Saturday, September 30, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Roadblock Removed in Al-Jab’a, Demonstrators Attacked: The demonstrators marched from the village of Al-Jab'a, following Friday prayers, and assembled at the blockade. The Palestinians carried signs reading “I Dream of Freedom for My Children,” “Settlers Create Apartheid” and “You Steal Freedom,” while others carried Palestinian flags. When the demonstrators reached the roadblock, they began removing it with shovels, hoes, picks and their hands.

Army invades village of Bil'in, disrupting peaceful anti-Wall march: According to Abdullah Abu Rahme, local coordinator for the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil'in, 200 locals were joined by about 30 internationals and Israelis at the protest this afternoon. Abu Rahme said that Israeli troops blocked the entrance to the village, and stationed themselves among the villagers' olive groves. The soldiers closed the gate through the Wall that farmers use to access their land located beyond the Wall.

Home destroyed by two Israeli missiles, 'five minute warning' given by cell phone: Over 27,000 Palestinians have become homeless by Israeli home demolitions, either by missile or by bulldozer, since the current open conflict began six years ago on September 29th, 2006. The Israeli military spokesperson confirmed that a phone call had been made to the family before the house was hit with precision laser-guided missiles.

Building Nowhereland: Out on Highway 60, the bulldozers are at work. Next to the road that leads south from Jerusalem to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the big yellow machines are scraping the earth, carving a flat, white, dusty shoulder. Along that strip, a high concrete wall is already being built, part of the newest segment of Israel's "separation fence." The planned route loops around the cluster of settlements known as the Etzion Bloc, putting them on the Israeli side of the de facto border.

Report: Diskin holds secret talks with Arab intelligence heads: The newspaper reports that the participants in the secret meeting included Diskin (Shin Bet security service chief), Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Jordanian official, head of Jordan's General Intelligence Department Mohammed al-Dahabi, Head of Egyptian intelligence General Omar Suleiman as well as senior officials from two Persian Gulf states that do not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel.

Egypt, Jordan want Hamas gov't toppled: The attendants urged Abbas to reject a Hamas demand that it holds the premiership post in any future unity government with rivals Fatah, with Jordan and Egypt delegates arguing that the current Hamas government should be toppled.

Settlers attack, wound a Palestinian resident in Hebron: Resident Hana' Abu Haikal, said that she saw at least twenty settlers attacking several Palestinian homes and throwing stones at them. One resident, identified as Hisham Al Azza, 45, was injured in his face after being hit with a stone hurled by the settlers at his house.

Israeli Arabs mark six years since October riots: Israeli Arabs on Saturday commemorated the six-year anniversary of the riots of October 2000, in which police killed 13 Arab citizens rallying in support of the Palestinian Intifada. MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said Saturday, "Six years later, we're still demanding truth and justice, a full disclosure of the facts and punishment of those responsible for killing our sons."

Al Aqsa Brigades declares state of alert in the Gaza Strip: In a statement to the media, a spokesman for the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed resistance wing of the Fateh party, has announced the faction's declaration of a state of alert and full mobilization in the Gaza Strip. The spokesman says the declaration comes in response to numerous threats by the Israeli military to invade the Gaza Strip again if captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is not released.

Israeli visa rules hit Palestinian diaspora: Palestinians fear that the West Bank, like Gaza, will be cut off from foreign tourism and trade. Those affected by the visa crackdown include prominent business persons, educators, government consultants, development workers and the Palestinian diaspora. Israel and the US are leading an international economic and diplomatic boycott of the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem expresses concern about Israeli refusals to issue visas: Representatives of the Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry met on Friday with Consular Walles and several other chief staff at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and Embassy in Tel Aviv to discuss this increasing act.

Ohio professor wants Israel to apology for his detention: An Ohio professor who spent 22 days in an Israeli jail on suspicion of spying for Iran and Hezbollah asked colleagues Friday to help him get an apology from Israel. "Trustworthy people do get detained for doing nothing wrong other than speaking out and taking a stand," he said Friday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

U.S. Congress okays $500m for defense projects with Israel: The funds will be allocated between many different projects, including the development of a short-range missile interception system, navigation systems for missiles and combat aircraft, and aerial drones. The money is not part of the regular military aid to Israel, which currently stands at over $2 billion.

India to build heart centre in Gaza: India will build a cardiac surgery centre in the strife-torn northern Gaza Strip as part of the USD 15 million humanitarian aid promised to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to New Delhi last year in May, a Palestinian official said.

Independent Lawmaker warns of large-scale Israeli operation in Gaza: The Israeli state television reported on Friday that the army put a plan to go back to Gaza Strip in a few coming days. Facing the Israeli plan, al-Barghouti called on the Palestinian factions to form a government of national unity to "thwart the bids that aim at tearing the Palestinians." (To make them look better after being humiliated in Gaza?????)

If not now, when will justice ever be served? ... tomorrow may be too late!: The long-suffering Palestinians have paid a terrible price throughout this period and for decades earlier while the world community ignores their desperate plight and is complicit in causing it. World leaders are comfortable remaining shamelessly silent while innocent people are being slaughtered and brutalized with impunity by the IDF's overwhelming force.

Editors Notes: Abbas's new-old adviser: Amr was branded a traitor and his home was fired on, reportedly by members of the Arafat-loyalist Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Two years later, in a television interview, Amr criticized Arafat again, for failing to root out corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Soon after he returned home, gunmen fired on him through the window of his home, hitting him twice in the right leg, which he had to have partly amputated. Those responsible have never been apprehended.

Betrayed: How we have failed our troops in Afghanistan

Military chiefs warned John Reid: 'Don't try to fight war on two fronts'
British soldiers six times more likely to die in Afghan conflict than in Iraq

"Britain's most senior military chiefs warned John Reid not to commit UK troops to "a war on two fronts" in Iraq and Afghanistan more than 18 months ago, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Despite clear advice that a "significant" withdrawal of troops from Iraq was needed before a new mission, Mr Reid went ahead with the Afghan deployment after coming under pressure from Tony Blair. The advice, prepared by military planners and endorsed by the Chiefs of the Defence Staff, was given to Mr Reid on his arrival as Secretary of State for Defence in May last year. Despite the warnings, he went ahead with the deployment in January.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the war this Saturday, stark new evidence of the suffering being endured by British troops on the ground emerged in a series of leaked emails published in The Mail on Sunday. They amount to a harrowing account of terrified soldiers tormented by heat and sandflies engaged in brutal combat with Taliban fighters."

White House in crisis over 'Iraq lies' claims

Watergate journalist's new book exposes how Bush has kept the US public in the dark about the true costs of the 'war on terror'

Paul Harris in New York
Sunday October 1, 2006
The Observer

"President George Bush was braced for one of the toughest fights of his political life yesterday as a fierce row broke out over whether he has been misleading the American public over the worsening violence in Iraq. The crisis also rippled across the Atlantic with claims that the administration hid crucial Iraq intelligence from its British allies.

Sparking the crisis was a series of leaks from a hard-hitting new book by the political journalist Bob Woodward, one of the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal that engulfed the Nixon administration three decades ago.

In the TV interview Woodward accuses Bush of keeping the real situation in Iraq secret from the American public and playing down the true level of violence. 'There's public [information] and there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know,' he says.

His book - State of Denial - is also understood to say Tony Blair was angry at discovering that Washington was keeping key intelligence on Iraq from Britain - even classifying reports based partly on contributions from British operatives as off-limits.

It portrays Bush as determined to stick it out even if his only supporters are whittled down to his wife and the White House dog. 'I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me,' Woodward quotes Bush as having told top Republicans at a White House meeting."

