Category Archives: USA

From UAE to NYPD with Love and WTF………

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“The New York City Police Foundation received a $1 million donation from the government of the United Arab Emirates, according to 2012 tax records, the same amount the foundation transferred to the NYPD Intelligence Division’s International Liaison Program that year, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. A 2012 Schedule A document filed by the New York City Police Foundation showed a list of its largest donors, which included several major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital — but also a line item for the “Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.”………. Conspicuously, while the financial institutions are listed as donors on the Police Foundation website, the UAE is absent…………..’

Interesting: clearly now the UAE diplomats “can breathe” at will in the Big Apple. This deserves a resounding WTF………..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

From Stuxnet to Sony: CyberWar Chickens Coming Home to Roost?……….

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

There is a lot of media and official noise about the hacking of Sony documents. There are also threats of more damage to the company for producing a film spoof of Kim Jon Un of North Korea. There are claims that North Korea is responsible, being upset about the film. Maybe they didn’t get the famous haircut quite right in the film, or maybe it is the inevitable stupidity and silly thrust of the film.
Now there is much talk of the ‘terrible’ act of hacking and terrorism and how to respond. But wait: is hacking another country such a terrible act? A terrorist act? Weren’t the same media clinking glasses over the various cyber attacks on another country’s institutions only recently? Weren’t congressmen and women and senators going publicly orgasmic over the series of cyber attacks on official Iranian websites? Reportedly, strongly and deliberately and proudly disclosed by the usual unnamed sources to be the joint work of Israeli and American experts.

I commented several times in my postings on this cyber aggression, from Stuxnet to Duque to Flame and other malware, allegedly targeting the Iranian nuclear program and possibly other infrastructure. I even opined that “Live by Cyber war, Die by Cyber War“. I even wrote something about “cyber chickens coming home to roost“. And apparently they are starting now. This alleged North Korean attack and other allegedly Iranian cyber attacks in the past year. I have also written that cyber battles and cyber wars are equalizers: they are relatively cheap and any nation can excel in waging them.
Cyber counterattacks can be understandable, for they are done in retaliation for other cyber attacks. It happens. What irks me is the fact that American theatres have caved in to blackmail and fear and decided not to show the stupid film, The Interview. As has Sony now in deciding to “withdraw” the film, which makes one wonder what more information did the hackers get their hands on.

That reaction is an even more serious development: it means other hackers will be able to blackmail publishers, film-makers, and other cultural parties. Thus curtailing the right of free expression. Thus imposing a piece of the ‘political ambience’ of North Korea or wherever the hell they are located into the United States and other countries.

Cyber Wars as Great Equalizers: Tit for Tat?………

Cyber Jingoism: CyberSecurity, Cyber Wars, and the New Cyber Powers………

Cyber Wars: Malware, Mahdi, and Hail Mary in Iran and Israel……

Israel and the West: only Arab and Muslim Hacking is Terrorism, Ours is Kosher……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Navy Seal Bin Laden Tattler: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?……….

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Many a man would face his gun and many a man would fall………..
The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance, he was the bravest of them all………. ” The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

“Robert O’Neill is facing a backlash from ex-comrades angered by his disputed version of events at the al-Qa’ida chief’s Pakistan compound in March 2011 and his decision to go public. There are now three different versions circulating of who delivered the fatal shot that killed American’s public enemy number one during the raid, conducted by more than 20 commandos. Jonathan Gilliam, a former Seal, condemned the actions and motives of Mr O’Neill, who draws on his special forces experience in his well-paid appearances as a motivational speaker…………..”

This is the era of the whistleblowers and the tattlers and opportunists. Some do it, blow the whistle, for personal reasons, some do it for principled reasons. Everybody is now entitled to their brief television interview, perhaps their book, and maybe their movie based on the book. From former top cabinet members to former Navy Seal members. Everybody wants to be Captain America, except for the ones who are dead and those who choose not to talk.

He sure doesn’t seem to live up to the image that has been publicized about the Navy Seals . But then neither do the leading politicians and others who publish selective secrets after leaving office.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Deutschland Uber Alles in Education? Wirklich, You Betcha………

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     “You know, greed is good………” Ivan Boesky, Gordon Gecko, Rick          Santelli, et al

“American students that want to attend college, but are unable to find the finances to do so, may want to look at schools in Germany as tuition fees have been eliminated country-wide after Lower Saxony became the last state to get on board. Germany universities were free in the past, but a 2006 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that limited fees did not conflict with the Germany’s commitment to universal eduction. It didn’t take long for various states in Germany to see how unpopular the new fees were, and slowly each state dropped them, leaving Lower Saxony as the final holdout. Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement that the decision was made “because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents.”………..”

Germany is becoming more and more like America was in the period from the 1950s through the 1970s, before the American counter-revolution that started in the 1980s against open higher education. Germany now seems to be leading the way in higher education. The target in Germany is equality and building up a well-educated society, true social mobility through an educated labor force. Educated voters are not seen as a potential enemy by any major party, not openly anyway.

That free universal education used to be the target in America as well, before the banking industry took over higher education over the past three decades. But first, in order to do that, the banking industry had to take over the U.S. Congress, both houses and both parties, which they have done admirably. And they had to get university administrators to cooperate, which they have done. Now the tuition goal is ‘whatever the market bears’, unless one is an athlete.

