Saturday, October 18, 2008

Author Naomi Klein Discusses Bailout, Economy at Stanford

by Tim Simmers

"....Speaking at Stanford University's Kresge Auditorium on Thursday evening as part of the Aurora Forum, Klein minced no words. She insists that deregulating the financial system has created bubbles and busts, and she called the current $700 billion bailout, or rescue plan, a "stickup."

This financial crisis and the Iraq war are examples of how economic shocks and global disasters are used to boost the profits of the elite, she said......"

Attack on Iran Off the Table?

A Very Good Piece

By Ray McGovern

"......The good news is that the bottom line of the Sept. 23 editorial marks one of those rare occasions when the Post's opinion editors have managed to reach a correct conclusion on the Middle East. It is true that the likelihood of an Israeli or U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran has receded in recent months. The more interesting questions are (1) why? And (2) under what circumstances might such an attack become likely again?......

More important than the bear market is the Russian Bear that, after a 17-year hibernation, has awakened with loud growls commensurate with Russia's growing strength and assertiveness. The catalyst was the fiasco in Georgia, in which the Russians saw the hands of the neo-cons in Washington and their Doppelganger of the extreme right in Israel.....

In any event, it is almost certainly true that Russian Premier Vladimir Putin saw folks like Abrams, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their Israeli counterparts as being behind the attack on South Ossetia....

No big bear likes to have a nose tweaked. But the Russian reaction to Georgia was not merely one of pique. It became a well-planned strategic move to disabuse Israel and the United States of the notion that Russia would sit still for an attack on Iran, a very important country in Russia's general neighborhood. After Georgia, the Russians were bent on sweeping such plans "off the table," so to speak, and seem to have succeeded.....

It is a curious twist, but to their great credit our senior military officers, Admiral William Fallon, who quit rather than let himself be on the receiving end of an order to attack Iran, and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fought and continue to fight a rear-guard action against the dreams and plans of "the crazies" in the White House to attack Iran....

In addition to his outspoken opposition to opening a "third front" in the area of Iraq and Afghanistan, Mullen has done much behind the scenes to talk sense into the Israelis. From the Israeli press we know that Mullen went so far as to warn his Israeli counterparts not to even think about another incident like the one on June 8, 1967, when Israeli jets and torpedo boats deliberately did their utmost to sink the intelligence collector, USS Liberty, off the Sinai coast.

For Mullen a gutsy move. The Israelis know that Mullen knows that that attack was deliberate-not some sort of unfortunate mistake. Mullen could have raised no more neuralgic an issue in taking a shot across any Israeli bow that might be thinking of a provocation of some sort in the Persian Gulf.....

There remain as many "crazies" among the Israeli leadership as there are here in Washington-crazies who continue to believe that Iran must be attacked while the going is good. And it will never be as good as it is with Bush and Cheney in the White House. If the Randy Scheunemanns of this world are capable of goading the likes of Sakashvili into irresponsible action, they can try to do the same with a wink and a nod to the crazies in Tel Aviv.

The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign seems to be in serious jeopardy provides still more incentive for recklessness. If, as all seem to agree, a terrorist event of some kind might give the edge to McCain, many could argue that the same result could be achieved by a wider war including Iran, requiring senior, seasoned leadership of one who has "worn the uniform."......."

Guided by An Invisible Hand

By Joseph Stiglitz
New Statesman

(Professor Joseph E Stiglitz is chair of the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester and a 2001 Nobel prizewinner)

"Make no mistake: we are witnessing the biggest crisis since the Great Depression. In some ways it is worse than the Great Depression, because the latter did not involve these very complicated instruments - the derivatives that Warren Buffett has referred to as financial weapons of mass destruction; and we did not have anything close to the magnitude of today's cross-border finance.

The events of these weeks will be to market fundamentalism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was to communism. Last month in the United States almost 160,000 jobs were shed - making more than three-quarters of a million this year. My guess is that things will get considerably worse. I have been predicting this for some time, and so far, unfortunately, I have been right......

No modern economy can function well without the government playing an important role. Even free marketeers are now turning to the government. But would it not have been better to have taken action to prevent this meltdown? This is a new kind of public-private partnership - the financial sector walked off with the profits, the public was left with the losses. We need a new balance between market and government. "

U.S. Presidential Race by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Dutch authorities let Israel get away with torture

Ami Ayalon

Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 17 October 2008

"Last May, although he was visiting the Netherlands, Dutch police failed to arrest Ami Ayalon, an Israeli government minister. An application for Ayalon's arrest had been submitted to Dutch authorities by Khalid al-Shami, a Palestinian man who alleged he was tortured by Israel's Shin Bet secret service when Ayalon ran it. It was a narrow escape; but credible reports indicate that Dutch authorities actively colluded with Israel to frustrate the course of justice......

The Dutch daily De Volkskrant cited an Israeli government official confirming the contacts between the Israeli and Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice. Not only did the Dutch foreign minister publicly associate himself with Ayalon while the latter was been accused of torture, but, it would appear, his department helped the accused get away.

This is not only a violation of al-Shami's rights and a further slap in the face of Palestinian torture victims, it is a grave violation of the Netherlands' commitments under international law and further exposes Europe's shameless collusion with Israel's mounting human rights crimes."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Iran slams assault on Iraqi Christians

Press TV

COMMENT: Iranian statements, choice of words and the spin put on the news are becoming closer and closer to the US line. Read this story carefully and notice the choice of words by the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. The US couldn't be any happier, with such descriptions!

Furthermore, the Iranian embassy completely ignores the fact that most of the killing of Christians in Mosul has been at the hands of the Kurdish Peshmerga, and certainly not by the "insurgents!" But Iran, apparently, wants to keep good relations with the Kurds, so it distorts the facts!

"The Iranian embassy in Baghdad has condemned the recent aggressions against the Christian civilians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The recent violence in the city of Mosul which resulted in deaths, injuries and displacement of a large number of Christians, is an inhumane act being carried out in line with the insurgents movements to destabilize the security, create unrest and derail the political trend of the country, the embassy said in a statement.

More than 8,300 Christians have left their homes in Mosul to escape the recent violence directed at them, seeking refuge in the Christian-dominated towns and villages of the area.

Enemies of democracy would never manage to shatter the national unity and solidarity of Iraqi minorities with other tribes or clans, the statement read.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's government dispatched a ministerial delegation to Mosul to address the needs and problems of the homeless Christians and restore security to the destabilized region.

A series of attacks targeted the Christian minority in Mosul since September 28, killing at least 12 members of the community. "

Here is what the Assyrian (Christian) International News Agency Reported:

Kurdish suspects arrested for attacks on Assyrians in Mosul

Six Arrested for Attacks on Assyrian in Mosul

"Mosul (AINA) -- A spokesman for Iraq's defense ministry confirmed on Friday the capture of six men suspected of perpetrating attacks on the Assyrians in Mosul. Sources have told AINA that four suspects are residents of the Kurdish region and are affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (headed by Massoud Barazani) in northern Iraq, as shown by their ID cards. The affiliations of the two other suspected is not yet known. American forces in Mosul declined to comment on the arrests......"

Afghanistan: Not a Good War Gone Bad

A War for Empire


Not a "Good War" Gone Bad

One thing that’s not been up for debate in the Presidential campaign is Afghanistan: both candidates (not to mention George W. Bush) agree on the urgent need to escalate – and win – that war. This stance has overwhelmingly gone unchallenged – even by most who opposed the invasion of Iraq. But the war in Afghanistan is not the proverbial "good war," now gone bad. It was an unjust, imperialist war of conquest and empire from the start. And it continues to be an unjust, imperialist war of empire today......"

