Monday, March 31, 2008

Divorce, Sahrawi-style

Western Sahara's cultural distinctiveness from Morocco is further proved in this 2004 BBC article about the differences between divorce in Western Sahara and Morocco. The gist is that getting divorced in Western Sahara isn't that sad and actually kind of fun, whereas in Morocco no one got divorced until the king said women could leave their husbands if they were beaten (seriously).

Did you realize that until February 2004 Moroccan women were required by law to obey their husbands? That hardly mattered for Sahrawis living under the occupation, though, because they've known domestic violence sucks for a while:
"For us, if a man beats his wife, he is no longer a man, he is a dog," said Salka, a 45-year-old Saharawi woman, recently divorced for the second time.

In the Western Sahara, if a man beats his wife the minimum he must do to ask her forgiveness is hold a second wedding, with all the gifts of camels and jewellery that entails.
That makes the $4 million Kobe Bryant apology ring look like getting off easy. If a woman does get divorced, though, she doesn't argue over alimony or join eHarmony--she throws a party until she gets married again:
"The party is meant to pay homage to the divorced woman, so that she doesn't feel weak or ashamed.

"We dress up, we get a band to play, and the men who fancy the divorced women bring her presents, like a camel, perfume, or money. It can last for three days, or as long as it takes for the woman to accept another offer," says Fatou.
There's even more in the article about how Sahrawi society embraces divorced women and keeps them from feeling outcast. Apparently Sahrawi men want divorced women because they're more "experienced." Those parties where everyone gets to watch the courting sound great. Attending a Sahrawi divorce party is now on my list of things to do before I die.

Via Justin Knapp, friend of oppressed peoples and bloggers without material everywhere.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hung out pretty close with some questionable folks

Mikael meets a D.C. local

Had a lovely hamburgers and French fries lunch with Mikael Simble two days ago, he of the Norwegian Support Committee and the protest we did in front of the Moroccan embassy. If you have the chance to meet someone from the internet Western Sahara scene in person, do it--it'll cheer you up and give you new motivation to get a referendum.

If anyone's ever in the DC area (8th grade class trip, treaty negotiations and Manhasset was booked) hit me up and we'll get something delicious. Our area Qdoba has started offering a lot of discounts, so we can't afford not to meet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Le Journal Hebdomaire article about Polisario Confidential's spy operators

Le Journal Hebdomaire's site is down and this is an important article, so I'm making the French original and a Google translation into English available here.


Cyberwar against the Polisario (14-20.06.08 Le Journal Hebdo [Mo])

Since Peter Van Walsum, the special envoy of UN Secretary Sahara each door negotiations Manhasset and expressed his preference for Moroccan theses "pragmatism", as he is defended in a recent interview given the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblatt, the canvas was spawns a multitude of Internet sites promoting the "principle of realism" d1er diplomats in Rabat. Some sites developed, modern design and enriched the content of exclusive documents, photographs quality and confidential information distilled to convince the defeat of greenfield irredentist. A mysterious "collective Internet Moroccans and Algerians" would be the initiator. His rallying symbol: a heart composed of two flags, Chérifien struck by the five-pointed star interlaced with that, green and blood, the Algerian socialist revolution. No other runway for more if this is their common rhetoric that climbs to pin the "UN realism" and "procrastination of the Polisario Front, identified as an ersatz of the Cold War, lock ultimate dream of union Maghreb, as desired by nationalists during colonization. A dozen pages Internet and claim to represent the voice of the people of North Africa against the junta in Algiers identified by hammer and sickle, Soviet emblem.

