Saturday, September 13, 2008


Israeli Minister pushes for assassination campaign against Palestinians

"Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Transportation Minister, stated Friday that Israel should reinstate a policy of massive extrajudicial assassinations in the Palestinian Territories, much like the policy under former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Mofaz made the statement in an interview with Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv.

While assassinations of Palestinians have not ended under the Prime Ministership of Ehud Olmert, there are not as many as there were under Ariel Sharon, who was Prime Minister from 2000 – 2006 until he fell into a coma.

Extrajudicial assassinations are a direct violation of international law and of signed agreements, as they target 'wanted' individuals without giving them a right to a trial, and also causes civilian deaths in almost every instance. Israel carries out these assassinations through missile strikes from airplanes, usually targeting cars carrying 'wanted' individuals. Given that the Gaza Strip (one of the two Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories) is one of the most crowded places on earth, this nearly always results in the killing of bystanders, often children.

In response to the statement by Mofaz, the spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, Ibrahim An-Najjar stated, that this indicates a coming “wave of assassinations and aggression” against the Palestinian people.

An-Najjar told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an News that "Israeli leaders are competing for our blood and all Palestinian parties should unite to prepare for the next wave of Israeli violence”."

Report: Qureia supports Livni

"Kuwaiti paper claims chief Palestinian negotiator is in cahoots with foreign minister in attempt to secure position of Kadima chairman. 'Livni will give Palestinians what others have not,' report says...."

COMMENT: He is probably hoping that Livni will help him secure another lucrative contract to supply Israel with cement to finish building the apartheid wall. The corrupt and traitorous Palestinian elite are never rich enough.

Statement from Dr. Al-Arian to Supporters

Expresses gratitude for support; "Freedom restores dignity and humanity"

"Northern Virginia - September 9, 2008 - Dr. Sami Al-Arian has given his first public statement since being released on bond, thanking his supporters for everything they have done, and calling on them to keep bearing witness to justice all over the world.

[Statement from Dr. Al-Arian:]

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." These words, uttered by Thomas Jefferson more than two centuries ago, ring true today. I am very grateful to those who have been steadfast and vigilant in their defense of freedom, justice, and truth throughout my struggle during the past six years. Indeed, freedom restores the most precious qualities of life, dignity, and humanity.

My thanks go to those in all corners of the globe who have campaigned for my case and for other prisoners of conscience. It takes courage and principle to stand up for justice at a time when fear often trumps rationality and fairness.

I am also grateful that my release came during a month of spirituality and reflection, one that I am blessed to spend with my family, while still remembering those who are less fortunate and deprived of the most important things in life: freedom, family, and peace.

The work of my attorneys, Professor Jonathan Turley, Will Olson, and P.J. Meitl, has been outstanding. I am deeply grateful for their efforts in reuniting me with my family after so many years.

Finally, to my friends, supporters, and people of conscience, although I have been released, my situation is not yet over. My family and I appreciate that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers. May God bestow His blessings, mercy, and grace on all those who struggle for justice and freedom, and on those who stand up for and speak out on their behalf.

Write to Dr. Al-Arian!

Personal letters are always an important source of inspiration for Dr. Al-Arian to keep persevering. To send a letter, simply email and your message will be passed along to him. Remember, even a short message of encouragement means a lot.

Again, to all of you who have shown your support, you have our heartfelt gratitude. "

Balance-Sheet of U.S. Imperialism

A Good Interview

Gilbert Achcar interviewed by Charles-André Udry
(Gilbert Achcar is a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, as well as a socialist and antiwar activist. Among his recent books are The Clash of Barbarisms (2nd ed. 2006, Paradigm Publishers) and, with Noam Chomsky, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd ed. 2008, Paradigm Publishers))

"Charles-André Udry: THE DISASTER that marks the end of the Republican administration of George W. Bush reinvigorates the discussion of the status of the United States, whether it is a "hyper?power" or in decline. Can you provide perspective on this debate?

Gilbert Achcar: THE CONCEPT of "hyperpower," attributed to Hubert Védrine, former foreign minister of the French government under Lionel Jospin (1997-2002), describes the image of the United States such as it appeared following the first war with Iraq in 1991. This concept looks back to the emergence of a "unipolar world" with the increasing paralysis of the Soviet Union, then its disappearance -- or rather of a "unipolar moment" according to the more precise expression of the American neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.

The year 1991 was a turning point.....

The interests of American imperialism obviously find their ultimate guarantee in military supremacy, but a politico-ideological facelift is a necessary and useful complement. Under Bush, the arrogance and right-wing shift went so far that it seems imperative for the "enlightened" fraction of the American establishment to steer "to the left," at least in words. This is where someone like Barack Obama can be useful. The ruling class isn't worried by him because he is not carried along by a wave of social radicalization. The question isn't one of individuals per se. Take Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for example. He was the most progressive president in modern American history. This was not due to his personality, even if you do need an adequate personality for such a role, but to the profound social radicalization at the time of the Great Depression that he gave voice to while also holding it in check. It's really not individual personalities that make situations, but situations that make individual personalities.

However, there is no possible analogy between the United States of the 1930s -- from the point of view of the balance of social forces, the class struggle, the strength of the working class -- and the current situation. At the heart of the ruling capitalist fractions, there is no expression of serious concern. Someone like Obama could be advantageous for promoting U.S. interests -- unless the ultra-reactionary course of the Bush administration finds itself confirmed in the election of John McCain, with the United States plunging deeper toward a decline that would be symbolized by a gerontocratic figure à la Brezhnev."

The Bush Years

(Click on image to enlarge)

Breaking the Siege of Gaza

Of Pirates, Provocateurs and Peaceful Pests


"On August 22, two small boats left the port of Larnaca in Cyprus bound for Gaza, with 44 peace activists from around the world on board. The captains and crew were seasoned sailors. Few of the activists had sea legs prior to this voyage......

Another criterion for the success of nonviolent action is whether it troubles our consciences sufficiently to move us to action. That is the hope expressed by the anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” These activists dared to believe their action would “create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.” That is a very a tall order. It is also the point where all of us come into the story. The “Free Gaza” sailors have done what they could. Now it is up to us to do what we can.

Each of us can become better informed about the current situation in Gaza. A good place to begin would be the open letter on Gaza written by Palestinian psychiatrist Eyad el-Sarraj ( Or we can join Jewish Voice for Peace in supporting the International Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza. Or we can demand of our leaders a saner, more sensible policy in the Middle East. A policy that refuses to countenance collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza for the violations of international law committed by a few. A policy that refuses to ignore the daily human needs of those who inhabit the most densely concentrated space on the planet."

So You Think You Can Dance?

African-American Dancer with Muslim Name Ethnically Profiled by Israeli Airport Security



"Israeli security officers at Tel-Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport Tuesday forced an African-American member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater -- by far the best-known touring company in the United States -- to perform twice for them in order to prove he was a dancer before letting him enter the country with the dance company, the dancer told the Associated Press. But even after he complied, one of the officers suggested that Abdur-Rahim Jackson change his name. Jackson felt humiliated and "deeply saddened," according to an Ailey spokesperson, particularly because his Arab/Muslim sounding first name, given to him by his Muslim father, was the reason that he was the only member of his company subjected to this typical Israeli ethnic profiling....."

Decision 2008

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see that the September 11 attack has weakened the US?

With over 1,300 responding so far, 70% said yes.

Drawing Gaza's battle lines


"As violence continues between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas, Artsworld meets a Gazan cartoonist trying to make a difference through her drawings.

One of the most recognisable symbols of Palestinian society is Handala, a ragged ten-year-old Palestinian refugee who is always viewed from behind and always observing the world.

Handala is a cartoon and his creator, Naji al Ali, was assassinated in London in 1987.