Real News Video: Palestinians dismantle road blockade

Palestinian residents of the Al-Mazra’a ash Sharqiya village dismantle roadblock as symbol of resistance

"As Palestinian villagers decide to take dismantling the Israeli occupation into their own hands, the Real News Network's Lia Tarachansky speaks to Jesse Rosenfeld on segregation and the West Bank. Checkpoints and roadblocks play a key role in separating Palestinians from Israelis and Israeli appropriated areas, from commercial areas, and from each other. Since the beginning of the second Intifadah in September 2000 the number of checkpoints in the West Bank increased to over 500. In an act of resistance, the International Solidarity Movement organized a symbolic action of dismantling four roadblocks segregating four villages from each other. Hours after the protest Israeli bulldozers replaced two. This action comes days after former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told in a Yediot Ahronot interview he believes Israel must withdraw from most of the Occupied Palesitian Territories."

Ex-Asst. Treasury Sec. Paul Craig Roberts on Wall St. Bailout: “Has Deregulation Sired Fascism?”

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"As the Bush administration announces a $250 billion plan to partially nationalize the nation’s banking system, we speak to Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration and a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts says the latest bank measure suggests the bailout is “either incompetence or fraud.”....."

Government of Thieves

When Greed is Rewarded


"Just as the Bush regime’s wars have been used to pour billions of dollars into the pockets of its military-security donor base, the Paulson bailout looks like a Bush regime scheme to incur $700 billion in new public debt in order to transfer the money into the coffers of its financial donor base. The US taxpayers will be left with the interest payments in perpetuity (or inflation if the Fed monetizes the debt), and the number of Wall Street billionaires will grow. As for the US and European governments’ purchases of bank shares, that is just a cover for funneling public money into private hands.

The explanations that have been given for the crisis and its bailout are opaque. The US Treasury estimates that as few as 7% of the mortgages are bad. Why then do the US, UK, Germany, and France need to pour more than $2.1 trillion of public money into private financial institutions?......."

What would Malcolm X say about Barak Obama?

The Vineyard of the Saker

"So what do you think? Is Obama a threat to the system (a "field negro") or the obedient slave of the system (a "house negro")?

Is Obama a force for "change"?"

What is wrong with the PFLP?

By Khalid Amayreh
Palestine Think Tank

"The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is not what it used to be. Today the organization which sired Laila Khalid, George Habash and many other luminaries in the skies of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice is functioning very much like a hanger-on vis-à-vis the American backed Palestinian Authority (PA)....."

The $55 trillion question

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"With a third presidential debate victory and a tottering American economy, conditions are in place for a Barack Obama landslide. But what will he win, exactly? Answer: A country $55 trillion in the hole (that's $480,000 per household), embroiled in unpopular wars and set to endure unemployment not seen since the 1930s. Perhaps conditions are also in place for Obama to ditch the "war on terror" - and launch a war on poverty...."

Report: Bush offered to press Israel to quit Golan if Syria cuts Iran ties

"U.S. President George W. Bush has apparently offered his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, to press Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights if Damascus promises to cut its relations with Iran, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jareida reported on Friday.

According to the report, Bush made the offer in a handwritten letter transferred to Assad by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A Palestinian source close to Abbas told the newspaper that the U.S. had presented the offer in a meeting with Syrian officials day earlier.

If Assad agrees to the American proposal, he will carry out his end of the deal in the coming weeks, said the report......"

Pressure Piling Up on Hamas Ahead of Unity Meet

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Oct 17 (IPS) - Egypt recently re-opened its border with the Gaza Strip to limited traffic in advance of an upcoming Palestinian reconciliation conference to be held in Cairo next month. But some independent commentators say Egypt is merely using the border as a means of pressuring resistance faction Hamas into accepting its proposals for a Palestinian national unity government....."

The Phantom Peace

By Sonja Karkar – Melbourne
Palestine Chronicle

"......Today, Israel will cite the demographic problem it faces with a Palestinian population fast catching up in size to the Israeli population. It is a problem of Israel’s making and one that it could solve tomorrow if it was not moving systematically and determinedly to expand its territory and fulfil its colonial ambitions for a Greater Israel. It will not be long before the 4 million Palestinians being herded into reservations will be as much a problem for Israel to police as it will be for the Palestinians to endure. The word apartheid looms large. If comparisons begin to be made with Apartheid South Africa, Israel will have to justify its existence as an exclusively Jewish state under a whole new set of rules. Thus, the more it normalises its current position and keeps talking about peace, the less likely there is of that happening. Once the Palestinians are crushed economically, they will have few choices left: it will be slave labour in the industrial estates now being built or transfer if they survive. With time, Palestinians will simply vanish into the ether as if they never existed. That is the truth that is being silenced and that is a narrative that the public needs to hear. "

Iran Readies Its End-Game Iraq Strategy

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

"The U.S. embassy and military command has once again started to raise accusations about Iranian "meddling" in Iraq. Of course, one man's meddling is another man's pursuit of national interests, but whatever you call it, there does indeed seem reason to believe that Iran has stepped up its power-play in Iraq as part of what you might call an "end-game" strategy.

Why end game? Because like everyone else, Iran has figured out that Barack Obama will be the next president, and they're positioning themselves for what will be a struggle for power and influence in Baghdad. Among other things, as I was told often during my visit to Iran last spring, Tehran sees Iraq as kind of a bargaining chip in its relations with the United States........"

Back to the Future

The economy crashes, war looms, a savior appears – haven't we been here before?

By Justin Raimondo

""The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche eventualy went mad, some say due to the effects of syphilis, others blame the implications of his complex and darkly ironic philosophy of life, which included, as its central precept, the doctrine of eternal recurrence. The concept makes its most dramatic appearance in Thus Spake Zarathustra, where Nietzsche, speaking through Zarathustra, is arguing with a grey dwarf who represents human limitations......

In any case, it's this latter interpretation that fascinates me, these days, because we seem to be reliving the first days of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and war drums are heard in the distance. As the stock market takes another dizzying dive, and the ghosts of FDR, Hoover, and – yes – Hitler return to haunt us, reproach us, taunt us, the madness that overtook Nietzsche isn't hard to understand. To continually make the same mistakes, to stumble over the same ruts in the road, to repeat mindlessly and without the least bit of irony or self-mockery the dusted-off slogans of yesteryear, all to the same tragic and bloody effect – what kind of a nightmare universe are we living in?......"

الضاري: المقاومة العراقية تستعيد قوتها والاقتتال الطائفي انتهى

"أكد الأمين العام لهيئة علماء المسلمين في العراق الشيخ حارث الضاري أن المقاومة العراقية تستعيد قوتها، ويزداد نشاطها يوما بعد يوم، وتوقع أن تصل في غضون أشهر قليلة إلى المستوى الذي كانت عليه قبل ظهور مجالس الصحوات التي أنشأها الجيش الأميركي بتعاون مع بعض العشائر العراقية قبل حوالي سنتين بهدف "محاربة الجماعات المسلحة".
واعترف أن هذه الصحوات "قدمت للاحتلال الشيء الكثير وأسهمت في تعطيل عمل المقاومة بنسبة 50% إلى 60%"، غير أن مقاتليها في
نظره انتهى بهم المطاف إلى التخلي عنهم من قبل الجيش الأميركي وإهمالهم من لدن الحكومة العراقية.
وأضاف الضاري –في
مقابلة مع الجزيرة نت بالعاصمة القطرية الدوحة- أن الاقتتال الطائفي لن يعود إلى العراق، مشيرا إلى أنه لم يكن في
الواقع "اقتتالا مذهبيا" بين السنة والشيعة، بل "كان في حقيقته اقتتالا سياسيا وفتنة تقف وراءها الأطراف السياسية الحاكمة".

