Saturday, October 6, 2007

"Based on our free will and confirming the independence of our Arab decision, I have notified the U.S. of our agreement to participate in the international peace conference."
[The sign on the door behind the Arab puppet reads, "The U.S. Administration."]
By Hamed Najeeb

What the Palestinians Think of Him

Why? Six years on from the invasion of Afghanistan

As another British soldier is killed in Afghanistan, Patrick Cockburn asks what is the point of the mission

The Independent

"Six years after a war was launched to overthrow the Taliban, British solders are still being killed in bloody skirmishing in a conflict in which no final victory is possible. Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Britain and allies, an operation codenamed Enduring Freedom. But six years on, Britain is once again, as in Iraq, the most junior of partners, spending the lives of its soldiers with little real influence over the war.

The outcome of the conflict in Afghanistan will be decided in Washington and Islamabad. There is no chance of defeating the Taliban so long as they can retreat, retrain and recoup in the mountain fastnesses of Pakistan.,,,,,"

The scandal of Blackwater

The only punishment doled out to US security men involved in deadly shootings is a jet home

Jeremy Scahill
Saturday October 6, 2007
The Guardian

"......At the hearing Prince boldly declared that in Iraq his men have acted "appropriately at all times" and appeared to deny that the company had ever killed innocent civilians, only acknowledging that some may have died as a result of "ricochets" and "traffic accidents". This assertion is simply unbelievable. According to a report prepared by Waxman's staff, since 2005 Blackwater operatives in Iraq have opened fire on at least 195 occasions. In more than 80% of these instances, the Blackwater agents fired first.

Not surprisingly, Prince said he supported the continuation of Order 17 in Iraq, the Bremer-era decree giving organisations such as Blackwater immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. Prince said Blackwater operatives who "don't hold to the standard, they have one decision to make: window or aisle" on their flight home. In all, Blackwater has sacked more than 120 of its operatives in Iraq. Given that being fired and sent home have been the only disciplinary consequences faced by Blackwater employees, it is worth asking: what did they do to earn this punishment?....

A pattern is emerging from the Congressional investigation into Blackwater: the state department urging the company to pay what amounts to hush money to victims' families while facilitating the return of contractors involved in deadly incidents for which not a single one has faced prosecution."

Archbishop attacks neocons over US threat to bomb Iran

The Guardian

"Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has criticised the neoconservatives of the Bush administration and accused them of "potentially murderous folly" for suggesting military action against Syria and Iran.

Dr Williams has just returned from Syria where he met Iraqi Christian refugees,. He warned of a problem of almost unprecedented scale as up to 1.5 million Iraqis have fled to neighbouring countries.

Speaking to the BBC, the archbishop, who opposed the invasion of Iraq from the outset, said: "When people talk about further destabilisation of the region - and you read some American political advisers speaking of action against Syria and Iran - I can only say that I regard that as criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous folly......."

So Who's Afraid of the Israel Lobby?

By Ray McGovern

"Who's afraid of the Israel Lobby? Virtually everyone: Republican, Democrat – Conservative, Liberal. The fear factor is non-partisan, you might say, and palpable. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brags that it is the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, and has demonstrated that time and again – and not only on Capitol Hill.

Seldom has the Lobby's power been as clearly demonstrated as in its ability to suppress the awful truth that on June 8, 1967, during the Six Day War:

* Israel deliberately attacked the intelligence collection ship USS Liberty, in full awareness it was a U.S. Navy ship, and did its best to sink it and leave no survivors;

* The Israelis would have succeeded had they not broken off the attack upon learning, from an intercepted message, that the commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet had launched carrier fighters to the scene; and

* By that time 34 of the Liberty's crew had been killed and over 170 wounded......

But the truth will come out – eventually. All it took in this case was for a courageous journalist (an endangered species) to listen to the surviving crew and do a little basic research, not shrinking from naming war crimes and not letting senior U.S. officials, from the president on down, off the hook for suppressing – even destroying – damning evidence from intercepted Israeli communications.

The mainstream media have now published an exposé based largely on interviews with those most intimately involved. A lengthy article by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter John Crewdson appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun on Oct. 2 titled "New revelations in attack on American spy ship." To the subtitle goes the prize for understatement of the year: "Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly 1967 incident.".....

On the evening of Sept. 26, 2006, I gave a talk on Iraq to an overflow crowd of 400 at National Avenue Church in Springfield, Missouri. A questioner asked what I thought of the study by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard titled The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.....

I had read that piece carefully and found it an unusual act of courage as well as scholarship. That's what I told the questioner, adding that I did have two problems with the study.....

Second, I was intrigued by the fact that Mearsheimer and Walt made no mention of what I believe to be, if not the most telling, then perhaps the most sensational proof of the power the Lobby knows it can exert over our government and Congress. In sum, in June 1967, after deliberately using fighter-bombers and torpedo boats to attack the USS Liberty for over two hours in an attempt to sink it and kill its entire crew, and then getting the U.S. government, the Navy, and the Congress to cover up what happened, the Israeli government learned that it could – literally – get away with murder......

And so I asked how many in the audience had heard of the attack on the Liberty on June 8, 1967. Three hands went up; I called on the gentleman nearest me.

Ramrod straight he stood:

"Sir, Sergeant Bryce Lockwood, United States Marine Corps, retired. I am a member of the USS Liberty crew, Sir."

Catching my breath, I asked him if he would be willing to tell us what happened.

"Sir, I have not been able to do that. It is hard. But it has been almost 40 years, and I would like to try this evening, Sir."

You could hear a pin drop for the next 15 minutes, as Lockwood gave us his personal account of what happened to him, his colleagues, and his ship on the afternoon of June 8, 1967......[You have to read the rest]"

By Mike Luckovich

Haider Abdul-Shafi: Passing Undefeated

Unlike Abbas, Abdul-Shafi didn't fail his people, despite all of the hardships he had to endure. He did all that a single person can do on his own, and more.

A Very Good Piece
By Ramzy Baroud

"......In his fight, Abdul-Shafi was not afraid to speak his mind and criticise what disrupted the struggle for Palestinian unity and true sovereignty. He blamed Arafat and his associates for many of the post-Oslo disasters that had befallen his people, chastising the Palestinian leadership for capitulating at Oslo, for accepting far less than his people's rights and aspirations demanded. He refused to take part in the "democracy" charade which instituted, among other pretences, a parliament that had no authority, neither to defy Arafat's will nor Israel's, whose oppressive occupation only intensified after the "peace agreements" were signed.

Naturally, shortly after being voted into parliament Abdul-Shafi was the first to quit, lending his support instead to the Palestinian National Initiative that advocated national unity, democracy and clean government. He saw clearly that while Palestinians may not be able to control Israel's actions, they were certainly capable of coordinating and correcting their own fallouts. This was really all that he asked.

In stark contrast, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to use the Israeli colonial project to his own advantage. Unlike Abdul-Shafi, who would have challenged Israeli domination with a collective Palestinian stance of complete cohesion at home and abroad, Abbas (dubbed a "moderate" and "pragmatic" leader by mainstream media) opted for the deadly option; he collaborated with the enemy. As Palestinians in Gaza are murdered at will, completely besieged and denied the most basic human rights, Abbas's "pragmatic" advisors appear to have warned him against locking horns with the US and Israel. This approach overlooks the fact that defeatism has never helped an oppressed nation recover its lands, its rights and its freedom.

Unfortunately, Abdul-Shafi is no longer there to provide such timely reminders. The soil of Gaza has finally claimed him; the same way it claimed the bodies of many resilient Palestinian men and women, young and old. One can only hope that the spirit of Abdul-Shafi is now free to wander beyond the enclosed borders, electric fences and blocked military zones that turned that poor strip of land into a prison comparable in its isolation to that of Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and his comrades were held for many years.....

Unlike Abbas, Abdul-Shafi didn't fail his people, despite all of the hardships he had to endure. He did all that a single person can do on his own, and more. Shafi's funeral in Gaza reportedly united Palestinians of all factions. The man had spent much of his energy achieving this noble goal during his life. At least his death brought about a fleeting moment of unity, a reminder that such a thing is still possible......."

