Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ole - Ole, Ole, Ole

By Uri Avnery

"......Last week I wrote here that it would be easy to put an end to the ceasefire: "The army will kill half a dozen Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank. In response, the organization will fire a salvo of Qassams at Sderot. The army will announce that this is a violation of the agreement and answer with an incursion into the Gaza Strip…" But even I did not expect this to happen so soon. But this is what has indeed happened: the army executed two Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad responded by launching Qassams, the army has renewed the blockade…

Did anyone decide on this provocation? Olmert? Barak? The Chief of Staff? The division commander? Nobody is saying. Only one thing is certain: there is no government to speak of......

......This is all theater. They drink wine from empty goblets. Nobody believes seriously in a peace that would necessitate the removal of the Israeli settlements from the Golan. And in the meantime, the settlements keep on growing......

So why the performance? Each of the parties has its own reasons:

* Bashar al-Assad exploits it, with great talent, in order to get out of the "axis of evil", to prevent an American military attack on him (which has already become extremely unlikely) and to break the bonds of isolation.

* The Turkish government, menaced by its domestic enemies, such as the army and the courts, is gathering prestige and furthering its main ambition: to join the European Union.

* Even the agile Nicolas Sarkozy smells an opportunity. After coming here on a tour of pandering, assisted by his stunning wife (his criticism of the settlements was almost ignored by the media), he now wants to host Olmert and Assad in Paris, in a great show, around the same table (but without shaking hands). Who can say no to a person who is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union, and who aspires to become Napoleon the Fourth?

* But Olmert is, of course, the one to gain the most. This week, from the Knesset rostrum, he thundered back at the Likud members who showered him with derisive catcalls: "You do not want peace!"......

All the above applies even more to the relations with Palestine. They meet. They embrace. They exchange promises. There is a host of mediators, all of whom want to garner something for themselves.

This week a particularly loathsome performance was held in Berlin, under the auspices of Angelika Merkel, who also has honored us recently with a pilgrimage of obeisance. It was a conference "for the Palestinians". What did they not talk about? About the occupation. About the settlements. About the Wall. About the thousands of prisoners in our hands. And about the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

So what did they talk about? About the training of the Palestinian police, which will safeguard the security of the occupation. About the building of Palestinian prisons, to lock up Hamas members. The main thing is Law and Order - the law and the order of the occupation.

And who were the stars there? The inevitable Tony Blair. The tragicomic Condoleezza Rice. And, of course, Tzipi Livni (who demanded, on the very same day, that the Israeli army enter Gaza). All, but all of them are acting for peace......"

Chopping Iraq Down
By Emad Hajjaj (Abu Mahjoob)

By Mike Luckovich

An Open Letter to Barney Frank

Have You Lost Your Mind or Just Been Bought Out by AIPAC?


"Dear Barney Frank,

While you were espousing the freedom of speech and democratic principles of Israel to the House of Representatives on June 18, 2006, were you thinking of Hedy Epstein, the 84 year old Holocaust survivor and American who recently travelled to Israel and visited with Palestinians there? In your proclamation about the freedom in Israel which you mistakenly represented as the only democracy in the Middle East, were you thinking of how it felt for Hedy to be approached by Israel’s security force when she was leaving the country to return to the US and told she is a terrorist. Were you thinking of how the guards had turned their badges around so that she could not get their names while they forced Hedy to undress, while they penetrated her body, because she is a terrorist, because she met with Palestinians, because she listened to them. Is that the freedom you wish to applaud? To hear how it felt from Hedy herself, if you care, try watching this:

I know you were not thinking of Professors like Nadera Shaloub Kevorkian, a noted scholar from Hebrew University, awarded for her outstanding research, a recipient of the Golda Meir award even though Golda Meir told us that “there are no Palestinians.” I know you were not thinking of her and how she is subjected to dehumanized searches, seen her children’s photos trampled on by the security, her undergarments twirled like flags in the air for all to see, had her computer and cell phone seized each time she travels outside her country of birth to the many lectures she is invited to give and for the numerous honors bestowed on her. Of course, to Israel and therefore to the American government she would be considered a terrorist. Why? because she is a Palestinian....."

Guess What "Surprise" Republicans Yearn For


"Everybody knows it, but it took a tacky Republican operator to come right out and say it. Charlie Black, John McCain’s campaign adviser, recently let drop to Fortune magazine that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage" for the Republican presidential candidate. Of course McCain lost no time in distancing himself from Black’s remark, with the same bogus moral outrage with which he decries racist slurs on his opponent. "I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true. I've worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear." Black duly threw on some sackcloth and echoed McCain: "I deeply regret the comments. They were inappropriate. I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration.”

Now, Black is no novice in campaign tactics. Nearly 40 years ago he helped put Jesse Helms in the US senate, and has been an innovative dirty trickster ever since.....

Almost every presidential election sees allegations of an imminent “October surprise”. There’s zero doubt what sort of surprise McCain and the desperate Republicans are yearning for. "

South African delegation: Israel's acts will never bring peace to the region

"GAZA, (PIC)-- A South African parliamentary delegation stated Saturday during a visit to the PLC headquarters that South Africa supports the Palestinian people and rejects the unjust Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, pointing out that Israel's acts will never bring peace to the region and its apartheid wall isolates the Israeli community.

The head of the delegation said that the Israeli government and the Knesset (Israeli parliament) tried to hinder their visit to Gaza and conditioned their meeting with Israeli officials on canceling this visit, adding that the delegation refused the Israeli blackmail and insisted on visiting Gaza.

The head of the delegation underlined that South Africa sympathizes with the kidnapped Palestinian lawmakers in Israeli jails, noting that he is doing his best to meet with PLC speaker Aziz Dweik and other MPs imprisoned in Israeli jails.

At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, briefed the delegation on the suffering of the Gaza people under the Israeli siege and the injustice inflicted on the Palestinian lawmakers in Israeli jails in an attempt to undermine their steadfastness and force them to back down from being representatives of the Palestinian people.

For his part, Mohamed Radwan, the director of the foreign relations committee of the Hamas parliamentary bloc, handed the visiting delegation detailed reports on refugees, Jerusalem, the Aqsa Mosque, prisoners and the siege, where the South African delegation promised to read them thoroughly and to be in touch with the Hamas parliamentary committee regarding all the files of the Palestinian cause."

PCAS is preparing to recieve the Free Gaza Boat soon

"Free Gaza Movement is a based EU peace activists group based in Europe. It aims at coming to Gaza to lift the siege by the next August. Popular Committee Against Siege (PCAS) and other Palestinian groups are receiving them. There will be a massive media coverage and public participation.......

We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.

Who are we?

We are these human rights observers, aid workers, and journalists. We have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians. But now, because of the increasing stranglehold of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, many of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza, and an increasing number have been refused entry to Israel and the West Bank as well. Despite the great need for our work, the Israeli Government will not allow us in to do it. "

Israel Prepared to Use Force Against Iran


Der Spiegel

"Israel won't rule out a military attack on Iran, according to Isaac Ben-Israel of the ruling Kadima party. The former air force general told SPIEGEL that: "If necessary, we will use force."

Israel is capable of mounting a successful military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, a former Israeli air force general told SPIEGEL. Isaac Ben-Israel, now a member of the ruling Kadima party, said: "If necessary we will use force," adding: "We could do it today."

