Saturday, June 21, 2008

Palestinian lawmaker says “Israel is punishing us for refusing to die”

Just out of Israeli dungeons:

From Khalid Amayreh in Hebron

"A Palestinian lawmaker recently released from Israeli captivity has accused Israel of “adopting Nazi tactics” and applying them to Palestinian prisoners.

Bassem al, Za’arir, 45, who lives in the town of Sammou, south west of Hebron, won a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in the January, 2006.

However, a few months later , Za’arir and dozens of other Islamic-oriented lawmakers, cabinet ministers, mayors and other elected officials, were violently abducted by undercover Israeli soldiers as part of a sweeping crackdown on Hamas supporters and sympathizers.......

Farcical justice system

Al-Za’arir described his 24-month detention as “an extended ordeal.”

“If my case had been handled by any other court in this wide world, I wouldn’t have stayed in jail for a single day. But Israel and Justice are a scandalous oxymoron, and I think the Israelis themselves are aware of this disgrace.”

The Palestinian lawmaker said the Israeli military attorney at one point mistook him for another person and wanted to punish for violations carried out by someone else.

“I don’t know how to describe the Israeli court system. Imagine they wanted to indict me for statements made on al-Jazeera TV by (Hamas’ Gaza leader) Mahmoud al Zahhar, as if I were responsible for every word uttered by people and leaders Israel doesn’t like.”

Al-Za’arir said he thought the main reason behind the collective incarceration of dozens of lawmakers, mayors and cabinet ministers was “to punish the Palestinian people for electing these people.”

Their message was very clear, that we are above you and above your national will, and that Israel and Israel alone has the final say and that it is Israel, not the Palestinian people, who decides who represents the Palestinians.”........"

Messianic Jews say they are persecuted in Israel

"TEL AVIV, Israel - Safety pins and screws are still lodged in 15-year-old Ami Ortiz's body three months after he opened a booby-trapped gift basket sent to his family. The explosion severed two toes, damaged his hearing and harmed a promising basketball career.

Police say they are still searching for the assailants. But to the Ortiz family the motive of the attackers is clear: The Ortizes are Jews who believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Israel's tiny community of Messianic Jews, a mixed group of 10,000 people who include the California-based Jews for Jesus, complains of threats, harassment and police indifference.

The March 20 bombing was the worst incident so far. In October, a mysterious fire damaged a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews, and last month ultra-Orthodox Jews torched a stack of Christian holy books distributed by missionaries........"

After the US Occupation Bought off the Iraqi Resistance for $10 a Day: Afghanistan foreign troop deaths in June exceed those in Iraq

"CNN) -- Five foreign troops were killed Saturday in Afghanistan, bringing the number of NATO and U.S.-led coalition troop deaths in June to 32 -- more than in Iraq.

Foreign troop deaths in the Afghan war have been exceeding those in the Iraq conflict in recent weeks, according to figures compiled by CNN.

The trend reflects a surge in attacks and clashes during the warmer months in Afghanistan, where U.S.- and NATO-led troops have been fighting tenacious Taliban militants. It also points to a decrease in violence in Iraq.

Four service members assigned to the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan were killed Saturday by a roadside bomb and small-arms fire on a Task Force Phoenix convoy, said Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, spokesman for the U.S. military........"

Comment: Not only that the Iraqi resistance has faded while the Afghan resistance is gaining strength, but also the Afghans have avoided sectarian and ethnic divisions and killing each other unlike the Iraqis. I have to admit that I am deeply disappointed in the way the Iraqi resistance has turned; the occupation, unfortunately, outsmarted the Iraqis. Will the Iraqis learn? I doubt it; killing each other is more important for them than resisting the occupation.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you believe that Israel is capable of striking Iran?

With about 2,000 responding so far, 66% said no.

Palestine: The Programmed Failure of the "Silence-for-Food Program"

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

By Julien Salingue

"One year ago, as a consequence of the failed coup d'état attempted by the Fatah MP Mohammad Dahlan, the Palestinian President Abu Mazen decreed a State of Emergency, appointing in place of the Hamas-dominated government, a new cabinet run by Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad's party had received only 2 seats out of 132 in the January 2006 legislative elections, but Fayyad, a high ranking officer of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund, was the Prime Minister that the United States and the European Union wanted. The blackmail of withholding financial assistance and tax receipts since Hamas was elected easily overcame Abu Mazen's minor objections to this "choice." Fayyad began in his new position in mid-June 2007 and started undertaking a series of reforms in the West Bank Palestinian Territories. One year later, it is relatively easy to understand the job assigned to Fayyad: to disarm the resistance and move the centre of attraction of the Palestinian question from political to economic, by normalizing relations with Israel. It consists in imposing what I call a "Silence-for-Food Program," the objective of which is to stabilize the West Bank by improving the living standards of part of the population without fulfilling the national demands of the Palestinian people.

"Imposing Law and Order" and... Disarming the Resistance

This is one of the two priorities set by the Salam Fayyad cabinet: the "return to security" in the Palestinian territories. This has four components.......


Beyond these reservations for the short and medium terms resides a major obstacle, which is the main weakness of the "Silence-for-Food Program": colonization and land seizures continue at a frantic pace (Israel recently announced the building of 800 new houses in two West Bank settlements) and no realization of Palestinian national rights is in view. The major omission of the plan is the Gaza Strip, unless it is no longer regarded as part of the Palestinian territories: who can seriously think that the catastrophic consequences of the Gaza blockade imposed on its 1.5 million inhabitants cannot be the cause for an explosion tomorrow?

The neutralization of armed gangs and the resumption of international grants enable Fayyad and his cabinet to stay in place in relative calm. But the fragility of the situation, the clear limitations of the Blair-Fayyad plan, and its inherent weaknesses indicate major future disappointments for anyone who thinks that the Palestinians will give up their national demands. The current stage is temporary and everyone here knows that in a society in which 50 percent of the population is under 15 years old[14] it is not promises of "lendemain qui chantent" (a bright future) and a few thousand Palestinian uniforms that will prevent a new generation with nothing to lose from revolting and resisting in its turn."

EXCLUSIVE-By decree, Abbas overhauls his security forces

A Good Post Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"RAMALLAH, West Bank, June 20 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing through an overhaul of his security forces by decree, retiring old-guard commanders and giving broad law enforcement powers to a secretive special unit.

Several thousand top officers who rose through the ranks under the iconic late guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat have so far given up command with Abbas offering pre-retirement promotions and pensions equal to their full wages, according to interviews and presidential orders seen by Reuters.

The U.S.-backed overhaul, which envisages shedding about 30,000 security jobs and building a more streamlined gendarmerie as part of Washington's drive for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, has picked up pace in recent months, following Abbas's loss of the Gaza Strip to Hamas Islamists a year ago.......

Western officials note that many of the changes have been carried out with little public accountability.....

Another gave the plain-clothes Preventive Security service, which is reviled as a partisan enemy by Hamas, law enforcement powers to thwart threats to Abbas's Palestinian Authority.

With the Hamas-led parliament paralysed -- by Israel's jailing of many members and the factional war over Gaza -- Abbas and his government have issued or plan to issue dozens of other orders covering everything from the role of the police, capital markets and religious sharia courts, internal documents show.