Marwahin, July 15, 2006: The Anatomy of a Massacre

By Robert Fisk
The Independent

"The tragedy of these poor young people and of their desperate attempts to survive their repeated machine-gunning from the air is as well-known in Lebanon as it is already forgotten abroad. War crimes are easy to talk about when they have been committed in Rwanda or Bosnia; less so in Lebanon, especially when the Israelis are involved. But all the evidence suggests that what happened on this blissfully lovely coastline two and a half months ago was a crime against humanity, one that is impossible to justify on any military grounds since the dead and wounded were fleeing their homes on the express orders of the Israelis themselves.

Within a few seconds, Wissam says, an Israeli Apache helicopter arrived over the f vehicle, very low and hovering just above the children. "I saw Myrna still in the pick-up and she was crying and pleading for help. I went to get her and that's when the helicopter hit us. Its missile hit the back of the vehicle where all the children were and I couldn't hear anything because the blast had damaged my ears. Then the helicopter fired a rocket into the car behind the pick-up. But the pilot must have seen what he was doing. He could see we were mostly children. The pick-up didn't have a roof. All the children were crammed in the back and clearly visible."

Wissam talks slowly but without tears as he describes what happened next. "I lost sight of Myrna. I just couldn't see her any more for the dust flying around. Then the helicopter came back and started firing its guns at the children, at any of them who moved. I ran away behind a tel [a small hill] and lay there and pretended to be dead because I knew the pilot would kill me if I moved. Some of the children were in bits."

Wissam is correct about the mutilations. Hadi was burned to death in Zahra's arms. She died clutching his body to her. Two small girls - Fatmi and Zainab Ghanem - were blasted into such small body parts that they were buried together in the same grave after the war was over. Other children lay wounded by the initial shell burst and rocket explosions as the helicopter attacked them again. Only four survived, Wissam and his sister Marwa among them, hearing the sound of bullets as they "played dead" amid the corpses."

A Constitutional Shredding

Gonzales cautions judges against second-guessing the president in wartime

Rounding Up U.S. Citizens

(professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists)

"The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants."

Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.

The Sedition Act provided criminal penalties for any person who wrote, printed, published, or spoke anything "false, scandalous and malicious" with the intent to hold the government in "contempt or disrepute." The Federalists argued it was necessary to suppress criticism of the government in time of war.

In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the internment of Japanese and Japanese-American citizens in Korematsu v. United States. Justice Robert Jackson warned in his dissent that the ruling would "lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need."

That day has come with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It provides the basis for the President to round-up both aliens and U.S. citizens he determines have given material support to terrorists. Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of undesirables.

Seventy-three years later, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, speaking for a zealous President, warned Americans "they need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

We can expect Bush to continue to exploit 9/11 to strip us of more of our liberties. Our constitutional right to dissent is in serious jeopardy. Benjamin Franklin's prescient warning should give us pause: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." "

US Troops Reaching Breaking Point in Iraq

By Mike Whitney

"The military is in a shambles and headed for a calamity.

America’s enemies should be thrilled that Don Rumsfeld is still overseeing all operations in Iraq. His incompetence is only matched by his astonishing inability to learn from his mistakes. It’s plain that America will not prevail with Rumsfeld in command.

Overextended, over-budgeted and mismanaged, the war in Iraq is foundering and the war on terror has been exposed as a fraud. (the NIE report)

How much worse can it get?

There is no good news from Iraq. It’s all bad. The magnitude of America’s defeat is becoming clearer and clearer with each passing day. Rumsfeld’s cheery propaganda campaign has fallen on hard times and will have no effect on the wars’ final outcome. The problem is the policy; it is untenable and will require a thorough overhaul.

We should expect to see dramatic changes following the elections. The Iraq Survey Group, steered by committee-chair and Bush family friend James Baker, will release their findings right after the November balloting. Judging by their guarded comments, big changes are ahead. Perhaps, the troops will move to the perimeter and let the Iraqis kill each other in a full-blown civil war.

Whatever transpires, the first phase of the Iraqi fiasco is nearly over. The Bush administration will be compelled to protect its interests while limiting the exposure of its troops. They may choose to minimize their activities to bombing raids and counter-insurgency operations, further destroying the threadbare fabric of Iraqi society.

Security is not important. Lives are not important. Only oil and the people it enriches are important."

White House on a Rampage Against the Constitution



"The messianic, authoritarian George W. Bush and the minds of his cohorts have further collapsed the rule of law with his bulldozing through a divided Congress more dictatorial powers in his increasingly self-defined, self-serving and failing "war on terror."

The normally restrained New York Times in an editorial titled "Rushing off a Cliff" condemned Bush's "ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217 year-old nation of laws-while doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser."

Bush has concentrated so much arbitrary power in his Presidency that he can be described in the vernacular as the torturer-in-chief, the jailer-in-chief and the arrestor-in-chief. Who needs the courts? Who needs the constitutional rights to habeas corpus for defendants to be able to argue that they were wrongfully arrested or capriciously imprisoned indefinitely without being charged?

Timed for the November elections, Bush moves on Congress, complete with his minions there issuing McCarthyite press releases accusing opposing Democrats, in the words of House Speaker, Dennis Hastert (R ­ Ill.), of voting "in favor of MORE rights for terrorists." (His emphasis)

All this shameless, anti-American unconstitutional bile from the Bushites comes in the midst of his own top intelligence people reporting that their President's war in Iraq is providing a recruitment and training ground for growing numbers of terrorists in Iraq and from other countries. Earlier, Bush's own CIA Director, Porter Goss, told a Senate Committee the same thing. Bush's own generals in Iraq also agree. Critics call it pouring gasoline on a raging fire."




Report: Diskin holds secret talks with Mideast intelligence heads

Note: Yesterday I posted the original Arabic version of this report which appeared in Al-Quds Al-'Arabi.

"The Arabic-language London-based newspaper Al-Quds reported on Saturday that a secret meeting between Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin and intelligence officials from several moderate Middle Eastern states took place recently in Jordan.

According to the report, the meeting was held in order to discuss the confrontation with the extreme Middle Eastern states and how to handle the threat of terror.

The newspaper reports that the participants in the secret meeting included Diskin, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Jordanian official, head of Jordan's General Intelligence Department Mohammed al-Dahabi, Head of Egyptian intelligence General Omar Suleiman as well as senior officials from two Persian Gulf states that do not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel.

According to the report, representatives from Egypt, Jordan and one of the Gulf states expressed reservations over the appointment of Haniyeh or any other Hamas member to head the potential Palestinian unity government.

They also demanded of Abbas that the platform of the unity government include the conditions set by the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - such as the recognition of Israel and the honoring of past agreements made between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abbas reportedly demanded of all present at the meeting that all efforts to secure Shalit's release be conducted in tandem with Hamas leadership in the Palestinian Authority, and that all contact with Hamas leadership in Syria, namely exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, be stopped."


One can say that this was a working meeting of a real alliance between Israel and the axis of Arab puppets: Egypt-Jordan-Saudi Arabia-Abbas and his PA and some Gulf states. News of this alliance first emerged during the Israeli attack on Lebanon, when the alliance supported Israel and opposed Hizbullah!

Matters have never been so clear in the M.E. What used to be whispered quietly and later denied is now official and in the open. By the way, Rice will be coming to the M.E. in a few days to check on the progress of the axis of Arab puppets and to provide further instructions.

Long live the axis of Arab puppets under the control of Greater Israel!

Tony Sayegh

Friday, September 29, 2006

Meanwhile in Iraq

Curfew locks down Baghdad until Sunday: Iraq’s government shut down the capital with a curfew from Friday night until Sunday morning, ordering all cars and pedestrians off the streets, but giving no reason for the measure.

Saddam Judge's Relatives Gunned Down: The brother-in-law of the new judge presiding over Saddam Hussein's genocide trial was shot to death Friday morning in Baghdad in an attack that also seriously wounded his son, police said. Kadhim Abdul-Hussein and his son Karrar were shot in their car in the capital's western Ghazaliya neighborhood by unidentified assailants, police 1st Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said.

At least 15 killed as bloody U.S. occupation grinds on: Gunmen firing from a car killed three Iraqi soldiers, two of them brothers, in the small town of Rashad, 20 km (12 miles) southwest of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.