Ben-Israel, who as an air force general took part in the planning of the 1981 air raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, admitted it might be "more difficult" to attack Iran's nuclear facilities......."

Iran: Israeli strike will not delay nuclear activity

"Chief of Revolutionary Guards warns Israel is within range of Iranian missiles; says State could strike Iran's nuclear facilities, but interruption would be short 'since Iranian scientific ability is different from that of Syria and Iraq'

General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, has issued a new warning against Israel not to attack it, saying the country is well within range of its missiles, the Iranian Jam-e Jam newspaper reported on Saturday......"

It Was Oil, All Along

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
June 27, 2008

"Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction.

But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil.

Alan Greenspan said so last fall. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, safely out of office, confessed in his memoir, “…Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”.....

Four thousand American soldiers dead, tens of thousands permanently wounded for life, hundreds of thousands of dead and crippled Iraqis plus five million displaced, and a cost that will mount into trillions of dollars.

The political analyst Kevin Phillips says America has become little more than an "energy protection force," doing anything to gain access to expensive fuel without regard to the lives of others or the earth itself.

One thinks again of Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood.” His lust for oil came at the price of his son and his soul."

Report: Iran will use oil as weapon if attacked

Military chief warns of controls on route where two-fifths of oil is shipped


"TEHRAN, Iran - The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said the country would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil route if Iran was attacked, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

Fear of an escalation in the standoff between the West and Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, have been one factor propping up sky-high oil prices. Crude hit a record level on international markets near $143 a barrel on Friday......."

A Good Real News Video: Change you can believe in?

Surprise! ... Obama's people are Clinton's people
Pepe Escobar: Obama's team mostly made of people who supported Clinton's policies towards Iraq

Part 1

"Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama recently introduced his Senior Working Group on National Security, including former Clinton advisers Anthony Lake, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. Real News Analyst Pepe Escobar explores Obama's true foreign policy colors in his commentary, explaining that this group of Clinton-related names tells a lot about Obama's view of the world.

Part 2
Pepe Escobar on Obama's recently appointed Senior Working Group on National Security

"Real News Analyst, Pepe Escobar, examines Barak Obama's recently appointed Senior Working Group on National Security. Obama's people are Clinton's people he explains. Jim Steinberg, Gregory Craig, William Perry and Susan Rice will all be part of the team advising Obama on how the US should be dealing with the rest of the world. In part two of his commentary, Pepe Escobar asks, "is this really change we can believe in?""

Dramatic pause

While the relief of eased regional tensions is welcome, signs point to an unprecedented upheaval and possible catastrophe ahead

Hassan Nafaa
(professor of political science at Cairo University)
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Recent weeks have brought a series of unexpected and exciting developments that may just form a turning point in the mode of interactions this region has experienced for so long. Suddenly, after sharp and intensifying polarisations that seemed at times to be propelling the region towards an immanent inferno, the blackened skies have begun to clear.......

......I suggest two readings of the situation. The first is optimistic and holds that all parties concerned have come to the conclusion that it is impossible for any of the rival camps to gain a victory by force in any of the crisis zones and, therefore, compromise solutions are inevitable. The second reading is the pessimistic one. It holds that opportunities for compromise have long since ended and that recent developments signify only the calm that precedes the inevitable storm, in this case one of cataclysmic proportions.

Regretfully, I tend towards the second reading for several reasons......."

Orchestrating the Coming Attack: Pentagon making case against Iran

Press TV

"A DoD report released to Congress ahead of a vote on extreme punitive measures on Iran accuses Tehran of assisting Afghan insurgents.

In its first ever Report on Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan to the US Congress, the Pentagon claims it has 'evidence' of Iranian involvement in the war-torn country.

"There is evidence that the insurgency ... has been provided with lethal aid originating in Iran since at least 2006," says the report. It is 'unclear what role, and at what level the Iranian government plays in providing this assistance', the 72-page document adds.

Iran, however, says it has helped in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and has played only a constructive role in the country.

The release of the report comes ahead of a vote on the imposition of harsher US sanctions on Iranian banks, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and any energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.

If the bill passes, US President George W. Bush will also be urged to gain world support to prohibit the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products and to impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.

Introduced by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and considered a tacit declaration of war against the Islamic Republic, the bill has seen opposition but may pass.

House Resolution 362 and the Senate version Resolution 580, known as the 'Iran War Resolution', are believed to be a prelude to the imposition of a naval blockade restricting exports to oil-rich Iran.

This bill has gained 208 co-sponsors in the House and 29 in the Senate. It will likely be put to a vote after July 4. "

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you support Hamas' position on the Tahdiya (calm) in Gaza?

With over 5,000 responding so far, 85% said yes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wa’ed Society: “70 detainees died due to Israel’s systematic policy of torture”

"The Wa’ed Society for Detainees reported on Thursday that 70 Palestinian Detainees died due to torture in Israeli prisons and interrogation facilities since 1967. The statement of the society came as the world marked the International Day Against Torture.

The society added that Israel legalizes torture against the detainees although it is one of the signatories of the 1986 UN document against torture. The agreement came into effect on June 26 1987 and in 1991 the Israeli government officially approved it.

Yet, Israel continued torturing and abusing the detainees leading to the death of 70 detainees in addition to more than 120 who died of medical negligence.

The society stated that this agreement means that legal measures should be taken against any county that practices torture. “Torture aims at terrifying, framing, harming and hurting the detainees physically and psychologically in order to force them to confess”, the society added, “Palestinian detainees are tortured starting from the moment of their arrest”.

It its reported, the society said that 89% of the detainees were hit and clubbed, 60% were subjected to extreme coldness, 94% were forced to stand for extended periods, and 95% were deprived from sleeping. It added that torture is officially carried out in isolated centers and that the detainees are not allowed to contact their lawyers or each other. It also stated that torture could last for several months.

The detainees cannot contact their lawyers, parents, the Red Cross or any other human rights group during interrogation. During torture, nobody, not even the parents, knows the whereabouts of their detained family members.

The society also said that Israel is one of the main countries that manufactures torture equipment, and that most of the detainees who were tortured suffered from physical and psychological effects for several years.

A large number of detainees died after they were released from prison due to the side effects of the extreme torture that they were subjected to during interrogation. Approximately 200 detainees died of torture and medical negligence in Israeli prisons.

The society said that torture is a direct violation of human rights agreements, and articles number 7 and 10 of the international agreement on civil and political rights, in addition to article 31, 32 and 37 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions regarding protecting the civilians in times of war.

Israel is also violating article number 5 of the International Declaration for Human Rights and is even violating its own law especially article number 277.

The society also reported that 11% of the Palestinian children who were kidnapped by the army, and tortured are suffering from mental and physical problems, and need ongoing medical and psychological treatment. The kidnapped children are subjected to physical and psychological torture. Most of them were kidnapped from their family’s homes during late night hours. The kidnapped children are not only tortured but are also prosecuted in Israeli courts without any considerations for their age.

Female detainees are also tortured and are repeatedly threatened with rape and other abuse. They are also repeatedly insulted by the soldiers. It is worth mentioning that three female detainees gave birth to their children in prison; they are identified as Mirvat Taha, Manal Ghanim and Samar Sbeih. They were tied to their beds during labor. 600 women were kidnapped by the army since the beginning of the Intifada in late September 2000, among them 128 who are still imprisoned."