Advocates say the security changes were meant to keep Hamas in check in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and bolster chances of a statehood deal, which Israel says will only be implemented once Palestinians crack down on militants who attack Israelis.

But some of the changes have raised concerns from constitutional experts, human rights groups and Western officials, who say abuses by forces in both the Fatah-dominated West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are on the rise.

In a recent meeting with Abbas, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights cited "a tendency towards militarisation in both areas, as if a state of lawlessness had shifted to a sort of a security state, a police state".......

Some Western officials have voiced particular concerns about Abbas's Preventive Security order, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. It declared the force's own detention centres are legal, mandates that its activities remain strictly "confidential" and gave the force broad law enforcement powers......."

"حماس": اعتراف واشنطن بأن أجهزة عباس هدفها ضرب المقاومة يعكس طبيعة دورها

قالت إن التحشيد الأمني لا ينسجم ودعوات الحوار

"غزة – المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام
نددت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" بتصريح القنصلية الأمريكية ، على هامش تخريج دفعة جديدة من قوات الأمن الفلسطينية في أريحا ، و الذي جاء فيه: " إ ن تخريج هذه القوات يهدف إلى دعم السلطة الفلسطينية الشرعية ومكافحة الإرهاب في المنطقة" .

وقال سامي أبو زهري الناطق باسم حركة " حماس " في بيان صحفي مكتوب، تلقى "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" نسخة منه اليوم السبت (21/6): " إن هذه التصريحات تعكس التورط الأمريكي في الخلافات الفلسطينية الداخلية ، ودعم فريق فلسطيني بالتدريب والتسليح ضد فريق آخر ".

ورأى أبو زهري أن ذلك " يفسر خلفيات أحداث يونيو2007م ، وتؤكد (هذه التصريحات) أن الإدارة الأمريكية غير معنية بأي وفاق فلسطيني ، وحرصها على دفع الأمور باتجاه الصدام ، كما تؤكد هذه التصريحات طبيعة الدور المنوط بالأجهزة الأمنية في الضفة وهو ضرب قوى المقاومة ، بل ويتعدى دورها الأمني الساحة الفلسطينية إلى الساحات الأخرى ، وهو ما أكدته الوثائق التي عُثر عليها في مقرات الأجهزة الأمنية في غزة " .

واعتبر المتحدث باسم "حماس" أن " استمرار سلطة رام الله في هذا التحشيد الأمني والتعبئة الأمنية ضد قوى المقاومة لا ينسجم مع الدعوات الصادرة عن رئيس السلطة للحوار الفلسطيني الداخلي ، كما أنها تزيد من الفجوة القائمة على الساحة الفلسطينية ، ودفع الأمور إلى طريق مسدود؛ لأن هذه القوات ستكون بهذا الشكل جنب اً إلى جنب مع الاحتلال في مواجهة الشعب الفلسطيني وقواه المقاومة
" . "

UNICEF severs ties with Israeli mogul over settlement building

"The UN children's fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday.

Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, has supported UNICEF with direct contributions and indirectly by sponsoring at least one UNICEF fund-raiser.

He is chairman of Africa Israel Investments, a conglomerate whose units include Danya Cebus, which the Arab rights advocacy group Adalah-NY charges has carried out settlement construction, considered illegal by the United Nations.

UNICEF decided to review its relationship with Leviev after a campaign by Adalah-NY and found "at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" that Leviev companies were building settlements in Palestinian territory, a UNICEF official said.

"I can confirm that UNICEF has advised Adalah in New York that it will not be entering into any partnerships or accepting financial contributions from Lev Leviev or his corporate people," Chris de Bono, a senior adviser to the executive director of UNICEF, told Reuters.

"We are aware of the controversy surrounding Mr. Leviev because of his reported involvement in construction work in the occupied Palestinian territory," de Bono said, adding that it was UNICEF's policy to have partners who were "as non-controversial as possible."......"

Comment: This is a major accomplishment for Adalah-NY which has been waging a determined campaign to expose Leviev and his criminal activities in occupied Palestine and in Africa. I salute Adalah-NY and all of those who supported this campaign, including Professor Norman Finkelstein. In this success, I think there is a lesson for Palestinian supporters and human rights activists.

Israeli source: IAF drill a 'dress rehearsal' for attack on Iran

"Political official, described as familiar with military exercise held earlier this month, tells The Times 'Iranians should read the script before they continue with their program for nuclear weapons. If diplomacy does not yield results, Israel will take military steps to halt Tehran’s production of bomb-grade uranium'

An Israeli source has drawn a link between an Air Force exercise held earlier this month over the Mediterranean and a potential attack on Iran.

The Israeli political official, described as familiar with the drill, told the London-based The Times that the long-range mission was designed to prepare for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and to send a message to the world that it is ready to take military action if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s atomic program........"

Coming war against Iran: Increasing Anglo-American pressure on Turkey

by Cem Ertür
Global Research, June 21, 2008

"Covering the period of March-June 2008, this article will try to highlight the political pressure applied by the US and UK governments on Turkey in view of their war plans against Iran. It is complementary to an earlier article titled "Will Turkey be Complicit in Another War Against Another Neighbour?" [1].......

Turkey was the last stop of US Vice President Dick Cheney's tour in the Middle East in March. Coverage of the event by the Turkish press gave the impression that Mr Cheney did not make any demands from Turkey's President, Prime Minister or Chief of General Staff, concerning the US foreign policy in the Middle East and/or Afghanistan. Given the increasingly evident Anglo-American hostility against Iran on all fronts, this wasn't very plausible. In fact, all the evidence since then suggests otherwise......

On June 17, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported the following exchange:

"Recently [outgoing] U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson visited the Turkish Minister of Energy [Hilmi Guler] asking him to discontinue the energy projects with Iran. The Minister of Energy rejected the request on the basis of a lack of an alternative source. When Wilson suggested buying energy from Iraq, the Turkish minister expressed his pessimistic opinion about Iraq being an alternative, indicating that Iraq had no gas reserves. He said, 'A bird in the hand is better than two birds on a tree.' In response, Ambassador Wilson stated 'in a short time, the bird may burn with the branch it is sitting on' " [26].......

Meanwhile, a US-sponsored political engineering process has entered its last phase, warning the entire political spectrum in Turkey to toe the line. It is relentlessly trying to ensure that a fully compliant government is in power before launching the next Anglo-American war on Iran and possibly on Syria."

Rays of hope from the Gaza ceasefire

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 20 June 2008

"......Some have sought to exclusively blame Hamas for the high Palestinian death toll, saying that the rockets resistance fighters were firing into Israel were "useless" and "toys," and gave Israel the excuse to "retaliate" implying that resistance itself was to blame for the occupier's violence. But the fallacy of this claim is exposed by the fact that the absence of rockets fired from the West Bank and the renunciation of resistance by the US-backed Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, has not spared Palestinian communities there from daily and escalating Israeli violence.

Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed dozens of Palestinians all over the West Bank and injured hundreds of others, including many civilians in their homes, or taking part in peaceful demonstrations against the ongoing destruction and seizure of their land. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, up to mid-June, Israeli occupation forces had carried out over 827 military incursions into West Bank communities (an average of five per day) and had kidnapped or arrested 1,334 civilians since the start of the year. In addition to land confiscation and settlement construction, the Israeli army ransacked, destroyed or closed dozens of non-governmental organizations, radio stations, bakeries and other civic institutions and demolished many homes in the West Bank.......

