Saturday, December 15, 2007

Al-Jazeera Video: حماس في ذكراها العشرين: لا للحصار لا للاعتراف بإسرائيل

Haaretz Video: News / Hamas marks 20th anniversary with mass Gaza rally

"In this edition:

Hamas marks the 20th anniversary of its founding with a mass rally in Gaza....."

'Gaza op must be carefully planned'

""Before the IDF embarks on a major incursion into Gaza, it needs to carefully consider how to operate so that it bolsters Palestinian moderates, including those in the Gaza Strip," Israel Radio quoted Minister Ami Ayalon (Labor)as saying Saturday......"

At least 300,000 Gazans rally to mark Hamas' 20th anniversary

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"At least 300,000 Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of Hamas's founding, as deposed Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh promised Hamas would not succumb to international pressure.

The central square in Gaza City was awash with green flags and dozens of armed, masked men from the group's military wing patrolled. Some estimates put the crowd as high as 500,000.

"The message from you today is that Hamas and these masses will not yield before the sanctions," Haniyeh told the cheering onlookers. The crowd shouted in response, "To you, we come Haniyeh."

"Today is the day of Jihad, resistance and uprising," he said. "Those who remain committed to the constant rights of their people, those who make an enemy of America and the Zionist occupation [Israel] gain popularity. This is Hamas."

Haniyeh lambasted the renewal of peace talks between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' administration in the United States last month, warning they will not bring about a cessation of Israeli settlement construction or yield any other Israeli concessions.

"As for the fruits of the other track, the track of negotiations, normalization and bargaining, all can see that it is the consolidating of settlements ... injustice and oppression for the Palestinian people," Haniyeh said. "It is bitter fruits."......

Large pictures of Hamas' leaders, both in Gaza and in exile, were draped across the speakers' podium. A black banner hanging from a nearby building read, in Arabic, English and French: "We will not recognize Israel."

"This is the real referendum on the popularity of resistance, the people converging behind Hamas," said Zayed Herzallah, a 28-year old merchant, who brought a van full of young relatives. "Hamas today, after 20 years and after thousands of martyrs, is graduating the fourth generation (of supporters)."

In the crowd were about 50 female members of Hamas' military wing, dressed in long robes and sporting military-style ammunition vests. Some covered their faces with veils, others with ski masks. Several took to the stage, waving green Hamas flags......"

This is what evil looks like.

Strangling Gaza

by César Chelala

"It could, rightfully, be a cause of shame to the world. But the world, besieged by violence and injustice, hardly notices it. The people of Gaza, 1.4 million of them, are slowly and purposely being deprived of basic foods and medicines by the so called civilized countries in the West and there is hardly a protest. And all this happens because the people in Gaza want to be free and independent. Never mind that in the process children and innocent civilians are killed or families dispossessed.

Dr. Mona Elfarra, a Palestinian physician and human rights activist, thus describes a situation in her personal blog, “I don’t know exactly what was going on inside the little heads of the kids who were preparatory school children, of Al Buriege boy’s preparatory school. But the two tiny bodies were shot, with many bullets, as I was told by my colleagues at the emergency room at the Al Aqsa hospital…On November 10, the dreams of two tiny kids has stopped forever.”......."

Scapegoats in an Unwelcoming Land

A Must Read Piece
By Nir Rosen

".....Hajj's forces responded by indiscriminately bombarding the camp in the name of the war on terror, and the Lebanese public rallied 'round.

Palestinians had once again become Lebanon's scapegoats, victims of a land in which they have long faced slaughter and discrimination. Attacking them may be personally risky, but it's also often good politics; the assassinated general's boss, army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman, is poised to become Lebanon's next president. Suleiman isn't the first army commander to punish the Palestinians, and he won't be the first president to do so, either. Between 1958 and 1964, President Fuad Shehab created an elaborate, ruthless secret-service network to monitor the Palestinian camps. During his 1970-76 reign, President Suleiman Franjieh clashed militarily with Palestinian factions, even using the air force to bomb a neighborhood thought to be pro-Palestinian. I've heard followers of assassinated president-elect Bashir Gemayel, whose Maronite Christian militia massacred Palestinians in 1976, brag that he was stopped at a checkpoint in the early years of the country's 1975-90 civil war with a trunk full of the skulls of dead Palestinians. Even today, the Lebanese opposition's preferred candidate for president is Michel Aoun, a Christian retired general who also participated in the 1976 killings......

When about 1,000 families finally passed through the checkpoints, to the jeers of soldiers and demonstrators, they found only destruction. Every single home, building, apartment and shop that I saw had been destroyed. Most buildings had been burned from the inside; the signs of the flammable liquids that the soldiers had used were scorched on the walls, and empty fuel canisters were strewn on the floors. Ceilings and walls were riddled with bullets, shot from inside, seemingly for sport. Most homes that I saw had been emptied of furniture, appliances, sinks, toilets, televisions and refrigerators. Most shockingly, soldiers had defecated in kitchens and bedrooms, on plates, bowls, pots and mattresses; they had urinated into olive-oil jars.

The media were not permitted in, and most Lebanese outlets ignored or denied the outrages. When I managed to slip inside, I was shocked by the scope of the damage. The buildings were crumpled, windows broken, electrical wiring yanked out, water pumps destroyed, generators stolen or shot up. All the gold jewelry had been stolen, as had been the cash that so many Palestinians had stored in their bedrooms. Insulting graffiti were scrawled on the charred walls, as were threats, signed by various Lebanese army units. Every car in the camp that I saw had been burned, shot or crushed by tanks or bulldozers. The ruination had been strikingly personal; I saw photo albums that had been torn to shreds. Palestinians told me that they had seen their belongings on sale in the main outdoor market in Tripoli.

Like all institutions in Lebanon, the army is sectarian, a fact that helps explain the devastation. Most of the soldiers fighting in Nahr al-Bared had been Sunnis from northern Lebanon; the Sunnis had once seen Palestinian militias as friendly, but now they blamed the Palestinians for the outsiders of Fatah al-Islam and unleashed their fury on the camp. By contrast, refugees told me, Shiite soldiers from the south had been far kinder and more supportive after the fighting......."

A Great Gallery: bomb gallery

By elin o’Hara slavick

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

The World.

Bomb After Bomb

1983 - 1984 and 2006
elin o'Hara slavick

A Violent Cartography


This essay serves as the introduction to Bomb After Bomb: a Violent Cartography, a collection of drawings illustrating the history of bombing by elin o'Hara slavick. o'Hara slavick is a professor of art at the University of North Carolina. More of her visionary work can be viewed on her website. AC / JSC

".....I am stunned by the thought that we, the "civilized" nations, have bombed cities and countrysides and islands for a hundred years. Yet, here in the United States, which is responsible for most of that, the public, as was true of me, does not understand--I mean really understand--what bombs do to people. That failure of imagination, I believe, iscritical to explaining why we still have wars, why we accept bombing as a common accompaniment to our foreign policies, without horror or disgust.

