Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marx and the Global Crisis by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

By Naser Jafari

Real News Video: Guns or butter?

Howard Zinn: New president must choose between continued militarism and domestic well-being Part 4/5

"In part four of our interview with Howard Zinn, Prof. Zinn provides his opinion on the major decision that the incoming US president will have to make, the decision between maintaining the US policy of intervention abroad and providing jobs and health care to the American people. Prof. Zinn believes that the US has been in perpetual expansion since its foundation, expansion driven by economic motives. This theme has continued through both Republican and Democratic administrations and therefore Prof. Zinn is not surprised that Obama's campaign has not deviated from this policy, pointing out that he has called for escalation in Afghanistan and an increase in the size of the armed forces. But, Prof. Zinn contends, if Obama is serious about delivering health care and jobs for all, he will have to chart a new path in American foreign policy."

Financial doom and gloom is everywhere – except Lebanon

Beirut’s Blombank has just boasted a record 34 per cent rise in profits

By Robert Fisk

"....Yup, that's right. In Lebanon, in a country whose name is still synonymous with war – and in a world where capitalism is enduring a collapse of biblical proportions – business is booming.

Now readers, I am not – I am absolutely not – advising you to invest in this little statelet, with its sectarian government and mass graves and squalid Palestinian refugee camps. I am not an economist. At school, I failed O-level maths three times and as a result lost an offered place at Liverpool University. But someone needs to explain to me how this little Middle Eastern cabbage patch is bouncing along so happily amid the cyclones ripping through the world's economy......"

My descent into Gaza's smuggling underworld

The tunnels under the Egypt border have become an economic lifeline, as Donald Macintyre discovered

The Independent

"Crawling south in the dank metre-high passage, you have to hope the crude wooden supports will keep the thick layers of clay and sand above your head from crashing down on to you. Anyone who has been in a narrow-seam coal mine can relate to the mild sense of claustrophobia induced by a visit to Gaza's smugglers' tunnels, in which workers were killed at roughly the rate of three a week last month.

To get to this one, you have to lower yourself down the shaft like an ungainly monkey, gingerly placing your hands and feet on the frustratingly narrow ledges embedded in its also wooden walls. Given the awkward access and the cramped conditions, it's a surprise to see the lights on when you reach your destination. Welcome to the subterranean world below Gaza's border with Egypt.

The light bulbs are run off long cables from Rafah's municipal power supply and in their glow, "Felix", a cheerful 27-year-old black Palestinian, has been using his intercom phone to talk to his Egyptian counterpart at the other end of the tunnel a kilometre away. Beside him, the whirring electric motor is turning the long steel cables, which are hauling canisters of Egyptian-made cooking gas into Gaza. Two hundred have arrived this morning alone. "I spent two years doing a diploma in decoration," Felix says. "But I have five children to support and this is the only work I can find". .......

...... "Everything people lack in Gaza comes through the tunnels," he explains.

The hundreds of tunnels ferry every possible commodity – from diesel fuel, clothing, chocolate, cigarettes and potato chips to cattle and Chinese-made motorcycles. And reportedly even the occasional hospital patient who has been to Egypt for treatment and is then shipped on a trolley and drugged to prevent panic attacks underground.

It's a thought-provoking irony that the tunnel network, which a United Nations report this month said was a "vital lifeline" and the "direct result" of a siege designed to weaken Hamas, is actually now putting money into the Islamic faction's coffers. ......

...... Eyad explains the difficulties of routing tunnels so that at the other end they will escape the attention of Egyptian forces, who have pledged to destroy them.

"We use Google Earth to plan the tunnel," he says. "We have to find a hidden place, a deserted house or something like that." In constant touch by mobile phone with an Egyptian worker – well paid for risking a prison sentence if he is discovered – and using a long pole, which can protrude above the ground, "we make a sign of where we've got to. Then he tells us, yes that's the right place or move to the left or right, or go another 50 metres."......

Karim, who started to train in Romania as a doctor before the second intifada until he ran out of money, reflects that he would rather be doing something else than a job which has already cost 40 lives this year. Looking down the shaft, he adds: "I may be digging my own grave.""

Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy'

Secret papers claim the feared assassin was hired to find links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida

By Robert Fisk

"Iraqi secret police believed that the notorious Palestinian assassin Abu Nidal was working for the Americans as well as Egypt and Kuwait when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents which are now in the hands of The Independent – written by Saddam Hussein's brutal security services for Saddam's eyes only – state that he had been "colluding" with the Americans and, with the help of the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, was trying to find evidence linking Saddam and al-Qa'ida.

President George Bush was to use claims of a relationship with al-Qa'ida as one of the reasons for his 2003 invasion, along with Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. Western reports were to dismiss Iraq's claim that Abu Nidal committed suicide in August 2002, suggesting that Saddam's own security services murdered him when his presence became an embarrassment for them. The secret papers from Iraq suggest that he did indeed kill himself after confessing to the "treacherous crime of spying against this righteous country".

The final hours of Abu Nidal, the mercenary whose assassinations and murderous attacks in 20 countries over more than a quarter of a century killed or wounded more than 900 civilians, are revealed in the set of intelligence reports drawn up for Saddam's "presidency intelligence office" in September of 2002. The documents state that Egyptian and Kuwaiti intelligence officers had asked Abu Nidal, whose real name was Khalil al-Banna, to spy for them "with the knowledge of their American counterparts".......

....The papers name a Kuwaiti major, a member of the ruling Kuwaiti al-Sabbah family, as his "handler" and state that he was also tasked to "perform terrorist acts inside and outside Iraq". His presence in the country "would provide the Americans with the pretext that Iraq was harbouring terrorist organisations," the reports say......."

Britain plunges into a 'once in a lifetime crisis'

By Sean O'Grady, Economics Editor
Saturday, 25 October 2008
The Independent

".....The numbers were much worse than forecast, and City economists were outbidding each other in their description of the awfulness. Philip Shaw of Investec called them "truly dire"; Matthew Sharratt of Bank of America pronounced them "dismal"; "dreadful" was the verdict of Malcolm Barr of JP Morgan.

However, it is developments in economies far away from Britain which have triggered the latest global bout of nerves. Disappointing results from the industrial giants Sony and Toyota helped spark the sell-off in the Far East. Concerns about economies as diverse as Iceland, South Korea, Thailand, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and Argentina helped build the panic. The world has increasingly relied on emerging economies, principally China, for much of its growth; but now that the Western economies are so patently weak, hopes are also fading that the emerging nations can continue to pull the world along.

Yesterday's events seemed an appropriate way to mark the 79th anniversary of the Great Crash of 1929."

What next for the Palestinians?

The presidential term of Mahmoud Abbas will soon expire, but a new election seems unlikely

A Good Comment

Jamal Juma', Friday October 24 2008

"....Neither player in the West Bank PNA is in a position to run an election campaign now. Abbas, with a divided Fatah might lose the ballot, and if Fayyad is planning a candidacy, he still needs time to prepare. Realistically, it seems pointless to stage elections risking a Palestinian vote for a Hamas representative who does not please Israeli and western interests and would be brought down via sanctions and isolation.....

Fayyad is well placed to succeed in this mission. His leverage on the PNA's funding allows him to ensure that Fatah cadres, regional governors and other position holders depend partially on him for salaries and benefits. Further, the current reform of the Palestinian "security sector" eliminates much of the historical military leadership that arose in the diaspora during the 1970s and 1980s and which remains imbued with national values. Instead, new recruits trained by the CIA are taught a different line. As the Palestinian interior minister reportedly stated: "You are not here to confront Israel, the conflict of Israel has until now led nowhere. You must show the Israelis that you can do the job."

This is not the way to gain Palestinian popular support. Even after his almost daily visits to towns across the West Bank during this summer, US protégé Fayyad holds no more sway with the people than does Qureia, whose name is still linked with the company that provided cement for the Wall.

An alliance of Palestinian leftist parties, so far uninvolved in the power play around the PNA, would probably garner popular support by giving priority to the needs of the people and the principles of the Palestinian struggle. Yet they have so far been unable to concretely unite against the politics of factional interests. Until then, they will remain marginal in the national discussions......

For the international community, the impending demise of legitimate and viable Palestinian structures of representation signals the end of the Annapolis process. With the US administration in election mode and the Israeli prime minister yet to form her cabinet, it seems unrealistic that the promoters of Annapolis will succeed in coercing Palestinians before the end of Abbas's mandate into signing an agreement that reflects Israeli expectations and as a result will not stop the colonisation, fragmentation and isolation of the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas is not Arafat, who enjoyed trust and respect even without elections because of his role in the struggle and his charisma. Any new US or Israeli administration will lack a Palestinian partner with the legal authority or popular backing to sign such an agreement.

For once, it seems time is on the side of the Palestinians, opening up the opportunity to reorder the ranks and define alternatives to the current political setting. A popular force created to shoulder the national responsibilities could build upon the large majority of Palestinians who have been alienated by the current party politics but are not willing to surrender their struggle. It can create national unity by focusing on the one thing missing from the Cairo talks: the struggle against the occupation and Israel's apartheid system of checkpoints, the Wall and settlements. This can lead out of the current political crisis, regenerate the Palestinian struggle, and create a viable national movement. "

Nudging Turkey toward peace at home

At its core, the Kurdish conflict is about identity. The US should insist to Turkey that it cannot be resolved by military force

Stephen Kinzer, Friday October 24 2008

".....I recently spent 10 days travelling through the southeastern provinces that are the ancestral homeland of Turkey's Kurds. Hardly an hour passed without someone giving me the same refrain. A mayor, a barber, a law student, a businesswoman, a historian - each told me that this conflict will end when Turkey gives Kurds the right to their language and their culture......

Part of what makes this conflict so tragic is that every rational analyst knows how it will end. The solution will have three simple parts: the PKK will give up its weapons and pledge to pursue its goals by political means only; a general amnesty will be given to fighters on both sides; and Kurds will be granted cultural rights and a measure of political self-determination. What no one knows is whether the state will accept this solution next year, in 10 years, or in half a century.

Public pressure on Turkey to make this deal sooner rather than later would provoke angry nationalist reaction. The US, however, could use its extensive contacts in the Turkish military to nudge its commanders away from the self-destructive policy they have followed for the last two decades. American leaders should insist that the Kurdish conflict cannot be resolved by military force, because at its core, it is a conflict over identity.

Today, however, any general in the world would probably break out in laughter upon hearing an American leader say that compromise and patient negotiation is a better way to resolve conflicts than military force. For the last six years, the US has been acting on precisely the opposite principle. Americans cannot credibly urge restraint on others while pursuing their bomb-and-occupy policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. This leaves the Kurdish challenge where it should be left: to the Turks themselves........"

Take This, Zionist Pharaoh!

Gaza's flourishing tunnel trade

Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 24 October 2008

"Since Israel's total closure of Gaza began over 16 months ago, the Palestinian residents of the tiny coastal strip have relied on smuggling to meet their basic subsistence needs. A recent United Nations report stated that Gaza's local market is beholden to the tunnel trade or "death trade," which has so far claimed the lives of 40 people. Known locally as "grave diggers," a few thousand men earn their living by digging tunnels where they transport essential goods from Egypt like food, cooking gas, petrol, live stock and even electric devices.

The tunnels are all closely lined up along the Philadelphia route on the Gaza-Egypt border. Gaza's markets are now filled with either Egyptian-made or Egyptian-imported goods. This is particularly true in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, where the tunnel trade is concentrated.

"I feel comfortable finding something to sell rather than finding nothing, but I am not satisfied with myself as a merchant, depending on smuggled goods. The prices are relatively high, while the people's purchasing power is considerably low. Can you imagine, you must buy smuggled clothes for your children! It's America, Israel, and some Arabs who have forced an entire people to rely on smuggling," Abu Jamal, a 43-year-old merchant of electric devices explained.

In the early morning hours on Tuesday, Abu Yasser, a tunnel worker transporting cooking oil, shared Abu Jamal's sentiments, adding, "let Israel besiege us the way it wants, but we are here bringing what we want, also. At least we can now make bread, and we can cook, despite relatively high prices."......

While Abu Yaser's tunnel is active, others, like that of Abu Hassan, are still under construction. Digging a tunnel requires three to four months; Abu Hassan and other workers use an electric machine to pull out piles of sand from a hole that is 21-meters deep. A father of seven children, Abu Hassan explains that "what pushed me to work in these tunnels is the fact that over the past 16 months, I have been staying idle without job. How could I feed my family? I know it is dangerous work, but what can I do? I have no other option."

In the past several months, scores of tunnel workers have died, either while digging or because of Egyptian authorities collapsed some of these tunnels. However, the trade continues unabated, driven by Israel's ongoing blockade......

In spite of widespread deprivation because of Israel's siege, Abu Yasser remained defiant, stating as he loaded the cooking oil canisters, "Let Israel besiege us the way it wants, and we bring in what we want. At the end of the day, we will not let anyone repress us.""

Sayyed Nasrallah Denies Reports of Being Poisoned


"25/10/2008 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah denied reports that he was poisoned. In an interview with Al-Manar TV, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the reports were broadcast by a previously unknown internet site and “unfortunately some local and Arab media outlets contributed in circulating this baseless information.” His eminence stressed such reports come in the framework of a psychological war against the resistance adding that the one the targets of such a war was to suggest liquidations and struggles within Hezbollah. Sayyed Nasrallah told Al-Manar that “if you make a research about internet sites that spread such baseless information you will find that they are all run by the same black room to serve US-Israeli interests.”
“At first we thought of denying this false information through a statement, but when local and Arab media outlets circulated the news we decided to deny it through a television interview, and here I am in front of you telling everybody that I have not been poisoned,” the Hezbollah chief said. "

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wrecked Iraq

By Michael Schwartz
Asia Times

"Post-"surge" Iraq is being touted in the United States as a "modest" success and returning to "normalcy". Yet Iraq has suffered quite another fate: what was once the most advanced Middle Eastern society - economically, socially and technologically - has become an economic basket case, rivaling the most desperate countries in the world....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

By Dave Brown, The Independent

Morgantini to visit Gaza along with the European parliamentarian delegates

"Vice-president of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini, phoned Palestinian Legislator, head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, Jamal Al Khodary, and informed him that she will be among the European delegates who will be visiting Gaza soon.

She stressed on the importance of lifting the Israeli siege which is devastating the lives 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and added that this siege violates the international law.

Al Khodary told Morgantini that 255 Palestinian patients died due to the siege and that hundreds of patients are facing death if this siege continues as Gaza hospitals ran out of basic medical supplies and medications.

He added that 3900 factories had to shut down, 140.000 more Palestinian workers are now jobless and that more than 80% of the Palestinians in Gaza are below poverty line.

Al Khodary added that the siege caused 640 Million US dollars in losses and that the occupation did not implement its commitments to the truce which is entering its fifth month.