Silent Majority

The most sophisticated of these websites is undoubtedly Elegant and unadorned, it s'attad1e pointing to the vicissitudes of separatists by mixing with skill, Rus mires funny that undermine the clutches of the SADR and damaging revelations about their relationship trusted companions to the Algerian military security. You can read for example, how a privileged son of Mohammed Abdelaziz of closest damaged a 4x4 luxury of the leadership of Polisario after a night of libations or how Mohamed Sidati, a figurehead of the movement receives its instructions from the DRS Algiers. The murderous spades to discredit revolutionaries a lot of legitimacy., which offers an interactive menu using oun-ance of multimedia tools which are very fond Internet: templates inspired or You Tube and Daily motion, links with other sites sharing of information or video as Liveleak. The theme of Human Rights is not to be outdone. On Droî is Amnesty International, which is famous for denounce the situation in the Tindouf camps. The texts compiled reports of France-liberties Danielle Mitterrand tell hell Cuban children educated Saharans as child soldiers and women's fashionable Polisario is reduced to amazons truss expected to fight occupying forces of the royal army . This is a far cry from "the wife morganatic" decried by Hassan II in 80 years, when the wife of french president was advocating the fight Socialist Abdelaziz and defended tooth and nail leftist activists embastillés to Derb Moway Chérif or Tazmamart. This is a far cry also 70 years, when the father of Mohammed VI has sought to rebuild an army étêtée by two attempts of coup d'etat by engaging in the Reconquista of the Sahara. He had asked for the support of his old friend Vernon Walters, former boss of the CIA, to convince Congress an1éricain enable it to modernize its military arsenal. At the time, lobbying in Washington had Moroccan need only a phone call to the White House, the logic of the two blocs geopolitical handled the rest. Since then, gives geostrategic was completely shocked er the monarchy no longer really cubits frand1es with his chaperon always. A year before his disappearance, Hassan II had already treated the referendum as a solution favourable outcome to the conflict stalled Sahara, was seriously compromised and that the idea of a Morocco, bridgehead of the "free world" in the Maghreb had since the fall of the Berlin Wall, is his time. The reports by Amnesty International comparing the king of Morocco to the most infréquentables dictators on the planet, so far inaudible to the ears of Washington, provided the wind in their sails the Polisario in the intricacies of the U.S. Congress. The success of one man, Mouloud Said, representing almost esseulé separatist to American soil and who has made the cafeteria of the Capitol's headquarters, the diplomacy was going out of the kingdom of its gentle torpor. Said became in a short time coqueludle for Dignitaries diplomatic and a pet peeve Mohamed Benaissa, then Ambassador of Morocco, whose gazettes, Hill was pleased to tell the splendor of its old-fashioned cocktail dinners.

Lobbying shot of billions

The sums are spent to convince the elected representatives of major powers. The Morocco decides to use public relations professionals. It urges Cassidy and Associates, one of the largest lobbying firms of K-Street, Washington Avenue where these pharmacies shock Ont main street. A contract of $ 1.2 million will be signed for one year, but the maneuver will not really the desired result. And for good reason, Morocco n'avouera ever it was to convince the elected Congress of the "Moroccan" Sahara. "A strategy wasted, imagine for a moment Israel requesting a face Ùm7aire support to the Palestinians without ever mentioning the bribes of the peace process," a comment close to the case. Despite the use Roland & Madigan and Powell-Tate, near Baker, and a small squad of elected Republicans, Cassidy will cabbage white. "It Benaissa himself who stopped the machine. He said all the time that it is a simple operation channe to attract investors garlic Morocco. He had eyes only for Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan, or at most for croulants as California Tom Lantos who was defending the Morocco mentioning that the friendship treaty had been initialled Mohammed III and George Washington in 1789, "gausse a former diplomat. It was not counting the Defense Forum Foundation activist Suzanne Sholte, a small but very effective antenna conservatives, close to the Reagan clan, that Algeria choyait petrodollars to death since its inception in 1989 and through the Sahara Fund Teresa Smith de Cherif, an icon of the "oppressed minorities" in Africa. Their advantage? The communication and networking, where Moroccans are certainly slow to relax. The pro-Polisario have Tower Suite su advantage of new technologies and soon realized the power of the canvas. Associations very "trendy" of Scandinavian countries, to the protesters in Spain, an armada of bloggers, mass mailers and other matraqueurs the Net. Meanwhile, the makhzen continues on its strategy: it will appeal to other sizes of its kind, as my Solo Group and Bob Livingston, a former member of Congress converted from a lobbying paid. His company (LLC Livingston) will be undertaken by Turkey to prevent any recognition by the USA of the Armenian genocide of 1915, but investigation by the FBI line, quoted by Vanity Fair will report on "illicit transactions" between deputies and American intermediaries Turkish the question. In public relations, called a flashback that will delight ants polisariennes which involve in their propaganda "Turkey genocidal" to "imperialist Morocco." It was therefore necessary to return from afar. The loudness also unexpected that Van Walsum to give a golden opportunity. But on the Net, the Moroccan regime is not good press. Morocco Telecom plays to the censors will turn against separatist sites giving them more credibility abroad. The case Murtada will include the Kingdom of the top countries that martyrisent their blogosphere. But worse than this, palanquée of pro-Moroccan sites are actually listed by Google as advertisements. They are placed in primary results as soon as the user makes a search by keywords or simply a banner sires critical of Morocco, as the webzine A budget enough is paid by the state to Google, ensures their visibility, but at the same time betrays their propagandist nature. By trying too focus on the tools offered by Internet, the Moroccan intelligence services were behind Celtic operation eventually create the opposite effect. By the way, the signing of services is too strong, because apart from first-hand information on distilled a quantity of nesting sites, but equally, links to sites specializing in strategic intelligence at Spyworld as: n.! which deals before round of cyber-warfare in the world demonstrate. The few forums where "patriots", identity often manufactured, just cross swords with "Sahrawi activists' turn to ridicule, the speech n1ilitariste and insult the dirt. According to a telecom technician, most of these sites are a result of "a specialized service of the DST created for that purpose in Rabat. The project Ayan been proposed by a communication agency very close to the government. " To illustrate an article on the sidelines of negotiations Manhasset, one of the designers did not hesitate to "take a photo of a corridor of the main building of the DST of Témara," added the source. A war like the war.