More Tortured Bodies Found In Baghdad: The corpses of six men and one woman were all found in east Baghdad neighborhoods. They were blindfolded, and had their hands and legs bound, police said.

Five killed in U.S. air strike -police, medics: - Iraqi police and hospital officials said a woman and two children were among five people killed in an air strike on a car on Thursday, but the U.S. military said it was unaware of any such incident.

Two U.S. occupation force soldiers killed in Iraq : Two U.S. soldiers were killed in two incidents in the volatile Anbar province, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

U.S. army `coming to end of its rope': Not only are troop levels not being reduced, but almost 8,000 soldiers have just had their 12-month tours of duty extended.

Iraq situation dire, says Straw : The current situation in Iraq is "dire" according to former foreign secretary Jack Straw.

U.S. Commander Says Insurgency In Iraq Unlikely To Be Defeated Until U.S. Forces Leave: The insurgency in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province can be beaten but probably not until after U.S. troops leave the country, the commander of forces in the provincial capital said Friday.

Book says Bush ignored urgent warning on Iraq : The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward

Sen. Trent Lott On Iraq: ‘Why Do Sunnis Kill Shiites? … They All Look The Same To Me’: Speaking shortly after a meeting with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Lott added that Iraq wasn’t among the White House’s priorities.

Meanwhile in Lebanon

Israel attacked UN post in south Lebanon with precision-guided bomb - UN: An Israeli air attack on a UN base in south Lebanon that killed four peacekeepers last July involved the use of a precision-guided bomb, the United Nations said Friday. "The UN patrol base at Khiam was struck by a 500 kg (1,102-pound) precision-guided aerial bomb"

Children face perils of bomblets in Lebanon :
A 12-year-old child was killed and three others were wounded Wednesday when they triggered a bomblet while playing in a field in the Marjayun area, bringing to 15 the number of civilians killed by Israeli cluster bombs since an August 14 ceasefire.

UN: IDF to leave Lebanon by Monday :
Senior United Nations officials said on Thursday that Israel will complete the withdrawal of its troops from southern Lebanon by Monday morning, Lebanon's leading daily An-Nahar reported on Friday.

Merkava tank production to stop within four years :
Leaders of the project decided that the benefits do not justify the cost of the product. During the fighting in Lebanon, the Merkava tanks sustained serious damage from antitank rockets fired by Hizbullah militants. The tank, which has been boasted as having the best protection in the world, and which was designed for classic tank on tank battles, was not impervious to the rockets.

Israel's "security concerns" delay pullout from Lebanon : Despite their repeated assurances of a quick troop withdrawal from Lebanon, Israeli officials said yesterday they were reluctant to complete the pullout, though six weeks have passed since a cease-fire agreement ended a month of bloody conflict.

UN tells of Israeli border violation: Israel has violated the UN-drawn border it shares with Lebanon, the spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon says.

UNIFIL confronts Israeli troops : U.N. peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon intervened for the first time Thursday with Israeli forces who arrested journalists in violation of Resolution 1701.

Meanwhile in Palestine

Army threatens to close water well in Tamon village near Tubass: Soldiers raided the well area, then told workers that the army is planning to close this well. People in the village said they have the needed documents to do operate this well as the money was donated by the EU and the total cost adds up to 1 million NIS. The well is the only source of drinking water for all villages surrounding Tubass city.

Olive Harvest Campaign 2006 Gets Underway!: The olive harvest of 2006 in Nablus has officially begun! Although not an ideal starting-date, an olive farmer from the Palestinian village of Azmut and his family who own 150 dunums of land partitioned by an Apartheid settler-only road, decided to start harvesting a few days ago. They fear that the Israeli colonists of nearby Elon Moreh will otherwise steal the olives from the trees closest to them. This is an annual occurrence that further decreases the family's harvest, already decimated by the limited amount of harvest-time.

Fallout of shame: "They blamed me for telling him to run," he said. "One of them threw me down and hit me on the head with a club. I tried to get up and they (Jews?) continued to beat me, with rhythmic beatings, cursing me: 'Shaheed, Hezbollah, Hamas.' I got up, I walked on the road, bent over, in pain, and they followed. One of them hit me on my head with a stick, I fainted, I was unconscious for about 10 minutes. After I woke up, I had just opened my eyes, I didn't even understand what was happening to me, I was beaten again and again."

Two Palestinian teenagers killed in Gaza: "Two martyrs arrived to the hospital badly lacerated as a direct result of their injuries from an Israeli missile fired from a plane close to Beit Hanun," Sayid Gouda, deputy director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said Friday. They had been walking close to the entrance to the town of Beit Hanun when they were struck with a missile fired from an Israeli drone, witnesses said. A medical source later named them as brothers Anwar, 14 and Hamam Hamdan, 16.

Troops shot and injured a resident in Hebron, took one resident prisoner in Al Fawwar: On Friday morning, soldiers backed by several armored jeeps and vehicles, invaded Khallit Hadour area, shot and injured Mohammad Farid Al Ja'bary, 21, and barred the Red Crescent ambulance from reaching him for 45 minutes. Troops then transferred him by an Israeli ambulance to an unknown destination.

Food poisoning in Al Naqab Prison: One of the prisoners told PNN via mobile phone, “Not even a half hour had passed since we were fed before a number of prisoners experienced severe bouts of vomiting, diarrhea and high temperature associated with severe colic.” Despite reporting the need to treat prisoners, the Israeli administration ignored the request.

Palestinian source: US thwarting PA unity: The US asked Abbas to better prepare Fatah for the next elections, according to the source. The Americans further requested that Abbas not cooperate on the transfer of funds to be used for the payment of salaries to PA officials prior to the Ramadan holiday, as this would be credited to the Hamas-led government. The officials are expected to receive an advance on their salaries over the weekend.

Hamas rally in Gaza draws tens of thousands, denounces Israel: "Those people are demanding us openly to recognize the occupation and that will never happen," Masri said. "The protest aims to stress our rejection to recognize the legitimacy of the occupation," Masri said, referring to what Hamas views as Israel's occupation of all historic Palestine.

Sources: Israel and Hamas at impasse on prisoner exchange: While it is clear to both sides that a prisoner exchange will have to take place as part of the deal, there is no agreement on the number of Palestinians that will be released in return for Shalit. There is also no progress on the timing and the form of such an exchange.

Hamas ministers ''may step down'' to secure power deal: Sameer Abu-Eisheh, the acting Finance Minister and Planning Minister in Ismail Haniyeh''s increasingly beleaguered administration, said that one option was for Mr Haniyeh and his cabinet to step down in favour of a non-aligned ministerial team of independent experts.

OPT: Depression increasing due to conflict and poverty: A survey by a West Bank research company has revealed that the level of “severe depression” in the population of the Palestinian territory had increased by 21 percent over the past year to 77 percent.

Israel Will Not Return Money Seized in Raid To Money Changing Shops Last Week: The Israeli (JUSTICE?) court ruled Friday that Israeli authorities could keep the six million NIS (1,388,888.90USD) they seized from money changing stores in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin and Tulkarem on September 20th, 2006.

MK Tibi to Jews: Ask Arabs for forgiveness: “There are Jews who should ask non-Jews, including Arabs, for forgiveness each day for the continued despair of one-fifth of the population and for the fact that the Arab education system is missing 200 classrooms and that only five percent of the employees of government offices are Arab. Tibi added: “Israeli society is witnessing the growth of fascist weeds such as MKs Effie Eitam and Avigdor Lieberman and others but remains tolerant toward them..."

U.S. congressmen accuse UN agency of sponsoring terrorists: Representatives Steve Rothman (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) lambasted the United Nations Relief Works Agency for allegedly appropriating money to employ members of Hamas and for distributing funds to Palestinian refugees with connections to terrorist groups.