SHAME ON U ARABS !!!!. Thanks to the jew supporters of Palestinians

Zionism’s dead end: Separation or ethnic cleansing? Israel’s encaging of Gaza aims to achieve both

Another Great Article
By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, June 27, 2008

"......Herzl was suggesting that two possible Zionist solutions to the problem of a Palestinian majority living in Palestine -- separation and transfer -- were not necessarily alternatives but rather could be mutually reinforcing. Not only that: he believed, if they were used together, the process of ethnic cleansing could be made to appear voluntary, the choice of the victims. It may be that this was both his most enduring legacy and his major innovation to settler colonialism.

In recent years, with the Palestinian population under Israeli rule about to reach parity with the Jewish population, the threat of a Palestinian majority has loomed large again for the Zionists. Not surprisingly, debates about which of these two Zionist solutions to pursue, separation or transfer, have resurfaced........

How will modern Zionists convert unilateral separation into transfer? How will Herzl’s original vision of ethnic cleansing enforced through strict ethnic separation be realised in today’s world?

The current siege of Gaza offers the template. After disengagement, Israel has been able to cut off at will Gazans’ access to aid, food, fuel and humanitarian services. Normality has been further eroded by sonic booms, random Israeli air attacks, and repeated small-scale invasions that have inflicted a large toll of casualties, particularly among civilians.

Gaza’s imprisonment has stopped being a metaphor and become a daily reality. In fact, Gaza’s condition is far worse than imprisonment: prisoners, even of war, expect to have their humanity respected, and be properly sheltered, cared for, fed and clothed. Gazans can no longer rely on these staples of life.

The ultimate goal of this extreme form of separation is patently clear: transfer. By depriving Palestinians of the basic conditions of a normal life, it is assumed that they will eventually choose to leave -- in what can once again be sold to the world as a voluntary exodus. And if Palestinians choose to abandon their homeland, then in Zionist thinking they have forfeited their right to it -- just as earlier generations of Zionists believed the Palestinian refugees had done by supposedly fleeing during the 1948 and 1967 wars.

Is this process of transfer inevitable? I think not. The success of a modern policy of “transfer through separation” faces severe limitations.

First, it depends on continuing US global hegemony and blind support for Israel. Such support is likely to be undermined by the current American misadventures in the Middle East, and a gradual shift in the balance of power to China, Russia and India.

Second, it requires a Zionist worldview that departs starkly not only from international law but also from the values upheld by most societies and ideologies. The nature of Zionist ambitions is likely to be ever harder to conceal, as is evident from the tide of opinion polls showing that Western publics, if not their governments, believe Israel to be one of the biggest threats to world order.

And third, it assumes that the Palestinians will remain passive during their slow eradication. The historical evidence most certainly shows that they will not."

The Truthdig Interview With Naomi Klein

By Kasia Anderson

"Critics and challengers of Naomi Klein’s work had better take a close look at her latest book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” before launching their attacks. This is one writer whose research and documentation are so exhaustive that potential detractors will not only find her analysis to be dauntingly watertight, but they might also discover that some of her source material seems strangely familiar......"

Spoken as a True Murderer and War Criminal

Israel: Peace attainable only at gunpoint

Press TV

"Israeli war minister, Ehud Barak, has hinted that the regime could reach peace only through resorting to military power and force.

"We seek peace with every fiber of our being and detest war, but we are sober, and we know that he who seeks peace should prepare for war." Said Barak at an Air Force ceremony held on Thursday evening.

"Only deterrent military strength and superior excellence lead to a swift victory, and they are what will lead to peace. And when achieved, it will be stable and long-lasting," he said......"

Another Case of Retired Courage, But Better Late Than Never

'Dutch Jimmy Carter' accuses Israel of terrorism in new book

"The emotion in Andreas Van Agt's voice as he lambastes Israel's behavior seems puzzling for a man of his status. It is especially intriguing when one is reminded that this blue-eyed professed idealist is an astute statesman who presided as the Dutch prime minister for five years, until 1982.......

Currently, Van Agt is writing a book about the Israeli-Arab conflict. In December he launched an info-site ( about the subject, in which he accuses Israel of brutal treatment of the Palestinians, violating international law and implementing racist policies.

Among other illustrations, the site contains one snapshot of a graffiti slogan said to have been sprayed by Jewish settlers on a Hebron wall, reading: "Arabs to the gas chambers."

Last year, Van Agt spoke as keynote speaker at a controversial solidarity rally with the Palestinian people in Rotterdam, where he lamented the Dutch boycott of Hamas, calling it wrong "and even stupid." He has also been outspoken in accusing the Israel Defense Forces of acting like a terrorist organization........"

Manufacturing Consent to Attack Iran

Israel gives UN watchdog secret briefing on Iran

"Foreign Ministry Director General Aaron Abramovich secretly visited the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna Wednesday and briefed a group of ambassadors from countries involved in the agency's efforts to stop Iran's nuclear project. Abramovich emphasized that the IAEA must act more quickly and efficiently to block Iranian nuclear ambitions.

The unusual visit was the first senior Israeli briefing of IAEA member ambassadors in several years. The IAEA is considered relatively hostile to Israel, a tool in Arab world attacks on Israel for rebuffing efforts to monitor the Dimona nuclear reactor.

Abramovich presented Israel's concerns about a continued nuclear program in Tehran. He noted that Iran continues to enrich uranium undisturbed and that Israel believes it is developing a secret military nuclear program.

"The Iranians are buying time and are not cooperating with UN Security Council demands and the recommendations of the international community [but Israel is??]," Abramovich told the ambassadors......"

Why Should Barack Obama's Religion Matter?

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"Whether Barack Obama is or, at one point, was a Muslim should be a trivial matter in any society governed by secular, democratic dictates that apply to all, on equal footage, regardless of race, gender or religion. But in a society that is taking a turn toward the right, the matter is anything but inconsequential.......

Of course, this is anything but an identity crisis for the savvy Harvard-educated politician of "change." Obama must have comprehended, and early on, the implicit limits of tolerance in his country, and has decided to concede to the harbingers of racism and bigotry. Obama should have unapologetically responded to the speculation on his religion in a respectful manner, for example like this:

I would have been honored to be affiliated with the religion of Islam, one that is adhered to by one-fourth of humanity, and is the religion of my ancestors and millions of Americans.

But I am equally honored to be a member of a church, to be a Christian, a religion — like all great religions — that has taught me tolerance, peace and equality, principles that I will continue to cherish as long as I live

The Yellow Press

By William S. Lind

".....Fourth Generation wars do not move in linear fashion. Violence is down because the constantly shifting network of deals and alliances among Iraq's warlords has created a stable interlude. Those alliances will continue to shift, and as they do so violence will rise again. How many reporters are asking the talking-dog majors who brief the press the central strategic question, namely whether there is any evidence a state is reemerging in Iraq? As best I can tell, none. The same number appears to be trying to answer that question from other, more reliable sources.......