On October 28, 2008, the Free Gaza Movement will set sail again for Gaza. On board will be a Nobel Peace Prize winner, five physicians, a member of the Israeli Knesset, and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The boat will again carry 26 passengers and crew to the port of Gaza”, the Free Gaza movement reported. "

Une vague d’espoir met le cap sur Gaza

Par Free Gaza Movement

"Le 28 Octobre 2008, le Free Gaza Movement mettra à nouveau les voiles vers Gaza. A bord se trouveront un prix Nobel de la Paix, cinq médecins, un membre de la Knesset israélienne, et un membre du Conseil Législatif Palestinien. Le bateau transportera à nouveau 26 passagers et membres d'équipage jusqu’au port de Gaza.....

Mairead Maguire, Prix Nobel de la Paix en 1976 pour son travail en faveur de la paix en Irlande du Nord et passagère à bord a déclaré: "Nous allons prendre la mer pour nous rendre dans la bande de Gaza afin de montrer à la population que nous les aimons et que nous nous intéressons à eux. C’est le moins que nous puissions faire alors que nos gouvernements restent silencieux et inactif face aux souffrances évitables des femmes et des enfants de la bande de Gaza et de la Palestine. "

Également à bord, se trouveront Mustafa Barghouti, membre du Conseil Législatif Palestinien, et Jamal Zahalka, membre de la Knesset (Parlement). Les deux Palestiniens sont déterminés à forger des alliances avec leurs compatriotes dans la bande de Gaza, quelque chose qu'ils n'ont pas été en mesure de le faire, car Israël a fermé toutes les frontières terrestres de ce peuple assiégé.

A cette occasion, les briseurs de siège apporteront 6 mètres cubes de médicaments, en tant que cadeau de la Campagne Européenne Contre le Siège de Gaza......"

Dennis Ross on why he's working for Obama and how he'd talk to Iran

"WASHINGTON - Ahead of the American elections, Dennis Ross, the man who used to work as President Bill Clinton's envoy to the Middle East, has been busy "working" the shuls in Florida, a key battleground state in the presidential election. Aside from sitting on the boards of many different research institutes, Ross also acts as Democratic candidate Barack Obama's Middle East advisor. In addition, he is a leading contender - among some 300 candidates - for the post of secretary of state in an Obama government. This week he sat down and talked to Haaretz......"

World Bank Assails Israeli Chokehold on West Bank

By Abid Aslam

"WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (IPS) - The West Bank's economy continues to gasp for air despite increased international aid mainly because Israel keeps the Palestinian territory in a stranglehold, says the World Bank.

Israel's illegal settlements, security cordons, and hundreds of roadblocks pose the most significant obstacle to the movement of people and goods, the Washington-based bank says in a new assessment. Violence and vandalism by Israeli settlers further deters investment, it adds.

Palestinians' per capita gross domestic product (GDP, a measure of economic output) fell by 40 percent between 1999 and 2007. Investment has plummeted to "precariously low levels". Public investment has virtually dried up over the past two years and private investment has stagnated since falling 15 percent between 2005 and 2006...."

Tortured in West Bank Prisons

By Ola Attallah – Ramallah
Palestine Chronicle

"Hamza Al-Qaraawi, a nursing student at An-Najah University, was sitting with his family when he heard knocks at their door. When he opened the door, a dozen of plain-clothed, grimed-faced people stormed their way into the house.

"They beat me before taking me to an unknown destination," Qaraawi told

Qaraawi was taken to a Palestinian Authority-run prison, as he later discovered, where he reportedly suffered a new episode of assaults.

"My body was bleeding from everywhere," he said, recalling his nightmarish experience. "They brought me a doctor, who asked them to stop hurting me but in vain," added Qaraawi, who was released nine days later.

"They are using the same torture techniques used by Israeli occupation forces, such as Shabh and sleep deprivation."

Shabh (Arabic for ghost) is a torture technique in which the prisoner is tied up for long periods so as to cause severe pain, especially in the hands and back.

Hamas has accused security forces loyal to rival Fatah of carrying our a series of "political" arrests against its supporters in the West Bank since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip last year.

"My husband was badly tortured at Al-Janeed prison in Nablus," said the wife of Ismail Abdul-Kareem who was taken from his house by Palestinian security forces.

"We kept asking about his whereabouts for weeks before we found out that he was held at Al-Janeed prison."......"

Top Obama Adviser Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran

By Jim Lobe

" If you haven’t seen it already, check out the op-ed by former Sens. Daniel Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post today, entitled “Stopping a Nuclear Tehran.” It is the summary of a report issued last month by an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center (at whose website you can find the full report), and it amounts to a roadmap to war with Iran to which a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama campaign — namely, Dennis Ross — has apparently signed on.

[UPDATE: Make sure you also read in this connection today’s New York Times article by David Sanger, particularly the part about the purported e-mail from Obama that was routed through an unidentified “aide,” who I presume to be Ross. The coincidence of the appearance of this article with the Coats-Robb op-ed suggests an effort to box Obama into a pre-election position. The Iran part of the story by Sanger, who considers himself a foreign-policy player, as well as a reporter, tracks the report’s narrative quite nicely.]....."

Bailing Out Georgia

No, not our Georgia – the other one!

by Justin Raimondo

"The US government is sending $1 billion to "rebuild" Georgia – no, not the Georgia located in the southern United States, where home foreclosure rates are double the national average, but the one located in the Caucasus, along Russia's southern frontier, where the President of the country launched a reckless invasion of a rebellious province, murdered thousands, and got his ass kicked by the rebels and their Russian protectors. Now we're sending him a billion dollars – by way of a reward........."

Waiter! There is a Flaw in My Soup!

Greenspan admits 'flaw' in ideology


"Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve chairman, has publicly admitted that the US free-market ideology that he and others have championed for decades is flawed.

Greenspan, who headed the US central bank for more than 18 years, said on Thursday that he had "found a flaw ... in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works".

The admission is one of the most significant comments made by a key architect of the world financial system that is now in chaos amid the global economic crisis.

His comments came as he gave evidence to the US House committee on oversight and government, which is seeking to discover if regulatory failings had contributed to the turmoil.

Henry Waxman, the committee chairman, asked Greenspan: "You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crises. You were advised to do so by many others and now the whole economy is paying its price.

"Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?"

Greenspan replied: "Yes I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact."......"

Fatah in turmoil

The sacking of a Palestinian Authority security chief appears to substantiate allegations of direct Fatah collusion with Israel

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The sacking by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas of Intelligence Chief Tawfiq Tirawi on Tuesday seems to be more than just a "formality" related to the latter reaching the age of retirement, as PA spokesmen have been saying.

Tirawi, along with a number of other PA security chiefs, spearheaded the relentless campaign against Hamas's supporters and institutions in the West Bank, even to the point of active coordination and collaboration with Israel.

This fact, which became well known to many Palestinians, including Fatah's followers, eventually rendered most security chiefs a serious liability, undermining Fatah's image as a national liberation movement.

Moreover, critics, including Hamas, have used the "excesses" to portray the PA as a quisling entity working in concert with Israel against the national cause......."

Arabs out of step

While other powers around the world reassert their national interest against a United States that no longer holds universal promise, the Arabs do not, writes Azmi Bishara in the final instalment of a four-part analysis of the world after Bush

A Very Good Piece
By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......What the world is witnessing right now is the end of a phase of monopolar US foreign policy that had reached its zenith of belligerency between 2001 and 2006 under President Bush. The actual rise of this belligerency started with the war in Kuwait and the beginning of the dismantlement of Yugoslavia under Bush Sr and continued with the Clinton administration's intervention in Serbia, Somalia and Afghanistan. However, the current ebb is not yielding to an opposing camp championing an alternative theory. Rather it is ceding space for greater self-assertion on the part of other nation states and popular wills.