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Financial Bailout Plan

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you expect that the U.S. will stop its foreign interventions due to its financial crisis?

With close to 5,000 responding, 75% said no.

Pogrom Acre-style

The word takes on a new meaning as Jews celebrate the Day of Atonement, reports Khaled Amayreh from Acre

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Racism raised its ugly head in the northern coastal town of Acre this week, exposing Israelis' shocking bigotry and intolerance towards its non-Jewish citizens, especially the sizeable Palestinian minority which constitutes nearly one fourth of Israel's population........

Interestingly, even Olmert himself recognised that the Arab citizens of Israel are discriminated against and that this discrimination creates frustration and indignation amongst the Arabs against the state.

But Olmert, as was the case with all his predecessors, wouldn't say why he failed to rectify this systematic discrimination which renders the claim that Israel is "democratic state" devoid of meaning."

The supposed new Cold War

In the third of a four-part series on the world after Bush, Azmi Bishara sees discord emerging, but no universal blueprint that would ground a new Cold War between the West and the rest

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"International politics will have entered a new phase after Bush, regardless of who his successor in the White House is. But the post-Bush phase does not imply a post-US phase, as some wishfully think. The empire has not decayed to that extent yet......."

Al-Jazeera Video: Afghan mayor turns Taliban leader - 17 Oct 08

"Al Jazeera has gained exclusive access to a secret network of Taliban bases hidden deep inside Afghanistan's Herat province.

The bases are run by Ghullam Yahya Akbari, the former mayor of Herat. He says he and his men are fighting to oust foreign troops from Afghan soil.

Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan reports from Kabul. "

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Guy Who Called It Right

"Nouriel Roubini is one of the few economists who warned about the housing bubble and predicted the financial collapse before it occurred. His alarms — dismissed as extreme by Wall Street nabobs and most economists — turned out to be right. Now he details the scope — and the limits of the global financial rescue plan announced this week.

And he issues an urgent call for a $300 billion right-now stimulus plan — investing in green energy, retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient, rebuilding infrastructure etc.

He sees a two year recession as inescapable, but argues that we must act now and boldly to avoid a decade long downturn.

Read the piece. This is the guy who called it right while most were still "dancing" to the music, in the immortal words of former Citibank president Charles Prince....."

Religion (And Keynes) To The Rescue
By Nouriel Roubini


The Acre Riots

"Death to Arabs!"



".....In subsequent days, Jewish gangs have roamed Acre’s streets and torched several Arab homes, forcing dozens of Arab families living in Jewish-dominated areas to flee.

An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, Ahmed Tibi, observed that what is occurring in Acre is not a riot but a “pogrom”, conducted by Jewish residents against their Arab neighbours.

Communal tensions are always high in the half a dozen “mixed cities” like Acre, the only places in Israel where Jews and Arabs live in close proximity, even if in largely separate neighbourhoods.

But the situation has grown especially strained in Acre, where some Arab residents have escaped the deprivation and overcrowding of their main neighbourhood, the walled Old City, by moving to Jewish areas. Acre’s Arabs are also numerically strong, comprising a third of the local population......

His probable successor, Tzipi Livni, added of Yom Kippur that “every citizen has to respect this day” – a reprimand to Arab citizens for driving rather than to extremist Jews for turning into a lynch mob......

The next day the country’s president, Shimon Peres, reminded community leaders: “There is one law and one police.”

As if to disprove him, the police arrested Mr Jamal the same day, accusing him of offending religious sensitivities, speeding and reckless endangerment – though it was unclear whom he had endangered apart from himself. He was released to house arrest two days later.

Mr Tibi, the parliamentarian, sounded a rare note of sanity when he observed: “I wonder if they will start to arrest Jews who eat and drink during the month of Ramadan.”......

Even more painful are memories of the events at the beginning of the intifada, in October 2000, when Arab citizens protested against the military whirlwind unleashed against their Palestinian kin in the occupied territories. The worst violence inside Israel occurred at the town of Umm al-Fahm, where Arab demonstrators threw stones at cars driving along the nearby highway.

Politicians did not talk about Arab sensitivities, or the need for calm, at that time. Instead they sent in a sniper unit. In the ensuing crackdown 13 Arab demonstrators were shot dead, and hundreds injured with live ammunition and rubber bullets."

Yousef Abudayyeh: It was never about borders

The Palestinian-Zionist conflict is not about disputed borders, it’s about the very existence of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. The Zionist invaders came to Palestine because according to the Zionists, Palestine was a land with no people and needed to be filled with “people who have no land.”

Unless the whole world and especially the Arab Palestinians understand this, things will get worse. What we saw in Akka (Akko) this week is a continuation of the emptying of Palestine of its original people. This has always been a fruitless undertaking, fueled by the invader’s realization of the ultimate failure of the Zionist adventure - make no mistake about it.

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: Game over?

For independent voters, Barack Obama won all three debates with John McCain

"...Pepe Escobar argues this was pure theater; in the real world, the financial crisis rages, and none of the candidates really bothered to address in depth the seriousness of it all."

Red Alert: What went wrong in the capitalist casino?

By Tony Benn

""THE great inter-war slumps were not acts of God or of blind forces. They were the sure and certain result of the concentration of too much economic power in the hands of too few men. These men had only learned how to act in the interest of their own bureaucratically-run private monopolies which may be likened to totalitarian oligarchies within our democratic state, They had and they felt no responsibility to the nation."

These words are from the 1945 Labour manifesto Let Us Face The Future which brilliantly identified the very same crisis which is now described as a "credit crunch" as if it were a mere hiccup in an otherwise wonderful neo-liberal globalised world which could be corrected with a vast subsidy from the taxpayers to put the Wall Street casino and its partners worldwide back into profit. It reminded me of the fact that when slavery was abolished it was the slave owners, and not the slaves, who received compensation from the government of the day......."

Vice Presidential

Click on cartoon by Mike Luckovich to enlarge.

Israel Gets Real on Iran

Tony Karon Guest Post: Trita Parsi

"The distinction between the apocalyptic rhetoric Israeli leaders use publicly in relation to Iran, and the more pragmatic view they hold among themselves on how to deal with Tehran and its nuclear program, has long been clear to anyone paying very close attention. In short, it’s clear that many of Israel’s key leaders don’t believe Iran is a suicidal ideologically-crazed regime that would risk destroying itself in order to destroy Israel, and therefore that even a nuclear-armed Iran would not be an “existential threat” to Israel, although clearly it would present a major strategic challenge by fundamentally reordering the balance of military force in the region. And of late, some of them have begun a gingerly but very clear retreat from the idea that Israel will have to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities if no one else does — President Shimon Peres has said as much, publicly, and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has echoed that position. Trita Parsi explains why....."

Extremist West Bank settlers help stir Acre violence

A Very Good Piece

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 15 October 2008

"......While the facts and meaning of these events have been heavily contested, one of the underreported factors is the extent to which militant Israeli settlers from the West Bank, funded by donors in the United States, have instigated tension in Acre and other cities in an attempt to reduce their Arab populations. The Palestinian residents of Acre are amongst the 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel, who unlike Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, have Israeli citizenship, though their rights are severely curtailed. They are the survivors and descendants of the 1948 Nakba during which most Palestinians were expelled from their homeland. These Palestinians are often referred to generically as "Arabs" within Israel both in their own population and by Israeli Jews.....

The settler connection

Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews live in close proximity in Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as they have done for generations. But in recent years, extremist Jewish groups affiliated with West Bank settlers have moved in with the stated aim of making the city more Jewish....

