Posts filed under “War/Defense”

Arab Hip-Hop Rebellion: Rock The Casbah

The Arab Spring is widely known as a Twitter rebellion, but underground hip-hop artists also played a very important role, says Robin Wright, author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World.”


In November 2010, a young Tunisian rapper who called himself El General posted a song on his Facebook page and YouTube. He had no alternative.

The government of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had virtually banned hip-hop. Its musicians were not on government-approved playlists for state-controlled television or radio. They were rarely able to get permits to perform in public. And most were barred from recording CDs.

El General—whose real name is Hamada Ben Amor—had no resources of his own. At age 21, he faced the problems of many young Tunisians. He was without reliable work and still living at home with his parents. For Tunisia’s rappers, the only regular gigs were on the Internet. So he recorded the song underground.

“I had two friends,” he later explained. “One filmed my songs on a small video camera, and the other edited the videos and put them up on YouTube.” It raged against the problems of poverty, unemployment, hunger and injustice—and boldly blamed them all on Mr. Ben Ali.

The four-minute video was haunting and raw. It showed the young rapper sauntering through a dark, sewage-strewn alley on his way to a makeshift studio with graffiti spray-painted on the wall. He beat out the song in front of an old-fashioned mike, with no one else in sight, and then ambled back down the alley into the night.

His face was never in the light, his identity remained unclear. Going public was too dangerous.

El General’s song was an instant sensation. Its outrage resonated, especially among the young. It broke through the climate of fear in a country where no politician had dared to criticize a president in power for almost a quarter-century. His incendiary rap registered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and across other social networks. The amateur video was even picked up by Al Jazeera, the 24-hour Arabic news channel.

Amazing stuff!


Robin Wright talks with Jerry Seib about the The Hip-Hop Rebellion phenomenon

7/22/2011 9:13:24 PM

Category: Books, Music, War/Defense

9/11 Inquiry: US Covered Up Saudi Aid to Hijackers

Co-Chair of 9/11 Inquiry: American Government Covered Up State Assistance to Hijackers It’s front page news today that: Journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World paper tried to access the mobile phones of 9/11 victims, a former New York City police officer claimed on Monday. It’s also front page news today that the…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

Hat tip Flowing Data

Category: Technology, Video, War/Defense

War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs

Category: Digital Media, Technology, War/Defense, Weekend

Preface: U.S. President James Madison said:

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

Everyone knows that “truth is the first casualty of war“. And one of the most highly decorated American soldiers of all time said that “war is a racket”.

FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”. Indeed, the former Secretary of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – admits that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection.

A former National Security Adviser told the Senate that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”. In terms of a possible “why”, remember that psychologists and sociologists have demonstrated that fear of terrorism makes people stupid and easy to manipulate and control.

As I noted last year:

War is always sold to it’s people by artificially demonizing the enemy:

Countries need to lie about their enemies in order to demonize them sufficiently so that the people will support the war.

That is why intelligence “failures” – such as the following – are so common:

  • It is also now well-accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which led to the Vietnam war was a fiction (confirmed here).

Indeed, in a newly-released documentary, U.S. soldiers admit that if they accidentally kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants:

As I noted last year:

On Monday, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton told told Jon Stewart that a Clinton cabinet member proposed letting Saddam kill an American pilot as a pretext for war in Iraq:

(And see this; and this excerpt from General Shelton’s book).

This might seem, at first glance, like just an odd, one-off suggestion.

However, as reported by the New York Times and other newspapers, George W. Bush also suggested to Tony Blair that a U.S. plane be painted in United Nations colors so that – if Saddam shot it down – it would create a casus belli. As the Times wrote in 2006:

The memo [confirmed by two senior British officials as being authentic] also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire ….

Indeed, the former director of the National Security Agency said:

By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.

(audio here).

Former FBI station chief Ted Gundersen also says most terror attacks are committed by our CIA and FBI:

Specific Historical Examples

The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Weapons of War

via John Sherffius

Category: Humor, War/Defense

Hunting for Afghan Gold

Fascinating story in Fortune about a JV in Afghanistan by J.P. Morgan (JPM) and the Pentagon seeking to tap the country’s vast mineral riches: “Investing in conflict zones is often thrilling, but the great commodities rush that J.P. Morgan and the Pentagon are trying to spark in Afghanistan creates a risk/reward equation of a different…Read More

Category: Gold & Precious Metals, War/Defense

Virtually all of the top interrogation experts – both conservatives and liberals (except for those trying to escape war crimes prosecution) – say that torture doesn’t work: • Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says: “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

For those of you who want to learn a little about the US Army’s position on torture, check out items #56 and #80. Military law via Military Legal Resources Instructions Gov Armies Hat tip Invictus

Category: War/Defense, Weekend

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Yoo were all instrumental in implementing the U.S. torture program. So it is no surprise that they are now pretending that torture helped get Bin Laden. See this, this and this. They’re trying to avoid war crimes prosecution. As I noted in 2009: Cheney was the main architect of…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense