Al Jazeera’s Big Forum on the Temperature in the Middle East


Steve Clemons & Wadah Khanfar TED 2011.jpg
(Steve Clemons & Wadah Khanfar speak at TED 2011 Long Beach; photo credit: Mohamed Nanabhay)
The quality of comments have improved dramatically during the period I and my team have been serving as moderators. I am going to test out releasing the reins again and see how this goes.
Those that violate any of the rules I have previously specified or who even get close to them will see their comments immediately removed and their privilege of participating in the conversation here suspended or permanently banned.
My thanks and appreciation to those who are commenting constructively and debating issues in a civil and respectful manner.
I am flying off tonight to Doha, Qatar to participate as a speaker in the 6th Al Jazeera Forum.
Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar writes of this upcoming forum on Twitter:

The 6th Aljazeera Forum next week will host youth from the revolutions to discuss the future of the region.

Kewl. More after I get there.
— Steve Clemons


23 comments on “Al Jazeera’s Big Forum on the Temperature in the Middle East

  1. Kathleen says:

    “Posted by puzzled, Mar 11 2011, 6:55PM – Link
    Kathleen, Ratigan did mention FDL and Greenwald as exceptions to lack of criticism from the left. Not extensively, but he said that much.”
    When was this? Sure did not hear him say that the two times that he said the “left has been silent” Where has he been? And why has he made no effort to have Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler, Dan Ellsberg on his program? He is the one missing in action. He has a powerful spot..turn that camera on those who have been protesting Manning’s treatment.
    Ratigan full of it on this one


  2. rc says:

    So I guess the implication is that Bradley Manning is also a UK citizen by virtue of his mother’s nationality?


  3. rc says:

    Mr. Brian Manning, father of accused [but not convicted] Wikileaker interviewed.
    It seems young Bradley has a few things in common with Obama by way of family history.
    “We filmed for another two hours. Excerpts from that interview are posted below. Brian also drove us around the town of Crescent, where Bradley grew up, about an hour north of Oklahoma City. After his parents’ divorce, Bradley, then 12, moved back to his mother’s native home in Wales in the U.K. He returned to Oklahoma to live for a short time with Brian and his second wife before joining the Army.”


  4. Cee says:

    Puzzled is correct. I also sent him something about Code Pink to counter that Black GOP guest.
    I will agree with you that Dylan needs to invite them on the show.


  5. rc says:

    Noam Chomsky and Jeremy Paxman’s interview in on Tuesday 8 March 2011.
    In spite of the interviewer’s obnoxious style, Chomsky continues to maintain focus and delivers a number of key points:
    1. The West (US & Europe I assume) is not required to act in the case of Libya’s civil war — with Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey being far more acceptable.
    2. Pakistan is a fast failing state with nuclear capacities. A real hot potato imo.
    3. Obama’s dismal record — including the lonely UN veto on Israel settlements in Palestine.
    4. Clear comments (in spite of interviewer provocations, which began to visibly irritate Chomsky at one point) about the neutrality of Internet technologies as enabling factors.
    5. The links between the working people from Egypt to Wisconsin.
    6. The exception of Libya which is more a civil war.
    7. Defending Al Jazeera’s credibility as a news source.
    8. The West is asked to stay away — in spite of London’s zeal to get involved (for oil no doubt).
    9. Internet commercialization trends etc.
    10. Hints at economic mysticism — the efficient market hypothesis fanaticism.
    11. And he’s 82 and still fighting for sane behavior — especially against stupid people with power.


  6. puzzled says:

    Kathleen, Ratigan did mention FDL and Greenwald as exceptions to lack of criticism from the left. Not extensively, but he said that much.


  7. Kathleen says:

    I like Dylan Ratigan but he clearly has his head and ears up where the sun does not shine on this claim. The “left has been silent” on the Bradley Manning treatment. Go check out Glenn Greenwalds coverage of this critical issue for months soon after his imprisonment and many other progressives have been hammering on this. Where has Dylan been?
    clearly ignoring these progressives who have been calling out for justice on this issue. Dylan needs to have them on his program…he has been deaf


  8. kathleen says:

    Just saw that program. Dylan is way wrong on this one
    Cee you and Dylan must be out of the loop. Greenwald and many others have been hammering on this issue ever since Manning was put in prison. Go on over to Salon and read Greenwalds run down for months on this. Also Jane Hamsher over at Firedoglake put up an amazing timeline on this issue months ago
    Just sent this to Dylans, posted this at Glenn Greenwalds, sent to Medea Benjaman and others.

