Tag Archives | Middle East

Earn Gold For Losing Weight (in Dubai)

320px-Mall_dubaiOh the irony: residents of Dubai, engorged and enlarged by the steady supply of petro-dollars, are being bribed by their government to lose weight with the promise of a gram of gold for every kilo lost. Via BBC News:

Authorities in Dubai are offering gold in return for weight loss in an scheme to encourage healthier living.

Those interested can sign up from Friday for the initiative which lasts over the next 30 days and coincides with Ramadan, a month of fasting.

For each kilogram lost, participants will receive a gram of gold, which is currently worth about $45 (£30).

Those taking part – dubbed “golden losers” – need to lose at least two kilos to receive the payout.

The three participants who lose the most weight will be entered into a draw to win a gold coin worth $5,400.

Called Your Weight in Gold the scheme was announced by Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

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Egypt: The Revolution Continues…

The video below is one of the bonus interviews on the DVD of the documentary We Are Egypt in which Esraa and Basem share their memories of the January/February 2011 Revolution, which at the time of this interview had taken place two months prior.

These two young people had been at the forefront of Egyptian democracy and human rights activism for nearly a decade before the uprising against Mubarak in 2011, and in this segment they share emotional accounts about how it felt to finally see Mubarak leave. Even while celebrating their victory back in April 2011 when this interview was shot, these seasoned activists demonstrate intuitive foresight about potential challenges ahead, many of which continue to take place to this day as more than two years later Egyptians move to ouster Mubarak’s second replacement since 2011. I spoke with Basem yesterday on the phone and he explained to me that while it may appear like a losing battle at times, progress is constant, as each time Egyptians take to the streets in protest, they discover more and more the power they hold as a People.… Read the rest

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World War III began in May 2006: Building the New Map of the Middle East in Real Time

via chycho
new middle east

 

I. Beginnings of Conflicts

Usually there are disagreements as to the exact dates of beginnings of conflicts, especially when those conflicts are global.

The beginnings of wars are often hard to identify. Which act lit the spark on the tinderbox? Which straw was the final one? Like peak oil itself, the beginnings of war are often visible only in retrospect.”

For example, some would argue that World War II began in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Others would pick the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria, or maybe even the 1933 Reichstag Fire. The only consensus regarding World War II is that it was devastating.

As for World War III, some believe that it was the Cold War and that we are in the beginning stages of World War IV.… Read the rest

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Inside The Neverending Simulated Middle Eastern War At The U.S. National Training Center

simulated warVenue visits the surreal Fort Irwin, arguably the Pentagon’s Universal Studios, where U.S. soldiers spend three weeks role-playing urban warfare in a mock city, complete with gruesome special effects, food markets filled with burqa-clad women, and gamer-style cards which instruct soldiers as to what injuries they must pretend to have:

Fort Irwin is a U.S. army base nearly the size of Rhode Island, located in the Mojave Desert about an hour’s drive northeast of Barstow, California. There you will find the National Training Center, at which all U.S. troops, from all the services, spend a twenty-one day rotation before they deploy overseas.

Sprawling and infernally hot in the summer months, the base offers free public tours twice a month of the simulated battlefields in which imaginary conflicts loop, day after day, without end. Picture paid actors shooting entire magazines full of blank rounds out of machine guns behind simulated Middle Eastern buildings in the Mojave desert.

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60,000-Ton Underwater Pyramid Detected Beneath Sea Of Galilee

galilee

Deep sea diving teams will be dispatched to attempt to decode the meaning of the monolith, Live Science reports:

A giant “monumental” stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built. Rising nearly 32 feet high, the mysterious structure is cone shaped and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.

It appears to be a giant cairn, boulders piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials.

The structure was first detected in 2003 during a sonar survey of the southwest portion of the sea. Divers have since been down to investigate, they write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The researchers say the structure is definitely human-made and probably was built on land, only later to be covered by the Sea of Galilee.

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On This Tenth Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq, a Reminder, According to the UN Charter, the Invasion was Illegal

via chycho

The war in Iraq is not over, not by a long shot. For decades to come we will have to deal with what the United States and its allies have unleashed.

It’s anyone’s guess if those responsible for this war of aggression will ever be held accountable for their crimes, what we do know however, is that the decision to invade Iraq has transformed the global political landscape (emphasis added):

“Kofi Annan, declared explicitly… that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service… he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: ‘Yes, if you wish.’

“He then added unequivocally: ‘I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.’

“American officials have defended the war as an act of self-defence, allowed under the UN charter, in view of Saddam Hussein’s supposed plans to build weapons of mass destruction…

“Mr Annan issued a stern critique of the notion of pre-emptive self-defence, saying it would lead to a breakdown in international order.”

Below you will find four videos embedded within excerpt from a 2006 article by Tony Judt entitled, “Bush’s Useful Idiots”.… Read the rest

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Audio Recording Of Bradley Manning Speaking At Military Tribunal Leaked

Despite a strict ban on recordings and transcripts at the secretive proceedings, the Freedom of Press Foundation has gotten a hold of a covertly-made tape of Manning’s full speech to the court explaining his motivation for leaking classified government materials. He remarks:

“I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.”

“I began to become depressed with the situation that we [the U.S. military] found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year…we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists…[I wanted] society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.”

“I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.”

“I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy.

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Mubarak Retrial? Backstory to the Revolution

Mohamed Morsi croppedFor those disinfonauts following the ongoing saga of the Egyptian Revolution, two recent developments should keep Egypt-watchers glued to their screens. First, current president Muhammad Morsi has called an early parliamentary election on April 22nd, which the opposition promptly responded to by declaring a boycott. Second, former president Hosni Rubarak’s retrial has been slated to commence on April 13th:

He faces charges of conspiring to kill protesters during the 2011 revolt that ended his 29-year rule, and corruption.

A retrial was ordered in January after a court accepted his appeal against the life sentence he had been serving since his conviction last June.

Mr Mubarak, 84, is currently in a military hospital. About 850 people were killed in the 2011 crackdown.

News of the retrial came as his successor as president, Mohammed Morsi, met US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was concluding a two-day visit to Egypt.

The two leaders were said to have discussed Egypt’s political crisis as well as Syria, Iran and Middle East peace.

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Pakistanis are Crazy … Like a Fox

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What do people in Pakistan know that the rest of the world doesn’t? Every Pakistani man, woman and child is a paranoid nutcase, according to the picture painted by a recent New York Times article:

According to many Pakistanis, the C.I.A. used a mysterious technology to cause the devastating floods that affected 20 million people in 2010. Washington had the teenage champion for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai, shot as part of a campaign to demonize the Pakistani Taliban and win public support for American drone strikes against them. The terrorists who strike Pakistani targets are non-Muslim “foreign agents.” Osama bin Laden was an American operative.

However, in an article-ending twist, the Times matter-of-factly notes that conspiracy theories in Pakistan “persist because many turn out to be true.”

 Keep reading.

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Al-Qaeda’s Top 22 Tips For Avoiding Drones Revealed

The find reveals that the terrorist network has been anticipating drone-based quasi-war by the United States for a long time. Via the Telegraph:

Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city in Mali occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. Hidden inside a manila envelope, it is a Xeroxed copy of a tipsheet authored by Abdallah bin Muhammad, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“These are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely,” said Col Cedric Leighton, a 26-year-veteran of the United States Air Force, who helped set up the Predator drone program.

The tips include:

Hide under thick trees.

Formation of fake gatherings such as using dolls and statutes to be placed outside false ditches to mislead the enemy.

Spreading reflective pieces of glass on a car or on the roof of the building.

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