crime at all. Nor is taking steps to put down an armed insurrection.

      Conclusion: your comment is either incredibly naive or deeply cynical.

    • Our host Professor Cole for unaccountable reasons has an idée fixe about deposing President Assad, regardless of how the people of Syria feel about it (voting for President Assad with an approval rate of about 70%, better than most Western leaders). It has been proven again and again that the US and Turkish and Saudi concern with "Syrian human rights" is entirely wrapped up in a Qatari gas pipeline. Strangely, Informed Comment continues to beat the human rights in Syria drum while Al-Queda and Daesh dance and pillage the cradle of civilisation.

      President Assad's father was a hard man and probably worth opposing (although even he brought peace and prosperity to Syria in the face of terrorism, albeit at a price) on moral principle. But the son - he's about as gentle and genuine as political leaders come, in the Middle East or elsewhere. Indeed until the pipeline deal came up, Bashar and first lady Asma al-Assad were an internationally fêted glamour couple, spending leisure time with Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni, Tony and Cherie Blair, and even the Queen of England.

      So, yes Hillary Clinton with her active support for gun running to Syria (to al-Queda and Daesh) is as responsible for the rise of Daesh as anyone in the American political establishment. Perhaps only Turkish President Erdogan would bear more personal responsibility for the rise of Daesh.

  • Are Sanders' Criticisms of Israeli Occupation Policies unprecedented in a Presidential Campaign?
    • A bit of fairness in the equation might go a long way to making a lasting peace. Strange that it will take a Jewish President of the US to give the Palestinians a fair shake. Passing on AIPAC after decades of candidate fealty was a great act of courage.

      Curiously the American people seem to have rewarded Senator Sanders for his courage as he's now outrunning the front runner.

  • Why are American Elections so much worse than Everybody Else's?
    • Pippa Norris's article is well researched but startlingly naive. Ms. Norris fails to note the most important part.

      American elections are broken by design. The voting machines are still suspect. Two major presidential elections have a taint of fraud about them (Gore-Bush 2000: Florida hanging chads, etc., Kerry-Bush: Ohio 2004, Diebold machines reprogrammed).

      In the current primary cycle, Hillary Clinton has claimed the nomination by claiming all the superdelegates before the primaries even started and by suppressing vote counts (Iowa and Arizona) and suspect coin tosses and gerrymandering caucus counts. Broken by design.

  • Momentum: Sanders Sweeps with Huge Wins in Hawaii, Washington and Alaska
    • Hillary Clinton is cutting left just long enough to push Senator Sanders out of the race. She and her husband created the business environment which incubated the 2008 "too big to fail" crash. The bailout then was the largest single transfer of public money to private wealth (taxpayers paid for banks bad investments and decisions). We're still not out of the woods (the situation is even worse: as banks weren't allowed to fail and went straight back to their bad habits of awarding themselves bonuses in the good times while socialising risk in bad times).

      The funniest thing I've heard this weekend covered the $353,000 plate George Clooney Clinton benefit dinner.

      One might think George would have some conflicts with Clinton's time as Secretary of State, given his desire to "end war in Africa".

      I had a much higher opinion of both George and Amal Clooney before this anointing the feet of Baal stunt. It's hard to believe Amal Clooney can aid and abbet the Secretary of State responsible for the persecution of her client Julian Assange.

      If Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination, it will do more to restore faith in the American government both at home and abroad than any election since John F. Kennedy. Hillary Clinton is a war hawk intent on absolute hegemony who would do anything for power. She's already cheated her way through at least four or five of these primaries (dodgy marginal win in Iowa, as a loss would have derailed her campaign completely, phoney-baloney coin tosses, complicity in vote blocking in Arizona).

      This election is desperately important. Hillary Clinton is likely to bring World War III down on all of our heads. If she steals the Democratic primary from Senator Sanders, shockingly the world's last chance is Donald Trump. While Donald Trump is a silly vain man, at least he'll keep us out of World War III. With core motivations like making money and making love to beautiful women, Trump has no reason to start a world war.

      The man doesn't even drink (and not because he's an ex-alky like G.W. Bush: he's always had "more interesting things to do"). Hard drinking Hillary Clinton is prone to judgement lapses when hitting the sauce.

