Saturday, October 27, 2007

By Mike Luckovich

Will History Repeat Itself?

Is this the ‘clash of civilizations’ that the Neocons had advocated – and have worked so hard to advance? Over the past century, the nations that initiated the two major wars eventually came to regret them. Is it likely that this history may repeat itself?

By M. Shahid Alam
Special to

".....Why, then, did the US not target Pakistan?

Six years later, this question is not less pertinent: and for two reasons. After being stalled by the Iraqi resistance, US plans for war against Iran are again gathering steam. If Iran is such a tempting target, why not take a few potshots at Pakistan also?.....

Yet, there has been little talk in Washington or Tel Aviv about adding Pakistan to the ‘axis of evil.’ This is the Pakistani paradox.

This paradox has a simple explanation. In Pakistan, the US had effected regime change without a change of regime. Almost overnight, following the attacks of 9-11, the US had drafted the Pakistani military to wage war against Muslim extremists. The US had gained an army: and Pakistan’s military dictators had gained longevity......

This Latin American approach to counter-insurgency is not likely to work in Pakistan. Their military juntas were firmly rooted in the elites and middle classes, set apart from the leftist insurgents – mostly Amerindians or Mestizos – by both class and race. The boundary between the adversaries in Latin America was firmly drawn.

In Pakistan, the insurgents are Muslim nationalists. They are drawn mainly from Pashtun peasants, but they enjoy broad support among the peasants as well as the middle classes all over Pakistan.

On the other side, about a fourth of Pakistan army consists of Pashtuns; and mid- and low-ranking officers are middle-class in their origin and orientation. Only the top military brass identify firmly with the elites......"

Iran: The Road to Armageddon?

by Felicity Arbuthnot

Global Research, October 27, 2007

"They are at it again. Remember when Milosovic was labelled “the butcher of Belgrade”, the new Hitler? Then Saddam Hussein was “the butcher of Bagdad” and, of course the most dangerous man since Hitler - with weapons of mass destruction which could be unleashed on the world “in forty five minutes”.

Colin Powell lied to the U.N., about the danger Iraq posed to the planet; George Bush lied to anyone who would listen; Tony Blair lied to Parliament and aides concocted dossiers so dodgy they were laughable, yet in spite of the millions who marched, protested and knew the lies for what they were, there were millions who bought fiction as fact.

And here we go again. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (wait for “the tyrant of Tehran”) threatens the planet, is supplying weapons to Iraq's resistance, is destabilising the region and the paradise that is occupied Iraq. Whilst there are indeed plenty of Iranians or Iranian sympathisers in Iraq, they came in with the occupiers. Many in high places in Iraq's corrupt, militia driven, American puppet government, speak Farsi, not Arabic......

As Iraq, is this really about a nuclear threat?

Will the millions who believed the last great lie, be fooled again? If they are not, will it make any difference, in the illegal space the US and UK Administrations inhabit?

On the ground in the Middle East (or in this case on the water) it seems not. Here is a communication from a Landing Signals Officer* (an LSO directs carrier aircraft whilst landing) on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most strategically vital oil routes, which is controlled by Iran.

The LSO is convinced Iran will be attacked, commenting that “... all Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished (meaning) all targets have been chosen, prioritized and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers ...” Further, the LSO comments, there is deep disquiet amongst senior officers about “staging a massive attack on Iran”. However, “I have seen more than one senior Commander disappear ...”; it's weird, because everyone who has “disappeared” has questioned this mission.

How limited would the attack be?

I don't think it's limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every Tomahawk, we have an inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden (with) thousands of targets. I believe no American will know when it happens, until after it happens.”The LSO ponders that discussing a secret attack is “treason” but is so concerned “something tells me to tell it anyway.”

Yes, we are going to hit Iran big time. Whatever political discussion that is going on is window dressing ... a red herring. I see what's going on here below deck, in the hangers and weapons bay - and I have a sick feeling about how it is going to turn out.'”....."

Norman Podhoretz: Armageddon NOW!

We Must Bomb Iran, Says US Republican Guru

The Telegraph

"NEW YORK - A senior foreign policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani has urged that Iran be bombed using cruise missiles and “bunker busters” to set back Teheran’s nuclear programme by at least five years.

The tough message at a time of crisis between the United States and Iraq was delivered by Norman Podhoretz, one of the founders of neoconservatism, who has also imparted his stark advice personally to a receptive President George W. Bush.

“None of the alternatives to military action - negotiations, sanctions, provoking an internal insurrection - can possibly work,” said Mr Podhoretz.

“They’re all ways of evading the terrible choice we have to make which is to either let them get the bomb or to bomb them.”

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Podhoretz said he was certain that bombing raids could be successful. “People I’ve talked to have no doubt we could set it back five or 10 years. There are those who believe we can get the underground facilities as well with these highly sophisticated bunker-busting munitions.”.....

He is the most eminent of a clutch of uncompromisingly hawkish aides assembled by Mr Giuliani. They include Daniel Pipes, who opposes a Palestinian state and believes America should “inspire fear, not affection”, and Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official who has argued that Condoleezza Rice’s diplomacy is “dangerous” and signals American “weakness” to Teheran......

Mr Podhoretz’s thesis is that the war on terror is in fact World War Four and that the 42-year-long Cold War should be more properly described as World War Three.

Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest honour, by President George W. Bush in 2004, Mr Podhoretz later sought a rare one-on-on audience with the US commander-in-chief. They met in New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in the spring.

The author of the recent World War IV: the Long Struggle Against Islamofacsism spent about 35 minutes outlining his case for air strikes against Iran as Mr Bush’s then chief adviser Karl Rove took notes. “Whether I had any effect on him I truly don’t know but I sure tried my best to persuade him,” he said. “He was very cordial. He was warm. He listened. He occasionally asked a question as I made the case but he was truly poker faced.”

Mr Podhoretz left the meeting unshaken in his belief that Mr Bush would attack Iran before he leaves office. “The spirit of the questions was not to try to refute or contradict what I was saying. I didn’t get any negative vibes.”.....

I would say it would take five minutes. You’d wake up one morning and the strikes would have been ordered and carried out during the night. All the president has to do is say go.”"

Reducing the Palestinians

Contributed by Lucia

This great piece by Professor Joseph Massad was originally published on December 25, 2003. It is even more meaningful and relevant today, and that is one of the hallmarks of great analysis.

"One of the most important changes that the Oslo process brought about was the de facto transformation, indeed the ultimate corruption, of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, from a liberation movement representing the entire Palestinian people, into a vassal regime called the Palestinian Authority (PA), representing only one third of the Palestinian people. What is quite insidious in this process is how the PA, conscious of this transformation, continues to speak of the "Palestinian people", which had been reduced through the Oslo Accords to those West Bank and Gaza Palestinians it now represents. Diaspora Palestinians are simply referred to, in accordance with US and Israeli parlance, as "refugees", and Israeli Palestinians are referred to by Israeli diktat as "Israeli Arabs". In doing so, not only has the scope of the Palestinian leadership and its representative status of the whole Palestinian people (achieved in international fora in 1974 after a strenuous struggle) been substantially reduced, but the Palestinian people themselves were diminished demographically by the PA's appropriation of the designation "Palestinian people" to refer to a mere third of Palestinians......"

Video: Protest Against The Zio-Fascist David Horowitz at Emory University

Israel plans to 'isolate Gaza 100 percent'

Israel says planing to separate itself completely from Palestinian territory in long term.

Contributed by Lucia

"TEL AVIV - Israel plans to paralyse the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip in every possible way and separate itself completely from the Palestinian territory in the long term, a minister said on Saturday.

"We want to separate ourselves from the Gaza Strip at the level of its infrastructure in every way possible," Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli public radio.

On Thursday Defence Minister Ehud Barak announced that Israel would start periodic electricity cuts and limit fuel deliveries to the Strip because of the continued firing of rockets by militants.

