China boycotts diseased Saudi shrimp

❝ China has formally banned shrimp imports from Saudi Arabia after a batch was found with white spot syndrome virus. China quickly moved to stop the virus spreading into their country.

Shortly after the ban, China confirmed that they had granted market access to 40 Iranian companies to begin exporting shrimp…

❝ Iran is hoping that seafood exports can be a growth industry, and help the country overcome U.S. economic attacks. The country already exports 22,000 tonnes of shrimp worth around $150 million. They are planning to boost that to 60,000 tonnes.

The Saudis can just ship the diseased shrimp to the United States. Our Fake President will eat it and love it.

The same way Trump eats hot dogs, pasta, steak & shrimp = overcooked + catsup added

Jamal Khashoggi’s Apple Watch recorded his torture and murder

Jamal Khashoggi and fiancee Hatice Cengiz

According to a Sabah Gazetesi report, Khashoggi recorded what is believed to be audio evidence of his death inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey more than a week ago. Sabah Washington correspondent Ragip Soylu posted a screenshot of the story to Twitter on Friday.

In its report, Sarah claims Khashoggi recorded questioning by a “hit squad.” A copy of the audio file was synced with Khashoggi’s iPhone, which was in the possession of fiancee Hatice Cengiz. Cengiz was waiting outside the consulate during the alleged exchange, assumedly within Bluetooth range of the Apple Watch in question…

While Saudis were able to wipe certain files from Khashoggi’s device or devices, they were less successful in deleting data from iCloud, the report says.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the truth to come out voluntarily from the criminal Saudi royals…or their pimp in the White House.

CIA does usual quality job of oversight — weapons for Syrian rebels end up on black market

Weapons shipped into Jordan for Syrian rebels by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia were stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, the New York Times reported…

Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, according to a joint investigation by the New York Times and Al Jazeera.

A Jordanian officer shot dead two U.S. government security contractors, a South African trainer and two Jordanians at a U.S.-funded police training facility near Amman before being killed in a shootout…

The training facility was set up on the outskirts of the capital, Amman, after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq to help rebuild the shattered country’s postwar security forces and to train Palestinian Authority police officers.

The weapons used in the shooting had originally arrived in Jordan for the Syrian rebel training program…

Theft of the weapons…has led to a flood of new weapons available on the arms black market…

Jordanian officers who were part of the plan “reaped a windfall” from sale of weapons, using the money to buy iPhones, SUVs and other luxury items, according to the NYT…

The CIA could not be immediately reached for comment.

Maybe the Republican Permanent Committee on Benghazi, Benghazi could investigate. Our Confederate Congress-critters could be counted on to spend several million dollar$ if there’s any chance at all of putting the blame on Democrats instead of the scumbag torture-fans infesting our intelligence services.

Saudi Islamic scholar issues fatwa – banning snowmen

Harbin snow festival
Click to enlargeBetter stay away from Harbin in the winter

A fatwa issued by Saudi religious scholar Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed bans the creation of snowmen, saying it is too western of a practice.

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” said the fatwa.

After a snow storm on the Arabian Peninsula, children started building snow-camels — a rare incident that inspired the fatwa.

Supporters of the fatwa say the creation of snowmen or snow camels, rather, is a crude imitation of the West…

The camels, built in the northern part of the country, were a nod to the local culture.

“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,” said opposing blogger Mishaal.

It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”

Be satisfied you can do that, Mishaal. We have fundamentalist religions in the US that won’t let you drink coffee.

UN helps eloped Saudi woman fight for asylum – and love

UNHCR officials in Yemen told the BBC Huda’s application was likely to be approved on the grounds that she could face mistreatment, even death, at the hands of her family if returned home.

In Yemen, it is being celebrated as a modern day Romeo and Juliet story.

Huda crossed the border several weeks ago, followed by her boyfriend, Arafat, who was working in Saudi Arabia.

Huda – who is in her early 20s – says she decided they had to elope after Arafat’s marriage proposal was rejected by her family.

The two have been held in an immigration detention centre in Yemen since their arrival.

Huda is charged with illegally crossing the border.

The same charge against Arafat was dropped, but he refused to be freed, wanting to remain with her in prison.

The two get to meet once a week when Huda’s asylum case is heard in court.

At first, her application to do this through the UNHCR was rejected by the ministry of the interior…But UNHCR officials in Yemen say the judge allowed her request last week…

She then filled out a form known as the Refugee Status Determination. While this is being studied, she is under UN protection and cannot be deported.

The UNHCR officials have told the BBC that it is very likely that she will be granted full refugee status in the next few days, which would mean that Huda and Arafat would be freed and able to marry

For its part, the UNHCR says that if Yemen does for whatever reason bow to Saudi pressure over the case and try to have Huda deported, it has an alternative plan which could see the two lovers united in another country.

Fundamentalist religions of just about any sort drive me up a tree. They seem to exist only to oppress women, stifle love, prevent kindness between human beings and in general make this short life we have as miserable as possible.

My best wishes to the young couple. I hope they manage to find somewhere to marry and continue their love without the interference of state religion.

