Facebook in the Middle East


To day, expecting the November 2007 Israel Palestine talks in Annapolis, puts the Facebook ‘Palestine’ debate of whether or not Palestine constitutes a country, in a bizzare anachronism, Palestine is an almost-State, if not recognize by all de jure, she  is recognize by all de facto, including Israel.

Here are experts of the debate reported by ”The Jerusalem Post’. Oct 9, 2007 21:58 | Updated Oct 10, 2007 8:45

” War in the Middle East is being waged not only on the ground, but also in cyberspace…

…Facebook has aroused international controversy over the issue of whether or not Palestine constitutes a country…

…The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has flared up on the social networking. Facebook, with over 12,000 users participating in the “Palestine” network and 65,000 users engaged in the Israel network as of Tuesday. Both networks are open to users worldwide….

…”Palestine” appeared on the original list of countries from which users could choose when registering for the site, until Facebook “mysteriously took it away” in October 2006. Members of the “Palestine” network were outraged….

…One Palestine network member wrote to Facebook, asking what network she should join now that Palestine was no longer an option, and was told to “join the West Bank and Gaza section,” according to the “Official Petition” page….

…In response to the Palestine option’s disappearance and Facebook’s alternative suggestion, an official petition was started by Ronald Habash, a University of Illinois student and member of the Palestine network, to have Palestine reinstated as a country….

….Other groups appeared, following in the footsteps of “Official Petition”: Saif Qadoumi of the United Arab Emirates started “If Palestine is removed from Facebook … I’m closing my account,” and over 16,000 users are members of “Against delisting Palestine from Facebook.”… …Facebook responded to pressure from Palestinian petitions and letters, and re-added Palestine to the list of countries in early 2007. No press release was ever issued by Facebook regarding either the elimination or the reinstatement of Palestine – an atypical decision by Zuckerberg and his team, who post roughly once a week on their blog of happenings and additions to the site, regularly update the site’s “What’s new” section and give public access to all press releases about Facebook”,….. see full article .

Facebook applied  the conventional rules for defining what is a country (state?), but in the Middle East nothing is conventional and Facebook members proved it once again. 



Is Palestine a state or not?  Both in law and in fact, Palestine is a nation, but she is not yet a state, see here .

State of Palestine, Wikipedia (updated 10 October 2007).

A comment of a Palestnian blogger in Hebron, see here

Iranian “Sport Victory” on Israel

Iran Blocks Israel’s Participation in World Armies’ Olympic Games (2007-10-07)

Here is the whole statement as issued by Farsnews:

“TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran’s efforts to establish a single stance among Islamic countries eventually succeeded in preventing the Zionist regime of Israel from joining the International Military Sports Council (CISM). Speaking to FNA here on Sunday, General Mohammad Ali Sabour, a member of the presiding board of the International Military Sports Council, said Israel strives to attend international events and bodies in a bid to buy recognition for its illegitimate entity.

“The Zionist regime, backed by certain western countries, launched extensive efforts in 2001 to take part in the world armies’ Olympic games,” he said, adding, “But Israel’s pressures were defused due to solidarity of the Islamic countries which had been created through the extensive consultations of Iran, and thus, they (Israeli regime and its western supporters) could not achieve their goal.”  The General said that following the said efforts by the Israeli regime, Iran, supported and accompanied by Islamic countries, threatened to withdraw from CISM. “And the officials of the International Military Sports Council were eventually made to oppose Israel’s membership in the council, arguing that these games are meant to provide a place for peace and tranquility while the Zionist regime’s participation would cause tension and instability of these games,” he concluded””. See here.

  But what are the goals of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) as published on their own site .

“The International Military Sports Council, known by its acronym “CISM”, is an international sports association composed of the armed forces of member nations accepted by the General Assembly. CISM is open to the armed forces of all nations.