But some Arab residents blamed the worsening tension not on long-time residents, but on an influx of militant youth affiliated with the national religious West Bank settler movement. Indeed, Baruch Marzel, a settler leader from near Hebron in the West Bank, visited Acre during the riots and vowed to help Jews in the city to set up a "defense organization" (Sharon Roffe-Ofir, "Peres visits Akko, urges side to exercise tolerance," Ynet, 13 October 2008). Barzel was leader of the banned Kach party founded by the late Meir Kahane which supports the expulsion of all Palestinians, and he remains a prominent leader of racist settler groups......

Some of the Israeli politicians who have been most outspoken in calling for the expulsion of Palestinians and supporting radical settlers did their best to confirm such fears, engaging in the kind of incitement that has been escalating in recent years......

The violent actions of settler groups against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have gone unchecked by the Israeli army. There is now clear evidence of similar organized, planned violence being directed at Palestinians inside Israel amidst a generalized atmosphere of racist incitement. There is no sign that the Israeli state is prepared to confront this phenomenon any more than it does in the West Bank. Unless this changes, there is a strong likelihood that racist violence may resume and spread. This may destroy the remaining threads of coexistence inside Israel. Jewish extremists would see that as a great success if their goal is to lay the ground for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel."

Harvesting in solidarity with Gaza's farmers

Rami Almeghari, The Electronic Intifada, 15 October 2008

"On a beautiful sunny day this week, a group from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a non-partisan grassroots initiative, went to the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun in order to help protect Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive crops from the Israeli army.

According to a group of Beit Hanoun residents promoting voluntary agricultural work, at least three attacks have been reported over the past four months, the most serious of which was when Israeli soldiers fired on farmers working in a field, about 600 meters away from the border.

The agricultural town in northern Gaza is the point in Gaza closest to Israel. The town has been repeatedly attacked by the Israeli army over the past eight years, and nearly two years ago 19 Palestinians were killed and 40 wounded when Israeli forces shelled a row of homes there......."

Israel.....Administrative Detention Unto Nations??

Two Palestinian girls detained in Israel without trial for months

"....."I told the officer she's a girl, all of 16, studying for her matriculation exams, and that she never had any involvement in politics or belonged to any organization. He ignored me. I began to scream; Salwa began to cry and shouted at me: 'Mother, don't let them take me!' But the soldiers shut me into an inside room and kidnapped her."

Only two months later did Siham finally see her daughter again, in the Damoun Prison near Haifa. There, she discovered that her 16-year-old cousin Sara had also been arrested. Both girls were being held in administrative detention, or detention without trial.

Since then, four months have gone by. Last week, the girls' detentions were extended by another three months. But the Salah family still does not even know why their daughter was arrested, and all their efforts to find out have been in vain.....

Altogether, some 600 Palestinians are in administrative detention in Israel, including about 15 minors who do not even know why they are being detained......"

Pardon Me, But I'm Jewish

By Miko Peled
Palestine Chronicle

"The racist discourse in America is alarming and often people don’t even notice when it takes place. When the lady at the town hall meeting asked John McCain if Barak Obama was an Arab he replied: “No, no he is a decent family man.” Where is the contradiction here? Does Arab mean he is not a decent family man? Well, pardon me but I am Jewish and I am over sensitive and easily offended by these things.

To the claim that Obama is an Arab, the appropriate response is: “So what.” To the question is Barak Obama a Muslim the reply ought to be: “I don’t know but who cares.”

Contrary to what many people say, the holocaust was not the worst thing that happened to Jewish people, and it is not the recurrence of the holocaust that we need to fear the most. The holocaust was the inevitable outcome of centuries of European Christian indoctrination that Jewish people are less than human. What took place in the holocaust was the natural outcome of centuries where Christians taught hate. It is the recurrence of that trend we need to prevent so that another holocaust will never take place......"

فتوى تحريم الاتفاقية الامنية

فتوى تحريم الاتفاقية الامنية

رأي القدس

صحيح ان هيئة علماء المسلمين التي اصدرت هذه الفتوى ليست ممثلة في الحكومة او البرلمان العراقي، وتمثل قطاعاً كبيراً من ابناء السنة العرب، ولكن الهيئة هذه تتمتع بمصداقية كبيرة في اوساط العراقيين داخل العراق وخارجه، بسبب مواقفها الراسخة في معارضة الاحتلال الامريكي، والمشروع السياسي المنبثق عنه، بما في ذلك مؤسسات الدولة العراقية الحالية.
وستشكل هذه 'الفتوى'، بسبب توقيتها، واللغة القوية الواضحة التي صيغت بها، احراجا كبيرا، ليس للاطراف المنخرطة في إعداد الاتفاقية الامنية، والتفاوض حولها، وانما ايضا للمرجعية الدينية الشيعية في العراق المتمثلة في السيد علي السيستاني، الذي لم يظهر معارضة قوية لها مثلما يتوقع الكثيرون. فالسيد آية الله علي السيستاني اوكل الموافقة على هذه الاتفاقية، مثلما قال متحدث باسمه، الى 'البرلمان والشعب، والكتل السياسية' وهو سيقبل ما سيقبلون به، وسيرفض ما يرفضونه. وهذا الموقف يعكس 'مرونة' تنطوي على الكثير من الغموض.
بمعنى آخر، يمكن القول ان السيد السيستاني لم يعط رأيا قاطعا بهذه الاتفاقية التي تعارضها جهات عديدة، لانها تنتقص من سيادة العراق، وتضعه تحت الوصاية العسكرية الامريكية لسنوات، بل ربما لعقود قادمة، فهي تنص على وجود قواعد عسكرية امريكية دائمة يتمتع الامريكيون فيها بحصانة تحول دون تقديمهم لأي محاكمة داخل العراق في حال ارتكابهم اي تجاوزات قانونية، او ارتكاب جرائم في حق العراقيين.
دور المرجعيات الدينية، شيعية كانت ام سنية، اسلامية او مسيحية، هو الانحياز دائما الى الخط الوطني والمصالح الاستراتيجية العليا للأمة، باتخاذ مواقف واضحة في هذا الصدد لا لبس فيها او غموض، وبما يعطي توجيها للقيادات السياسية، يحدد لها ما هو مقبول وما هو مرفوض، وفق المعايير الشرعية والوطنية.
لا شك ان الحكومة العراقية المنبثقة عن الاحتلال تجد نفسها هذه الايام في موقف حرج للغاية، فهي لا تملك السيادة التي تؤهلها لرفض هذه الاتفاقية، كما ان القبول بها سيضعها في مواجهة صعبة مع القوى الوطنية في العراق، الى جانب قوى اقليمية مؤثرة في الوضع العراقي بشكل عام، مثل الحكومة الايرانية التي تعارض بقوة هذه الاتفاقية.
فالولايات المتحدة التي خسرت حتى الآن اربعة آلاف جندي في العراق، علاوة على ستمئة مليار دولار، لا يمكن ان تخرج من البلاد بالسهولة التي يتوقعها البعض، وتتطلع الى وجود دائم يبرر استثمارها المالي والبشري والسياسي الضخم في هذا البلد الذي غزته، واحتلته، وغيرت نظامه، ونصّبت حكومته الحالية.
ومن هنا لا نستغرب ان تقوم الولايات المتحدة بما تتهم به ايران نفسها، اي تقديم رشاوى الى بعض النواب العراقيين من اجل التصويت لصالح الاتفاقية، اثناء عرضها على البرلمان. فقد اتهم مسؤول امريكي ايران برشوة نواب ماليا للتصويت ضدها، ولكنه لم يقدم اي دليل في هذا الصدد.
من المؤكد ان هناك نوابا مرتشين داخل البرلمان العراقي، يقدمون مصالحهم الشخصية على مصلحة الأمة والعقيدة، وشاهدنا كيف قاتل البعض، مما يسمى قوات الصحوات، من كانوا يقاتلون في صفوفهم ضد الاحتلال، اي انقلبوا على حلفائهم، مقابل حفنة من الدولارات الامريكية.
الاحتلال في العراق ثمنه باهظ جدا، خاصة بالنسبة الى من تعاونوا معه، وعملوا على تسهيله وترسيخه، لأسباب انتهازية صرفة، والاتفاقية الامنية المطروحة على الطاولة للإقرار والتصديق هي احد اشكال هذا الثمن."