We in this country, unlike people in Europe or Japan or Africa or the Middle East, or the Caribbean, have not had the experience of being bombed. That is why, when the Twin Towers in New York exploded on September 11, there was such shock and disbelief. This turned quickly, under the impact of government propaganda, into a callous approval of bombing Afghanistan, and a failure to see that the corpses of Afghans were the counterparts of those in Manhattan......"

إسلاميو الأردن يتظاهرون استنكارا لحصار غزة وتأييدا لحماس

Protestors chant anti-Israel slogans as thousands of members of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) party demonstrate in Amman, Jordan on Friday, Dec. 14, 2007 against the continued Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo)

Jordan's Islamic Action Front leaders, former deputy Ali Abu Al-Sukkar (R), deputy Hamza Mansour (C) and former deputy Mohammed Abu Faris (L), attend an anti-Israel rally condemning military offensives in Gaza, in Amman December 14, 2007.REUTERS

Mashaal: Palestinians Can Start a 3rd and 4th Intifada


"15/12/2007 "Whoever thinks Hamas is going through a crisis is very much mistaken," said Hamas politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal, adding that "the Palestinian people can start a third and a fourth intifada until victory is secured."

In a speech aired on Hamas TV Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Islamic resistance organization's establishment, the Damascus-based leader added, “Anyone who thinks legitimacy stems from international support is also wrong, it comes from the people,” he said, alluding to Hamas's upset parliamentary election victory over Abbas's secular Fatah faction in January last year.

Mashaal admitted that his movement's 20th anniversary came amid "difficult circumstances and a painful situation for the besieged Palestinians in Gaza." Israel closed Gaza to all but essential humanitarian supplies. In September it declared the territory a "hostile entity" and the following month it began restricting fuel supplies creating what the World Health Organization described on Monday as an "intolerable" humanitarian situation.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people gathered in central Gaza City on Saturday for a rally marking Hamas's 20th anniversary. Waving green flags and banners, throngs of Palestinians poured into Katiba quare ahead of the rally at which dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and other officials were expected to speak."

Inquisition on Israel’s behalf

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"This week, the Wakf (Islamic endowment) Minister of the American-backed Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah issued a plethora of decrees banning all Zakat (alms) committees in the West Bank. The minister claimed that the closure was aimed at reforming the committees and preventing the occurrence of abuse and corruption.

However, it is widely believed that the real goal behind the sweeping measures is to eradicate Hamas’s influence in these committees and make the impoverished layers of the Palestinian society constantly at the mercy of the corrupt-ridden Fatah-dominated government and institutions.......

Needless to say, the way the Wakf minister has been behaving seriously undermines our people’s steadfastness and resilience.

In light, it is important that this minister be fired as soon as possible for the sake of the national interests and for the sake of the poor."

A Huge Rally in Support of Hamas on its 20th Anniversary

Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, gestures next to a poster of the late Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, during a rally in Gaza city, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. Hamas marked the 20th anniversary of its founding with a huge rally Saturday, sending a message of strength and defiance even as it is struggling to keep Gaza afloat.
(AP Photo)

Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, fourth from left in foreground, waves a Palestinian flag in front of Hamas supporters during a rally in Gaza city, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. Hamas marked the 20th anniversary of its founding with a huge rally Saturday, sending a message of strength and defiance even as it is struggling to keep Gaza afloat.
(AP Photo)


Hamas threatened to launch a new uprising against Israel on Saturday when hundreds of thousands of Islamist supporters rallied in Gaza City to mark the group's 20th anniversary.REUTERS


A question for anyone from Gaza or familiar with Gaza:
Where is the location of this huge rally? I left Gaza almost 40 years ago, and things have changed a lot. For example where is the location relative to Al-Shifa hospital or the building of the Legislative Council and the old statue of the Unknown Soldier?

I would appreciate an answer.

Dichter slams U.S. 'misconception' of Iranian nuclear threat

War Criminal Dichter who was recently forced to cancel a trip to Britain to avoid facing war crime charges in court.

".....During a town hall meeting in Holon on Saturday, Dichter called the National Intelligence Estimate an "American misconception concerning Iran's nuclear weapons, which is liable to lead to a regional Yom Kippur [War] where Israel will be among the countries that are threatened.".....

"Something went wrong in the American blueprint for analyzing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat," Dichter said. "We have to hope that the U.S. will know to correct this. Israel and other states must help in any way including providing intelligence material so as to fix this miscalculation."

"A misconception by the world's leading superpower is not just an internal American occurrence," the former Shin Bet chief said. "This has to cause concern in Israel and many other countries."

Dichter added that the NIE's conclusions are also likely to impact the dynamics of negotiations with the Palestinians.

"The U.S. has been authorized to be the arbiter that determines whether the Palestinians are fulfilling their road map obligations on all matters relating to combating terrorism," the public security minister said. "Those same [intelligence] arms in the U.S. are apt to make a mistake and declare that the Palestinians have fulfilled their commitments, which would carry with it very serious consequences from Israel's vantage point."......"

Liquidation of Empire

By Gordon Prather

"Winston Churchill – icon for President George W. Bush and the neo-crazies – is revered for declaring "I did not become Her Majesty's First Minister so that I might oversee the liquidation of the British Empire!" Churchill is – understandably – much less revered for proceeding to do just that.

With just a year to go in his Presidency, it increasing appears that Bush-43’s chief legacy may be the liquidation of our empire, accumulated during the so-called American Century....."

Poisonous and dangerous

The constant regurgitation by the media of Muslim-baiting 'research' by right-wing think tanks misleads the public and is driven by a neocon political agenda

By Seumas Milne
The Guardian

"This week's forensic exposure by the BBC programme Newsnight of the apparent fabrication of evidence underpinning an inflammatory report into British Muslims by the Tory-linked think tank Policy Exchange has revealed the soft underbelly of what has become an increasingly poisonous and dangerous campaign.

Throughout this year, a steady stream of hostile and sensationalised stories about the Muslim community in both press and television - often based on research by apparently reliable think tanks - has helped feed anti-Muslim prejudice to the point where Britons were found this summer by a Harris opinion poll to be more suspicious of Muslims than Americans or citizens of any other major west European country......

A quick glance at the profiles of those involved in Policy Exchange underlines the point. Its policy director, Dean Godson, who blustered at Jeremy Paxman on Wednesday, worked for the Reagan administration in the US as special assistant to the secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, was a signatory to the The Project for a New American Century and was special assistant to the jailed former Telegraph owner Conrad Black. Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph and Spectator editor who has made the case for public debate about whether the prophet Muhammad was a paedophile, is the Policy Exchange chairman. And who did he replace? Policy Exchange's co-founder, Michael Gove - author of that rallying text for British neocons Celsius 7/7 - and now David Cameron's education spokesman."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

What is your position on the Arab-Iranian rapprochement?

With 1,700 responding, 71% were in support and 29% against

Palestinian Quisling (Lahad) Forces Keeping the Palestinians Under Heel and Ready to Break Their Bones, Just the Same as the IOF

An elderly Palestinian man walks by Palestinian riot police, patrolling along the streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah, following orders to ban all unauthorized demonstrations, during the annual anniversary of the founding of the Islamic group Hamas, Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas have been cracking down on gatherings by the militant group in the West Bank in recent months.(AP Photo)

Spain's PSOE Socialist Party Follows The Same Foreign Policy As The PP Under Aznar

A Great Article
By Agustín Velloso

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"......It is unimaginable, for example, that a Spanish left wing official might, for example, declare total support for Venezuela's Bolivarian project towards socialism. As well as that project being attractive to those who call themselves socialists, we are joined to that country by history, language, customs, religion, blood and whatever else one might want to add.

