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Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban


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Body Language
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I've been watching Al Jazeera today. It seems that in Tripoli Gaddafi's people have been celebrating recapturing the towns of Az Zawiyah to the west, and Misurata to the East. Al Jazeera spoke to people in both towns, and they both said that while Gaddafi's forces were attacking, they hadn't actually captured either town. So who do you believe?

It reminded me that there've been a couple of fascinating interviews over the past week or two. They were fascinating not just for what was said, but the body language accompanying what was said.

The first was Gaddafi's interview last week by the BBC's Jeremy Bowen and a couple of other journalists. This rather astonished me not just for what Gaddafi had to say - "All my people love me." - but how Jeremy Bowen seemed to be trying to stop himself from bursting out laughing throughout. This was something I noticed from the very beginning, when Bowen is grinning when he shakes hands with Gaddafi, and then walks away with his tongue in his cheek.

You can see the relevant frame below, including Bowen's face while he asks Gaddafi a question. Gaddafi himself manages a smile during the interview, but spends most of his time looking down his nose at Bowen.

bowen-gaddafi

It also reminded me of Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught in a face-to-face interview with Saif Gaddafi a couple of days ago. Throughout it, McNaught also seemed to have the faintest trace of a smile on her face, as if she knew something that he didn't. Saif never smiled once, except to bare his teeth in a rictus. He blustered, shook his head, closed his eyes, and gestured frequently, including joining his hands in prayer several times, as if pleading to be heard.

But then, since neither the BBC nor Al Jazeera are pro-Gaddafi, perhaps that's not a surprise. It's a wonder that Saif agreed to talk to Al Jazeera at all, since Gaddafi's people have been telling people not to listen to it. But, in the absence of any sympathetic media outlet to the world, perhaps they had no choice.

It didn't work for Saif. Anita McNaught looks serenely beautiful in this interview. By comparison Saif Gaddafi looks sweaty, and in need of a shave and a new set of clothes. It's Beauty interviewing the Beast.


mcnaught - saif

And yet I came away from those interviews feeling that, despite what seem to be delusions about the cause of the uprising, Gaddafi remained very firmly in charge, and that Saif was right behind him. What do Jeremy Bowen and Anita McNaught know that I don't know, to make them smile so knowingly? Do they believe that there is some sort of "tide of history" that will sweep these people away of its own accord? There is no such tide.

If I were to interview either of these Gaddafi guys, I wouldn't be sniggering at them. They remain very powerful people. Gaddafi is still in control of the Libyan state and military, and of the capital city. The rebels are disorganised, leaderless, and dependent solely on weaponry that they've managed to loot from the army, and upon soldiers who have defected.

Gaddafi still holds most of the cards. And the correct military course of action for him would seem to be to secure his base in Tripoli and its environs, and only then gather his forces and turn east. And this seems to be exactly what he's started doing. If so, he's not behaving like a lunatic at all. And we haven't heard about any riots and demonstrations in Tripoli for several days, or of any more high level defections from around Gaddafi. Furthermore Gaddafi's army is likely to be able to reduce towns such as Az Zawiyah and Misrata that aren't being re-supplied with food and fuel and munitions, if only by laying siege to them, and starving them into surrender. Az Zawiyah, I heard a day or so ago, only has food for 5 days. After that, Gaddafi can turn east, and roll up the towns along the coast one by one, offering amnesties to defecting rebels to accelerate the process.

It could all look very different in a couple of weeks time. And nothing to smirk about.

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""It seems that in Tripoli Gaddafi's people have been celebrating recapturing the towns of Az Zawiyah to the west, and Misurata to the East""

Anyone remember Comical Ali?

Faces

(Anonymous)
I didn't watch these interviews, but I was initially going to say "well, these people are TV presenters who are trained to be conscious of appearing friendly on camera."

Then, I remembered the expressions of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer of America's "Today" show when they reported on any topic involving conservatives. Couric seemed to be barely able to hold back her contempt and Lauer tended to do this little preparatory lean backward in his chair, as if facing the reality that he's going to have to read and say something he doesn't want to.

I've noticed this in my everyday life as well. People are often very unaware of their facial expressions when they entirely believe that they're wearing a neutral face. I've even caught myself in the mirror while bending over to brush my teeth. When I pick my head up, I've caught this expression on my face that I didn't think I was making. The expression matches what I was thinking about.