Al-Jazeera Video: Afghan defectors turn to the Taliban - 15 Oct 08

"Al Jazeera has uncovered evidence that an increasing number of Afghan forces are switching sides - joining the Taliban and turning their weapons against those they used to fight alongside..."

Real News Video: US nationalizes banks; candidates talk economy

Mike Whitney: Both candidates promote stimulus but real solution is higher wages

Real News Video: Europe fumes over Wall Street meltdown

William Engdahl: Europe furious that AAA US bonds turned out to be toxic waste - see end of US era Part 2/2

"The economic meltdown on Wall Street has sent shockwaves across the globe. Political economist William Engdahl believes the "US faces an economic depression that will be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930's." He goes on to state that "European goverments are furious at the corruption and fraud that has come out of the New York financial community.""

Guess What? They Are Fighting Over Me!

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

The Independent

Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato's war of barbarity

The killing of innocent Afghans by US bombs is the result of a calculation, not just a mistake. And it is fuelling resistance

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday October 16 2008

"While the eyes of the western world have been fixed on the global financial crisis, the military campaign that launched the war on terror has been spinning out of control. Seven years after the US and Britain began their onslaught on Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and capture Osama bin Laden, the Taliban surround the capital, al-Qaida is flourishing in Pakistan and the war's sponsors have publicly fallen out about whether it has already been lost......

But most telling is the political and military calculation that underlies the Afghan civilian bloodletting. "Close air support" bomb attacks called in by ground forces - which rose from 176 in 2005 to 2,926 in 2007 and are now the US tactic of choice - are between four and 10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as ground attacks, the figures show, and air strikes now account for 80% of those killed by the occupation forces.

But while 242 US and Nato ground troops have died in the war with the Taliban this year, not a single pilot has been killed in action. The trade-off could not be clearer. With troops thin on the ground and the US military up to their necks in Iraq and elsewhere, US and Nato reliance on air attacks minimises their own casualties while guaranteeing that Afghan civilians will die in far larger numbers......

Dependence on air power is also a reflection of US imperial overstretch and the reluctance of Nato states to put more boots on the ground......

...."So long as there is just one 40-day-old boy remaining alive, Afghans will fight against the people who do this to us."......

.....But the strategic importance of Afghanistan doesn't suggest any early US withdrawal: more likely an attempt to co-opt sections of the Taliban as part of a messy and protracted attempt to rearrange the occupation.

It will fail. The US and its allies cannot pacify Afghanistan nor seal the border with the Taliban's Pakistani sanctuary. Eventually there is bound to be some sort of negotiated withdrawal......"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

As Its Economic Power Wanes, Does the U.S. Lean Harder on the Military?

By Phyllis Bennis October 15, 2008
Foreign Policy in Focus

"The current economic crisis holds enormous dangers, even beyond its direct threat to jobs, homes, savings, and the well-being of millions of ordinary people in the U.S. The challenge will be, as ever, to find within the dangers the opportunities for positive change.

One rarely acknowledged danger is that while U.S. economic clout in the world is dropping dramatically, there is no concomitant drop in Washington's drive to remain the dominant power in the world. That means that as U.S. economic power wanes and with it, the diplomatic and political influence that follows money. What's left is military force......."

The reality of war in Afghanistan

By Stephen Kinzer
Boston Globe

"DESPITE their differences over how to pursue the US war in Iraq, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both want to send more American troops to Afghanistan. Both are wrong. History cries out to them, but they are not listening.

Both candidates would do well to gaze for a moment on a painting by the British artist Elizabeth Butler called "Remnants of an Army." It depicts the lone survivor of a 15,000-strong British column that sought to march through 150 kilometers of hostile Afghan territory in 1842. His gaunt, defeated figure is a timeless reminder of what happens to foreign armies that try to subdue Afghanistan......"

“How We Lost the War We Won: A Journey into Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan”

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Investigative journalist Nir Rosen has just returned from Afghanistan, where he embedded with the Taliban and traveled far from capital city of Kabul, “Afghanistan’s version of the Green Zone.” He doesn’t think the US-led NATO occupation is winning in Afghanistan. His latest article for Rolling Stone magazine is “How We Lost the War We Won: A Journey into Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan.”......."

Status of Forces

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Intellectual Cleansing 2

Why journalists stay silent

October 15, 2008 By Jonathan Cook

"Lesson 1: It's all about money.....

Lesson 2: Forget about Woodward and Bernstein......

Lesson 3: Professional means servile......

Lesson 4: There is no home of the brave.....

Lesson 5: Success comes with the herd......

Lesson 6: It's not really about readers....."

The Hoover-Palin Ticket

By Robert Scheer

"And the winner is … Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Remember him—the great Democratic president who saved capitalism from the capitalists by reining in their exorbitant greed? Forget the Reagan Revolution heralding a new era of small government, which turned out to be nothing more than a fig leaf for legalized corporate crime. The hero of the hour is FDR......"

Qurei criticises Abbas for considering negotiations as the only option

"AMMAN, (PIC)-- The Palestinian chief negotiator, Ahmad Qurei criticised the line of politics pursued by President Mahmoud Abbas, during a meeting with the PA ambassadors to Arab states.

In a report published by the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi it was stated that Qurei criticised Abbas's slogan which says that negotiations is the only strategic option open to the Palestinians describing such a slogan and the practical implementation of it as a serious political blunder and that the Palestinian people should have many strategic options instead of being restricted to negotiations, considering the shape of the present negotiations.

Qurei was also reported to have said during the meeting, which took place in Amman last Monday, that to consider negotiations as the only strategic option is a bet that is not compatible with the great sacrifices of the Palestinian people and does not take into consideration the real situation on the ground, pointing to the fact that there is a high probability that the negotiations will fail and turn into a punishment for the Palestinian people.

The Fatah leader, who participated in many rounds of covert and overt negotiations with the Israeli occupation, said that wagering on negotiations alone means losing because the negotiations are a lame duck and ineffective, admitting that long years of negotiations have not produced anything tangible for the Palestinian people on fundamental issues such as Jerusalem, water, refugees and the Palestinian state.

Qurei's frank comments caused great surprise and debate amongst around 20 participants in the closed meeting which was held in one of Amman's hotels, as these comments contradicted President Abbas's line of politics.

Meanwhile, many ambassadors, especially those working in the Gulf states, complained that they are increasingly being seen as ambassadors of the Palestinian Authority and not of Palestine and that funds are not being channelled through them to the Palestinian people as the public has more trust in Hamas."

Israel's democratic facade erodes

A Palestinian home torched during the Acre riots.

Ziyaad Lunat, The Electronic Intifada, 14 October 2008

"Recent riots in the Israeli town of Acre have attracted unwanted attention towards its Arab residents, Palestinian citizens of Israel who make a third of the city's population. The disturbances began after Jewish extremists attacked a Palestinian man for driving during the religious holiday of Yom Kippur, when traffic in Israel largely comes to a halt. This was followed by an outbreak of violence during which Jewish mobs attacked the Palestinian neighborhood in Acre's old city, throwing stones and torching homes.

