Saturday, March 26, 2016

Press TV — Saudi Arabia doesn’t need elections, Syria does, Riyadh envoy to UN says

Why is Saudi Arabia calling for elections in Syria when it only permits limited municipal elections in its own country? Riyadh’s UN ambassador says it’s because the kingdom doesn’t need elections as its people are among the happiest with their government in the world, a point which has nothing to do with Riyadh banning calls for change of government or even criticizing the state.
“Elections are not the panacea for everything. Just because there are elections in Syria doesn’t mean there have to be elections in Saudi,” said Abdallah al-Mouallimi during an interview published on the Al Jazeera television news network’s website on Saturday. 
He added that if a survey was conducted in the kingdom “you will find a high degree of support for the system” which has nothing to do with people being jailed for opposing the system.
In December, the kingdom for the first time allowed women to take part in the country’s municipal elections in which representatives were picked for the “consultative assembly” which can only propose laws and not enact them. Political parties are also prohibited in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Earlier in the month, Amnesty International called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its abuse of laws to stifle dissent.
The Arab kingdom has enforced an “abusive” anti-terror law, which equates peaceful protests with terrorism, and allows it to hand down lengthy jail terms to peaceful critics and human rights activists after holding “deeply unfair” trials for them, the rights group said in a statement.
Press TV
Saudi Arabia doesn’t need elections, Syria does, Riyadh envoy to UN says


Matt Franko said...

Tom this PressTV thing is an Iranian propaganda mill.... Caveat emptor....

Bob said...

Elections in Saudi Arabia?? Have you lost your head - ahem - your mind?

Tom Hickey said...

PressTV thing is an Iranian propaganda mill.

So are Sputnik and RT Russian propaganda machines. So are Xinhua and People's Daily Chinese propaganda machines. So is Globo a Brazilian propaganda machine. So is teleSur a Latin American propaganda machine. So is Le Monde a French propaganda machine. So are the BBC, Telegraph (Torygraph) and Guardian British propaganda machines. So are the NYT and Washington Post American propaganda machines.

It's all propaganda. Intelligence involves sorting it out, distinguishing the news (signal) from the disinformation and spin (noise).

There are no pure signals out there.

John said...

Tom: "It's all propaganda. Intelligence involves sorting it out, distinguishing the news (signal) from the disinformation and spin (noise)."

Absolutely. Propaganda doesn't mean it isn't true! It may be biased but it is not instantly disqualified as mendacious. The CIA's media lackeys would spew out tremendous propaganda about Mao and Stalin. It didn't mean it wasn't true. It was true! RT spews out an endless stream of anti-Washington propaganda, but it's nearly all true. Similarly PressTV.

You may not know it, Tom, but that is close to Claud Cockburn's line about journalism. It's also close to Bertrand Russell's view on how to sceptically read a newspaper. Intelligence is distinguishing the truth from the lies. After all, that is what intelligence analysts do at all the agencies: they read newspapers, journals, listen to reports, etc. From all this they construct a view of the world. You have to learn how to interpret and illuminate what you are faced with, not just trash it because you don't like the source. Most mainstream news sources are useful. Most columnists are rotting, diseased pieces of meat. The reporting on the ground fairs from alright to excellent. Actually, it's interesting to read, say, the war reporters on the ground, and then turn to the rotting, diseased pieces of meat on the column pages: it is sometimes farcical how diametrically in opposition they usually are.

Tom Hickey said...

Right, John. I had a friend (retired US Army) that was trained in intelligence and later went into the business commercially. I learned about intelligence from him while I was a grad student. It was a good complement to academic research. I was working in philosophy but from a historical perspective and studying history is a lot like intelligence work. There are a lot of angles of vision on events and different interpretations of documents.

It's almost always impossible to establish truth definitively about anything other than the most trivial.

John said...

Tom: "It was a good complement to academic research."

I've always wondered how the analysts sort all the disparate information they're faced with. It's an incredibly useful tool. Perhaps the only tools you need are a genuine interest in your specific intelligence area and, most important, intellectual honesty.

When you look back at, say, the invasion of Iraq, the intelligence analysts come out very well. Here in the UK, it was found that there was a propaganda unit set up to essentially make the intelligence say what the politicians wanted it to say. The US had the same problem. But, on the whole, the intelligence was really very good. They know their stuff. It's the inevitable politicisation that is the terrible problem.

Tom Hickey said...

What actually happened in the US is that initially the report was an honest appraisal. Dick Cheney sent it back with "instructions" for a revised report.

John said...

Cheney sent it to Wolfowitz's Office of Special Plans. They did a real number on the intelligence. The neocons have destroyed whole countries and societies, killed heaven knows how many people, let parts of them get taken over by jihadis, and have been carefree as thousands of their own men come back in body bags - and all based on one of the biggest lies the world has ever seen. Nothing is worse than that.

But there is one other aspect that has been forgotten. The intelligence agencies are obviously fuming. First of all, they look ridiculous. Second and more important, and who's ever going to trust them? They deal with agents and foreign governments every day. Why would they ever trust US intelligence not to do an Iraq or a Syria or a Libya on them. The damage done by the neocons can't be undone. One of the reasons the NSA needs to spy on everybody is because nobody wants to give the US intelligence agencies any information! National security has been so undermined by the neocons that national security means having to spy on everyone.