    Please contact the Dylan Ratigan show and call him out on his bull@!$%# statment
    Look I like Dylan Ratigan. But twice in the last week I have heard him say that the left has been “silent” on the Bradley Manning treatment. We all know this is bull@!$%#.
    Hope you contact the show and challenge this bull.
    Jesus Mary and Joseph Ratigan. Just heard you say for the second time on your program that the left has been silent on Bradley Manning’s treatment. You are deaf dude. Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler (Emptywheel at Firedoglake, Ray McGovern and many others have been howling about his treatment. One of your guest just sarcastically asked where Code Pink has been on this critical issue. If only you folks would pay attention, clean out your MSM ear —-ing wax you would hear the left as well as Code Pink howling about this issue.
    Dylan Ratigan must have his head and ears up where the sun does not shine on this one
    there is a contact form at the Dylan Ratigan show website or you can tweet him
    Tweet @DylanRatigan
    call him out on his bullshit statement that the “left has been silent” about Bradley Mannings treatment. Ask him to have Glenn who has basically led this effort on his program again. Although I would put money on after Glenn was on last time and he and Dylan wiped up Cliff Mays lies faster than he could spit them out of this mouth and Glenn brought up the I/P issue in an honest way bet the Dylan Ratigan show took a hit and Dylan was more than likely reprimanded.
    Anyway please contact Dylan and let him know the left has not been “silent” on the Bradley Manning treatment


  9. Cee says:

    Catch Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC on the Manning case. He’s so right about the most of the left refusing to speak up when Obama does something wrong.


  10. Cee says:

    I didn’t know this about Manning. This treatment is pure evil.
    First, forcing a prisoner to remain naked for extended periods of time is not only a barbaric means of humiliating and degrading him: it necessarily includes a very significant element of specifically sexual humiliation and degradation. Add to this unforgivable atrocity the well-known fact that Manning is gay. Especially in the hypermasculinized world of the military, such sexual humiliation and degradation represents an intentional, additional cruelty. I can only say that the U.S. government and the military of which it is so proud put Torquemada to shame.


  11. Cee says:

    I’m with Chris Floyd and Arthur Sibler on this one.
    A Nation Stripped Bare: Fascism Has Come to America
    Written by Chris Floyd
    Saturday, 05 March 2011 01:58
    It is a question that has sparked much debate, at least in certain rare quadrants where the unvarnished reality of the American imperium is recognized. But surely now the debate is over. Question it no more; the supposition, the fear, the heartbreaking intimation is a fact. It is real. It is here.
    Fascism has come to America.
    And no, it didn’t come in jackboots. It didn’t come in massed, marching ranks. It didn’t come in greasy-haired frothers ranting on a stage.
    It came with cool. It came with savvy. It came wearing the mask of past evils redeemed by the image of a persecuted minority elevated to power. It came spouting scripture, hugging bright children, quoting pop music, sporting pricey leisure threads.


  12. DonS says:

    Obama addresses, endorses treatment of Bradley Manning in a few short sentences. Glibly asserts Manning’s condition “meeting our basic standards”. Same dehumanizing standards approved for Gitmo; your basic standards for torture.
    Obama has thrown in his lot completely with the Bush/Cheney approach again; the circle is complete. The conditions of confinement have been raised in the MSM and offered a chance for Obama to find a way to make a strong statement about decency and respecting human rights. Instead, he dismisses the matter, says the DoD says it’s A-ok.
    If he was so inclined, he could have found an honorable way to stand up for decency. Either he couldn’t take the trouble, or was not so inclined. Leave it at the DoD doorstep.
    Draw your own conclusions.


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama finds himself in the ultimate hell of his imagination. Being a political coward of epic proportion, he is drowning in a sea of events, both domestic and foreign, that require immediate decisions and action.
    Magnifying his dillemma, he is faced with a Republican party whose sole goal is to disgrace, discredit, and humiliate this President, NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES.
    What else should we expect? As I repeatedly pointed out as he was being marketed, he is little more than a construct of the media, having NOTHING in his past that would, or should, have qualified him for such a position.
    What policies, instituted by the Bush Administration, have been curtailed, alleviated, or reversed? Renditions, torture, indefinite detentions, signing statements, a complete and utter disregard for the rule of law, both domestic and international, an AG that is little more than a Presidential factotum, the Patriot Act, spying on peace and anti-war groups and organizations, the insidious insertion of corporate manipulation of our electoral process……
    The list goes on and on. We DO NOT have a leader in the White House. We have a marrionette, poorly crafted, whose painted features are fading far faster than his puppeteers intended. And they’ve lost the script to this puppet show, as the set has evolved into an unexpected and dangerous environment.
    Look at Japan. Now, imagine this occurring in Southern California, AS IT WILL SOMEDAY. Can our economy survive the hit? Do you consider ANY of the pompous preening pieces of shit in Washington DC capable of exhibiting the leadership skills such a national emergency will require?
    Heres an eye opener for ya. Check out the last week’s seismic activity, not only on the Ring of Fire, but globally. I monitor this site daily, and I can tell you the global seismic activity is alarming, showing activity in areas that rarely exhibit such movement.
    Something is afoot. Yet how do we prepare??? By waging war on Muslims, Planned Parenthood, the environment, the unions, and the American Middle Class.
    Hows the infrastructure in YOUR city? Could it use some of the exploding money we are dropping on the heads of Afghanis, Iraqis, and Palestinians? If WE experience an event such as Japan is experiencing, can we pay for a response and recovery?
    How? By printing more money?
    Screw these scumbags in DC. Do they represent YOU?