Cyberguerre contre le Polisario (14-20.06.08 Le Journal Hebdo [Mo])

Depuis que Peter Van Walsum, l'envoyé spécial du secrétaire des Nations Unies au Sahara a chaque la porte des négociations de Manhasset et marqué sa préférence pour les thèses marocaines «pragmatisme», comme il s'en est défendu lors d'une récente interview accordée au journal néerlandais NRC Handelsblatt, la toile a vu fleurir une multitude de sites Internet défendant ce «principe de réalisme» d1er aux diplomates de Rabat. Des sites élaborés, au graphisme moderne et au contenu enrichi de documents exclusifs, de photographies de qualité et d'informations confidentielles distillées pour convaincre sur la défaite en rase campagne des irrédentistes. Un mystérieux «collectif d'internautes Marocains et Algériens» en serait l'initiateur. Son sigle de ralliement: un cœur formé des deux drapeaux, le chérifien frappé de l'étoile à cinq branches entrelacé avec celui, vert et sang, de la révolution socialiste algérienne. Aucune autre piste pour en savoir plus si ce n'est leur rhétorique commune qui monte en épingle le «réalisme onusien», et les «tergiversations du Front Polisario», identifié comme un ersatz de la Guerre froide, verrou ultime du rêve d'union maghrébine, telle que voulue par les nationalistes durant la colonisation. Une bonne douzaine de pages Internet prétendent ainsi représenter la voix des peuples d'Afrique du Nord contre la junte d'Alger identifiée par la faucille et le marteau, l'emblème soviétique.