These events have been interpreted by mainstream media as an aberration in Israel's model "democracy." The BBC echoed official Israeli discourse, emphasizing that the so-called "Israeli-Arabs" "have full rights as Israeli citizens." Meanwhile, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Acre "a shining example of co-existence." However, the latest disturbances have brought to the fore a deeper issue: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from inside Israel by Israeli Jewish extremists. According to Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, the violence at Acre was reminiscent of Bosnia, with mobs dehumanizing and inciting hatred against the Palestinians........."

The PA as a Subcontractor for the IOF......

'The war is over,' jailed Fatah activists tell Haaretz journalists

"JUNAID PRISON, NABLUS - "For five years, I was a wanted man, but we had enough," says Sufian Qandil of the Tigers, an organization associated with Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. It's noon, and Qandil woke up only a few minutes ago in the prison cell where according to an agreement with Israel he must now spend his nights. "We keep our agreements, even those signed with the Jews," he says, placing his hand on his pillow with a Mickey Mouse pillowcase.

The Al-Aqsa brigades were dissolved. Some members joined the security forces of the Palestinian Authority after receiving amnesty from Israel, while others are being held in PA prisons. A rare look inside Junaid Prison reveals a new era in relations between Israel and Fatah activists. They were involved in dozens of terror attacks, but now they say the era of war is over. They want normal lives.

There is another expression of the winds of change blowing through Israel-PA relations: The PA arrests men wanted by Israel on request......"


By Eric Margolis

"Now that there has been a respite in the financial tsunami sweeping the globe, finger-pointing is sure to begin. The chief culprit for this near-death experience must be the star-crossed Bush administration and its reckless financial policies.....

Just when it seemed the hapless Bush White House could not create another disaster in its final days in office, the Panic of 08 erupted that may mark the beginning of the end of America’s decline as a super-power. This is the Bush legacy.

What else will this administration do in its final days? Well, there’s always Iran…"

Bush Set to Go With a Whimper, Not a Bang

by Jim Lobe

"With only three months left in office, U.S. President George W. Bush appears increasingly determined to calm the international waters he so vigorously churned up, especially during his first term.

In just the last several days, he has effectively rehabilitated a charter member of the "Axis of Evil" – North Korea – by agreeing to take it off the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for Pyongyang's agreement to resume its dismantling of a key nuclear facility and cooperate with U.S. and international inspectors......

Realists – including members of the 2006 Iraq Study Group headed by former secretary of state James Baker – have long urged Bush to drop preconditions for direct negotiations with Tehran. In June, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, called for a "broad dialogue" with Iran.

Less than one month later, Bush sent a senior State Department official to participate for the first time in talks between the other permanent UN Security Council members, Germany, and Iran, amid reports that Iran had successfully tested advanced centrifuges that would permit it to accelerate its uranium enrichment program. He also tentatively agreed to Rice's idea of opening an interest section at that time, but the announcement was reportedly put off when Cheney and others opposed to the move argued that it could harm McCain's election chances.

The well-connected Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported Sunday, however, that the announcement will be made after the election in mid-November, a report echoed by Bolton the following day. "

Goodbye, GOP

The neocons killed the Republican Party. Will they stay for the funeral?

By Justin Raimondo

"Barring a catastrophe – a terrorist attack on American soil, a calamitous gaffe, or the documented revelation that he really is a Muslim after all – it looks like Barack Obama is going to be the 44th president of these United States. Not only that, but I'd bet the farm we'll have a Democratic Congress, one with a working majority that relegates the Republicans to the role of back bench naysayers whose dissent barely registers. Last year, Paul Craig Roberts expressed the hopes of many American voters when he wrote:

"If we are fortunate, Republicans will complete their self-destruction before they extinguish the Constitution and destroy America."

It looks like he's going to get his wish......."

Understanding the US-Iran Crisis

by Phyllis Bennis

"With George W. Bush's administration in its last year in office, the danger of a U.S. military attack on Iran still looms as a dangerous possibility. Widespread official government, military, and analytical sources, including the collective assessment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, have debunked the various pretexts being asserted to justify such an attack. But the continuing, ideologically driven extremism in the White House means that the danger of a reckless, unilateral military attack remains, and such an attack could happen despite the consequences......"

رأس المال المريض والعقل السليم

"في مقال عن الأزمة المالية الراهنة يرى عزمي بشارة أن الأزمة عميقة ولكنها ليست مقدمة لتغير النظام الرأسمالي، غير أن المنظومة الرأسمالية التي صمتت طويلا على ما يجري في أميركا من ناحية حرية رأس المال ومناوراته ومضارباته على حساب الدول الأخرى لن تصمت أكثر......


Real News Video: US losing ground in Eastern Europe

William Engdahl: Russia's response to Georgia's offensive sends shock waves throughout the region

"Russia flexed its military might over the weekend, testing a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile. The tests come amid increasingly strained ties between Washington and Moscow, following US ally Georgia’s military offensive in South Ossettia in August. Author and Political Economist William Engdahl says " Russia's response to Georgia's military offensive has sent shock waves throughout the region.""

A spectacular volte-face in the spiritual home of capitalism

By Rupert Cornwell
The Independent

"The sum, when set against the stratospheric amounts promised by governments of far smaller economies, is relatively modest. But even at "only" $250bn (£143bn), Washington's plan to part-nationalise some of the country's largest banks is an astonishing – if inevitable – volte-face by the country that sees itself as the spiritual home of unadulterated free-market capitalism.......

This near-unprecedented intervention has been carried out by a Republican administration, in theory as conservative as they come. As matters stand, the next President seems likely to be a Democratic Senator, with one of the most liberal voting records in Congress. He will work with a strongly Democratic House, while his party could emerge from the election with a filibuster-proof 60-40 seat majority in the Senate. What further indignities might then be heaped on America's battered free market?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Depression -- or Ours?

by Tom Engelhardt

".....And yet in September 2001, the real damage was largely confined to a number of square blocks of downtown Manhattan, including the shut-down Stock Exchange on Wall Street, as well as part of a single building in Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania. This, we were told, was "the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century." And soon enough, with a helping hand from the Bush administration, Americans from Akron to El Paso were officially -- and mistakenly -- terrified for their lives and for their country. In the next seven years, the Bush administration managed to turn that misplaced fear into something like prophecy and bring down the house.

Today, on a visit to lower Manhattan, there would be no smoldering fires, no smoke, no raw throats, no gaping holes, no smashed buildings, no ruins, and yet, as you walked those streets, you would almost certainly be strolling among the ruins, amid the shards of American financial, political, and even military superpowerdom. Think of it as Bush's hubris and bin Laden's revenge. You would be facing the results, however unseen, of the real 9/11, which is still taking place in relative slow motion seven years later. It should scare us all.

Hey, I'm depressed, aren't you? "

War Hero or War Criminal?

McCain and Rolling Thunder


".....I will never forget how stunned I was when Gen. Telford Taylor, a chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials after World War Two, told me that he strongly supported the idea of trying the U.S. pilots captured in North Vietnam as war criminals - and that he would be proud to lead in their prosecution.

An ardent opponent of the Vietnam conflict, Taylor spoke with me in the fall of 1966 when I was looking into producing a documentary on this controversy for CBS News, where I was their National Political Editor. While he did not mention any pilot's name, then U.S. Navy Lieut. Commander John McCain who was captured a year later, would have been among the group Taylor wanted to prosecute......"