The fact of the matter is, the whole NATO/American effort in Afghanistan is circling the drain. The American papers should be full of in-depth, multi-sourced stories about the war there. A friend just back from Britain reports that the British press is full of just such stories. In one recent 10-day period, the Brits lost nine soldiers killed, including their first woman. Was that reported anywhere in the U.S. press?.......

But the biggest reason, I suspect, is intellectual cowardice. After the defeat in Vietnam, many supporters of the war blamed the press for our failure. By printing the bad news, the press supposedly undermined popular support for the war and thereby caused our defeat. It's poppycock, of course.......

But the American press was scarred by the accusations. Now, it is afraid to be accused of "not supporting the troops" if it does anything but print the bulletins. So the American public gets the mushroom treatment, and two failed wars continue ad infinitum. When the roof falls in both in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the shock will be considerable. America's yellow press will deserve no small share of the blame."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Nuclear Expert Who Never Was

I am a former U.N. weapons inspector. I started my work with the United Nations in September 1991, and between that date and my resignation in August 1998, I participated in over 30 inspections, 14 as chief inspector. The United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM, was the organization mandated by the Security Council with the implementation of its resolutions requiring Iraq to be disarmed of its weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities. While UNSCOM oversaw the areas of chemical and biological weapons, and ballistic missiles, it shared the nuclear file with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA. As such, UNSCOM, through a small cell of nuclear experts on loan from the various national weapons laboratories, would coordinate with the nuclear safeguards inspectors from the IAEA, organized into an “Action Team” dedicated to the Iraq nuclear disarmament problem. UNSCOM maintained political control of the process, insofar as its executive chairman was the only one authorized to approve a given inspection mission. At first, the IAEA and UNSCOM shared the technical oversight of the inspection process, but soon this was transferred completely to the IAEA’s Action Team, and UNSCOM’s nuclear staff assumed more of an advisory and liaison function.

A long, but good, article.

Who's Actually Winning in Iraq?

The American occupation of Iraq follows the same course as that of British rule after the First World War. At first there was imperial over-confidence following military victory and a conviction that what Iraqis did was of no importance. Then there was the shock and surprise of an Iraqi rebellion against the British in 1920 and the Americans after 2003. In both cases the occupiers responded by establishing an Iraqi national government but with limited powers. In 1930 under the Anglo-Iraqi treaty Iraq achieved nominal independence and joined the League of Nations but Britain retained two large bases and remained the predominant power in 1raq. Iraqi governments were tainted and lacked legitimacy because of Iraqis’ perception that their rulers were foreign pawns until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958.

America is now behaving in much the same way. It is negotiating a security agreement to replace the present UN mandate.

Hamas and Hezbollah Gain, Almost Hand in Hand

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 26 (IPS) - Hezbollah's dramatic seizure of Beirut last month stunned observers and dealt a heavy blow to Washington's Lebanese allies. In Cairo, analysts compared the episode to last year's takeover of the Gaza Strip by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, noting that both actions were pre-emptive -- rather than offensive -- in nature......

"Gaza and Beirut confirmed the failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East," Thabet told IPS. "Hamas and Hezbollah have proven themselves forces to be reckoned with -- extremely organised, militarily competent and enormously popular."

This opinion was supported in a Jun. 4 editorial by Palestinian-U.S. political analyst Ramzy Baroud.

"The failures of US/Israeli policies in Lebanon and Palestine seem to have brought an end -- for now -- to the chaos agenda once espoused with such enthusiasm," Baroud wrote in the Dubai-based Khaleej Times. "Lebanon has not completely succumbed to civil strife, and Palestinians in Gaza are still not willing to unconditionally submit to Israel's political diktats." "

The Coming War on Iran

By Aijaz Zaka Syed in Dubai
Palestine Chronicle

".....Last time around when they came for Saddam’s Iraq despite opposition from the UN and endless protests in Western capital, a deafening silence descended on the Arab and Muslim world.

There was not a single voice of protest in the so-called Arab and Muslim street. And their leaders persuaded themselves that perhaps the Baathist dictator after all deserved this disgraceful end. They told themselves, okay, Iraq is different. They convinced themselves this wouldn’t happen again.

And now they are preparing to take out Iran. And they will come again and again to take out everyone who stands up for one’s rights and refuses to surrender to big bullies. The only way to put an end to this terrorism of big powers is for the Muslim world to stand up and say in one voice: “Enough.”"

Top US military officer heads to Israel with Iran on the agenda

"WASHINGTON (AFP) - US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen was expected in Israel this week for discussions including Iran, the Pentagon said Wednesday, amid speculation Israel is seeking Washington's tacit approval to strike Tehran's nuclear program......."

Mahmoud Abbas' Time Has Passed

by John Taylor

"Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is a collaborator with the his peoples' chief tormentors, Israel and the United States. Without Israeli and American support, Abbas would be gone in an instant. The general commanding Israeli forces on the West Bank, Gadi Shamni, put it best: "He's a joke, a nothing. We are the only force propping him up. Should we withdraw from the cities, Hamas will sweep him and his men away as they did in Gaza."......

Whether the cease-fire will hold and the economy of Gaza will revive is uncertain, but the Israelis apparently decided trying to starve Hamas out of power was not going to work. So Mahmoud Abbas' policy of shunning the rejectionists of Hamas, dictated by the United States and Israel, has been undercut by the Israelis themselves, undoubtedly hastening the day Abbas ceases to be president of the Palestinian Authority and becomes a resident of one of the little Arab towns the Israelis maintain for the protection of Palestinian collaborators whose usefulness is at an end. "

اتفاق التهدئة يترنح

اتفاق التهدئة يترنح

"يبدو ان اتفاق التهدئة في قطاع غزة الذي توصلت اليه كل من حركة حماس واسرائيل بوساطة مصرية يقف علي حافة الانهيار، ان لم يكن قد انهار فعلا بعد قرار الحكومة الاسرائيلية باغلاق جميع المعابر كرد علي اطلاق ثلاثة صواريخ علي بلدة سديروت شمال القطاع.
الاتفاق المذكور كان هشا منذ البداية، وجاء التشكيك في قدرته علي الصمود من الطرف الاسرائيلي، وايهود اولمرت رئيس الوزراء علي وجه الخصوص، مما يعني ان النوايا الاسرائيلية لم تكن سليمة تجاهه، وان هناك خططا جاهزة لتقويضه، فالحكومة الاسرائيلية تلكأت في قبول هذا الاتفاق، ولم تعط موافقتها عليه الا بعد ان فرضت شروطها علي الوسيط المصري، وحركة حماس بالتالي، وكان ابرز هذه الشروط رفض ربط التهدئة في قطاع غزة بنظيرتها في الضفة، وعزل فتح معبر رفح عن هذا الاتفاق، وربطه بالافراج عن الاسير الاسرائيلي جلعاد شليط.
ولم يكن من قبيل الصدفة ان تقدم القوات الاسرائيلية علي اقتحام مدينة نابلس واغتيال اثنين من نشطاء المقاومة، احدهما احد ابرز قيادات حركة الجهاد في الوقت الذي كان يحط ايهود اولمرت الرحال في القاهرة للقاء الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك لشكره علي جهوده في التوصل الي اتفاق التهدئة.
حركة حماس لا تملك اي سلطة معنوية علي حركة الجهاد ولا تستطيع منعها من اطلاق الصواريخ الا باحدي وسيلتين: الاقناع بخطورة مثل هذه المسألة، والموافقة علي التملص من الاتفاق في حال استمرار الحصار وبقاء المعبر مغلقا، او استخدام القوة لفرض الاتفاق.
الخيار الاول، اي اللجوء الي الحوار كوسيلة لاقناع شركاء المقاومة بالالتزام باتفاق التهدئة هو الاكثر ترجيحا، لان اللجوء الي استخدام القوة مقامرة كبيرة غير مأمونة العواقب قد تضعف الجهتين، اي حماس و الجهاد ، دون وجود اي ضمانة بالتزام اسرائيل بكل بنود الاتفاق.
اتفاق التهدئة لن يصمد طويلا، وحتي لو صمد فإن صموده هذا قد يخلق فتنة بين الفلسطينيين، خاصة ان اسرائيل ستواصل استفزازاتها بنقل المعركة بشكل اكثر كثافة في الضفة، مما سيجعل الرد حتميا وعلي المستوي نفسه."