Majorité silencieuse

Le plus sophistiqué de ces sites Internet est sans conteste Elégant et sans fioritures, il s'attad1e à pointer les vicissitudes des séparatistes en mêlant avec doigté, rus mires cocasses qui décrédibilisent les pontes de la RASD et révélations dommageables sur leurs relations d'affidés à la sécurité militaire algérienne. On peut y lire par exemple, comment un fils de privilégié proche de Mohammed Abdelaziz a endommagé un 4x4 de luxe de la direction du polisario après une nuit de libations ou encore comment Mohamed Sidati, une figure de proue du mouvement reçoit ses instructions de la DRS d'Alger. Des piques assassines destinées à jeter le discrédit sur des révolutionnaires en mal de légitimité., qui, propose un menu interactif utilisant à oun-ance des outils multimédia dont sont très friands les internautes: templates inspirés ou de You Tube et Daily motion, des liens avec d'autres sites de partages d'informations ou de vidéo comme Liveleak. Le thème des Droits de l'homme n'est pas en reste. Sur Droî, c'est Anmesty International qui est célèbre pour fustiger la situation dans les camps de Tindouf. Des textes compilés des rapports de France-libertés de Danielle Mitterrand racontent l'enfer cubain des enfants Sahraouis éduqués comme enfants soldats et la condition féminine à la mode du Polisario est réduite à des amazones en treillis censées combattre des forces occupantes de l'armée royale. On est bien loin de «l'épouse morganatique» décriée par Hassan II dans les années 80, quand l'épouse du président français faisait l'apologie de la lutte socialiste d'Abdelaziz et défendait bec et ongles les militants gauchistes embastillés à Derb Moway Chérif ou Tazmamart. On est bien loin aussi des années 70, quand le père de Mohammed VI a voulu remettre sur pied une armée étêtée par deux tentatives de coup d'Etat en se lançant dans la reconquista du Sahara. Il avait demandé le soutien de son vieil ami Vernon Walters, ex-patron de la CIA, pour convaincre le Congrès an1éricain de lui permettre de moderniser son arsenal militaire. À l'époque, le lobbying marocain à Washington n'avait besoin que d'un coup de fil à la Maison-Blanche, la logique des deux blocs géopolitiques s'occupait du reste. Depuis, la donne géostratégique a été complètement bouleversée er la monarchie n'a plus vraiment les coudées frand1es avec son chaperon de toujours. Un an avant sa disparition, Hassan II avait déjà assimilé que la solution référendaire comme issue favorable au conflit enlisé du Sahara, était sérieusement compromise et que l'idée d'un Maroc, tête de pont du «monde libre» au Maghreb avait, depuis la chute du mur de Berlin, fait son temps. Les rapports d'Amnesty International comparant le roi du Maroc aux plus infréquentables dictateurs de la planète, jusqu'ici inaudibles aux oreilles de Washington, assuraient le vent en poupe au Polisario dans les arcanes du Congrès US. Le succès d'un seul homme, Mouloud Saïd, représentant presque esseulé des indépendantistes en terre américaine et qui a fait de la cafétéria du Capitole son quartier général, allait sortit la diplomatie du royaume de sa douce torpeur. Said était devenu en peu de temps la coqueludle du gotha diplomatique et la bête noire d'un Mohamed Benaïssa, alors ambassadeur du Maroc, dont les gazettes du Hill se plaisaient à narrer le faste désuet de ses cocktails dînatoires.