Known for his political criticism of both Israel and Arab regimes al Ali’s body was riddled with bullets and his killer has yet to be found.

Yet his legacy continues to inspire a new generation of Palestinian illustrators, not least Omayya Joha, arguably the most well-known female cartoonist in the Arab world......"

A Very Good Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: The "lipstick pit-bull" goes to war

Sarah Palin wouldn't "blink" against Russia, Iran, Pakistan, "the terrorists"...

"In her long-awaited first prime-time interview - to ABC News' Charles Gibson - since appointed as running mate to Senator John McCain in the Republican presidential ticket, Alaska governor Sarah Palin was able to display her foreign policy knowledge - which does not include understanding the meaning of the Bush doctrine of preemptive war. Adding to the chorus of Americans who suspect Palin is not prepared to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency in case McCain wins the election, the neoconservatives who gave her a crash course in international relations before she sat for the interview did not fail to commit a series of blunders."

Real News Video: The war on terror targets Pakistan

Gareth Porter: Bush and US intelligence not speaking the same language Part3

"In the third and final part of this series, investigative military historian Gareth Porter expands on the multiple factors at play behind the decision by the Bush administration to allow US Special Forces to conduct targeted strikes inside Pakistan, against the better judgement of the National Intelligence Council. Porter stresses how this constitutes a very dangerous escalation of the "war on terror", which may lead to further destabilization of Pakistan - a nuclear-armed nation of 170 million people - and even to a war between the US and Pakistan."

Horrors of war our leaders never have to confront

Bush and Blair have not had to soil their thoughts with images of wickedness that make the gorge rise

By Robert Fisk

"....."The rats, with red eyes, march delicately along the trench," Giono writes of the creatures with whom he shared the war. "All life had disappeared down there except for that of the rats and the lice ... The rats were coming to sniff the bodies ... They chose the young men without beards on the cheeks ... rolled up into a ball and began to eat the flesh between the nose and the mouth up to the edge of the lips ... from time to time they would wash their whiskers to stay clean. Then the eyes, they took them out with their claws, licked the eyelids, and would then bite into the eye as if it was a small egg ..."

My father saw these horrors on the Somme. They all did. Of course, Messrs Bush and Blair did not have to soil their thoughts with such images. Our boys shipping off to war – Mrs Thatcher happily endured the Gallipoli-like departures from Portsmouth – is enough for our leaders. But could it be, perhaps, that we – the people – know more about horror than our masters? Our history suggests this is true."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Dave Brown, The Independent

تشافيز يحرجنا كعرب

A Great Commentary in Arabic by Abdel Bari Atwan
تشافيز يحرجنا كعرب

عبد الباري عطوان

"استفزني منظر الرئيس الفنزويلي هوغو شافيز وهو يقف امام عدسات التلفزة العالمية ملوحاً بساعة يده، ومعلنا أنه يعطي السفير الأمريكي في بلاده 72 ساعة لمغادرتها تضامناً مع صديقه رئيس بوليفيا، الذي بادر قبل يومين بطرد السفير الأمريكي أيضا لأنه يتدخل بشكل سافر في شؤون بلاده الداخلية.
الرئيس شافيز بقميصه الأحمر الشهير لم يكتف بطرد سفير الدولة الأعظم في العالم فقط بل هدد بوقف امدادات نفط بلاده إلى الولايات المتحدة، واعترف باستقلال اوسيتيا الجنوبية وابخازيا، وقرر تبادل السفراء معهما، واستقبل قاذفات استراتيجية روسية على أرض بلاده.
أقول استفزني المنظر، لأننا لم نر زعيماً عربيا واحداً، يمثل دولة فقيرة أو غنية، نفطية أو مائية، صحراوية أو زراعية، مشرقية أو مغربية، ثورية أو رجعية، ممانعة أو معتدلة منبطحة، يجرؤ على طرد قنصل أمريكي، أو حتى اسرائيلي.
شافيز هو الذي يأخذ من الولايات المتحدة، ويقع في دائرة نفوذها، بينما نحن العرب الذين نعطيها، نعطيها النفط، والقواعد العسكرية، والاستثمارات، وصفقات الأسلحة الضخمة، وننقذ اقتصادها المنهار بشراء سنداتها، وننخرط بحماس غير معهود في حربها ضد ما يسمى بالارهاب، التي هي حرب ضد العرب والمسلمين.
يستعصي علينا فهم حالة الهوان والضعف التي نعيشها حاليا، بحيث اصبحت مكانتنا تحت الصفر في المعادلات الاستراتيجية الدولية يستأسد علينا الجميع، بينما نحن نطأطئ رؤوسنا وندير الجانب الآخر من وجهنا طلباً للمزيد من الصفعات، ونبتسم لجلادنا.. والأخطر من ذلك انه ممنوع علينا ان نصرخ ألماً، والا اعتبرنا من المتطرفين المتهورين.
الادارة الأمريكية غزت العراق واحتلته ودمرته، وانتهكت اعراض أهله ونسائه في سجن 'أبو غريب' وغيره، وقتلت وتسببت في قتل مليون ونصف المليون من ابنائه وشردت خمسة ملايين آخرين، ومع ذلك نركع امامها، ننفذ جميع املاءاتها، سواء بالغاء ديون لمساعدة حكومة عراقية طائفية معادية للعروبة، أو بإرسال السفراء لتطبيع العلاقات معها.

