Saturday, November 1, 2008
The House of Saud......
Can Never Say No When the Masters Come Asking for More......
In Return, the Masters Make Sure It Stays in Ownership of a Medieval, Tyrannical Monarchy.....
It Has Been This Way for Over 70 Years!
"Britain's Gordon Brown arrives in Saudi Arabia requesting financial support from Arab countries to calm the world economic crisis.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown landed in the kingdom on Saturday to begin a four-day regional visit which also includes Qatar and the UAE.
He will be holding talks to try to boost the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance available to countries struggling amid the global credit crisis and to convince Arab leaders to give extra funds to countries hit by the economic crisis....."
(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)
"It is true that Condoleezza Rice is smarter than her conspicuously ignorant boss, President George Bush. However, in terms of moral character, it is amply clear that Rice is at least as dishonest and mendacious as her boss is. After all, we are talking about a woman who knows little or no moral distinction between truth and falsehood and between right and wrong.
This the very woman who two years ago had the guts to congratulate her Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, on the "success" of the Nazi-like blockade Israel had been imposing on the Gaza Strip, which destroyed the Gaza economy and pushed 1.5 million innocent human beings to the brink of Auschwitz. A silent genocide, after all, is still genocide, and it makes no difference if the victims die in gas chambers or die a slow, agonizing death as a result of starvation.
This is the woman who reacted to the widespread destruction by Israel of Lebanese population centers and the dropping by the Israeli air force of 2-3 million cluster bomblets, enough to kill or maim 2-3 million children, by saying, "Israel has the right to defend itself."
In 2006, Rice described the annihilation of hundreds of innocent civilians in Lebanon, including entire families that were asleep in the privacy of their homes, as representing "the pangs for the birth of a new Middle East."
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 1, 2008; A11
"JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- A group of Saudi activists is planning the country's first public hunger strike to draw attention to the detention without charge of a dozen political reformists. The participants, who include lawyers, university students and relatives of the detained, could face arrest for their protest in this authoritarian kingdom.
The 48-hour strike is planned in several Saudi cities on Thursday and Friday, a weekend here. Organizers said they are demanding that the government grant the prisoners fair and public trials or set them free.
"To the government, we want to say that you can't put prisoners of conscience in jail without facing consequences," said Walid Abu-Alkhair, a writer and lawyer in Jiddah. "And to the activists, we want to say, you are not alone. We want to show that when you put human rights activists in jail, a new wave will come and take their place."......"
By Hasan Faqih
"AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Hundreds of heavily-armed CIA-trained Palestinian troops on Saturday stormed the village of al Burj, 30 kilometers south west of Al-Khalil (Hebron), raiding homes, vandalizing property and detaining a number of teachers and college students suspected of “carrying out anti-Israeli activities.”
The operation, code-named “Isrhaqato Watan” (Sunrise) started around dawn, with masked troops, backed by some 20 jeeps, sniffing dogs, arriving at the village, apparently in coordination with the Israeli occupation army.
Al-Burj, situated along the former armistice line (the Green Line), is classified as area C and totally controlled by the Israeli army. However, the Israeli army recently allowed PA troops to operate in area C for a short duration provided that only anti-Israeli elements, particularly pro-Hamas supporters, are targeted. The PA asked Israel to allow PA troops to arrest some local Shin Beth informers mainly as a cover-up for the anti-Hamas campaign.......
The locals, who often referred to the troops as “Fatah Jews” or simply “the collaborators”, were especially incensed by the use of sniffing dogs inside their living rooms. “We have experienced the repression of the Israeli occupation army for 40 years, but we haven’t seen such a bestial manner,” said Halima Talahmeh, an elderly woman......
Last week, PA troops, also in coordination with the Israeli army, raided the two small towns of Yatta and Sammou’ to arrest suspected Islamic activists. At least 25 people were arrested during the raids which lasted for 12 hours. Among the people arrested were two Israeli informers who were later released after an Israeli officer threatened to arrest all the Palestinian troops and confiscate their weapons.
According to local inhabitants, masked PA troops entered mosques with their boots on, tearing up Islamic wall-magazines and anti-Israeli literature......
In a related development, Israeli occupation forces on Friday stormed the town of Dura. The troops opened fire on stone-hurling boys, wounding three of them, one seriously. Palestinian troops stationed in the town quietly withdrew into their barracks during the Israeli raid. When the raid ended toward the evening, the Fatah troops returned to the streets with people shouting at them “where were you when the occupation soldiers were shooting at us? Are you lions with us, but rabbits with the Jews?” "
"WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (IPS) - With media and diplomatic attention focused on the international incident ignited by a U.S. cross-border raid from Iraq into Syrian territory last weekend, the Syrian government quietly handed down 30-month prison terms to a group of democracy activists on Wednesday.
Few took notice, although Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to immediately overturn the convictions and order the release of prisoners arrested during a crackdown on the Damascus Declaration movement in late 2007 and early 2008.