US/Britain aided Middle East instability by backing autocrats

Britain and the US have contributed to instability in the Middle East by supporting autocratic regimes that suppress human rights, David Cameron has said. The Prime Minister said that popular uprisings now flaring across the Middle East showed the West had been wrong to support dictators and oppressive regimes.

Speaking to the Kuwaiti Parliament, Mr Cameron said Britain would back democracy campaigners seeking greater rights across the Middle East. “History is sweeping through your neighbourhood,” he said. “Not as a result of force and violence, but by people seeking their rights, and in the vast majority of cases doing so peacefully and bravely.”

Britain and other Western countries supported Hosni Mubarak, ousted by protests in Egypt. They have also backed authoritarian regimes in the Gulf region, making few efforts to push allies towards democratic reform.

That approach was wrong and counter-productive, Mr Cameron said…

He said that Britain’s economic and security interests would ultimately be advanced by a more democratic Middle East. “Our interests lie in upholding our values – in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law.”

Mr Cameron’s call for reform could be seen as heralding a new approach to countries like Saudi Arabia, where the Western-backed royal family firmly opposes democratic reform…

Anyone expect a new approach to the Saudi royal family from Congress or the White House?

“There is no single formula for success, and there are many ways to ensure greater, popular participation in Government,” he said. “We respect your right to take your own decisions, while offering our goodwill and support.”

“But we cannot remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success, and that each country should find its own path to achieving peaceful change.”

This is the voice of an English conservative. Can you imagine, say, a Republican candidate for president saying this? How about Barack Obama? Sarah Whatshername?

It’s been about a century since American conservatives spoke out against imperialism. Western complicity in profit-taking has always overruled the essential benefits of commerce and communications.

Who’s bankrolling Pakistan insurgents? It ain’t the Afghan drug trade.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Richard Holbrooke, Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

ISLAMABAD: The United States has said that Afghan drug trade was not a major source of funding for militancy and extremism in Pakistan. The financing came from extremists’ patrons in Gulf countries — an aspect now being scrutinised, the statement added.

‘Private individuals who support extremists bring money in through illegal means … hawala system and the area focussed is the Gulf Cooperation Council countries,’ US Special Envoy…Richard Holbrooke told a media briefing at the American Embassy.

Mr Holbrooke…said it was ‘a very big issue’ and ‘the most troubling aspect of the entire situation.’

The US, he said, had started looking into the source of financing for the extremists and would be devoting more time to investigate it. He admitted that not much work was done in the past to explore this aspect.

However, he said the much-touted drug trade was not the main financing source for extremism. ‘Even if the drug trade stops it won’t have any significant impact.’

A significant difference in public analysis by the U.S. government. No doubt the Bush administration did little to analyze funding for the Taliban in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Especially if there was any hint that his buddies in the Persian Gulf were involved.

Holbrooke is being careful, precise enough in his choice of words to confine his statement to “private individuals” being responsible for the flow of gold to the insurgency. Though, I doubt that any significant traffic through the wahala banking system goes unscrutinized by Saudi royals or UAE sheikhs.

Regardless – this extends the range of potentially “official” enemies to reactionary thugs in Gulf oil country.

Saudi women face fitness clubs ban

Saudi women could see their private sports clubs and gyms closed down because the government seems likely to agree licensing of the clubs for men only…

The problem that has emerged in recent months is that women’s gyms are unlicensed and so illegal. Female fitness fans complain of a lack of places to exercise outside the home since they cannot use men’s clubs…

This month a group of Saudi women launched a campaign entitled Let Her Get Fat, in opposition to a decision to close down all-female wellness centres that are not under the supervision of a government hospital or clinic.

Leading Saudi clerics have condemned the gyms and clubs as “shamelessness” and warned that women would be tempted to leave their homes and neglect their husbands and children…

Last month Prince Nayef, the powerful interior minister and half-brother of King Abdullah, said the kingdom had no need of either women MPs or elections. Shortly afterward he was named second deputy prime minister, boosting his chances for the succession.

Another wonderful fracking ally. I can’t think of anything “accepting” to say about theocratic royalty this backwards.

Any essential description of liberty has to include choice. So, may a nation have an official religion? Of course. And if there hasn’t been a recent rebellion, there may even be a ruling monarchy in place. But, people should have the right to participate in “official” mores – or not. At least that much.

The royal bureaucrats at the top of the heap in Saudi Arabia are only ensuring that their eventual downfall will not be tidy, shall we say.

Top Saudi cleric says child brides are cool!

Prince Faisal gets a hug from Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The debate over the practice of men marrying children in Saudi Arabia was back in the spotlight this week, with the kingdom’s top cleric refusing to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.

“It is incorrect to say that it’s not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger,” Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s grand mufti, said in remarks quoted Wednesday in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. “A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she’s too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her…”

“We hear a lot in the media about the marriage of underage girls,” he said, according to the newspaper. “We should know that Shariah law has not brought injustice to women…”

The Saudi Ministry of Justice has not made any public comment on the issue.

The concept of Age of Consent doesn’t mean a hell of a lot – when there is no opportunity for consent. Or refusal.