Olmert: I'll meet Abbas soon; Rice arriving Thursday: In Jerusalem, Rice will discuss the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 in Lebanon and ways to bolster the Lebanese government headed by Fouad Siniora. She will also discuss ways to advance Israeli-Palestinian relations, including implementation of the stalled Rafah Crossing Agreement that she brokered in November 2005. Another goal is to build a coalition of moderate Arab states to counter Iran.

PM: Palestinian prisoners won''t be released until Shalit is freed: Hours after announcing plans to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would not discuss releasing Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel, even as a goodwill gesture to Abbas, before abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was freed."

A post-Zionist agenda: That same constitutive Zionist document also declares that the State of Israel "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel." Either Olmert believes that the aforementioned goals have been achieved, or the prime minister has become a post-Zionist.

Officials accuse Israel of laying pipes to steal water from South: Lebanese officials and residents of the South on Thursday accused the Israeli Army of stealing water from the Wazzani River. Mohammad Ghamlush, the engineer heading the Wazzani River pumping systems, told AFP that the Israeli Army sabotaged the water pumps on the river last week and installed a pipe to pump hundreds of cubic meters of water to Israel.

Newly-released papers reveal British concern about 1949 Mideast policy: "Believe in Muslim revival. Can't assume it will be friendly whatever we may do," the notes also record him as saying. Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan commented that Britain's problem was "to extricate ourselves with least damage."

Popularity of Israeli PM party hits low: Some 6.5 percent of Israelis would vote for Kadima should elections be held immediately while the party netted 22 percent of the vote in the March 28 poll. The centre-left Labour party, the main coalition ally, would win six percent of the vote, compared to 15 percent won six months ago. On the other hand, the main right-wing opposition parties, Likud and Yisrael Beitenu would win 8.3 percent and 8.5 percent of the vote respectively.

Jewish state sees ''different momentum'' at work after war: Israel said Thursday the recent war on Lebanon has created new momentum in relations with moderate Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, with the Israeli premier leaving it understood that he had met with a Royal Saudi member. Pushing ahead with efforts to revive the peace process, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave Washington on Sunday and plans to visit Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Critics are Too Generous to Israel - Bad Faith and the Destruction of Palestine: Unfortunately, however, B'Tselem loses the plot when it comes to explaining why Israel would choose to inflict such terrible punishment on the people of Gaza. Apparently, it was out of a thirst for revenge: the group's report is even entitled "Act of Vengeance". Israel, it seems, wanted revenge for the capture a few days earlier of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, from a border tank position used to fire artillery into Gaza. The problem with the "revenge" theory is that, however much a rebuke it is, it presupposes a degree of good faith on the part of the vengeance-seeker.

Bad faith and the destruction of Palestine: A mistake too often made by those examining Israel’s behaviour in the occupied territories -- or when analysing its treatment of Arabs in general, or interpreting its view of Iran -- is to assume that Israel is acting in good faith. Even its most trenchant critics can fall into this trap.

UN envoy says Israel guilty of 'collective punishment' in Gaza: Israel is guilty of "collective punishment" of the Palestinian people through its military actions in the Gaza Strip, a United Nations human rights official said Friday.

Palestinian source: US thwarting PA unity

Senior Palestinian source tells Ynet difficulties revealed during talks between Abbas and Hamas regarding unity government surfaced shortly after PA president met with US consul general in J’lem; ‘Americans asked Abbas to dissolve parliament, prepare for elections,’ he adds

"A senior Palestinian source told Ynet Thursday that “pressure applied by the United States on (President) Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) is preventing the establishment of a unity government in the Palestinian Authority.”

According to the source, difficulties in the talks between Abbas and Hamas regarding a unity government began to surface shortly after Abbas’ meeting with US consul general in Jerusalem, Jack Wallace, a few days before the president left for the US to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly.

The source added that during the meeting Wallace communicated to Abbas the unequivocal message that the US opposes the establishment of a unity government.

Wallace told Abbas that he would hear the same message during his meetings with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The source said the Americans made it clear to Abbas that the correct move from their standpoint would be to dissolve the parliament and establish an interim Palestinian government followed by general elections.

The US asked Abbas to better prepare Fatah for the next elections, according to the source.

The Americans further requested that Abbas not cooperate on the transfer of funds to be used for the payment of salaries to PA officials prior to the Ramadan holiday, as this would be credited to the Hamas-led government.

The officials are expected to receive an advance on their salaries over the weekend.

The source said the current chances for the establishment of PA unity government are slim, despite the fact that Abbas supports such a move. As a result, the sources said, the situation in the Authority is likely to deteriorate to a direct confrontation between Hamas and Fatah. The fact that some family members of senior Fatah officials have left the PA is indicative of the expected eruption of violence, the source said."

اجتماع سري بالعقبة

اجتماع سري بالعقبة لقادة استخبارات دول الخير والسلام لمواجهة محور الشر والارهاب

دعا لاستبعاد مشعل من اي مفاوضات
لندن ـ القدس العربي :
كشفت مصادر عربية عن اجتماع عقد مؤخرا في الاردن حضره مسؤول اردني رفيع جدا ورئيس السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية محمود عباس ورؤساء اجهزة المخابرات في الاردن (اللواء محمد الذهبي) ومصر (اللواء عمر سليمان) ومدير جهاز الأمن العام الإسرائيلي (الشاباك) يوفال ديسكين، ومسؤولان امنيان كبيران من دولتين خليجيتين لا تقيمان علاقات مع اسرائيل. وقالت المصادر التي رفضت الافصاح عن هويتها لـ القدس العربي ان الاجتماع عقد في مدينة العقبة وركز علي الأزمة الفلسطينية، ومواجهة الارهاب في المنطقة.
وعرض الاردن خلال الاجتماع استعداده لاستضافة ورعاية أية لقاءات من شأنها دعم عملية السلام، ومواجهة الإرهاب ، مشيرا إلي أن الدول المشاركة في هذا الاجتماع تمثّل محور الخير والسلام ، الذي عليه أن يواجه محور الشر والإرهاب ، المتمثل بـ إيران، سورية، حماس وحزب الله . وشدّد المسؤول الاردني في الاجتماع علي ضرورة التنسيق والتعاون بين هذه الأطراف، وتبادل المعلومات، لمواجهة الأعمال الإرهابية، التي تشهدها المنطقة.
وبعد ذلك قدّم محمود عباس عرضا للاتفاق الذي توصل إليه مع إسماعيل هنية رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني بشأن تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية فلسطينية برئاسته، مشيرا إلي أن هنية وبعد يومين من الاتفاق، طلب لقاءه، وأبلغه أن قيادة حماس تطلب تعديل النص الخاص بالموافقة علي مبادرة السلام العربية، وشطب البند المتعلق بتشكيل لجنة مشتركة للتفاوض.
وقالت المصادر ان ممثلي مصر والأردن واحدي الدول الخليجية، سجّلوا تحفّظهم علي رئاسة هنية لحكومة الوحدة الوطنية، مشيرين إلي أن تحفظهم ليس علي شخص هنية، الذي وصفوه بأنه أكثر قيادات حماس اعتدالا، ولكن لأن هنية سينفّذ برنامج حماس، وطرحوا اسمي منيب المصري أو سلام فياض كشخصيتين مستقلتين لرئاسة الحكومة. كما أبدي المسؤولون الثلاثة تحفظهم علي المحددات السياسية التي تم التوافق عليها بين عباس وهنية، إذ ان المطلوب موافقة صريحة من حماس علي شروط الرباعية، وما لم يتم ذلك، فانه لا مجال لتشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية.
وحول البدائل الممكنة في حال رفض حماس، أبدي الاردن استعداده لتشكيل لجنة من الخبراء القانونيين لدراسة كل السبل الممكنة لإسقاط الحكومة الحالية، وتزويد عباس بدراسة قانونية محكمة لمعالجة الأزمة. وحول موضوع الجندي الإسرائيلي، أشار عباس إلي تعدد القنوات في التعامل مع هذا الموضوع، مشيرا إلي ضرورة توحيد قناة التفاوض لتكون عبر مصر، حيث قال إن الإسرائيليين كلّفوا أكثر من طرف مهمة التفاوض: تركيا، النرويج، اسبانيا، وهذا من شأنه التشويش علي عملية التفاوض.
كما طلب عباس أن توقف عملية التفاوض مع قيادة حماس في دمشق، وأن تقتصر علي قيادة حماس في الداخل، لأن مشعل ورفاقه يعملون علي إجهاض أي محاولات للاتفاق، مشيرا إلي أن إيران وسورية من مصلحتهما استمرار الأزمة، وعدم الوصول إلي حل. كما طلب عباس بأن يحوّل التفاوض حول الجندي ليكون معه شخصيا، لأن إطلاق سراح الأسري الفلسطينيين سيعد انجازا كبيرا لحماس ومكافأة لها.