  • Israeli Squatters issue death threats against Videographer who filmed execution of Palestinian
    • Thank you for this on-the-ground report. Outrageous. One has to ask oneself a few questions.

      * When are these Israeli clowns going to be held accountable for their actions and suspended from the UN?
      * Why is Europe still trading with an apartheid regime?
      * Why is the US actively supporting the current round of land confiscation, expropriation, colony building (they are not settlements: Palestine has been settled for thousands of years) and collective punishment?

      Time for Israel to face the consequences of apartheid.

  • Mystery: Russia & Hizbullah begin withdrawal from Syria
    • Russia has specifically ruled out any partition of Syria. Turkey looks close to civil war. Russia can feed arms to Syrian and Turkish kurds (via Syria). It's absolutely no problem for Russia to bring back its forces (unlike the US, Russian militiary doctrine does not target long term remote basing but for high readiness and fast deployment.

      Long range strategic bombing and cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea have both been used effectively in Russia's campaign. Neither are affected by any withdrawal full or partial.

      After the Syrian adventure, the US looks like a corrupt colonial power and Russia looks like a good friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It doesn't mean you want your friend to move in with you and share your house, enjoy your wife and eat your groceries.

      Why again is the US still in Japan when the Japanese want them out?

  • Did Obama Really “Surrender the Middle East to Putin?”
    • Sounds like a lot of money spent for not very much. If you aren't winning hearts and minds (the Russians are, unlike the Americans), you're losing influence.

      America's position in the Middle East oscillates on a per country basis between an indulgent sugar daddy (Israel) or a sadistic pimp (Iraq). Almost everywhere mocked and loathed. Even the Israelis have no respect for the country which pays their military (and many other) bills.

      As the Russian are fighting alongside and in support of their allies, they've earned respect from both friend and foe, hence the neverending pilgrimages to Moscow by Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

      In any case, the overhead on the US projection of power is so overwhelming that it's bankrupting America. The last gasp of empire come when it employs mercenaries rather than patriotic sons. The US is long into the circular cycle down of paying for fealty and feats of arms, instead of inspiring them.

      Sad, really, to see so much money ill-spent while whole states go without highway maintenance, major cities like Detroit rot into the ground, university students face life crippling debts and the sick go without treatment or lose their houses. America could have done so much more with its wealth than squander it on a failing empire.

      Not quite sure why this article is reprinted here. I'm deeply curious as to what Professor Cole's position on Mr Williams' patriotic militarism.

  • Grand Alliance against ISIL: Can Putin come in from the Cold?
    • This is perhaps the trashiest article I've ever seen published here, Professor Cole. Anders Aslund has made a career out of Russophobic statements. He's no more an unbiased observer of Russia than that overfed moron Karl Rove would be of US politics. Russia has done almost nothing in the Ukraine for the last year apart for call for the Minsk Protocol I and now II to be implemented. The Ukraine switched trade groups exchanging Eurasian privileges for European promises. They've made their bed and should lie in it.

      On top of that, this November the Ukraine unilaterally cut off all air traffic between Russian and the Ukraine, while at the same time reneging on a $3 billion state debt, demanding more gas concessions, cutting off water to Crimea, etc, etc. How does this equate to Russian aggression?

      Now that the Ukraine is part of Europe, Europe will learn what it's like to put up with a really high maintenance, cheating girlfriend who isn't prepared to work and sends you all her credit card bills.

  • From Beirut, this is Paris: in a world that doesn’t care about Arab lives
    • Hi Dorothy,

      Please do an objective survey of the amount of coverage Paris got and its tone against:

      1. the coverage the blown up Russian airline (full of families on vacation) received (lots of coverage but mostly schadenfreude, including from the US Secretary of Defence.
      2. the coverage Lebanon received (almost none).

      In any case, Juan didn't write this article but Elie Fares. Bravo to him for publishing it.

      We owe ourselves a great deal of soul seeking why we consider some human lives and some races/nationalities worthy of compassion and others not.

  • Ban real-life Terminator Robots! So say Hawking, Wozniak, Musk, Chomsky
    • Yes, imagine the havoc which will reign when some of these combat robots get taken over by hostile forces or by false flag insiders. Happy days ahead. Combat robots may be a worse advance than nuclear weapons.

      Has no-one in politics seen the Terminator films?