The aims of CISM are to develop friendly relations between the Armed Forces of member nations, promote physical education and sports activities, provide mutual technical assistance, support less privileged members in the name of friendship and solidarity, contribute towards the balanced and harmonious development of military personnel, and contribute to the international effort for universal peace.This ideal is encapsulated in the CISM motto “FRIENDSHIP THROUGH SPORT”.A. CISM is an apolitical organization which fosters, through sport, friendship between military athletes to promote international harmony.
B. CISM values sport in the Armed Forces as an essential pillar of international sport and universal peace.
C. CISM adheres to the universal principles of “mens sana in corpore sano”, and “all human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights”, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the United Nations Charter.
D. CISM rejects all forms of discrimination towards a nation or a person on the basis of race, religion, political belief, and any other discriminatory practice.”…

It is interesting to pick out key phrases:
…is open to the armed forces of all nations
…to develop friendly relations
…universal peace
…apolitical organization   etc.
..to promote international harmony
..rejects all forms of discrimination…

De facto none of the above key phrases hold for Israel, CISM officials where blackmailed by the Islamic countries headed by Iran, threatening to withdraw from the games if Israel where allowed to participate

From Darpa’s insect cyborgs to Israel disrupting Syria’s radar

 Blade Runner

The future is here with insect cyborgs and the bioengineering of human cyborgs.

Darpa hatches plan for insect cyborgs to fly reconnaissance, (10/03/2007)….”Cyborg insects with embedded microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will run remotely controlled reconnaissance missions for the military, if its ‘”HI-MEMS” program succeeds. Hybrid-Insect MEMS–a program hatched earlier this year at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa)–aims to harness insects the way horses were harnessed by the cavalry”…
…”Michigan is focusing on horned beetles, while MIT and Boyce Thompson are working with large moths,” said Darpa spokesman Jan Walker. “The program’s first major milestone is scheduled for January 2008, when the contractors have to demonstrate controlled, tethered flight of the insect.”… see more

What Darpa does for insects , the same Darpa does by funding work to drive rapid improvements in the mechanical aspects of artificial limbs. That is fueling a need for better electrodes, electronics and algorithms to capture control information from the brain to drive the mechanical devices.”.. see more.

What cyborg insects did with embedded microelectromechanical systems, running remotely controlled  in reconnaissance missions for the military, Israel did in a ‘more conventional’ way  by disrupting  Syria’s radar and air defense systems and render them ineffective during the  strike on Deir ez-Zor (?).  It was reported that Israel used an electronic device, installed in a plane that circled the area, to disrupt Syria’s defenses. see more

So it is not a so hypothetical idea to see the convergence of insect cyborgs with human cyborgs for near future warfare, somethings like a to day “Blade Runner” vision, where the Israeli electronic device will becomes obsolete.


Don’t shaving your stomach in Bahrein



The following story is perhaps a curious one and could serve as a comic scene in a Hollywood movie.  

Hernia man cleared of suicide bid. 
 A man, who was reported as an attempted suicide case, was actually shaving his stomach and accidentally cut open stitches from a hernia operation.The Indian was reported to the Salmaniya Medical Complex by his roommate after he was seen bleeding excessively at their apartment after coming out of the bathroom, sources told the GDN. “He had a hernia operation a few days ago and when he tried to shave off the hair around his operation he cut open his stitches,” they said.   He was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment, where doctors thought that he tried committing suicide.  The case was reported to police and when the man and his roommate were questioned it was confirmed that it was an accident.”, see here .

  If we leave the Hollywood analogy and remember that the “hernia men” was suspected of committing suicide – a sin against Islam faith, and if so, reported for a police intervention, then the following ’Questions and Answers’ interview trow more details on the story. 

Q. It is said that suicide is forbidden in Islam and that the person who commits suicide is destined to go to hell. Suppose a person is suffering from a severe case of depression, or some other mental disease. Should such a person commit suicide, will he also go to hell?

A. It is true that suicide is strictly forbidden, because it is an affront to God. It is like a person saying to God: “You have given me life and I am taking it away.” This is what is meant by the sacred Hadith in which God is quoted as saying of the one who commits suicide: “My servant has precipitated My will with regard to himself! Therefore, I am forbidding him entry into heaven.” But this Hadith applies to a person in full control of his faculties, suffering no overpowering adversity and having a reasonable life. If such a person commits suicide, then may be God will not allow him in heaven. (see here)

  From here on, the way is open to ask, what are the Islamic suicide bombers, blowing up people in Baghdad, Beirut, London, Manhattan, Jerusalem? Are they in full control of their faculties?  Or are they suffering from some mental disease like brainwashing?