Still, Moratinos the socialist throws all Spain's weight - the slightness of which he recognises, at least - behind a country that has broken international law since its founding 60 years ago, with which Spain has had diplomatic relations for just 20 years and with which it has little in common except military exchanges and arms sales; a country which is a pariah State not just for a billion Muslims but for a large part of the world; a country that daily kills and thieves in Palestine and which is the main ally - or more correctly, accomplice - of the other great planetary delinquent, the United States; a country that has recently attacked Lebanon leaving it with thousands dead and littered with bombs ready to explode; a country that threatens Iran and which has been covertly or openly involved in wars around the world, in Nicaragua, Colombia, South Africa and Iraq; a country with nuclear weapons; a country that has sentenced the Palestinians to genocide by means of a blockade unique in human history for being applied to refugees who are supposed to be protected - clearly no more than theoretically - by international law. The list goes on....

One needs to look back at the recent past to explain the re-heated love affair between zionism and the PSOE. Just over a year ago on July 20th 2006, Moratinos attended a breakfast of the New Economic Forum with leading zionist business people. According to El Pais the next day, one of these, Mauricio Hatchwell, expressed the "indignation" of Jewish people in Spain at some remarks the day before by Spain's President, "They are anti-Israeli and anti-semitic statements and we cannot accept them." He was referring to the mild - not to say cowardly - assessment by Zapatero of Israel's attack on Lebanon which he described as "an excessive use of force", something any high-school student of a course like Citizenship, Ethics or Religion would identify with no difficulty as a war crime.....

If one sets aside the Zionist interference in Spain's politics, and the bad manners and contempt for the Minister, for the PSOE and for Spanish society - in regard to which one hears no patriotic protests or op-eds against the Zionists in El Pais or in other media, in contrast to what happens with Chavez - one can see that the above rebukes had an educative effect on Moratinos......

If Moratinos prefers Zionist goodwill to his own good name, that is his own affair. Whoever wants to can join him. But he has no right nor the authority to enlist everyone in Spain in a revolting and illegal policy.

What appears hardly surprising at all right now is that the PSOE shamelessly apes the foreign policy of the Partido Popular under Aznar, stating publicly its unqualified support for a criminal State and its extreme right wing policies. What is perhaps surprising is that no PSOE member has handed in their party card. After Spain's role in Lebanon, now Israel. Why not PSOI : Politicians Submissive and Obedient to Israel?"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Federal judge lifts civil contempt status from Dr. Al-Arian at a hearing held in Alexandria on Thursday

"A federal judge finally lifted the civil contempt status from Dr. Al-Arian at a hearing held in Alexandria on Thursday. Dr. Al-Arian will now begin serving the remaining four months of his sentence.

Judge Gerald Lee granted a defense motion to lift the contempt, after Dr. Al-Arian was imprisoned for eleven months that did not count toward his sentence. Prior to that, he had spent two months for another grand jury in which he refused to testify.

Dr. Al-Arian's family, attorneys, and supporters welcomed the decision by Judge Lee to lift the contempt. They have called on prosecutors not to repeat the tactic of using grand jury subpoenas to extend Dr. Al-Arian's imprisonment indefinitely or charge him with criminal contempt as the government has done in other cases, and recent press has hinted it might do in Dr. Al-Arian's case.

Attorney Jonathan Turley, who represents Dr. Al-Arian in the contempt case, wrote on his blog: "The use of civil contempt to prolong his punishment has been a shocking abuse of the system by the Justice Department."

"Unable to convict Dr. Al-Arian before a jury, prosecutors have sought to mete out their own brand of justice through the grand jury system. It is a tactic used in other cases where the government creates the perfect Catch-22 for unconvicted citizens: choose between a perjury trap and a contempt charge for refusing to enter the perjury trap."......"

Debka vs Diamonds" 12/8/2007 Demo at Leviev NY

The US and Her Fundamentalist Stooges are the Main Human Rights Violators in Afghanistan

(Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)

Global Research, December 14, 2007
RAWA communiqué on Universal Human Rights Day, Dec.10, 2007

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"The US and her allies tried to legitimize their military occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of “bringing freedom and democracy for Afghan people”. But as we have experienced in the past three decades, in regard to the fate of our people, the US government first of all considers her own political and economic interests and has empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan......"

Privatising Zionism

Increasingly, Israel is handing over its 'Judaisation' project to private firms - leading to a corrosion of accountability

By Neve Gordon and Erez Tzfadia
(Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Erez Tzfadia teaches public policy at Sapir College in Israel)
The Guardian

"For less than four dollars an hour, the Jewish teenagers removed furniture, clothes, kitchenware and toys from the homes and loaded them on to trucks. As they worked diligently alongside the many policemen who had come to secure the destruction of 30 houses in two unrecognised Bedouin villages, Bedouin teenagers stood by watching their homes being emptied.

When all the belongings had been removed, the bulldozers rapidly destroyed the homes. All those present, Jews and Bedouins, were Israeli citizens; together they learned an important lesson in the discrimination characterising civic life in the Jewish state.

The current demolitions are part of a strategy that began with the foundation of the state of Israel. Its ultimate objective is the Judaisation of space. In this case, the demolitions were carried out in order to establish two new Jewish villages. Their establishment, though, is part of a much larger plan that includes the construction of about 30 new Jewish settlements in the Israeli Negev, the seizure of Bedouin land for military needs, and the creation of dozens of single-family farms on land that has been inhabited by Bedouins since they were relocated to the region by the state in the early 1950s.

After witnessing the demolitions, a Bedouin activist asked one of the Jewish teenagers why he had agreed to participate in the eviction. Without hesitating, the teenager replied: "I am a Zionist and what we are doing here today is Zionism."......"

الظواهري: العرب خانوا الفلسطينيين في أنابوليس

"اتهم الرجل الثاني في تنظيم القاعدة أيمن الظواهري في أحدث تسجيل الدول العربية التي شاركت في اجتماع أنابوليس للسلام الذي استضافته الولايات المتحدة الشهر الماضي بخيانة الفلسطينيين.

وقال في تسجيل صوتي جديد بثه اليوم على الإنترنت موقع يستخدمه عادة تنظيم القاعدة وبعض الجماعات الإسلامية إن "اجتماع أنابوليس عقد لتحويل فلسطين إلى دولة يهودية".

وأضاف في تسجيل استغرق 20 دقيقة أن "قيصر واشنطن"، في إشارة إلى الرئيس الأميركي جورج بوش، دعا 16 دولة عربية للجلوس على طاولة واحدة مع الإسرائيليين، مشددا على أن العرب كانوا في المؤتمر "شهود زور على صفقة خيانية لبيع فلسطين".