الاقتصاد الأمريكي يترنح، والبطالة ترتفع بمعدلات قياسية، والعجز يصل إلى 800 مليار دولار بسبب الحروب الظالمة في العراق وافغانستان، فتبادر حكوماتنا العربية الرشيدة، وحدها دون غيرها، لمكافأة الادارة الأمريكية على حروبها، وانحيازها الكامل لاسرائيل، بزيادة انتاج النفط بمقدار مليوني برميل لتخفيض اسعاره، وانقاذ الاقتصاد الامريكي، هل هناك غباء واستسلام ومازوشية (تعذيب الذات) اكثر من هذا؟
حكومات عربية اقامت علاقات دبلوماسية او تجارية، او الاثنتين معا، مع الدولة العبرية، تحت عنوان تشجيعها على المضي قدما في عملية السلام.. وطمأنة شعبها المذعور من العرب (ليسوا عرب اليوم على اي حال)، ومن لم يقم منهم اي علاقات علنية ذهب مهرولا الى مؤتمر انابوليس للسلام، ليكون شاهد زور على اعادة استئناف المفاوضات الفلسطينية ـ الاسرائيلية للوصول الى هدف اقامة الدولة الفلسطينية المستقلة الذي تعهد بانجازه الرئيس بوش.
اسرائيل رفضت مبادرة السلام العربية الذليلة، وضاعفت الاستيطان بمعدل 500' منذ انابوليس حسب احصاءات منظمة بيتسيلم، وجماعة السلام الآن الاسرائيليتين، فهل شاهدنا رئيس دولة واحدة من الذين ذهب وزراء خارجيتهم الى انابوليس يحتج بقوة على هذه الممارسات، او يطرد سفيرا اسرائيليا من عاصمته لان حكومته لم تلتزم بالاتفاقات التي جرى التوصل اليها؟
نذهب الى ما هو اكثر من ذلك، ونذّكر بالمجازر الاسرائيلية في قطاع غزة، والحصار النازي الاسرائيلي البشع المفروض عليها، فهل تحركت دماء الكرامة في عروق زعيم عربي واحد، وقرر ان يغلق السفارة الاسرائيلية في بلاده، او مكتب العلاقات التجارية، او يستدعي، ولا نقول يطرد، السفير الامريكي محتجا، ومتعاطفا مع اشقائه المحاصرين المجوعين؟
حتى العسكر في بلادنا باتوا اكثر استسلاما وخنوعا من القيادات المدنية، فبينما نظيرهم في باكستان (الجنرال اشفاق كياني قائد الجيش) يعلن غضبه من اقدام الولايات المتحدة على قصف مواقع داخل بلاده على الحدود مع افغانستان دون استشارته، ويهدد بانهاء التحالف العسكري معها، ووقف التعاون في الحرب على الارهاب، يلتزم العسكريون في بلادنا الصمت المطبق على كل الممارسات الاذعانية لقيادتهم السياسية، وتذهب عشرات المليارات التي انفقت على تدريب وتسليح جنرالاتهم، وتعبئتهم وطنيا ادراج الرياح.
لنأخذ المؤسسة العسكرية في تركيا كمثال، فهذه المؤسسة لم تجرؤ على الانقلاب على الحزب الاسلامي الحاكم في انقرة، ليس خوفا او جبنا، وهي التي نصبت نفسها حاميا لعلمانية اتاتورك، وانما لأن الحكومة التركية حكومة وطنية تضع مصلحة بلادها فوق كل اعتبار، وتحتكم الى المعايير الديمقراطية، تحارب الفساد وتحقق اعلى معدلات النمو، وترسخ اسس اقتصاد قوي.
لا نطالب بانقلابات عسكرية، فتجربتنا معها سيئة ومخيبة للآمال، والشواهد التي نراها في اكثر من عاصمة من بقايا تلك المرحلة المقيتة ما زالت ماثلة للعيان، لكن نطالب بجنرالات وطنيين يقولون للحكام الفسدة 'كفى'، نطالبهم ان يضغطوا من اجل تصحيح هذه الاوضاع الشاذة العفنة، واعادة شيء من الكرامة لامتنا.
لقد طفح الكيل، وبلغ مداه، عندما وصلت بنا درجة الهوان الى درجة ان يتطاول ايهود اولمرت رئيس وزراء اسرائيل على الرئيس الفلسطيني، يقول انه رئيس منظمة التحرير التي قدمت فصائلها آلاف الشهداء، ويقرعّه (من التقريع وليس من قريع) لانه صافح المناضل سمير القنطار، ويبادر الثاني، اي الرئيس الفلسطيني بمحاولة تبرير موقفه هذا معتذرا بطريقة غير مباشرة، وربما مباشرة، عن فعلته الشنيعة هذه.
وطفح الكيل، وفاض اكثر، عندما شاهدنا القوات المصرية تمنع مواطنين مصريين يحملون الاغذية والادوية للتضامن مع اشقائهم المحاصرين في قطاع غزة، ليس من كسر الحصار، وتدمير بوابات معبر رفح المصري، وانما من عبور قناة السويس، خوفا من غضب اولمرت، او الولايات المتحدة. اسرائيل سمحت لقوارب الاجانب الشجعان بالوصول الى غزة بادويتها ومعداتها الطبية، بينما لم تسمح القوات المصرية لمواطنين مصريين بالمرور في سيناء المصرية.

كنا نقول، وحتى فترة قريبة، ان الامل في الاعلام، والصحوة الاعلامية الفضائية التي شاهدنا ارهاصاتها في العقد الاخير، ولكن هذه الصحوة تبخرت، وجرى الاجهاز عليها بالكامل بصدور وثيقة 'الشرف الاعلامي' عن 'منظمة' وزراء الإعلام العرب، التي اعتبرت كل من يتحدث عن الكرامة والوطنية، وتقاعس الزعماء، وفساد انظمتهم انه يمارس تحريضا يستحق صاحبه السجن واحتلال مكانة متقدمة على اللوائح السوداء، اما المحطة التي تستضيفه فسحب الترخيص واغلاق المكاتب.
تحول مرعب يحدث حاليا في الاعلام الفضائي العربي غير مسبوق، فالقنوات الفضائية العربية باتت تتسابق، وبطريقة مرضية لاستضافة المسؤولين الاسرائيليين، ليس انطلاقا من نظرية عرض وجهة النظر الاخرى التي صدعونا بها، وانما لارضاء هؤلاء المسؤولين وحكومتهم ونيل رضاها وتجنب غضبها.
في السابق كان مقدمو البرامج في الفضائيات العربية 'يشوون' المسؤولين الاسرائيليين باسئلتهم الاستفزازية اثناء اللقاءات معهم، وكنا نشفق عليهم من ضغط الدم او انفجار في المخ، وعروق رقبتهم تتضخم من شدة الغضب ووجوههم حمراء من شدة الانفعال، الان تغير الحال كليا، وبات المسؤولون الاسرائيليون هم الذين يتطاولون على المذيعين العرب بكل وقاحة وكأنهم هم اصحاب المحطة، ويلقون عليهم دروسا في الاعلام المهني.
بالامس شاهدت مقابلة مع السيدة تسيبي ليفني مع قناة 'العربية'، وصعقت وانا ارى المذيع يتعامل معها وكأنها المهاتما غاندي، بالكاد يهمس في اذنها، ولا يجرؤ مطلقا على مقاطعتها، ويترك لها الميدان لتصول وتجول دون مقاطعة تذكر.
قناة 'الجزيرة' الفضائية لم تكتشف 'المهنية' الاعلامية الا بعد ثورة الحكومة الاسرائيلية ضدها بسبب بثها حفلا بعيد ميلاد سمير القنطار. وشاهدنا 'لجنة حكماء' الجزيرة تجتمع وتصدر بيانا تؤكد فيه ان مدير مكتبها في بيروت خرج عن اصول المهنية عندما ذهب الى الحفل، وصوره، وبثه مباشرة. الامر الذي فسره الكثيرون على انه اعتذار من الجزيرة، بينما اصرت المحطة انها لم تعتذر مطلقا. والمعنى في بطن الشاعر.
اسرائيل اصبحت هي الجهة التي تعطينا دروسا في الاعلام المهني، وتقرر لنا ماذا نبث وماذا لا نبث، ومن هو الارهابي، ومن هو الحكيم المعتدل الرزين الذي يجب استضافته لانه 'موضوعي' يؤيد السلام ويسعى له، ويقبل بالاستمرار في عملية سلمية عقيمة.
الفضائيات العربية باتت تحرص على تواجد مكاتب لها في القدس المحتلة، اكثر من حرصها على مكاتب مماثلة في العواصم العربية، والشيء نفسه في العراق المحتل، ولهذا بدأنا نقرأ ونسمع ونشاهد المسؤولين الاسرائيليين يهددون بسحب الاعتمادات الصحافية وعدم التعاون مع مراسلي هذه الفضائيات.
امر مؤسف ان شافيز ليس عربيا، ولا يوجد له مثيل في المنطقة العربية، بل ولا يوجد مؤشر الى صعود شخص مثله الى سدة الحكم، فنحن امة محكومة بالعجزة، أمة فقدت هيبتها ومكانتها وكرامتها.

Go home, gringo

Richard Gott, Friday September 12 2008

"On the 35th anniversary of the military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile on September 11, 1973, which had the overt support of the United States, the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela have asked the US ambassadors accredited to their countries to leave.....

Chávez originally announced his decision to expel the US ambassador from Caracas as an act of solidarity with Morales – "so that Bolivia is not alone". But it was soon clear that he had his own possible coup d'etat to deal with. A tape recording of phone conversations between retired military officers, some of whom were involved in the failed coup of April 2002, was broadcast on Venezuelan television on Wednesday night, revealing plans to seize the Miraflores presidential palace and to capture or shoot down the presidential plane.....

The US is, of course, preoccupied with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but whichever presidential candidate takes over in January will also find Latin America at the top of his in-tray."