Forty activists who participated in a Damascus Declaration forum had been detained, although most were later released. In a 20-minute sentencing session, the 12 who were prosecuted and convicted were given stiff prison terms for allegedly attempting to promote gradual political change in the country.
"In a transparent bid to silence its critics, the government is jailing democracy activists for simply attending a meeting," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW. "The trial was a mere cover to legitimise the government's repression of opposition groups and peaceful critics."
But the best cover for the Syrian regime may have come from the U.S., Syria expert and Oklahoma University professor Joshua Landis told IPS.
"The world is not concentrating on this; the world is concentrating on America's violation of Syrian territory," Landis told IPS, noting that even some of the U.S.'s allies have condemned the raid......."
See Human Rights Watch Report:
Syria: Harsh Sentences for Democratic Opposition
Dr. Mohammad Hannoun, head of the Palestinian Coalition in Italy, a founding member of the European Committee Against the Siege, stated on Friday that preparations are be carried out to send the EU legislators to Gaza soon.
Hannoun added that legislators from different European counties, representing different parties, in addition to western reporters will be onboard the ship.
He also stated that the European legislators who were barred from entering Gaza via the Rafah terminal are persistent to sail to Gaza in order to participate in lifting the siege imposed by Israel on the impoverished Gaza Strip.
“Those legislators want to observe the situation in Gaza, the 1.5 million Palestinians who are surrounded there”, Hannoun added, “this trip comes while dozens of patients are dying in Gaza due to lack of medications and due to Israel’s refusal to allow them to leave Gaza for medical treatment abroad”.
Hannoun said that the legislators will be visiting health and educational facilities to observe the deadly effects of the siege on the residents of the Gaza Strip. He added that they will write reports and pressure their governments to act in order to lift the siege.
“This siege constitutes a war crime”, Hannoun said, “These visits are in solidarity with the Palestinian people are a direct rejection to this unjust siege that even bars the patients from receiving the needed medical treatment”.
On his side, Dr. Natheer Ahmad, head of the European parliamentarian delegates visiting Gaza, stated that the “unjust siege on Gaza requires everybody to perform their moral and human duty; it requires us to break this siege which continues for the third consecutive year”.
“Egypt did not allow us to enter Gaza via the Rafah terminal, but this will not stop us from visiting the area, Ahmad stated, “We will sail to Gaza, we are determined to break the siege”.
Recently the Egyptian Authorities barred 53 parliamentarians from entering the Gaza Strip; the parliamentarians are from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and Scotland in addition to parliamentarians from North Africa, Asia, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan, and Egypt."
"The group of internationals I had traveled with to the northern West Bank city of Nablus had decided to park our car just behind the Huwwara checkpoint, where Israeli soldiers control Palestinian movement to and from the city. From the outset, I began taking pictures of an Israeli military outpost littered with heavy tanks and armored vehicles -- all pointing in the direction of the beleaguered city -- as I had documented the Israeli occupation throughout my travels through the West Bank. However, as I slung my camera over my shoulder and proceeded with my fellow travelers to the checkpoint, an Israeli army jeep suddenly appeared beside me. Through the plastic zipper window of the military transport I saw two fingers aggressively pointing in my direction. Struggling to explain myself, my camera was quickly confiscated and I was pulled inside the vehicle where I was subjected to a barrage of threats.
It was harassment for the sake of harassment. And this would be the first time I was to experience -- to a very small degree -- what Palestinians endure as a matter of course......"
Besides Serving Tea to the IOF and Destroying Palestinian Refugee Camps, the Lebanese "Army" Supposedly Has the Ability to Discover Spy Rings....
"01/11/2008 The Lebanese army has discovered a Lebanese cell suspected of working for Israel's spy agency, the Mossad, since the 1980s, the leading Lebanese daily As-Safir reported Saturday.
The report quoted judicial and security sources as saying that the network's leader and his relative, both of whom have been arrested by the Lebanese authorities, have confessed that they were collaborating with the Mossad.
The Lebanese army arrested the cell's leader in western Bekaa Valley after having monitored his moves inside Lebanon and his trips to Syria, the report said.
While the sources refused to elaborate, citizens of the western Bekaa Valley town where the arrest took place told As-Safir that security forces raided the suspect's home and confiscated his vehicle, which was fitted with a camera capable of taking clear pictures of license plates and faces........"
(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)
"Before the Syrians get from us what they want, they must show through their actions that they intend to stop arming Hezbollah, and must cut ties with Iran and terrorism," Army Radio quoted her as saying......."
Let's analyze that.
First, he doesn't reiterate that he is pulling US forces out. Instead, he appears to say that the key is to get Iraq to pay for the war, to get the Iraqis to use their surplus. That may appeal to budget-conscious US voters, but -- especially with the price of oil dropping fast -- Iraq, which is a poor, Third World nation with a devastated economy, isn't going to pay for the war.