Friday, October 5, 2007

السيد نصر الله: اسرائيل تقتل قادة 14 اذار وتريد الفتنة

As usual, an excellent speech with many ideas; I recommend reading the whole speech posted here in Arabic.

قناة المنار - محمد عبد الله - يوسف حلال /

" القى الامين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله كلمة لمناسبة يوم القدس العالمي، في احتفال اقامه حزب الله في مجمع سيد الشهداء(ع) في الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت. الاحتفال حضره شخصيات سياسية وعلمائة واطل فيه السيد نصر الله عبر شاشة عملاقة وهنا نص الكلمة كاملة:
أرحب بكم في هذا اليوم وهذه الليلة في يوم القدس العالمي لنؤدي واجبا من الواجبات الدينية والسياسية الملقاة على عاتقنا . هذا اليوم الذي دعا الى إحيائه الإمام الخميني "قده" في كل عام في أخر يوم جمعة من شهر رمضان المبارك بما للزمان والمكان والمناسبة من خصوصيات تاريخية وعقائدية وإيمانية وسياسية وجهادية مميزة .

من باب الوفاء لهذا الامام ان اذكر بان الامام الخميني ومنذ بداية حركته السياسية الجهادية في ايران وتصديه للشأن العام كان يؤمن بقضية فلسطين ويناضل من اجلها ويرفع علمها في كل مكان ومنذ البداية حتى في اواخر الخمسينات عندما اصبح في موقع المرجعية والقيادة والشأن الديني والسياسي، كان دائما يطرح قضية فلسطين في كتبه ومقالاته وفي خطبه وبياناته. ومن اهم المسائل التي كانت تشكل موقع صراع وتناقض مع الشاه في ايران كان موقف نظام الشاه من إسرائيل وتحالف هذا النظام مع إسرائيل وتقديمه النفط لإسرائيل اما بيعا واما مجانا، وكان الامام الخميني يعتبر هذه من اكبر المصائب التي يرتكبها نظام الشاه بحق الأمة والإسلام والمسلمين وبعد ذلك وعند انطلاقة المقاومة الفلسطينية المسلحة بمختلف فصائلها كان الامام يؤيدها معنويا ودينيا وفقهيا وشرعيا وسياسيا وماليا وكان يفتي بجواز دفع الاموال الشرعية للمقاومين والفصائل الفلسطينية . وهذا يؤكد حساسية الأمر لدى الامام عندما يفتي بجواز دفع اموال من هذا النوع .

في مثل هذا النوع من الصراع والقتال والمقاومة وبعد انتصار الثورة أقدم الامام على قطع علاقات إيران مع إسرائيل وطرد السفير الإسرائيلي وأقام اول سفارة لفلسطين على ارض عربية او إسلامية. وأصبح الالتزام بالقدس وفلسطين وشعبها التزاما عقائديا وسياسيا ثابتا في نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية وشعبها ومؤسساتها، التزم به الامام حتى رحيله وواصل دربه بكل إخلاص وصدق ووفاء سماحة الإمام السيد الخامنئي . وما زالت ايران تعبر عن التزامها القوي بهذا الموقف وهذا ما اعلنه اليوم بكل جرأة وشجاعة ووضوح رئيس الجمهورية الإسلامية في ايران السيد احمدي نجاد قبل خطبة الجمعة بالرغم من كل الضغوط التي تتعرض لها الجمهورية الإسلامية نتيجة هذا الموقف وهذا الالتزام، يأتي إعلان الامام الخميني ليوم القدس العالمي في سياق حركة طويلة متواصلة من الالتزام الديني والسياسي لهذه القضية المقدسة وليس موقفا موسميا او طارئا يحاول الإمام من خلاله ان يجامل الشعب الفلسطيني او ان يجامل الأمة وإنما يأتي في هذا السياق التاريخي الطبيعي لحركة الإمام ونهج الإمام والتزام الإمام وثورته وكل أولئك الذين يواصلون نهجه ودربه وطريقه في إيران وكل أنحاء العالم .

Fatima's Comment on Sayyed Nasrallah's Speech on the Occasion of Al-Quds Day, as Posted on Al-Manar Site

"fatima | Algeria

Mashallah we are so brilliant as usual. the Speech is not finished and i m still enjoying every word . the family can heat up their dinner im not gettting up for anyone . Im sure the sheikh wont approve of that but i just wont get up to miss any word of the Sheikh. wow , what courage and bravery , what dignity and karama and national feelings i feel so good listening to the sheikh may allah protect him from his enemis (zionists and Arabs ) i was feeling very low and depressed listening to palestinian refugiees packing their bags to go to brazil ,the old lady said why cant the Arabs take us , why cant the arabs receive us (the so called generous arabs who are known for their karama through history so has believed my Egyptian arabic teacher ) but the speech of the sheikh made me feel so much better , i forgot about the cowards in the Arab world those who love America and the zionists and worship the Dollar ."

Something Needs Explaining in Iraq

By Tony Sayegh

Looking at U.S. fatalities in Iraq over the past 6 months, makes me suspect that something has changed. No it is not the "Surge."

Here are the reported U.S. fatalities since May:

May 126
June 101
July 78
August 84
September 66
October 2
(So far)

There is a distinct de-escalation of the resistance attacks on U.S. forces; the question is why?

This could support the rumors that the U.S. is talking to some leaders of the resistance. It could also feed speculation that the U.S. is trying to reposition itself vis-à-vis the Shiite militias in preparation for a possible attack on Iran. After helping the Shiite death squads ethnically cleanse Baghdad, is the U.S. shifting slightly in the direction of the "Sunni" resistance?

Don't get me wrong; it is not that the U.S. has suddenly discovered the errors of its ways for the past 4 years and is now trying to make amends. Some writers have gone as far as suggesting that the new U.S. policy is the same as under Saddam: Have the Sunnis control the Shiites and try to limit Iran's influence.

I think that the U.S. strategy is the same strategy which Henry Kissinger advised during the Iraq-Iran war: Have both sides destroy and kill each other; and when one side falters, the U.S. props it up to keep it in the bloody fight as long as possible. I think that the U.S. is following the same strategy within Iraq: Have the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds destroy each other and divide the country. Now that the Shiite militias and death squads which the U.S. formed, armed and financed are on the verge of total control (according to reporters such as Nir Rosen), the U.S. appears to be moving to prop up the "Sunni" side, to keep the sectarian killing going.

I am not saying that these are the answers; just thoughts. But we can't deny the fact that U.S. casualties have been on a downward path.

Unmasking AIPAC

"It Doesn't Get Any Worse Than That, Ray"


"VRay Suarez (PBS News Hour Reporter, October 2, 2007): "You're saying that the national legislature of this country, rather than doing the will of the citizens of the United States, passed that Iran resolution, sanctioning the Republican Guard, because of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee?"

Mike Gravel (Democratic Presidential Candidate): "Wait a second. They'll (sic) be some information coming out about how this thing was drafted. So the answer is yes, the short answer. ... This is what's at stake with this resolution. And it's the height of immorality, irresponsibility, and the United States Senate, with the Democrats in charge, voted for the passage of this resolution. It doesn't get any worse than that, Ray.".

In asking his question, Ray Suarez implies that our Senators capitulated to the desires of AIPAC, knowing their vote negated the expressed will of the American people. Gravel, once a Senator from Alaska during the Vietnam War period, answers unhesitatingly, "yes," the short answer is yes. The obvious follow-up question would appear to be: "Why do you think that our Senators would vote against the expressed wishes of their constituents in favor of a special interest lobby?" It was never asked. Fortunately, Sy Hersh, in an interview with Amy Goodman that same day, responded to a question posed by Goodman, a question drawn from a Gravel criticism of Hillary Clinton for having voted for this resolution. Goodman pointed to the 76 votes in favor, both Republican and Democrat, asking Hersh to respond to Gravel's critique.....

Goodman's question is simple enough, why would 76 senators vote for such a resolution. Hersh's response: "Money. A lot of the Jewish money from New York. Come on, let's not kid about it. A significant percentage of Jewish money, and many leading American Jews support the Israeli position that Iran is an existential threat. And I think it is as simple as that. ... That's American politics circa 2007.".....

Isn't it obvious today that the direction of America's policies regarding Iran, and our almost certain to be pre-emptive invasion of this nation on behalf of Israel, is directed by the same coterie of men who pushed us into the disastrous war against Iraq -- Podhoretz, Wurmser, Perle, Feith, Crystal, Kagan, Krouthammer, Abrams and others too numerous to mention, the hounds of war that find no guilt in sending the sons and daughters of others to fight the wars they wage so eloquently in their heads as they sit in front of their computers guiding to their deaths those they never met......."

Seven years on

As Palestinians mark a sad anniversary, their plight continues to worsen

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Today, seven years later, the Palestinians may be at the doorstep of another Intifada. Israel, backed by a post-9/11 US that often looks and acts more Israeli than Israel and more Zionist than Zionism, is adamantly refusing to end its 40-year occupation of Palestinian territory.

And, taking advantage of internal Palestinian divisions, Israel is trying to impose a "peace settlement" on the Palestinian Authority that many ordinary Palestinians say is worse than a surrender.

"The Palestinians are dreaming if they think Israel will give them their rights without a serious struggle," says Professor Abdul-Sattar Qassem of Najah National University.

It certainly has looked that way since Israel refused to allow the creation of a Palestinian state following the Oslo Accords in 1993. Qassem's words will no doubt be vindicated once again following the expected failure of the upcoming November peace conference in the US.

The Palestinians today face worse conditions than ever before. However, Palestinians have always seen mounting repression and misery as an incentive for a revolt against their tormentors rather than cause for submission. So the Intifada continues. "

A putative peace

The chances of anything positive emerging from the upcoming peace summit on Palestine grow daily less

By Khaled Amayreh from Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Palestinian political commentator Hani Al-Masri explains the differences. "A declaration of intent is non-binding, general and vague. Olmert doesn't want to commit himself to anything concrete with regard to ending the occupation. This is why I believe that the Palestinians should stay away from the conference."

Concern is growing, Al-Masri continued, that Israel, in league with the Bush administration, is trying to change the legal references upon which the entire peace process has been based.

"Until recently everyone was talking about UN resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for the peace process. Now, it seems that President Bush's vision of two states living together has become the main reference.

"This would be a disaster for the Palestinian cause. It means that Israel would be able to retain large parts of the occupied West Bank, including the bulk of East Jerusalem," he told Al-Ahram Weekly.....

For their parts, Israeli officials have been urging Arab states not to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, on a visit to New York this week, complained that the position of certain Arab states was emboldening the Palestinians and consequently impeding peace. Livni urged the PA leadership to be "realistic", suggesting that Palestinian demands for a total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories pursuant to the pertinent UN resolutions was a non-starter......"

US aid dependency: The road to ruin

Hicham Safieddine, Electronic Lebanon, Oct 5, 2007

"The true measure of the alliance of any two states or political groups rests on an accurate and fair reading of two forms of support: military aid and economic assistance, and reaching a verdict about these two forms of support is based on the examination of three properties of such aid: 1) The monetary value (size or quantity) of this aid; 2) The declared and hidden objectives of this aid; and 3) The conditions attached to it (the quality of this aid). Based on these criteria, Hicham Safieddine asks, what is the truth behind the US support for Lebanon, in numbers and according to Washington's own sources?.....

Understanding US aid to Lebanon, and comparing it to similar patterns in Palestine and Iraq in light of this overall map of US aid to the region, leaves little doubt that Lebanese (and by extension Palestinian and Iraqi) politicians betting on the goodwill and unmatched power of Washington to build their country's defenses, are doing so out of either unintentional or willful ignorance, and both are a recipe for further instability and a disregard for the safety and security of their people."

The Blackwater Massacre

Out of control 'private' contractors terrorize Iraq

By Justin Raimondo

".....Instead, four armored vehicles manned by "private" guards employed by Blackwater USA moved into position and fired: Ahmed was hit, but the car continued on its path, out of control. When the smoke cleared, and the casualties counted, 17 Iraqis were dead and 24 wounded. The Washington Post cites one anonymous high-ranking U.S. official as saying:

"This is a nightmare. We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we're trying to have an impact for the long term."

It's a nightmare alright, especially for the Iraqi people, who have long resented this "private" army of thugs and wannabe heroes, apparently subject to nonexistent rules of engagement.....

The crisis will come when Iraqi demands for justice collide with the reality of Iraq's de facto status as a U.S. colony. In the event of a showdown over this case – and over the larger issue of sovereignty – the Americans will either go to war with the government they hailed as the vanguard of the region's democratic transformation, or else pack up their gear and go.

I'm betting on the former. In a war full of ironic twists and turns, this would be the crowning example of what Chalmers Johnson calls "blowback" – the unintended consequences of U.S. government intervention overseas that blow back in our faces. With one very important difference, however: it's hard to believe that growing tensions between Washington and the Shi'ite-dominated Maliki government, while unintended, were altogether unanticipated.

In their planned war with Iran, surely the best the neocons can hope for is a neutral – or effectively neutralized – Iraqi government. It doesn't take much imagination, however, to project the possibility of U.S. troops facing off against the Shi'ite party militias run by the parties of the ruling coalition.

How will our War Party explain this rather disturbing turn of events to their bewildered and war-weary constituency, which is, at any rate, shrinking fast? Easy. By that time, the image of a nuke-wielding terrorist-sponsoring Saddam Hussein will have long since morphed into a nuclear-armed, Hezbollah-sponsoring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, bound and determined to wipe Israel off the map."


As in Orwell's "1984," alliances are constantly changing and the populace does not know or remember if Big Brother is fighting Eastasia or Eurasia today and which one is the ally. Yesterday's ally is today's enemy.

Israel Releasing a Few Palestinian Prisoners (for P.R.) While Arresting Even a Larger Number
By Naser Jafari

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Khalil Bendib

Mercenaries, murder and mayhem

How a little-known rule promulgated by the Bush administration in Iraq, Order 17, let loose the dogs of war.

By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian

".....Within Iraq, Order 17 is the legal analogue to these policies, extending impunity on an international scale. So long as Order 17 remains in place, the US occupation will lack legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqis. Until pressured by the house committee on oversight to conduct an investigation, the state department was complicit with the mercenaries, undermining its own mandate to bring security to Iraq, as well as destroying any semblance of credibility for its stated goals of fostering civil society, democracy and the rule of law. Under cover of war the Bush administration defends lawlessness. In the name of fighting terrorism it protects outlaws."

The fallout from an attack on Iran would be devastating

The drumbeat of war in Washington is growing - and so must public pressure against British involvement in such folly

Seumas Milne
Friday October 5, 2007
The Guardian

"It seems almost incredible after the catastrophe of the Iraq war, but the signs are growing that the Bush administration wants to do it all over again - this time to Iran. Just as in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, the Washington air is thick with unsubstantiated claims about weapons of mass destruction; demonisation of the country's president has reached bizarre proportions; intelligence leaks about links with al-Qaida and attacks on US and British targets are now routine; demands for war from the administration's neoconservative outriders are becoming increasingly strident; the pronouncements of George Bush and his vice-president, Dick Cheney, are turning ever more belligerent - and administration sources claim that the British government is privately ready to play ball......"

Rights group: Impartial investigation for 2000 killing of Muhammad al-Dura

Press Release, Al Mezan, Oct 4, 2007

"The Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) claimed yesterday that the video of the murder of Muhammad Jamal al-Dura on 30 September 2000 was staged by a cameraman in Gaza. The scene of the killing of the 11-year-old boy was one of the most moving ones ever broadcast during the second intifada that had started three days before the incident.

The video shows al-Dura and his father trying to take cover behind a concrete block while the father attempts to protect his son as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire directly at them. The child was killed and the father was moderately injured in this incident. The video shows the child and the father in a desperate situation while neither of them pose any danger to the IOF. The video was broadcast by France 2 TV, and provoked strong condemnation at official and popular levels worldwide at the time.

Based on the GPO's allegations, Israel stripped the credentials of the two journalists who taped the footage. The decision was approved, and therefore accepted, by Israel's Prime Minister Office Legal Advisor. The GPO claims that IOF do not bear responsibility for killing the child.

Nevertheless, information and evidence collected by Al Mezan from the field rebut the GPO's allegations. Al Mezan had availed its evidence to an international fact-finding mission in 2000. The mission encompassed the UN independent expert Professor John Dugard and fifteen experts. Al Mezan invited eyewitnesses and presented other evidence to the mission, which investigated the perpetration of multiple crimes by IOF in this incident. IOF also targeted an ambulance that tried to help al-Dura and his father and killed its driver, 48-year-old Fayiz Saleem al-Bilbissy.

Al Mezan noted that the murder of al-Dura occurred on the third day of the intifada, a time that saw the highest rate of killing of Palestinian children by IOF. According to the documented information, children were killed as they threw stones at Israeli soldiers who were well-protected inside barracks at the entrance of the road to the former settlement of Netsarim, south of Gaza City. This period was characterized by extensive passive resistance in the form of demonstrations and throwing stones......."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

US hawk David Wurmser 'plotted Iran war'

One of the most controversial figures in American foreign policy over the past decade, David Wurmser has been accused of spying for Israel, plotting a war with Iran and peddling lies to engineer what he still refers to as "the American liberation of Iraq".

".....For the first two he was a special adviser to his intellectual mentor Mr Bolton, an outspoken proponent of the unilateral use of American power.

But it was in 1996 that Mr Wurmser first shot to notoriety when he was one of the authors of a document entitled "Clean Break" produced for Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel's prime minister.

Its authors, who also included Richard Perle, a leading light in neoconservatism, Mr Feith, and Mr Wurmser's wife Meyrav, advocated pre-emptive strikes against Iran and Syria and the abandonment of traditional "land for peace" negotiations with Palestinians......."

US 'must break Iran and Syria regimes'

America should seize every opportunity to force regime change in Syria and Iran, a former senior adviser to the White House has urged.

""We need to do everything possible to destabilise the Syrian regime and exploit every single moment they strategically overstep," said David Wurmser, who recently resigned after four years as Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser.

"That would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the regime if necessary." He said that an end to Baathist rule in Damascus could trigger a domino effect that would then bring down the Teheran regime.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the first since he left government, he argued that the United States had to be prepared to attack both Syria and Iran to prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that could result in a much wider war.

Mr Wurmser, 46, a leading neo-conservative who has played a pivotal role in the Bush administration since the September 11th attacks, said that diplomacy would fail to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power. Overthrowing Teheran's theocratic regime should therefore be a top US priority......"

What a War on Iran Might Look Like [photo essay]

By Nina Berman, AlterNet

"Photos of the aftermath of Israel's air strikes on Lebanon give an idea of what a war on Iran might look like.

The Lebanon War of 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah lasted 34 days, and according to veteran war correspondent Scott Anderson, author of Double Blind, was noteworthy for its "sheer senselessness." AlterNet and multimedia co-sponsor BAGnewsNotes are pleased to host the above slideshow of images from Double Blind by photographer Paolo Pellegrin and an interview with author Scott Anderson, conducted by AlterNet's Nina Berman......"

Finally....The Chimp-in-Chief Found His Intellectual Match!

The Life and Times of Dick Cheney

A Eulogy for the Veep


"Last night I had the strangest dream.

Dick Cheney died and I was asked to deliver his eulogy. As far as I can remember this is what I said:

How shall we live without him? Without Dick Cheney, who will lie to us? Who will hide from us? Who will shoot without looking? Who will start the needless wars and instruct the President to tap the endless phone calls? Ah, the nation mourns.

To whom else should we turn in the future when we need someone to express true contempt forwell, not just for common people, but for all of humanity. Dick Cheney was a man of powerful beliefs: He believed himself better than anyone else on this planet. He believed he had the right to steal elections, pollute the environment 'til it was as tainted and gruesome as his own face, to conduct himself like a pasha and to impoverish every man woman and child to whom he did not personally bow and scrape. If you believe that God is merciful, we shall not see his like again.....

And yet, at the end, I am still convinced of this: Dick Cheney is today in the place he wanted and deserved to be. A place where no one can find him, no one can hold him accountable. Oh shrink back in fear, ye demons of hell. And get the fuck out of the way. Whoever was the biggest, most selfish, most fascistic prick among you just stepped down a notch......"

The Power of the Israel Lobby

Two Knights and a Dragon


"There are books that change people's consciousness and change history. Some tell a story, like Harriet Beech Stowe's 1851 "Uncle Tom's Cabin", which gave a huge impetus to the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Others take the form of a political treatise, like Theodor Herzl's "Der Judenstaat", which gave birth to the Zionist movement. Or they can be scientific in nature, like Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species", which changed the way humanity sees itself. And perhaps political satire, too, can shake the world, like "1984" by George Orwell.

The impact of these books was amplified by their timing. They appeared exactly at the right time, when a large public was ready to absorb their message.

It may well turn out that the book by the two professors, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy", is just such a book......"

A New Map of Iraq.

By Layla Anwar

"This is " Iraq al Jadeed ", the New Iraq of the sectarian Iranian Government, with its militias and thugs and "Islamic" revolutionary Guards...who landed with the Occupation

This is the New Iraq of the "Islamic" fundamentalists, the pious ones, the " God fearing ones." ...who arrived with the Occupation.

This is the New Iraq that America brought to us. This is American Freedom and Democracy. This is American Liberation.

This is my Dear Raouf. This is the gentle, kind, Raouf.
This is his body. These are the marks of the New Iraq. These are the hands and arms that embrace us daily in the New Iraq.

This is the Iraqi body. With its streams, mountains, rivers and skies...Look at it well. Scan it well like you scan our irises. Make prints out of it, like you take our digital fingerprints....Look well, very well.

Contemplate the colors.

The deep black, the color of the new map. The Southern part is all black. The color of the chadors. The color of the turbaned mullahs. The color of perpetual mourning for something that happened 7 centuries ago. The color of political shi'ism from Iran. The color of oil, shiny black.
You absolutely adore, worship shiny black. Don't you?
So take it now. Contemplate it now.

And what about the red ? Admire the red for me.
Red, the color of your valiant peshmergas in the North. The Northern part of the map is all red. It covers Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniya, Dohuk...
Your leftists love red. The color of independence, revolution and blood ....
Your leftists loved the Independence of the Kurds. They did everything to beef up numbers and sold it to your rightists. Now applaud the red you see. Drink it and quench your thirst with it.

And have you noticed the white patch in the Center ?
This is Baghdad - the destroyed, vanquished city. With its 2 million livid white dead bodies waving like white flags in the air, like birds of "Freedom" in the winds... White the color of sunni robes. White the color of Death.
Snow white. Yes it is. It is bandaged in snow white. Revel in white now. Purify yourselves with it.

Observe the blue. Blue is the color of the sky. Blue is the rivers...
Why has this blue turned brown ? Scorched brown, burned brown, putrefied blue brown.
Observe the blues, turning brown...
You love it when everything takes on the colors of feces. A reflection of yourselves. Admire yourselves now.

And the new map has green writing in the middle. "Allah Akbar" it says. God is Great.
If you look close enough you will find it.
It is written with human hands, with fingers, with nails, engraved, etched, scratched, deep into the skin of the Iraqi Body.
Search for it, in between the marks of the chains, rods, sticks, rubber hose...
Search for it well, in between the scars, amidst the wounds, in between the mutilated cracks, inside the infected sores...Search well.

This is the new Iraqi body, the partitioned body, the divided body...
This is the new Iraqi body, the raped, violated, tortured, mutilated Iraqi body...
This is the new Iraqi body, the invaded, occupied, Iraqi body...

The new Iraqi body, the piece of meat of Liberation...
The kingdom within, the temple, that has been spoiled and broken without, losing its sacredness, its integrity, its identity...

This is the spirit made flesh, that you spit on, insult, scar, wound, stab, piss on, behead, chop, drill, amputate and murder.

This is your doing. Your Violence. Your Brutality. Your Greed. Your Evilnesss. Your Silence. Your Apathy. Your Indifference. Your Negligence. Your Irresponsibility. Your Immorality. Your Cowardice. Your Selling out...

Yes You, Right and Left.
Yes You. Americans and Westerners alike.
Yes You, Iranians
Yes You, Israelis
Yes You, Arabs.

This is the New Iraq. This is You."

By Abu Mahjoob

Trying to Appease the Great Satan: Iran urges international support for Afghanistan's Karzai

"New York (dpa) - Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Motaki called on the international community Wednesday to continue to support Afghan President Hamid Karzai who, he said, has no alternatives but face insecurity, extremism and drugs trafficking.....

Karzai, faced with growing Taliban insurgency, said he may consider talking with Taliban leaders to work out a political deal in order to end the conflict. But Motaki said such proposal may "not be constructive."

He said Britain, which contributes significant forces in Afghanistan, is reviewing its involvement under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"We do consider those (British) changes positive," Motaki said without elaborating.

"We do believe that President Karzai has no alternatives but face civil war and instability," Motaki said. "We urge the international community and all parties to support Karzai."

The Afghan leader, on his part, has also defended Iran against US criticism....."

Support Khaled Mudallal's right to education


"University of Bradford student trapped in Gaza - visit

Sign the online petition here

Khaled Mudallal is a Palestinian and a business and management student at the University of Bradford. He is currently trapped in Gaza due to the restrictions on freedom of movement imposed by Israel. Khaled needs to return to Bradford urgently to begin the third year of his degree course.

Khaled returned to his home town of Rafah in June with the intention of staying only for a few days. He has a British residence permit valid until November 2010.

According to Israeli human rights organisation Gisha, Khaled is one of several hundred Palestinian students who are being prevented from leaving Gaza to return to courses abroad. Gisha believes the Israeli government is in breach of international law. The right to education is enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a statement to the press NUS President, Gemma Tumelty said "The Prime Minister should call on the Israeli government to allow Khaled Al-Mudallal to leave Gaza immediately. The right to education is a human right as stated in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right for students to study freely and safely across the world must be defended. Education will be central to finding a peaceful resolution in the Middle East."

The NUS Black Students' Campaign, General Union of Palestinian Students, lecturers union UCU, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, University of Bradford Union and Federation of Student Islamic Societies have launched a national campaign calling on all students, academics and others in Britain to support Khaled's right to continue his education and the right of all Palestinian students to access education free from the restrictions imposed by Israel's illegal occupation.

Visit the website for more information and latest news.

Alternatively contact NUS Black Students' Officer, Ruqayyah Collector on (44) 07966627291 or email

We are asking you to:

• Print and collect signatures for the petition (click here)

• or sign online here

• and encourage other to do the same – the petitions will be sent to the British and the Israeli Prime Ministers.

• Write to the Israeli Prime Minister calling for the travel restrictions imposed on Gaza to be lifted and for Khaled to be allowed to leave to return to Bradford.

• Write to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling on him to bring pressure to bear on his Israeli counterpart to lift the restrictions on students from Gaza including Khaled leaving Gaza to access education.

• Contact student and other media to try to get articles published raising awareness of Khaled's situation and the plight of Palestinian students living under Israel's illegal occupation.

Urgent appeal - please circulate widely to all contacts.

The National Union of Students (NUS) LET KHALED STUDY

Please also see:

University of Bradford

Israeli High Court Declines to Intervene in Military Policy Trapping U.K. Student in Gaza

Student trapped in Gaza loses fight to return to study in Britain "

The myth of the all-powerful Ahmadinejad

By Philip Giraldi
(A former Central Intelligence Agency officer)
Asia Times

"Despite what his detractors insist, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is no tinhorn dictator. He is an elected president with little power and not particularly popular within his own country, where he commands no military power. But there are many who make more of him as a near-satanic force, particularly the US Congress, which has recently given a virtual carte blanche for the White House to attack Iran at will......"

The Political Bankruptcy of Habila's Brain (Ahmad Yousef)

Yousef: European parties try to find political room for Hamas in the West

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Ahmed Yousef, the political advisor to premier Ismail Haneyya, affirmed on Wednesday that there are official and semi-official European parties seeking to find political room for Hamas in the West.

"There are European attempts to create political presence for Hamas in the European states, in the sense that there would be official and semi-official meetings with the European countries, and the statements recently issued by European institutions calling for the need to communicate with Hamas confirm that," Yousef stated in a press release received by the PIC.

The political advisor pointed out that the recent statements of some European presidents and officials reflected the desire to open up to Hamas in its capacity as a key player in the Palestinian politics that enjoys huge popularity in the Palestinian street.

The political advisor underlined that the Europeans are aware that no one would dare to take any initiative without the consent of Hamas and they look for a way to integrate Hamas in the political process with their understanding of Hamas's vision towards the issue of resistance as a legitimate right as long as the Israeli occupation exists.

The political advisor also pointed out in this context that there are American pressures on some parties not to open up to Hamas, adding that this matter will remain stalled for some time until the current radical American administration, which is totally biased to the Israeli occupation, leaves the White House.

He added: "The coming years may witness a shift in the American policy towards dealing objectively and impartially with the Palestinian affairs and this would open the door for Europe to get strongly involved in the Palestinian file and to deal seriously and officially with Hamas.""

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Recovering Arab Rights

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you expect the upcoming peace conference with Israel to succeed?

With about 500 responding so far (it is very early), 96% said no.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Favorite ‘Anti-Semite’

By Tony Karon

"The utterly charming thing about the Zionist Thought Police is their apparent inability to restrain themselves, even from the very excesses that will prove to be their own undoing. Having asked sane and rational people to believe that Jimmy Carter is a Holocaust denier simply for pointing out the obvious about the apartheid regime Israel maintains in the occupied territories, the same crew now want us to believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an anti-Semite. No jokes! That was the reason cited for Tutu being banned from speaking at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis. “We had heard some things he said that some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy,” explained university official Doug Hennes.

The “anti-Semitic” views Tutu had expressed were in his April 2002 speech “Occupation is Oppression” in which he likened the occupation regime in the West Bank, based on his personal experience of it, to what he had experienced as a black person in South Africa. He recalled the role of Jews in South Africa in the struggle to end apartheid.....

Tutu is challenging American institutions to put morality above the power of a lobby. (Yes, I know he called it “the Jewish lobby” and I don’t think of it as that; I think of it as a rightwing Likudnik lobby open to right-wing jingoists of every religious and ethnic stripe who share the Likudnik vision, but then again, I can understand Tutu’s confusion here, because it’s not as if any mainstream Jewish institutions have stepped forward and said no, these people who would suppress honest discussion of Israel speak only for themselves, not for the Jews…)

More power to him. "

Bush's Global 'Dirty War'

by Robert Parry

Global Research, October 3, 2007

"George W. Bush has transformed elite units of the U.S. military – including Special Forces and highly trained sniper teams – into “death squads” with a license to kill unarmed targets on the suspicion that they are a threat to American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to evidence from recent court cases.

Though this reality has been the subject of whispers within the U.S. intelligence community for several years, it has now emerged into public view with two attempted prosecutions of American soldiers whose defense attorneys cited “rules of engagement” that permit the killing of suspected insurgents......

The troubling picture is that the U.S. chain of command, presumably up to President Bush, has authorized loose “rules of engagement” that allow targeted killings – as well as other objectionable tactics including arbitrary arrests, “enhanced interrogations,” kidnappings in third countries with “extraordinary renditions” to countries that torture, secret CIA prisons, detentions without trial, and “reeducation camps” for younger detainees.

The U.S. counterinsurgency and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan also have been augmented by heavily armed mercenaries, such as the Blackwater “security contractors” who operate outside the law.....

The use of lethal force against unarmed suspects and civilians has a notorious history in irregular warfare especially when an occupying army finds itself confronting an indigenous resistance in which guerrillas and their political supporters blend in with the local population.

In effect, Bush’s “global war on terror” appears to have reestablished what was known during the Vietnam War as Operation Phoenix, a program that assassinated Vietcong cadre, including suspected communist political allies......

By early 2005, as the Iraqi insurgency grew, an increasingly frustrated Bush administration reportedly debated a “Salvador option” for Iraq, an apparent reference to the “death squad” operations that decimated the ranks of perceived leftists who were opposed to El Salvador’s right-wing military junta in the early 1980s......

The greater significance of the cases is that they confirm the long-whispered allegations that the U.S. chain of command has approved standing orders that give the U.S. military broad discretion to kill suspected militants on sight.

The “global war on terror” appears to have morphed into a global “dirty war” with George W. Bush in ultimate command."

Sarkozy's Jewish roots

The Australian Jewish News

"France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, lost 57 members of his family to the Nazis and comes from a long line of Jewish and Zionist leaders and heroes, writes RAANAN ELIAZ......"

By Mike Luckovich

The State Dept.’s Murderous Guardians

By Robert Scheer

"How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians? More urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in Washington tolerate—and pay to conceal—the wanton murder conducted on their watch?.....

Of course they’re worth it, along with the Iraqi deaths they cause, if your own life is on the line and that’s all that matters. This is clearly the position of the State Department employees in Iraq and their bosses in Washington who have covered up for Blackwater for years. As the House committee majority staff states: “There is no evidence in the documents that the Committee has reviewed that the State Department sought to restrain Blackwater’s actions, raised concerns about the number of shooting incidents involving Blackwater or the company’s high rate of shooting first, or detained contractors for investigation.”

No better evidence that the Iraqis are the Indians, attempting as imperfectly as they may to protect their ancestral terrain. But this time the imperial majesty of the United States, represented by American Ambassador Ryan Crocker, is established not by the U.S. cavalry but by a band of hired gunslingers. "

The Syrian Story Keeps Changing: Assad: We have our means and ways to retaliate


"02/10/2007 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed for the first time Monday that Israeli warplanes attacked a target inside his country last month and didn't just violate the Syrian airspace. However Assad said the jets hit only an "abandoned military building". In an interview with the BBC, Assad made clear that Syria would not attend a U.S.-sponsored international peace conference on the Middle East if it did not address Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 war. "It should be about comprehensive peace", Assad said. He added that Syria reserves the right to respond to the attack, although he preferred it not to be a military one. "Retaliation doesn't mean missile for missile and bomb for bomb," he told the BBC in Damascus. "We have our means to retaliate, maybe politically, maybe in other ways. But we have the right to retaliate in different means." "


He might retaliate by blowing kisses to Olmert, or perhaps by helping the U.S. occupation in Iraq; these are all options to Bashar Rabbit.

Habila's Adviser is at it Again! Just Listen to This Idiot and You Realize How Off the Mark He and Hamas Are.

I will post the English version when available.

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

أكد أحمد يوسف، المستشار السياسي لرئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني إسماعيل هنية، أن هناك جهات وأطراف أوربية رسمية وشبة رسمية تسعى لتكوين مجال سياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" في الغرب.

وقال يوسف في بيان صحفي، تلقى "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" نسخة منه اليوم الأربعاء (3/10): "إن هناك محاولات أوربية لإيجاد حضور سياسي لحماس في الدول الأوربية، بمعني أن يكون هناك لقاءات رسمية أو شبه رسمية مع الدول الأوروبية، والتصريحات التي صدرت مؤخراً من مؤسسات أوربية تطالب بضرورة التواصل مع حماس تؤكد على ذلك ".

ولفت النظر إلى أن تصريحات رؤساء دول أوروبية ومسؤولين في الخارجية لدي هذه الدول "عكست في الآونة الأخيرة هذا الرغبة في الانفتاح على حماس باعتبارها فاعل أساس في السياسة الفلسطينية ولها حضور شعبي ضخم في الشارع".

وأضاف يوسف: "لقد نجحنا في خلق اختراق داخلي وأوجدنا مساحات للتعاطف معنا في أوروبا، لذلك نشهد هذه التظاهرات الأوروبية الحاشدة المؤيدة للقضية الفلسطينية والمنددة بالسياسات الصهيونية".

وأكد أنه "لا يمكن أن يكون هناك حل سياسي للقضية الفلسطينية دون أن تكون حماس شريك في هذه الجهود المبذولة لتحقيق هذا الحل"، موضحاً أن الغرب "يعرف أن الرئيس عباس لا يمكن له أن يقدم على أي خطوة كبيرة دون مباركة وتأييد حركة حماس"، مشدداً على أن حماس هي "المفتاح لكل مغاليق السياسة فيما يتعلق بالقضية الفلسطينية، وإذا لم يتم التعاطي معها لن يتم تحقيق أي تقدم يذكر".

وقال مستشار رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني: "لن يجرؤ أحد على أخذ الموافقة تجاه أي مبادرة دون موافقة حركة حماس، وهذه الحقيقة يعلمها الأوربيون وهم يبحثون كيف يمكن إدماج حماس في العملية السياسية مع تفهم رؤية حماس في قضية المقاومة باعتبارها حق مشروع طالما بقي الاحتلال".

وأكد يوسف وجود "ضغط أمريكي على بعض الأطراف لعدم الانفتاح على حماس"، مبيناً أن هذا الأمر "سيبقى مغلقاً لبعض الوقت حتى تنتهي الإدارة الأمريكية المتشددة والمنحازة لدولة الاحتلال، والمعادية لحركة حماس".

وتابع: "ربما تشهد السنوات القادمة تحولاً في السياسة الأمريكية باتجاه التعاطي بموضوعية وحيادية بخصوص الشأن الفلسطيني، وهذا سيفتح الباب أمام أوروبا للدخول بقوة على الملف الفلسطيني الصهيوني والتعاطي الجاد وبشكل رسمي مع حماس وهذا يعني رفع حماس من قائمة المنظمات الإرهابية".

وأوضح يوسف أن "السياسة الأمريكية خلقت حالة من العداء والكراهية في العالمين العربي والأوروبي بشكل غير مسبوق، بسبب السياسة المنحازة تجاه دولة الاحتلال والتعاطي غير الأخلاقي مع الشعب الفلسطيني".

ونوه يوسف إلى أن الإدارة الأمريكية تعلم أن أمامها مهمة كبري لتحسين صورة أمريكا في العالم للمحافظة على مصالحها في الشرق الأوسط، "وهذا يلزم ضرورة البحث عن حل عادل للقضية الفلسطينية، والعمل الجاد لإقامة دولة فلسطينية حرة مستقلة".

وطالب يوسف "بتفعيل دور الإعلام العربي والفلسطيني في التواصل مع أوروبا لإبراز معاناة الشعب الفلسطيني وكسب التأييد الأوروبي لقضاياه العادلة وفضح الجرائم الصهيونية اليومية بحق أبناء شعبنا".

وقال: "نحن نعيش ضحية لآله الإعلام الصهيونية باعتبارها ماكنة قوية نجحت في اختراق العقلية الغربية وتضليلها، في حين أن الإعلام الفلسطيني والعربي لم يتفطنوا لخطورة الإعلام الصهيوني في الغرب إلا مؤخراً، ومع ذلك لم يبذلوا الجهد الكافي لتوفير الإمكانيات وحشد الدعم والإمكانيات لمواجهة الماكنة الدعائية الصهيونية". "


Missing Links

"Abdulbari Atwan attacks the fatwa of sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh (see prior post) on the basis that it serves the interests of the corrupt Saudi regime and their American allies, so when the sheikh referred to those who manipulate the passions of young Saudis in furtherance of their own ulterior motives, the best example of that would be the sheikh himself and the other clerics who serve the interests of the Saudi regime. The fatwa didn't mention any particular country, but Atwan draws particular attention to the timing of this fatwa, coming as it does at a time when Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the region are trying to work out a scheme that would facilitate the continuation of the American occupation of Iraq. When the mosques of Saudi Arabia were made centers of contributions and mobilizations for Arab and Islamic jihad in Afghanistan, the Balkans, south Philippines and elsewhere, the religious authorities backed these movements, and there was never the kind of prohibition that we have here in the case of Iraq. The point being that the fatwa is politically motivated in the interests of a corrupt and America-allied regime......"

Also see Atwan's original article:

فتاوي تجريم المجاهدين
عبد الباري عطوان

Keep Your Head Down, You Traitor!

Having a Carnage Party

Counting to Three

by Tom Engelhardt

"At least Caesar was just commenting on reality when he wrote that "all Gaul is divided into three parts." Last week, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden attempted to create reality when an overwhelming majority of the U.S. Senate voted for his non-binding resolution to divide Iraq into three parts – Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish autonomous zones. Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post reported that the 75-23 Senate vote was "a significant milestone … carving out common ground in a debate that has grown increasingly polarized and focused on military strategy." Murray added, "The [tripartite] structure is spelled out in Iraq's constitution, but Biden would initiate local and regional diplomatic efforts to hasten its evolution.".....

No matter how meaningless Biden's resolution may turn out to be as policy, it has the benefit of taking us directly to bedrock Washington belief systems – specifically, that it is America's global duty to solve the crises of other nations (even the ones that we set off). We are, after all, the nation-building nation par excellence and, despite all evidence to the contrary in Iraq, it is still impossible for official Washington to imagine us as anything but part of the solution rather than part of the problem......."

Preparing for The November Conference
The Only Objective? Arab Puppet Regimes' Normalization With Israel

Student trapped in Gaza loses fight to return to study in Britain

The Independent

"A third-year Bradford University student – one of hundreds whose continued studies are at risk because they cannot leave Gaza – yesterday lost his legal attempt to be allowed urgently to return to Britain.

Israel's Supreme Court yesterday rejected a petition brought on behalf of Khaled al-Mudallal by the Israeli human rights organisation Gisha, which it hoped would pave the way for the departure of Palestinian students trapped since Hamas's seizure of Gaza in June.

Mr Mudallal returned to Gaza in June to collect his new bride Duaa – who also has a British residence permit valid until November 2010 – but was prevented from leaving when Israel closed the crossing into Egypt after the Fatah-Hamas infighting that broke out after he arrived.

He says his final year, rented house, part-time job and a year-long work placement built into his business and management course are threatened because he cannot take vital exams he was forced to postpone because of an earlier closure when he came back to get married last December.

The plight of Mr Mudallal, 22, has attracted strong support from the Bradford University students' union and the National Union of Students.

Since mid-August, Israel has allowed between 450 and 600 students to leave from the Erez crossing into Israel to Nitzana on the Israel-Egypt border. But between 4,000 and 5,000 Palestinians with work or study permits abroad are trapped, and no buses have left since 6 September......"

Brown should listen to the military and quit Iraq now

The best way to improve Britain's standing in the Middle East is to admit to a terrible blunder and withdraw

Jonathan Steele in Amman
Wednesday October 3, 2007
The Guardian

".....Some 42% of the public want Britain's involvement in Iraq to end as soon as possible, and another 22% by the end of next year, according to a BBC poll last month. The prime minister talked yesterday of a reduction of a thousand troops by Christmas, but if he says nothing specific about a full withdrawal, he will be disappointing millions of people, as well as the troops themselves.......

Britain, it is true, played a key role in the invasion and has allocated more troops than other European Nato members to the occupation. Leaving Iraq now would send a more significant message. Britain was perceived as participating in what most Arabs and Iraqis saw as the latest in a long line of imperial western interventions in their region. That is why withdrawal should not be done by stealth. For Downing Street to declare that Britain's part in the occupation of Iraq is over would be the single best way of improving Britain's standing throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world......

Similarly, whatever the US decides to do with its own doomed mission in Iraq is beyond London's control. There is no basis to imagine that by remaining in Iraq, Britain has some say over how long or short a time the US stays there. British politicians should take the advice of the British military. They should withdraw UK forces from Iraq completely, and do it now."

A divided Iraq just doesn't add up

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"......With the US's Shi'ite allies the picture is much more nuanced. The Senate resolution happens to be the Supreme Iraq Islamic Council's (SIIC's) plan almost verbatim. Its author is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the SIIC's leader, currently in Iran undergoing cancer treatment. His original plan - establishing an eight-province Shi'iteistan - was approved by a simple parliamentary majority (with minimum quorum) in October 2006. It will not be implemented before mid-2008. For the Iraqi street (not the elite), Sunni and Shi'ite alike, the fact that the US Senate and the SIIC want the same thing for Iraq says everything there is to know about where true alliances lie.......

The Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups six Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms, is against it. The toothless Arab League is against it - accusing the US of destroying Iraq and offering it to al-Qaeda. Yemen is also against it. US ally Saudi Arabia has been mute.....

The Iraqi daily Az-Zaman was close to the mark, noting that for the US, Iraq is and will remain a "vassal state". A weak, dismembered Iraq makes sense only in a scenario of the US exercising control, directly or indirectly, meddling in "sovereign" decisions, keeping its "invisible" military bases and profiting from Blackwater USA and assorted mercenaries' services till kingdom come.....

Whatever imperialist machinations, the fact is that Iraq, over these almost 90 years, has been constituted into a nation - at least for Sunnis and Shi'ites. National pride is an essential trait of the Iraqi character. Partition could be the US scenario towards the Korea model. This means military bases on the ground for decades. It also means - unlike Korea - endless war, because the Sunni Arab resistance (as well as Muqtada's Mahdi Army) will never give up.

Partition could also lead to a Vietnam model. A unified Iraqi resistance eventually wins (it already has almost total popular appeal), topples the government in Baghdad and the US is forced to perform a humiliating remix of the helicopters abandoning Saigon in 1975.

The kingdom, then state, created by Bell is no more. Saddam Hussein was basically perpetuating what had been invented in the 1920s. When Bush's troops invaded in 2003, they destroyed not only the regime but the whole state. Bell was indeed a visionary. Liberal democracy in Iraq is virtually impossible. The Shi'ite-led theocracy that British imperialism tried to prevent in the 1920s is back with a vengeance.

But for the moment, all the horrors built into the Bush administration's disaster in Iraq have been able to engender above all a truly horrific process: ongoing, slow-motion ethnic cleansing. Kurdistan will be populated almost exclusively by Kurds. Sunnistan will be poor and resentful, with no oil, and sprinkled with US military bases. Baghdad will be an overwhelmingly Shi'ite city (it used to be majority-Sunni). And Shi'iteistan will be a wealthy beacon of the Shi'ite revival all over the majority Sunni Middle East. This will all be accomplished by overlapping ethnic cleansing......"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Israelis Fighting Israeli Apartheid

By Tony Karon

"I’ve never imagined a simple equation between the non-racial democracy for which we fought (and which we won) in South Africa and achieving a unitary state democratic solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Indeed, I’ll admit to being anything but dogmatic on just how that conflict is to be solved. While in principle, I’d certainly prefer a unitary democratic state with full democratic equality for all its citizens, I can see the considerable differences between our situation and the one in Israel/Palestine that render a single state solution exceedingly difficult. At the same time, I can also see that Israel’s systematic territorial expansion may already have rendered a Palestinian state unviable. (For more on this issue, listen to Ali Abunimah and Akiva Eldar debate the unitary vs. two-state solution on Canadian radio.)

But what’s clear enough is that for the past 40 years, there has been only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and that state has been Israel. And Israel has been an apartheid state: Like South Africa, it’s a democracy ruled by law for one group of people, and a military-colonial regime for another. Those who complain about it the use of “apartheid” to describe Israeli policies are either in deep denial, or else argue, as many liberals do, that the term is not helpful because it is provocative or “demonizes” the Israelis. This, too, though, is an evasion: The purpose of using the term is precisely to draw attention to the fact that Israel is routinely engaged in practices long deemed abhorrent by the international community, but because of Israel’s claim to represent the Jewish people and because of our history of suffering, this reality is simply overlooked, excused, or ignored. So, yes, using the word “apartheid” to describe what Israel is doing in the West Bank is meant to make people feel uncomfortable over what Israel is doing, and to recognize that condoning it is the moral equivalent of condoning apartheid. Clearly, that’s why Israeli human rights advocates routinely use the term......"

New revelations in attack on American spy ship

Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident

From the Chicago Tribune
Special report

"Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism, ordained Baptist minister, is shouting into the phone.

"I'm angry! I'm seething with anger! Forty years, and I'm seething with anger!"

Lockwood was aboard the USS Liberty, a super-secret spy ship on station in the eastern Mediterranean, when four Israeli fighter jets flew out of the afternoon sun to strafe and bomb the virtually defenseless vessel on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of what would become known as the Six-Day War.

For Lockwood and many other survivors, the anger is mixed with incredulity: that Israel would attack an important ally, then attribute the attack to a case of mistaken identity by Israeli pilots who had confused the U.S. Navy's most distinctive ship with an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport that was half its size and had a dissimilar profile. And they're also incredulous that, for years, their own government would reject their calls for a thorough investigation.