Instead, as Haaretz's Akiva Eldar put it, Hamas by refusing to buckle under, "once again proved that force is the only language Israel understands." Hamas has achieved a mutual ceasefire and negotiations with Israel are under way to reopen Gaza crossings and exchange prisoners.

The ceasefire also suggests that -- at least for now -- Hamas has managed to achieve some measure of tactical deterrence. Despite constant Israeli threats to wage an all-out war in Gaza, there is a pervasive sense among Israelis that "a lengthy presence, even partial, in the Gaza Strip could turn into a copy of the First Lebanon War, where our soldiers became sitting ducks, targets of roadside bombs and ambushes, for 18 years," as Haaretz military analyst Yoel Marcus put it.

The Israel-Hamas agreement underscores the failure of the policy of military terror, siege and starvation against Gaza supported by the US, the EU and some Arab states. But it also fits into a wider regional picture of the declining influence of the Bush Doctrine........."

Israeli forces terrorize Deheisheh refugee camp

Israeli forces invade Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, 14 June 2008. (Dr. Marcy Newman)

Dr. Marcy Newman writing from Deheisheh refugee camp, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 20 June 2008

".......Normally when the IOF comes into Deheisheh to kidnap political prisoners or to keep Palestinians terrorized they do this in the wee hours of the morning, at least when I've been here. I have never seen such an all-out onslaught on Deheisheh, though it has happened many times before.......

What we did not know is that while the battle in Deheisheh was unfolding soldiers had entered the Abu Akar home and destroyed it from the inside out. What I did not realize is that I have a friend in this family. For the family this began when two IOF soldiers came into the Doha area dressed in civilian clothes trying to appear as if they look Palestinian. This is a familiar story for many people here as this is how my friend's aunt's husband was assassinated, along with three other Palestinian men, by Israeli security forces who entered Bethlehem in March. At the time her son was in jail and today he is the young man they were looking for. He was not at home; he escaped. But his family was terrorized. After the plain-clothes Israelis entered the IOF soldiers followed by bombing the front door of the house down. Afterwards they shot hundreds of bullets all around the house -- through the television set, through the wardrobes, turned over the furniture, and then they destroyed the bathroom. My friend's aunt was made to take off all her clothes, she and her niece were beaten by the soldiers. There were many pieces of evidence left behind. Multiple kinds of bullets and grenades with Hebrew writing on them had been collected by the younger children in the family. The house still smelled like gas. The family had been making a big Saturday lunch of chicken and rice; the soldiers took the canister of cooking oil and dumped it all over the bathroom area.

This story ends here for now, but for this family this will not end. There have been threats made that will likely mean a repeat of today."

By Mike Luckovich

By Emad Hajjaj (Abu Mahjoob)

Obama: Israeli decisions always justified

Press TV

"US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said Israel's recent military maneuvers are justified in view of the threat posed by Iran.

This month, Israel carried out a large military exercise that, according to New York Times, appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

When asked about Israel's recent military exercises Obama said that Israel is always justified in making decisions that will provide for its security, describing Iran as "an extraordinary threat to Israel."

Though Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the exercises, the New York Times has quoted Pentagon officials as saying 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June.

The Israeli jets focused on long-range strikes, allegedly in preparation to respond to the threat Israel feels over Iran's nuclear program.Tehran has asserted on many occasions that its goal in acquiring nuclear technology is to generate electricity as well as using it for agricultural, industrial and medical purposes.

Mohamed ElBaradei has said that should Israel launch a military strike on Iran he would resign from his post as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), adding that such an act would turn the entire region "into a fireball".

Israel itself began developing a nuclear reactor in Dimona in the 1950s and is the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East, known to have an arsenal of 200-400 nuclear warheads and has consistently refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)."

The Imperialist Right Threatens Obama on Iraq

By Gareth Porter

"Robert Kaplan is a throw-back to the late nineteenth century imperialists who believed in the inherent right of the United States to dominate the lesser breeds and believed that the manly art of war is good for civilization. In Imperial Grunts he talked without a trace of irony about the glory of U.S. soldiers taking up "the white man's burden".......

The real point of Kaplan's warning is not what the Iranians will do about Obama. It is what the imperialist right will do about him. They are quite desperate to implicate Obama in the coming debacle in Iraq. They would prefer to have him share the responsibility for the existing policy. If he refuses, however, they evidently feel the need to create a new narrative which says that Obama and the Democrats are enabling Iran to snatch victory from the jaws of the defeat.

Kaplan is clearly hinting that the imperial right, which now controls the White House but McCain's campaign as well, will tag Obama as Iran's candidate in the fall. The further implication of this threat, of course, is that he will also be blamed for having "lost" Iraq to Iran.......

Those U.S.-sponsored elections in 2005, which were so glorified by the Bush administration and the U.S. media, made the Iranian leaders salivate. They opened the door for the Shiite political parties and paramilitary groups created by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war to get state power. The Bush administration had no choice but to play ball with the pro-Iranian Shiites in 2004 and 2005, because it desperately needed the help of their paramilitary forces to help fight off the Sunni insurgents.

Ever since then, the Bush administration and its imperialist right-wing allies have had to deny the obvious reality that the Iraqi regime we were supposedly protecting from Iran was actually a joint U.S.-Iranian condominium.......

The political ploy of shifting blame for the failure of an imperial venture to the other party is an old story in American politics. Remember Henry Kissinger's masterful 1975 set-up of the stab in the back by the Democratic Congress, even as the old Saigon regime was already fleeing in panic? Kaplan is using the threat of yet another round of blame-shifting to blackmail Obama on Iraq.

This is only the first indication of just how ugly this campaign is likely to get on Iraq."

Real News Video: What should Obama's policy be for Afghanistan?

"The Real News Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad tells Senior Editor Paul Jay that Senator Obama, if elected, needs to heavily engage in economic reconstruction of Afghanistan if the US intends to reduce the influence of the Taliban. Ahmad also says that this reconstruction should be handled by an Afghani government that is reflective of the peoples of Afghanistan. "The test of loyalty to the US should not be the criterion.""

Friday, June 20, 2008


"In May 2008 Dunkin' Donuts pulled an advertisement with Rachel Ray touting a cup of iced coffee because she was wearing a scarf that resembled a kuffiyeh.

This is our response as kuffiyeh-wearing coffee drinkers to those who would associate the scarf with terrorism. The link to this blog will be sent to a Dunkin' Donuts Public Relations Representative along with a demand for a public apology. Otherwise, here's to our last cup of Dunkin' Donuts Coffee!

If you want to take part in this campaign send a photo of yourself wearing a kuffiyeh while posing with a Dunkin' Donuts product to Please include the city in which you live. We will not include your name. Please note that we are not trying to counter efforts others may be making to boycott Dunkin' Donuts. In fact, we are in favor of a boycott if a PR Representative does not issue a public statement in response to our campaign......"

Carlos Latuff: Rising oil, food prices

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

A life trapped

Najwa Sheikh writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 20 June 2008

"In 2000 the UN General Assembly declared 20 June "World Refugee Day," a day during which the world can focus on the experience and plight of refugees. It is a day that not only recognizes Palestinian refugees but also other unfortunate people whose lives have been disrupted by war and injustice.