Bush is trying to impose a classic colonial status on Iraq

US efforts to force Iraqis to swallow permanent vassal status and give up control of their oil echoes British imperial history

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday June 26, 2008

"......It's a similar story when it comes to the future of the US occupation itself. The last thing on anyone's mind, we were told when the tanks rolled in, was permanent US control, let alone the recolonisation of Iraq. This was about the Iraqis finally getting a chance to run their own affairs in freedom. But five years on, George Bush and Dick Cheney are putting the screws on their Green Zone government to sign a secret deal for indefinite military occupation, which would effectively reduce Iraq to a long-term vassal state.

In April, I was leaked a draft copy of this "strategic framework agreement", intended to replace the existing UN mandate at the end of the year. Details of the document, which came from a source at the heart of the Iraqi government, were published in the Guardian - including indefinite authorisation for the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security". Since then, much more has emerged about the accompanying "status of forces agreement" the US administration wants to impose: including more than 50 US military bases, full control of Iraqi airspace, legal immunity for US military and private security firms, and the right to conduct armed operations throughout the country without consulting the Iraqi government.

This goes far beyond other such agreements the US has around the world and would shackle Iraq with a permanent puppet status. Not surprisingly, it has led to uproar in the country and opposition in the US, where congress will be denied a vote on the arrangement because the administration has chosen not to call it a treaty.....

What is certain is that, if Bush's blueprint for indefinite foreign rule in Iraq and the takeover of its oil is forced down the throats of the Iraqi people, resistance and bloodshed will increase. Of course, it's true that the US and Britain didn't invade Iraq only for its oil. It was a projection of American power in the world's most strategically sensitive region, with oil at its heart, which has brought catastrophe to Iraq and great danger to the Middle East and the wider world. That's why the struggle to restore Iraq's independence matters far beyond its borders - it is a global necessity. "

United States and Israel against Iran

Flashpoints Interview
By Gareth Porter
and Dennis Bernstein

"Dennis Bernstein: We focus on potential war by the United States and Israel against Iran. We're watching that closely. The drums of war are beating again in the Middle East, as we say. And the war that may be brewing between Israel and the U.S. and Iran has the potential to dwarf the consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as deadly and horrific as that's been.....So is this all for show simply to pressure Iran or is a war really possible?

With us to examine these developments is Gareth Porter. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. He is a contributor to InterPress News Service, The American Prospect, The Nation, and "

The Tahdiya ("calm")
By Naser Jafari

Occupation by bureaucracy

By Saree Makdisi, The Electronic Intifada, 26 June 2008
(Saree Makdisi is professor of English literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation." )

"....This is an occupation ultimately enforced by tanks and bombs, and through the omnipresent threat, if not application, of violence. But its primary instruments are application forms, residency permits, population registries and title deeds. On its own, no ceasefire will relieve the beleaguered Palestinians.

Gaza is virtually cut off from the outside world by Israeli power. Elsewhere, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the ongoing Israeli occupation comprehensively infuses all the normally banal activities of Palestinians' everyday lives: applying for permission to access one's own land; applying for what Israel regards as the privilege -- rather than the right -- of living with one's spouse and children; applying for permission to drive one's car; to dig a well; to visit relatives in the next town; to visit Jerusalem; to go to work; to school; to university; to hospital. There is hardly any dimension of everyday life in Palestine that is not minutely managed by Israeli military or bureaucratic personnel......"

Palestine is illegal

Sumia Ibrahim writing from occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 26 June 2008

(Sumia Ibrahim is an Iraqi-Palestinian American residing in Birzeit, Palestine this summer. A recent graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, an activist of several years against the US war on Iraq, and a media advocate against racial profiling since her profiling experience at JFK airport in Fall 2006 , Sumia is the recipient of the Rachel Corrie Scholarship from the Palestinian American Women's Association to study at Birzeit University this Summer)

"The young, dark-haired woman behind the glass stamped the American passport in front of her. "Welcome to Israel," she said cheerily.....

After two and half hours of questioning, I was relieved to leave the airport. But I was one of the lucky ones. Many sources have reported that an increasing number of Arab Americans are being denied entry in the past few years and further increased after Israel's war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

My experience revealed a great deal about Israeli policies adopted since the start of the second intifada in 2000. Israel has determined that it is illegal to visit the Palestinian territories, illegal to reveal the truth about the lives of Palestinians, and certainly illegal to try to help in any way. This has been compounded with decades of Israeli attempts to deny Palestinians' existence, identity and culture, all part of its attempt to annex the rest of Palestinian land and solve the "Palestinian problem" once and for all.

Palestinians have known for a long time that their continued existence has been rendered illegal; thus, their land is being taken, they are being confined in open-air prisons, their houses are demolished, and they are arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and killed. However, Israel relies on manufacturing international sympathy and maintaining financial and military support to achieve these goals. This can only be achieved by making Palestine, and truth, elusive to foreigners."

Israel, EU and the US disregard international law

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 26 June 2008

".....In the 12 months before the US-sponsored Annapolis conference last November, the Israeli government invited tenders for the construction of "only" 138 housing units in settlements. However, as demonstrated by the table below, in the six months since, Israel has put out 11 tenders for the construction of the staggering number of 1,731 settler housing units.......

Israel further demonstrated its determination to transfer part of its population to the occupied territory in open violation of international law on 13 June when the Regional Committee for Construction and Planning approved the construction of 1,300 homes for settlers in Ramat Schlomo near Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Ramat Schlomo currently has 2,000 housing units......

In light of the increased settlement construction, Abbas's appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has asked the European Union not to upgrade its ties with Israel unless it ceased construction of settlements and the wall. This request is perfectly in line with the EU-supported Road Map, and the Geneva convention of 1949. However, the EU ignored the Palestinian objections. Instead, the EU and the US continue to pile a heavy burden on their shoulders by willfully ignoring Israel's speedy settlement expansion which are a violation of international law, and only serve to further weaken and discredit their "moderate allies" in the Palestinian leadership."

Prisoner ministry: Israel the only country sanctioning torture under int'l cover

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of prisoner affairs stated Thursday that Israel is the only country in the world that practices torture under international political and legal cover, pointing out that there are more than 11,700 Palestinians in Israeli jails living in inhuman conditions.

