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Sat, 03 Dec 2022
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Authoritarian Followers: The temptations and perils of blind obedience to authority

Indie film Compliance recalls notions that the past decade's worst events are explained by failures to oppose authority

© Greg Wahl-Stephens/AP
Some noted a disturbing thirst for leader-worship that drove followers of Barack Obama.
One can object to some of its particulars, but Frank Bruni has a quite interesting and incisive New York Times column today about a new independent film called Compliance, which explores the human desire to follow and obey authority.

Based on real-life events that took place in 2004 at a McDonalds in Kentucky, the film dramatizes a prank telephone call in which a man posing as a police officer manipulates a supervisor to abuse an employee with increasing amounts of cruelty and sadism, ultimately culminating in sexual assault - all by insisting that the abuse is necessary to aid an official police investigation into petty crimes.


UN Chief to Visit Iran's Enrichment Facility This Week

© Fars News Agency
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility on the sidelines of his presence at a summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran, sources said on Monday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International Affairs Mehdi Akhoundzadeh told FNA that "the UN secretary-general will visit Isfahan province during his stay in Iran", while other sources said his presence in Isfahan will be aimed at a visit to the Natanz facility.

Ban is due to arrive in Iran later this week to attend the 16th NAM Summit in Tehran on Thursday and Friday.

Deputy foreign ministers and experts from the NAM member states started a meeting here in the Iranian capital on Sunday. The two-day experts meeting which ends this evening and will be followed by the NAM's foreign ministerial meeting on August 28 and 29 is drawing up the agenda for the 16th heads-of-state summit meeting of the bloc to be held in Tehran on Thursday and Friday.

Iran assumed the rotating presidency of the movement from Egypt for three years during the Sunday meeting.


Why Salt Lake's Mayor Lost Faith in Mitt

Mitt Romney, Rocky Anderson.
© Associated Press
L-R: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.
He once campaigned for Romney; now he calls him a "political prostitute." Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson tells McKay Coppins why he turned on the GOP frontrunner.

One evening, years before Rocky Anderson was elected mayor of Salt Lake City - where he would eventually make a name for himself as Utah's liberal lion - he was invited to a dinner party where he was told Mitt Romney would be attending.

"I had no idea who he was," Anderson recalls. "I had to Google him." The search results revealed an impressive resume, but little hope for sparkling dinner conversation: a mega-rich private-equity wizard who had tried (and failed) to run Ted Kennedy out of the Senate? Anderson expected a Republican stiff.

"So, I get up there and I'm greeted by this young, vivacious, friendly guy," Anderson says. "I'm looking around to find the stodgy person I thought I would meet, but no, that was Mitt. That's the kind of person he is..." he pauses briefly, and then adds, "Or at least was. Who knows now?"


Propaganda Alert! 320 corpses found in Syrian mass grave

© Shaam News Network/AP
This citizen journalism photograph provided by Shaam News Network SNN purports to show people killed by pro-government militiamen in Daraya, Syria. Reports of the death toll range from 300 to as many as 600.
Syrian opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's army on Sunday of massacring hundreds of people in a town close to the capital that government forces recaptured from rebels.

In the town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus, some 320 bodies, including women and children, were found in houses and basements, according to activists who said most had been killed "execution-style" by troops in house-to-house raids.

Activists uploaded several videos to the Internet showing rows of bloodied bodies wrapped in sheets. Most of the dead appeared to be young men of fighting age, but at least one video showed several children who appeared to have been shot in the head. The body of one toddler was soaked in blood.

Due to restrictions on non-state media in Syria, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts.

Clashes are raging across Syria as the 17-month-old rebellion grows increasingly bloody, particularly in the northern city of Aleppo, where the army and rebels appear stuck in a war of attrition.

Comment: To understand what is really going on behind this propaganda war campaign, check out the following:

'Free Syrian Army' aka 'al-Qaeda' aka US, Israel and British Mercenaries, Use Syrian Man as 'Suicide Bomber'

State-Sponsored Terrorism - Western Journalists Embedded With 'al-Qaeda' in Syria


Egypt Rejects US Demand for Attacking Iranian Vessel in Suez Canal

© Unknown
Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said that Egypt's Navy has rejected a US demand to attack an Iranian vessel in the strategic waterway.

Speaking to Al Arabiya and Al-Hayat TV networks, Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, also a former commander of the Egyptian Navy, said the US had requested the Egyptian Navy to attack an Iranian vessel passing through the Suez Canal, but his country's naval force rejected the request.