But Vilnai said these measures were not really because of the rocket firing "but really to achieve the separation of this territory, which was approved in principle two weeks ago by the Israeli government, and whose application had only been delayed for a simple legalistic check."

In September, the security cabinet decreed the Gaza Strip "a hostile entity." It has been controlled completely by Hamas since mid-June when the democratically elected movement ousted security forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and the Fatah party.

"Long term we want to separate ourselves from this territory, 100 percent," said Vilnai.

Since the Hamas takeover the Israelis have imposed a tight vice around the Gaza Strip, closing crossing points and only allowing through essential products.

Palestinians and human rights groups charge that the noose around the Strip amounts to collective punishment of civilians, contrary to international law.

The sanctions, the first of their kind since the Palestinian intifada or uprising began in late September 2000, can now proceed without further authorisation from the Israeli government.

Since the uprising started, a total of 5,906 people -- the vast majority of them Palestinians -- have been killed."


"I'd bet it is the zionist-palestinian Yasser Abed Rabbo the one who appears in the photo sitting together with the zio-zio minister declaring Israel plans to 'isolate Gaza 100 percent'. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the idea even came from him.

This Abed Rabbo, a turncoat, a long time collaborator and a traitor, currently advisor to Abbas, is one of the most sinister characters existing in the Fatah/PLO and in the palestinian affairs." --- Lucia

While in Ireland

From Irish Eyes

"During my recent trip back to Ireland, I spent a day up north in Derry - I'm sure you've heard of it from the Civil Rights struggle and the events of Bloody Sunday.

Anyway, while walking around the Bogside - famous for being the scene of Bloody Sunday and for its murals I noticed a lot of Palestinian flags and messages of support for Hamas (odd in a sense, being as the various Irish republican movements were invariably left-wing and secular, but I suppose not so odd in another sense). I also came across the large mural I've attached - unfortunately my poor photography skills left out the large Irish flag to the right. It struck me as ironic that you can so easily find public symbols of sympathy for Palestine in Ireland, separated by thousands of miles and linguistic/religious/ethnic differences, but you will struggle to find one here in Saudi Arabia, or just about anywhere else in the Arab world, for that matter.

Then again, I suppose it's not all that ironic when you think about it..."

'I Don't Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier's Life'

After 14 months in a Baghdad district torn by mounting sectarian violence, members of one U.S. unit are tired, bitter and skeptical

".....Asked if the American endeavor here was worth their sacrifice -- 20 soldiers from the battalion have been killed in Baghdad -- Alarcon said no: "I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life."

While top U.S. commanders say the statistics of violence have registered a steep drop in Baghdad and elsewhere, the soldiers' experience in Sadiyah shows that numbers alone do not describe the sense of aborted normalcy -- the fear, the disrupted lives -- that still hangs over the city......

"The closer we get to leaving, the more we worry about it," said Alarcon, 27, sitting at a plastic table with several other soldiers outside their outpost in Sadiyah. "Being here, you know that any second, any time of the day, your life could be over."

"Gone in a flash," said Sgt. Matthew Marino.

"We had two mechanics working in the motor pool get hit by mortars," Alarcon said. "You would have never thought." Both died.

Many of the soldiers from the battalion are on their second tour in Iraq. Three years ago, they were based in Tikrit, the home of Saddam Hussein, a city they entered expecting to fight a determined Sunni insurgency. By the end of their tour, with much of the violence contained, many of them felt optimistic about progress in Iraq.

"I honestly thought we were making a difference in Tikrit. Then we come back to a hellhole," Marino said. "That was a playground compared to Baghdad."

The American people don't fully realize what's going on, said Staff Sgt. Richard McClary, 27, a section leader from Buffalo.

"They just know back there what the higher-ups here tell them. But the higher-ups don't go anywhere, and actually they only go to the safe places, places with a little bit of gunfire," he said. "They don't ever [expletive] see what we see on the ground.""

In Search of Logic About Iran

A Political Psychodrama


"......The Jihadi Cowboy

Dr. Ali Ettefagh, writing from Tehran in Washington Post, argues that since Iran hasn't attacked anyone U.S. should leave her alone. This argument will make perfect sense to sane and/or logical people. But based on Brook's PsychoBush Theorem discussed above, we need to come up with new arguments to deal with psychotic Bushies. All evidence indicates that the Bushies only believe in language of force. To come and say "Iran hasn't invaded any countries" only aggravates the situation and causes the Bushies to show more teeth. You should instead write about all the times Iran has invaded and conquered others. Feel free to go back a few thousand years!

We have to accept that we live in an era of intellectual rip-offs, tactics sold as policy and instant strategies broadcast live on TV. The show on the plastic box and talking-head spin-meisters will do the thinking and planning for us all. Accordingly, we lower expectations and shall not be surprised when we see childish games are sold as a mimic of statesmanship. His Excellency, the president of a superpower, is now demanding that the world forget what it knows and listen to his version of stories.

Finally, it's useful to review history. Iran has not started a war, or grabbed a neighbor's territory, since the United States became an independent country. Iran helped the Allies during World War II, providing a supply route to Russia and a safe escape route for Polish Jews, some of whom settled in Iran. Iran has never trampled on the dignity of any one.

But a small Middle Eastern country fabricated after World War II might well start the world's next Iranian conflict--a country that that aspires to be the real spin-meister of cheap tactics in Washington........"

Iraq, Iran and the U.S. "Vision"

Condi Rice, Imperial Cheerleader


"The U.S.'s current cheerleader for American imperial arrogance, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has now stated that Iran presents a major obstacle blocking the U.S.'s vision for the Middle East. In her fairy-tale world, this vision is of a region where the countries "trade more, invest more, talk more and work more constructively to solve problems."

This entire bizarre concept needs further exploration......

Where, one wonders, does all this leave the U.S., Iran and the world? Certainly it is not in a safer place than it was prior to Ms. Rice's peculiar visionary pronouncements. As the U.S. struggles to keep a resurgent Taliban from regaining total control in Afghanistan, and tries to subdue the Iraqi people sufficiently to grab that country's oil, another war on a new front does not seem like a reasonable course of action. But Mr. Bush and his neocon yes-men advisors do not seemed concerned with the facts as they have lived them these past four years. Rather, they prefer their pie-in-the-sky visions of the Middle East being overrun by U.S. soldiers and emerging a short time later as a model of peace and democracy. That Congress does not seem willing to prevent this colossal error is terrifying for much of the world. For the people living in the Middle East, the fear must be entirely overwhelming. And one cannot blame them if that fear turns to an anger that will threaten the world, much as Mr. Bush has threatened it."

Regime Change Redux

By Patrick Foy

".....In the aftermath of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, and the “shock and awe” which went with it, Tel Aviv has expanded its nuclear weapons delivery options in the form of more advanced German U-boats, supposedly to confront the Iranian nuclear weapons threat, equally non-existent as that of Iraq. In the meantime, Washington has destroyed the nation of Iraq, by a non-stop campaign of ruination via sanctions and war commencing in 1990. Such is the background to the confrontation with Iran, the next target on the radar screen of the Tel Aviv-Washington axis.....

....Cheney and Bush remain on stage, apparently unfazed, and AIPAC still has a hammer-lock on the U.S. Congress when it comes to Middle East policy. Ultimately, everything is determined by what Tel Aviv wants, or does not want, to happen. It does not matter what you think or want. What matters is how far America’s elected officials are prepared to go under the spell of special interests. To date, there have been no limits......

One wonders what the White House is waiting for. From either conviction or intimidation, French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel are on board, ready to support the Tel Aviv-Washington axis in its endeavors, no matter how crackbrained and reckless. Whitehall is of the same mind, the retirement of Tony Blair notwithstanding. So the EU is in the bag. Capitol Hill, taking its cue from AIPAC, plus all the front-running presidential contenders of both parties, who take the same cue, have stated unequivocally that the option for the United States to bomb Iran is on the table until and unless Tehran stops enriching uranium. The blank check for war has been signed, sealed and delivered......."