There is no multi-polar alliance against another pole. What we have are major capitalist powers and an advanced state capitalism outside the Western camp, but not one that claims to lead the rest of the world in a political and ideological struggle against the US. What we have are a multiplicity of sovereignties and with just as many perceptions of national interests and national security. They are not trying to impose these perceptions on the rest of the world, as the US is doing. They merely want to set certain boundaries to the unbridled and unsupervised power of the US. These are not democratic forces. However, a democratic power harmed by US hegemony might find it in its interests to join up with these forces, as might a non-democratic power. There is no new camp set upon igniting a new Cold War, just a revitalisation of certain national political concepts in some major powers that are demonstrating increasing confidence in their efforts to keep that superpower from dominating their national affairs and resources and from imposing its will on others through the exercise of an expanding military might that remains unchecked by any laws......

Another area that has seen a resurgence of sovereign national will is Latin America where the left has begun to benefit from a greater margin of democracy and from the US's inability to sustain its Cold War tactics against democratically elected governments, such as those in Venezuela and Bolivia. The governments opposed to American heavy-handedness in their region have begun to search for ways to coordinate with countries in the East rebelling against the dictates of the monopolar king. But, once more, this is a sign of countries exercising their will against the backdrop of the greater manoeuvrability available to them in this new post-Bush era world. It is not indicative of an emerging global camp or a new Cold War.

Unfortunately, it appears that there are no Arab regional powers capable of taking advantage of the new global circumstances. Arab governments are unable to even coordinate among themselves in order to fill the vacuum that is gradually growing in this region due to the erosion of American influence. Iran and Turkey might be exploring ways of working together towards this end, but not the Arabs, who are still dredging up facts and legends about the historic animosity between the Ottomans and the Safavids in the hope of stirring up sectarian trouble between them. Meanwhile, the descendants of the Ottomans and Safavids are sitting around the negotiating table working out possible arrangements to fill the security and political vacuum, such as in Iraq, following the departure of US forces.

At a time when, if the necessary resolve can be summoned, it is easier than it has been for a long time to make international alliances based on a mutual interest to reject American dictates, the Palestinians have been left stranded to face the US- Israeli alliance. The attitude seems to be that this is "fate". But it is not."

Real News Video: El Baradei: Iran far from acquiring nuclear weapon

Babak Yektafar: El Baradei's statement will not change minds of those who want to confront Iran

"International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei stated this week that Iran did not have the nuclear material, low enriched uranium, to develop a nuclear weapon. In 2007 The National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran is years away from acquiring the technology necessary to produce a nuclear weapon. The UN, the EU and the United States believe Tehran is working towards a nuclear bomb, an assertion Iran denies. Babak Yektafar believes that to properly solve the issue Washington needs to stop treating Tehran with a carrot and stick approach."

Real News Video: Howard Zinn on taxes and class war

Howard Zinn: The US has always had class war over who gets taxed Part 3

"In part three of our discussion with author and historian Howard Zinn, Prof. Zinn lays out his analysis of taxes as a class phenomenon. He points to the current discussion of politicians as either pro-tax or anti-tax instead of discussing who will be taxed as an example of the misunderstanding of taxation being promoted. Prof. Zinn submits that the United States has always had a class war, and as such it is ridiculous to accuse people of inciting class war through talk of taxation. He then outlines his proposal that higher taxes for the rich and cutting taxes for the poor will be necessary for addressing the roots of the economic crisis."

One election player has been overlooked: Osama bin Laden

Democratic Party supporters are still all-a-quiver with anxiety

By Dominic Lawson
The Independent

".....It is not the purpose of this column to bring succour to Osama bin Laden at such a moment; but there is one sense in which he is still wreakinghavoc on America and in a way which he can not have anticipated.

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the US Federal Reserve cut its official interest rate to an extraordinary degree. In August 2001, the Fed's rate was 3.5 per cent, but by December it had been halved to a mere 1.75 per cent. This was designed to maintain business confidence – but it turned out to be far too much of a good thing. With interest rates at or below the level of price inflation, the Fed was in effect giving money away. The direct result was the inflation of a credit-based asset bubble which has now burst with cataclysmic financial violence.

The reputation of the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, has now undergone an exactly similar process: he was praised by politicians on all sides when he acted to boost the country's morale in 2001. Now he is seen as one of the prime authors of a crash all the more devastating for having been delayed.

It's true that in the wake of the dotcom implosion of 2000, Greenspan was already embarking on a series of interest rate cuts; but it's equally clear that al-Qa'ida's attacks in September 2001 caused the Fed to cut still more, with the ultimately dire consequences now observable on every high street.

So as we contemplate the image of an ailing Osama bin Laden, hidden in some Waziristan redoubt, perhaps we can also imagine hearing an unsettling sound: laughter in the dark."

Under cover of racist myth, a new land grab in Australia

Claims of child abuse are proving a fertile pretext to menace the Aboriginal communities lying in the way of uranium mining

John Pilger
The Guardian, Friday October 24 2008

"Its banks secured in the warmth of the southern spring, Australia is not news. It ought to be. An epic scandal of racism, injustice and brutality is being covered up in the manner of apartheid South Africa. Many Australians conspire in this silence, wishing never to reflect upon the truth about their society's Untermenschen, the Aboriginal people.....

What the doctors found they already knew - children at risk from a spectrum of extreme poverty and the denial of resources in one of the world's richest countries. Having let a few crumbs fall, Rudd is picking up where Howard left off. His indigenous affairs minister, Jenny Macklin, has threatened to withdraw government support from remote communities that are "economically unviable". The Northern Territory is the only region where Aborigines have comprehensive land rights, granted almost by accident 30 years ago. Here lie some of the world's biggest uranium deposits. Canberra wants to mine and sell it.

Foreign governments, especially the US, want the Northern Territory as a toxic dump. The Adelaide to Darwin railway that runs adjacent to Olympic Dam, the world's largest uranium mine, was built with the help of Kellogg, Brown & Root - a subsidiary of American giant Halliburton, the alma mater of Dick Cheney, Howard's "mate". "The land grab of Aboriginal tribal land has nothing to do with child sexual abuse," says the Australian scientist Helen Caldicott, "but all to do with open slather uranium mining and converting the Northern Territory to a global nuclear dump."

What is unique about Australia is not its sun-baked, derivative society, clinging to the sea, but its first people, the oldest on earth, whose skill and courage in surviving invasion, of which the current onslaught is merely the latest, deserve humanity's support."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

U.S. Elections: Either Way Black or White

By Imad Hajjaj (Abu Mahjoob)

Click on cartoon by Mike Luckovich to enlarge

Hot air and improbable peace

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"Afghan and Pakistani officials are talking up a mini-council (jirgagai) to be held in Islamabad at the end of the month to "restore peace in both countries and along the border regions". They might as well be whistling in the wind. Just as the recent Saudi initiative excluded the Taliban and therefore failed, the latest dialogue does not involve representatives of the Afghan resistance, let alone their affiliates......"

Uncertainty clouds Nahr al-Bared's future

Ray Smith writing from Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, Live from Lebanon, 22 October 2008

"One year has passed since the first Palestinians were allowed to return to the outskirts of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, destroyed by the Lebanese army during three months of fighting in the summer of 2007 with Fatah al-Islam, a small Islamist militant group. Meanwhile, up to 15,000 people have resettled in the camp. Many of them are still waiting to freely access their destroyed homes, as the Lebanese army still exclusively controls the "old camp" in the core of Nahr al-Bared, as well as parts of the "new camp" on the outskirts......