The Detainee Bill and the Dawning of a Fascist America

"As Steve Douglas notes, “the Schmittian drives for the arrogation of all power into the hands of a ‘unitary executive’ Presidential dictatorship,” in the case of both Hitler and Bush, are “essentially, identical.”

In the wake of the Reichstag fire in early 1933, blamed on the Comintern, Hitler and the Nazis, with “the support of a terrified populace … suspended civil rights and civil liberties, fattened their war machine and rode the fascist tide into a full-blown dictatorship,” writes Harvey Wasserman."

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

AMY GOODMAN: Today, we’ll take a look at the state of the Bush administration’s plans to rebuild Iraq. By his own count, our next guest spent more time in Iraq during the first fifteen months of U.S. occupation than almost any other print reporter. He’s written a new book about that period. It’s a behind-the-scenes account for the US occupation authority that’s run the country from Saddam Hussein’s old palatial grounds. The book is called Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. It’s by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. He is the Assistant Managing Editor of the Washington Post, former Washington Post bureau chief in Baghdad. I spoke to him earlier this week from Salt Lake City and asked him to describe imperial life inside the emerald city.

RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN: This is a book that attempts to shine a light on a whole other set of fiascos in the American effort to occupy Iraq. You know, we all know now about the disastrous consequences of failing to send enough troops there to stabilize Iraq after the U.S. invasion, the Pentagon's failure to anticipate the growth of the insurgency.

But what I write about is the whole other litany of mistakes that were made by American civilians who were there, from Ambassador Paul Bremer on down. It’s a series of what I think are blood-curdling stories: the people who showed up in Iraq, a country with 40-50 percent unemployment, and said, ‘Hey, this place needs a flat tax. It needs tariff reduction. It needs all sorts of other neoconservative economic solutions. It needs all of its government-run industries to be privatized’; the people who showed up and said, ‘There are traffic jams here. We’re going to fix that by giving them a new traffic law’; the people who showed up and said, ‘They need new intellectual property laws. They need new laws governing the types of seeds their farmers can plant’; the sort of crazy micromanagement that took place there.

Meanwhile, the more important tasks of actually rebuilding the country, of trying to find sustainable ways to increase electricity generation, to rebuild shattered hospitals and schools, to provide clean drinking water. All of those vastly more important tasks were sort of relegated, because the folks who came there saw Iraq as a terrarium for a number of neoconservative policies that they were never able to implement here in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Rajiv, before we talk about the individuals and what their expertise was or wasn't in the areas they were in control of, you start off the book with a very devastating picture of the Green Zone, what’s going on inside, who’s there, just the images of the palaces and how they're being used. Can you describe that for us?

RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN: Sure, Amy. The Green Zone was Baghdad’s “Little America.” This, of course, as many of your viewers and listeners know, is the American bubble in the center of Baghdad. It was the headquarters of the American Occupation Authority and still is home to the American embassy and many other U.S. government agencies that have operations in Iraq.

But I write about the really wacky world inside there. You know, this is a place -- Iraq is a Muslim country, and what did they serve in the dining hall, the Halliburton food contractors, what did they serve? They served pork bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, porkchops for dinner. There were many Iraqi Muslims that also ate there. They worked as translators and as janitors in the palace and other parts of the Green Zone, and they were subjected to eating food from the same buffet, even though they found the pork products also served there to be incredibly offensive. When they complained, Halliburton sort of brushed aside their concerns. Cultural sensitivity, well, you know, so what? It was more important to meet American needs, to serve them high-fat comfort food.

But it wasn’t just the food. There were no fewer than six bars set up there. There was a disco at the Al-Rashid Hotel. There were Bible study classes, salsa dancing classes, two Chinese restaurants, a café. Halliburton brought in scores of brand new Chevy Suburbans, which people would drive around on flat wide streets. They even had a radio station in there, Amy. 107.7 FM, Freedom Radio, which would mix classic rock and “rah-rah, we’re winning the war” messages.

AMY GOODMAN: Rajiv, how did James Haveman come to oversee the rehabilitation of Iraq's healthcare system?

RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN: Amy, it's a fascinating story, and again, I try to detail this in the book. The first guy who was assigned to help rebuild Iraq's health sector was named Skip Burkle. And Skip is physician. He has a Master's degree in public health. He has four postgraduate degrees. He teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He had worked in Kosovo, in Somalia and in Northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. He also was employed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and a USAID colleague called him the single most talented post-conflict public health specialist in the U.S. government. But a few weeks after the fall of Saddam's government, Mr. Burkle was informed by an email from a superior at USAID that he was being replaced. He was told that the White House wanted, quote/unquote, "a loyalist" in the job. And I write in the book that Burkle had a wall of degrees, but he didn't have a picture with the President.

In his place was sent Jim Haveman. Jim Haveman does not have a medical degree. He was a social worker, and he was the former Director of Community Health in the State of Michigan. Prior to his stint in government, he had a little bit of international experience, but it was largely in the context of being a director for International Aid, a faith-based relief organization that promotes Christianity in the developing world in conjunction with development assistance. And prior to that, he headed up a large adoption agency in the State of Michigan that urges pregnant women not to have abortions.

Well, Haveman showed up, and his view was that, look, Iraq didn’t need a huge infusion of money to rebuild its hospitals, even though I and other people who have been to Iraqi hospitals have seen them to be thoroughly decrepit and really, you know, in need of an overhaul, and particularly with the violence that’s wracking that country today and the number of injured from insurgent attacks. You would think that really putting resources toward rebuilding emergency rooms would be a top priority.

Instead, Haveman devoted resources to other projects. One of them, as I detail in the book, was rewriting the list of drugs Iraq's government would import for hospitals. Why did he choose to do this? Well, he had done it in Michigan, and he had saved millions of dollars for the state in Michigan by forcing Medicare providers to buy drugs off a formulary. So he thought this would make sense to do in Baghdad, and it would be a good first step before trying to eventually sell off the state agency that imports drugs. He was aghast at the notion that medical care was free in Iraq, and in fact even sought to impose something of a co-pay system for Iraqis before they visited doctors and hospitals

Woodward: Kissinger Advising Bush

Henry Kissenger expressing admiration of Pope Benedict XVI outside Rome yesterday (Annahar, 9/29/06).

"Henry Kissinger has been advising President Bush and Vice President Cheney about Iraq, telling them that "victory is the only meaningful exit strategy," author and journalist Bob Woodward said.

The Washington Post editor's third book on the Bush administration, "State of Denial," comes out next week.

In an interview airing Sunday night on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," Woodward said that U.S. troops and their allies are being attacked, on average, every 15 minutes.

"The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon saying, 'Oh, no, things are going to get better.'"

He said Kissinger, who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, has been telling Bush and Cheney that "in Iraq, he declared very simply, 'Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.'"

"This is so fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will."

Woodward's 537-page book describes the administration as beset by infighting, according to The New York Times, which obtained an advance copy and reported on its contents Friday.