يشار إلى أن 16 دولة عربية بينها السعودية لبت الدعوة الأميركية للمشاركة في المؤتمر على مستوى وزراء الخارجية, فيما شاركت سوريا فيه عبر نائب وزير خارجيتها.

وخاطب الظواهري الفلسطينيين قائلا "إن (الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود) عباس باعكم في أنابوليس" ووصفه بالخائن.

وقال إن من أسماهم المجاهدين سيقفون إلى جانب الفلسطينيين في صراعهم مع العدو الصهيوني، وأضاف "لن نتخلى عنكم حتى لو فعل سياسيوكم ذلك".

الجزء الثاني
وكرس الظواهري الجزء الثاني من تسجيله الجديد للموقف المصري حيث اتهم القاهرة بلعب دور رئيسي في المساعي الأميركية والإسرائيلية لعزل الحكومة الفلسطينية المقالة التي يترأسها قيادي في حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس).

ودعا الجنود المصريين والقبائل في شبه جزيرة سيناء إلى الثورة على حكم الرئيس حسني مبارك.

وقال الظواهري إن المسلمين لن يتخلوا عن الكفاح لإدارة ديار المسلمين من آسيا الوسطى إلى شمال أفريقيا "حتى لو عقد ألف مؤتمر في أوسلو أو أنابوليس أو ألف مؤتمر في لندن".

Prerequisites for Peace

Palestinians Cannot Abandon the Rights of Our People



"As one who for decades has supported a two-state solution and the nonviolent struggle for Palestinian rights, I view the recent conference in Annapolis with a great deal of skepticism - and a glimmer of hope.....

Our movement's firm commitment to democracy and nonviolence can be seen, for example, in our peaceful demonstrations against Israel's apartheid wall. For more than two years, we supported the popular - and, so far, successful - struggle of the West Bank village of Bilin to remove the wall from its land. We are replicating these nonviolent activities, with the support of international solidarity groups, in towns and villages throughout the West Bank....

....The number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, has grown from 268,000 to more than 420,000 since the Oslo peace accords were signed. Even today, Israel is refusing its commitment, under the U.S.-sponsored "road map" to peace, to freeze all settlement activity......

And a meaningless and empty state is no basis upon which to build substantive peace. A state in name only will not be enough. A state requires sovereignty. A state requires free movement and a free economy. A state requires a democratically elected government that can govern independently, without interference from Israel....."

Susan Sarandon exploring request that she cut ties with Leviev over Israeli settlement construction

by NY - Adalah

"New York, NY, Dec. 10, 2007 – Oscar-winning actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Susan Sarandon has told a New York City activist group, Adalah-NY, that she is exploring Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev’s construction of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and exploitation of marginalized communities in other parts of the world. Sarandon was responding to a letter from Adalah-NY requesting that she boycott Leviev. According to The New York Post, Sarandon attended the November 13 gala opening of Leviev's Madison Avenue jewelry boutique LEVIEV New York, as Adalah-NY protested Leviev’s illegal activities outside.....

Adalah-NY spokesperson Issa Mikel explained, “We greatly appreciate that Ms. Sarandon has taken the issue of human rights abuses in Palestine so seriously. Mr. Leviev’s human rights abuses and exploitation of communities from Palestine to Angola to Brooklyn are clear. As noted in our letter, we are confident that Ms. Sarandon was unaware of Leviev’s activities. We expect that once she verifies the facts, she will conclude that the only appropriate action is to sever her ties with Leviev. Many organizations and individuals have been asking us about Ms. Sarandon’s response, and we are pleased that she is closely studying the issue.”..."

Palestine Park

A Good Article
By J. A. Miller
Special to

"....So while the great-great-grandparents today’s Palestinians were tending their fields and orchards and plying their crafts all unawares, Americans in Arab drag acted out their ownership fantasies in a Palestine theme park. Mind you, Palestine Park and the American tradition of biblical re-creation is only a small part of what is a long dense tradition of mainstream Protestant Zionism which includes such 19th century political milestones as: London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Among the Jews (1809); London Memorandum on the Restoration of the Jews (1839); Gawler’s Association for Promoting Jewish Settlement in Palestine (1852); and the Blackstone Memorial Petition presented to President Harrison entitled “Palestine for the Jews” (1891) [6]

All of these proto-Zionist constructs (which by the way contained elements of anti-Semitism) were created to realize Biblical prophecy for political ends. An even more pervasive and influential strain of this Protestant desire is scattered profusely through British and American literature, culture and nomenclature. All of these political and religious desires constitute what the late Israel Shahak identified so eloquently as the “weight of history”. It is important to understand that to this day this historic desire weighs on the Christian West on all levels – from right wing dispensationalists to the liberal clergy to the ranks of the anti-war progressives. That the West “wants a Jewish state” – whether consciously or not – is what enables the continuing bloodshed and injustice in Palestine and even Iraq. It is crucial that these desires be “dragged into the light” using Shahak’s example:

.....politics is an interaction between realistic considerations…and ideological influences. The latter tend to be more influential the less they are discussed and 'dragged into the light'. Any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it. This is especially so if its discussion is prohibited, either formally or by tacit agreement. When racism, discrimination and xenophobia [is] being fueled by religious motivations it is like its opposite case, that of antisemitism and its religious motivations. [7]

The unexamined historical weight before us is the Protestant theology of real estate -- the long Protestant theological desire for a Zionist project. Self-examination is particularly difficult when religion is involved. Former President Jimmy Carter writes candidly of his life-long “infatuation” with Israel and describes the giddiness he felt the first time he visited Israel, a giddiness experienced by the thousands of British and American travelers who flooded “their” Palestine in the 19th century and then published equally giddy accounts of their travels which enormous body of work constitutes a literary phenomenon unprecedented at any other time or place. Nevertheless Carter – like Halper -- is unable to violate the “biblical” borders of Israel: Apartheid is to be found only in the occupied territories and Palestine Park itself is a “democracy”. Progressives, smugly thinking themselves liberated from such baggage, are particularly loath to examine the personal impact of this historical religious weight and instead seek refuge from the effort by hiding behind the issue’s “complexity” and other ruses. No doubt they are all held back by a certain reluctance to relinquish their G-d given right to frolic in Palestine Park ."

Who Speaks for the Palestinians?

By Dan Lieberman
Special to

"......The Palestinians have no cohesion to create a unified voice, no power to present a coherent voice, no means to manage a compromising voice. It seems that the Palestinians have no voice, but the appearance is deceiving; the Palestinians have potent voices of international law and international reason. A major problem is they lack active support from an international community that has been negligent in providing the necessary means to implement United Nations (UN) resolutions and mandating accepted international laws......"

Annapolis: Dead Man Walking

By John Chuckman
Special to

"The Annapolis Conference was, like so many political and diplomatic events of our time, highly choreographed, finely stage-managed, and heavily marketed. Yet, as soon as it was over, it was apparent little had happened, much as when a child opens a much-advertised, expensive plastic toy on Christmas, a brief, glitzy, big-eyed moment followed quickly by tedium. You might compare it to a George Bush press conference or any American presidential debate. Indeed, such choreographed non-events make up a fair portion of what Americans see on their evening news, a phenomenon we might call virtual or synthetic news....."