It's a curious little trick of nature, just like our voices sounding differently to ourselves than they do on a recording. I made a short film once, and I was surprised that this same effect disguised, to me, the frustration that was actually in my voice at some points while giving direction. I didn't realize how curt I sounded sometimes until I heard it on the soundtrack later. And I didn't intend to sound that way at the time I was speaking.

The same goes for facial expressions. Sometimes I think I'm smiling, and then catch my reflection and realize I'm not smiling at all. Other times, I don't know that I'm smiling at something internal and someone will ask "what are you smiling about?"

I think it's this way for everyone, and it's kind of a cruel irony that we think we're presenting one person to the world while everyone else is seeing some other person walking around in our clothes. Even more ironically, that other person tells more to others about what is going on within us than we ever really realize. A quirk of evolution, I suppose.

-WS

Well, _I_ never look like what I imagine I look like. And _I_ never sound like what I imagine I sound like. But everybody else looks and sounds just perfect. So I think I mis-perceive myself, basically because I spend so little time looking at myself and listening to myself. I don't know how to read myself.

I think that in reality people's faces reflect what they're thinking. In the interview above, both journalists were trying hard to keep a straight face. Jeremy Bowen had his tongue in his cheek because he was trying to pretend he wasn't laughing. Anita McNaught adjusted her mouth fractionally to kill the smile that was spreading over it. Neither of them thought anything of the people they were interviewing. They thought they were laughable.

And I couldn't see what there was to laugh at. These were both powerful people, at whose orders hundreds of people were being killed every day, as their armies attacked cities in Libya.

Maybe Gaddafi will indeed be overthrown. But I don't see anything that says this is going to happen anytime soon, for the reasons I gave.

Journalists are entitled to their opinions. But they should leave those opinions at home, when they they head off to work in the morning. Particularly if they're working in Tripoli right now.

Frank

Egypt’s Revolution

(Anonymous)
Do they believe that there is some sort of "tide of history" that will sweep these people away of its own accord? There is no such tide.</>

Engdahl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._William_Engdahl) reckons that what looks like "spontaneous" uprisings (twitter, facebook?) is all being organised from Washington.

Read "Egypt’s Revolution-Creative Destruction For A ‘Greater Middle East’?" either as a pdf from his main website:
http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/
or as an online article here:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23131
(you can read his other globalresearch.ca articles from the external links section of the Wikipedia page.)
or, formatted wider across the page, I see, even here:
http://rumera.ru/?p=2227
_

"The Alternative Strategy Initiative, just to underscore the point, includes "research on creative use of the media, radicalization of youth, civic involvement to stem sectarian violence, the provision of social services to mobilize aggrieved sectors of indigenous populations, and the topic of this volume, alternative movements." [16]

In May 2009 just before Obama's Cairo trip to meet Mubarak, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a number of the young Egyptian activists in Washington under the auspices of Freedom House, another "human rights" Washington-based NGO with a long history of involvement in US-sponsored regime change from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine and other Color Revolutions. Clinton and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met the sixteen activists at the end of a two-month "fellowship" organized by Freedom House’s New Generation program.[17]

Freedom House and Washington's government-funded regime change NGO, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are at the heart of the uprisings now sweeping across the Islamic world. They fit the geographic context of what George W. Bush proclaimed after 2001 as his Greater Middle East Project to bring "democracy" and "liberal free market" economic reform to the Islamic countries from Afghanistan to Morocco. When Washington talks about introducing “liberal free market reform” people should watch out. It is little more than code for bringing those economies under the yoke of the dollar system and all that implies.

Washington's NED in a larger agenda

If we make a list of the countries in the region which are undergoing mass-based protest movements since the Tunisian and Egyptian events and overlay them onto a map, we find an almost perfect convergence between the protest countries today and the original map of the Washington Greater Middle East Project that was first unveiled during the George W. Bush Presidency after 2001.

Washington's NED has been quietly engaged in preparing a wave of regime destabilizations across North Africa and the Middle East since the 2001-2003 US military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The list of where the NED is active is revealing. Its website lists Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Sudan as well, interestingly, as Israel. Coincidentally these countries are almost all today subject to "spontaneous" popular regime-change uprisings."

[...]