The 537-page book is based on interviews with administration leaders, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. However, sources are not always named, and neither the president nor Vice President Dick Cheney agreed to interviews, the book says, according to the Times."

They cry, pray to Bush and wash out the devil - welcome to Jesus Camp

A documentary on evangelical Christian children's camps has caused uproar in the US

The Guardian

"The children at the Kids on Fire summer camp are intent as they pray over a cardboard cutout of President George Bush. They raise their hands in the air and sway, eyes closed, as they join the chant for "righteous judges". Tears stream down their faces as they are told that they are "phonies" and "hypocrites" and must wash their hands in bottled water to drive out the devil.
The documentary film Jesus Camp follows three children at the Kids on Fire Pentecostal summer camp in the small city of Devil's Lake, North Dakota.

Too scary

After a television news report about the film became a hit on, it attracted media attention across the country and opens in Los Angeles today.

Some critics say that the often raw approach used by the camp's founder, Pastor Becky Fischer, as she prepares the children for "war", is too "scary". Others accuse the documentary makers of distorting Pastor Fischer's message.

At one point Pastor Fischer equates the preparation she is giving children with the training of terrorists in the Middle East. "I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam," she tells the camera. "I want to see them radically laying down their lives for the gospel, as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine.""




Cartoon by Shujaat



From the book "The Art of War" written by the great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, some 2,500 years ago:

On Tactical Dispositions

"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy."

"To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."

On Weak Points And Strong

"Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted."

"Therefore, the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him."

Echoes of Ireland in Palestine: a review of Ken Loach's new film

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 29 September 2006

"Watching The Wind That Shakes the Barley, UK director Ken Loach's new feature film set mainly during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920's, it is impossible not to make comparisons with contemporary events. Indeed Loach, whose film won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, has been quite explicit about his own view that the film is not merely an examination of the past, but a comment on the times we live in. Loach recently announced his support for the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and acknowledged that "Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians."

This painful scene is a timeless reminder that colonial rulers—no matter how much they pretend to represent civilization and democracy—maintain their power in the manner of common street thugs: beating out people's teeth and breaking their bones with rifle butts, and when that doesn't work, torturing and killing them and destroying their homes. This mentality is alive and well in Palestine-Israel. The morning after I saw Loach's film, I was confronted by two statements. The first was from the UN's special rapporteur for Human Rights, the distinguished South African jurist John Dugard who declared that the situation Israel had created for ordinary Palestinians in Gaza was "intolerable, appalling, and tragic" and that Israel had turned Gaza into a giant "prison" and "thrown away the key." The second statement came from Israel's Trade Minister Eli Yishai who demanded that Israel should completely raze Palestinian villages in Gaza until Palestinians learn to submit quietly to their fate. "And to do this village after village until they stop firing rockets against us."

Through Palestinian eyes there is a strong echo with the split that has emerged on the one hand between those who view the 1993 Oslo Accords and a two-state solution (with a Palestinian state to be created in a tiny fraction of Palestine) as a reasonable and desirable settlement with Israel, and those on the other who view the accords as a sell-out that allowed Israel to maintain and expand its colonial rule of Palestinians under the guise of a 'peace process.' European Union officials like to make the comparison between modern Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland renouncing armed struggle for purely political means with what they hope Hamas will do. The comparison they do not mention is between the banning of the Sinn Féin MPs who won the 1918 election and Israel's wholesale kidnapping of Hamas legislators freely elected by Palestinians under occupation in 2006.

The basic structure of the conflict in Palestine-Israel today is like Northern Ireland writ large—two communities of roughly equal size with nowhere else to go brought into bloody confrontation by colonialism. There can be no solution that preserves the domination of one over the other and none that is good for everyone that comes out of violence. A just solution based on full equality is still be worked for and hoped for in Northern Ireland and in Palestine-Israel. But as The Wind That Shakes the Barley so movingly depicts, history does not always provide easy or happy endings that fit neatly with passionately held ideals."

Iraq situation is dire, Straw admits


"The former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as "dire", blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis.
Mr Straw - now the leader of the Commons - was foreign secretary at the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and staunchly backed Tony Blair's decision to join the operation.

"The current situation is dire," he said on BBC1's Question Time last night. "I think many mistakes were made after the military action - there is no question about it - by the United States administration."


Debating the Lobby in Manhattan

Israel Sends in the Clowns


"Does it seem implausible that one might actually feel sympathy for a professor at the University of Chicago? So I would have thought; but as John Mearsheimer got the waterboard treatment from Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross last night at New York's Cooper Union, there was something undeniably poignant in his situation. Mearsheimer, an earnest, polite, owlish gent, had the bemused air of a man trying to reason with a pair of rabid Dobermans.

The occasion was a "debate," hosted by the London Review of Books, on the question, "The Israel Lobby: Does it have too much influence on US foreign policy?"

The prosecution team consisted of professors Mearsheimer, Rashid Khalidi from Columbia, and Tony Judt, from NYU. Appearing for the defense were Israel lobbyists Indyk and Ross, both of whom also served Israel's cause as prominent members of the Clinton administration. They were joined by redundant Israeli labor party politician Shlomo Ben-Ami. (Why, you ask, was a former Israeli cabinet minister invited to discuss a question of American politics? That's a very good question, and I wish you had been there to ask it at the time.)

But of course -- as Mearsheimer came close to saying, at one point -- the best proof of the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis was sitting in front of us all night, in the form of Ross and Indyk themselves. These two have spent their careers alternating between organizations like AIPAC and WINEP on the one hand, and guarding the Middle East henhouse in government on the other. The twists and turns of tactics and diplomacy, as one faction replaces another, don't conceal an underlying, essential continuity.

So the times they are a-changin'. But we still have a ways to go. If I correctly assessed the temper of last night's crowd, they mostly still want to find a way to divide the baby -- to support and vindicate Israel, but without all these awful wars and walls. They would like to cajole the Palestinians into playing nice -- without giving them anything that Israel might want. They would like to bring Iran to heel, without putting any boots on the ground, if I may borrow the buzzword-du-jour.

In other words, I fear most of them want Bill Clinton back. And when I contemplate that idea, the glass looks a lot more than half empty."

Bad Faith and the Destruction of Palestine


Critics are Too Generous to Israel


"A mistake too often made by those examining Israel's behaviour in the occupied territories -- or when analysing its treatment of Arabs in general, or interpreting its view of Iran -- is to assume that Israel is acting in good faith. Even its most trenchant critics can fall into this trap.

Such a reluctance to attribute bad faith was demonstrated this week by Israel's foremost human rights group, B'Tselem, when it published a report into the bombing by the Israeli air force of Gaza's power plant in late June. The horrifying consequences of this act of collective punishment -- a war crime, as B'Tselem rightly notes -- are clearly laid out in the report.

But why should we think Israel is acting in good faith, even if in bad temper, in destroying Gaza's power station? Why should we assume it was a hot-headed over-reaction rather than a coldly calculated deed?

In other words, why believe Israel is simply lashing out when it commits a war crime rather than committing it after careful advance planning? Is it not possible that such war crimes, rather than being spontaneous and random, are actually all pushing in the same direction?

The goals of both sets of policies, however, are the same: the erosion of Palestinian society's cohesiveness, the disruption of efforts at solidarity and resistance, and ultimately the slow drift of Palestinians away from vulnerable rural areas into the relative safety of urban centres -- and eventually, as the pressure continues to mount, on into neighbouring Arab states, such as Jordan and Egypt.

Why not assume that rather than wanting a dialogue, a real peace process and an eventual agreement with the Palestinians that might lead to Palestinian statehood, Israel wants an excuse to carry on with its four-decade occupation -- even if it has to reinvent it through sleights of hand like the disengagement and convergence plans?

In other words, why not consider for a moment that Israel's stated view of Hamas may be a self-serving charade, that the Israeli government has invested its energies in discrediting Hamas, and before it secular Palestinian leaders, because it has no interest in peace and never has done? Its goal is the maintenance of the occupation on the best terms it can find for itself.