Troop pull-out leaves government on brink

Ethiopian withdrawal marks end of disastrous intervention that sparked new violence and suffering

From Steve Bloomfield in Nairobi

"SOMALIA'S FRAGILE government appears to be on the brink of collapse. Islamist insurgents now controls large parts of southern and central Somalia - and are continuing to launch attacks inside the capital, Mogadishu.

Ethiopia, which launched a US-backed military intervention in Somalia in December 2006 in an effort to drive out an Islamist authority in Mogadishu, is now pulling out its troops.

Diplomats and analysts in neighbouring Nairobi believe the government will fall once Ethiopia completes its withdrawal, and secret plans have been made to evacuate government ministers to neighbouring Kenya......."

The Wall Street Coup and the Bailout Scam

Why the Rescue Plan is Fraudlent


"The Wall Street took the US (and the world) hostage and extracted a heavy ransom. But while the enormous ransom was successfully extracted, there are no guarantees that the hostages will be set free from the shackles of trickle down economics. On the contrary, there are strong indications that the fraudulent (and perhaps criminal) bailout may turn the current crisis into a protracted agony of a long bleeding economic depression.....

Unless the lopsided national priorities and perverse fiscal policies, known as trickle down or neoliberal economics, which began under Ronald Reagan, are somewhat rectified or mitigated, and the resulting financial resources are invested through a broad and carefully-crafted plan of social and economic recovery, no bailout plan of the plutocrats, by the plutocrats, for the plutocrats can succeed in reversing the current cycle of economic decline."

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: McCain takes the Rocky road

Pepe Escobar: McCain plays the 'Rocky' underdog as campaign is running out of time

"After a long stretch of ultra-negative campaigning, with his numbers still slipping in any number of polls, Senator John McCain has made another U-turn in a rally in Virginia Beach, and now fashions himself as a Rocky character fighting against Washington, Wall Street and an inexperienced tax and spend liberal, Senator Barack Obama. Still McCain blames the media for his problems, and still he has to announce his new economic proposals - which seemed to be the initial idea before Obama leapfrogged him early this week."

What the Palestinians Can Learn from Mandela

By Tony Karon

"John Carlin’s extraordinary new book reveals how Mandela’s genius lay not in forgiving his enemies but in disarming and outmaneuvering them, while never compromising on his demand for justice....."

McCain's 'crusader' logic concerns Syria

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"......More recently, editorials have started appearing in the Syrian press, questioning whether Obama would actually be good for the Arabs, especially after his high-profile visit to Israel in which he declared his support for Tel Aviv. The selection of Joe Biden as his running mate also caused many Syrians to frown, associating him with the famous plan to partition Iraq into Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish zones.

Many Syrians have started rethinking. They fear that Obama, because of his Muslim origins, will work relentlessly to prove his "Americanism" by being more radical than Bush. Some have even began bracing themselves for a McCain victory, thinking that the retired Vietnam officer would have more courage to take serious initiatives in the Middle East, especially related to the Arab-Israeli peace process [COMMENT: Arab wishful thinking, again!].

Sadly, however, archiving is poor in the Arab world, and those who are now banking on a McCain victory fail to read his comments and career before running for the 2008 presidential elections. In 1992, McCain appeared on Larry King Live and gave two reasons why the US should involve itself militarily in the Middle East. One was because America was a "Judeo-Christian nation" (which, to the Muslim world, sounds like the Crusades).

The other was, "so long as the world's energy resources came from that part of the world"......."

Europe dares to dream in Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud
Asia Times

"It's no secret that Europe is maneuvering for a much more significant role in the Israel-Palestine peace process. But is it prepared to dispel its embarrassing track record of acquiescence to US-tilted and pro-Israel stances, and take on a conflict of such magnitude? To do so it would need to function as a truly independent political body, and defy "true friend" Israel....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Mike Luckovich

LEBANON: Lucky to be Just 'Ugly' and Slapped

By Mona Alami

"BEIRUT, Oct 14 (IPS) - "My maid is extremely ugly, I can't fight the urge to slap her when I see her early in the morning," boasts a Lebanese trader from Ain Anoub village just outside Beirut. He laughs.

It gets worse. A recent report by Human Rights Watch disclosed that at least 95 migrant domestic workers have died in Lebanon since January 2007. About 40 of the cases were classified suicides. And 24 were described as workers falling from high-rise buildings, often in an attempt to escape their employers.

Having Sri Lankan, Philippine and Ethiopian workers at home is a matter of social status in Lebanon, and very much the norm. Most earn less than the 300 dollars monthly minimum wage......"

McCain Rallies Degenerate into Arab-hating Mobs

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle

"......McCain speeches and the crowd response remind me of Cassius, a character in William Shakespeare Julius Caesar play, speaking to the Roman mob two thousand years ago. McCain is not as eloquent as Cassius but McCain is not acting. He is talking to hard-core angry supporters; and the crowds are responding with more anger. McCain and Palin supporters responded with raw anger, insults and threats against Obama. The crowds referred to Obama as a “traitor”, “terrorist”, “liar”, “kill him” and “bomb him”. The McCain and Palin look always comfortable and at ease among the angry crowds......."

الحج الى 'العراق الجديد'

الحج الى 'العراق الجديد'