The "Brave" Lebanese Army: "Everything they couldn't take they destroyed"

Maureen Clare Murphy writing from Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, Live from Lebanon, Oct 26, 2007

"......The middle-aged video-maker and editor asks, "the battle never reached this far, so why did they burn my house?" The area where Khaled lives was claimed by the Lebanese army during the first days of its fighting that would last for fifteen weeks against the militant group Fatah al-Islam that had established itself in the camp. During the siege Khaled photographed from the nearby highway Lebanese soldiers occupying his home and saw that there was no damage sustained to the house. The day the battle between the army and Fatah al-Islam officially ended, the victorious Lebanese army paraded down the highway, greeted by Lebanese citizens from the nearby villages, many of which lost their soldier sons during the siege. From the highway, Khaled saw soldiers doing something to his house, though he couldn't tell exactly what, while the crowd was cheering them on.

When he returned to his house a week and a half ago, Khaled found that it had been completely looted, including the appliances in the kitchen, which was destroyed by shelling. Additionally, fuel had been thrown onto the remaining walls and everything flammable in the house was put in the center of the rooms and burned. The iron front door had been blasted open and all of Khaled's furniture, his television and appliances, bed furnishings, and even the olive oil, were stolen from the house.

However, what he did find were a dozen washing machines and a dozen fridges, all of them taken from his neighbors' houses. Because of his home's close proximity to the highway, he reckons that it was a strategic place for the looting army, or whomever they let in to do the stealing, to take their bounty from the camp. "Import/export from Nahr al-Bared to China and Indonesia," Khaled jokes. Also indicating the systematic nature of the looting, a neighbor found 25 televisions being stored in his house. The appliances were eventually matched with their owners, though Khaled is currently making use of an unclaimed washing machine until its owner comes to collect it.....

As Palestinians rehabilitate what remains of their homes and start over again, their laundry hanging on clotheslines a symbol of perseverance as meaningful as any flag, the evidence that might prompt an investigation will be cleaned up as well. Fearful that the wanton destruction of the camp is just another page of the Palestinian refugees' history of constant vulnerability and displacement -- hundreds of Nahr al-Bared's residents were already displaced from the previously destroyed camps in Lebanon -- they express their wish to preserve their homes, community, and national cause. At the clinic one of the older men declares, "Despite all of this ... we will continue to stay here and resist and remain steadfast ... We will rebuild the camp, even if it's with our own hands.""

Audio: Crossing the Line speaks with Mearsheimer and Walt

"This week on Crossing The Line: In the second half of an interview on Worldview on Chicago Public Radio, host Jerome McDonnell speaks with professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt about their controversial paper that is seen as very critical of the pro-Zionist lobby AIPAC. Since its publication in the London Review of Books, neo-conservative and Zionist supporters of Israel have labeled both men as anti-Semitic. Today we'll hear part two of this two-part interview....."

Click Here to Listen

Aunt Condi Wants YOU! State Department to force diplomats to Iraq

Lack of volunteers prompts agency to impose Baghdad service on some

Contributed by Fatima

"WASHINGTON - The State Department said Friday it will require some diplomats to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers willing to work at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Beginning Monday, 200 to 300 diplomats will be notified that they have been identified as "prime candidates" to fill 40 to 50 vacancies that will open next year at the embassy, said Harry Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service.

Those notified that they have been selected for a one-year posting will have 10 days to respond. Only those with compelling reasons, such as a medical condition, will be excused from duty, Thomas said......"

Friday, October 26, 2007

'Closer to Reality'


Washington society has been chattering about the risk of war with Tehran. It's an open secret that Vice President Dick Cheney has made bombing plans, but even high-ranking military experts think an attack would lead to world economic chaos, or even what George W. Bush calls 'World War III.'

Spiegel Online

"US Vice President Dick Cheney -- the power behind the throne, the eminence grise, the man with the (very) occasional grandfatherly smile -- is notorious for his propensity for secretiveness and behind-the-scenes manipulation. He's capable of anything, say friends as well as enemies. Given this reputation, it's no big surprise that Cheney has already asked for a backroom analysis of how a war with Iran might begin.

In the scenario concocted by Cheney's strategists, Washington's first step would be to convince Israel to fire missiles at Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Tehran would retaliate with its own strike, providing the US with an excuse to attack military targets and nuclear facilities in Iran.

This information was leaked by an official close to the vice president. Cheney himself hasn't denied engaging in such war games. For years, in fact, he's been open about his opinion that an attack on Iran, a member of US President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil," is inevitable......"

Getting Justice in the HLF (Holy Land Foundation) Case

Prosecutors Should Stop Wasting Money on This Witch Hunts


"After years of investigations and wiretaps, after three months of court arguments and a record 19 straight days of jury deliberations, the jury could not return a single guilty verdict on the nearly 200 charges in a case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) an American-Muslim charity.

The prosecution asked the jury for justice and sure enough, they got it.....

Many observers in this country and abroad viewed these charges as an attempt to block humanitarian aid to Palestinians suffering under a brutal Israeli occupation. They were also seen as a means to chill the First Amendment rights and charitable giving of American Muslims and other people opposed to our nation's one-sided policies in the Middle East. In essence, this was an Israeli trial tried on American soil in which guilt by association was used as a substitute for actual evidence.

The use of surveillance gathered by illegal means and by spying on citizens, guilt by association, and anonymous foreign witnesses and evidence threatens the foundation of our rule of law.

Edward Abington, the U.S. Consult General to Jerusalem, former ambassador and the second ranking intelligence officer for the U.S. State Department during the mid-1990s said that the evidence presented by the prosecutions in this case was a "propaganda exercise by the Israelis." Describing the thousands of pages presented in this trial, he testified that "you don't know where they came from, how they are related to each other. If you are an American analyst, you can't rely on those documents as showing a true picture."....."

Home of the Brave?

Reducing US Casualties By Killing More Civilians


"Several years ago, I warned that as the Bush/Cheney administration sought to reduce politically problematic casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would resort to increased use of air attacks to combat the growing insurgency in Iraq and the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

I also predicted that the result of this switch in tactics would lead to higher civilian casualties in those two countries.

We're now seeing those results......

In both countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, the slaughter of civilians by US forces has been so outrageous that even their puppet leaders have been compelled to speak up, demanding that the US stop being so aggressive and indiscriminate......

What would one expect? The rank-and-file troops know that the war is lost in both countries, and that the American public doesn't support what they are doing anyhow, so who's going to want to die for that? You'd have to be a real chump to let yourself be killed just to provide political cover for a politically challenged president and vice president--especially a president and vice-president who famously ducked their own duty during the Vietnam War."

Does "Loving" Lebanon Mean Never Having to Say You're Sorry?

Jeffrey Feltman Moves On


"......Following a total of nearly seven years service in Israel, at both the US Embassy and the US Consulate, Foreign Service Officer Feltman was sworn in as US Ambassador to Lebanon on July 22, 2004, with the help of former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk's an ardent Zionist and current Washington DC based activist for AIPAC and an Arab/Muslim bashing mouthpiece for the Israel Lobby. Feltman acquired Indyk's support to be Israel's man in Lebanon during the year (2000-2001) they worked together in Israel. Feltman was Ambassador Indyk's Special Assistant.

But, no sooner had Feltman arrived in Beirut than he was handed a thick file which included nearly a dozen unfinished projects. They were not just your everday, easy make work projects and he has failed at every one of them.