In a report issued by the ministry on the occasion of the world day against torture which marks 26 of June, Dr. Ahmed Shweideh said that the IOA has escalated its torture policy against prisoners, where from the first moment of arrest, the IOF troops use tight plastic stripes to shackle their victims and blindfold them before starting to beat them brutally with batons and rifle butts and to trample them underfoot.

Dr. Shweideh underscored that the Israeli general committee against torture revealed that there are 90 cases of torture against Palestinian prisoners including children who are supposed to be protected by international law.

B'Tselem, an Israeli information center, also disclosed that Israel uses dozens of internationally-forbidden torture means where almost all Palestinian detainees are subjected to physical and mental abuse during interrogations.

The Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Megiddo prison appealed in a leaked letter to international human rights to pressure the IOA to stop the aggressive and arbitrary acts practiced by the Israeli Nachshon repression unit.

They said that the members of this unit commit acts unrelated to humanity where they use ugly remarks, slurs and threats against them. "

"Iranian Threat" on Mullen's Israel Visit Agenda


"26/06/2008 Speculation is growing in Washington that Israel is exerting pressure on the United States to launch a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen will be arriving for an official visit to Israel in the coming days for discussions on Iran, the US Department of Defense confirmed on Wednesday. Mullen, said the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, left the US on Tuesday "to go overseas to visit counterparts as well as combatant commands, and Israel is not his only stop." .......

The White House rejected reports of Israeli officials pressuring the US to take military action before Bush leaves office. Spokeswoman Dana Perino claimed the United States and its allies, including Israel, wanted a diplomatic solution.

Earlier this week former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said he believes Israel will stage a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities if Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama wins the upcoming US presidential elections. Bolton said Israel would launch an air strike in the interim term between Election Day (November 4th) and the inauguration (January 20th 2009) – while George W. Bush is still in office.

In a related interview with the British 'Daily Telegraph,' [posted here]Bolton said he believed the Arab world would be "pleased" by an Israeli strike. Their reaction, he told the paper "will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action."

At the meantime, Former CIA officer Ray McGovern said Bush and his ally, Israel, will likely attack Iran in 'late summer or early fall'.

McGovern, who served as a Central Intelligence Agency officer under seven US presidents in a period of 27 years, wrote in an editorial [posted here] published by that an agreement had been reached between the US and Israel 'at the highest level', claiming that 'planners, plotters and pilots' have begun work on the details of an aerial military attack against the oil-rich country.

His remarks came shortly after Pentagon officials told The New York Times that Israel had carried out a large-scale military maneuver in early June which appeared to be a rehearsal for 'a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear sites'.

On the other side, Israel's national infrastructure minister denounced reports of a possible Israeli military action against Iran. “We're not planning any assault on Iran...But you can be sure if Tehran attempts to attack Israel, Iran will be destroyed,” Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said in an interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper.

Iran had been defiant, well prepared and dismissed reports of Israeli air strikes as "psychological operations"; but warned of a "limitless response" to any attack. The New York report had inflamed international condemnations and denouncements including from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed El Baradei who warned that any attack on Iran over its nuclear program would turn the Middle East region into a "fireball.""

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Voices of Evil

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

""Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times “by the sword” to get them to abandon their faith." -- Uri Avnery, Israeli writer and journalist.

Benyamin Netanyahu and Daniel Pipes are two classical examples reflecting the brutal ugliness of Jewish Islamophobia. The former has been moving stridently toward full-fledged Zionist fascism while the latter is unabashedly calling for an all-out crusade by the US and Europe against the Muslim world, of course on Israel’s behalf.......

In fact, if Israel reminds the West of anything, it reminds it of a very ugly and sad chapter in European history, a chapter Europe would never want to see again. I am alluding to Third Reich which destroyed Europe and caused the death of tens of millions of people, all under the rubric of the Master Race.

Just take a fleeting look at the general discourse in Israel today and you will see the striking similarity between the German treatment of European Jewry and Israeli treatment of the helpless Palestinians. Indeed, in the name of “the chosen people” and Jewish nationalism, Israel has brought havoc and turbulence to the peoples of the Middle East......

In 1989, this Netanyahu who is ranting and raving about fictitious threats facing “western civilization” told students at Bar Illan University that “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China (The Tiananmen Square) where world attention was focused on that country to carry out mass ethnic cleansing of the Arabs of territories.”

A few years ago, the same Netanyahu declared in a speech before the Inter-disciplinary Center in Herzlya, north of Tel Aiv, that Israel would have to watch more closely the birth rate of Israel’s Arab citizens who he said constituted an even greater strategic threat to the Jewish identity of Israel than did the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.......

Now, Daniel Pipes, the Joseph Gooebbels of our time and perpetual inciter against one fourth of humanity. In a recent article titled “the Enemy has a Name,” Pipes urged the US to “vanquish” Islam-ism and prevent Muslim masses from achieving independence, democracy and self-determination. “Vanquish Islamism and help Muslims develop an alternative form of Islam,” he wrote in his screed. You see how this Nazi-minded hoodlum is demanding that Muslims change their own religion so that it would suit his morbid whims.......

What Pipes is saying effectively is that “either Muslims bring themselves to submit to Jewish tyranny and be slaves for the global Jewish- Zionist elites, or they must be annihilated.”......

.....Pipes urges solid western backing and support for agents of western imperialism, presumably people like Fouad Seniora in Lebanon, Hamid Qarazi in Afghanistan, and Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied Palestinian territories, and of course, Riad al Maliki, in Iraq.

Now what is the difference between this hateful and criminal mindset and the Nazi mentality? In fact, it is the same mentality. The Germans did it in the name of the “master race” and Pipes and ilk are trying to do the same thing in the name of the “superiority of the Jewish race.”......."

Crossing the Line focuses on Gaza's hospitals

Podcast, Crossing the Line, 24 June 2008

"This week on Crossing The Line: Since the Israeli siege on Gaza began in June 2007, 184 critical care patients have died waiting for travel permits from Israel to leave the Gaza Strip and receive urgent medical treatment. Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are facing acute shortages of medical equipment and supplies, as well as important medicines such as drugs to treat cancer patients, insulin and anesthesia. Crossing The Line contributing producer and investigative journalist Nora Barrows-Friedman speaks to host Naji Ali on the crisis facing Gaza's hospitals.

Also this week, the Israeli army imposed a ban on West Bank residents from traveling to the Dead Sea after Israelis who manage the popular vacation site complained that mixed groups are bad for business. Melanie Takefam, International Media Coordinator of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, speaks to Ali about the Israeli decision that discriminates against Palestinians from the occupied territories......"

Click Here to Listen

Losing Afghanistan (It Can’t Be Won)

By Tony Karon

"Earlier this year, the Taliban tried to assassinate Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, during a ceremony marking the 16th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah regime. The irony is that as the Taliban demonstrates that, by the classic calculus of guerrilla warfare, it is unlikely to lose (which means that NATO will) in Afghanistan, Karzai’s situation is uncomfortably similar to that of Najibullah in the late 1980s......"

