Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 23rd, 2013

America The Onion to Sue Lebanon: Political system far beyond the reach of satire?


The American satirical magazine The Onion is to sue Lebanon for unfair competition practices. Like what?

1.  For making its headlines look totally reasonable.

2.  For going out of its way to make The Onion’s headlines look ordinary by comparison.

3. For “reforms” of the political/social structure in Lebanon surpassing the absurd: Any attempt of satire sounds egregiously ridiculous in the face of these “stoned serious” representative deputies and political leaders “reforming” the system…

The Onion is demanding million of dollars in compensation, claiming that the small Mediterranean country has ‘ruined the business of writing satirical headlines’.

The magazine’s claim refers to a ‘sustained campaign of non nonsensical l but nevertheless real headlines’ over a number of years…

Karl reMarks posted this Feb. 20, 2013

The straw that broke the camel’s back was Lebanon’s adoption of a new electoral law that requires members of each sect to vote for candidates from their sect only.

A senior staff member at The Onion, Andy Mitchell, revealed the pressure that the magazine’s writers have been under in an interview earlier today. “How can we possibly satirize that? Anything we will come up with will look extremely normal. This is fucking insane.”

Lebanon is trying to create a monopoly in ludicrous headlines and I’m afraid to say it’s succeeding

Lebanese Politics: The Board Game

Michell resumed:
“The law says the Christian Maronites, and I am not quite sure what Maronites are, must vote for Maronites candidates, Shiites for Shiite candidates, Sunnis for Sunni candidates and so on. Except for Jews. Jews can vote for candidates of any sect they choose! Now if we had put that in a satirical article, we would have been accused of unreasonable exaggeration.”

“And why do they call it the Orthodox Electoral Law? There’s NOTHING Orthodox about it.

They must be pulling our leg.

No political system in the world is that twisted, not even North Korea’s.

This is obviously part of a determined effort to undermine what we and other satirical publications do.

Lebanon is trying to create a monopoly in ludicrous headlines and I’m afraid to say it’s succeeding.”

It is understood that The Onion’s lawyers will target Lebanon under anti-trust laws and ‘freakin’ common sense’.

Note 1:  Orthodox Electoral Law is to institute:

1. A proportional electoral system, a first since 1943

2. Tiny Lebanon would be considered a single district, and not 13 districts, a first since 1943

3. Apparently, you vote for 134 candidates from all sects, and not the candidates representing your religious sect. 67 of “Christians” sects and 67 of Moslem sects… And I’m wondering, how this law is criticized as sectarian if this is the case?

4. Obviously, the voter will have to do his due diligence to grasp the value of each of the numerous candidates he is asked to vote for. That should be a big hurdle, a necessary hurdle to overcome if you claim you want democracy.

Note 2: Political parties and social organizations would have to negotiate lists of 134 candidates, representing barely 2 million voters

Note 3: Every time an new electoral law is  contemplated, the main purpose is to increase the numbers of deputies in the Parliament. Sort of the leaders need to make room for their offspring to climb fast elevators to power…

Iran’s Nuclear-Technology Gains ground: Are Sanctions Backfiring and initiating creative alternatives

Scientists and security analysts tracking the decade-long dispute over the Persian Gulf nation’s atomic work have reached a consensus that International sanctions designed to punish Iran for its nuclear program have proven to be counter-productive in the military domain. 

While trade and financial sanctions have choked off Iran’s access to materials such as aluminum and maraging steel, used to make its first generation of nuclear equipment, they have spurred the Islamic Republic to find its own solutions for subsequent technological innovations.

Iran is now positioned to build better nuclear devices and to export them.

Jonathan Tiron on Bloomberg this Feb. 15, 2013: Iran’s Nuclear-Technology Gains Suggest Sanctions Are Backfiring”

“The serious consequence of all of these sanctions are that you drive the indigenous production of these parts,” Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, a physicist at the Monterrey, California- based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, wrote in response to questions. “This means the proliferator learns more about the technology and so now they don’t only know how to produce the parts, but they could also sell them to other states.”

As embargoes strangle Iran’s ability to import high-quality metals and fibers needed to build nuclear components, the country’s own resources in oil, sand and zinc, mean it can overcome technical hurdles.

Last month, Iran notified United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors it would begin installing 3,000 domestically built centrifuges that can produce more enriched uranium in less time.

Raw Materials

“Most technologies in use are decades-old, well-proven, well-published concepts,” said Andreas Persbo, executive director of the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Center, a non-governmental observer to the IAEA. “The key thing is to get access to the raw material. If you have the raw material, and a talent base to process them, you can construct whatever you need.”

Iran, with the world’s fourth-biggest proven oil reserves, began in 2011 to make its own carbon fiber, the strong, light material used in wind turbines, airplanes and centrifuges.

Like the uranium-enrichment market, which is led by a handful of companies such as Urenco Ltd., Areva SA and Rosatom Corp., carbon-fiber production is driven by a few multinational businesses including Hexcel Corp., BAE Systems Plc and Toray Industries Inc.

“While the sanctions regime certainly slowed down Iran’s technological progress initially, it has also made Iran self- sufficient in a number of key areas,” said Yousaf Butt, a physicist and nuclear non-proliferation analyst who advised the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on Iran’s nuclear work. “Iran is likely the most technologically advanced nation in the Middle East, aside from Israel.”


The Islamic Republic has also achieved self-sufficiency in other vital technology areas touched by sanctions. The country manufacturers and sells Fomblin oil, a lubricant used inside centrifuges, on world markets. At a September IAEA meeting in Vienna, Iran displayed a copy of a domestically made nuclear- fuel panel destined for a research reactor in Tehran.

“If in the past the country needed finished products and technologies for its program which squarely fell under sanctions, now the required level of imported inputs is continuously going down to more simple and basic items, which Iran still needs but can upgrade on its own,” according to Igor Khripunov, the Soviet Union’s former arms-control envoy to the U.S. who is now at the Athens, Georgia-based Center for International Trade and Security.

Kazakhstan Meeting

Iran, which maintains its atomic program is peaceful, has ruled out suspending its activities as the UN Security Council demands. It’s willing to discuss its nuclear work when it meets world powers in Kazakhstan next week, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Feb. 4. Talks between Iran and IAEA officials that concluded Feb. 13 in Tehran failed to clinch a deal that would give investigators wider access to alleged nuclear sites.

While Iran allowed wider access to sites, including centrifuge-manufacturing workshops, until 2005, it reversed course after accusations about its nuclear work escalated. The first UN sanctions were imposed in 2006. The country hasn’t restricted IAEA access to sites it’s legally bound to let inspectors visit.

Diplomats should focus on returning to greater transparency of Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than trying to enforce a ban on enrichment, said Paul Ingram, executive director of the London-based British American Security Information Council, a policy-advisory group.

“Iran has a sophisticated economy relative to most states outside of North America, Europe and the Far East, so it should be no surprise that they can develop the technologies to substitute for sanctioned materials,” Ingram wrote in reply to questions. “The experience of sanctions proves this time and time again.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at




February 2013

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