Second, he says that he wants "the Iraqi government to step up," meaning, presumably, to fight its own war. That, of course, is exactly what President Bush can been saying, namely, that the US will "stand down" when the Iraqis "stand up." Problem is, the Iraqis need to be handed an unconditional timetable that doesn't depend on what they do or don't do. Iraq doesn't need President Obama to "asking" it to step up.
Third, and most troubling, Obama says that Americans will have to tighten their belts because of the "cost of the war in Iraq." Doesn't that mean that the war will continue?"
"في رواية الطاعون المنشورة عام 1947، قدم الكاتب الفرنسي البير كامو، الذي ناضل في صفوف المقاومة ضد الاحتلال النازي وحكومة فيشي الفرنسية العميلة، تعريفا جديدا للبطولة فهي: عندما يقوم الناس العاديون بأمور غير عادية نتيجة احساسهم بالمسؤولية الاخلاقية.
بهذا التعريف اصبحت البطولة ملكا لا للنخبة بل لكل الناس. ومن هذا المنطلق بامكاننا ان نفهم موقف الشاب العراقي ابراهيم القرغولي، الذي حكمت عليه (محكمة عراقية يوم الثلاثاء بالموت شنقا بسبب قيامه بقتل ثلاثة جنود أمريكيين عام 2006 بطريقة وصفت بالوحشية)، وحسب بيان وزعه جيش الاحتلال الامريكي يوم الثلاثاء الماضي، واستنسخته وكالات الانباء العربية والعالمية.
وكان مصدر كل ما نشر عن اصدار حكم الاعدام بحق ابراهيم هو جيش الاحتلال الامريكي. لذلك وصفت العملية التي ساهم بتنفيذها بالوحشية تارة وبالارهاب تارة أخرى. بينما كان ما قام به ابراهيم هو مساهمته في عملية عسكرية ضد جنود العدو التابعين للفرقة 101 المنقولة جوا، الذين كانوا يقومون بدورية استطلاع في مدينة اليوسفية
ان ابراهيم القرغولي مواطن عراقي عادي جوبه بجريمتين الاولى هي احتلال وطنه والثانية هي اغتصاب اخت له. فكيف لا يقاوم وكيف لا يثور؟ وهذا السؤال هو الذي يجب ان يطرحه القضاة في محكمة الجنايات على انفسهم، اذا كانوا يتمتعون النزاهة واحترام الذات والقوانين. ولايزال امامهم فترة 30 يوما لتصحيح موقفهم. ولا تزال امامنا افراد ومنظمات في العراق والبلدان العربية والاسلامية وعلى المستوى العالمي الفرصة لرفع اصواتنا عاليا للمطالبة باطلاق سراح ابراهيم.
ان اصرار المقاوم البير كامو، في روايته الرمزية عن مدينة اصابها وباء الطاعون، على وضع المسؤولية الأخلاقية للفرد في قلب كل الخيارات العامة، يكتسب اهمية خاصة في وضعنا الحالي، حيث يعيش العراق في ظل الاحتلال تحت غمامة ضياع الحق والصمت والاستسلام . وهذه النقطة هي التي تحدث عنها كامو مرارا وتكرارا في الرواية، خشية أن تفوت على القارىء، حيث يقول: (عندما ترى المعاناة التي تنجم عن وباء الطاعون ، يجب ان تكون مجنونا أو أعمى أو جبانا حتى تقبل به). "
"For months there has been relentless talk of an October surprise capable of swaying the US presidential election - just as the Osama bin Laden video "Message to the American people" released in late October 2004. Possible October surprises include former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Senator Barack Obama and former vice-president Al Gore campaigning for Obama in Florida - the state that cost him the election in 2000. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has vaguely endorsed Senator John McCain. But many - including top US government officials - are still waiting for an Osama bin Laden video."
By Robert Fisk
"In Damascus, a massive statue of the late President Hafez al-Assad sits on a mighty iron chair outside the 22,000sq m Assad Library, a giant book open in his right hand.
Behind him lie the archives of his dictatorship. But not a single state paper is open to the people of Syria. There are no archives from the foreign ministry or the interior ministry or the defence ministry. There is no 30-year rule – for none is necessary. The rule is for ever. There is no Public Record Office in the Arab world, no scholars waiting outside the National Archives.
It is the same in Cairo, in Riyadh, in Beirut and in Tripoli. Dictatorships and caliphates do not give away their secrets. The only country in the Middle East where you can burrow through the files is called Israel – and good for the Israelis. But the result is obvious. While Israeli scholars have been able to deconstruct the traditional story of little Israel – proving that there were no Arab radio stations calling for the Palestinians to leave their land, that the Arabs were indeed ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages by Irgun and the Hagana – there is no Arab scholar who can balance the books by drawing on the archives of his own history. They must go to the National Archives in London to read General Cunningham's dispatches from 1948 Palestine, or quote from Israeli books. The record stops there. Aside from the self-serving biographies of Arab dictators and generals, that's it. Even Walid Khalidi's huge tome on the destroyed villages of Palestine relies heavily on the work of Israeli historian Benny Morris........"