عبد الباري عطوان

"يتقاطر المسؤولون العرب، فرادى وجماعات، للحج الى بغداد، تحت ذريعة الحفاظ على عروبة العراق، ومواجهة النفوذ الايراني المتغلغل في أوصاله، ومنح الحكومة العراقية الحالية عمقا عربيا.
الامير سلطان بن عبد العزيز ولي العهد السعودي اعلن امس الاول ان بلاده بصدد فتح سفارة لها في بغداد، بينما ارسلت سورية سفيرها مبكرا، والشيء نفسه اكده السيد احمد ابو الغيط وزير الخارجية المصري الذي حطّ الرحال قبل اسبوع في عاصمة الرشيد في زيارة مفاجئة، تلت زيارة اعلى شأنا للعاهل الأردني الملك عبد الله الثاني، وكان الشيخ محمد بن زايد آل نهيان ولي عهد ابوظبي آخر الزائرين.
العراق، وحسب تعبير العاهل السعودي الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز، يرزح تحت الاحتلال الامريكي، وهذا يعني ان اي حكومة تنبثق عن هذا الاحتلال حكومة منقوصة السيادة، وتُعتبر شريكا للمحتل في كل جرائمه التي يرتكبها بحق الخاضعين لاحتلاله، والتطبيع معها هو تطبيع مع الاحتلال ومشروعه، وتشريع مباشر لكل ما لحق بالشعب العراقي من مآس وويلات. لكن الرياض تناست ذلك، كما تناست القاهرة دماء سفيرها ايهاب الشريف الذي اختطف واغتيل في بغداد قبل ثلاثة اعوام ولم يحصل اهله على جثمانه حتى الآن. اما دمشق فيبدو انها سبقت الجميع في التطبيع لوقف سيل الاتهامات والضغوط الامريكية عليها. اما البحرين والامارات والكويت فلم تستطع ببساطة ان تغضب الرئيس بوش ووزيرة خارجيته كوندوليزا رايس.
إرسال سفير، او فتح سفارة، لا يمكن ان يكون الطريق الافضل للحفاظ على عروبة العراق، بل هو تشريع لنظام طائفي نصّبه مجرم حرب اسمه بوش، فشرد ربع ابناء شعبه، ودمر مجتمعه، وعرقل كل محاولات المصالحة الوطنية.
المجموعة التي تحكم 'العراق الجديد' تجاهر بعدائها للعرب والعروبة، حتى انها نزعت عن العراق صفة العروبة في 'دستور الاحتلال'، ونصبت المشانق لاعدام المقاومين الذين يعارضون الاحتلال الامريكي، ولذلك من السذاجة السياسية القول إن فتح سفارة، او زيارة من قبل هذا المسؤول او ذاك للمنطقة الخضراء التي تتحصن فيها هذه المجموعة سيعيد للعراق وجهه العربي.
لا نعتقد ان العراقيين سيرحبون بالتطبيع مع أنظمة عــــــــربية شاركت المستعمر الأجنبي في تدمير بلادهم. ولا بد انهم سيسألون في مرارة لماذا ترك العرب شعب العراق اصلا تحت حصار ظالم ثلاثة عشر عاما ؟
ومن الذي تآمر عليه، وفتح اراضيه وقواعده وخزائن امواله للولايات المتحدة لتدميره، ومن ثم احتلاله، وقتل مليون ونصف المليون من شعبه، وتشريد خمسة ملايين آخرين، أليسوا هم هؤلاء القادة والزعماء والوزراء والسفراء العرب الذين يتباكون على عروبته، ويريدون التصدي للنفوذ الايراني الذي يتغلغل في اوساطه ومفاصله حاليا؟
ان اعادة فتح السفارات العربية بالعراق لا تعكس قرارا سياديا، ولا رؤية استراتيجية جماعية مدروسة ومتفقا عليها مسبقا، وانما هي استجابة لضغوط الادارة الامريكية الحالية التي تريد انقاذ مشروعها السياسي المنهار بالكامل في العراق، بعد خمس سنوات من الفشل الكارثي والخسائر البشرية والمادية المتعاظمة.
التطبيع مع الحكومة العراقية في بغداد مجاني دون اي مقابل، تماما مثل نظيره مع الحكومة الاسرائيلية، وتلبية لمطالب امريكية، فما الذي ستجنيه الحكومات العربية من هذا التطبيع، وما الذي حصلت عليه من الادارة الامريكية مقابل الاقدام عليه؟
يمكن ان نفهم، وربما نتفهم هذا التهافت الدبلوماسي والسياسي العربي على الحكومة العراقية لو انه جاء في اطار استراتيجية عربية مدروسة ومتفق عليها مسبقا، ووفق شروط ملزمة للطرفين، الامريكي والعراقي، الامريكي من حيث التجاوب مع المطالب العربية في القضايا الاساسية في العراق وغير العراق، والعراقي من حيث الاقدام على خطوات مصالحة وطنية حقيقية، والتخلي عن الممارسات الطائفية البشعة التي تحدث حاليا، والاعتذار عن جرائم ومجازر سابقة. ولكن هذا التطبيع يقدم صكا على بياض لاحتلال دموي ومجرمي حرب وجيش من المتعاونين.
واللافت أن أنصار التطبيع مع 'العراق الجديد' يستخدمون الأعذار نفسها التي تستروا خلفها لفتح سفارات ومكاتب تجارية في عواصم بلادهم للحكومة الاسرائيلية. وفي حالة اسرائيل فإن التطبيع معها، كما يدعون، هو بهدف تشجيعها على السلام، وفي حالة حكومة العراق الحالية فالهدف، كما يدعون ايضا، هو اقناعها بالتخلي عن علاقاتها المتميزة مع ايران، والعودة إلى الحظيرة العربية.
التطبيع مع اسرائيل لم يشجعها على السلام، بل أدى إلى نتائج عكسية تماماً، أي تغولها في بناء المستوطنات، وغزو لبنان، والاعتداء على سورية أكثر من مرة، واغتيال الرئيس ياسر عرفات وفرض حصار تجويعي ظالم على أهل الأرض المحتلة، وأخيراً اقامة كنيس يهودي في باحة المسجد الأقصى.
ولا نعتقد ان تجربة الأنظمة العربية التطبيعية مع حكام العراق ستكون مختلفة، مع اعترافنا بوجود فوارق بين العراق واسرائيل، ومقارنتنا هنا تقتصر على الاسلوب والنهج، وادمان النظام الرسمي العربي على الوقوع في الأخطاء وعدم التعلم من دروسها.
مواجهة النفوذ الايراني لا تتم بفتح السفارات وارسال السفراء إلى المنطقة الخضراء، وانما بتبني خطاب وطني، واعادة بناء القوة العربية على أسس استراتيجية صلبة، ووفق مشروع نهضوي في المجالات كافة، وتقديم نموذج مشرف لأهل العراق يعيدهم إلى بيتهم العربي.
ان هذا التطبيع دليل آخر على ادمان الانظمة العربية على الرضوخ لاملاءات اي رئيس أمريكي حتى اذا كان بطة عرجاء ومكروها من قبل شعبه والعالم بأسره، ولم يبق له نفوذ يذكر داخل بلاده ناهيك عن خارجها، ويواجه مسلسلا من الهزائم، في العراق وافغانستان ادت الى افلاس بلاده، واغراق العالم بأسره في الكساد الاقتصادي

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you accept that Arab countries contribute financially to treat the global financial crisis?

With over 6,000 responding so far, 85% said no.

How I survived chop chop square

I was tortured and sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. As a westerner, I was eventually released, but others are not so lucky

William Sampson, Tuesday October 14 2008

"In theory I should now be dead. Not from disease or an accident but because of the simple fact that my head was set to be severed from my body with a sharp sword in a public square in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital......

Desperate to pin a nascent anti-government insurgency on squabbling "bootlegger" foreigners (anything rather than concede that ultra-safe Saudi Arabia had an internal terrorism problem), we were to be the sacrificial lambs. Remember those bizarre, wooden "confessions", haltingly delivered by scared looking men on national Saudi television? One of those came from me. If I looked petrified it may have been because I'd been dragged to prison, threatened, sleep-deprived and beaten so severely that I almost died from heart attacks......"

Monday, October 13, 2008

America’s Political Cannibalism

By Chris Hedges

"It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

As the public begins to grasp the depth of the betrayal and abuse by our ruling class, as the Democratic and Republican parties are exposed as craven tools of our corporate state, as savings accounts, college funds and retirement plans become worthless, as unemployment skyrockets and as home values go up in smoke we must prepare for the political resurgence of a reinvigorated radical Christian right. The engine of this mass movement—as is true for all radical movements—is personal and economic despair. And despair, in an age of increasing shortages, poverty and hopelessness, will be one of our few surplus commodities........"

Pogrom Against Mosul's Christians

Iraqis Stay in Exile; Too Terrified to Return


"Thousands of Christians are fleeing the northern Iraqi city of Mosul to escape a murder campaign by Islamic extremists intent on wiping out one of the oldest Christian communities in the world......

Some 11 Christians have been killed since 28 September leading to the present exodus. Most of the refugees are moving to Christian villages, schools and monasteries in Nineveh province of which Mosul is the capital. “We left everything behind us. We took only out souls,” said Ni’ma Noail, a middle aged Christian civil servant, who has taken refuge with his three children in a room in a church in Bartila, a Christian village east of Mosul. He added, “Relatives in other cities and friends in Mosul, including Muslims, advised me to leave after recent events.”.....

The Christian community in Mosul is one of the oldest in the world and claims to have been founded by St Thomas. Many belong to the Chaldean or Assyrian churches but, even before the present wave of killings, the number of Christians in the city had halved from 20,000 to 10,000 and this remnant is now disappearing. In March the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Paul Faraj Ranho, was kidnapped after celebrating mass and his body was later found in a shallow grave.....

The sectarian killings in Mosul are a setback to the Iraqi government’s effort to persuade the 4.2 million Iraqis who have fled their homes since the fall of Saddam Hussein that it is now safe to return. Of these, two million are refugees within Iraq and a further 2.2 million took refuge abroad, mostly in Syria and Jordan. So far only 20,000 families or 120,000 individuals have returned ......"