I am a Palestinian refugee; my parents as well as my grandparents are refugees too, who fled from our village al-Majdal and settled in one of the eight refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. My grandparents passed away 15 years ago, without any chance for them to see their homeland again. My parents are old and sick now, and probably will face the same destiny as their parents and die without any chance of having a look to what was once their homeland. Looking at the hard lives of my grandparents and my parents brings me nothing but a bleak vision of my future and the future of my children as refugees for life......

From one generation to the next, nothing has changed. Being educated, or having a career is nothing if one is still only a refugee living in the same borders of a refugee camp, stranded as a refugee forever. Therefore, a refugee should be added to the list of different citizenships of the world, and the word "refugee" should be used in our passports as a definition of the stateless, restless, and endless journey we must live."

Iraq Still a Major Source of Refugees in 2007

By Jim Lobe

"WASHINGTON, Jun 19 (IPS) - Despite a marked reduction in violence due in part to more aggressive U.S. counter-insurgency efforts in 2007, Iraq was the biggest source of the world's newest refugees for the third year in a row, according to the latest annual report of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) released here Thursday......

Overall, nations with a per capita GDP of less than 2,000 dollars hosted almost two-thirds of all refugees.

"The mistreatment of refugees is not limited to poor countries or undemocratic regimes," the report notes. "Wealthy industrial nations utilise policies designed to limit the number of refugees that enter their territory, explaining that they have limited resources, that refugees are unable to integrate or that some other country had primary responsibility."

The report gave Europe a grade of "D" and the United States a grade of "F" for their practice of "refoulement", or returning refugees to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened."

Bomb Iran? What's to Stop Us?

by Ray McGovern

"Unlike the attack on Iraq five years ago, to deal with Iran there need be no massing of troops. And, with the propaganda buildup already well under way, there need be little, if any, forewarning before shock and awe and pox – in the form of air and missile attacks – begin.

This time it will be largely the Air Force's show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.

Emerging from a 90-minute White House meeting with President George W. Bush on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the two leaders were of one mind:

"We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House."

Does that sound like a man concerned that Bush is just bluff and bluster?

A member of Olmert's delegation noted that same day that the two countries had agreed to cooperate in case of an attack by Iran, and that "the meetings focused on 'operational matters' pertaining to the Iranian threat." So bring 'em on!........"

The Welfare-Warfare State

How it works

By Justin Raimondo

"As I write, the House of Representatives is passing a "supplemental" war-funding bill – an event that one would think ought to be the occasion for a renewed debate on the war, whether to end it or, as John McCain would like, to escalate it. One, however, would be quite wrong. The halls of Congress are virtually silent, this election year, as a war the American people oppose continues and threatens to spread. As for the discussion in the media: check out this piece in The Politico – which is chock full of discussion about the bill's non-war related add-ons, and barely mentions the war as an issue, except as a bargaining chip.......

If and when Bush starts World War III, remember that he couldn't have done it without the invaluable complicity of his Democratic enablers, especially those in Congress. They funded a war that could never be contained within the borders of Iraq, and was bound to drag in neighboring countries – as predicted by many war critics, including this one, well before the invasion. ......

Antiwar voters, who voted Democrat last time around, have been betrayed so many times that they've stopped noticing it. What may get their attention, however, is the sound of bombs falling over Tehran – but, by that time, alas, it will far too late…."

Israel's very own Guantanamos

The "death ride" -- welcome to 21st century torture

By Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Israeli maltreatment of Palestinian captives and political prisoners has reached unprecedented levels of brutality, according to lawyers, human rights groups and newly-released prisoners.

There are currently as many as 12,000 Palestinian detainees languishing in Israeli detention camps, many of them without charge or trial. They include hundreds of university professors, engineers, school teachers as well as religious and civic leaders, students, resistance fighters and women activists.

Two years ago, the Israeli occupation authorities abducted hundreds of democratically- elected officials, including mayors, members of local city councils, law-makers, and cabinet ministers, many associate with Hamas's political wing.......

Torture, which the Israeli judicial authorities euphemistically refer to as "moderate physical and psychological pressure", is officially sanctioned by Israel's law. Indeed, several Palestinian detainees have recently died in Israeli jails either due to torture or medical negligence. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Club, which monitors Israeli treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, 167 Palestinians have died in Israeli custody since 1967.

However, while torture was normally performed on detainees mainly in order to extract confessions, the Israeli prison authorities have been using torture for the purpose of simply tormenting and humiliating Palestinian detainees.

"Their goal is to make us suffer, to torment us, to humiliate us. They want to punish us further for our survival, for refusing to die and disappear as a people, for refusing to collapse. Perhaps they think that by tormenting us, they get the feeling that they are avenging the holocaust, at least vicariously," said Mohamed Abu Zneid, from Dura, who was released recently from an Israeli detention camp near the Egyptian borders. "But I can say that such behaviour can only come from a sick people, a sadistic people. Otherwise, why would normal people behave this way?"......."

Oil giants return to Iraq

Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total set to sign deal with Baghdad

By Patrick Cockburn

"Nearly four decades after the four biggest Western oil companies were expelled from Iraq by Saddam Hussein, they are negotiating their return. By the end of the month, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total will sign agreements with the Baghdad government, Iraq's first with big Western oil firms since the US-led invasion in

Big four have history of control

For the four oil giants, the new agreements will bring them back to a country where they have a long history. BP, Exxon Mobil, Total and Shell were co-owners of a British, American and French consortium that kept Iraq's oil reserves in foreign control for more than 40 years.

The Iraq Petroleum Company (once the Turkish Petroleum Company) was formed in 1912 by oil companies eager to grab the resources in parts of the Ottoman Empire.

The company was formalised in 1928 and each of the four shareholders had a 23.75 per cent share of all the oil produced. The final 5 per cent went to Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian businessman.

In 1931, an agreement was signed with Iraq, giving the company complete control over the oil fields of Mosul in return for annual royalties. After Saddam's coup in 1958, nationalisation came in 1972."

Reclaiming orientalism

Research for the sake of genuine mutual understanding should not be confused with the imperialism of the Iraq war

By Brian Whitaker, Thursday June 19, 2008

"Edward Said changed the way western universities approach the study of other cultures — mostly for the better. "Orientalist" soon became a dirty word but, over time, lost much of its meaning and turned into an insult that bickering academics hurl at each other for no good reason.

Then came the Bush administration to remind us what orientalism is really about. In 2002, Raphael Patai's racist tome, The Arab Mind — published two years before orientalism and deservedly forgotten — was suddenly dusted off, reprinted, espoused by the neocons and used to "educate" US army officers before sending them to fight in Iraq.

For Edward Said, the invasion of Iraq reinforced his argument: "Without a well-organised sense that these people [Iraqis] over there were not like 'us' and didn't appreciate 'our' values — the very core of traditional orientalist dogma — there would have been no war." In the aftermath of the invasion, and just a few weeks before his death, he wrote:

Today bookstores in the US are filled with shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines about Islam and terror, Islam exposed, the Arab threat and the Muslim menace, all of them written by political polemicists pretending to knowledge imparted to them and others by experts who have supposedly penetrated to the heart of these strange oriental peoples. Accompanying such war-mongering expertise have been CNN and Fox, plus myriad evangelical and rightwing radio hosts, innumerable tabloids and even middle-brow journals, all of them recycling the same unverifiable fictions and vast generalisations so as to stir up America against the foreign devil......."