He said the US had claimed that the vessel was carrying arms and heading to Syria, but it presented no proof to substantiate its allegations.

The Admiral ruled out the possibility of military operations in the Suez Canal, to guarantee the security of the international waterway.

In February 2012, Iranian warships made their second ever journey through the Suez Canal following Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution in line with the orders of the Supreme Leader for having a stronger presence in the high seas.

While Egypt has so far allowed two Iranian flotillas to sail through the Canal, the Admiral said his country has refrained from giving permission to US warships to go on a voyage through the waterway.


Turkish People Condemn Ankara's Hostile Policies against Syria

© Fars News Agency
Thousands of Turkish people staged rallies in Antakya province at the country's border with Syria to voice their protest against Ankara's hostility towards the Syrian government and nation.

The Saturday rallies were organized by Turkey's Labor Party, one of the main opposition parties in the country.

During the rallies, people shouted slogans in support of the Syrian nation and leaders and lauded their resistance against the plots hatched by the West and its regional proxies.

They also condemned the setting up of bases on Turkey's soil to train terrorists under the direct supervision of the US in order to support the so-called Free Syrian Army.

The development came after revelations about the smuggling of arms to anti-government terrorist groups in Syria via the US Air Base in Incirlik in Southern Turkey sparked popular protests in the country.

Comment: For an in depth perspective of the reality on the ground in Syria, please read the following:
'Free Syrian Army' aka 'al-Qaeda' aka US, Israel and British Mercenaries, Use Syrian Man as 'Suicide Bomber'
State-Sponsored Terrorism - Western Journalists Embedded With 'al-Qaeda' in Syria
NATO's 'Civil War' Machine Rolls Into Syria


Obama's World War: US drone strike in southern Somalia kills 37 civilians, injures dozens more


Brave American drones rain hellfire down on starving black people
Dozens of people have been killed in an attack carried out by a US assassination drone in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The attack, which took place in the strategically important port city of Kismayo on Friday, claimed over 37 lives and injured dozens.

Further details regarding the incident have not yet been released.

The US military uses remote-controlled drones in Somalia for reconnaissance operations and targeted killings.

Washington has been carrying out assassination attacks using the unmanned aircraft in other countries including Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen.


Libyan Islamists unleashed by West destroy Sufi shrines, libraries

Ultra-conservative Islamists used bombs and a bulldozer to destroy the tomb of a 15th century Sufi scholar in the Libyan city of Zlitan, witnesses said on Saturday, the latest attack in the region on sites branded idolatrous by some sects.

The attackers reduced the revered last resting place of Abdel Salam al-Asmar to rubble on Friday and also set fire to a historic library in a nearby mosque, ruining thousands of books, witnesses and a military official added.

A Reuters journalist in Zlitan, about 160 km (90 miles) west of the Libyan capital, said the mosque's dome had collapsed and a minaret was pockmarked with holes.

The attackers appeared to have removed the last signs of the shrine with a bulldozer, which was abandoned nearby.


Destabilizing Libya: 12 killed in Libya tribal feud


'al Qaeda-in-Libya', aka CIA assets, continue terrorising ordinary Libyans
At least 12 people have been killed in tribal clashes in the western Libyan town of Zlitan, local media reported yesterday, the latest in a growing number of violent incidents that have gripped the North African country since an armed revolt deposed Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

The fighting erupted late Thursday after a tribesman was killed by a rival tribe in the town, which is located some 120km south-east of the capital Tripoli, said the independent news agency Solidarity Press.

The two tribes are also at odds over whether to keep or remove a shrine in the town, added the report, citing a local source.
Around 40 people were also injured in the clashes.

Libya has seen a series of deadly clashes between rival tribes and militias since last year's ouster of Gaddafi.

In other developments, Libyan government forces confiscated rocket launchers and other weapons from a militia loyal to Gaddafi, the BBC reported, citing a government spokesman.

Light Sabers

Lebanon death toll at 15 as manufactured Syrian crisis spills across border


Smoke rises during sectarian clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Tripoli, northern Lebanon August 24, 2012.
The number of people killed in fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian factions in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli this week has risen to 15, a security official said Saturday.

A 16-year-old boy died of wounds suffered during clashes on Friday night, the official told AFP, adding that a total of 112 had also been wounded since street battles first erupted in the city on Monday.

The fighting has pitted residents of the Sunni-dominated Bab el-Tebbaneh district and those of adjoining Jabal Mohsen, who mainly adhere to the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam _ the sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A ceasefire brokered by local officials was supposed to take effect Wednesday, but violence was reignited when a sniper killed a Sunni cleric on Friday.