Hillary Clinton's Illiberal Belligerence

by Stephen Zunes

"While much attention has been given to Senator Hillary Clinton's support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, her foreign policy record regarding other international conflicts and her apparent eagerness to accept the use of force appears to indicate that her fateful vote authorizing the invasion and her subsequent support for the occupation and counter-insurgency war was no aberration. Indeed, there's every indication that, as president, her foreign policy agenda would closely parallel that of the Bush administration. Despite efforts by some conservative Republicans to portray her as being on the left wing of the Democratic Party, in reality her foreign policy positions bear a far closer resemblance to those of Ronald Reagan than they do of George McGovern......"

Hillary Clinton on Iraq

By Stephen Zunes

"Public opinion polls have consistently shown that the majority of Americans – and even a larger majority of Democrats – believe that Iraq is the most important issue of the day, that it was wrong for the United States to have invaded that country, and the United States should completely withdraw its forces in short order. Despite this, the clear front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination for president is Senator Hillary Clinton, a strident backer of the invasion who only recently and opportunistically began to criticize the war and call for a partial withdrawal of American forces......"

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

British 'success' under siege in Afghanistan

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"The British have hailed their recapture this week of Musa Qala town in Afghanistan's Helmand province as a "significant success" against the Taliban. Their jubilation is premature. They failed to consolidate their previous hold on the town by not winning over the local population, and without this support any efforts to tackle poppy growing and smuggling in the strategic province will be doomed, and the Taliban will be back......"

House Votes to Ban Harsh CIA Methods

Contributed by Fatima

"WASHINGTON — The House approved an intelligence bill Thursday that would prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.

The 222-199 vote sent the measure to the Senate, which still must act before it can go to President Bush. The White House has threatened a veto.

The bill, a House-Senate compromise to authorize intelligence operations in 2008, also blocks spending 70 percent of the intelligence budget until the House and Senate intelligence committees are briefed on Israel's Sept. 6 air strike on an alleged nuclear site in Syria......"

Documentary: Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land

Contributed by Lucia

"“Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land” provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.
Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, “Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land” carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied territories appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.)

79 Minutes with Spanish Subtitles.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Audio: Crossing the Line focuses on Annapolis

"This week on Crossing The Line: The cameras are gone and the dignitaries have gone back home, but what if anything did Annapolis really accomplish for either Palestinians or Israelis? Host Christopher Brown speaks with Bill and Kathleen Christison, both formerly of the CIA. Bill was a senior official of the CIA and served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. Kathleen is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for thirty years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. The couple joins Brown to sort out the summit and its chances -- if any -- of advancing a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Later in the podcast, a poem by award-winning Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad entitled "Jerusalem."....."

Click Here to Listen

IDF may create special passages in West Bank security fence to allow migration of wild animals

Only Jewish animals can cross to the west.

فقراء غزة واسطورة الميركافا

فقراء غزة واسطورة الميركافا

"يبدو ان الحكومة الاسرائيلية قد قررت تأجيل تنفيذ خططها العسكرية بخصوص اجتياح قطاع غزة، وفضلت مواصلة اجتياحات مصغرة، وعمليات الاغتيال التي تستهدف النشطاء من فصائل المقاومة في القطاع كرد علي قصف مستوطنات اسرائيلية بالصواريخ.
التأجيل يعود الي عدة اسباب، ابرزها الخوف من النتائج التي يمكن ان تترتب عليه، سواء علي صعيد الخسائر في صفوف القوات الاسرائيلية اولا، والغضبة العالمية المتوقعة كرد علي مجازر يمكن ان ترتكبها هذه القوات في حق المدنيين العزل.
ميزان القوي العسكري يميل بشكل قوي لصالح المؤسسة العسكرية الاسرائيلية المدججة باحدث الاسلحة والعتاد الحربي من دبابات وطائرات وصواريخ، فالفصائل الفلسطينية، وبفعل الحصار العربي الخانق المفروض عليها لا تملك الاسلحة الكفيلة بمواجهة الجيوش الاسرائيلية الجرارة، ولكنها تستطيع ان تلحق بها خسائر جسيمة في حال اندلعت المواجهات.
بالامس اعترف المحللون العسكريون الاسرائيليون بان المقاومين الفلسطينيين نجحوا في اعطاب اسطورة دبابة ميركافا الاسرائيلية العملاقة، عندما اطلقوا عليها قذيفة آر بي جي برأسين نجحت في اختراقها واصابة اربعة جنود كانوا يتحصنون داخل قفصها الحديدي المصفح.
دبابة الميركافا تعتبر قلعة حصينة، وفخر الصناعة العسكرية الاسرائيلية، ولكنها عجزت عن قهر ارادة مجموعة من الشباب الفلسطيني، عرفوا كيف يتعاملون معها بفاعلية عندما اقتحمت قبل يومين منطقة رفح الجنوبية من القطاع لضرب مواقع للمقاومة.
فالعقل الفلسطيني المقاوم الذي اخترع الصواريخ وطور مداها ودقة اصاباتها، نجح هذه المرة في تطوير القذائف المضادة للدبابات، بحيث يضع حدا لاسطورة الميركافا وينهي جزئيا علي الاقل تفوقها في ميدان المعركة غير المتكافئة.
ومن المفارقة ان رجال المقاومة استطاعوا قبل عامين، وفي اجتياح آخر لمدينة رفح اصابة دبابة ميركافا اخري بقذيفة مماثلة، وقتلوا اربعة من الجنود الذين كانوا يتحصنون فيها.
ابناء قطاع غزة سيتصدون لأي اجتياح اسرائيلي للقطاع، مثلما تصدي اشقاؤهم لاجتياح آخر لمخيم جنين، وكلفوا الجيش الاسرائيلي ستة وعشرين قتيلا، وضعفهم من الجرحي في معركة صمود اسطورية استمرت حوالي عشرة ايام. ولن يكون مفاجئا بالنسبة الينا اذا ما ادي هذا الاجتياح في حالة حدوثه الي توحيد الصف الفلسطيني مجددا علي ارضية المقاومة والصمود.
فاذا كان الاستيلاء علي مخيم جنين الذي لا تزيد مساحته عن كيلومتر مربع استغرق عشرة ايام وكلف الجيش الاسرائيلي هذا العدد من القتلي والجرحي، فكم من الوقت سيستغرق اجتياح قطاع غزة الذي تزيد مساحته عن 360 كيلومترا مربعا، ويضم اكبر مستودع تطرف بشري علي وجه الخليقة؟
لا نريد ان نضخم من قدرات المقاومة الفلسطينية في القطاع، او ان نصورها كما لو انها ند للقوات الاسرائيلية، ولكن هذا لا يعني ان نقلل في الوقت نفسه من رجولة وشهامة ابناء الشعب الفلسطيني في مواجهة الظلم والعدوان، وفي ظل صمت عربي مخجل، خاصة من قبل الحكومات التي هرولت للمشاركة في مؤتمر انابوليس للسلام.
فاعمال التوغل والاغتيال التي تواصلها القوات الاسرائيلية في القطاع باوامر مباشرة من ايهود باراك وزير الدفاع ومباركة ايهود اولمرت رئيس الحكومة، لم ترهب فصائل المقاومة، ولم تمنعها من اطلاق صواريخها علي مستوطنة سديروت، وهي الصواريخ التي فاق عددها الاربعين في الايام الثلاثة الماضية واجبرت رئيس بلدية المستوطنة علي الاستقالة احتجاجا.
الاجتياح الاسرائيلي لقطاع غزة اذا حدث سيكون مكلفا جدا لحكومة اولمرت ولوزير دفاعها باراك."