The Guardian, Saturday November 1 2008
"Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer prize-winning author, broadcaster and master chronicler of American life in the 20th century, died last night. He was 96.
Celebrated for his streetwise portrayals of the American working class, Terkel was best known for letting the common people he called "the uncelebrated" tell their stories in books like Working and The Good War.
To generations of radio listeners he was also the voice of The Studs Terkel Show, which ran for 43 years and was widely syndicated across the US......
Speaking to a reporter last year, Terkel said "My epitaph? My epitaph will be 'Curiosity did not kill this cat.'"......"
See Amy Goodman's Lengthy Interview With Studs Terkel in Chicago in November 13, 2007:
Legendary Radio Broadcaster and Oral Historian Studs Terkel on the Iraq War, NSA Domestic Spy Program, Mahalia Jackson, James Baldwin, the Labor Movement and His New Memoir “Touch and Go”
guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 01 2008
"Last month I wrote about the first and only Palestinian keffiyeh scarf factory, which is struggling to survive even though this symbol of the Palestinian national struggle went from anti-war accessory to high street fashion item.
I mentioned that, although the black-and-white chequered scarf has gleaned serious fashion stripes, it was slammed in some quarters as being an endorsement of terror. Back then, Israel didn't go for the scarf as fashion item, which I'd assumed was because the keffiyeh's unequivocal political significance was just a bit too close for comfort.....
I think it looks nice, that's why I wear it," says one 23-year-old woman in Tel Aviv who is channelling the scarf much like the American celebrity chef Rachael Ray did for a subsequently banned advert earlier this year. "We learned it was fashionable from Europe," says 18-year-old Kineret, at a central shopping centre, also sporting the keffiyeh as street-trend. Both of these women say they know what the scarf represents and are not wearing it as a political statement.
But why the time delay?......."
guardian.co.uk, Friday October 31 2008
"So now they tell us. Two months after the brief but bloody war in the Caucasus which was overwhelmingly blamed on Russia by western politicians and media at the time, a serious investigation by the BBC has uncovered a very different story.
Not only does the report by Tim Whewell – aired this week on Newsnight and on Radio 4's File on Four - find strong evidence confirming western-backed Georgia as the aggressor on the night of August 7. It also assembles powerful testimony of wide-ranging war crimes carried out by the Georgian army in its attack on the contested region of South Ossetia......."
Friday, October 31, 2008
This cartoon about promised elections in Mauritania was posted in Palestinian Pundit. By mistake, the cartoon was credited to the Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat. In reality, as the link supplied shows, the artist is Nizar Outhman.
Our sincerest apologies and we promise to post more of your cartoons.
At the same time, the peace activist praised the steadfastness of the Palestinians in Gaza and predicted a bright future for the Gaza Strip despite the siege.
In an interview with Quds Press, Maguire called on the world to pay more attention to what is happening in Gaza and to come and see what is happening. At the same time, she called on the Israeli government to immediately end the siege and re-open the border crossings to enable the Palestinians to live in security and freedom like the rest of the people around the world.
She viewed this second Free Gaza voyage as a peaceful protest to call on Israel to end the occupation and lift the siege on Gaza stressing that the international activists will do their best to make more such trips to Gaza.
Maguire said she was shocked at the extent of "unbelievable" suffering the Gaza people have to endure, describing the siege as a collective punishment practiced by the Israeli government against an unarmed people.
She added that the international activists visited hospitals and saw for themselves the extent of suffering and the lack of spare parts for medical equipment describing the overall situation as life being destroyed through collective punishment.
(Note: translated from the Arabic report on the interview) "
Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore on the Election, the Bailout, Healthcare, and 10 Proposed Decrees From a New White House
Human Rights Watch
"(Damascus, October 30, 2008) – Syria’s sentencing of a dozen leading democracy advocates to more than two years in prison is the latest evidence of Syria’s repression of opposition groups, Human Rights Watch said today. The democracy activists, including doctors, lawyers, writers, and an artist, were sentenced on October 29, 2008 to 30 months in prison on politically motivated charges.
Human Rights Watch attended the sentencing session and called for President Bashar al-Assad to immediately quash the convictions and order the prisoners’ release.
In a sentencing session that barely lasted 20 minutes, the First Damascus Criminal Court, presided over by Muhieldeen Hallaq, convicted the 12 activists on vaguely defined charges of “weakening national sentiment” and “spreading false or exaggerated news which would affect the morale of the country.”......"
"I have mentioned before that Obama must win in order to preserve the empire and restore its domination. Look no other that Fukuyama endorsing Obama.
After being a cheerleader for the war for years and the biggest endorser of the neo-cons , he has the chutzpah now to say: "It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. " ...what a tragic comedy." -- Zarathustra
By Francis Fukuyama
"I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale....."