Real News Video: Taliban forces alter strategy

"Following a three day offensive by Afghan and NATO forces, 56 Taliban fighters were killed just outside Kandahar in the Arghandab district. Casualty figures remain unconfirmed. Although Afghan officials claimed victory Special Newsweek Correspondent Sami Yousafzai reports that small skirmishes are what Taliban forces want in order to make it difficult for NATO forces "to manage and focus.""

Comment: It seems that the Afghan resistance is more adept and effective in using guerrilla tactics than the Iraqi resistance. We do not see a large scale trap for the resistance such as we saw in Fallujah. Notice, towards the end of the video, the emphasis on limiting the size of any group of fighters to no more than 5-8 with no more than 2 commanders in any given area.

Real News Video: Obama and Afghanistan

Aijaz Ahmad: There is no military solution to the war in Afghanistan (3/4)

"Aijaz Ahmad: Some of Obama's Afghanistan policy is campagin rhetoric, fighitng the "good" war. Of most concern, is Obama does not seem to understand that there is no military solution to the problem."

U.S. Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran

N.Y. Times

"WASHINGTON — Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said........

Much of the planning appears to reflect a commitment by Israel’s military leaders to ensure that its armed forces are adequately equipped and trained, an imperative driven home by the difficulties the Israeli military encountered in its Lebanon operation against Hezbollah.

They rehearse it, rehearse it and rehearse it, so if they actually have to do it, they’re ready,” the Pentagon official said. “They’re not taking any options off the table.”"

US: Israel rehearsing for Iran war

Press TV

"US officials claim that a military exercise carried out by Israel earlier this month was a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran.

American officials believe that the Israeli military exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military's capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran's nuclear program, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Israel carried out a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June. More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the exercise, American officials said.

A senior Pentagon official, who has been briefed on the exercise, said the regime aimed to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Tel Aviv was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from 'producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter'.

"They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know", the Pentagon official said on condition of anonymity, adding that "There's a lot of signaling going on at different levels." .......

Israeli Deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz said in an interview published on June 6 by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that "Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable." However, Israeli authorities later said that Mofaz's statement does not represent Tel Aviv's official policy.

The Islamic republic says any act of aggression against the nation will be met with a 'crushing response'. "We do not brag like certain regimes, but if we are confronted we will prove our military prowess by delivering the enemy a crushing response,” said the Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi in response to recent Israeli threats against Tehran. "

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hamas’s wise step

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"The Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is, ostensibly at least, a wise, dignified and expedient step for several reasons......

Non the less, it would be naïve, even stupid, to be carried away or give Israel the benefit of the doubt by thinking that the Zionist regime is going to abide by the agreement and terminate its murderous aggressions on our people.

Israel, after all, has repeatedly proven itself to be a venomous snake which must never be trusted.

Hence, Palestinians, especially Hamas, ought to be constantly vigilant and ready to repulse any Israeli aggression........"

LEBANON: Iraqi refugees face prison and deportation

BEIRUT, 6 November 2007 (IRIN) - The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) puts the number of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon at 50,000 people, of whom only 8,476 are registered. Another 500 are being held in prison, it says, merely for violating immigration rules.

Having not signed the UN’s Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, introduced in 1951, Lebanon does not grant asylum to refugees, despite the presence on its territory of more than 400,000 Palestinians.

Palestinians, take heart, you are not the only ones the Lebanese govt. treats like crap!

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

Things fall apart

From Missing Links

"There has always been a problem trying to piece together anything but fragmentary and discontinuous accounts of Iraqi affairs, but the problem is getting noticeably worse. What's happening in Mosul following the publicized security campaign there, or is that campaign still going on? What about the provisional Sadrist okaying of the campaign in Amara; what does it say about conditions in the Iraqi army and police? And what is the meaning of "foreign minister" Zebari touting in Washington the near-certainty of a bilateral agreement by the end of July, in the face of more or less contradictory statements by the Prime Minister?......"

Why Iraq won't be South Korea

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"President George W Bush's last call in Iraq is an agreement that would create a US-style consumer society in the Mesopotamian sands, a demilitarized client state under benign US protection. Better yet, it could be like a 21st century version of the South Korean "tiger" miracle. The problem is, Iraqis aren't buying into it. And without an agreement, and a new US-friendly Iraqi oil law, Bush's US$3 trillion Iraq adventure will have been for nothing.....

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, talks like he's a State Department employee: he says the deal will be clinched. Grand Ayatollah Sistani forced Maliki to call for a parliament vote. And Muqtada wants a national referendum - that would be the Bush administration's bete noire......"

House Resolution Calls for Naval Blockade against Iran

America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby pressures the US Congress

by Andrew W Cheetham
Global Research, June 18, 2008

"A US House of Representatives Resolution effectively requiring a naval blockade on Iran seems fast tracked for passage, gaining co-sponsors at a remarkable speed, but experts say the measures called for in the resolutions amount to an act of war.

H.CON.RES 362 calls on the president to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also "demands" that the President impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran."

Analysts say that this would require a US naval blockade in the Strait of Hormuz.

Since its introduction three weeks ago, the resolution has attracted 146 cosponsors. Forty-three members added their names to the bill in the past two days......

AIPAC's Endorsement

Congressional insiders credit America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby for the rapid endorsement of the bills. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) held its annual policy conference June 2-4, in which it sent thousands of members to Capitol Hill to push for tougher measures against Iran. On its website, AIPAC endorses the resolutions as a way to ''Stop Irans Nuclear Proliferation" and tells readers to lobby Congress to pass the bill....."

Fuel Duel

By Dario Castillejos, Dario La Crisis

Idea of 'Shebaa For Hezbollah Arms' Will Backlash


"19/06/2008 The Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC Hertzilia described in an analytical report Israel's announcement of a willingness for peace talks with Lebanon is one of the early fruits of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent visit to the region and her unexpected visit to Lebanon........

"The US administration wants to bolster Saniora and simultaneously remove the rationale for Hezbollah's continued bearing of arms and enable Saniora to pose as the "liberator" of Shabaa," the authors of the report analyzed.

However, analysts also maintain that the idea is likely to backfire.

"First of all, while Hezbollah has declared itself opposed to the idea of placing the Shabaa farms under UN jurisdiction, this will not prevent it from declaring any Israeli withdrawal as its own achievement, a delayed result of the shock and fear - and subsequent flexibility - induced in Israel by the 2006 war.

There is no reason to assume that this version will be any less credible than that offered by Saniora. This is particularly so because the call for the "return" of the Shaba farms is associated with Hezbollah and was picked up by other elements in Lebanon only later.

Also, Hezbollah will claim that Israeli concessions on this issue are proof positive of the successful application of violence against Israel, since the international community declared the matter closed in 2000 and then reopened it as a result of the war of 2006. Such a path is also unlikely to lead to Hezbollah's disarmament. Hezbollah is, after all, both a local Lebanese actor and a client and creation of Iran."

The report considers that should the occupied Shebaa Farms be ceded, Hezbollah already has another list against Israel that will be used to justify further "resistance."