What has the  Islam to say to day about their premeditated suicides?

By Patty Chang,"Chez les Grecs".
By Patty Chang,"Chez les Grecs".

 Source artist Patty Chang see here , Guggenheim 2008 Hugo Boss nominee see here



 Dogs Stories in Tehran.

Do storie

It is tempting to rebut every move done by the Iranian regime. The dog prison story in Theran, viewed trough my western eyes as dog friends,  is a lunatic move. But for the Islamic state owning dogs is a highly controversial topic throughout Islam. Many people state that dog ownership is dirty and demeaning to the values of the Islamic religion. In fact many clerics have gone so far as to say that dog ownership is “morally depraved”. So the headline “Iran mullahs to arrest dogs (Oct 2, 2007) is from their point of view, a  legitimate way to get rid of what they see as our (Western) nefaste influence on their Islamic beliefs. Perhaps I need advice from  Anthropologist in War Zones to get a more balanced view of the daily perilous life under the Ayatollah regime.

Social networks for primary school kids

 For alarmed parents!

…”Welcome to Club Penguin, the My Space of the primary school set, where kids control their penguin avatars, throw snowballs, hang out in their igloos and make friends in an online world built just for them.”…

…”What we really want this to be is an online playground or an online sandbox.” Unless you have a small child — or are one — you may may be surprised or even alarmed to learn that thousands of children barely old enough to read are already online. But in the last few months, virtual networking environments aimed at kids as young as six have swelled into serious businesses, earning millions for their grown-up creators.”…

 ….”Parents can choose to restrict their child”s penguin chat to pre-selected phrases picked out of a menu, or let them type in their own phrases which are filtered by software and human monitors to keep out personal information or naughty talk.”…  

….”  Kid-oriented sites offer parents a safer way to introduce children to the Internet, said Detective Inspector Brian Ward, of the Child Abuse Investigation Command at Britain’s Metropolitan Police High-Tech Crime Unit. “It is the first time we’ve come across a sort of chat experience that is aimed right at the beginning, of a first-use club for a child using the Internet,” Ward said. “I’d far rather this than to go straight onto a social networking site where there would be far less protection.”…  see the full article .  

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After all Ahmadinejad did his job

After all Ahmadinejad did his job 

Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York reminds me the movie “The escape From New York“, Ahmadinejad escaped from the bad gays and returned to Iran as a crucified hero injecting new strength in his flock.   

Now what was the epicenter of his visit?
1-The show, staged in the Columbia university.

2-The intense media focus on his visit.

3- The perverse inoculation  as to the legitimacy of the holocaust.

4- Israel as a by product of global capitalist manipulation which can be reverse engineered until her elimination.

5-The Palestinian tragedy paying the price of western hegemony.

6- The ‘Iranian nuclear research’ as a natural prerogative.

 The radical audiences, especially in Arab countries and Europe, starring at the US-Columbia show, the bastion of democracy, where despite his sweat wipping,  no question really disturbed him, his answers adressed, beyond the heads of his detractors, to his real  audience the Islamic moderate and radical states and the opposers of globalisation distributed all over the world.

So, after a second though, I have the feeling, that after all he did his job very well.
The following sources are ‘footnotes’ to this feeling .

Published:  10.01.07, 13:54 / Israel Opinion.By Sever Plocker. (Ynet)
Ahmadinejad’s American friends.
..”For 95 percent of Americans, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the US was unnecessary, ridiculous and humiliating”…”But there is reason for concern. Ahmadinejad concocted his messages slyly, weaving a web of lies, half truths and truths that part of the American elite and Bush’s opponents can identify with”……”Just a few days after the Iranian president’s visit to the US, his sermons are beginning to seep into the minds of the progressive American intelligentsia. They are the five percent who made an effort to listen to him, and whose influence is extensive.” see more.