According to a Staffer at the Lebanon Desk at the State Department (202-644-4000) who was not authorized to speak publicly on this subject: "State expected Feltman to advance at least some of this shit!" indicating a list fairly well known to Foggy Bottom denizens. Some of the items:

-- Formulate ways to weaken Hezbollah and the influence of the Lebanese Resistance in Lebanese politics and the Region

--Sharply reduce, with the eventual objective of elimination, Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanese politics and help identify their 'assets'.

--Conduct and coordinate with visiting US officials, on site visits and undertake discussions with Tripoli/Bignin/Akkar Sunni groups with respect to a possible joint US-Lebanese Airbase at Kleit

-- Analyse the feasibility of a North Lebanon Sunni Army to check the Southern Shia military power

--Facilitate the establishment of a new Shia political party in the Tyre area in order to counter and weaken Amal and Hezbollah

-- Analyze the prospects of a civil war in Lebanon involving March 14 Christians and Sunni Muslims against (Aounist) Christians and Shia Muslims

-- Investigate and analyze the possibility of Lebanon being divided into Autonomous Regions a la Iraq .

-- Advance the plans to build an enlarged and more secure US Embassy in Baabda

--Bolster the acceptance and popular standing in Lebanon of the Maronite Lebanese Forces and the Druze Socialist Party led by Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblatt respectively ( Meanwhile, Feltman's bosses in Washington were telling Walid Jumblatt this week that he can count on US military help for the ' autonomous zone' he dreams about to combat Hezbollah and the Lebanese Resistance)

-- Continue analysis of the feasibility of a US-Lebanese Strategic Alliance with a possible NATO aspect

And the list goes on.....

In the final analysis, Jeffrey Feltman's work record, including his nearly 7 years in Israel and 40 months in Lebanon suggests that Israel arranged for Feltman to be posted to Lebanon to do Israel's work.

In that task he succeeded, but many of the nearly 50,000 US citizens in Lebanon think we Americans can do better next time by bringing in an envoy that will put American and Lebanese interests before Israel's."

A Reminder to Abbas:
This is How the Palestinians Dealt With Collaborators Before

'War on terror' is now war on Iran

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"......The demonization of Iran drags on relentlessly as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been officially branded a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its elite Quds Force a supporter of terrorism. The latter has for months been accused of supplying Shi'ite militias in Iraq with weapons that are killing US soldiers......

Sanctions do bite - as some Iranian conservatives have started to publicly admit. But Tehran won't be in a hurry to mount a hug-and-kiss expedition to Washington. Cuba has been fighting a US blockade and sanctions for almost five decades - and has managed to survive with dignity......

This new round of sanctions is just one side of the demonization of Iran campaign - as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was once again spinning the other side of the same old scratched vinyl, that of preventing "one of the world's worst regimes from acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons".....

It is the Quds Force that trained Iraq's Badr Brigades, the paramilitary arm of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the party of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim allied with the US. The Badr are firmly ensconced at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior - and it is they who have spawned death squads and accelerated ethnic cleansing in Baghdad. Instead of accusing Iran without any evidence, Washington should take a good look at what its Iraqi allies are up to......

The business-minded IRGC thrived during the 1990s. Today it controls more than 100 large companies involved in telecoms, road and dam construction, luxury hotels, the auto industry (the Mazda assembly line in Iran) and, crucially, oil and gas exploitation at the giant South Pars field......

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is an ex-pasdaran himself - thus also a "terrorist" according to Bush administration logic. The same applies to no fewer than two-thirds of the members of the Majlis (parliament). Most of the leadership at the Ministry of Interior is also ex-pasdaran. Five IRGC generals are already under United Nations sanctions, as they are responsible for Iran's nuclear and missile program.....

Even well-positioned Iranians cannot clearly distinguish who is manipulating whom in the wide net involving the Supreme Leader, the IRGC, the fervent bassiji masses and business and national security interests. By branding the IRGC as terrorist, Washington has in fact declared war on the Iranian power elite.

One can imagine what would happen if any developing country branded the US industrial-military complex as "terrorists" - and any number of countries would have plenty of reasons to do so. By stretching its "war on terror" logic to actually naming names, the Bush administration has boxed itself into no other option than regime change in Iran. "

Palestine needs a new PLO


Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

"......How could an outdated, castrated and obsequious PLO carry out the national tasks mandated by its raisons d'etre? Indeed, how could such an organization possibly continue to claim to represent 10 million Palestinians awaiting justice and liberty?

In truth, there are a hundred reasons explaining why it is imperative to part with this un-Palestinian PLO which had recognized Israel, free of charge, without any Israeli reciprocal Israeli recognition of a prospective Palestinian state?

Why did it give Israel a unilateral recognition for free? Why? Were they intoxicated? Were they drugged? Were they that stupid? Even retarded imbeciles wouldn’t have made this strategic blunder.

In fact, the current PLO, which is actually a more corrupted version of the erstwhile corrupt PLO, is now contemplating recognizing Israel as a country “of the Jews, for the Jews, and by the Jews,” all in order to demonstrate to Ehud Olmert and his cohorts “Palestinian” sincerity and good will.

Well, this is neither sincerity nor good will. This is treason and national apostasy. After all, who in the deepest layer of hell authorized these late-day America lovers to speak on behalf of one forth of Israel’s population, the estimated 1.5 million Arabs?

Don’t these imbeciles understand that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state implies consent to a possible future ethnic cleansing of Israel’s Palestinian citizens? Again, are they drunk? Don’t they understand the meaning of words?

More scandalously, the PLO is reportedly willing and ready to sacrifice, with a strike of a pen, the paramount right of return of millions of tormented Palestinian refugees who were forcefully coerced into leaving their homes and places of residence when Israel was created nearly sixty years ago.

Again who gave the leadership of this PLO the right to speak in our name? Let them get out of their air-conditioned offices in Ramallah and face the people eye to eye.

It is abundantly clear that the current PLO is more responsible and more answerable to Israel and to the United States than it is to the people it claims to represent.

A few weeks ago, the PA leadership ignored the vital national interests of the Palestinian people when it submissively heeded a warning from the werewolf of the White House to refrain from holding any contacts with Hamas, which could lead to Palestinian national reconciliation.

Oh, halleluiah! if Bush has already become the ultimate decision-maker in the PLO, then what personal and national dignity Palestinians will still have in giving loyalty to such a quisling organization.

The present PLO, thanks to its subservient alliance with America and Israel, has effectively lost every semblance of independence and free will, which makes it utterly unqualified to represent the Palestinian people and defend their vital national interests.

Today, any Palestinian man, woman and child will notice that the PLO, which is basking in Ramallah’s luxurious hotels unconcerned for the slow-motion genocide the Palestinian people are facing, especially in the Gaza Strip, and is behaving and acting as a mere sub-contractor for the Israeli occupiers.

They carry out raids, arrests, and acts of vandalism against their own people. They suppress, oppress and repress, all on behalf of the Israeli occupation. They close down charities and impose a police-state apparatus to impress Israel. And, yes, they kill and torture and imprison, also in the service of Israel. So, how can a PLO as such reflect the aspirations of our people for justice and liberty?

Yes, there may be one or two PLO leaders who don’t like what is going on. But even these are keeping their mouths shut because if they don’t they will lose their hefty salaries and running expenses and other perks meant to keep them silent.

In short, the present PLO is unfit and unqualified to navigate the national ship to safety. And for all these reasons, the living forces of the Palestinian people, including the true patriots within Fatah who wouldn’t be bought by American dollars and VIP cards, must immediately see to it that a new and authentic PLO be created to represent and lead the people to justice, liberty and peace, not to perpetual servitude to Zionism as the current leadership has been doing.