  • Obama: No Mideast NATO, but US committed to Security of Arab Gulf States
  • Palestinians welcome Pope's Recognition of their State
    • Recognising Palestine is a great first step.

      You are right though the Catholic church could do a lot to interpret the meaning of the Old Testament in terms of modern politics. Ironically most of these Palestinians Christians and Muslims have far more Hebrew blood in them than the Ashkenazi interlopers like B. Netanyahu (not to even mention Moldavian-born A. Lieberman) trying to run them out of town.

      Hopefully Pope Francis has a good life insurance policy: he's just painted a target on himself. To be a good and just man has never been an easy role.

  • Netanyahu slips, Reveals reason for Opposition to Iran Deal
    • Hey Tom,

      In what ways are the current Syrian government worse than the current Israeli regime?

  • Putin on the Nile: an Isolated Russia Seeks friends in Egypt w/ offer of Nuclear Plant
    • I'm glad you are covering this important story, Professor Cole. Still some of the rhetoric surprises me. You wrote:

      "the desire of Russia to find new friends at a time its Ukraine policy has made it a pariah in Europe"

      I'm astonished. This is the language of mass media: Putin = pariah. Second, it isn't even true. Ex-French President Sarkozy recently emphasised France/Europe is a "part of a common civilization with Russia" (in distinction from the US). Sarkozy also said "Crimea can't be blamed for choosing Russia." Current French President François Hollande has suggested several times lifting sanctions on Russia: "The sanctions must stop now". In gratitude, it appears a false flag attack on the Charlie Hebdo was orchestrated (part of the new Operation Gladio). Its close proximity after the French vote in favour of Palestinian statehood on the UN Security Council is more than suspicious. To follow cui buono reasoning, that attack would have been a CIA/Mossad joint operation.

      On the German side, Chancellor Merkel has said weapons must not be shipped to Ukraine and German foreign minister has spoken out against sanctions repeatedly. Greece, Hungary, Austria and Czech Republic are all against further sanctions and even continuing the current sanctions (only just strong-armed into agreeing to continue the current ones).

      I'm physically located in Central Europe. Despite the incessant war mongering of the international (read American/Anglo) media and their local agents, there is a great sympathy for the Russians and their President Putin. The closest thing to pariah around here are the would-be nazis in the Ukraine who have seized power. Your mileage may vary in Poland and Lithuania, but those two countries have been nipping at Russia's heels since the thirteenth century. To suggest Polish-Lithuanian views represent the bulk of Europe would be a deliberate misrepresentation.

      To blindly parrot falsehoods and rhetoric from the mass media does not enhance the credibility of any independent voices. Not even yours.

      Hopefully Egypt won't suffer one of the same unfortunate accidents as France did after diverging from Imperial policies.

  • Why Can Europe have Climate Targets but not the US? Corruption
    • What thuggish behaviour concerning natural gas on the part of President Putin?

      Thuggish behaviour like expecting payment? The Ukraine owes €5 billion to Russia past due on natural gas. In addition, the Ukraine - in the middle of genocidal bloodletting of its large Russian minority - is demanding preferential pricing (about half of what Europe pays). In the middle of this Russia and President Putin are trying to build South Stream to be able to supply Europe reliably. Russia is doing everything to be a reliable partner to Europe, while the US is working to send Europe and Russia into depression by disrupting trade ties - even at the expense of a major war in Europe and possible nuclear apocalypse.

      Thuggish behaviour indeed but not on the part of President Putin or Russia but rather the United States. I'm surprised to see you of all commentators falling directly into the trap of this modern day Operation Mockingbird.

      While European politics are marginally less corrupt and less beholden to corporations but the US State Department is doing everything its can best to remedy this. I implore you not to abet them in this mission.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • Tartus is not that important now, while most ports are open to Russian ships. In the new cold (warm) war, the neocons are ratcheting up through NATO, friendly secure ports may become very important to Russia. It's an extreme example, but the single isolated port of Gibralter was crucial for Britain during the Second World War. Clearly Tartus does not have the same ability to limit transit but it remains Russia's military port on the Mediterranean. As Russia is Europe's largest and most powerful country, their desire to retain their spot beside Europe's swimming pool is understandable.