Lobbying à coups de milliards

Des sommes astronomiques sont dépensées pour convaincre les élus des grandes puissances. Le Maroc décide de faire appel à des professionnels des relations publiques. Il engage Cassidy and Associates, une des plus grosses firmes de lobbying de K-Street, l'avenue de Washington où ces officines de choc Ont pignon sur rue. Un contrat de 1,2 million de dollars sera signé pour un an, mais la manœuvre n'aura pas vraiment le résultat escompté. Et pour cause, le Maroc n'avouera jamais qu'il s'agissait de convaincre les élus du Congrès de la «marocanité» du Sahara. «Une stratégie en pure perte, imaginez un instant Israël requérant un soutiens Ùm7aire face aux Palestiniens sans jamais mentionner les bribes du processus de paix !», commentera un proche du dossier. Malgré le recours à Roland & Madigan et à Powell-Tate, proches de Baker, et d'une petite escouade d'élus républicains, Cassidy fera chou blanc. «C'est Benaïssa lui-même qui a enrayé la machine. Il disait tout le temps que c'est une simple opération de channe pour attirer des investisseurs ail Maroc. Il n'avait d'yeux que pour le Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan ou tout au plus pour des croulants comme le californien Tom Lantos qui ne savait défendre le Maroc qu'en citant le traité d'amitié qu'avait paraphé Mohammed III et George Washington en 1789», se gausse un ancien diplomate. C'était sans compter la Defense Forum Foundation de l'activiste Suzanne Sholte, une petite mais très efficace antenne des conservateurs, proche du clan Reagan, que l'Algérie choyait à coups de pétrodollars depuis sa création en 1989 et via le Sahara Fund de Teresa Smith de Cherif, une icône des «minorités opprimées» d'Afrique. Leur atout? La communication et le networking, là où les Marocains sont assurément lents à la détente. Les pro-Polisario ont tour de Suite su profiter des nouvelles technologies et compris très tôt la puissance de la toile. Des associations très «branchées » des pays scandinaves, jusqu'aux groupes protestataires espagnols, une armada de bloggeurs, de mass mailers et autres matraqueurs du Net. Pendant ce temps, le makhzen continue sur sa stratégie: il fera appel à d'autres pointures du genre, comme Solo mon Group et Bob Livingston, un ancien membre du Congrès américain reconverti depuis dans le lobbying rémunéré. Sa firme (Livingston LLC) sera engagée par la Turquie pour empêcher toute reconnaissance par les Etats-Unis du génocide arménien de 1915, mais line enquête du FBI, citée par Vanity Fair fera état de «transactions illicites» entre députés américains et intermédiaires turcs sur la question. En relations publiques, cela s'appelle un retour de flamme qui fera la joie des fourmis polisariennes qui associeront dans leur propagande «la Turquie génocidaire» au «Maroc impérialiste». Il fallait donc revenir de loin. La sonie aussi inattendue que de Van Walsum en donnera l'occasion rêvée. Mais sur le Net, le régime marocain n'a pas bonne presse. Maroc Telecom joue les censeurs à tour va contre les sites indépendantistes leur donnant ainsi plus de crédibilité à l'international. L'affaire Mourtada fera figurer le royaume au top des pays qui martyrisent leur blogosphère. Mais pire que cela, la palanquée de sites pro-marocains sont en réalité référencés par Google comme des publicités. Ils sont ainsi placés en primo résultats dès que l'internaute fait une recherche par mot-clés ou tout bonnement en bannière de sires critiques envers le Maroc, comme celui du webzine Un budget assez conséquent est versé par l'Etat à Google, assure leur visibilité, mais trahit en même temps leur nature propagandiste. A vouloir trop miser sur les outils qu'offre Internet, les services de renseignement marocains derrière celte opération Ont fini par susciter l'effet inverse. D'ailleurs, la signature des services est trop marquée, car hormis les informations de première main distillées sur une quantité de sites gigognes, mais de façon équivalente, des liens vers des sites spécialisés d'intelligence stratégique comme Spyworld at:n.!,qui traite avant tour de cyberguerre dans le monde le démontrer. Les rares forums où des «patriotes», à l'identité souvent fabriquée, viennent croiser le fer avec des «militants sahraouis» tournent au ridicule, au discours n1ilitariste et à l'insulte la plus crasse. Selon un technicien telecom, la plupart de ces sites sont du fait «d'un service spécialisé de la DST créé à cet effet à Rabat. Le projet ayan été proposé par une agence de communication très proche du pouvoir». Pour illustrer un article sur les coulisses des négociations de Manhasset, un des concepteurs n'aurait pas hésité à «prendre en photo un des corridor du bâtiment principal de la DST de Témara», ajoute cette source. A la guerre comme à la guerre.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Mawlid al-Nabi, Muslim readers

Do it up right. Wikipedia says is sometimes like a carnival--what are your Mawlid plans?

Also, Purim props to Jewish readers. I read somewhere that Purim involves people wearing costumes. Why can't I wear a costume for Easter? It's a deficiency in Christianity that I don't get to go to a carnival or wear a costume this week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dual SMGs, dual referendums

The Liberal International report has a proposal for settling Western Sahara I've never heard of: dual referendums. It was recommended by one of the members of the LI delegation. Here's how it would go:
61. A third method suggested by one of the Delegates is to hold a referendum in two stages:

i) The first referendum would be between integration into Morocco or autonomy. If integration was chosen, this would be the final solution.

ii) If autonomy was chosen, then there would be a second referendum on either autonomy or independence.