  14. DonS says:

    Amnesty International asks for investigation of treatment of Bradley Manning. Not a huge surprise perhaps given the egregious nature of the treatment, and the publicity, and the bogus ‘explanations’ from DOD.
    Greenwald also links to a statement made by PJ Crowley, Public Affairs Asst Seccretaty, for attribution, that is reported at FDL,


  15. Dan Kervick says:

    Right now, Obama basically seems irrelevant. He is no noticeable part of the raging national and international debate on jobs and unemployment, budgets, government finance, trade policy, monetary policy, worker rights, bank misbehavior or the rest. He’s a buoy in the harbor, bobbing up and down as the tsunami of history rolls in.
    When’s the last time you read any kind of post or missive dedicated to the question, “What did you think about what Obama said?”
    People care and pay attention to what Bernanke says, or what Merkel says, or what Trichet says, or what Cameron says. They care about what Geithner, Clinton and Gates say. But Obama? He’s just a cipher.


  16. questions says:

    One sort of answer, sort of, to Kervick’s post:
    “With the spread of antigovernment protests from North Africa to the strategic, oil-rich Persian Gulf, President Obama has adopted a policy of restraint. He has concluded that his administration must shape its response country by country, aides say, recognizing a stark reality that American national security interests weigh as heavily as idealistic impulses. That explains why Mr. Obama has dialed down the vocal support he gave demonstrators in Cairo to a more modulated call for peaceful protest and respect for universal rights elsewhere.
    This emphasis on pragmatism over idealism has left Mr. Obama vulnerable to criticism that he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Arab street protesters. Some say he is failing to bind the United States to the historic change under way in the Middle East the way that Ronald Reagan forever cemented himself in history books to the end of the cold war with his famous call to tear down the Berlin Wall. ”
    No big overarching policy pronouncements because responses are compartmentalized based on pragmatic concerns with regard to each situation.
    Banking was done this way, gay rights was done this way, ME is being done this way.
    It’s not grand passion, and it’s not grand strategy. It’s policy wonkdom, and it doesn’t make for great speeches to parse the specific relations we have with each country, the specific flow charts of possibilities, the specific concerns regarding failure or success in each arena.
    This is the stuff of seminar papers on small slices of policy rather than the stuff of grand cinema.
    I have no idea if the policy focus will play in the political realm or not. But his leaving Wisconsin mostly to itself, his respecting states’ rights on this issue may have helped solidify the dem response and may in the end help the recall effort. There is really nothing to be done in WI until the Republican majority is ended, and that only happens via elections.
    Rather than court a backlash, Obama lets the process work. My guess is that the “arc of history” phrase is central in his thinking. Until processes play out socially, until the ripples still on their own, until people are really ready, you can’t do a lot. If you try to force people too early, you get substantial backlash.
    Now, no one ever knows when the “right moment” is until it’s too late. That’s simply how time moves, how history happens, how events unfold. So there is likely to be much disagreement about precisely when to intervene and precisely how to intervene. I don’t know the best direction to err in, too early or too late, or the best strength with which to err, too strong a response or too weak a response. So there are several dimensions here on which people will disagree about everything Obama does.
    I suppose the real answer is the passage of time and the judgment of history — did the economy settle without jailing the oligarchs, did the banking system manage to steal enough money to settle itself without tanking the rest of the economy, or did we merely repeat ourselves because we threw no one in prison for 2 years for crimes against the wealth of the people.
    Did the ME get worse or better under this pragmatic and careful and measured stewardship, or did everything spiral out of control under a set of policies meant to avoid just that.
    I’m very glad I’m not the pres.


  17. questions says:



  18. Cee says:

    Have a productive trip. Please ask about what is happening with the Chechens and their feelings on the following:
    President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that the revolts in the Arab world were instigated by outside forces that had also been scheming to subvert Russia.


  19. Dan Kervick says:

    I haven’t been paying close attention to the beltway doings, Steve. But is there any word in Washington about whether Barack Obama is still President of the United States? On every issue of intense national and international concern he seems to have adopted the posture of ditherer, at best, or else simply passive spectator.
    Is he bored? Or is he just planning to amble sideways into re-election by adopting the role of Muggsy Milqetoat, the least offensive player on the team? The one-time aspirant for the role of great communicator has become Silent Barry. Maybe’s he’s just decided that would-be leaders get attacked and knocked out, so its better just to float through history without being noticed much?


  20. Paul Norheim says:

    Highly appreciated. Now let’s hope that every commenter employ
    their inner moderator when in doubt, so that we can continue to
    use this blog as an interactive forum during the dramatic
    changes unfolding in the Middle East and elsewhere!


  21. DonS says:

    Bradley Manning — whose treatment at Quantico follows the foreign policy debacle of Gitmo, and of black hole rendition policies followed by DOD.
    Marcy Wheeler continues to report this issue in depth, addressing conditions that should stir the ire of all patriotic Americans:
    “Back in 2002, Gitmo


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