This is a message to the leaders of Palestinian factions who will meet in Damascus in a few weeks: You must remind Olmert and his American allies that Palestine is not a piece of real estate owned by Mahmoud Abbas, Salam Fayadh, or Ahmed Qrei. Speak up, and don’t be intimidated."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Much like Auschwitz

Israel's regard for Palestinians can be summed up in how it imprisons and terrorises them

By Khaled Amayreh in the occupied West Bank
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Some prisoner leaders pleaded with the detention camp's administration to wait until morning to carry out the impromptu inspection. The administration's response came in the form of bullets, sonic grenades (which the Israelis call stun grenades), tear-gas and smoke bombs.

"I don't know what a Nazi concentration camp looked like, but I imagine that Kitziot looked very much like a concentration camp yesterday," said Abu Ahmed, a detainee from Hebron, who has been languishing at the facility for nine months without charge or trial.

Abu Ahmed, who was speaking via a smuggled mobile phone, described the assault on the prisoners as "planned and premeditated", calling Israeli claims that the soldiers were only defending themselves against rioters "obscene lies meant to cover up a criminal act".

The pogrom-like attack on the helpless Kitziot prisoners lasted for more than two hours as a huge cloud of smoke hovered over the area. When the dust settled, there were hundreds of prisoners who suffered significant to serious wounds, mostly in the head and upper body. At least nine inmates were severely injured, including Mohamed Sati Al-Ashkar, who was hit with a live round in the head, causing massive brain haemorrhage.On 23 October, Al-Ashkar was pronounced clinically dead......

The murder at Kitziot is only a small leitmotif of the ferocious onslaught of repression being visited on Palestinians in the occupied territories, where Israeli death squads continue to roam and strike. This happens despite -- or partly as a result of -- close security coordination between President Mahmoud Abbas's "forces" and the Israeli occupation army.

The low-key reaction by the Abbas regime is already raising eyebrows in the West Bank, with many seeing the Kitziot assault and general terror under occupation as a means of "softening up" the Palestinians ahead of Annapolis for a peace deal that fails to meet minimum Palestinian expectations......"

Getting your victims to love you

To mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, Arab-Israeli schoolchildren are expected to negate their very identity

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....In a statement distributed to the schools the ministry's Society and Youth Administration set the following objectives for the jubilee: "To commemorate the passage of 60 years since the establishing of the state of Israel in the Arab and Jewish educational system; to strengthen the sense of belonging to, pride in and love for the 60-year-old state among all who attend educational institutes; to help all Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and other youth to form a clear vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; to inspire a sense of responsibility and social commitment among the young and to encourage them to become active participants in the affairs of society."......

There is a very persistent mode of colonialism at work here. It was not enough for this colonialist drive to seize a people's land, kick out the inhabitants, bring others to take their place and destroy the fabric of an entire society, and then justify this on the grounds of a divine promise while, in the same breath and with the same degree of sincerity, regarding itself as a secular national liberation movement. No, it insists that its victim must admire it and recognise not only its existence but its historical legitimacy. It is determined to imprint itself beneath its victims' skin through the ritual signing of a declaration of independence that simultaneously celebrates their own defeat......."

Learning the Lesson of Divide and Conquer from Their Israeli Master: Report: Fatah instigating conflict between Islamic Jihad, Hamas

Palestinian source tells al-Sinara newspaper Fatah members infiltrating into other groups to stir up conflict with Hamas

An Important Story

"....The Nazareth-based daily al-Sinara reports that Fatah members have been slyly joining other Palestinian groups, such as the Islamic Jihad, in an attempt to push these groups toward confrontation with Hamas.

Fatah activists in question did not join other Palestinian groups to aid them, but rather to "incite them into a civil war with Hamas," he continued.

"Fatah members in Islamic Jihad are the ones that have been shooting at the Executive Force (Hamas' security body) and at Hamas activists," the source said.

According to the source, the recent confrontations between Hamas and Islamic Jihad forces have been a result of this phenomenon.

On Sunday, a Palestinian was killed in an exchange of fire between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The victim was the nephew of Khaled Mansour, an Islamic Jihad commander in southern Gaza. He was apparently killed in a Hamas attempt to murder his uncle, Palestinian sources said.

Islamic Jihad claims that Hamas is trying to liquidate Palestinian opposition to its rule in Gaza.

The Islamic Resistance Committee has refused to integrate Fatah members into its ranks because of a fear that this will incite conflict with Hamas, according to the source......."

Peace Conference: New Case for War

Contributed by Lucia

By Ramzy Baroud
Special to

".....Thus the peace conference will likely conclude with the propagation of the following assumptions: that both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas are genuine in their intentions to achieve a lasting peace and bring one of the world’s most entangled conflicts to an end; that both leaders will agree to a vague set of terms according to which the ‘final status’ of negotiations is determined. Abbas needs enough promises from Israel to convince Palestinians that the light at the end of the tunnel (which they have been promised for many years) is within reach, and Olmert needs enough ambiguity in the conference’s final statement to prove to his shaky coalition that Israel is under no obligation to change its course and ongoing colonial projects in the West Bank.

Most Palestinians, other than the self-representative elites of Abbas and his dependents, are likely to reject any offer that falls short of fulfilling the minimum of their internationally recognized rights. There would be a visible dissatisfaction in the predictably indecisive outcome of conference, manifesting in widespread protests, especially in the Hamas-controlled Gaza. The violence into which Palestinians are provoked will, naturally, be blamed on the ‘enemies of peace’, those same enemies who were also chastised, imprisoned and tortured in the post-Oslo years.

Iran and Syria, who are likely to support the Palestinian opposition to the conference and its immediate outcomes – if any – will also be grouped into the enemies’ list. Any violent Palestinian response, regardless of the circumstances that lead to it, will be understood as Syrian and Iranian encouraged. With Israel already digging a hole for Syria – the September 6 bombing of Syrian territories and the justification offered by ‘anonymous’ top US officials that Israel has bombed a North Korean nuclear installation in Syria - a cause for war is already in the making......"

A Repeat Posting: Shater, Shater Video

No english title - Click here for another funny movie.

The Fraudlent War on Terror

Bush Preaches Democracy, Proposes Tyranny


".....If we believe the official story, 9/11 itself reveals a government totally devoid of any competence whatsoever.

The "war on terror" is fraudulent. The cruel war and the deceptive vocabulary that protects it are a cover for expanding US and Israeli hegemony in the MIddle East and for constructing a functioning police state at home. A country in which people cannot make airline reservations without the government's permission is not a free country."

“Come and see our overflowing morgues"

(Photo courtesy of

"Come and see the rubble of your surgical air-strikes”

Contributed by Lucia

By Mike Whitney

"Retired Lt. Gen Ricardo Sanchez set off a firestorm recently when he described the occupation of Iraq as “a nightmare with no end in sight”. He added that US civilian leadership was “incompetent” and “corrupt” and that the best the US could hope for, given the present circumstances, would be to “stave off defeat.”

Naturally, Sanchez’s remarks were applauded by liberals and progressives who oppose the war, but their enthusiasm is unfounded. Sanchez is neither against the war nor for withdrawal. He simply doesn’t like losing---and the United States is losing....."

A New Alliance: Sarkozy and Bush

Dems Say "Bunker Buster" Could Be Sign of Planned Attack on Iran

by Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

"I know, I know. You don't want to read another Cassandra diatribe about the danger of a Bush Administration attack on Iran. But this warning is coming to you from Members of Congress looking at the President's budget request. As such, it should be taken seriously....."

Afghanistan today: Six years of a war of terror

Tariq Ali
Interviewed by Sherry Wolf
Socialist Worker

"THE U.S. launched its first assault in the “war on terror” in Afghanistan six years ago. Today, the country remains one of the poorest places on earth, ruled by a corrupt warlord elite. Here, TARIQ ALI, a veteran of the antiwar struggle for four decades, talks to SHERRY WOLF about the disastrous consequences of the U.S. war--and what the future holds....."

Gaza residents unable to get medical care, aid workers say

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"JERUSALEM, 25 October 2007 (IRIN) - Dozens of patients in the Gaza Strip are unable to receive medical treatment, in some cases life-saving procedures, due to the continued border closures with Israel and Egypt, health officials and international aid workers said.