"These include the seven villages that existed in the Galilee prior to 1948, and the large Palestinian refugee presence in Lebanon. The movement has indeed already issued a statement saying that "anyone who believes that placing [the] Shaba farms under UN mandate will mean eliminating the rationale behind our resistance is mistaken.""

The analytical report concluded that the US and France want to strengthen their partner in Lebanon. "They want to show that aligning with the West brings results, while the allies of Iran are the forces determined to prevent tranquility. For the reasons cited above, reopening the issue of the Shaba farms is unlikely to produce these desired results. Rather, the impression given is more likely to be one of confusion, disunity and lack of resolution among pro-Western forces in the region.""

Anything for a Bath, Anything for Fuel

By Mohammed Omer

"GAZA CITY, Jun 18 (IPS) - The girl, about 16, is wandering about Jebaliya refugee camp, picking up anything she thinks can burn. She cannot find enough bits of wood, so she gathers plastic bags, old notebooks and even a pair of broken plastic sandals.

"I want to heat some water," she said. "I want a bath."....."

Q&A: 'Occupiers Cannot Also Be Liberal'

Interview with Israeli academic Ilan Pappe

"ATHENS, Jun 18 (IPS) - Support for an academic boycott of Israeli universities exposed Ilan Pappe to death threats last year, forced him to resign as senior lecturer of political science at the University of Haifa, and leave the country.

His argument that the creation of Israel in 1948 was followed by a policy of cleansing Israeli territory of Arabs, his support to Hamas resistance despite rejecting its political ideology, and the denouncement of Israeli academia for justifying the occupation of Palestine have made him an unwanted person in Israel. But still he remains a firm believer that the only way to improve this reality is by exposing its worst aspects.

Pappe now teaches history at the University of Exeter in Britain.

In an interview with IPS correspondent Apostolis Fotiadis, Pappe discusses the situation in Palestine today, and the Arab-Israeli conflict 60 years after it began......."

General who probed Abu Ghraib says Bush officials committed war crimes

By Warren P. Strobel McClatchy Newspapers

"WASHINGTON — The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account.

The remarks by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who's now retired, came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices......"

Truce may include multinat'l Arab force

"The deployment of a multinational Arab force in Gaza as a final stage of the truce that was set to begin Thursday morning is being discussed at the highest levels of government, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to a senior defense official involved in the cease-fire talks, Egypt raised the request for the deployment of the Arab force during meetings between Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, and Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Israel, the defense official said, was not completely opposed to the idea since it would ultimately bring Arab countries such as Egypt to "take responsibility" for events in Gaza. The deployment was also raised as a way for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party to regain control of the Gaza Strip.

The official said that while Israel was therefore in favor of the initiative, the defense establishment was skeptical that it would succeed in light of Hamas's public opposition as well as the operational challenges it would pose for the IDF. One such challenge would be concerns over accidentally harming soldiers of the multinational force while pursuing terrorists inside the Gaza Strip........"

Syria: Peace with Israel will be 'bliss'

"A senior Syrian official has expressed confidence regarding the possibility that indirect peace talks with Israel will come to fruition, saying that a peace agreement would be a source of "bliss" in the Middle East.

"When people can move freely between Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, a great change will take place," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad told the Chicago Tribune. "Our people will enjoy life without bad dreams of the martyrdom of their children, we will improve living conditions and we will open up to the international community."

"The impact of peace will be bliss for the entire region," he added.

Syria, Miqdad claimed, was aware that there could be no direct talks with Israel without the involvement of the US........"

Ron Paul Claims Pelosi Spiked Iran Bill

"Representative Ron Paul says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed a section from a bill passed by Congress which would have barred the U.S. from going to war with Iran without a congressional vote, claiming she did so at the behest of the leadership of Israel and AIPAC.

Paul, a former Republican presidential contender who formally removed himself from the party’s nomination race last week, makes the allegation on C-SPAN during a recently held foreign policy conference in Virginia......."

Don't hold your breath

The Hamas ceasefire is a positive sign, but even if it sticks, there are plenty of questions still left to answer

By Ian Black, Wednesday June 18 2008

"......Abbas has virtually nothing to show for going along with the US-Israeli policy, backed by the Quartet and its envoy Tony Blair, of "showcasing" the West Bank to prove to misguided Gazans that they are backing the wrong horse in supporting Hamas (though there is some polling evidence that its popularity has been waning). Aides admit privately that Abbas is in a "desperate" position. Now the likelihood must be of a return to the format of the Saudi-backed Mecca agreement of last year, under which Hamas mandated the PLO to negotiate with Israel, accepted, (however grudgingly or ambiguously) existing peace agreements (Oslo) and respected a ceasefire. The burning issue of recognition of Israel (and the Hamas charter) will again be left sensibly to one side.

Abbas's demand that Hamas restore the pre-takeover status quo in Gaza will not be easily met. But if the ceasefire does hold, Hamas will be in a strong position to contest new presidential and parliamentary elections. Palestinian unity will put the Palestinians on a far more equal footing with the Israelis. It will also help those, especially in Europe, who are advocating an end to the boycott of the Islamists which is at the heart of current western policy. So small beginnings in Gaza could yield big dividends more widely – even if experience teaches that it would be foolhardy to hold your breath. "

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you expect that the agreement for calm between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Israel will succeed?

With about 3,000 responding so far, 77% said no.

Real News Video: Will Pakistan fight a US war?

Aijaz Ahmad: US bombing has disrupted negotiations between Pakistan gov and tribal leaders (2/4)

"Afghan and NATO troops, backed by helicopter gunships launched a massive counter-attack Wednesday against Taliban militants occupying villages near Kandahar. According to The Associated Press, 16 Taliban and two Afghani soldiers have been killed so far. This fighting comes as the US-led forces face the most menacing Spring offensive the Taliban have launched since 2001. NATO's success now hinges on cooperation with neighbouring Pakistan, whose porous borders allow free movement of Taliban fighters between the two countries. The Real News Network's Senior Editor Paul Jay discusses the likelihood of a partnership between NATO and Pakistani security forces with Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad."

Asad is Behaving, as the Arabic Expression Goes, Like a Woman Very Much Interested in Sex, But......Afraid of Pregnancy

No Direct Talks with Israeli PM: Syrian President


"19/06/2008 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Thursday ruled out direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the sidelines of an international summit in Paris next month. Assad and Olmert will be in Paris as guests of French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is to announce the launch of a new Mediterranean Union on July 13.

"This is not like drinking tea," Assad told reporters in New Delhi when asked about the possibility of direct talks between the two. "The meeting between me and the Israeli prime minister will be meaningless without technocrats, who are the experts, laying the foundation," said Assad who is on a four-day state visit to India. "Only sending signals with no real result is meaningless."

His comments follow Israeli President Shimon Peres publicly calling on Syria on Sunday to enter direct talks. Assad had said direct peace talks with Israel were unlikely before 2009 [Assad to Olmert: according to Syrian tradition, sex is not permissible on the first date!] and depended on the fate of Olmert, who has been dogged by calls for his resignation over a graft scandal."

Mussa, Peres exchange harsh words

Press TV

"Arab League chief Amr Mussa and Israeli president Shimon Peres have exchanged harsh words about the stalled Middle East peace process.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa withdrew from the session [why was he there to begin with? Is this not normalizing the "Arab" League with Israel while the latter finishes off what is left of Palestine?]after verbal exchanges with Israeli president Shimon Peres over who blocked the Middle East peace process.
The dispute erupted on Wednesday at a conference of Nobel Prize Laureates in the historic Jordanian town of Petra.