Residents have already started to avoid discussing political topics and issues regarding developments inside the camp for fear of an increased number of spies and collaborators working for the Lebanese secret services. The suspected recruitment of collaborators also seems to have a negative impact on the unity of the refugees in Nahr al-Bared who appear to be losing trust for other residents in the camp. Such developments indicate -- in contrast to the promises made by the Lebanese government and UNRWA -- a cloudy future for Nahr al-Bared."

Report: 68 Gaza children killed in one year

Report, PCHR (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights) , 22 October 2008

"During international armed conflicts, including occupations by military forces, children are afforded protection under international humanitarian law. Children are also granted protection under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as persons who are especially vulnerable during war time. However, the state of Israel has consistently failed in its legal obligation to offer protection towards the children of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed more than 860 children in the OPT, the majority of them in the Gaza Strip.

In response to these IOF killings of children, and IOF consistent use of excessive lethal force against Palestinian children, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is launching "Blood on Their Hands" -- a major investigative report on child killings perpetrated by the IOF in the Gaza Strip....."

Al-Qaeda Leaders Root for McCain

Gloating over the U.S. economic crisis, al-Qaeda strategists are telling each other that a John McCain victory is crucial if the slide of their American enemies is to continue and possibly accelerate.

By Robert Parry
October 22, 2008

"With McCain struggling in the polls, some al-Qaeda operatives even are discussing the possibility of a new terrorist attack timed before the Nov. 4 election to rally the American people to McCain’s candidacy.

Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” declared one commentary on a password-protected site, al-Hesbah, which has been linked to the terrorist organization.....

The more immediate question, however, may be whether al-Qaeda has the capacity to mount some terrorist attack that would transform the U.S. presidential race in its waning days – and give John McCain enough fresh momentum to win."

Al Qaeda Endorses McCain

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

"The Post today reports that Al Qaeda has endorsed John McCain for president. With seemingly impeccable logic, the cave dwellers -- actually, more likely, Quetta-squatters -- say that by electing McCain, the United States will commit itself to an extension of President Bush's blunders and thus exhaust itself militarily and financially.

Of course, Al Qaeda says that the way it can assist McCain is through a terrorist act that will rally Americans to his side......"

Final Text of Iraq Pact Reveals a US Debacle

By Gareth Porter

"The final draft of the US-Iraq Status of Forces agreement on the US military presence represents an even more crushing defeat for the policy of the George W. Bush administration than previously thought, the final text reveals.

The final draft, dated Oct. 13, not only imposes unambiguous deadlines for withdrawal of US combat troops by 2011 but makes it extremely unlikely that a US non-combat presence will be allowed to remain in Iraq for training and support purposes beyond the 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all US combat forces.

Furthermore, Shiite opposition to the pact as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty makes the prospects for passage of even this agreement by the Iraqi parliament doubtful. Pro-government Shiite parties, the top Shiite clerical body in the country, and a powerful movement led by nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that recently mobilized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in protest against the pact, are all calling for its defeat.....

The collapse of the Bush administration's ambitious plan for a long-term US presence in Iraq highlights the degree of unreality that has prevailed among top US officials in both Washington and Baghdad on Iraqi politics. They continued to see the Maliki regime as a client which would cooperate with US aims even after it was clear that Maliki's agenda was sharply at odds with that of the United States.

They also refused to take seriously the opposition to such a presence even among the Shiite clerics who had tolerated it in order to obtain Shiite control over state power."

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel accused of targeting Gazan children - 22 Oct 08

"The Israeli military is facing fresh accusations from a Palestinian human rights group that it is responsible for civilian deaths.

And for deliberately targeting children in Gaza.

Ayman Mohyeldin reports."

Real News Video: Zinn: Bailout is trickle-down theory magnified

Howard Zinn says there has always been big government, but mostly for the wealthy Part 2

Real News Video: Bolivia approves new draft constitution

Forrest Hylton : The fight is not over by any means but Bolivia has entered a new phase

"Bolivia's Congress ratified President Evo Morales' draft constitution on Tuesday. Beginning a new phase to the presdident’s quest of empowering Bolivia’s long oppressed indigenous majority. Congress approved holding another referendum scheduled for January 25th. Despite this development, Journalist and Author Forrest Hylton believes "the fight is not over by any means but [Bolivia] has entered a new phase.""

Pakistan stares into the abyss

A spiralling conflict, economic collapse and blackouts threaten anarchy with far-reaching implications

By Andrew Buncombe, Anne Penketh and Omar Waraich
The Independent

"Pakistan was locked in crisis last night, with the government pressed by Washington to deepen its conflict with Islamic militants in the lawless regions on the Afghan border, and obliged to call in the International Monetary Fund to stave off financial catastrophe.

In the rugged north of the country, a major military offensive to root out Taliban militants has created a flood of up to 200,000 refugees and pitched Pakistani against Pakistani, Muslim against Muslim, in a conflict some are beginning to regard as a civil war.

A new US intelligence estimate meanwhile has warned that the renewed insurgency, coupled with energy shortages and political infighting, means that Pakistan, which is the only Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, is "on the edge"........"

A bitter harvest

The West Bank's olive harvest is in full swing, and so are the settlers' clubs and the soldiers' batons

Seth Freedman, Thursday October 23 2008

"The West Bank version of the adage "Give a man a fish …" appears to have been remodelled along far more sinister lines of late. Instead, the prevalent attitude is to not only snatch the lion's share for the benefit of the settlers, but also to kick the Palestinians while they're down on their knees scrabbling to glean whatever morsels they can from what's left.

The olive harvest is in full swing at the moment; so too are the settlers' clubs and the soldiers' batons, as they do their level best to impede the farmers' attempts to harvest their meagre crops the length and breadth of the Occupied Territories. I went to the tiny hamlet of Izzmut this week, unhappily situated alongside the settlement of Elon Moreh, from whose borders emanate almost daily attacks by settlers hell bent on disrupting the proceedings......"

Not the death of capitalism, but the birth of a new order

The free-market model has been discredited and now its champions are panicking at what might emerge in its wake

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday October 23 2008

".....It's certainly true that the events of the past few weeks have exposed deregulated capitalism as bankrupt and its ruling elites as greedy and inept. But it is the free-market model, not capitalism, that is dying. That is reflected in public opinion: a Financial Times-Harris poll conducted across the advanced capitalist world this month found large majorities believe the financial crisis has been caused by "abuses of capitalism", rather than the "failure of capitalism itself" - only in Germany did the proportion blaming capitalism as a system rise to 30%.

As Sarkozy has pronounced: "Laissez-faire is finished." It is not Marx who has really been rehabilitated in short order, but John Maynard Keynes, out of dire necessity. In the wake of the largest-scale acts of state economic intervention in capitalist history, politicians are now having to make a virtue of it. "Much of what Keynes wrote still makes sense," the chancellor Alistair Darling declared at the weekend, as he announced plans to bring forward large capital projects and the prime minister defended higher borrowing to counter falling demand.....

But claims that the current crisis signals the end of capitalism or the birth of a new socialism simply set up a straw man and divert attention from what is in fact at stake. If we're talking about socialism as a systemic alternative, that is clearly not currently on the agenda in the heartlands of capitalism - or elsewhere, with the arguable exception of Latin America. And both its post-communist collapse of confidence and the weakening of the working class as a social and political force make it difficult for the left to take full advantage of capitalism's stark failures....."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chertoff Planning a Terrorist Attack?

Chertoff Says Change in Presidency Fuels Terror `Vulnerability'

"Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the U.S. may be vulnerable to a terrorist attack during the next six months, with violent groups more likely to try to take advantage of a new president and administration.