Similarities Between Bush and Ahmadinejad
Jamil Theyabi     Al-Hayat     – 02/10/07// (Lebanon}
….”There is a public US-Iranian fight in the Middle East ring. A clear difference in political temperament between Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad. However, they share similarities. Both of them were elected for similar motives”….”In terms of political categories, Ahmadinejad and Bush both belong to the far right and are confident in the ability of spiritual men to make decisions in some political matters”….Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad are speaking on the basis of positions and views that are based on religion and doctrine. The first thinks Israel’s protection is a matter of doctrine and probably believes in the theory that the army coming to destroy Israel will go through Iraq- so he beefed up the fleets and military bases in the region in order to protect and support Israel. For his part, Ahmadinejad believes Israel’s annihilation will come at the hands of the “Army for the Liberation of Jerusalem”, to quote Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, who declared, “The road to Jerusalem passes through Karbala.”…
see more.

Associated Press Published:  09.28.07, 17:21 / Israel News (Ynet)
Ahmadinejad invites Bush to speak in Tehran.
“After being welcomed in New York with protests and a scolding from the president of Columbia University, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday extended an invitation to US President George W. Bush.” see here.

Associated Press Published:  09.27.07, 11:00 / Israel News (Ynet)
Iran reformist warns democracy at stake.
Top reformist Mohsen Mirdamadi says demonizing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his visit to Columbia University only strengthens his political agenda.
see here.

By Associated Press
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
   TEHRAN, Iran – One of Iran’s top reform politicians said Wednesday that demonizing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — such as in this week’s Columbia University forum — only strengthens hard-liners’ hand as Iranians rally around their otherwise unpopular leader.
   He told The Associated Press that Ahmadinejad should have little chance of re-election in two years because of increasing criticism that he has failed to fix the economy and has hurt Iran on the world stage.
   But sharp criticism of the hard-line leader this week in New York — including during his appearance at Columbia — boosts his popularity, Mirdamadi said in an exclusive interview, see here.

Torrent Tracker Demonoid.com Taken Offline, UPDATE

UPDATE ,September 30, 2007

    Demonoid Returns, Forced to Block Canadian Traffic By the CRIA
The popular BitTorrent tracker Demonoid is back online after nearly a week of downtime. The website and the tracker are hosted on the same ISP, but Canadian traffic is blocked thanks to pressure from the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) , see here.

GMail Flaw Lets Anyone Read Your E-Mail,(and patch update)

 big brother

September 26, 2007 | 8:06:07 AM

Hackers have revealed that your GMail account is vulnerable to an attack that allows malicious folks to keep tabs on your e-mail traffic. The attack uses a clever (and particularly nasty) cross-site request forgery (CSRF) to create a persistent backdoor that can be used to read your e-mail. The exploit works by creating a new filter in your GMail account, which means it can do pretty much anything GMail filters are capable of — including forward your e-mail to another account. [Update: Google has reportedly fixed the issue. See this post for more details.]

GNUCitizen hacker Petko Petkov is a busy man, we told you about his PDF exploit last week and before that there was the Quicktime exploit. Petkov is also responsible for today’s GMail disclosure and while he hasn’t released many details on the hack, he did demonstrate it for ZDNet, who confirmed that it works.

Google says it is looking into the exploit, but even if it’s patched, anyone affected before the patch will continue to be exploited since the filter must be removed by hand.

So far there don’t seem to be any examples of this exploit in the wild and Petkov is withholding details to give Google time to patch it, but it’s worth giving your filter list a quick glance to make sure they are all in fact your filters.

Here’s what Petkov has to say about the exploit:

The victim visits a page while being logged into GMail. Upon execution, the page performs a multipart/form-data POST to one of the GMail interfaces and injects a filter into the victim’s filter list. In the example above, the attacker writes a filter, which simply looks for emails with attachments and forward them to an email of their choice. This filter will automatically transfer all emails matching the rule. Keep in mind that future emails will be forwarded as well. The attack will remain present for as long as the victim has the filter within their filter list, even if the initial vulnerability, which was the cause of the injection, is fixed by Google.

The comments on the GNUCitizen post suggest that the Firefox extension NoScript probably prevents this sort of attack, but you’ll need to keep NoScript on its most stringent settings.