"The NED is the coordinating Washington agency for regime destabilization and change. It is active from Tibet to Ukraine, from Venezuela to Tunisia, from Kuwait to Morocco in reshaping the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union into what George H.W. Bush in a 1991 speech to Congress proclaimed triumphantly as the dawn of a New World Order. [18]"
_

Long extracts, but there's a lot more in the article.

So, there may well be "a tide"...

Regards,

Ross

Re: Egypt’s Revolution

(Anonymous)
Bugger! Missed the "i" in the closing </i> at the end of the first two lines - intended to show them as quoted from your post. Now the whole thing's in italics...

Too late to edit it. Should have checked the preview. Sorry about that!

Re: Egypt’s Revolution

Freedom House and Washington's government-funded regime change NGO, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are at the heart of the uprisings now sweeping across the Islamic world.

Yeah, but Gaddafi reckons its Al Qaeda giving people drugs. And, who knows, perhaps they have.

In May 2009 just before Obama's Cairo trip to meet Mubarak, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a number of the young Egyptian activists in Washington under the auspices of Freedom House, a...

This is the same Hillary Clinton who has just been loudly complaining that America is "losing the information war" to Al Jazeera and a variety of other news outlets (including Chinese ones)?

Frank

Re: Egypt’s Revolution

(Anonymous)
Yeah, but Gaddafi reckons its Al Qaeda giving people drugs. And, who knows, perhaps they have.

Ya reckon? Wonder what kind, if so? We hear about opium...
Mightn't American-backed information technologies seem more attractive to those interested in change, rather than internal "escapes"?

This is the same Hillary Clinton who has just been loudly complaining that America is "losing the information war" to Al Jazeera and a variety of other news outlets (including Chinese ones)?

Classic propaganda by projection:- accuse the enemy of using the methods that you intend to (or already) use yourself.

As ASH does re "Big Tobacco".
_

By the way, I don't "follow" Engdahl; I was just pointed to him last week by a friend who asked me to help find a pdf of a book of his that he couldn't find elsewhere; I failed, but looked him up...

Influence agents, agencies, disinformation, propaganda techniques &etc. are no doubt pretty sophisticated these days - heck, they've had decades to develop and be developed;- for the Russians (it seems from my readings) they were already a fine art in the 1960's - 70's;- and of course you can trace such all the way back centuries to Sun Tzu.

Nothing may be what it appears, and there are many layers in an onion...

Depressing, perhaps. But maybe we have more chance of challenging Tobacco Control than influencing world politics, with our discussions, postings, blog comments.
_

Developing ways to challenge Tobacco Control...

Puncturing their illusions, deriding their statements, rediculing their figureheads - some of this is already happening, but the MPs & public figures who act on TC advice I imagine don't read (or rather don't even know of!) the sentiments & researches in these blogs, or hardly at all...

I'm even "escaping", venting here when serious political Select Committee reports on Display Bans are due out in weeks... in my own country, NZ.

I should be carefully collating material to write to MP's and any other local influential figures I can think of with!

Best Regards,

Ross

Re: Egypt’s Revolution

Yeah, but Gaddafi reckons its Al Qaeda giving people drugs. And, who knows, perhaps they have.

Ya reckon? Wonder what kind, if so?


This is what Gaddafi has said, quite clearly, several times. His son Saif has said it on at least one occasion as well.

What kind of drugs? Pills that are put in people's coffee, apparently. Perhaps if people are going to go on a demo, it helps if they've taken something like benzedrine. It's not totally implausible. I don't think opium would be the right drug.

The first time I heard it, I thought it was a joke. Certainly the Libyan rebels have joked about it. But it may have a little truth to it.

Frank

Perceptions

(Anonymous)
Given that:
1. These interviews were probably done in Tripoli.

2.Those two people interviewed are probably certifiable maniacs.

3.Those maniacs are quite capable of ordering the death or imprisonment of anyone that offends them.

4. People do tend to giggle or smile when they are nervous.

5. What we saw in the mannerisms of the interviewers is just manifestation of their concerns about getting out of town in one piece.

Gary K.

Re: Perceptions

(Anonymous)
Gary K

I thought so too, it must be a hellish position to be in,they were both extremely brave to do such a thing.

I read in their faces, a mixture of terror and disbelief.

Rose

Interesting.

I had no impression that they were in the least bit frightened. They were just doing their usual day job, but this time in Tripoli, and were probably being very well treated for managing to get the Gaddafi message out to the world, even if they were smirking while they did so.

Frank

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