Until a proper explanation comes out of the US, it is safe to assume that there are people in the outgoing US administration who are angry with the moderate behavior Syria has shown in the past seven months, and want it to change course towards radicalization. Logic says that radicals cannot deal with moderates; it makes them uneasy.
When Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, a radical, was confronted with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat carrying a an olive branch, this made the Israeli premier uneasy as he would have rather dealt with someone like Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal, another radical, who wanted confrontation with Israel.
Likewise, the Americans were pleased at the rejectionist policies of Syria in 2003-2005, using them to push for more sanctions, confrontation and possibly regime change in Syria. When Syria cooperated on Iraq and Lebanon, the radicals in the US administration felt that they could no longer make proper arguments against Syria. They were worried that the State Department was engaging the Syrians over Iraq and indirect peace talks with Israel. To bring all of that to a halt, they fabricated the Abu Ghadiyah story, attacked Syria, wanting Syria to retaliate with more radicalization, which would lead to confrontation.
So far, the Syrian response has been symbolic, through protests by hundreds of thousands of people on October 30, and closure of the American school, and substantive, through the severing of diplomatic relations with Iraq, but not with the United States - the Syrians are betting on Democratic Senator Barack Obama as the next president [COMMENT: What else do you expect of the Rabbit Punching Bag?] . "
Global Research, October 31, 2008
"......."Second 9/11": Historical Background
The presumption of a Second 9/11 has become an integral part of US military doctrine. America is under attack. The US military must respond preemptively.
In the immediate wake of the invasion of Iraq (April 2003), various national security measures were put in place focusing explicitly on the eventuality of a second attack on America. In fact these procedures were launched simultaneously with the first stage of war plans directed against Iran in May 2003 under Operation Theater Iran Near Term (TIRANNT). (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Theater Iran Near Term" (TIRANNT), Global Research, February 21, 2007).
The Role of a "Massive Casualty Producing Event"
Former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks, in an magazine interview in December 2003, had outlined a scenario of what he described as "a massive casualty producing event" on American soil [a Second 9/11. Implied in General Franks statement was the notion and belief that civilian deaths were necessary to raise awareness and muster public support for the "global war on terrorism":
"[A] terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event." (General Tommy Franks Interview, Cigar Aficionado, December 2003)
Franks was obliquely alluding to a "Second 9/11" terrorist attack, which could be used to galvanize US public opinion in support of martial law........"
"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the campaign of arrests being carried out by Palestinian security services against Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The Centre calls upon the governments in Ramallah and Gaza to immediately cease all forms of arbitrary arrests, and to release all political prisoners on both sides and without delay.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR over the past two weeks, Palestinian security services have waged a sporadic arrest campaign against activists and supporters of Hamas in Hebron, in the southern West Bank. The campaign has targeted university students, staff members of Islamic charities, and a journalist. Some of the targeted persons were detained by the General Intelligence Service (GIS) and the Preventive Security Services (PSS), and an undisclosed number remain in detention......."
"For Immediate Release Date : 10-31-2008
At 10:00 am Cyprus time, three Israeli gunboats attacked Palestinian fishing boats in the territorial waters of Gaza. Eleven internationals have accompanied the fishermen on five of the boats. The internationals were from the Free Gaza Movement and had landed on the shores of Gaza on October 29 aboard the SS DIGNITY.
According to David Schermerhorn, one of the internationals on board, "Three naval vessels attacked us with machine gun fire and water cannons. All three boats have machine guns on board, one of them has a huge water cannon. The water from the cannon was so fierce, it blasted a lot of the equipment overboard as well as my GPS locator. At the time of the attack, we were about 9 miles offshore fishing. Several of us got on the radio to the Israeli navy and shouted, "We are human rights watchers. We are unarmed internationals, and we are recording everything you are doing. They completely ignored us and continued menacing all of the boats."....."
"WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (IPS) - An estimated 17,000 Iraqis detained in their own country by occupying U.S. forces may soon face transfer into an Iraqi government detention system where reports of abuse and torture are commonplace, says a leading human rights advocacy group.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) statement Wednesday focuses on the potential for detainee transfers according to the stipulations of the U.S.-Iraqi security deal, a draft of which is currently before Iraq's cabinet and parliament for approval. There are reports this week that the cabinet has decided to reopen negotiations on some aspects.