``Any period of transition creates a greater vulnerability, meaning there's more likelihood of distraction,'' Chertoff said in an interview. ``You have to be concerned it will create an operational opportunity for terrorists.''

He said that would be true whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is elected president on Nov. 4. That comment undercuts McCain's argument that the U.S. would be more in danger of an attack if Obama, 47, wins......."

9/11 and the Imperial Adventure in Afghanistan

Global War, Regional Ambitions


".....So from the beginning, the Bush regime conceived of the war in Afghanistan and then the invasion of Iraq in the context of overall U.S. imperialist objectives and as part of a larger unjust war for greater empire. That’s why much greater resources were allocated to the invasion of Iraq than to securing or rebuilding Afghanistan (or finding Osama bin Laden). Iraq was considered more strategically central—both in terms of the "demonstration effect" of taking down a major regime; because the imperialists thought Iraq could be turned into a stepping stone and a model for regime changes and U.S.-driven transformations across the Middle East; and because Iraq has huge oil reserves."

مصالحة فلسطينية..أم تصفية  ببيت عزاء عربي؟

عادل سمارة

كنعان النشرة الألكترونية
Kana’an – The e-Bulletin

"اصبح الحديث فيما يخص شأن القوى السياسية الفلسطينية درباً من مهارة التلاعب على حساب المقاومة، أية مقاومة، سواء بالسلاح أو حتى بأداء الأذان في "الجرَّة" على طريقة الصحابي بلال بن رباح. ليس هناك أخطر من هذه المشاغلة للناس في الوطن المحتل والوطن العربي "المحتل" ايضاً، مشاغلة في الشكل المفرغ من المضمون.

كمواطن عادي جداً، اشعر بتفاهة الحديث المفصل في تفنيد بنود ورقة القاهرة التي هي تعبير عن الذل العربي المبني والمستند على الذل الفلسطيني بأنواعه ومدارسه ومذاهبه.

لم يحصل أن ذهبت حركات مقاومة حقيقية كي تحتكم لدى مخابرات، اية مخابرات، وخاصة عربية. لعل بعضنا يتذكر لعبة المخابرات المصرية أيام الرئيس الراحل عبد الناصر حينما توسطت في اليمن الجنوبي، فوقفت لصالح الطرف الإصلاحي، (عبد القوي مكاوي وعبد الله الأصنج) ضد الجبهة القومية.

وعليه، فإن إحدى خطايا الحركات الفلسطينية أنها أرست سابقة خطيرة هي احتكام المقاومة لدى المخابرات. وماذا سيخرج من ذلك؟

هناك سابقة أخرى، هي الكذب الثقافي والفكري من المثقف الفلسطيني. فالمثقفون الذين مع التسوية، مفروغ من شأنهم، أما الخطورة فهي في المثقفين الذين يزعمون الانتماء القومي، واليساري ويهاجمون التسوية بكل شراسة، ولكنهم يدخلون الانتخابات التسووية، ويترشح بعضهم حتى لرئاسة أوسلو! فهل هذا معقول! وإذا كان بوسع هؤلاء المتلاعبين خداع المواطنين، فهل يجوز لمن يعرف أن لا يُحرجهم؟

وهناك سابقة أخطر متراكبة مع ما سبق، وهي ان حركة (حركات) المقاومة الفلسطينية قد ارست للتاريخ وخاصة العربي "مشروعية" القبول بانتخابات تحت الاحتلال! أية ديمقراطية تلك التي تحت الاحتلال وبرعاية غول العولمة؟ هذه السابقة هي التي جعلت ما حصل في العراق "مقبول" على العرب حيث كان موقف عراقيي أميركا مرتكزاً على فلسطينيي اوسلو! فهل هذا دورنا نحن الفلسطينييين؟

إن أوسلو خطيئة لا غفران لها، ولكن المشاركة في انتخاباتها ليست اقل خطيئة قط، لا سيما بعد اتضاح جوهر أوسلو حتى للبسطاء.

لكن الأخطر، من أوسلو وكل من شارك في انتخاباتها رئاسياً (ولمجلسها – غيرالتشريعي) هو اللجوء إلى الحل العربي اليوم. وأي حل؟ إنه إدخال الأنظمة العربية في اللعبة كي يرفع الكيان الصهيوني الإشكنازي الحصار عن قطاع غزة.

نعم غزة في محنة اليوم بالحصار، وفي محنة بتفرد حماس بالسلطة بطريقة لا تختلف عن تفرد فتح، كما كانت في محنة هي والضفة بالفساد قبيل مجيىء حكومة حماس. ولكن هل الخلاص هو بإدخال الأنظمة العربية لتعترف بالكيان مقابل فك الحصار!. أمن أجل فك الحصار تتم المقايضة بالوطن باسره؟ أي شرف رفيع سيكون لجنود عرب حينما يدخلوا غزة تحت رايات الاحتلال؟.

لكنهم فعلوها ذات يوم. ألم تدخل قوات عربية تحت الراية الأميركية إلى العراق عام 1991؟ وماذا كانت النتيجة؟ تعزيز الاحتلال الأميركي للكويت ولاحقاً تدمير العراق. وكما نشاهد اليوم، فإن الأنظمة العربية تهرول للاعتراف بالنظام العراقي الذي يفاخر بعمالته! ولا ننسى ان اية مشاركة مع قوات العدو الإمبريالي هي تنكر للموقف القومي وللأمة والوحدة. هل يحتاج فك الحصار تحويل قطاع غزة إلى حصان طروادة لإدخال كل العرب في مطهر التسوية، الاعتراف بالكيان وشطب حق العودة؟

لقد حاولت المناقشة في المبدئيات وليس في التفاصيل. ففي التفاصيل تكمن كافة الشياطين.

وأخيراً، إذا كان ثمن تصالح فتح وحماس كل هذا، فإلى الجحيم بهذه المصالحة

Lebanese Shiite cleric opposes US-Iraq pact

"BEIRUT, Lebanon: Lebanon's top Shiite cleric criticized Tuesday a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact, saying the Baghdad government has no right to "legitimize" the presence of foreign troops.

Iraqi-born Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah says any security pact should call for an imminent and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Fadlallah's edict came in response to questions by some Shiite members of Iraq's parliament who asked the cleric to give his opinion about the proposed security pact.

The cleric was born in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf and wields some influence among Iraq's Shiite majority. He is one of the founders of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party......"

Akka mayor incites against Arabs, disregards their rights

"Two weeks after the violent clashes in Akka (Acre) its mayor addressed a crowd of Jews at a synagogue in the city on Tuesday and said that the city belongs to the Jews and will belong to them forever, thus ignoring the thousands of years of Arab and Palestinian history in the city, the Arabs48 news website reported.

“Acre belongs to us”, the mayor Shimon Lankri said, “it will remain ours forever and ever”.

The statements of Lankri came as he addressed Jewish workshiper marking the Simhat Torah Jewish feast, Israeli online daily, Haaretz reported. His statement came only two weeks after violent clashes between Jews and Arabs in th city. The clashes lasted for five days.

The mayor went on to say that Acre will remain “marching forward despite our enemies” referring to the indigenous Arab residents. His statements were met with enthusiasm and applause among the crowd.

Meanwhile, Shas Knesset member, David Ozlay, said that Israel will never stop turning Akka into a Jewish city and yet added that “Israel will also respect its neighbors”.

On his side, Lankri said that “we will not allow them [the Arabs] to break our will, we will not allow them..”