Israel's dark arts of ensnaring collaborators

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 13 September 2008

".....That is beginning to change with a trickle of reports indicating the extent of Israel's use of collaborators and the unwholesome techniques it uses to recruit them. "Cooperation," it has become clearer, is the very backbone of Israel's success in maintaining its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Collaboration comes in various guises, including land dealers, who buy Palestinian-owned land to sell it to settlers or the Israeli government; armed agents who assist Israeli soldiers in raids; and infiltrators into the national organizations and their armed wings who foil resistance operations.

But the foundation of the collaboration system is the low-level informant, who passes on the tidbits of information about neighbors and community leaders on which Israel's system of control depends.....

According to the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, the Shin Bet is exploiting the distress of these families to pressure them to agree to collaborate in return for an exit permit.

Last month, the group released details of 32 cases in which sick Gazans admitted they were denied permits after refusing to become informants.

One is Shaban Abu Obeid, 38, whose pacemaker was installed at an Israeli hospital and needs intermittent maintenance by Israeli doctors. Another, Bassam Waheidi, 28, has gone blind in one eye after he refused to co-operate and was denied a permit.

But these cases are only the tip of an enormous iceberg.....

As with other occupation regimes, Israel has long relied on the most traditional way of recruiting collaborators: torture....

Detention provides other opportunities for recruitment. In the past 17 years alone, 150,000 Palestinians have been prosecuted by the military regime. According to the Israeli group Yesh Din, 95 per cent of these trials end in plea bargains, offering yet another chance to persuade a detainee to turn informant.....

It is this gentle ensnaring of large sections of the Palestinian population -- together with open threats of physical violence to smaller sections of the population -- that ensure collaboration with the occupation is endemic. This, as Israel well understands, creates an environment that frustrates successful resistance, which requires organization, cooperation and intelligence-sharing between armed factions. As soon as the circle widens beyond a few individuals, one of them is likely to be an informant.

The result can be seen in the dismal failure of most armed acts of resistance, as well as the ease with which Israel picks off Palestinian leaders it "targets" for execution.

Mr. Abdel Jawwad calls this approach "psychological warfare" against Palestinians, who are made to believe that their society is "weak, sickly and composed of untrustworthy characters."

In short, it encourages social fragmentation in which Palestinians come to believe that it is better to stab their neighbor in the back before they get stabbed themselves."

Friday, September 12, 2008

The PA Thugs Are After Journalists: PA Mukhabarat abducts journalist minutes after he was set free

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"Masked men affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mukhabarat or General Intelligence on Friday nabbed a Palestinian journalist minutes after he was released from jail in the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya, the journalist’s family and lawyer said.

The Palestinian High Court of Justice last week ordered Mustafa Sabri “immediately released” from a protracted detention by the Military Intelligence (MI), one of a myriad of security agencies operating in the West Bank under the Israeli occupation. However, the MI refused to heed the court order without any explanation.

On Friday, 12 September, Sabri was finally set free, ending more than 45 days of what his lawyer described as arbitrary incarceration.

However, as soon as the 42-year-old journalist left the MI lockup, heading home, a group of masked men ganged up on him, forcing him into an awaiting car, and then took him to an unknown destination, his wife said.

A few hours later, his family found out that he was being detained at the Mukhabarat headquarters in downtown Qaliqilya.

“I think they only wanted to demonstrate how mean and cruel they are,” his wife said. She pointed out that her husband was being tormented and harassed for his political orientation and religiosity.....

Sabri is an elected member of the Qalqiya municipal council. The bulk of the council’s members are associated with the Palestinian Islamic movement.

Last month, the PA incarcerated for an entire month another Palestinian journalist, Awadh Rajoub, in connection with news reports he had been writing for Rajoub said he was subjected to many forms of mistreatment at the Preventive Security Force (PSF) lockup in Hebron.

It is widely believed that the main purpose behind the frequent arrest of journalists in the West Bank is to make them exercise self-censorship."

Masters of Defeat: Retreating Empire and Bellicose Bluster

By James Petras

"Everywhere one looks, US imperial policy has suffered major military and diplomatic defeats. With the backing of the Democratic Congress, the Republican White House’s aggressive pursuit of a military approach to empire-building has led to a world-wide decline of US influence, the realignment of former client rulers toward imperial adversaries, the emergence of competing hegemons and loss of crucial sources of strategic raw materials.....


The economic crisis in the run up to the Presidential elections has not led to the emergence of a mass based progressive alternative candidate. Both the Democratic and Republican contenders promise to prolong and extend the imperial wars and submit to unprecedented Israeli-Zionist military dictates with regard to Iran.

Crises and military defeats have not led to a re-thinking of global economic and military commitments. Instead we witness a right-wing radicalization, which seeks to escalate confrontations with China, Russia and Iran. The US draws in its wake the client regimes of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus and Baltic regions to counter Western Europe’s emphasis on ‘economic-centered’ empire building.

The reality of a multi-polarized economic world however undermines US efforts to impose a bipolar military confrontation. China holds $1.2 trillion dollars in US debt. Western Europe, in general, depends on over one-third of its energy for its homes, offices and factories from Russia. Germany relies on Russia for almost 60% of its gas. The economies of Asia: Japan, India, China, Vietnam and South Korea all depend on oil from the Middle East and not on the Middle East war plans of the Israeli-American militarists.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Venezuela and Iran are essential to the functioning of the world economy. In the same way that the US-Israel-United Kingdom cannot support their empire on the bases of failed military strategies abroad and economic disaster and police state policies at home."

US a step closer to Iran blockade

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"The new unilateral United States sanctions on Iran's shipping industry are unlikely to have much economic effect. They do, though, indicate the George W Bush administration's intention to escalate pressure on Tehran as a prelude for more serious and dangerous actions, such as a naval blockade to choke Iran's access to imported fuel....."

Video: Sarah Palin ABC Interview With Charlie Gibson Part 1

Zion Uber Alles: Palin: U.S. shouldn't 'second guess' defensive military steps taken by Israel

VP pick calls Iranian nukes 'dangerous' says U.S. must support any security measures taken by Israel.

"Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin on Thursday said the United States shouldn't "second guess" steps taken by Israel to secure itself, adding that a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran is dangerous and the United States must "put the pressure" on the Islamic Republic. Palin statements came during an interview Thursday with Charlie Gibson of ABC, her first major interview given since she accepted the vice presidential nomination in late August....."

Bin Laden Laughs

… as his predictions of America's impending bankruptcy come true

By Justin Raimondo

".....Without bin Laden, the War Party would have nothing: we'd still be in the post-cold war era, when many conservatives were saying, along with Patrick J. Buchanan, "America, come home," and it was the liberals who were rediscovering the joys of interventionism, in the Balkans and elsewhere. Without the War Party, bin Laden would be a marginal figure, with no following and little hope of attracting any. The two forces coexist in a dynamic symbiosis, each reinforcing and feeding the other – allies in all but the formal sense."

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: The war on terror targets Pakistan Part 2

Gareth Porter: Bush gives Special Forces the power to go deep inside Pakistan

"In the second part of this series, investigative historian Gareth Porter tells Pepe Escobar about the efforts by both the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the CIA clandestine operations not to depend on "special approvals" to launch Special Forces ops inside Pakistani territory in the hunt for Taliban and al Qaeda leaders. Gen. David Petraeus, about to take over as head of Central Command, is firmly in favor. Although the National Intelligence Council is firmly against it, arguing these ops will dangerously destabilize the Pakistani Army and even the Pakistani government, the Bush administration has authorized US Special Forces to operate inside Pakistan even without the approval of the Pakistani government - in a dangerous escalation of the "war on terror"."