"Human Rights Watch called on the U.S. government to ensure that detainees are not in danger of being tortured by establishing a mechanism that would provide each detainee with a genuine opportunity to contest a transfer to Iraqi custody, and by verifying the conditions of Iraqi detention facilities to which they could be transferred, through inspections whose results are made public," said the statement...... "
(Anis Hamadeh is in the Free Gaza Web and Media Team)
".....Hamas has a record of human rights violations, too, and the Free Gaza Movement is confronted with the question of how they can inherently support terrorists. In this logic, any support for the civil population in Gaza is pro-Hamas and pro-terrorist. How cruel to punish a whole people in that way. (And how would you react if you were accidentally born into this people?) Hamas was democratically elected and it was the so-called "democrats" themselves who treasoned democracy by not acknowledging the elected party. It is quite amazing that e.g. all the early Israeli prime ministers came from terror groups and no official ever bothered to demand boycotts and sieges except for the people from the region who were too weak to implement them on a major scale. Besides, the Gaza Strip is not sovereign, but illegaly controlled by another state: Israel. This has an effect on the Gaza Strip and it makes resistance legitimate. Not terror, certainly. Terror in the sense of harming civilians for political purposes is never legitimate, not even for states.
It is a mystery how the Free Gaza Movement can polarize to this extend by nonviolently demanding the human rights to be applied to humans. The reason probably is that the boats from Cyprus remind people of what has happened to this country over the last decades. Because when you have one of the most lethal and active armies in the world on the one hand and a native population without an army on the other, you can imagine who makes the decisions. But - when an army has to shy away because it cannot act in secret like in the Free Gaza case, then people realize that there is something even stronger than violence, and that is the public. "
By Justin Raimondo
".....As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, in this instance – because we've certainly been through the mill these past eight years, and deserve some relief – I have to say that this attitude is profoundly irrational. After all, why shouldn't we take Obama at his word? If he says he's going to "curb Russian aggression" – you know, like one might curb one's rather-too-aggressive dog – and get up in Putin's face, is he lying? When he solemnly pledges to go after the Iranians if they insist on deterring Israel's nukes with an arsenal of their own, is he speaking in Pig-Latin?
The common assumption of these letter-writers is that Obama is just trying to "pass," so to speak, as a warmonger. Once he's in office, peace will break out all over. What evidence do we have for this? None whatsoever........"
"نقلت صحيفة دي تسايت الألمانية عن اثنين من المسؤولين البارزين السابقين في وزارة الدفاع الأميركية (البنتاغون) أعترافهما بأن الحرب على العراق كانت ضد عدو خطأ، وأن إيران كانت هي العدو الحقيقي الذي ينبغي على واشنطن مهاجمته.
ونسبت الصحيفة إلى دوغلاس فيث وكيل وزارة الدفاع الأميركية حتى أوائل عام 2005 والمعروف عالميا كأحد المفكرين البارزين للمحافظين الجدد إقراره بأن أرتباط إيران القديم بمنظمات معادية للولايات المتحدة، وسعيها لتطوير برنامجها النووي، كان كافيا لاعتبارها العدو الحقيقي وليس نظام الرئيس صدام حسين.
"Accusations of voter fraud, and voter suppression continue to abound in the US presidential campaign, with both democrats and republicans blaming each other. Professor Spencer Overton believes that there is a need to curb political manipulation as well as a need for greater transparency."
By Robert Fisk
"In the dying days of the Bush administration, yet another presidential claim in the "war on terror" has been proved false by the withdrawal of the main charge against six Algerians held without trial for nearly seven years at Guantanamo prison camp.
George Bush's assertion in his 2002 State of the Union address – the same speech in which he wrongly claimed that Saddam Hussein had tried to import aluminium tubes from Niger – was that "our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy [in Sarajevo]." Not only has the US government withdrawn that charge against the six Algerians, all of whom had taken citizenship or residence in Bosnia, but lawyers defending the Arabs – who had already been acquitted of such a plot in a Sarajevo court – have found that the US threatened to pull its troops out of the Nato peacekeeping force in Bosnia if the men were not handed over.......
Even stranger is that the six prisoners are claimed by the US to be "enemy combatants" when – with the dropping of the embassy bomb-plot charge – there is no evidence they have ever fought US troops or planned to attack US interests anywhere in the world. Part of the case against Bensayah involved the alleged discovery of a piece of paper at his home, bearing a telephone number for an al-Qa'ida operative, Abu Zubayder. "The Bosnian police couldn't get this number to work in Afghanistan or Pakistan," one of the prisoners' lawyers, Stephen Oleskey, says. "Now we believe an announcement that the paper had been discovered was made before it was 'found'."....."
The Guardian, Friday October 31 2008
"In the final days of the election many Republicans seem to have given up the fight for power. But don't be fooled: that doesn't mean they are relaxing. If you want to see real Republican elbow grease, check out the energy going into chucking great chunks of the $700bn bail-out out the door. At a recent Senate banking committee hearing, the Republican Bob Corker was fixated on this task, and with a clear deadline in mind: inauguration. "How much of it do you think may be actually spent by January 20 or so?" Corker asked Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former banker in charge of the bail-out.....
To further boost market confidence, the federal government has also unveiled unlimited public guarantees for many bank deposit accounts. Oh, and as if this were not enough, the treasury has been encouraging the banks to merge, ensuring that the only institutions left will be "too big to fail", thereby guaranteed a bail-out. In three ways, the market is being told loud and clear that Washington will not allow the financial institutions to bear the consequences of their behaviour. This may be Bush's most creative innovation: no-risk capitalism......"