The only option

To the ire of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia resume efforts to re-establish Palestinian national unity

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......Some observers in the occupied Palestinian territories are convinced that Abbas will not embark on any concrete reconciliatory steps with Hamas until he adjudges with certainty that Israel is not really serious about reaching an equitable peace settlement with the Palestinians based on UN resolutions. According to Palestinian columnist Hani Al-Masri, Abbas is already coming to the conclusion that Annapolis was a failure....

If the deadlock with Israel continues, it may occur that Abbas will resign, in which case a less moderate Palestinian leadership would be elected. This is at least the prevailing impression in Ramallah and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. The other alternative would be the dismantling or collapse of the entire PA, which would return everything to point zero."

Anthropologists Up in Arms Over Pentagon’s “Human Terrain System” to Recruit Graduate Students to Serve in Iraq, Afghanistan

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

".......David Price is associate professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. He’s a founding member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists. He was also a member of the Association’s Ad Hoc Commission. He has written extensively on the history and ethics of anthropologists interacting with members of the military and intelligence agencies.

David Price joins us now from Seattle. Welcome to Democracy Now!....

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Why don’t you lay out what this debate is?

DAVID PRICE: Well, this debate very much cuts to the core of what the appropriate uses of anthropology are, regarding warfare and regarding large ethical issues about what does it mean to have anthropologists embedded with military forces during a time of war. You know, there are large ethical issues about embedding ethnographers with troops. Basically, fundamental research ethics require that research subjects have voluntary meaningful informed consent, that they’re told, you know, what’s going to be done with the research, and that no harm come to those who are studied.

The executive board of the American Anthropological Association weighed these and others issues and made a very strong statement against the Human Terrain program, because it saw it clearly wandering into these very ethical problematic areas and not really showing due concern for the people who are studied...... "

Barak briefs Fayyad on measures against Gaza

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli war minister Ehud Barak on Thursday briefed Salam Fayyad, the premier of the illegal PA government in Ramallah, on latest measures taken against the Gaza Strip in the presence of Tony Blair the international quartet committee's envoy to the region.

Hebrew press reports said that Barak spoke about the mini Israeli cabinet's decision on Wednesday that stipulated tightening the noose on Gaza and reducing further the quantities of fuel channeled to the Strip, which were already slashed a few weeks ago.

The meeting came less than 48 hours after Barak's forces killed six Palestinians in southern Gaza......"

US Intelligence Tapping Phones of Indonesian Civilians

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reveals that U.S. intelligence officers in Jakarta are secretly tapping the cell phones and reading the SMS text messages of Indonesian civilians. Some of the Americans involved in the spy operation work out of the Jakarta headquarters of Detachment 88, a US-trained and–funded paramilitary unit which is part of Kopassus, the Indonesian army’s special forces famed for abduction, torture and assassination. The news comes as Congress weighs whether to send more military aid to Indonesia....

AMY GOODMAN: Detachment 88 was recently involved in the arrest of a West Papuan human rights lawyer who had sent a text message critical of the Indonesian military and the president, Yudhoyono. The lawyer, Iwangin Sabar Olif, was charged with “incitement and insulting the head of state.”

Sources have also told Nairn that US intelligence is providing covert intelligence aid to Kopassus, the Indonesian army’s Red Beret special forces famed for abduction, torture and assassination. These disclosures come as the US Congress is deciding whether to send more military aid to Indonesia.

Allan Nairn is an award-winning investigative journalist who has reported from Indonesia for years. I reached him on the phone in Indonesia yesterday and asked him to lay out his findings......

AMY GOODMAN: How do you know that Americans are involved?

ALLAN NAIRN: Three sources have told me this, one of them a person who works regularly with the Indonesian security forces and who has spoken directly formally with the US intelligence people involved in the phone tapping. And the presence of the Americans was confirmed by two Indonesian officials who work inside Detachment 88. And further, when I asked the US embassy in Jakarta today for comment, they at first issued a blanket denial, but then, twenty minutes later, revoked that denial and issued a statement which did not deny the presence of US phone tappers inside these units and did not deny US covert intelligence assistance for Kopassus.....

AMY GOODMAN: In the piece you wrote, you talk about classified Kopassus manuals that talk about the technique of terror. Can you explain?.....

AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned the Detachment 88 mentored by Cofer Black, well known for his CIA ties, also vice chair of Blackwater and a top adviser to the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney .....

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Kopassus—the Indonesian military is hated by the Indonesian public. The term, if you talk to regular people, poor people in the neighborhoods, the term they use for the Indonesian military is “sadists.” And everybody knows that. In fact, it’s so well known that the Indonesian military a couple of years ago even put up an entry on their website in which they denied that they were sadists, because they know that that’s what the people call them.

Within that military, the most-hated and–feared unit is the Kopassus, because they are the most highly trained, they are the most specialized in torture and abduction. And they also are the unit that has historically been closest to the United States. Previously, Kopassus has received courses from US Green Berets and other units in matters like advanced sniper technique, psychological operations, reconnaissance, surveillance, air assault, etc. So Kopassus is really the worst of the worst in an army that has massacred hundreds of thousands of Indonesian civilians since they seized control back in 1965......

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes. It’s very important, when we talk about terrorism, to be objective. Terrorism is the killing of civilians for political purposes. By that standard, the jihadist groups, like those that did the Bali bombings, are certainly terrorists, and they’ve killed several hundred civilians in Indonesia. But by this standard, the Indonesian military and police are also terrorists, and terrorists on a much larger scale. They have killed many hundreds of thousands of Indonesian civilians.

President Bush has what Karl Rove has called “the Bush doctrine,” and that is, “You aid a terrorist, you are a terrorist.” And if we apply that standard, when the US is aiding the Indonesian armed forces and the Indonesian police, which meet the objective definition of “terrorism,” the definition included in the USA PATRIOT Act, i.e. killing civilians for political purposes, then Bush, the US, by the US’s own standard, by the Bush doctrine, is engaging in a terrorist action by aiding terrorists, and he should stop. We should stop aiding any forces that kill civilians."

To read his full report, you can visit his website at

The Real Mobile Labs in Iraq: Mobile Labs to Target Iraqis for Death

U.S. forces in Iraq soon will be equipped with high-tech equipment that will let them process an Iraqi’s biometric data in minutes and help American soldiers decide whether they should execute the person or not, according to its inventor.

A Chilling Article About Imperial Reach
By Robert Parry

""A war fighter needs to know one of three things: Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?” Pentagon weapons designer Anh Duong told the Washington Post for a feature on how this 47-year-old former Vietnamese refugee and mother of four rose to become a top U.S. bomb-maker.....