Peres said in a speech that Arabs "should follow the path of peace like the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and (late) King Hussein" of Jordan, who both signed peace treaties with Israel, sparking Mussa's ire.

Mussa interrupted Peres and told him: "You are a maestro in talking, but don't take us for granted because we are not fools [as a matter of fact, by their actions, the Arab leaders whom Mussa is defending are worse than fools, they are cowards and their word is worthless; Israel and the whole world knows that!]".

"You talk about peace, but we did not hear Israel's opinion about the Arab peace initiative," Mussa reportedly added.

Mussa was referring to the 2002 plan by which the Arabs offered to fully normalize relations with Israel in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from territories it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

In a tit-for-tat reply Peres said: "We have withdrawn our army from Gaza and removed our settlements there, but Hamas continues to fire rockets. Stop the rockets and we will give you something fair."

But Mussa rebuked him saying: "Stop building settlements. You keep constructing settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes. What peace are you talking about?"

Mussa then stormed out of the room only to return [as if an example of a fool and a coward was needed!] after being persuaded by Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir, the source added.

Mussa told reporters later that he was forced to respond to Peres' remarks "because Israel was fooling the Arabs by alleging that it was making peace."

A least 280 politicians, economists and academics in addition to 30 Nobel Prize winners are taking part in the conference held under the title "Advancing Access to Science Education as a Critical Driver of Economic Growth and Social Progress." "

اخطأت يا موسي: العرب مغفلون

اخطأت يا موسي: العرب مغفلون

عبد الباري عطوان

"ليسمح لنا السيد عمرو موسي امين عام الجامعة العربية ان نختلف معه، في قوله للرئيس الاسرائيلي شمعون بيريز، اثناء انتفاضته الغاضبة، بأن العرب ليسوا مغفلين اثناء مشاركة الاثنين في مؤتمر الحائزين علي جائزة نوبل المنعقد حاليا في مدينة البتراء، ونقول له انهم فعلا مغفلون بل و اغبياء و جبناء استمرأوا التذلل للإسرائيليين وتلقي الصفعات منهم الواحدة تلو الاخري.
السيد عمرو موسي استشاط غضبا عندما دعا بيريز العرب لاتخاذ خطوات تجاه السلام، علي غرار ما قام به الملك الراحل حسين بن طلال والرئيس المصري الراحل ايضا محمد انور السادات، والاستعداد للتقدم نحو السلام، فسأله، اي موسي، عما فعلته اسرائيل من اجل السلام وما هو موقفها من المبادرة العربية، وكيف تتحدثون عن السلام وأنتم تبنون المستوطنات؟
العرب مغفلون فعلا، وتتعامل معهم اسرائيل والولايات المتحدة، وربما العالم بأسره، علي هذا الاساس، ولا نري ان هناك ما يجبرهم علي تغيير هذه القناعة الراسخة، ودليلنا الدامغ علي هذه الحقيقة المؤلمة نوجزه في بعض الامثلة:
الأمثلة علي الهوان العربي كثيرة، يضيق المجال لحصرها، ولا بد ان السيد موسي يعرفها، مثلما يعرف ما هو اخطر منها، ولذلك لا نستغرب غضبته هذه، ولكننا نستغرب حضوره هذا المؤتمر وجلوسه الي مائدة واحدة مع الرئيس الاسرائيلي، وهو الذي لم يفز بجائزة نوبل، فلماذا يعرّض نفسه وجامعته لمثل هذه الاحراجات اذا كان لا يستطيع تحملها؟ واليس هذا تطبيعا مجانيا بين الجامعة العربية واسرائيل؟.
السيد موسي يستحق الشكر علي انسحابه احتجاجا، ولكن كان عليه ان يكمل جميله، وان يتمسك بموقفه، ولا يعود الي قاعة الاجتماع، حتي يثبت لنا وللضيوف الحاضرين انه جاد فعلا في موقفه هذا، وانه مختلف عن الزعماء العرب الذين يمثلهم، ولكنه لم يفعل وللأسف الشديد، وجاءت غضبته هذه زوبعة في فنجان، انتهت في دقائق معدودة، وأعطت عناوين جيدة لبعض الصحف العربية، ونحن منها

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Leaked Manual: How to train death squads and quash revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq

How to covertly train paramilitaries, censor the press, ban unions, employ terrorists, conduct warrantless searches, suspend habeas corpus, conceal breaches of the Geneva Convention and make the population love it

JULIAN ASSANGE (investigative editor)

"Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as "what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.

The leaked manual, which has been verified with military sources, is the official US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense or FID.

FID operations are designed to prop up "friendly" governments facing popular revolution or guerilla insurgency. FID interventions are often covert or quasi-covert due to the unpopular nature of the governments being supported ("In formulating a realistic policy for the use of advisors, the commander must carefully gauge the psychological climate of the HN [Host Nation] and the United States.")

The manual directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and (under varying circumstances) the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates employing terrorists or prosecuting individuals for terrorism who are not terrorists, running false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it repeatedly advocates the use of subterfuge and "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures more palatable.

The content has been particularly informed by the long United States involvement in El Salvador........"

Shooting back at the settlers

Palestinians have begun filming attacks by Jewish settlers - with help from an Israeli human rights organisation

Last week the BBC carried video footage of a Jewish settler attack on Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. The attack was filmed thanks to a video advocacy project arranged by the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem. The aim of the project is to empower Palestinian families and increase public awareness of their harassment. The over 100 cameras distributed by B'Tselem give Palestinian communities the opportunity to document attacks by Israeli soldiers and settlers in a medium that is less likely to be ignored or disputed by Israeli authorities than oral testimony.

Sounds good, right? But read this disgusting update on the attack.

'Rice wants March 14 Defense Ministry'

Press TV

"Lebanese sources say Condoleezza Rice's visit to Lebanon was aimed at appointing a member of March 14 as the head of the Defense Ministry.

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who arrived in Lebanon on June 16 for a surprise visit, pushed for March 14 bloc to take over the Ministry of Defense, saying that the bloc is determined to organize the country's security in the future, al-Manar TV reported.

"Rice visited Lebanon to discuss Shebaa Farms, she believes that the Shebaa issue could not be concluded during a week or even a month and it needs a more comprehensive plan", said Junee Moneer a Lebanese political analyst, Press TV's Beirut Bureau reported.

"Now the US is attempting to appoint security heads, and the main dispute is over the post of the Defense Ministry… because the defense minister appoints the army chief and also has a great influence on the appointment of all security heads," the analyst added......."

Islamic Movement in Jordan warns of "Jordanian option" idea raised by McCain

"AMMAN, (PIC)-- The Islamic Movement in Jordan warned of the gravity of what was stated by John McCain, the republican candidate for the US presidential elections, about adopting the Jordanian option to get rid of the burden placed by the Palestinian cause on the public policy of his country in the Middle East.

An advisor to McCain said that the latter adopts a strategy to resolve the conflict in the Middle East based on the Jordanian option which states that Jordan is the natural home for millions of Palestinians and the best solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

Irheel Gharaibah, the secretary-general of the Islamic action front party in Jordan, underlined that such statements reflect a very serious juncture in the American official discourse and an inauguration of a new stage calling for disengaging from any commitments to international laws regarding the Palestinian land and refugees.