Thursday, October 30, 2008
With Amy Goodman
"The Syrian government has condemned a deadly US military raid near the Iraqi border as “terrorist aggression.” The Bush administration has remained mum, stoking fears it could be trying to provoke further conflict in its remaining months in office. We speak to Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine and University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis......
ROBERT DREYFUSS: Well, you know, part of the problem, of course, is that there are conflicting reports about what happened and what didn’t happen. But it appears, at least, that this was not just an air raid, but this was actually a raid involving commandos and helicopters, something like the attack, I would say, that happened on September 3rd, the one and only time that we know about in Afghanistan where American forces crossed into Pakistan and conducted an on-the-ground raid inside Pakistan.
In both of these cases, they seem to be the logical expression of a decision that was made over the summer by the President, allowing US Special Operations Forces to conduct these cross-border or hot-pursuit raids into countries—in Pakistan’s case, an ally, and in Syria’s case, an adversary, I guess—to conduct these cross-border raids against people who the United States decided that it didn’t like, based on intelligence. We have, you know, extremely aggressive intelligence methods and surveillance and drone aircraft and everything else that watch these people, sometimes for hours or days at a time. And it, in turn, raises the question now of whether the United States might consider similar raids into Iran, which is in—over the past two years, has been increasingly blamed by the United States for supporting militant activity by especially Shiites in Iraq, based in training camps and transit facilities and so forth, both outside Tehran and along the Iran-Iraq border.
I describe this as kind of a parallel doctrine to the Bush Doctrine, where you had earlier the Bush Doctrine that said we can conduct preventive military action against countries that, you know, we perceive to be possibly threatening. In this case now, we’re conducting Special Forces or commando attacks against bases or facilities in countries that we think are harboring people who are conducting attacks on American or allied forces. This is a very, very, very troubling thing. If you go back to the origins, the beginning of the so-called war on terrorism, this is what it was supposed to look like.
And last week, I went to see Mike Vickers, who commands the Special Operations Forces—not commands them, but he’s the Assistant Secretary of Defense. He described how that unit—that those forces have doubled pretty much under the Bush administration and are set for further expansion. And this is a huge tool that’s now been created that can be used in many, many situations, in many countries. He said they operate now in sixty countries. So, this is potentially a major escalation of the war on terrorism just at the declining days of the Bush administration.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Robert Dreyfuss, the impact within Iraq itself? I mean, obviously already, one of the sticking points in reaching an agreement with the Iraqi government over the retention of US forces in Iraq is the issue that the Iraqi government is now saying, “Well, we want this agreement to include that there will be no attacks on other countries by US forces on Iraqi soil.”
ROBERT DREYFUSS: Yeah. This pretty much, you know, puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that the US and Iraq are going to come to some kind of Status of Forces Agreement. I’ve been saying for six months that there was no chance that this agreement could be signed, because of opposition inside Iraq.
The big irony here is that, only recently, Syria decided to send an ambassador to Iraq and, by the way, also send an ambassador to Lebanon, two major steps by Syria to try to build bridges both to its neighboring countries, but to the world at large. And this is a huge slap in the face to that effort.
The Iraqis now have protested the attack on Syria. They’ve promised the Syrians that they would conduct their own investigation and report to Damascus about what they find out. And this has created a nationalist backlash inside Iraq that I think is astonishingly bad for any effort by the Bush administration to try to conclude this agreement about what US forces can and can’t do from Iraq. Now, maybe that happened because they realize that it’s already too late for that agreement, and there won’t be any agreements. So it looks like that’s going back to the United Nations sometime next month......"
By JONATHAN COOK
".....Taking part in the annual march was one of the few survivors of the massacre. Saleh Khalil Issa is today 71, but back in 1956 he was an 18-year-old agricultural worker.
He remembered returning to the village on his bicycle, along with a dozen other workers, just after 5pm on 29 October 1956.
What he and the other villagers did not know was that earlier that day the Border Police, a special paramilitary unit that operates inside both Israel and the occupied territories, had agreed to set up checkpoints unannounced at the entrance to half a dozen Palestinian villages inside Israel.
The villages were selected because they lie close to the Green Line, the ceasefire line between Israel and Jordan, which was then occupying the West Bank, following the 1948 war.
At a briefing the commanding officer, Major Shmuel Malinki, ordered his men to shoot any civilian arriving home after 5pm.
Asked about the fate of women or children returning late, Malinki replied: “Without sentiment, the curfew applies to everyone.” Pressed on the point, he responded in Arabic: “Allah yarahmum [God have mercy on them]”, adding that this was the order from the brigade commander, Colonel Issachar Shadmi......