On much the same grounds, we should treat equally sceptically another recent Israeli policy: the refusal by the Israeli Interior Ministry to renew the tourist visas of Palestinians with foreign passports, thereby forcing them to leave their homes and families inside the occupied territories. Many of these Palestinians, who were originally stripped by Israel of their residency rights in violation of international law, often when they left to work or study abroad, have been living on renewable three-month visas for years, even decades.

Palestinians with foreign passports are among the richest, best educated and possibly among the most willing to engage in dialogue with Israel. Many have large business investments in the occupied territories they wish to protect from further military confrontation, and most speak fluently the language of the international community -- English. In other words, they might have been a bridgehead to a peace process were Israel genuinely interested in one."

Palestinians: Israeli strike kills two teen brothers in northern Gaza

Palestinians inspect damaged bicycles after an Israeli missile strike killed two people in the northern Gaza Strip Friday. (Reuters)


An IOF strike in the northern Gaza Strip killed two teen brothers on Friday, Palestinian security services and witnesses said.

Witnesses said the two were killed in Beit Hanun as they were riding bicycles in the street. Palestinian reports said the attack came from Israeli aircraft. Palestinian hospital officials said the two boys were Anwar Hamdan, 16, and Hamam Hamdan, 14.

Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"The fatality rate of the 18,500-strong NATO force averages about five per week, which is roughly equal to the losses suffered by the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Indeed, in withering comments to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper last weekend, Soviet commanders who oversaw Moscow's disastrous campaign have predicted that the NATO forces will ultimately be forced to flee from Afghanistan.

General Boris Gromov, the charismatic Soviet commander who supervised the withdrawal in 1989, warned, "The Afghan resistance is, in my opinion, growing. Such behavior on the part of the intractable Afghans is to my mind understandable. It is conditioned by centuries of tradition, geography, climate and religion.

Clearly, a huge crisis is shaping up for NATO. Its credibility is at stake. Sir Cyril does not foresee that the alliance will come up with the required military resources "to beat the Taliban on its own ground". No wonder Lieutenant-General David Richards, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan and former assistant chief of the general staff of the British army, ominously warned in a recent television interview, "We need to realize we could actually fail here."

At any rate, the stratagem aimed at exploiting the Afghan problem to seize geopolitical advantages was not so apparent at the beginning. But it didn't take long before it became clear that the US agenda was to exploit the "war on terror" for establishing a client state in Afghanistan, and for gaining a sought-after military presence in Central Asia. And in the event, the US military presence incrementally paved the way for creating a base for NATO in the region.

No amount of pious homilies about NATO's role and objectives can obfuscate the geopolitical implications of the Western alliance's occupation of a strategically important country far away from the European continent, which lies at the crossroads of vast regions that are becoming the battleground for global influence.

Without doubt, in the perceptions of regional powers, NATO's defeat in Afghanistan can only mean the scattering of the US blueprint of domination of Central Asia, South Asia and the Persian Gulf."

George: My fellow Americans, some of you have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe ... um, Dick, Iraq was a threat, wasn't it? Are they still listening down there?

Dick: Don't worry, George. After the elections we'll do Iran and your fellow Americans will forget all about Iraq. And we'll get the oil price back where it should be!

Condi: Yeah! Let's get real offensive!

(Courtesy Asia Times Online)

The Sanctuary Delusion

More on the Art of Fourth Generation Wars

by William S. Lind

"Unfortunately, this need for sanctuaries is leading the "silver bullet" crowd, those who seek some magical single answer to the Fourth Generation threat, off on another detour to nowhere. They say that if we only put enough pressure on states such as Pakistan not to permit sanctuaries, and overthrow state governments that openly provide sanctuary such as Syria's, then the Fourth Generation will disappear. Sorry, but it won't.

The error is that, as usual, the silver bulleteers are thinking in terms of states. They argue not only that Fourth Generation entities need sanctuaries, which is true, but that those sanctuaries have to be in states, which is not true. On the contrary, stateless regions provide the best sanctuary Fourth Generation forces can hope to find."

Iraq at the Gates of Hell


by Tom Engelhardt

"So what exactly does "victory" in George Bush's Iraq look like 1,288 days after the invasion of that country began with a "shock-and-awe" attack on downtown Baghdad? A surprising amount of information related to this has appeared in the press in recent weeks, but in purely scattershot form. Here, it's all brought together in 21 questions (and answers) that add up to a grim but realistic snapshot of Bush's Iraq. The attempt to reclaim the capital, dipped in a sea of blood in recent months – or the "battle of Baghdad," as the administration likes to term it – is now the center of administration military strategy and operations.

This week, the count of American war dead in Iraq passed 2,700. The Iraqi dead are literally uncountable. Iraq is the tragedy of our times, an event that has brought out, and will continue to bring out, the worst in us all. It is carnage incarnate. Every time the president mentions "victory" these days, the word "loss" should come to our minds. A few more victories like this one and the world will be an unimaginable place. Back in 2004, the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, warned, "The gates of hell are open in Iraq." Then it was just an image. Remarkably enough, it has taken barely two more years for us to arrive at those gates on which, it is said, is inscribed the phrase, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." "

Thursday, September 28, 2006

الخيانة في فلسطين عينك عينك

د. عبدالستار قاسم

أستاذ جامعي - جامعة النجاح -مرشح للرئاسة الفلسطينية-فلسطين

لم يعد غريبا أن يقف خائن فلسطيني على شاشة التلفاز يصافح صهيونيا يغتصب الأرض ويشرد الشعب، ولم يعد في الدعوة إلى الاعتراف بإسرائيل شيئا يدعو إلى التواري أو الخجل.

عينك عينك يقف فلسطينيون أمام العدسات ويصرحون أمام وسائل الإعلام بأن على حماس أن تعترف بإسرائيل إذا رغبت في توفير رغيف الخبز للشعب الفلسطيني.

هؤلاء الفلسطينيون يتعاونون مباشرة الآن مع إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة، ويشاركون في حصار الشعب الفلسطيني، ويستعملون الشعب وحاجته المالية من أجل إركاعه بالمزيد وإسقاط حكومة حماس.

حماس لا تجرؤ أن تقول للخائن خائنا، وتوافق على وثيقة الوفاق الفلسطيني التي تعني بعدة طرق الاعتراف غير المباشر بإسرائيل.

أما الشعب فيعرف أن الخيانة تُمارس في وضح النهار، ويعرف أن هناك من يتاجر بآلامه وأحزانه، لكنه يعي أيضا أن عليه أن يدفع ثمن سكوته على كل ما تم ارتكابه من خطايا عبر السنوات الطويلة.

لقد وضعت القيادة لقمة خبز الناس بيد العدو، وطأطأ الشعب رأسه، وتهافت الناس على وظائف وهم يعرفون سلفا أن الرواتب تأتي من عدو يطلب مقابلها تنازلات سياسية.

هناك قيادات فلسطينية الآن غارقة بالفساد والخيانة، وتقول إنها تنتمي لحركة فتح، وهي التي ألحقت بالحركة الهزيمة الانتخابية وبالشعب الدمار، تتآمر على الشعب الفلسطيني وتستغل حاجة الموظفين.

هناك أموال تم الوعد بصرفها للموظفين ولم تُصرف، وهي تختزن هذه الأموال من أجل رفع وتيرة الضغط على حماس لكي تستقيل الحكومة.

هؤلاء مثقلون بغيابهم عن السلطة لأنهم فقدوا الجاه ومصادر السرقة والاختلاس؛ وهؤلاء يدركون أن أسيادهم في إسرائيل وأمريكا سيلقون بهم في القمامة إن لم يتمكنوا من إسقاط الحكومة.

لا شك بأن حماس قد ارتكبت أخطاء عدة على رأسها الانغلاق والاستئثار بمواقع اتخاذ القرار ما أمكن، والفصائل الأخرى شريكة بما يجري لأنها تتعامل مع رؤوس الخيانة وكأنهم قادة وطنيون.

