The New York Times is—rightly—horrified by ISIS’s ongoing destruction of ancient
architectural wonders:
Since seizing Palmyra from government forces in May, Islamic State fighters have destroyed some of the most beautiful and historically significant monuments in the sprawling oasis city in Syria’s central desert, one of the world’s most renowned archaeological sites.
Thus Anne Barnard reported on Oct. 5, in “ISIS Destroys Triumphal Archies in Palymra,
Syria,” the latest of her many shocking articles on that Islamist blast through northeast
Syria. Here is Barnard’s lede in “ISIS Speeds Up Destruction of Antiquities in Syria,”
which ran back on Aug. 24:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Islamic State militants have razed a fifth-century Roman Catholic monastery and blown up one of the best-preserved first-century temples in Palmyra, the ancient Syrian city that is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites, according to government officials and local activists.

And that was just this past week — in one Syrian province.

Nor (of course) is the New York Times the only Western outlet spotlighting ISIS’s pious
vandalism—a scourge likewise reported/deplored by CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, the BBC, the Guardian, the Daily Mail (“ISIS thugs take a hammer to civilisation”) and many others.
This wave of outraged reportage recalls the story of the Taliban’s like devastation in
Afghanistan 14 years ago—as NBC News reminisced in March: “In 2001, the world
reacted in horror as, [as] part of a campaign to rid Afghanistan of idolatry, the Taliban
destroyed the World Heritage Site Buddhas of Bamiyan.”
From all those uniform laments you’d think the Western press was one gigantic lobby
for the global preservation of antiquities.
But if you thought that, you’d be wrong: While noisily deploring the sporadic cultural
atrocities by those wild Sunni agents, the Western press says nothing of the far more
systematic—and successful—devastation of Islam’s own architectural legacy,
perpetrated by the royal funders of those agents (among others).
Here’s a pertinent article by Carla Power, for Time, published last November—and
if that news touched off a larger fireball of press outrage in the West, I evidently
missed it. (And so it is with the relentless gentrification of Acre, Jaffa, and other
cities throughout Israel.)
Meanwhile, all those journalists so hot and bothered by the demolition of those
ancient structures in Afghanistan and Syria would seem to be untroubled by the
ongoing destruction of New York, San Francisco, London, Vancouver—and so
many other Western cities made increasingly unrecognizable, unlivable and
unaffordable by billionaire developers, and their pet politicians.

Saudi Arabia Bulldozes Over Its Heritage

Nov. 14, 2014

An aerial view shows the Clock Tower, the Grand Mosque, and surrounding constructions sites in the holy city of Mecca, in 2013.Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty ImagesAn aerial view shows the Clock Tower, the Grand Mosque, and surrounding constructions sites in the holy city of Mecca, in 2013.

Over 98% of the Kingdom’s historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985, according to the U.K.-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation

For centuries the Kaaba, the black cube in the center of Mecca, Saudi Arabia that is Islam’s holiest point, has been encircled by arched porticos erected some three centuries ago by the Ottomans, above dozens of carved marble columns dating back to the 8th century. But earlier this month, any vestiges of the portico and columns were reduced to rubble, cleared to make way for the Saudi government’s expansion of Mecca’s Grand Mosque.


By Mike Whitney

The reason Putin will succeed where the US failed in its war on ISIS, is because the Russian air-strikes are going to be accompanied by a formidable mop-up operation that will overpower the jihadi groups on the ground. This is already happening as we speak. The Russian Air Force has been pounding terrorist targets across the Idlib Governorate for the last few days as well as ISIS strongholds in the East at Raffa. On Sunday, according to a report filed by South Front, roughly 700 militants surrendered to members of the 147th Syrian tank brigade shortly after bombers had attacked nearly cities of Mardeij, Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, Jisr Al-Shughour, Saraqib and Sarmeen. This is the pattern we expect to see in the weeks ahead. Russian bombers will soften targets on the frontlines, ground troops will move into position, and untold numbers of jihadis will either flee, surrender or get cut down where they stand. Bottom line: Syria is not going to be a quagmire as the media has predicted. To the contrary, Putin is going to cut through these guys like crap through a goose.


By Thomas B. Edsall

Voters on both the left and the right often claim that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties, and of course that isn’t true. There’s a big difference between Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia, for one thing. But there may be more to this argument than you think.

Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.


By Klaus Marre

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is envisioning a future in which its agents would be able to use small handheld devices to collect fingerprints and photographs in the field and add them to a massive biometrics database.

If the Bureau gets its way, that future is not too far off — it has already taken major steps this year to make it a reality.

Most recently, the FBI is soliciting bids for the development of software that would enable agents to collect fingerprints and pictures of people they encounter. The prints and images could then be compared to the Bureau’s massive biometrics database.


By Pascale Bonnefoy

Many watched in disbelief: There he was, Pope Francis, calling people in Osorno, a city in southern Chile, “dumb” for protesting against a bishop accused of being complicit in clerical sexual abuse.

“The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof.”


Armored Sukhoi Su-25 ground-support fighter jets have attacked a jihadist training center in Idlib province, also destroying a workshop producing suicide belts, according to the newly-released Defense Ministry report.

Three depots with munitions, arms and material assets have been eliminated with pinpoint strikes. As a result of direct hits from KAB-500 air bombs, installations and munitions have been taken out.

Sukhoi Su-24M and Su-34 bombers inflicted airstrikes on eight terrorist installations near Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province, the ministry said.


by Kurt Nimmo

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee, took to Twitter on Friday and said the United States is not bombing ISIS.

“McCain accused us of striking out at US-trained insurgents… However, since they have either run away or joined al-Qaeda, hitting them is a mission impossible,” Pushkov wrote on his Twitter account.

“The US-led coalition spent a whole year pretending they were striking ISIL targets but where are the results of these strikes?” Pushkov asked during and interview with France’s Europe 1 Radio.



This week marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of a mass slaughter inIndonesia. With American support, more than 500,000 people were murdered by the Indonesian Army and its civilian death squads. At least 750,000 more were tortured and sent to concentration camps, many for decades.

The victims were accused of being “communists,” an umbrella that included not only members of the legally registered Communist Party, but all likely opponents ofSuharto’s new military regime — from union members and women’s rights activists to teachers and the ethnic Chinese. Unlike in Germany, Rwanda or Cambodia, there have been no trials, no truth-and-reconciliation commissions, no memorials to the victims. Instead, many perpetrators still hold power throughout the country.


By George Monbiot

Evidence for flowing water on Mars: this opens up the possibility of life, of wonders we cannot begin to imagine. Its discovery is an astonishing achievement. Meanwhile, Martian scientists continue their search for intelligent life on Earth.

We may be captivated by the thought of organisms on another planet, but we seem to have lost interest in our own. The Oxford Junior Dictionary has been excising the waymarks of the living world. Adders, blackberries, bluebells, conkers, holly, magpies, minnows, otters, primroses, thrushes, weasels and wrens are now surplus to requirements.


Forbidden Bookshelf

Forbidden Bookshelf

“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

Click here to donate to NYUFASP and receive a copy of "While We Were Sleeping: NYU and the Destruction of New York" (minimum donation to receive a book is $10 plus $8 shipping).

Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD

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