Read it and weep

Another facet of Israel's regime in the occupied territories has come to light – and it's tearing families apart

Seth Freedman, Friday September 12 2008

"A disturbing report published this week highlights yet another facet of Israel's regime in the occupied territories that is seeing Palestinian lives ruined and families torn apart. As if the alienation of the Palestinians from their pre-1948 homelands wasn't crushing enough to those affected, the Hamoked-B'Tselem study reveals an alarming increase in forcible transfers of West Bank residents to the Gaza Strip, effectively making refugees twice over of those falling victim to this punitive policy.....

As one desperate Palestinian mother put it during her testimony, "[Why don't they just] put me in a cage? At least I'll know I'm in prison, and that I've got a problem; and then I'll give up. Where [else] in the world does a wife have to live apart from her husband for no reason?" Her life in limbo is a constant nightmare, and every government cosying up to Israel, while it attempts permanently to divide the West Bank and Gaza, is just as responsible for her plight as the Israeli authorities themselves."

The right of no return

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 12 September 2008

"The debate on the Palestinian refugee problem has been confused and badly mishandled. While Israel maintains a consistent position, the Palestinians and the Arabs are often contradictory, vague and inconsistent.

For some unclear reason, the refugee problem has, with time, been limited to only one aspect: the right of return. This narrowed the scope of discussion to an extent that not only shifted emphasis but also played well into the hands of the Israeli hardliners who stubbornly deny all refugee rights as well as denying Israel's responsibility in creating the refugee problem, first through the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine and then by refusing to allow refugees to come back home. Yet the refugee problem entails more rights than the right of return and should be dealt with on that basis......

The Arab Peace Initiative is one terrible example of offering free concessions to the Israeli position without any demand for reciprocation, obviously to appease a so-called "international community" committed to the racist Israeli logic that Israel's "right" to maintain a Jewish majority that allows it to oppress its Palestinian minority trumps the real, internationally recognized rights of refugees.....

The Palestinian leadership should recognize that it is not a mediator in the conflict, whose task is to offer compromises, but a party to it, whose basic duty is to defend its legitimate rights and demand their realization in full, and that should apply to the Arabs too.....

The refugee problem is central to any possible solution of the conflict and murky plans cannot work. It is obvious that justice for the Palestinian refugees does not mean the return of all of them, but this should be their choice not offers volunteered by political opportunists and manipulators worldwide. This should also be decided as an outcome of serious negotiations not offered as free concessions in advance......

The starting point must be a firm and clear Palestinian and Arab position compatible with what serves justice for the Palestinian refugees, not deceptive language that appeals to the usurper."

Israel bans travel of human rights defenders

Report, Al Mezan, 11 September 2008

"On 9 September 2008, Israel informed European diplomats that it rejected the applications for permission to exit Gaza submitted by three human rights defenders, including two winners of human rights awards. The applicants were Issam Younis and Mahmoud Abu Rahma of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. The activists had applied for permits to take part in human rights events relevant to their work on human rights in Europe.

The human rights defenders have been invited by the Swedish organization Diakonia and the Belgian organization Avocats Sans Frontiers to take part in a conference on the enforcement of the international humanitarian law with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The conference is scheduled to take place on 13 and 14 September 2008. In addition, they have been invited by the Irish organization Trocaire to take part in a review on its work on Israel and the OPT, scheduled to take place between 14 and 19 September. The human rights defenders were also scheduled to meet officials from the European Union (EU) and member states, including cabinet members in Belgium, and raise human rights issues with them......"

Playing 'make believe'

The US is pushing Abbas into another dead end

By Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Despite official denial, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel are formulating a "shelf agreement" which both sides will consider the basis of further negotiations to be resumed in 2009.

According to well-informed sources at the Muqataa, the headquarters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Israel and the PA have come to the conclusion that a real breakthrough in the current negotiations is highly unlikely this year. Hence, efforts will be concentrated on reaching an interim agreement or a "shelf agreement" that would keep the process going and enable both sides to claim that the peace talks didn't fail.

Coincidentally, this is what the Bush administration is demanding, at least privately, in order to save the process from the danger of complete collapse......

"I am worried that he will surprise us one evening and tell us that we have to be realistic and forget about the right of return and large areas of East Jerusalem, and that we have two choices, either we accept what we can extract from Israeli hands, or remain in a state of repression and pain for the rest of our lives," said a prominent Fatah leader in the Hebron region.

Al-Masri thinks that this scenario is not far fetched. "For this leadership, the peace process has become a way of life, the talks are not a means to achieve an end; they are becoming an end in themselves. The peace process justifies the continued existence of the PA," said Al-Masri. He added that the continued process was serving the financial and other interests of certain individuals and strata who are spreading the word that there is no other alternative available, either to the leadership or to the Palestinian people at large. "For those influential people, negotiations are a way of life, and the word 'struggle' was dropped irreversibly from their lexicon."......"

Talk but no more

The Syrian-Israeli peace talks gambit is just that, for now

By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Few would argue that the indirect Israel-Syria talks through Turkish mediation, which were first announced 21 May, were a sign of political maturity and readiness for peace. In fact, while the discussions seemed concerned with the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Israel's desire for security at its northern borders, the true objective behind the sudden engagement of Syria is largely concerned with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.....

Whether the report is fully, partially or not at all accurate, the fact remains that Israel's key objective in engaging Syria is to further isolate Hamas and to deny its leadership safe haven.....

It is clear that neither Israel nor Syria is anticipating a "breakthrough" anytime soon. For now, talking is an end in itself. Concurrently, Israel wishes to woo Syria to break with Hamas and other Palestinian groups, break with Iran and, at least, twist Hizbullah's arm in Lebanon. Syria, on the other hand, knows well that indirect talks with Israel are an unmatched act of political validation in the West, enough to lessen US threats, win France's friendship, and appear in a positive light internationally.

Both parties want to come across as accommodating, willing partners in peace and, at a future point, there might be a few overtures, the extent of which could be devastating to Palestinian factions in Damascus. Meshaal might not be in Sudan, but if he is, or will be soon, one cannot be entirely surprised."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Barhoum: denying entry of an Egyptian convoy into Gaza an 'irresponsible action

"The ruling Hamas party in Gaza slammed on Thursday the Egyptian authorities for preventing access of a solidarity convoy into Gaza, branding it 'irresponsible action'.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement, emailed to press, " we have been looking forward that such a convoy would help break the Israeli blockade on Gaza".

Barhoum maintained " 1.5 million Palestinians have been eagerly waiting their Egyptian brothers, amidst the Arab states' silence towards what's going on the ground, including the debilitating siege on Gaza".

"The Hamas movement has been looking forward to more mass activities by all Arab and world countries, until the suffering of the Palestinian people is alleviated", explained the Hamas spokesman.

At least four vehicles , loaded with Egyptian parliamentarians , lawyers and human rights activist and some food assistance, were heading from Cairo for the Gaza Strip, when the Egyptian police stopped them about 300 kilometers away from Gaza.

The said convoys, according to organizers, were intended at breaking the siege of Gaza and sending out a message of solidarity with the besieged Palestinian people.

The campaigners were supposed to cross via the Egypt-controlled Rafah crossing terminal, as Palestinians on the Gaza side of the terminal were expected to welcome them officially and popularly.

The Rafah crossing terminal as well as the remaining Gaza's border crossings have bee closed after Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza following Hamas's takeover of the coastal region in June2007."

Harvesting with hope in Gaza

Report, PCHR, 11 September 2008

"On a hot afternoon during the month of Ramadan, there are few better places to be than resting beneath the shade of an orchard of guava trees, with the scent of fresh ripening fruit wafting around you. Farmer Sa'id al-Agha sits quietly, his eyes resting on his fruit trees. "My father and my grandfather both grew up here, farming guavas, and I've lived here all my life" he says. "This land is in my blood."