"At least three patients denied exit permits have died since June, and others have lost limbs or sight," Human Rights Watch reported. The Palestinian organization Al Mezan in Gaza said a fourth man, Nimir Muhammad Shuheibar, aged 77, died on 23 October while awaiting treatment.....

The Gaza medical system is unable to offer many services, including MRI diagnostics, radiotherapy, cancer treatment and major heart surgeries, especially for children. The border restrictions have also led to the closure of nearly all factories in Gaza and an increasing shortage of basic food supplies, the UN and local advocacy groups said.

"The economic noose continues to tighten around the necks of the people of Gaza, who are being manifestly punished as part of a political strategy," said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes....."

Liar, Liar!

Israel denies Abbas claim it has been holding talks with Hamas

"Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday officials from the Islamist group Hamas were holding meetings with Israel to end the blockade of Gaza and ease access for goods and people.

Israel denied the meetings had taken place, saying there was a policy of
avoiding contact with Hamas

Asked by Al-Arabiya television if he was aware of such meetings, Abbas
said: "There are meetings taking place between Hamas and Israel, there were meetings held on Erez (crossing point) and there are ongoing meetings in other places."....."

Images that shock

Contributed by Lucia

Thursday October 25, 2007
The Guardian

Warning: Even though I am posting this article, I hesitated before doing that. I disagree with many things stated in it, but judge for yourself.

"....Gaza is a wound that is being left to fester. Fatah, Israel, the US and the international community have different motives for leaving half of the Palestinian people to rot in this prison, but they are all, for the moment, united in their attempt to isolate Hamas. What these films show is not a Gazan population turning against the gunmen who took the enclave over by force in June, but its opposite - the hatred that the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is incurring among his own people......

What this situation demands is a strong Palestinian leader, rather than a pliant one. Strength comes from authority and Mr Abbas is in danger of losing his among his own people by tightening the screw on Gaza. One of the few levers the Fatah-controlled emergency government in Ramallah has over what happens in Gaza is paying the wages of government workers. And yet when it pulls those levers, the consequences are disastrous. Attempting to steer funds away from Hamas's hands is one thing, but paying people on the condition they do not turn up for work just looks like an attempt to stop any government working. As it is, Mr Abbas's writ does not even run the length of the West Bank....."

US Court throws out case against Caterpillar by family of slain volunteer

Contributed by Lucia

"Rachel Corrie was killed by Israeli forces over four years ago while working in Gaza as a peaceworker with the International Solidarity Movement. Her family filed a lawsuit in US court against the American company which built the Caterpillar-brand bulldozer that killed Corrie, but that lawsuit has now been dismissed by a Judge in the US Court of Appeals.

The parents of Rachel Corrie, along with a number of Palestinian plaintiffs who each have a family member killed by a Caterpillar-brand bulldozer, have filed a motion for re-hearing. If the court refuses to re-hear the case, the plaintiffs will go to the Supreme Court......"

Bush's blind eye

The US is keen to suppress terrorists on the Pakistani border but not, apparently, on Turkey's border with Iraq.

By Dilip Hiro
The Guardian

"It is a clear-cut case of terrorism. The guerrillas of the Turkish Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK, Kurdistan Workers Party), wedded to achieving autonomy for the Kurdish-majority region, and operating from the mountains of northern Iraq, have recently killed 42 Turks, soldiers and civilians.

Repeated appeals by the Turkish government to the central authority in Baghdad and the Bush administration, the occupying power in Iraq, to close down the PKK bases in Iraqi Kurdistan and hand over its leaders to it have gone unheeded......"

Intellectual terrorism

For the sake of free speech, British organisations should confront pro-Israel bullies, not appease them.

By Ghada Karmi
The Guardian

"The newest and least attractive import from America, following on behind Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Friends, is the pro-Israel lobby. The latest target of this US-style campaign is the august Oxford Union.

This week, two Israeli colleagues and I were due to appear at the union to participate in an important debate on the one-state solution in Israel-Palestine. Also invited was the American Jewish scholar and outspoken critic of Israel, Norman Finkelstein. At the last minute, however, the union withdrew its invitation to him, apparently intimidated by threats from various pro-Israel groups......"

A self-defeating hegemony

Four key mistakes made by the Bush administration have made anti-Americanism one of the chief fault lines of global politics.

By Francis Fukuyama
The Guardian

"When I wrote about the End of History almost 20 years ago, one thing that I did not anticipate was the degree to which American behaviour and misjudgments would make anti-Americanism one of the chief fault lines of global politics. And yet, particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, that is precisely what has happened, owing to four key mistakes made by the Bush administration.

First, the doctrine of "preemption", which was devised in response to the 2001 attacks, was inappropriately broadened to include Iraq and other so-called "rogue states" that threatened to develop weapons of mass destruction.....

The second important miscalculation concerned the likely global reaction to America's exercise of its hegemonic power......

America's third mistake was to overestimate how effective conventional military power would be in dealing with the weak states and networked transnational organisations that characterise international politics, at least in the broader Middle East......

Finally, the Bush administration's use of power has lacked not only a compelling strategy or doctrine, but also simple competence......

Incompetence in implementation has strategic consequences. Many of the voices that called for, and then bungled, military intervention in Iraq are now calling for war with Iran. Why should the rest of the world think that conflict with a larger and more resolute enemy would be handled any more capably?

But the fundamental problem remains the lopsided distribution of power in the international system......"

Karzai: Don't Leave Me Alone!

Do not leave Afghanistan, Karzai urges Nato as he visits Brown

"Afghanistan must not be allowed to become a failed state again, Gordon Brown said today, as Nato officials discussed their future commitments in the fight against the Taliban......"

The U.S. War OF Terror

Attack Iran and you attack Russia

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia......

As if anyone needed to be reminded, the buck - or rial - stops with the Supreme Leader, whose last wish on earth is to furnish a pretext for the Bush administration to launch World War III. If Ahmadinejad now deviates from a carefully crafted strategic script, the Supreme Leader may simply get rid of him."

US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq

By Dahr Jamail
Asia Times

"They call them "search and avoid" missions in Iraq, where morale among US troops is falling and some soldiers are doing their best to avoid contact with the enemy. Instead of patrolling for insurgents, some servicemen say they've stayed alive by parking their vehicles in safe areas and radioing in routine reports of no contact....."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Roll-Out Presses On

By Scott Horton

".....Is Cheney threatening war against Iran? Yes, that’s exactly what he is doing. As Greg Djerejian reminds us, in the lead-up to the war against Iraq, Cheney gave a number of speeches making clear the intention to resort to arms against Saddam Hussein. And he used exactly the same language, including specifically the key phrase “serious consequences.” And note the focus on the Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guard. This is an exercise in target-practicing. As several sources have noted, Cheney has advocated targeting the Quds unit in the first bombing raids. He and his chief of staff David Addington have also advocated putting the Quds unit on the scheduled list of terrorist organizations, presumably for prior Congressional authorizations for the use of military force canbe drawn upon to justify the attack without the need to go back to Congress......"

U.S. official: PA not able to police West Bank

"The United States security coordinator in the Palestinian Authority said he does not believe Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are capable of enforcing security needs in cities there, according to statements made recently in private talks.

General Keith Dayton's views are seconded by the PA, which recently informed Israel that it lacks the necessary infrastructure to deploy police officers in Nablus......

During a meeting with Israeli officials, Dayton expressed his deep appreciation for Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad and his efforts to rebuild the security forces. However, Dayton's assessments about the capabilities of the Palestinian security forces are a great deal more pessimistic than his earlier statements......"