State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq

by Andrew G. Marshall

Global Research, June 25, 2008

".......Death Squads for "Freedom"

In January of 2005, Newsweek reported on a Pentagon program termed the "Salvador Option" being discussed to be deployed in Iraq. This strategy "dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers." Updating the strategy to Iraq, "one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions."[21]

The Times reported that, "the Pentagon is considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago. Under the so-called ‘El Salvador option’, Iraqi and American forces would be sent to kill or kidnap insurgency leaders." It further stated, "Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret," as "The experience of the so-called "death squads" in Central America remains raw for many even now and helped to sully the image of the United States in the region." Further, "John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, had a front-row seat at the time as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85."[22]

By June of 2005, mass executions were taking place in Iraq in the six months since January, and, "What is particularly striking is that many of those killings have taken place since the Police Commandos became operationally active and often correspond with areas where they have been deployed."[23]

In May of 2007, an Iraqi who formerly collaborated with US forces in Iraq for two and a half years stated that, "I was a soldier in the Iraqi army in the war of 1991 and during the withdrawal from Kuwait I decided to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia along with dozens of others like me. That was how began the process whereby I was recruited into the American forces, for there were US military committees that chose a number of Iraqis who were willing to volunteer to join them and be transported to America. I was one of those." He spoke out about how after the 2003 invasion, he was returned to Iraq to "carry out specific tasks assigned him by the US agencies." Among those tasks, he was put "in charge of a group of a unit that carried out assassinations in the streets of Baghdad."

He was quoted as saying, "Our task was to carry out assassinations of individuals. The US occupation army would supply us with their names, pictures, and maps of their daily movements to and from their place of residence and we were supposed to kill the Shi'i, for example, in the al-A'zamiyah, and kill the Sunni in the of 'Madinat as-Sadr’, and so on." Further, "Anyone in the unit who made a mistake was killed. Three members of my team were killed by US occupation forces after they failed to assassinate Sunni political figures in Baghdad." He revealed that this "dirty jobs" unit of Iraqis, Americans and other foreigners, "doesn’t only carry out assassinations, but some of them specialize in planting bombs and car bombs in neighborhoods and markets."

He elaborated in saying that "operations of planting car bombs and blowing up explosives in markets are carried out in various ways, the best-known and most famous among the US troops is placing a bomb inside cars as they are being searched at checkpoints. Another way is to put bombs in the cars during interrogations. After the desired person is summoned to one of the US bases, a bomb is place in his car and he is asked to drive to a police station or a market for some purpose and there his car blows up."[24]

Divide and Conquer?

Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote in October of 2006, that, "The evidence that the US directly contributed to the creation of the current civil war in Iraq by its own secretive security strategy is compelling. Historically of course this is nothing new - divide and rule is a strategy for colonial powers that has stood the test of time. Indeed, it was used in the previous British occupation of Iraq around 85 years ago. However, maybe in the current scenario the US just over did it a bit, creating an unstoppable momentum that, while stalling the insurgency, has actually led to new problems of control and sustainability for Washington and London."[25] "

Well, Was "Good" While it Did Not Last

Press TV

"Israel has closed the crossings where cargo enters the Gaza Strip, following the Palestinians' retaliatory rocket attacks into Israel.

The Israeli military says all crossings, where cargo enters the Gaza Strip, have been closed except for the Erez pedestrian terminal.

On Tuesday, Israeli military forces killed two Palestinians including a senior member of the Islamic Jihad movement, Tarek Jumea Abu Ali, in the West Bank city of Nablus.

On Wednesday, The Islamic Jihad movement fired two rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot in a measure it said was a response to the Israel's violation of the new ceasefire with Palestinians.

No injuries were reported; however, two people were treated for shock.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says Wednesday's closure violates the cease-fire. "

Obama to Bush: Hamas must recognize Israel

"Democratic presidential candidate sends Bush letter expressing unwavering support for Israel.

We must press Egypt to devote more resources and effort to stopping the smuggling of weapons into Gaza from the Sinai, where much of Hamas’ weaponry arrives from,” Democratic US presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama said in a letter addressed to US President George W. Bush.

In the letter Obama reiterated many of the positions he presented at AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington at the beginning of the month........"

Israel Training to Attack Iran

Analysis by Peter Hirschberg

"JERUSALEM, Jun 25 (IPS) - Israeli defence experts were not surprised by a New York Times report over the weekend that the Israeli air force had recently conducted what appeared to be a rehearsal for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel, the experts say, has never taken the military option off the table and they therefore expect the air force to be training for a strike in Iran. "It is logical that the army is training for an Iranian mission," says Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv. "We are preparing for it. The air force is in charge of this file.".....

But Israel has gone it alone in the past when it suspected an Arab state was developing nuclear weapons. Israeli planes flew all the way to Iraq in 1981 and destroyed a nuclear plant built by Saddam Hussein at Osirak. Last September, Israeli planes destroyed an installation in Syria that U.S. intelligence officials later said was a nuclear reactor that had been built with the aid of North Korea.

Listening to a somewhat cryptic Ben-Eliyahu, it doesn't sound like the difficulties Israel would face in striking Iran's nuclear installations have stopped the army from training to do just that. "There is only a military option if you are training for it," he said. "

The Bolton-Telegraph Scare

By Jim Lobe

".......I believe it is increasingly clear that if there is going to be an attack on Iran — be it Israeli or U.S. or both — before Bush leaves office, it will take place in the period between the election and the inauguration. And I also agree that an attack is more likely if Obama wins the election than if McCain win. That said, however, I still believe an attack is more of a possibility than a probability and that what we are seeing in the ongoing flurry of threats, predictions, and leaks is more psychological warfare directed at persuading Iran, Russia, China, and Washington’s European allies that war is really going to happen unless Tehran halts its uranium enrichment program than it is the real thing. As one former senior U.S. Middle East intelligence officer noted today, the Israelis have long relied on the element of surprise in their military strategy (see last December’s attack on the alleged Syrian nuclear facility), and advertising their intentions quite as ostentatiously as they have been does not appear consistent with that record. Indeed, using Bolton in the Telegraph as a channel for scaring the Iranians, if, indeed, the Israelis put him up to it, would seem counter-productive.

Still, this drumbeat of threats, which shows no signs yet of diminishing, carries with it its momentum that not only strengthens hard-liners in both camps, but also makes the situation on the ground far more tense and volatile. So, regardless of actual intention, the chances of war breaking out accidentally appear to be on the rise [italics in the original]

Is War Good For the Economy?

In short: No.

By Justin Raimondo

"........Somewhere, George Orwell isn't smiling. He'd no doubt be appalled, and a little nonplused, by the accuracy of his speculations in Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, you'll recall, the deliberate impoverishment of the ordinary "proles" and the Outer Party types was a matter of INGSOC policy, a theme underscored by the general shabbiness of Orwell's dystopia, what with the constant shortages and the way thing always seemed to be literally and physically falling apart. Particularly striking is the Orwellian presentiment that the world of the future is bound to be poorer and, simultaneously, engaged in constant warfare.

This prediction seemed, for quite a while, to be one of the few he got wrong. Yet Orwell, it turns out, was right; it's just that the productive power of capitalism in the U.S. was so great that it coasted along for a long time on sheer momentum......."