62. This is similar to Baker Plan I, which suggested granting autonomy to the Western Sahara with a referendum between autonomy or independence five years afterwards, however with an additional preliminary stage of a referendum which gives the option of integration into Morocco.

63. Morocco might prefer the dual referendum to Baker Plan I as the first referendum does not provide any option for independence.
To point 63, I say "duh". Can you imagine how fast Morocco would take a vote for autonomy in the first vote as proof Sahrawis love being in Morocco? There'd never be a second vote.

Hans Van Baalen's Liberal International report on Western Sahara

The Sahrawis turned me into a lobster!

From April 3rd to 7th 2006, members of the Liberal International toured Western Sahara and Tindouf to come up with a report for the International's European parties. Led by Hans van Baalen, a Dutch MP and shadow minister (spooky!), the commission concluded that autonomy for Western Sahara is a great idea. This is interesting because it seems like a majority of liberal parties in Europe don't like the occupation.

While Morocco saw the report, it's not clear if SADR ever did (they didn't get back to me). Anyone up for possibly secret reports? I have a copy, so leave a comment or send me an email if you want it. I'm trying to upload it on document sites but having a terrible time of it--once Scribd and its clones start liking the PDF, it'll be up here. Until then, a taste:
The LI Delegation believes that autonomy for the Western Sahara, as offered by the monarch, should be seen as a positive step and should be seen on its own merits. Autonomy could be both an interim solution and also an end state.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Polisario Think Twice throws the kitchen sink at SADR

and seems to come up empty. There's some slavery talk and video I want to talk about more, but for now, I leave with a description of Kim Jong Il, one of the "godfathers" of the Tindouf camp:

Kim Jong-II “Doctor Folamour”: 66 years old, leader of the Republic of North Korea, Secretary General of the Korean working Party, directs North Korea since 1994. He maintains continuous tides with the leaders of the Polisario. Kim Jong is suspected of maintaining a nuclear program. Fan of American movies, he would plan to turn a remake of the “seven mercenaries” with for principal role Mohammed Abdelaziz, Secretary general of the Polisario.
Emphasis mine. Isn't that rich? Stalin and Fidel Castro are the other godfathers. I've never heard of the Seven Mercenaries, but I'm sure Abdelaziz could do a bang-up job.

The site's registered, as you might expect, in Dallas, the same place Polisario Confidential and friends are.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sahara Marathon

In a video I'll post soon, one of the organizers of the Sahara Marathon in Tindouf says it's a great occasion for raising awareness of the Sahrawi struggle. Probably, but I have to wonder if it wouldn't be more effective if it was held in a Western country. Everyone in Tindouf already knows about Western Sahara. Holding it in a foreign city would mean people passing by would see it and it'd be more accessible to media.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sahrawi speakeasies

Another day, another group of travelers passing through Western Sahara try to understand it. This batch does better than the last one at understanding the political situation. Even if they couldn't tell their Laayoune from their lay-ups they'd be awesome, because the group found a secret Western Sahara bar. Check out the link for surreptitious iPhone pictures, including black bags for people to hide their loot.

Wild Western Saharan

A wild boy from Western Sahara made a list of feral children. For some reason, he's called the Syrian Gazelle Boy, but he was found in Rio de Oro in 1960 by an anthropologist (Nick Brooks?). His name isn't the only strange thing about this story:
On the horizon he saw a naked child “galloping in gigantic bounds among a long cavalcade of white gazelles”. The boy walked on all fours, but occasionally assumed an upright gait, suggesting to Auger that he was abandoned or lost at about seven or eight months, having already learnt to stand. He habitually twitched his muscles, scalp, nose and ears, much like the rest of the herd, in response to the slightest noise. He would eat desert roots with his teeth, pucking his nostrils like the gazelles. He appeared to be herbivorous apart from the occasional agama lizard or worm when plant life was lacking. His teeth edges were level like those of a herbivorous animal. In 1966 an unsuccessful attempt was made to catch the boy in a net suspended from a helicopter; unlike most of the feral children of whom we have records, the gazelle boy was never removed from his wild companions.
I'm glad Khalihenna Ould Rachid escaped the helicopters. Who else could lead CORCAS?