"They tried to lie their way out of it!" Lockwood shouts. "I don't believe that for a minute! You just don't shoot at a ship at sea without identifying it, making sure of your target!"

Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping.

Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel's reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation......

"It's time for the truth to come out," declared Boston, who is now 84. "There have been so many cover-ups."

"Someday the truth of this will come out," said Dennis Eikleberry, a NSA technician aboard the Liberty. "Someday it will, but we'll all be gone."

James Ennes, now 74, who was officer of the deck just before the attack began, and later spent two months in a body cast, is one of the more vocal survivors. Like the others, Ennes is tired of waiting.

"We want both sides to stop lying," he said."

Democracy is more than going to the polls

By Amira Hass

"......However, democracy also is displaying civic responsibility, by constantly supervising the political decisions and acts between elections, thus ensuring that democracy's essence has not been eroded. Those who say they support a two-state solution are ignoring the other facet of the democracy-for-Jews - the military regime that it imposes on the Palestinians. This regime creates faits accomplis all the time, foiling the last chance for a solution (i.e. full withdrawal with slight changes to the June 4, 1967 lines and establishing a Palestinian state).

The Jewish citizens who enjoy their democracy are not personally harmed by its other facet. On the contrary, they gain from it - cheap land and quality housing, additional water sources, a cadre of security professionals in demand worldwide, and thriving defense industries. This is the "calm" that even self-defined peace supporters refrain from disrupting.

In the Soviet empire and racist South Africa - like in today's Burma (Myanmar) - objecting to oppression involved a high personal price. Therefore, one could understand the objectors who chose not to act. In Israel, because it is a democracy for Jews, all those who sit idle, ignoring what is being done in their name, bear a heavy responsibility.

Chiefs of staff, prime ministers, ministers and generals are not the only ones responsible. Anyone who theoretically objects to oppression, discrimination and expulsion, but does not actively take part in the struggle and in creating a constant popular resistance to topple the apartheid regime we have created here, is responsible. "

Beating the Drums for the Next War

By Scott Horton
Harper's Magazine

".....I spoke with a number of European diplomats who are keeping track of the issue, and I found a near uniform analysis. These diplomats believe that the United States will launch an air war on Iran, and that it will occur within the next six to eight months. I am therefore moving the hands of the Next War clock another minute closer to midnight and putting the likelihood of conflict at 70%. It’s still not certain, and it’s still avertable, but at this point it has to be seen as conventional wisdom to say that America is headed for another war in the Islamic world—it’s fourth since Bush became president, if we include the proxy war in Lebanon. And this time it will be a war against a nation with vastly greater military resources, as well as a demonstrated ability to wield terrorism as a tactic—Iran.

Let’s take quick stock of the further indicators from the last week or so....."

"I Hate All Iranians"

Frank Talk from Defense Department Official



"It ought to be political suicide. A Bush administration official (specifically, the Defense Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs) told a group of six members of the British Parliament, "In any case, I hate all Iranians." Three MPs attending the meeting have confirmed this to the British tabloid The Daily Mail.

The official in question, Debra Cagan, appears in the Daily Mail photo in a red leather blouse and what looks like a chain-mail choker around her neck, along with some sort of martial cross although I understand she's Jewish. Her hair's slicked back like that of a fifties street gang kid. She looks like a butch dominatrix. I hope she would not be offended by this description because it is accurate and I suspect it's her intention to project such an image.....

Dressed that way, she states in a casual aside to respectable Britons, as though they'll understand and be anything other than appalled, "I hate all Iranians." Did she preface the remark with, "Just between us imperialists"? Did she expect that they'd just nod in sympathy and keep the matter to themselves? The Mail reports they were in fact "taken aback," which of course speaks somewhat well for them.....

Somehow it seems fitting that a Defense Department official should speak so frankly as three U.S. aircraft carriers linger off the Iranian coast, the well-financed anti-Iran disinformation campaign swells, and neocon ideologues granted extensive White House access explicitly demand the bombing of Iran. It is the natural culmination of the vilification trend. If you hate all of them (and are grotesquely ignorant of their vast contribution to human civilization), why not nuke them, and their monuments and treasures, and destroy their 3000 year history, and "wipe them off the map"? Why not prepare public opinion for that shattering scenario, and grind those boot heels into the brains of any sympathizers of those you call "sand-niggers" as you try to spread Bush's gospel of hate?"

Is it the same type of cross??
(Photo contributed by Europe)

The Right to Exist

States or People?


"It is a curious phrase this "right to exist". Israel wants the world to accept its "right to exist" as a state, but it denies the indigenous Palestinians their right to exist as a people in their own land. International relations only acknowledges the rights of people, not states. [1] States exist because of the formal recognition afforded them by other states, and now that Israel is recognised as a state, it in fact exists. It makes no sense to demand that a political party recognise Israel's "right to exist", much less punish 4 million Palestinians because a majority voted the Hamas Party into government. Yet, these are the very words that are holding the Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza, to an impossible ransom......

The situation for the Palestinians right now is very dangerous. Israel's settlement enterprise has been largely achieved: 40 per cent of the West Bank is off limits to the Palestinians and the rest has been virtually cantonised with movement all but restricted between them. Gaza is totally isolated. There is not a border or space in or around Palestinian land that is not controlled by Israel. Also, Israel is creating facts on the ground that have already made it impossible for the Palestinians to have their state within the 1967 Green line. What is left has been made deliberately confusing and has led to the myth of the "generous" offer. The 92 per cent that Israel is again offering the Palestinians, is 92 per cent of the 22 per cent of land left within the Green line, not 92 per cent of the whole that the Palestinians originally owned. Such an offer is frankly insulting and so are the further border adjustments that Israel is making even as the offer is on the table. It shows to what audacious lengths Israel will go to exist as a Jewish state. That it is at the expense of the Palestinian right to exist in their own land, is illegal and immoral. It would be suicide for the Palestinian leadership to agree to anything that is not reciprocated, particularly the unconditional recognition of the Jewish state and the demand for its "right to exist"."

Seymour Hersh: White House Intensifying Plans to Attack Iran

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman


".....The Bush administration is approaching its last year in the White House. As the clock ticks toward 2008, speculation grows over whether President Bush and Vice President Cheney will indeed launch a widely feared attack on Iran.

The latest report from the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says war planning is intensifying. Writing in the New Yorker, Hersh reveals that the White House recently requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff to redraw longstanding plans for a possible attack. According to Hersh, the Bush administration’s rationale for bombing Iran has shifted from Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program to Iran's role in Iraq. Hersh writes, "What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.” The focus is no longer a broad bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere.

On Sunday, John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, called for the US to attack Iran and overthrow Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bolton said, "If we were to strike Iran, it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change...The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back."

AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh joins us now from Washington, D.C. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Sy. Lay out what you have learned.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Yeah, well, actually, it’s funny. The plans have both intensified and they're less intense, in this sense...... "

Let's try partitioning the US

By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News

"......If Iraq were to be broken into three, the nation would be rendered toothless for all time in the same way the former Yugoslavia is today.

The US would then have an excuse to stay around in some force "to protect" such tiny fledgling states from each other and from their neighbours. In fact, it would consolidate complete domination of their oil because such small entities would no longer have a voice.

The biggest winner from the partitioning of Iraq would be Israel, whose officials and journalists have long advocated such division.

On the Shalom TV website there is an interview with Joe Biden who refers to Israel as the "single greatest strength America has in the Middle East" and proclaims with pride "I am a Zionist". We should believe him.

Here's a suggestion for the Arab world. How about a vote on the break-up of America?

How about giving California back to Mexico, returning Hawaii to its indigenous islanders and Alaska to the Eskimos and Indians?

Let's restrict Caucasians to the East and West coasts, and package-up a few states in between for African Americans and Latinos. And while we're about it, let's invite foreign conglomerates to buy up the country's oil, gas and timber.

Outrageous ethnic cleansing that might be but that's exactly what Biden and friends think they have the right to do in Iraq. Surely if such uninformed nose-poking is good enough for Washington, it's equally appropriate for the rest of us