      The question is what the Americans are doing in the Mediterranean (besides stirring up wars, bombing North Africa's richest country to smithereens, creating millions of refugees).

    • Juan, you wrote:

      It might be interesting to see if US envoy to the UN, Samantha Powers, could get Russia and China to go along with a narrow UNSC authorization for the use of force against ISIL.

      Such a possibility might have existed:

      1. pre-Libya where Dmitry Medvedev's agreed to a no-fly zone and got regime change instead.
      2. pre-Ukraine where the US created an internal coup and put extremist anti-Russian sock puppets (Viktoria Nuland: "Yats is our guy.") in place of the legal elected government before starting an (unsuccessful) crusade against Russia.

      The US has so little political capital left in the world or the UN. The United States are almost as bankrupt politically as they are economically ($17 trillions and sinking).

      Alternative: the US could talk to Assad and coordinate any flights and bombing with his government. Frankly I'm shocked to see you blithely advocating for the violation of Syrian sovereignty.

      I struggle to reconcile your tears for Gaza with your endless clapping for Middle Eastern "regime change". A grander and more abstract voyeurism not so different than Israelis sitting hilltop over Gaza with popcorn at night to "watch the fireworks".

  • Last Chance - Annual Informed Comment Fundraiser
  • Thank You for Your Support
    • Keep up the great work Professor Cole! Thank you for standing up for the Palestinians in the face of institutional oppression.

  • Annual Informed Comment Fundraiser
  • Belize Construction company Destroys Mayan Pyramid in Latest Refutation of Libertarianism
    • So am I to take it you don't care for Libertarianism and Adam Smith, then Professor Juan Cole? Maybe you should go back to Mexico and hang out with the communists, wait the drug cartels, wait the libertarians there.

      On second thought let's send Brad down there. The government wouldn't interfere with him much there. He's just have to fend off his fellow libertarian drug dealers.

      We could even sponsor his bus fare.

  • Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Natural Gas Platform Sinks
    • There are many parties interested in this failure to put sabotage on the table. The homicide squad always start looking for a murderer among those with motivation. And they usually find their wo/man in that group.

      As long as there remains a doubt, there is not much Iran can do. On the other hand, if Iran can prove sabotage it's a pretty big stick with which to beat the aggressor nation in the UN and in public opinion.

      I'm curious.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • What the Israelis have done is an international war crime, effectively launching an unprovoked war of aggression.

      I'm surprised you can so convincingly articulate Russia's concern about the erosion of sovereignty, and then with a single sweept of your arm, wipe all the pieces from the table.

      What the Americans and Israelis are doing is gradually pushing us into a third world war, much as Germany slowly pushed us into a second. Humanity's fatuity and hubris couldn't be imagined if it didn't exist.

  • TSA Commission will Look at Health Effects of Backscatter X-Ray Scanners (Grabell)
    • I work with technology and know how often if fails. Catastrophic failure occurs. When these machines fail, without knowing it dozens or hundreds of passengers could suffer cancer inducing doses.

      That Bush/Cheney created/turned 9/11 into this kind of health risk for their nation shocks me to this day.

      Pat downs only here. Don't visit the UK. Refusing the machines invites a strip search.

      I won't even consider visiting the US until they rejoin the family of civilized nations. I don't see that happening for another twenty years.

  • Iran the Beautiful
    • Such beautiful nature and architecture, Juan. Definitely on my list of places to travel. I imagine Iran is a fairly safe and affordable place to visit as well.

      Thanks.

  • Success!
    • Hi Sheila,

      Paypal can be weird about certain credit cards. I've had to ask clients to try alternative cards in this case. Usually the second card has worked if the first has not. Let us know if you continue to experience issues.

      Juan can accept cheques at:

      Professor Juan Cole
      Department of History
      1029 Tisch Hall
      University of Michigan
      Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003

      I'm sorry about the issues you've had. Thank you for your support of Informed Comment!

    • Hi Hamza,

      The best way to see one of the Polo shirts is to donate. The shirts will be great.

      Here is a video about a very similar Polo shirt created by the same design team.

      Making the web work for you, Alec

    • Hi Frank!

      I'm sorry we don't have pictures yet as the shirts will be going into production when we have the sizes. The shirts will be of the highest quality Fruit of the Loom heavy white cotton double sewn, with shirts for women and shirts for men (not unisex). We plan to include both the Informed Comment logo on the left breast and the Informed Comment Persian lion on the left sleeve.