UPDATE: Google Patches Serious GMail Vulnerability

September 28, 2007 | 1:45:30 PMEarly this week we told you about a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw in GMail that would allow attackers to create a filter in your account — possibly forwarding copies of your mail to themselves.

This morning I received an e-mail from a spokesperson at Google who said that the GMail team rolled out a patch last night which fixes the problem.

“Google takes the security of our users’ information very seriously,” the e-mail says, “We worked quickly to address the recently reported vulnerability, and we rolled out a fix. We have not received any reports of this vulnerability being exploited.”

Google says they haven’t heard of anyone being victimized, but it wouldn’t hurt to login and take a quick look at your filter just to be on the safe side.

Source: Wired-Compiler.


The Burmese junta tries to shut down internet and phone links

 Burma Protest

The Burmese junta was last night desperately trying to shut down internet and telephone links to the outside world after a stream of blogs and mobile phone videos began capturing the dramatic events on the streets.

In the past 24 hours observers monitoring the flow of information have noticed a marked downturn, with the reported closure of cybercafes and the disconnection of mobile telephones.

Skilled bloggers evaded the official firewalls and, according to knowledgable sources, people with videos sought access to embassies, foreign businesses or non-governmental organisations whose internet access is not so strictly controlled.

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Torrent Tracker Demonoid.com Taken Offline


For the benefit of all the Torrents downloaders

The popular Demonoid.com, a semi-private BitTorrent tracker, has been taken offline. Both the torrent tracker and the site have been unresponsive for over twenty-four hours. Although there has been no official word, or statement from the Demonoid administrators, TorrentFreak claims that the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is responsible for the downtime, but the CRIA has refused to comment (see update below).

TorrentFreak reports that it contacted some of the Demonoid administrators, but even they are not yet sure what happened to the site.

If it does turn out to be the CRIA, this won’t be the first time Demonoid has suffered major downtime due to pressure from the recording industry. Earlier this year Demonoid moved its servers from The Netherlands to Canada after a Dutch anti-piracy group filed a subpoena demanding the site’s ISP remove Demonoid and cough up the administrator’s identities.

It would seem that Canada is not the safe harbor Demonoid was seeking and we suspect that the site will likely move its servers again.

While The Pirate Bay is still the most popular torrent tracker online, Demonoid is a close second. Much of the site’s popularity stems from the fact that membership is limited and strict ratio tracking means Demonoid is faster than most trackers. Demonoid is also remarkably free of the spam and fake torrents released by groups like the recently exposed MediaDefender.

Although the site requires registration for older torrents, Demonoid recently began offering the newer torrents (within the last two weeks) to the general public.

So far there’s no word on when Demonoid may come back online, but as with the resurrected Suprnova.org, it would seem that you just can’t keep a popular torrent site down for long.

[Update: I contacted a CRIA representative and asked about Demonoid, but he told me that “CRIA is not commenting on that situation right now.” However, I was able to dig up this transcript on CircuitBox, (via the Demonoid Wikipedia page) which purports to be a transcript of a conversation between TorrentFreak and a member of Demonoid’s staff, who pretty adamantly denies that CRIA is involved:

the point i’m trying to make is that Demonoid can’t confirm this info… and that article has 1150+ diggs iirc and it’s abesolutely overwhelming the staff with floods of people thinking the site was taken down, when we’re not sure if it is.. and it puts us as staff in a bad place … and for the record, there is only ONE admin on Demonoid, and that’s Deimos, so until we hear from him, we cannot confirm anything.

So far there has been no word from Deimos, the founder and the head admin of the site. It would seem, at the moment, that no one, including the Demonoid staff, really knows what happened. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more.]

UPDATE,    Demonoid Trackers Back Online, Site Still Down…”Demonoid.com mysteriously disappeared earlier this week, but there is hope. The website is still down but the trackers are now fully operational again, perhaps a sign that Demonoid is crawling back up?” see here

UPDATE ,September 30, 2007      Demonoid Returns, Forced to Block Canadian Traffic By the CRIA
The popular BitTorrent tracker Demonoid is back online after nearly a week of downtime. The website and the tracker are hosted on the same ISP, but Canadian traffic is blocked thanks to pressure from the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) , see here.