Sa'id al-Agha farms 30 dunams of guava plantations in Mawasi, in the southwestern Gaza Strip, where the loamy soil also encourages date palms and citrus trees to thrive (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters). His Mawasi farm is a tranquil haven in Gaza, which has one of the highest population densities in the world....."

9/11 and the "American Inquisition"

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 11, 2008

"Today's "Global War on Terrorism" is a modern form of inquisition. It has all the essential ingredients of the French and Spanish inquisitions.

Going after " Islamic terrorists", carrying out a Worldwide preemptive war to " protect the Homeland" are used to justify a military agenda.

"The Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) is presented as a "Clash of Civilizations", a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

The GWOT is the ideological backbone of the American Empire. It defines US military doctrine, including the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against the "state sponsors" of terrorism......"

Iran-bashing from al-Qaeda's corner

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Al-Qaeda's leadership, in a battle to seduce Muslim hearts and minds, says its top strategic enemies are Shi'ites - be they in Tehran or Hezbollah - and not the United States. Winning over Shi'ites will fuel al-Qaeda's objective of a "long war" in which the only winner will be the US military-industrial complex. That's the sorry legacy of 9/11, seven years on....."



"BRUSSELS (11 September 2008) - Today, in a special session of the European Parliament's Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC), Paul Larudee, one of the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement’s successful breach of the Israeli blockade of Gaza in August, called upon the international community to join the Movement’s efforts to lessen the human suffering created by Israeli’s strangulation of Gaza.
The Israeli siege has produced widespread and needless human suffering in Gaza,” Larudee told DPLC Parliamentarians. “We’ve proved that the sea link to Gaza is viable, but the humanitarian needs in Gaza are overwhelming and our two, small boats cannot even begin to meet those needs. Today we call for a much broader effort; specifically, we are calling on other members of the international community - governments, non-governmental organizations, and others dedicated to protecting human rights - to join us by providing their own ships, humanitarian goods, and human capital to open wide Gaza’s access to the world. This is an opportunity that simply must not be squandered.”
Since Israel imposed the blockade two years ago, malnutrition and unemployment rates in Gaza have soared. In May 2008, several international aid organizations, including CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Medecins du Monde UK, stated that, “the stranglehold on Gaza’s borders has made ... the work of the UN and other humanitarian agencies ... virtually impossible. Only a trickle of medicine, food, fuel and other goods is being allowed in. [The Israeli blockade of Gaza] has made people highly dependent on food aid, and brought the health system and basic services such as water and sanitation near to collapse.”
Two of the Free Gaza Movement’s boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, arrived in Gaza Port on August 23 to the jubilation of tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at the port. It was the first time in over forty years that international ships had docked in Gaza Port. The boats avoided Israeli interference by staying exclusively in international, Gaza, and Cypriot waters on their journey.

Speaking from Jerusalem, Huwaida Arraf, a law lecturer at Al-Quds University and another organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that, “We urge the world to join us in asserting that the Palestinian people have a right to access the outside world. The world cannot stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated; Palestinians have a right to life with dignity.”

For More Information, Please Contact:
(Brussels) Paul Larudee, Ph.D, +35 799 079 736 /
(Jerusalem) Huwaida Arraf, Law Lecturer, Al-Quds University, +972 599 130 426 /
(USA) Thomas H. Nelson, Attorney at Law, +1 503 709 6397 /"

Ah.....The New Iraq; Mamma Mia! Iraqi MP seeks ties with Israel

Press TV

"An Iraqi parliamentarian has attended the Israeli Herzliya conference and called for diplomatic ties between Baghdad and Tel Aviv.

Mithal al-Alusi, who was speaking at the opening of the conference, said regional countries, including Israel, must cooperate and exchange intelligence with Iraq to fight terrorism.

Al-Alusi slammed Iran accusing the country of meddling in Iraq's internal affairs.

This is the Iraqi parliament member's third visit to Israel. He, however, did not speak at the Herzliya conference on two previous occasions.

Al-Alusi had spent many years in exile in Germany and returned to Iraq following the fall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein.

At one stage he was appointed the General Director of Culture and Media at the Higher National Commission for De-Baathification. However, he was fired after he visited Israel.

Al-Alusi, whose visits to Israel have sparked great criticism in Iraq, managed to win a seat in parliament in the 2005 elections. "

Did al-Qaeda Succeed?

Ten years after the neoconservatives laid out plans for permanent U.S. global dominance – and seven years after the brutal 9/11 attacks gave them the opening to carry out those plans – the neocons instead have guided the United States onto the shoals of a political/military disaster and the prospect of rapid decline.

By Robert Parry
September 11, 2008

"This grim result from the neocons’ overreach is an unstated subtext of the U.S. intelligence community’s project for assessing the world in 2025, a point 17 years into the future when the United States is likely to have lost its current world dominance, according to a preview offered by the government’s top intelligence analyst......."

The Palestinian Horror Story

A Very Good Piece
By Sonja Karkar – Melbourne, Australia
Palestine Chronicle

".....There in that nether world, shimmering threads criss-crossed the darkness of the unknown luring me to come closer until I saw the faces of millions caught in a gigantic, glistening spider’s web. The faces were my own.

I was the girl screaming on a blood-stained beach strewn with the body parts of her family. I was the boy huddled against his father as the bullets sprayed around them. I was the woman faint with labour pains at the checkpoint willing her unborn child to stay in the womb a few more hours. I was the man paraded blindfolded and handcuffed, tortured and jailed for resisting the occupation of his people. I was the family of thousands clutching the memories of lifetimes as the bulldozers tore down the walls of their homes. I was the generations, terrorised and driven from their land and villages in one of the cruellest acts of inhumanity perpetrated by one people against another. I was Palestinian caught in a web of deceit, despised and shunned by a world blinded by Biblical myths and twenty-first century spin.....

Oh yes indeed, we are allowing the horrors to happen again. The gas chambers and killing fields of yesterday are the cattle-yard Bantustans and the 2000 bureaucratic rules that regulate every single movement of every Palestinian life that Israel holds in captivity - a different kind of ethnic cleansing that takes its time and passes almost unnoticed, but nonetheless decimates a society until it disappears as if it never existed.

And so, my fellow human beings, the sixty-year Palestinian nightmare continues, endless only due to the limitlessness of our inhumanity. Oh what have we become? That is the nightmare that is waiting to engulf us all."

The Mendacity of 'Missed Opportunities'

By M. Shahid Alam
Palestine Chronicle

"All too often, the failure of Israel and the Arabs to make peace — especially since the creation of Israel — has been described as the folly of missed opportunities. In a discourse that is dominated by the Zionists, the Palestinians are forced to carry much of the burden of this folly.

How often have the Zionists, with delightful malice of the strong, accused the Palestinians – using the words of Abba Eban — that they “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity?”

The objective of these Zionist accusations is plain: blame the victims. In order to make their accusations stick, the Zionists have elaborated a false but imposing history of their movement. In this history, it is the Jews who have the original, historical, natural, eternal, God-ordained, and Biblical right to Palestine....."

Where Is The Rage?

A Great Piece

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle

"Where is the rage? Where is the Arab chivalry (nakhwa)? Where is the Islamic passion (Rahmah)? Where are the Arab human rights organizations? Where are Abu Mazin and the rest of the Palestinian leadership? The UN refugee agency says there are about 2,500 Palestinians mostly widows and orphans, victims of the violence in Iraq, languishing for the past two years under canvas tents in the Iraqi desert at the Syrian border. These refugee camps lack basic services or medical facilities and the temperature exceeds 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in summer and dips below zero degrees in winter. Syria and Jordan have accepted more than two million refugees from Iraq but they have denied entry for Palestinian refugees who have been trying to escape the attacks and persecution in Iraq. There is no room for these most vulnerable Palestinians in the Arab countries that stretch from the Atlantic Ocean in the west along the southern shores of the Mediterranean to the borders of Persia in the east, and the Arabian Peninsula. What would happen if these refugees were Jews or French or Japanese?.....