Acre will remain ours forever and ever, it was ours and will remain ours, we will not allow anyone to destroy the city”, Lankri added, “no one can raise his head in front of us, and if anyone does, we will know how to cut it”, the Arabs48 news website quoted Lankri stating. "

The Financial Meltdown: This Time Is Different

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, October 22, 2008

"Whatever we know about today's financial crisis. Think we know. Eventually will know in the fullness of time. This time is really different. In 1922, Henry Ford put it this way in his book titled "My Life and Work:"

"The (economy's) primary functions are agriculture, manufacture, and transportation. Community life is impossible without them. They hold the world together....The great delusion is that one may change the foundation. The foundations of society are the men and means to grow things, to make things, and to carry things."

Real enterprise producing value. Tangible products. Not casino capitalism. Computerized gambling. The illusion of wealth. Disappearing once liquidity dries up. Or even now when it's abundant. With a keyboard click, or when investors fear an approaching economic storm...."

Remembering Beit Hanoun

Sameh A. Habeeb writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 21 October 2008

"In November 2006 a horrible war crime was committed in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army. The operation was not directed at militants who were heading to fight Israel, but at a poor family. This action was committed by the same Israeli army which bulldozed Palestinian farms and crushed cars and houses. I remember every single detail of what happened that day in Beit Hanoun. I want to tell the story again as I am encouraged, but not satisfied by what Archbishop Desmond Tutu said after his investigative visit to Gaza. Although he was too late to investigate the massacre that occurred two years before, it was better than nothing. Tutu indirectly indicted Israel and held it responsible for the death of civilians......"

Wave of Hope Heading for Gaza

The Free Gaza Movement

"For Immediate Release Date : 10-21-2008

On October 28, 2008, the Free Gaza Movement will set sail again for Gaza. On board will be a Nobel Peace Prize winner, five physicians, a member of the Israeli Knesset, and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The boat will again carry 26 passengers and crew to the port of Gaza.

"We've spent the past month making sure that our boat is better and stronger, because the weather is getting more severe. Since we promised the people of Gaza we would return, we wanted to make sure we would return safely", said Derek Graham, first mate on board the boat.

Mairead Maguire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work for peace in Northern Ireland and one of the passengers on board stated, "We sail to Gaza to show the people we love and care for them. What less can we do whilst our governments remain silent and inactive in face of such preventable suffering of the women and children of Gaza and Palestine."

Also on board is Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament). Both Palestinians are determined to forge alliances with their countrymen in Gaza, something they have not been able to do, because Israel has closed all land borders to this besieged people.

On this occasion the siege-breakers will deliver 6 cubic meters of medicine, as a gift from the European Campaign to End the on Siege on Gaza. Dr Arafat Shoukri, head of the Campaign stated, "This is just the first consignment of medical supplies we hope to deliver. Our choice of medicines has been in response to a specific request from the health authorities in Gaza. Many basic items such as cough syrup for children are non-existent in the territory and we are happy to make them available. Our Campaign will also dispatch a number of medical specialists to the Gaza to assist in the worsening humanitarian crisis brought on by the siege."

Greta Berlin, one of the organizers reiterated the goals of the Free Gaza Movement, "We intend to break Israel's blockade as often as we can. This second trip is just one of many we intend to organize over the next year. We have lawyers, members of Parliament and other professionals already on our passenger lists for upcoming voyages."...."

Saniora Insists: Lebanon, Resistance Didn't Triumph!


"21/10/2008 Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, believed to head a so-called national unity government, is still insisting on his "precious" views even if they contradict with his cabinet's policy statement as well as the so-called ministerial solidarity principle…

More than two years on Lebanon's victory against the Zionist entity in the Israeli vehement war against the country in July 2006, Saniora is still unable of admitting it.

Israel itself admitted its defeat and is still paying the price but Lebanon's Prime Minister believes the opposite. The enemy acknowledges Lebanon's resistance has changed the history by causing the most terrible defeat to the Zionist entity since its "creation," but "perseverant" Saniora denies. "No, Lebanon didn't achieve victory in July 2006," he says......"

Witness: Haredi youths beat Arab taxi drivers in Jerusalem

"Ultra-Orthodox youths rioted in Jerusalem overnight, throwing stones at passing cars and beating Arab taxi drivers, Israel Radio quoted an eyewitness as saying on Wednesday.

According to Israel Radio, the youths beat the taxi drivers after stopping them to find out whether they were Arab. They also set a number of dumpsters alight. The incidents occurred in the Haredi neighborhood of Meah She'arim.

The group was later dispersed by police, who have not yet made any arrests in connection with the rioting....."

Peres to visit Egypt Thursday in bid to revive Arab peace talks

"Shimon Peres will leave Thursday for an official visit to Egypt, the first such visit by an Israeli president in several years. Peres will be greeted with all the pomp and circumstance reserved for heads of state, including an Egyptian honor guard, as well as a dozen members of the Egyptian cabinet - an honor that has not been afforded to other Israeli officials who have visited the country in recent years.

Peres is expected to present his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, with his proposal for reforming how Israel and its Arabs neighbors negotiate peace agreements. Under the deal, which is currently being formulated by the offices of the president, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel would negotiate with representatives of all Arab countries, in accordance with the 2002 Saudi peace initiative.

Mubarak invited Peres by telephone and the two will meet in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, a Jerusalem official said....."

Coming to You Soon: Peace on Earth, Courtesy of the Syrian Regime!

Syria envoy: Future generations will pay if Israel scuttles peace talks

"Syria's ambassador to the United States on Tuesday warned that should Israel scuttle peace negotiations with Syria, the citizens of each country will pay the price. "If the Israelis are merely interested in the 'process' and not the 'peace', they will ultimately be held accountable... Future Israeli and Arab generations will pay a dear price for this shortsightedness and obstinacy," Ambassador Imad Moustapha said in an interview with the Syria Comment Web site. .....

On the issue of Syria's relations with Iran, Moustapha asserted that the United States shouldn't seek to distance his country from the Islamic Republic. He said that the U.S. should instead use Syria to defuse tensions. "We can help bridge the stark differences between Iran and the U.S.; we can help find a regional settlement to the many contentious issues of the region. We can help avoid the perils of yet another major conflict in our region," said the envoy. "

The Bush Doctrine in Ruins

by Tom Engelhardt

"On the brief occasions when the president now appears in the Rose Garden to "comfort" or "reassure" a shock-and-awed nation, you can almost hear those legions of ducks quacking lamely in the background. Once upon a time, George W. Bush, along with his top officials and advisers, hoped to preside over a global Pax Americana and a domestic Pax Republicana – a legacy for the generations. More recently, their highest hope seems to have been to slip out of town in January before the you-know-what hits the fan. No such luck......

In these last years, the Bush administration's deepest fundamentalist faith – its cultish belief in the efficacy of military force above all else – has proven an empty vessel. With its "military strengths beyond challenge" all-too-effectively challenged, Bush's second-term officials are finally returning to some of the most boringly traditional methods of diplomacy and negotiation – under far more extreme circumstances and from a far weaker position – while their former neocon supporters scream bloody murder from right-wing think tanks in Washington and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. "Having bent the knee to North Korea," former UN ambassador John Bolton wrote recently in that paper, "Secretary [of State] Rice appears primed to do the same with Iran, despite that regime's egregious and extensive involvement in terrorism and the acceleration of its nuclear program."