The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008.

Duong said the next step will be to shrink the lab to the size of a “backpack” so soldiers who encounter a suspect “could find out within minutes” if he’s on a terrorist watch list and should be killed......

In effect, the Bush administration is transforming Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, which already include use of night-vision optics on drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging, and firepower that is both deadly and precise. The new techniques represent a modernization of tactics used in other counterinsurgencies, such as in Vietnam in the 1960s and in Central America in the 1980s......"

IOF analysts: An upgraded RPG penetrated the fortified body of Mirkava tank

Contributed by Lucia

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Military analysts hosted by the Israeli 10th TV channel admitted that that an RPG shell fired by Palestinian resistance fighters during the Israeli incursion last Tuesday into the Fakhari village managed to penetrate the fortified body of a Mirkava tank which is considered an object of pride for the Israeli military industries.

An Israeli specialist in military affairs said that the Palestinian resistance in Gaza fired a new upgraded type of RPG shells, pointing out that the RPG penetrated the tank and exploded inside it wounding four Israeli soldiers.

The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, had claimed responsibility for firing the RPG which resulted in the injury of four Israel soldiers.

The military analysts also admitted that Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip achieved "a quantum leap" in its confrontations with the IOF troops."


By Steve Amsel
Desert Peace

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is
either with us or it is against us. There is no middle ground here.

I invented the chicken. I invented the road. Therefore, the chicken
crossing the road represented the application of these two different
functions of government in a new, reinvented way designed to bring
greater services to the American people.

I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What do you mean by chicken?
Could you define chicken, please?

The chicken's habitat on the original side of the road had been polluted
by unchecked industrialist greed. The chicken did not reach the
unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed
by the wheels of a gas guzzling SUV.

To steal a job from a decent, hardworking American.

I don't know why the chicken crossed the road, but I'll bet it was
getting a government grant to cross the road, and I'll bet someone out
there is already forming a support group to help chickens with
crossing-the-road syndrome. Can you believe this? How much more of this
can real Americans take? Chickens crossing the road paid for by their
tax dollars, and when I say tax dollars, I'm talking about your money,
money the government took from you to build roads for chickens to cross.

No one called to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a
standing order at the farmer's market to sell my eggs when the price
dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider

Because the chicken was gay! Isn't it obvious? Can't you people see the
plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "other
side." That's what they call it -- the other side. Yes, my friends, that
chicken is gay. And, if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I
say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the
liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the
other side."

Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, The
chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed, I've not been told!

To die. In the rain. Alone.

I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads
without having their motives called into question.

In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told
us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

Isn't that interesting? In a few moments we will be listening to the
chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it
experienced a serious case of moulting and went on to accomplish its
life-long dream of crossing the road.

Imagine all the chickens crossing roads in peace.

It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

It was a historical inevitability.

I may not agree with what the chicken did, but I will defend to the
death its right to do it.

What chicken?

To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road
reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

I have just released eChicken 2003, which will not only cross roads, but
will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your
chequebook -- and Internet Explorer is an inextricable part of eChicken.

Did the chicken really cross the road or did the road move beneath the

It was because the road was black and the chicken was white. We must

And God came down from the heavens, and He said unto the chicken, "Thou
shalt cross the road." And the chicken crossed the road, and there was
much rejoicing.

I missed one?"

Torture and torment in 2007 AD

By David Halpin
(A trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. He founded the Dove and the Dolphin charity, one of whose aims is to promote the health and welfare of Palestinian children)

".......The “only democracy in the Middle East” has imprisoned at least 600,000 Palestinians since the ethnic cleansing of those native people started in 1948 en masse. Remember that the population was hardly a million to start with. Many are arrested at dead of night in a manner similar to that taught by Ord Wingate to the Zionist terrorist squads in the 1930s – the Special Night Squads (The Blood Never Dried: John Newsinger). British Mandate law is still invoked. Torture was very common and it is still practised widely. The mantra, “the war on terror”, was soon latched onto by Sharon. The Supreme Court of Israel has disallowed the use of “moderate physical pressure” but in 1999 the “ticking bomb” justification was acknowledged. Torture continues but in a less systematic manner......"

Freedom lost

After the invasion of Iraq, the US government claimed that women there had 'new rights and new hopes'. In fact their lives have become immeasurably worse, with rapes, burnings and murders now a daily occurrence.

By Mark Lattimer
Thursday December 13, 2007
The Guardian

"They lie in the Sulaimaniyah hospital morgue in Iraqi Kurdistan, set out on white-tiled slabs. A few have been shot or strangled, some beaten to death, but most have been burned......

"It is getting worse, especially the burnings," says Khanim Rahim Latif, the manager of Asuda, an Iraqi organisation based in Kurdistan that works to combat violence against women. "Just here in Sulaimaniyah, there were 400 cases of the burning of women last year.".....

"In many cases the woman is accused of adultery, or of a relationship before she is married, or the marriage is not sanctioned by the family," Khanim says. Her husband, brother or another relative will kill her to restore their "honour". "If he is poor the man might be arrested; if he is important, he won't be. And in most cases, it is hidden. The body might be dumped miles away and when it is found the family says, 'We don't have a daughter.'".....

Even under Saddam, women in Iraq - including in semi-autonomous Kurdistan - were widely recognised as among the most liberated in the Middle East. They held important positions in business, education and the public sector, and their rights were protected by a statutory family law that was the envy of women's activists in neighbouring countries. But since the 2003 invasion, advances that took 50 years to establish are crumbling away. In much of the country, women can only now move around with a male escort. Rape is committed habitually by all the main armed groups, including those linked to the government. Women are being murdered throughout Iraq in unprecedented numbers.

In October the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (Unami) expressed serious concern over the rising incidence of so-called honour crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan, confirming that 255 women had been killed in just the first six months of 2007, three-quarters of them by burning......"

Red Cross: Israel worsening Palestinian humanitarian crisis

By Reuters

"Israeli restrictions have caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank that is growing worse, leaving hospitals unable to treat the sick and keeping farmers off their land, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the humanitarian agency called on Israel to "lift the retaliatory measures which are paralyzing life in Gaza".....

"The measures imposed by Israel come at an enormous humanitarian cost, leaving the people living under occupation with just enough to survive, but not enough to live a normal and dignified life," said Beatrice Megevand Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa.

The Palestinian population has "effectively become a hostage to the conflict," she said......

"The Palestinian Territories face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day," the Geneva-based agency said......

Some 823 sick people - nearly one-quarter of the 3,568 requiring medical care outside Gaza - were prevented from leaving the territory for treatment over the last six months, spokesman Florian Westphal said.

Administrative and security clearance delays "have resulted in the deaths of three patients in favor of whom the ICRC had intervened," he said, noting restrictions had also caused a shortage of drugs for cancer patients and a lack of spare parts for emergency wards and operating theaters in Gaza's hospitals....."