Arabs lost their souls and conscience when they accept torturing innocent widows and orphans in the desert just because they are Palestinian refugees. No wonder Arab world justice systems have been universally identified with torture and human rights abuse. The most frightful threat to a prisoner in the US custody, even in the infamous American Guantanamo Base, has been to send him back to an Arab country for investigation.

Just a week ago, Abu Mazin assured the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon that they would be “among those who will return to their soil [in Israel]” a rhetoric they had been hearing for the last sixty years. He also expressed satisfaction with their conditions in Lebanon even with “ninety-five different kinds of jobs which Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are forbidden by law to undertake”.

Abu Mazin and all Arab leaders have no credibility when they talk about Palestine as long as orphans and widows are languishing in the Iraqi desert and the children of Gaza go to bed hungry and without a future to look forward to. "

منع القافلة اضر بالحكومة المصرية

منع القافلة اضر بالحكومة المصرية

"منعت الشرطة المصرية يوم امس قافلة من الحافلات كانت تقل نشطاء ومواد غذائية وطبية للمحاصرين في قطاع غزة في بادرة تضامنية شعبية معهم.
اهمية هذه القافلة تتمثل في معناها، وهويات المشاركين فيها، فهذه هي المرة الاولى التي تتحرك فيها، وعلى هذا القدر من الضخامة، مجموعات من كبار الشخصيات المصرية والعربية لكسر الحصار عن قطاع غزة. فقد جرت العادة ان تأتي تحركات كسره من الجانب الفلسطيني في معظم الاحيان.
منع هذه القافلة من قبل الشرطة المصرية كان امرا متوقعا، لان الحكومة المصرية لا تريد اظهار اي تعاطف من قبل الفعاليات السياسية والنقابية والنيابية المصرية مع ابناء الشعب الفلسطيني، بل عملت على محاولة تشويه الفلسطينيين من خلال حملات اعلامية رسمية منظمة، ومخطط لها بعناية، تتهمهم بالتطاول على سيادة مصر والعمل على زعزعة استقرارها باختراقهم الحدود المصرية في مرات سابقة.
الخطوة الشعبية المصرية هذه اعطت ثمارها وحققت اهدافها حتى لو لم تصل الى هدفها النهائي اي معبر رفح، فقد وصلت رسالتها الى مختلف انحاء العالم باسره عبر محطات التلفزة العربية والعالمية التي رافقتها منذ انطلاقتها، وبثت الهتافات والشعارات التي انطلقت من حناجر المشاركين فيها، بعد انزالهم من حافلاتهم ومنعهم من مواصلة مسيرتهم.
منع المسيرة تصرف خاطئ يكشف مدى غباء الحكومة المصرية وانعدام الرؤية السياسية والاخلاقية لدى المسؤولين الكبار فيها، لان السماح لها بالوصول الى القطاع كان سيصب في مصلحة هذه الحكومة من حيث اجراء بعض الاصلاحات على وجهها البشع في اذهان الكثير من المصريين والعرب بعد ثبات مشاركتها بفاعلية في حصار ابناء قطاع غزة، والفضائح الاخيرة التي لحقت بها من جراء تقصيرها في انقاذ ضحايا انهيارات جبل المقطم، وتورط بعض كبار المسؤولين فيها في احراق مبنى البرلمان (مجلس الشورى) لاخفاء بعض ملفات التحقيقات في قضايا فساد كبرى متورط فيها بعض كبار رجال الاعمال المقربين منها.
كان من المفترض ان تتعلم الحكومة المصرية من صديقتها الاسرائيلية التي سمحت لسفينتي كسر الحصار وركابها من الاجانب بلتوجه من قبرص الى قطاع غزة، فقد ادركت الحكومة الاسرائيلية ان اخطار المنع اكبر بكثير من عدمه، ولهذا قررت ان تسمح للسفينتين بالتوجه الى القطاع دون اي اعتراض.
من المؤسف ان الحكومة المصرية الحالية بلغت درجة من الغرور بحيث اعمتها عن رؤية الاخطار المحدقة بها وبمصر في آن، وواصلت تصرفاتها الغبية بطريقة لافتة، الامر الذي ضاعف من تراكم اخطائها، مثلما ضاعف من عزلتها وكراهيتها من قبل ابناء شعبها.
النواب والسياسيون والنقابيون المصريون والعرب الذين شاركوا في هذه المسيرة اكدوا أن الأمة العربية ما زالت بخير، وأن هناك الكثير من الكرامة والعزة ونخوة الشقيق ما زالت تجري في عروقها.
الشعب المصري اثبت دائما اصالته وعمق انتمائه لامتيه العربية والاسلامية، ووفاءه لقضاياها المصيرية، ومنها قضية فلسطين، وهذا ليس غريبا عليه وهو الذي قدم آلاف الشهداء دفاعا عن هذه القضية العادلة."

A Murderous Theater of the Absurd

By John Pilger

"....Laughing may be difficult, I agree, given the slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan by "coalition" aircraft, including those directed by British forces engaged in "the country's rebuilding program." The bombing of civilian areas has doubled, along with the deaths of civilians, says Human Rights Watch. Last month, "our" aircraft slaughtered nearly 100 civilians, two-thirds of them children between the ages of three months and 16 years, while they slept, according to eyewitnesses. BBC television news initially devoted nine seconds to the Human Rights Watch report, and nothing to the fact that "less than peanuts" (according to an aid worker) is being spent on rebuilding anything in Afghanistan.

As for the notion of a "united, stable and free" Iraq, consider the no-bid contracts handed to the major western oil companies for ownership of Iraq's oil. "Theft" is a more truthful word. Written by the companies themselves and US officials, the contracts have been signed off by Bush and Nouri al-Maliki, "prime minister" of Iraq's "democratic" government that resides in an air-conditioned American fortress. This is not news.

Try to laugh, please, while you consider the devastation of Iraq's health, once the best in the Middle East, by the ubiquitous dust from British and US depleted uranium weapons. A World Health Organization study reporting a cancer epidemic has been suppressed, says its principal author. This has been reported in Britain only in the Glasgow Sunday Herald and the Morning Star. According to a study last year by Basra University Medical College, almost half of all deaths in the contaminated southern provinces were caused by cancer........"

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: al Qaeda blames Iran, US targets inside Pakistan

Gareth Porter: US attacks tribal areas, al Qaeda celebrates 9/11 Part 1

"In the first part of this series, investigative military historian Gareth Porter analyzes al Qaeda's demonization of Shi'ites; the rationale behind US special commandos conducting attacks against alleged al Qaeda and neo-Taliban operatives deep inside the Pakistani tribal areas; the overall counterinsurgency strategy of Gen. David Petraeus; and the surge in Iraq compared with what is now a surge in Pashtun-dominated lands inside Pakistan. Part Two of series published on Friday."

Every picture tells a story

In the occupied territories, there's a new weapon: the video camera, detailing the violence meted out to Palestinians

Seth Freedman, Wednesday September 10 2008

""It's very easy for the Israeli public to believe that Palestinians are lying when it's just their word against the word of a soldier or settler", explained B'Tselem's spokesperson, Sarit Michaeli. The Israeli human rights group has brought several high-profile cases to the public's attention this summer, providing vital video evidence of the scale of the violence meted out by settlers and soldiers alike. In the process the footage has seriously dented efforts to smear Palestinians complaining of assault. According to Michaeli, "[The video evidence] makes it much easier for us to demonstrate the reality on the ground, and to show Israelis what is being done in their names in the occupied territories."