      These will be shirts you could wear to Wimbledon with pride.

      As soon as the first shirts are ready we will be posting a photo of the shirt to all the subscribers. Look out for an email with a request for your size and your shipping address in a couple of weeks, at the end of the fundraiser. If you don't feel you would wear a polo shirt, you are welcome to send yours to a friend as a gift instead.

      Thanks for asking.

      Making the web work for you, Alec

  • A Hot Wet Thousand Years and 10 Green Energy Stories to Avert it
    • Great post, JT. I totally agree about the moral bankruptcy of the whole system (not to mention the species suicidal bent: self-awareness makes us worse than lemmings). Even pre-Western civilization, we did it to ourselves on Easter Island and the Mauris knocked out the Moa (principal food) in New Zealand.

      @ Dan

      I think it's important to recognize the real problem points first and address those. A lot of us worrying about whether we should use our computer or not is not making any difference. Air travel alone is 5% of carbon dioxide emissions. The average passenger car in the US emits 11,450 pounds (5,190 kg) of carbon dioxide per year.

      We have still not started talking about the environmental production costs of those vehicles.

      We don't have to go back to paleo life in order to shepherd the world's resources adequately. But we do have to change our economic "growth" model.

    • Hi Juan,

      Gadgets are not the problem. Automobiles, airplanes and heating are the big issue. You can run your iPod (of course building and transporting them is another issue) and your hifi as much as you like.

      Planned obsolence and excessive global transport of course are gadget issues. Instead of buying a single gadget which run for fifteen years we are supposed to update our gadgets on a cycle of three years. Insanity.

  • Saif admits Qaddafis are Brutal Foreign Occupiers
    • Not sure I'd exactly characterise North Korea as a threat to the region. They are a real nuisance for the South Koreans but no threat to the Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or Vietnamese.

      Of course if we were stupid enough to provoke them to self-destruction, there's be some nasty bombs exploding over Japan. If someone were to provoke Russia, America, France, Israel, the UK, India, Pakistan - it's the same deal.

      Yet we don't label most of those countries a threat to their region or the world.

    • Dear Professor Cole,

      Your apologism here doesn't hold up in relation to the facts reported above by your readers.

      Here you seem just as much an unrepentant advocate for American exceptionalism as G.W. Bush and Richard Cheney.

      Falluja was a war crime and a massacre.

      What is happening in Misrata while also a violation of the Geneva conventions is a materially less severe one.

    • Hi Professor Cole,

      This is a very important post, pulling off the genteel mask which Saif Qaddafi dons in public.

      Most of the atrocities committed by Saif Qaddafi are not even reported. In Austria in July 2007, a Ukrainian girl "fell" off a balcony at a private party at his residence in Vienna.

      Her death was reported, after Saif fled Austria. Heavy duty lobbyists were engaged to make sure charges were not filed.

      I can't even find this in English language Google. But here's the ORF (Austrian state broadcast report) on Saif Gaddafi and Ukrainian balcony death in Vienna.

      Amazing what money and threats can buy.

  • Should Professors in Public Universities Give up their Email Addresses?
    • I second what SpyGuy68 says. Google for examplel is a very bad choice for sequestering private data. Google retain all email indefinitely. You'd be better off with a company outside of the US with private hosting where deleted email is not retained. Even then you are not secure, but you have a fighting chance.

    • Hi Juan,

      I wouldn't give up your university email anytime soon. And I'd be using an email provider for your personal email who allows you to delete and eliminate past emails (you can download those emails for safe storage).

      If you are using an external email for work-related matters, everything on it becomes fair game for work related searches.

      I.e. you have to at least make a pretense of using your university email for all official and work business.

  • Egyptian Official: Israelis Might be Behind attacks by Sharks, which seem to be Beasts of Prey
    • It's a pity that Israel has earned itself such a bad reputation in Gaza and the West Bank that people would lend credence to such a theory.

      Just last week, Mossad was blowing up Iranian scientists in traffic.

  • Is AIPAC a Wikileaks Operation?
    • Yes, the US should be allowed to do whatever the hell it feels like, unhindered by truth or oversight.

      I'm convinced.

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