Bush Admin Prosecution of Largest Muslim Charity in U.S. Ends in Mistrial

An Important Story

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The now-defunct Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States. It collected donations for local committees providing humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The government had accused it of providing “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization. But jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict and the US district judge declared a mistrial on most of the charges. We speak to David Cole, Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Khalil Meek, President of the Muslim Legal Fund of America......

The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States. It collected donations for local committees providing humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the US government claimed the committees were controlled by Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization since 1995. The case against Holy Land Foundation relied on Israeli intelligence and disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of 15 years. However, one juror told the Los Angeles Times that the government case had “so many gaps” the prosecution was “a waste of time.”

This case is one of numerous material support prosecutions. Hina Shamsi, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project said the material support statute “criminalizes guilt by association” and could be used to prosecute innocent donors......

DAVID COLE: Well, it was nearly six years ago, in December 2001. All their assets were frozen. All of their records were seized. The entity was shut down without a hearing, without a trial, without even a statement of reasons. And when the group sought to challenge that designation and that freezing in court, the court refused to allow the Holy Land Foundation to introduce evidence in its own defense and relied on secret evidence that the government presented to it behind closed doors, so that the foundation couldn’t respond, and rejected its arguments that this whole process violated due process by depriving it of its property without any meaningful opportunity to defend itself.

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly have you come to understand now at this point was the evidence, the secret evidence? Both US and Israeli?

DAVID COLE: Well, it was US and Israeli, and it was gathered, as you suggested, over a course of fifteen years. But what’s most remarkable is that even though they subjected this group to fifteen years of surveillance, they found not one piece of evidence that showed that this group was funding Hamas itself during the period since 1995, when Hamas -- when it was illegal to fund Hamas. And instead, the argument that they made in court was that it’s not that you funded Hamas, but you funded these zakat committees; you should have known that these humanitarian aid local zakat committees in Ramallah, in Hebron, etc., were in fact fronts for or otherwise associated with Hamas.

But the government has the power to designate as terrorist any front or affiliate or associate of Hamas, and it hasn’t ever to this day designated any of these committees. So the government is basically saying, you should be put in jail, not for funding a group that we put on a blacklist -- Hamas -- but for funding groups that we chose not to put on a blacklist, but you should have known that they would have been on the blacklist anyway. It’s a real stretch, and I think that’s why the jury did not reach a single guilty conviction on 197 counts......."

Bomb Iran? U.S. Requests Bunker-Buster Bombs

White House Bomber Request Leaves Some Wondering if U.S. Is Preparing Action in Iran

"Tucked inside the White House's $196 billion emergency funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is an item that has some people wondering whether the administration is preparing for military action against Iran.

The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP.

The MOP is the the military's largest conventional bomb, a super "bunker-buster" capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to "an urgent operational need from theater commanders."

What urgent need? The Pentagon referred questions on this to Central Command.

ABC News called CENTCOM to ask what the "urgent operational need" is. CENTCOM spokesman Maj. Todd White said he would look into it, but, so far, no answer......"

Phantoms Over Syria

Eveything Israel wants you to know about its secret airstrike

by Philip Giraldi
(a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, an international security consultancy)

"......In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.

We’ve been here before: the leaking of unreliable information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller was just one example of disinformation used to make the case for the invasion of Iraq. More recently, Iran has been on the receiving end of what appears to be an officially orchestrated but poorly executed disinformation campaign regarding its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a new operation—brought to us by the old players—may be unfolding.

A chronology of the case against Syria is revealing, and the role of former UN ambassador and leading neoconservative John Bolton is key......

The pieces have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation......"

Hamas dismayed at Sarkozy's statement on right of return

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Wednesday expressed dismay at the statement of French president Nicolas Sarkozy in which he called for the return of Palestinian refugees to the West Bank and Gaza Strip only and not to their original hometowns.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman in the Strip, told the PIC that his Movement was seriously disturbed by such statements; because this would make France the first country to officially declare support abandoning the UN resolution on the return of Palestinian refugees to their original lands from where they were forcibly evacuated at the hands of Zionist gangs that later established "Israel".

"We in Hamas are keen on maintaining good relations with France and the West in general but such statements do not serve that end," the spokesman underlined.

He said that the statement further reveals a clear French bias to the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people's rights.

Abu Zuhri finally urged Sarkozy to re-consider his statements and to draw them back."
Photo contributed by Fatima

The Evil Princess Heckled Today!

What Happened in Nahr Al Bared?

A Palestinian Camp in Lebanon is Burned and Destroyed, the Media is Banned, and the World is Silent

(an Irish peace activist who has been mostly based in Lebanon since July 2006. He has formerly worked on human rights and social justice in Ireland and Iraq)


"Nahr Al Bared is a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of Lebanon which has been home to about 40,000 Palestinian people, most of whom are the children and grandchildren of those who left Palestine in 1948. Some like Abu Mohammad were born in Palestine. He was ten years old, and next year it will be sixty years since the formation of the State of Israel was achieved through the ethnic cleansing of Abu Mohammad and so many others from their home in Palestine.....

Between May and September of this year, a ferocious battle took place between the Lebanese Army and a small armed group known as Fatah Al Islam. From the first the day, the Lebanese Army surrounded the camp and fired in artillery, maintaining this course for months. Most of the residents of the camp were forced to leave with the clothes on their backs within the first three days. As the number of young Lebanese soldiers killed and horribly maimed rose through the battle, Lebanon became awash with patriotism and grief, any questioning of the army taboo.....

The United States Government played a key role in this battle, strongly supporting politically and with munitions the Lebanese government's decision to seek a military solution. The Lebanese offered to Fatah Al Islam simply to surrender or die. The European Union and many Arab countries also clearly supported this approach. The moral and legal imperative to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and not to target civilian communities was not a concern. The Palestinians of Lebanon, the subject of so many crocodile tears from around the world during infamous massacres in the past, once again are without support at the moment when it might actually matter.

What happened in Nahr al Bared? Why does the world not seem to care?"

Bush's Cuba Detour

Under the Shadow of the Big Neighbor


"Bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, obsessed with Iran's rise as a regional power (a direct result of the wars in the aforementioned countries) the State Department has woken up to the fact that South America is in turmoil. Their last major intervention in the region was a crude attempt to topple the democratically elected government in Venezuela. This was in 2002, a year before the adventure in Iraq. Since then a wave of Bolivarian unity has swept the continent, successful in Bolivia and Ecuador, creating ripples in Peru and Paraguay and, above all, breaking the long isolation of Cuba. It is this that is causing the panic in Miami.....

But yesterday we are told, without any sense of irony, that Raul Castro is unacceptable because he is Fidel's brother. This is not the transition that Washington had in mind. It's a bit rich coming from W, given his own family connections, not to mention the fact that if Mrs Clinton is nominated and wins, two families will have been in power for over two decades. And dynastic politics is now so deep-grained in official culture that it is being happily mimicked in tiny circles (the editorial chair of the neo-con mag Commentary has been smoothly handed over from father to son Podhoretz)......"

Madness as Method

by Maureen Dowd

"Dick Cheney’s craziness used to influence foreign policy.

Now it is foreign policy.....

President Bush has settled on his new bogyman, once more ignoring the obvious choice of Osama. Yesterday, he defended his plans to build a missile defense system in Europe by raising the specter of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Hit with sticks, the bogyman responded with sticks. He said that Iran will not negotiate with anyone about its right to nuclear technology.

As Pat Buchanan noted on “Hardball,” “Cheney and Bush are laying down markers for themselves which they’re going to have to meet. I don’t see how … Bush and Cheney can avoid attacking Iran and retaining their credibility going out of office.”

In other words, once our cowboys have talked their crazy talk, they have to walk their crazy walk."

The Collapse of Bush’s Foreign Policy

From Turkey to Iraq to Pakistan, the mounting chaos proves the White House is just winging it.

by Juan Cole

"The Bush administration once imagined that its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq would be anchored by friendly neighbors, Turkey to the west and Pakistan to the east. Last week, as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the anchors themselves also came loose.....