B'Tselem's Shooting back campaign has also compelled the security forces in the West Bank to carry out more thorough investigations.....

However, despite the uphill struggle. B'Tselem have every reason to persist in their task. The reaction of the international media to both the Nil'in and Susya tapes was huge, and a massive shot in the arm to those behind its release.

The more pressure that can be put on the Israeli authorities to hold its own troops and settlers accountable for their crimes, from both inside and outside Israel, the better for all the victims of the violence. The world is watching, and thanks to B'Tselem's efforts to bring the truth to their television screens, thousands more pairs of eyes are scrutinising the situation with every new tape released."

Iraq: what's changed?

The security situation has improved, but as the smoke of conflict clears, the full human cost of the Iraq occupation comes into view

Jonathan Steele, Wednesday September 10 2008

"Back in Baghdad for the first time this year, I was consumed by the issue of change. What's different, I would ask almost every Iraqi I met. "What about you, what do you see that's new?", they would query in their turn. So here, in a few paragraphs, is a summary of my answers. Some things have changed for the better, others for the worse.....

Finally, one has to mention the enormous legacy of human misery which the invasion and five years of occupation unleashed. Is it worse than a year ago? Has anything changed here? Probably not, but as the prospect of a US troop reduction gains strength whoever wins the White House in November, the full toll of disaster comes more clearly into focus.

The impact of the recent short-term improvements makes it easier to comprehend the medium- and long-term tasks ahead. A country with more than a million widows, where barely half the children go to school (because of displacement, continuing security fears, and teacher shortages), with drastic scarcities of electric power and water, and an eighth of its people living abroad, many of them those with the best education and the most needed skills, is not going to get back on its feet any time soon.

To view Sean Smith's devastating film reportage about the occupation of Iraq, including the frank testimony of the US soldiers with whom he was embedded and who were engaged in heavy fighting in Sadr City and Shulla, go here."

A blockade of young minds

My dream is to become a bone specialist. But the Israeli government won't let me leave to pursue my studies abroad

Abdalaziz Okasha, Thursday September 11 2008

"This was supposed to be my first year of medical school. Instead, I am stuck here in Gaza in my father's house inside the Jabalia refugee camp, with few options and no way out. After I finished high school last year, I decided to become a doctor. Gaza cries out for bone specialists, but the training I need is available only abroad.

When I won a place at a medical college in Germany, my parents were proud. I was excited to follow my older brother, who is already studying there. In February, the German authorities granted me an entrance visa. I wasted no time in asking the Israeli authorities for permission to travel to Europe. But I was told that only patients in need of emergency medical evacuation would be allowed out – not students.

Hundreds of other young people trapped in the Gaza Strip have won admission to study abroad. For many of us, this is our only opportunity to continue our education. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, and one of the poorest – 1.5 million of us live on a patch of land about 41 kilometres long and 6-12 kilometres wide. The local hospitals lack the equipment needed to perform many important procedures, like radiation treatments for cancer patients and heart surgery........

We are students, not soldiers. We are not fighters in this conflict. Why doesn't Israel let us go study? Why do Europe and America support a blockade of young minds? Soon, my fellow classmates at the medical college will be starting classes. When they do, I will probably still be here in my father's house, waiting for the blockade to end."

Israel imposes more severe permit regime

Press release, B'Tselem, 10 September 2008

"In the past year Israel has escalated its policy of separating the Palestinian populations of the Gaza Strip and West Bank from each other. The separation regime tears families apart, puts thousands at risk of expulsion to the Gaza Strip and turns Palestinians into "illegal aliens" in their own home. This policy is revealed in a position paper published today (Wednesday 10 September) by human rights organizations HaMoked and B'Tselem.

As of November 2007, Israel requires Palestinians whose registered address is in Gaza to apply for a temporary permit to remain in the West Bank. This, even if they have lived in the West Bank for many years, established their homes there, and, in some cases even if they were born in the West Bank. Moreover, in the past year, the military has taken active measures to locate and expel Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip under the pretext that they are "illegal aliens."......"

B'Tselem Report: Israel increased area of dozens of settlements east of the Separation Barrier by tens of thousands of dunams

Press Release, 11 Sept. '08

"Today (11 September), Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem is publishing a report on Israel’s blocking of Palestinian access to land around settlements lying east of the Separation Barrier. The report reveals that state authorities and settlers have de-facto annexed rings of land amounting to tens of thousands of dunams to these settlements.

Control of these lands is seized by a variety of means, but two modus operandi stand out: 1) settlers, and sometimes members of Israel’s security forces, violently attack and harass Palestinians who venture near settlements; and 2) erecting fences and other physical and electronic devices around the lands, blocking Palestinian access to them. In many cases, the authorities turn a blind eye to unlicensed closure of lands, systemically avoiding their duty to enforce the law on criminal settlers.....

In the report’s conclusion, B'Tselem provides a number of alternative measures that Israel can take to protect settlers while reducing infringement of Palestinians’ rights. However, the organization emphasizes that, given the illegality of the entire settlement enterprise, Israel is obligated to evacuate all settlements and must not work to perpetuate them. Therefore, the only lawful way to protect the settlers is by evacuating them and returning them to Israel. "

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Israel’s senior ministers confer urgently on Iran as US masses air-naval might in Middle East waters

DEBKAfile Special Report

"Prime minister Ehud Olmert summoned defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Livni for an urgent consultation on Iran Wed. Sept. 10, as the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier headed out to the Mediterranean for missions “in support of maritime security.”

Its arrival will bring the number of US aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea to four, compared with two Russian warships. Most of the Russian fleet in the region is concentrated in the Black Sea whence it has easy and rapid access to Middle East waters.

The Roosevelt will be followed by its strike force, which includes the guided missile cruiser Monterey , the guided missile destroyers Mason and Nitze , with 7,300 sailors and marines aboard, and the attack submarine Springfield .

Our sources report that the USS Ronald Reagan carrier and its strike group began engaging in assault and support missions for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan on Aug. 28.

The Iwo Jima carrier group, whose decks carry 6,000 sailors, air crews and marines, supports the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and Fifth Fleet in the Gulf with a massive amphibious capability.

The USS San Antonio amphibious transport dock ship is the first vessel of its class to be deployed in the region as a platform for supporting Marine movements and operations ashore.

The USS Peleliu carrier patrols the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It is escorted by vessels carrying a large Marine contingent.

Monday, Iran launched a three-day naval-air-missile exercise to practice defense tactics for its nuclear sites."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This is a fresh poll; it asks:

Seven years after the 9/11 event, has Washington succeeded in fighting what it calls terror?

With 200 responding so far, 93% said no.

A Portrait of a Man Defined by His Wars

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"......Seven years later, as he sat for a final interview, President Bush remained a man of few doubts, still following his gut, convinced that the paths he chose in Afghanistan and Iraq were right. But in important ways, he was a different man entirely. It was more than the inevitable aging, more than the grayer hair, more than the deeper lines in his face or the noticeable paunch or the occasional slouching in his chair. During the first years of the Iraq war, the president spoke about "winning," or "victory." By May 2008, he had tempered his rhetoric. Twice in the last interview, he mentioned "win," then immediately corrected himself and substituted "succeed," a subtle but unmistakable scaling back that reflected the murky realities of a war with no foreseeable end......

As the Bush presidency becomes history, the wars he began will become part of another president's story. "There's going to be a new president-elect who will come in here," I said in our final interview. "Not as a Democrat or a Republican, but as the president, what are you going to say to the new leader about what you are handing off in Iraq?"

Bush thought about it for a moment. His answer seemed to reflect his revised expectations. "What I'll say is, 'Don't let it fail.' ""

Politics of Fear by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

By Mike Luckovich