Gharaibah called on those preoccupied with reaching frivolous settlements with Israel to read well the Zio-American vision rather than wagering on the American positions towards the Palestinian cause and the entire Arab issues.

He noted that the Islamic Movement had warned on more than one occasion of Zio-American statements adopting the Jordanian option and called on the Arab and Islamic governments to sever relations with Israel and to re-consider their subservience to the US policy.

The Jordanian leader called on his country to re-evaluate its foreign policy so as to restore its balance away from the hubs of the American policy and to pave the way for a unified Arab stance against the Zio-American schemes aimed to liquidate the Palestinian cause."

Israel says it's ready to begin peace talks with Lebanon

".....U.S. pushes for Israel-Lebanon peace talks, deal on Shaba

The United States has begun mediating between Israel and Lebanon in an effort to resolve their dispute over Shaba Farms in the hope they would then start peace talks.

U.S. President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed Olmert of this during his visit to Washington two weeks ago, and Rice repeated it during her visit here earlier this week. According to a senior Israeli official, Rice gave Lebanon a message from Olmert on this issue on Monday.

The London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that during her brief visit to Beirut
on Monday, Rice told Lebanese officials that the U.S. was working to obtain an Israeli withdrawal from Shaba. "Our efforts are continuing, and will be stepped up in the coming weeks," the paper quoted Rice as saying......

A senior Israeli official said that both Rice and Bush told Olmert they want to support Prime Minister Fuad Siniora's government in Lebanon and weaken Hezbollah. The best way to do this, they argued, is to cede Shaba to Lebanon, thereby eliminating Hezbollah's claim that only it can liberate Shaba.

Moreover, they argued, progress on Shaba may lead to the opening of peace talks between Lebanon and Israel. Beirut has previously said that a withdrawal from Shaba is a precondition for talks.

Olmert responded that he agreed in principle, but had several conditions. First, he said, any resolution of the Shaba dispute must include full implementation of Resolution 1701, which, inter alia, requires Hezbollah's disarmament and an end to arms smuggling from Syria. Moreover, he said, until the UN decides whether Shaba is Syrian or Lebanese, there is no point in discussing its future.

In general, he said, the outstanding issues between Lebanon and Israel are not complicated, and should be easier to resolve than Israel's disputes with Syria. "I'm willing to sit down to direct negotiations with Lebanon in order to resolve everything necessary, including Shaba Farms," the official quoted him as saying.

European diplomats told Haaretz they also expect Israel to withdraw from Shaba, should the UN indeed declare it Lebanese.

The Lebanese government had proposed in 2006 that Israeli troops be replaced by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which would hand the area over to Lebanon should the UN conclude finally that the area is Lebanese. However, Israel opposes this idea, and this week, Hezbollah said it would still consider Shaba occupied territory even if it were under UNIFIL's control. "

ANALYSIS / Cease-fire deal means Hamas is calling the shots

By Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz Correspondent

"The main points of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas grant the Islamic organization a political and diplomatic achievement that will also give it a lever in its reconciliation talks with Fatah, which are slated to begin at the end of this week.

According to the Egyptian-mediated proposal, Israel will no longer be able to monitor the Rafah crossing, on the Gaza-Egypt border, once it reopens, and a deal to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit will be discussed separately from the truce, as Hamas wanted.

Israel will receive quiet in the south, along with an Egyptian pledge to monitor the border closely, but Hamas will be the main party in control of the Rafah crossing. Palestinian Authority officials and European observers will be present, but both will have limited authority......

In theory, the reopening of Rafah depends on progress in the Shalit deal. But Egyptian officials insisted yesterday that Rafah's opening is independent of the Shalit swap, and neither is conditional upon the other, since freeing Shalit involves an additional element: Israel's agreement to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners. Thus here, too, Israel will not be able to point to any achievement.

Hamas has an interest in the cease-fire, and not just in order to end Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Later this week, Abbas is expected to make his first visit to Gaza since Hamas seized control of the Strip last year, in an effort to negotiate a reconciliation between his Fatah party and Hamas. He announced this initiative about two weeks ago, and it is being supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But now, Abbas will find himself facing a politically strengthened Hamas, one that has seemingly forced Israel to cave in......."

EGYPT: Govt Forced to Bend on Israel Gas Deal

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 18 (IPS) - In the last two months, popular and parliamentary opposition to the sale of Egyptian natural gas to Israel -- at undisclosed prices -- has mounted. As a result, in a rare nod to public opinion, the government recently announced it was "revising" the terms of the sale agreement.

"The government was finally embarrassed into partially addressing our concerns," Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat, former MP and spokesman for the recently founded Popular Campaign against Gas Exports told IPS.

The full-scale export of Egyptian natural gas to Israel officially began on May 1. A 2005 agreement between Egypt and Israel allows the Cairo-based East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), a joint venture between Egyptian and Israeli businessmen, to sell approximately 1.5 billion cubic metres of Egyptian natural gas annually to the Israel Electric Corporation for a period of 15 years.......

Next week, campaigners are planning to hold a protest march in front of Cairo's administrative court. The same day, Jun. 24, will also feature the opening session of a court case -- raised by a former assistant foreign minister -- against the government's endorsement of the sale.

Campaign organisers are now trying to collect one million signatures for a petition against all Egyptian natural gas exports. "When we achieve this, we'll march to the presidential palace in Cairo and present our petition directly to the President," said al-Sadat."

Condi's Quick 'Hello-Goodbye' to Lebanon

By Franklin Lamb - Beirut
Palestine Chronicle

"......It is likely Ms. Rice's last visit to Lebanon, but not her finale to the region which have averaged roughly one appearance every 9 weeks since assuming her current post. Rice, as with the Bush administration generally, remains hugely unpopular here in Lebanon based partly on her callous remarks: " it ( the wanton Israeli killing and bombing) are birth pangs of the new Middle East" , "it's too early for a sustainable ceasefire", "Israel is just exercising its right to self-defense and the United States supports that right", etc . during the 33 day July 2006 War and her work to delay a ceasefire during the fighting which directly contributed to the more than 1,400 Lebanese killed, 4,500 wounded and massive destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure as well as its economy and environment......

The brilliant long term Progressive Socialist leader in contemplating retirement to enjoy his vast ('socialist') land holdings and vineyards above Khalde and Damour. Last week he told his key advisors that he was prepared to resign and turn the PSP over to his son (that's how it works in feudal Lebanon tradition--Primogeniture today! Primogeniture tomorrow! Primogeniture forever! to paraphrase the late Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama).

When one aid asked Wallid if his depression and wish to resign was the result of the May events (Hezbollah roared up into parts of his Chouf to rattle his cage, with unnecessary loss of life on both sides" one observer noted and apparently it did shake him up. Only yesterday did the Lebanese Army finally vacate his Sweifeit Headquarters turning it back over to the PSP). Jumblatt was candid as reported in Beirut newspapers. "They won. We lost", he was quoted as saying, referring to the 20 month struggle between the US backed majority and the Hezbollah led opposition......

One could hope that the "A Team" recovers from any heartache and bruised feelings as Condi flits back to Stanford after the Bush administration ends its reign of terror in this region........"