Like a drunken millionaire gambling away a fortune at a Las Vegas casino, the Bush administration squandered all the assets it began with by invading Iraq and unleashing chaos in the Gulf. The secular Baath Party in Iraq was replaced by Shiite fundamentalists, Sunni Salafi fundamentalists and Kurdish separatists. The pressure the Bush administration put on the Pakistani military government to combat Muslim militants in that country weakened the legitimacy of Musharraf, whom the Pakistani public increasingly viewed as an oppressive American puppet. Iraqi Kurdistan’s willingness to give safe haven to the PKK alienated Turkey from both the new Iraqi government and its American patrons. Search-and-destroy missions in Afghanistan have predictably turned increasing numbers of Pushtun villagers against the United States, NATO and Karzai. The thunder of the bomb in Karachi and the Turkish shells in Iraqi Kurdistan may well be the sound of Bush losing his “war on terror.”"

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Khalil Bendib

The Bitch Speaks: Rice calls Iran a major obstacle to US vision in the Middle East

"WASHINGTON - Iran is a major obstacle to the U.S. vision of a Middle East in which nations will "trade more, invest more, talk more and work more constructively to solve problems," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says.

"The Iranian government is pursuing policies which are detrimental to the long-term interests of its neighbors, of the region, and of the Iranian people themselves. It need not be this way," Rice said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday to a panel in the House of Representatives......"

Suspected Jewish terrorists set Jerusalem Church on fire

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Suspected Jewish terrorists on Wednesday set a Baptist Church in West Jerusalem on fire, Police and eyewitnesses said.

The interior of the church was badly damaged and religious artifacts including crucifixes and bibles were burned.

The police said they suspected that arsonists threw flammable substance inside the church at night.

The church is located not far from a Haredi (Jewish Orthodox) neighborhood and police suspect that extremist Haredis offended by the presence of the church in the area may have carried out the arson attack.

Haredi and other Orthodox Jews despise the Christian religion for theological and historical reasons. In Jewish religious literature Jesus is called “Hukum” a derogatory name, and the New Testament is considered the “worst book under the sun.”

Last month, the High Rabinnate of Israel urged Jews not to have close affinity with Christians, arguing that all the Christians, including so-called Christian Zionists, wanted was to convert Jews to Christianity.

Israel doesn’t allow proselytizing, but thousands of Jews have converted to evangelical Christianity, which teaches that the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948 was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a precedent to the second advent of Jesus.

Evangelicals are also against peace between Israel and the Palestinians, especially if it involves Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories."

صحيفة إسرائيلية تكشف عن مساعدات أميركية لعباس

"ذكرت صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت الإسرائيلية اليوم الأربعاء أن الحكومة الأميركية تخطط لتحويل 410 ملايين دولار إلى السلطة الفلسطينية في خطوة تهدف إلى تقوية رئيسها محمود عباس ورئيس وزرائها سلام فياض.

وقالت الصحيفة إن إدارة بوش لجأت إلى مساعدة عباس في صراعه مع حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) كي يحصل على الدعم العام، وكي تثبت الإدارة للشعب الفلسطيني أن اختيار طريق السلام من شأنه أن يؤتي أكله.

وأكدت مصادر في الحكومة الأميركية أن تلك المساعدات تعد جهدا غير مسبوق يهدف إلى إنقاذ السلطة بقيادة عباس.

وأشارت الصحيفة إلى أن نصف المساعدات الأميركية سيذهب مباشرة إلى البنى التحتية، وسيتم تحويل 35 مليون دولار لصالح مكتب التوظيف والغذاء التابع لوكالة الأمم المتحدة لتشغيل اللاجئين (الأنروا)، وما تبقى من المال سيحول إلى ميزانية السلطة.

وعلقت مصادر في واشنطن على هذه المساعدات قائلة إنها تشير إلى اهتمام الإدارة الأميركية بدعم "عباس وفياض وجهودهما الرامية للتوصل إلى أهداف ملموسة على الأرض لدى الشعب الفلسطيني

Bush teeters on Turkish-Kurd tightrope

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"President George W Bush has devoted considerable energy to delaying a potentially explosive referendum on whether oil-rich Kirkuk should be absorbed into Iraqi Kurdistan. Yet if Bush is to get the Kurdish authorities to clamp down on militants engaged in cross-border activities in Turkey, this referendum is the price he might have to pay...."

Patients caught up in middle of Fatah and Hamas tug of war

Contributed by Lucia

One of the few journalists in Gaza reports on the Fatah-imposed doctors' strike in force last month for a series of exclusive Guardian films

Clancy Chassay in Gaza City
Wednesday October 24, 2007
The Guardian

".....Following Hamas's takeover of the Gaza strip in June, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank severed contact with Hamas and ordered government employees not to work under the new Gaza government. All medical workers were ordered to go home at 11am or have their salaries cut.

Outside the hospital, a group of angry patients hurled abuse at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "We came here on Saturday and Sunday and on Tuesday, and nothing. It's Abu Mazen's [Mr Abbas's] decision, he wants to humiliate Gaza," said one woman.

Her friend, who had brought her small child in for treatment, erupted in anger at Mr Abbas. "He destroyed the country and brought misery on the people. He is no match for Hamas. I wouldn't hire him as a street sweeper, he destroyed the people. These children need treatment, what have they done to deserve this?"

As the women walked away, two men and a small child lingered, uncertain whether to wait or give up and leave the hospital. "We've come here to treat my little boy but our trip has been wasted. He needs an operation," said Marwan, holding his son's hand. "Why is the government punishing the doctors? There is chaos in the city."

Later that day, rows of doctors and medical workers in white coats marched through the streets of Gaza City with banners protesting at the strike order from Ramallah. Among them were Hamas supporters, independents - and even some who said they supported Fatah but were against the strike order........"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Israel Violates Prisoner Treatment Convention

Contributed by Lucia

By Kawther Salam

"Israel violates the international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war. Mohammed Safi Muhammed Al-Ashkar, a Palestinian prisoner of age 29, was murdered today morning at 2 AM by an Israeli jailer, who shot him with dumdum bullets at the “Ansar 3/ Nafha” concentration camp south of Al-Nakab, also known as Ketziot. International laws forbid using dumdum ammunitions, which explode inside the victims bodies. Over 400 IDF soldiers from the Shimshon and Metsada special forces raided eight departments of Palestinian prisoners at Al-Nakab in a savage way, shooting live bullets, destroying and burning the prisoners property.

.....300 prisoners were injured, and 18 tents were burned by the IDF during the shooting. The IDF forces cuffed 1700 prisoners with wires, then they started beating them with batons. They refused to transfer all the injured to hospitals for medical treatment.....

.....The prisoners interned at Al-Nakab and other concentration camps in the Israeli Gulag are not criminals, but “sentenced” to hefty imprisonment terms because of their place in society, activities like participating in communal politics, organizing neighbourhood committees, teaching children, which are a hindrance to the Israeli policy of genocide against Palestinians. About half of the elected members of the Palestinian Parliament are interned in the Israeli Gulag, as well as ministers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, university professors, intellectuals, religious leaders, farmers, public servants, intellectuals, children, women, elderly persons ......

Fearful PA attacks peaceful demonstrators

Following the Israeli criminal and barbaric attacks against the prisoners, five Palestinian demonstrators in Hebron were injured by the thugs of Abbas’ “Judenrat“-like regime, which had forbidden demonstrations against the Israeli crimes at Nafha by order of their Israeli and American masters.

How much longer will the world continue to let Israel get away with their massive crimes ? How much longer will the world allow Israel to extort silence before their crimes ? Please contact the authorities or politicians of your country and explain to them that there are many good grounds for your country to break off relations with Israel, and to place all goods and services from Israel under embargo."