Change you can believe in? Yes sir, that is the small change you get after paying the tuition and the student loan payments.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Ferguson and Florida: Wahhabi vs. Shi’a in America

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Speaking of Ferguson, Missouri:
How many white boys would be should shot with at least six bullets after lifting a box of cigars from, say, Seven Eleven, and the killer gets away with it (which he will in Ferguson)?
How many white teenagers would be shot to death by a punk self-appointed vigilante (who acts against police order) in Sanford, Floridajust for wearing a hoodie and walking the street peacefully at night (and the killer gets freed by a jury as happened in the case of George Zimmerman)?

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

So What is the Best Use for Pressure Cookers in Manhattan?……….

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“Two vacationing Kuwaitis were still simmering Saturday after cops questioned them for hours about a pair of pressure cookers spotted in the trunk of their car at a fancy Midtown hotel. The men were not arrested, but police sources said they remain under investigation. The questioning was “disgusting” and “weird,” said Ayoub Alawadhi — who insisted that he and his pal, Mohammad Alotaibi, will use the cookers to prepare rice, chicken and meat………….. Alotaibi, 20, and Alawadhi, 21, who are studying mechanical engineering at Boise State University in Idaho, drove up to the InterContinental Hotel on East 48th Street on Friday evening…………………..”


Sort of reminds me of my days as an undergraduate foreign student years ago. I traveled a lot around the USA, crisscrossing the beautiful country during vacations. But I never, ever carried pressure cookers in the trunk of my car, or in the trunk of anyone else’s car. In fact I never carried pressure cookers, and I would never take one into a hotel room or into the student hostels I stayed in. I guess I was not in as much of a hurry to eat ‘the right kind of food’ as the newer generation (pizza or pasta or burgers were fine, kosher/halal or otherwise: no questions asked).

Apparently I was also more aware of WTF was happening in the country and around the world.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A New Dickensian American Century?………..

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“From early in its history, the United States rested on the notion of a large class of small proprietors and owners. “The small landholders,” Jefferson wrote to his fellow Virginian James Madison, “are the most precious part of a state.” To both Jefferson and Madison, both the widespread dispersion of property and limits on its concentration—“the possession of different degrees and kinds of property”—were necessary in a functioning republic. Jefferson, admitting that the “equal division of property” was “impractical,” also believed “the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind” that “legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.” ………. For this group, the rest of society, he suggested, exists only “as images and stereotypes.” Progressive theorists, such as Ruy Texerira, have suggested that, in the evolving class structure, the traditional middle and working class is of little importance compared to the rise of a mass “upper middle class” consisting largely of professionals, tech workers, academics, and high-end government bureaucrats……………This trend has continued even in the recovery. Between 2010 and 2012, the middle sixty percent of households, did worse not only than the wealthy, but even the poorest quintile between 2010 and 2012. In the years of the recovery from the Great Recession the middle quintiles income dropped by 1.2 percent while those of the top five percent grew by over five percent.………..….”

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Real Enemy Within: New Dastardly Plot of Al Qaeda………

      


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“Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord. Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds………… A recently declassified CIA report confirmed that all known al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations—from Pakistan to Yemen, and from Somalia to Algeria—have been instructed to kick back and enjoy the show as the United States’ federal government, energy grid, and industrial sector are rendered impotent by internal dissent, decay, and mismanagement. According to statements made by top-level informants and corroborated by leading Western terrorism experts, if seen through to its conclusion, al-Qaeda’s current plot could wreak far more damage than the events of 9/11…………………..”

According to this piece, the 2008 financial meltdown must have been just a trial run, a rehearsal for the big one. The Onion does not say openly, but it probably knows that it may all depend on the two next U.S. elections: the 2014 congressional elections and the general elections of 2016.
So, maybe the New York NYPD was smart to decide to dismantle its network of espionage around the area mosques and shawarma joints. Maybe it plans to move all the spare agents to monitor the banking sector (for weaknesses in capital and solvency and honesty and, by necessity, supervision).

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


A Washington Victory for Edward Snowden?…………

      


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“Barack Obama announced the first public review of US surveillance programs since 9/11 on Friday, in what amounts to the president’s first concession that the mounting public concern in response to disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden justifies reform. After weeks in which the Obama and senior intelligence officials have insisted that the privacy of US citizens was sufficiently protected, the president announced a series of measures aimed at containing the controversy prompted by the Guardian’s revelations. At a White House press conference – his first full question-and-answer session in three months – Obama said that revelations about the National Security Agency’s activities had led Americans to question their trust in government and damaged the country’s reputation abroad. But he made it clear that the programs themselves would remain in place………………”

There is only one question that matters here: would Mr. Obama have started reform of the NSA surveillance system without the actions taken by Edward Snowden? Probably not.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




A Most Bizarre Jeddah Celebration: Fourth of July and Bastille Day on Ides of March…………

         


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“The American consulate in Jeddah celebrated America’s 237th Independence Day this week.
The event was attended by Ambassador James Smith and his wife Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith, Anne Casper, the American consul general and the guest of honor, Ambassador Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Makkah region. A number of other diplomats, dignitaries and friends of America were also present. A colorful ceremony was presented by the marine security guard detachment. Casper said that the American consulate decided to celebrate the national day early because of the many people who travel out of the country in July, and because of the heat. The US celebrates its national day on July 4………………”

I must say, this is the most bizarre rendition of the Fourth of July ever, on the Ides of March. I am almost certain it is a first. Can you imagine the French celebrating Bastille Day in February to accommodate some potentates? Jamais!………. But what a waste: as if the Al Saud princes give a ripe fig (or a sheep’s fatty chiffil) about some far away people who had a revolution and overthrew a despotic king who was not even Wahhabi.
Anyone

didn’t see the Will Smith film, Independence Day? …………

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com