Hezbollah mystique undiminished

By Zeina Awad

"As political turmoil continues in Lebanon, observers say Hezbollah, the Shia movement, is re-arming and pursuing fresh recruits for its armed wing. Hezbollah has not denied this.

The movement was launched in 1982 in response to Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon. Backed by Iran and supported for much of its history by Syria, its fighters carried out a series of suicide attacks against Israeli soldiers.

By the late 1990s, Hezbollah had developed into a political party and was funding schools, hospitals and social programmes for Lebanon's often impoverished Shia population.

While the movement adapted to Lebanon's political sphere, its armed wing, the Islamic Resistance, continued to attack Israeli forces occupying southern Lebanon until they pulled out on May 25, 2000.

Last year, Hezbollah fighters captured two Israeli soldiers and killed several more in a cross-border raid.

In retaliation, Israel bombarded Lebanon for 34 days in an attempt to destroy Hezbollah.

However, in the aftermath of the war, Hezbollah now enjoys increased popularity, with more fighters signing up.

One such recruit spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity.

Mohammed, a 22-year-old architecture student, joined after the war. He was following in the footsteps of his brother and father, both resistance fighters....."

US Jews Tilt Rightwards on Israel

By Jim Lobe

"US Jews appear to have become more opposed both to Israel's making key concessions in renewed peace talks with Palestinians and to the US carrying out a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, according to the latest in an annual series of surveys of Jewish opinion released here this week by the American Jewish Committee (AJC)......

If the Jewish community has become more dovish on Iran and Iraq, however, it has also become more skeptical about Israeli-Arab peace efforts and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Fifty-five percent said they believe that negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "cannot lead to peace in the foreseeable future." Three out of four respondents said Israel could not achieve peace with a Palestinian government led by Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip.

In a more stunning result, only 46 percent of respondents said they favor the establishment of a Palestinian state, while 43 percent said they oppose it.

In 2004, 57 percent of respondents said they supported the establishment of Palestinian state. Last year's survey still found majority support – 54 percent for a Palestinian states, and 38 percent opposed.

Asked whether in the framework of a permanent peace accord, Israel should be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction, 58 percent of respondents replied negatively this year. Last year, only 52 percent were against such a compromise, which most analysts, including Olmert's deputy prime minister, Haim Ramon, consider essential to achieving a final peace agreement......"

The Remains of the Annapolis Meeting
By Naser Jafari

The UN has come to be seen as a tool of the West

By Adrian Hamilton
The Independent

"......In other parts of the world, however, the UN is no longer regarded in this benign light. Indeed, in a substantial part of the developing world it has come to seem an instrument of western oppression and US hegemony – a club of the big boys intent on bullying smaller countries in the interests of Washington and its European allies.

When al-Qa'ida blew up the UN offices in Iraq in 2003, killing its envoy, it was trying to drive the outside world away and make sure that nations hesitated to support the US and Britain in the occupation (in this it was, in fact, brutally successful). When al-Qa'ida North Africa, as the militant group now calls itself, blew up the UNHCR offices in Algiers, it was to show that it too had the power and determination to bring down a symbol of western presence.

Iraq has much to do with this change in perceptions. Of course, the UN had been attacked elsewhere before the invasion took place. But Washington's decision to press ahead with occupation regardless showed to much of the Muslim world both the UN's powerlessness and the extent to which it was regarded as a tool of the US, not an independent source of global governance. The rest of the world has been brought up to believe that the security role of the UN was to keep a peace already agreed. Now it saw that the UN was being pushed to impose a peace on terms dictated from outside.

The trouble with denying this and protesting the UN's innocence is that the Third World perception of it as an instrument of the West has some basis to it. If you take the Middle East, the succession of resolutions on Palestine, never implemented and almost universally ignored, the relent tless pinioning of Saddam Hussein through sanctions and then enforced regime-change, the current pursuit of Iran through sanctions and threat, are all seen expressions not of international concern but western self-interest. And the same is true of much of Africa, where the blue helmet has come to represent western ideas of order rather than local concerns for justice......"


Syria denies killing General in car-bomb attack

By Robert Fisk

"So, they assassinated another one yesterday. A general, Francois El-Hajj by name, not known in Europe but a senior officer and the chief of the Lebanese general army staff, whose battle for the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camps earlier this year made him an obvious target for the Syrians, for the Iranians, for the Palestinians, for just about anyone else you care to note.....

The Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi blamed the Syrians for the assassination although, interestingly, and with great concern for his use of words, Walid Jumblatt, who has constantly blamed the Syrians for attacks on democratic politicians in Lebanon did not do so. Nor did Marwan Hamadi, one of Mr Jumblatt's parliamentary colleagues. It seems, therefore, that Lebanese politics are changing once again and that those who were enemies of the Syrians are no longer necessarily so......

When I had dinner with Mr Jumblatt, I made the point that what was terrible about the assassinations was we are beginning to expect them, they are part of our daily life. Every day we are expected to endure an assassination or an attempted assassination, and what is it meant to mean? Syria denied involvement in yesterday's bombing, accusing "Israel and its Lebanese instruments" in a statement from Damascus, of benefiting from the atrocity.

But if this was a warning from Syria, and if General El-Hajj was meant to die – which he did – what is the message for General Suleiman and for all Lebanese?"

Thanks, but no thanks

Statehood does not offer the equitable and fair solution the Palestinian people deserve

A Good Comment
By Ahmad Samih Khalidi
(senior associate member of St Antony's College, Oxford, a former Palestinian negotiator and the co-author, with Hussein Agha, of A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine (Chatham House, 2006))
The Guardian

"The Palestinian state has now become the universal standard for all solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The international community applauds the concept. President Bush proudly proclaims it as his "vision". The Israelis have come to it belatedly, after years of steadfast refusal and rejection.

Today Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, not only supports the idea but proclaims it as an existential Israeli interest: without it, Israel is fated to disappear under dire assault from the ever-expanding Arab population in both Israel and the occupied territories. This apparent human tide may yet bring disaster to the Jewish state, by demanding equal civil rights to those of the Jews themselves.

But statehood as such is a relatively recent addition to Palestinian aspirations. The main Palestinian impetus after the disaster of 1948 was that of "return"; it was more about reversing the loss of Arab land and patrimony, than the fulfilment of classical post-colonial self-determination, via statehood......

Today, the Palestinian state is largely a punitive construct devised by the Palestinian's worst historical enemies; Israel and its implacable ally, the US. The intention behind the state today is to constrain Palestinian aspirations territorially, to force them to give up on their moral rights, renege on their history and submit to Israel's diktats on fundamental issues of sovereignty.

Its core is the rump Palestinian Authority that is now fundamentally sustained by the IDF presence on the West Bank. The PA is increasingly being turned into an accoutrement of Israeli occupation; its function is to serve Israeli security interests as designated by Israel itself and the US military teams that have been overseeing the buildup of Palestinian security forces......"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Blossoming Love Affair, with Oil Being at the Heart of the Matter

Sarkozy says Arabs don't see Gaddafi as a dictator
Oh No, He is a Great Democrat!

"PARIS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy defended Muammar Gaddafi's visit to France on Wednesday, saying the Libyan leader was not considered a dictator in the Arab world......"