From Justin Anthony Knapp, naturally.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sahrawi in spirit

My two new Western Sahara-related posts mean I can link you to things that aren't really related to Western Sahara, but would be if they could.
  • My good friend (maybe more?) Alex from Houston has started a birth control blog, Broken Rubbers. Alex rocks and so does birth control, so you'll be wise to keep up with her exploits.
  • I wrote the cover story for the Georgetown Voice last week about Ray Tanter and Iran. He's a professor at Georgetown who's hot for the Mujahiden-e-Khalq, an Iranian group the State Department calls terrorists. Yvonne Ridley, who hosted a show about Western Sahara on Iranian TV, makes an appearance. Anyway, I'm proud of the article and if terrorism or the Middle East is your bag you should check it out.
Oh yeah, apparently something happened in Kosovo and Anna Theofilopoulou rolled out another solid article. Alle at Western Sahara Info has the deets.

Moroccan American Center for Policy doesn't exactly understand "facts"

The Maghreb Arabe Press (MAP), a news agency run by Morocco's government, never met a Western Sahara rumor or lie it didn't help propagate. Recently, it made up Danish support for the autonomy plan. Any third grader could see that MAP's biased, factually-questionable articles can't be used to bolster a case against Western Sahara--but then, the Moroccan American Center for Policy never was good at fractions.

Check out the MACP's page on the sinister Cuba-Polisario-Algeria triangle. Of the top five "recent headlines" on the page, 4 are from MAP. With friends like this, who needs objective journalism?

My source inside the MACP explained what's up--executive director Robert Holley just loves MAP. Below, an internal memo he sent chastising the MACP's code harem for not using MAP exclusively.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thomas Paine chimes in on Western Sahara

HBO's The Wire rocks, but I never thought its writers would give me material for a post. They have, though, in a Time article about the United States' absurd "War on Drugs". Urging jurors to always vote to acquit in non-violent drug cases, they quote Thomas Paine on monarchy:
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right"
That nicely explains why a lot of the things Sahrawi and foreign activists do--applauding maps that divide Morocco from its occupied territory, responding to pro-autonomy articles few people will read, shaming companies that look for offshore Saharan oil that might not even exist, or celebrating when a small country re-extends recognition to SADR--are more important than they seem. As long as efforts to make people think the Moroccan occupation is wrong outmatch the efforts by Mohammed VI and pals to create "a superficial appearance of being right," we're making progress toward a referendum.

I included a picture of Wire gangster Marlo Stanfield included because the drug kingpin is Baltimore's Mohammed VI: as Marlo broke the unwritten code between drug dealers, Mohammed VI perpetuated his father's violation of international law and self-determination . As Marlo murders people just for talking to police because his empire is so insecure that he can't afford to trust, so Mohammed VI has attacked even apolitical Sahrawis, beaten because his right to the territory is nonexistent.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Western Sahara checkpoint woes

Four Americans traveling around the world came to Western Sahara and discovered an unfortunate fact of life for visitors there: checkpoints. According to our intrepid explorers, they were pulled over eight times in one day, and learned that if you don't make friends with the guards they'll let you through faster. Good to remember for my eventual, oft-thwarted trip to the southern provinces.

Check out this dynamite picture from one of their involuntary pitstops. 4 Americans, a Moroccan soldier who looks so serious I thought he was kidding, a portrait of MVI, and a riot baton hidden behind the picture.

I'm surprised they made it through the checkpoints alive considering how little they seem to have no idea about Western Sahara:
Here in the Western Sahara semi-autonomous, free administered territory UN controlled Moroccan owned rebel occupied landmine danger zone surf resort area of the globe, it is really difficult to really tell what is going on.
I don't know what "free administered" means, but (besides Erik Jensen's warlord phase) I don't think Western Sahara has ever been UN occupied.