Don't Miss the Train

by William S. Lind

".....Washington should be dancing in the streets. There could at this point be no better way for American troops to exit Iraq than in response to a request from the Iraqi "government." Contrary to the neocons' promises, the Iraqis did not welcome American troops with flowers, but they might be willing to toss a few our way as we pulled out. We could withdraw from a failed enterprise with flags flying and drums rolling, maintaining a halfway credible pretense that we did not lose. We are not likely to do better than that.

At the same time, the Maliki "government" has a heaven-sent opportunity to acquire what it needs most, namely some legitimacy. So long as it is propped up by American troops, it will remain Vichy. But if it ordered the Americans out, it would suddenly begin to look like a real Iraqi government. That is far from enough to restore a state in Iraq, but it would be a step in the right direction......

On the contrary, faced with the possibility of an Iranian strategic victory, courtesy of the American troops who overthrew Saddam, the U.S. government is likely to take the fool's way out, escalation. Inside the White House bubble, the argument for attacking Iran might become irresistible, driven as it would be by panic. As I have warned repeatedly, the outcome of such folly could very well include the loss of the American Army now in Iraq, not to mention another doubling in the price of oil. As usual under the second-worst president in American history (Woodrow Wilson still ranks number one), we have seen the enemy, and he is us. All we have to do to get out of Iraq with some dignity while strengthening the government we installed there is push that government into ordering us home. That should be easy enough; what intransigence in the ongoing negotiations cannot achieve a few million Swiss francs should certainly manage. Instead, we will refuse to board the last train out, then blow up the railroad. If it were happening to someone else, it would all be comical. "

The Empire Has No Permanent Friends And No Permanent Enemies; it Has Permanent Interests

Fear of US-Sunni Ties Undercut Security Talks.

By Gareth Porter

"The threat by the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this month to reject the U.S.-Iraq status of forces and strategic framework agreements was prompted in part by U.S. demands for access to bases that were unacceptable to a highly nationalistic Iraqi population.

But an equally important factor in the apparent rejection of the agreements by Iraqi Shi'ite leaders is the absence of a U.S. security guarantee against foreign aggression in the U.S. proposal.

That issue loomed very large for Iraqi Shi'ite officials who have long been nervous about whether the United States is firmly committed to supporting the survival of the Shi'ite-dominated regime in Iraq from plots by Sunni Arab states and Turkey to restore Sunni rule in the country.

The Maliki regime had demanded that U.S. President George W. Bush include a commitment in the statement principles they signed last November. The text of the statement included a U.S. pledge to "provide security assurances to the Iraqi Government to deter any external aggression and to ensure the integrity of Iraq's territory."

But the March 7 U.S. draft of the agreement stated only that "the U.S. and Iraq are to consult immediately whenever the territorial integrity or political independence of Iraq is threatened."

This commitment only to consult was clearly unacceptable to the Maliki regime. While visiting Jordan June 13, Maliki himself referred to the abandonment by the U.S. of its previous commitment to defending the Iraqi government against "foreign aggression" as "a clear point of disagreement.".......

From the perspective of the Maliki regime and the Shi'ite political parties supporting it, however, that refusal has a broader and more sinister significance. Iraqi Shi'ites interpreted it against a background of Bush administration efforts to prevent the Shi'ite regime from consolidating power and the possibility of U.S. collaboration with Sunni Arab regimes to try to overthrow the regime because of its ties with Iran.

A common factor in this history of the "Sunni option" in Bush administration policy is the role of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi........."

By Emad Hajjaj (Abu Mahjoob)

Chomsky: US public irrelevant


Noam Chomsky, the renowned US academic, author and political activist, speaks to Avi Lewis on Al Jazeera's Inside USA.

[The video of the interview was posted here, just scroll down 15 posts]

They discuss whether the US election this year will bring real change, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and why Americans should look to their Southern American counterparts for political inspiration.
Avi Lewis: I'd like to start by talking about the US presidential campaign. In writing about the last election in 2004, you called America's system a "fake democracy" in which the public is hardly more than an irrelevant onlooker, and you've been arguing in your work in the last year or so that the candidates this time around are considerably to the right of public opinion on all major issues.

So, the question is, do Americans have any legitimate hope of change this time around? And what is the difference in dynamic between America's presidential "cup" in 2008 compared to 2004 and 2000?......."

The west has to tackle Tehran - before Israel sends in the bombers

It will take fresh pressure and incentives to douse fears of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities that would inflame the region

Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian, Wednesday June 25, 2008

"Curious things are going on in the Middle East. On the one hand, Israel seems to be taking some early, tentative steps towards peace with its nearest enemies. It has just agreed a six-month ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza; it is deep into indirect peace talks with Syria, aimed at a comprehensive treaty; and earlier this month came word that Israel is keen to have direct negotiations with Lebanon.

Yet all these welcome murmurings of peace are fighting to be heard above a growing drumbeat for war - against the country Israel fears more than any of its immediate neighbours: Iran.......

What to make of all this warlike talk? The simplest option is to take it at face value, to conclude that Israel is indeed going to act and is preparing the ground, militarily and politically. It wants its planes ready and also its arguments, so that if action is timetabled for "summer-fall 2008" as one Israeli analyst wrote this week, then it has at least made some effort to brace world opinion for the shock.......

There is an alternative way to read the current situation. It would see all the latest, apparently bellicose, moves as goads by the Israelis to spur the rest of the world into action: "Act now," they are saying, "because if you don't, we might just do something crazy."........"

Al-Jazeera Video: Is Iraq becoming a US colony? - 24June 08

"Will Iraq eventually become a sovereign state, or will it become a US protectorate? That is the bottom line in the current "status of forces" negotiations between the Bush administration and Iraqi leaders. "

Part 1

Part 2

Mubarak: Striking Iran Will Be a Mistake. As Bolton Said, The Arab Puppets Would Welcome an Attack on Iran Privately But Denounce it in Public


""Use of force against Iran will be a mistake," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Israeli Channel 1 on Tuesday. "Whether this force is used by the US or Israel it will lead to tragedy."

The Egyptian president said however that Egypt was opposed to a nuclear power in the region "whether it is Iran of Israel."

His words after former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said to the Daily Telegraph in an interview published Tuesday that Israel is likely to attack Iran in the time between the November presidential election in the US and the inauguration of the new president.

Regarding the Gilad Schalit issue, Mubarak said his country was making great efforts to secure the captured Israeli occupation soldier's freedom but warned against linking his release to the Gaza truce. "Why mix the issues? Is it better to fire at each other even if Schalit is not released?"

Nevertheless, Mubarak voiced optimism that the Schalit issue would be resolved, saying it was "only a matter of time" before he is freed, and calling for patience and "careful consideration"

He stressed that the truce was in both Israel and Hamas's interests, warning both sides against falling into a blame game for cease-fire violations.

Seeming to contradict earlier reports of an announcement by Egypt that it would not open the Rafah border crossing until Schalit is returned to Israel, Mubarak refused to make such a commitment.

He also said concerns that Hamas would smuggle Schalit out of Gaza if the crossing was reopened were unfounded. "There is no way this can be done secretly... everyone will know about it."

He reiterated that Egypt was doing its utmost to stop weapons smuggling. Mubarak went on to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "the heart of the problems in the Middle East" and said if it is resolved, other issues in the region would be solved much more quickly. He said Egypt "strongly backed," what he termed "preparation talks" between Israel and Syria."