لقد ربطت تلك الفصائل نفسها بالخونة حتى تجذرت مصالحها معهم.

عار على شعب فلسطين الذي يقدم التضحيات على مدى مائة عام أن يسكت على الخيانة أو أن يهادنها ويتعايش معها. فلسطين ليست رغيف خبز، ودماء الذين استشهدوا من أجل التحرير والحرية ليست رخيصة إلى هذا الحد.

نحن بإمكاننا أن نحمل بعضنا من خلال برامج التكافل والتضامن، وليس من خلال الأموال الأوروبية الأمريكية.

لا خير فينا إذا كان الفلسطيني لا يريد حمل أخيه الفلسطيني، ولا خير فينا إن اعتمدنا على التوسل والتسول.

علينا أن نقف بجرأة وشجاعة في وجه الخيانة، وأن نعلنها صراحة وبوضوح أن كل الذين يتمرغون في الأحضان الأمريكية والإسرائيلية عبارة عن خونة.

قوى 13/أيلول تعمل بجد ودأب على تصفية القضية الفلسطينية منذ أن صافحت الصهاينة وقررت ربط رغيف الجياع بالإرادة الأمريكية الإسرائيلية.

هذه القوى تجر الشعب إلى الخواء والبغاء والنذالة، وعلينا نحن جميعا أن نثور لأنفسنا وندافع عن شرفنا وعن قدسية الأرض والحق.

لا خير فينا إن بقيت هذه القوى تسرح وتمرح وكأن شعب فلسطين قد آل إلى مرتزقة تنتظر العلف من أهل الغرب.

وعلى حكومة حماس أن تخرج من هذا الانغلاق لتتفاعل مع الناس نحو إيجاد الحلول.


The Princess of Darkness Rice has been threatening lately of imposing further sanctions against Syria. The Princess wants to cajole Syria into being openly a part of the axis of Arab puppets headed by KSA-Egypt-Jordan with Abbas tagging along.

I was just wondering if, as part of the sanctions, Syria would lose its share of the booming business of "rendition" in which the US outsources "suspects" to Middle Eastern regimes, known for their efficient techniques of extracting whatever information the CIA wants to hear. Syria was more than glad to torture the Canadian Maher Arar for close to a year, to get him to say (falsely) that he had trained in Afghanistan. It turned out that he was innocent of all charges and as a matter of fact had never been to Afghanistan. A Canadian judge recently declared him 100% innocent of all charges. But Syria couldn't care less; it already pocketed the outsourcing fee (in hard currency) and made some brownie points with Uncle Sam in his "fight on terror."

Any loss to Syria in the torture (I mean rendition) business is a gain to Jordan, KSA and Egypt, not to forget Morocco and the rest of the kennel. The Princess might be onto something, for the Syrian regime has a very impressive resume when it comes to extracting information, and it would be a shame if the regime lost some of the business due to sanctions.

Tony Sayegh

How did we sink so low in just 6 years?, by Mike Whitney

“This is how a nation loses its moral compass, its identity, its freedom.” Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)


How did things get this bad? The “Military Commissions Act” which passed the Republican-led Congress yesterday is a bigger blow to the Constitution and our core values than any piece of legislation in our 200 year history. It is 100 times worse than Bin Laden's crimes on 9-11.

In a 253 to 168 “party-line” vote, the congress repealed habeas corpus and approved the torturing of prisoners in American custody. It is breathtaking assault on human rights and personal liberty and puts the United States well-outside the community of civilized nations. It will ultimately be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to strike down this "affront to democracy" or let the law stand as is.

If the bill passes the Senate, the administration will be able to arrest whomever it chooses and lock them up indefinitely without due process. Suspects in Bush’s war on terror will no longer have the right to challenge the terms of their detention or to even know why they have been incarcerated.

The congressmen who supported this mockery have put their contempt for freedom on full display. They have rescinded the oldest and most treasured principle in American jurisprudence dating back 800 years to the Magna Carta. Habeas corpus is the fundamental protection that the one has from the tyrannical and erratic actions of the state.

The proposed legislation allows the president to apply the moniker of “enemy combatant” to any terror “suspect” taken into US custody and strip him of all his human rights. The president is under no obligation to file charges or provide evidence of guilt. The arrest is completely arbitrary and depends entirely on the discretion (whims?) of the executive. It is a flat rejection of the basic belief that “men are innocent until proven guilty”.

Here’s what Winston Churchill said about habeas corpus, “The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

The bill is another example of Bush's lawyerly “hairsplitting” which is aimed at gutting the clearly articulated provisions of the Geneva Conventions so that he can carry out his torture-regime with impunity. There is nothing “vague” about “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment. It is a standard that has never been challenged in its 57 year history. Until now.

According to the Washington Post the bill “would give the executive branch substantial leeway in deciding how to comply with treaty obligations that fall short of ‘grave breaches’ of the conventions.”

Geneva was designed to protect prisoners from physical or psychological harm. It is intentionally broad to prevent any punishment that involves the inflicting of pain on detainees. Bush has turned Geneva on its head in an effort to maximize detainee suffering while complying with the letter of the law. To that end, the administration has said that “the term ‘cruel and inhuman’ should only apply to techniques resulting in ‘severe’ physical or mental pain….The abused detainee’s symptoms would have to include ‘serious and non-transitory mental harm.”’ (Wa Post)

There’s no reason for Bush to pursue this particular track except to expand his personal power and put himself above the law. Injustice only fuels radicalism and undermines the stated goals in the war on terror.

The congress fully understands the implications of their support. They’re giving Bush a free pass to torment and abuse as he sees fit while providing him with the legal cover he needs for his “alternative techniques” (“outrages to human dignity”) Their vote makes them equally complicit in the inevitable hooding, sense deprivation, hypothermia, stress positions, isolation and water-boarding of countless victims of Bush’s deplorable war of terror.

Like Lady Macbeth the Congress’ avers:

“I am in blood

Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (Macbeth 3. 4)

The country is in the advanced stages of moral decay. The Military Commissions Act is not a law at all; it is an expression of Congress’ intention to carry out war crimes against defenseless victims in their charge. The men who supported this bill should be held accountable for its inevitable and appalling consequences.

Meanwhile in Iraq

At least 25 killed as bloody U.S. occupation continues: The bodies of five people were found, shot and tortured overnight in different districts of Baghdad, police said. Added to 35 found the previous day, that brought the total for a 24-hour period to 40.

U.S. Attack Kills 8 Including 4 Women : Sunni group calls attack ‘terrorist massacre’

Full Report: Approval of Attacks on US-led Forces Rises to 6 in 10: 79 percent of Iraqis say that the US is having a negative influence on the situation in Iraq, with just 14 percent saying that it is having a positive influence

Iraq: Quarter of a million flee occupied Iraq violence: The escalating violence in Iraq has resulted in the most suicide bombs in one single week since the war began in 2003 and 250,000 people registering as refugees in the past seven months.

War costs near $549 billion: In the current fiscal year, the Pentagon is expected each month to spend $1.5 billion in Afghanistan and $8 billion in Iraq.

Operation Hollywood : The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the Pentagon.

Iraq war was terrorism 'recruiting sergeant' : The Iraq war has acted as a "recruiting sergeant" for extremists in the Muslim world, according to a paper prepared for a Ministry of Defence thinktank, which also said the British government sent troops into Afghanistan "with its eyes closed".

Carter: U.S. in more danger of terrorism: "So there's no doubt that our country is in much more danger now from terrorism than it would have been if we would have done what we should have done and stayed in Afghanistan," he said on the campaign trail with his son, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Carter.

Confidence in Iraq Policies Drops to 20% in U.S.: Fewer adults in the United States believe their government’s handling of the coalition effort has been adequate, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. Only 20 per cent of respondents are confident that U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful, down nine points in two years.