And they do have a point. This administration does now seem to be on bended knee to the world.
As with Pandora's Box, however, what the Bush administration unleashed cannot simply be taken back. A new administration will not only inherit an arc of instability that is truly aflame, but the paradigm, still remarkably unexamined, of a Global War on Terror. Now, there is a disaster-in-the-making for you. "

The War Party Embraces Obama

Just remember: you've been warned…

by Justin Raimondo

".......Preoccupied as we are with the spectacle of "democracy" unfolding on the American stage, we fail to notice the contours of a new world conflict taking shape far from the media spotlight. From the steppes of Central Asia to the jungles of South America, the American colossus is being challenged by rising forces of nationalism, religious zeal, and sheer resentment of the heedless exercise of hegemonic power that is often mistranslated as "anti-Americanism." It will take more than the calm reassurances of Barack Obama to still these tides of discontent and rancor. If he defies the odds and actually makes it to the White House, Obama will merely put another face on the same old policies, albeit more friendly and less offensive to our own elites, who would rather not be so rudely confronted with the ruthlessness of their rulers.

As some of my readers may know, I recently moved to a small town in northern California, where antiwar feeling is high – and so is support for Obama. Everywhere I go I see Obama posters, bumper-stickers, etc. Why, just the other day, a gaggle of peace demonstrators gathered in the middle of the town's main street, holding up banners proclaiming their opposition to our government's foreign policy and their support for Obama. "Honk if you're for peace and Obama!" – and the resulting cacophony was audible for miles. I live next door to a couple that has festooned their home with peace signs, and their backyard is a veritable "peace garden," with peace signs sprouting up all over – and, yes, their car sports an Obama-Biden bumper-sticker. A house sign supporting the Democratic ticket has sprung up in their front yard, alongside the rhododendrons. I wonder how long it will take these well-meaning folks to become thoroughly disillusioned with their messiah. In the case of the more honest and intelligent, I give it a few weeks, a month or so at the outside. The rest, I'm afraid, will follow the Dear Leader to perdition…"

سياسات السلطة الفلسطينية كما يراها قادتها

ياسر الزعاترة

"حين يتحدث قائد الأمن الوطني في السلطة الفلسطينية اللواء ذياب العلي، فعلينا الإصغاء باهتمام، تماما كما نصغي لقادته السياسيين الكبار، لاسيما أنه الرجل الأكثر قربا من الرئيس الفلسطيني، وعندما قابله مراسل صحيفة القدس العربي زهير أندراوس، كان ثمة منسق إعلامي يحضر الحوار الذي أصر أندراوس، ربما لما تنطوي عليه تصريحات الرجل من إثارة، على التأكيد على أنه مسجل.

مواقف اللواء السابقة بدت مثيرة، حتى لصحفي إسرائيلي من وزن ناحوم برنياع الذي حضر لقاءً لعدد من قادة الأمن الفلسطيني مع نظرائهم الإسرائيليين في مستوطنة بيت إيل، وكتب عنه في يديعوت أحرونوت بتاريخ (19/9) قائلا "لم أسمع بمثل هذا الاستعداد المفرط للعمل مع إسرائيل من القيادة الفلسطينية في أية مرة من المرات باستثناء فترة قصيرة في ربيع 1996 عندما لوحت إسرائيل لعرفات بأن إرهاب الانتحاريين سيؤدي إلى إبعاده. جبريل الرجوب وأتباعه قضوا على مخربي حماس فوق تلة بيتونيا. في شهرين إلى ثلاثة انتهت الحكاية".

ثم نقل عن صاحبنا اللواء، واسمه الحركي أبو الفتح قوله لمضيفيه الإسرائيليين "ليس هناك خصام بيننا، لدينا عدو مشترك" مضيفا "أنا سأفعل كل ما أستطيعه لكي أمنع العمليات، أنتم تدركون أننا أفضل من السابق، وأنتم تمدحون ذلك. بفضل عملياتنا أصبحتم أقل حاجة لقواتكم".

ثم نقل عن قائد آخر، هو رئيس الاستخبارات العسكرية مجيد فراج، قوله "قررنا خوض الصراع حتى النهاية، قررنا وضع مشاكلنا على الطاولة. كل شيء علني وظاهر، وأنا أقول لكم، لن يكون هناك أي حوار معهم، فمن يريد قتلك عليك أن تبكّر بقتله". ويضيف "أنتم توصلتم إلى هدنة معهم، أما نحن فلا. توخيا للصدق أقول إننا تصرفنا بصورة مغايرة في الماضي. الآن نقوم بتولي أمر كل مؤسسة حمساوية ترسلون اسمها إلينا. أعطيتمونا في الآونة الأخيرة أسماء 64 مؤسسة، وقد انتهينا من معالجة 50 منها. بعض هذه المؤسسات أغلقت، والبعض الآخر استبدلنا إدارتها. كما وضعنا أيدينا على أموالهم (إسرائيل حولت للسلطة 150 حسابا بنكيا يشتبه بعلاقاتها بالتنظيمات الإرهابية. السلطة أغلقت 300 حساب)".
كل ذلك يثبت عبثية الديمقراطية تحت الاحتلال وفي ظل تحكّمه بكل شيء، وبالتالي عبثية اعتبار الانتخابات حلا لمشكلة الانقسام، هي التي ينبغي أن تخدم الاحتلال، وليس الشعب الفلسطيني.

لقد مللنا القول إننا إزاء سلطة صممت لخدمة الاحتلال (أمنيا وسياسياً واقتصادياً) وليس لخدمة الشعب الفلسطيني، حتى لو انطوى وجودها على بعض المكاسب، وبالتالي فإن حلّها هو الحل، وأقله تحويلها إلى سلطة مقاومة بصرف النظر عن رد فعل الاحتلال، وليس الذهاب إلى انتخابات مبكرة أو غير مبكرة، لأنها انتخابات إما أن تفضي إلى نتائج تكرس السلطة بطبعتها الحالية في الضفة الغربية، وإما أن يتواصل الحصار وتستمر الأزمة.

أما حماس، فعليها الخروج من روحية الهيمنة على قطاع غزة على حساب القضية برمتها، وإلا فإن الموقف الشعبي والعربي والإسلامي منها سيتغير، لاسيما أن بقاءها أسيرة هذا التفكير سيعني هدنة دائمة يريدها الاحتلال، مع نسيان القضية المركزية أو تركها لمسار خريطة الطريق العبثي.

لقد آن أن تعترف قيادة حماس بخطأ المشاركة في انتخابات سلطة أوسلو، ومن تشكيل الحكومة، وبعد ذلك الحسم العسكري، أقله في دوائرها الداخلية، وإذا لم تفعل فستواصل مسلسل الأخطاء الناتج عن حشر الذات في قطاع غزة واعتباره خاتمة المطاف، أقله بلسان الحال، وإن قيل غير ذلك بلسان المقال (هناك من يعتبرون ما جرى إنجازا، وشخصيا أقسم أنني أدعو الله من كل قلبي أن يكون كذلك، وأن يثبت صحة اجتهادهم وخطأ التحليل الذي تبنيناه) وهو مسلسل أفضى إلى نسيان القضية الحقيقية التي تأسست الحركة لأجلها، والهدف الذي من أجله دفعت أروع الشهداء وأعظم الضحيات التي توجتها سيدة لسائر الحركات الإسلامية بلا منازع طوال ما يزيد على عقد ونصف العقد من السنوات.

أما أولئك الذين تابعنا بعض مواقفهم ورؤاهم، فنحن لم ننتظر منهم غير ذلك، ولطالما تمنينا لو تركوا يطبقون رؤيتهم المعروفة النتيجة، وذلك حتى يصلوا الجدار المسدود وينقلب الشعب عليهم، ويعيد القيادة إلى من يستحقونها من الأوفياء لخيار المقاومة؛ القابضين على جمر فلسطين، كل فلسطين، من البحر إلى النهر."