Remembering that moment 18 years later as Arab workers arrived at his checkpoint, he said: “I fired in the air and shouted in Arabic – ‘Yallah, go home fast’ – just like the German policeman who warned me on Kristallnacht.”......
The threat of expulsion continues to haunt the inhabitants of Kafr Qassem and its neighbouring villages. It is the main platform of Avigdor Lieberman, a politician who was appointed deputy prime minister at one point in Ehud Olmert’s government.
Mr Arabi observed that the massacre at Kafr Qassem had changed Palestinians’ response to Israeli violence. “In the 1948 war, many people fled when faced with the Israeli army, expecting to return after the fighting. After Kafr Qassem, Palestinians learnt that Israel did not play by the rules of war. We learnt that sumud [steadfastness] was our only defence.”"
"As the US presidential election heads towards the final stretch, voter fraud and voter registration issues have hit the headlines. Republicans claim they are trying to protect the integrity of the voting process and the electorate, while Democrats accuse Republicans of voter suppression, putting up roadblocks, to disenfranchise voters Republicans think, will vote Democrat. Professor Spencer Overton states that there are "several examples of partisan election administration officials who are making decisions, and there is a cloud over their decisions, because of their partisan motivations that may be behind it.""
The massacre was carried out on October 29, 1956 after Israeli troops stationed at the Jordanian border declared curfew on the following Arab villages close to the border: Kufur Qassim, Kufur Barra, Jaljoulia, Al Taiba, Qalansawa, Beer Al Sikka and Ibthan.
The Border Guard Unit of the Israeli army, headed by Major Shmoel Malinky, was in charge of declaring curfew on these villages. He was under the direct command of Major Yiskhar Sadmy.
The orders stated that curfew would be imposed from 5 in the evening until 6 in the morning. Shidmy ordered Malinky to impose a strict curfew and demanded him to shoot anyone who ventured into the streets instead of conducting arrests.
“It’s better to shoot and kill than dealing with the complications of arrests”, Shadmi said, “I don’t want any sympathy with anyone”.
Troops then were deployed in the Arab villages and a unit commanded by Gabriel Dahan headed to Kufur Qassim village. He deployed four brigades in several parts of the village including one brigade that was stationed at the western entrance of Kufur Qassim.
At approximately 4:30 in the evening, a military commander informed the Mukhtar (acting as mayor) of the village that the village would be under curfew and ordered him to inform the residents at 5pm.
The Mukhtar said that there were approximately 400 villagers who worked outside of the village and half an hour would not be enough to inform everybody. The commander then promised that the workers would be allowed into the village in order to go home, and stated that he and the government would be responsible for their safety.
The massacre started at 5 in the evening,at the western entrance to the village. The army executed 43 men at the western entrance, three more at the northern entrance, two inside the village, and a child, 11, was killed in a nearby village.
On that day, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 48 Palestinians in Kufur Qassim; among them were ten children and nine women. "
"30/10/2008 Damascus on Thursday witnessed a huge public demonstration in protest against the US act of terrorist aggression which targeted al-Sukkariah farm in Abu Kamal city on Sunday, claiming the lives of eight defenseless civilians, including a father and his four sons.
The protestors, who came from all public, students, women, civic societies, religious and trade union activities, expressed condemnation and rejection of the American heinous crime which targeted peaceful building workers in a farm in Abu Kamal.
They stressed that this act of aggression is a flagrant violation of the international laws and norms and a form of systematic terrorism exercised by the American administration on the Arab region [blah, blah, blah,....]......"
"CAIRO, Oct 29 (IPS) - A high-ranking member of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) is facing trial on charges of arranging the murder of a Lebanese pop singer. The case, along with a host of other public grievances, has badly tarnished the NDP's reputation ahead of an upcoming party conference.
"On the eve of its annual party congress, popular perceptions of the NDP have never been worse," Amr Hashem Rabie, expert on Egyptian party politics at the semi-official Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told IPS.
On Oct. 18, construction magnate Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a member of the NDP's powerful Policies Committee, pleaded not guilty to accusations that he financed the killing of Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim, found brutally murdered in her Dubai apartment three months ago. Fellow defendant Mohsen Al-Sukkary -- a former police officer charged with carrying out the crime in return for a two-million dollar payoff -- also pleaded not guilty......"
"......Then there is the diametrically opposite explanation (there always is with Syria): namely, that the entire thing was preplanned and coordinated between America and Syria as part of an ongoing effort and shared interest to undermine al-Qaeda, and that was actually a prelude to warmer bilateral relations.
It is certainly the case that Syria has been plagued recently by the actions of Salafist Jihadi groups, some emanating from Lebanon, and some from Iraq. There is also evidence that Syria and the U.S. have cooperated in the past in pushing back al-Qaeda activities. Juan Cole speculated on this yesterday, and Israeli intelligence analyst at the leading Israeli daily, Yediot Aharonot, Ronen Bergman, takes the claim several steps further today, and states, sourcing two unnamed American officials, that "the American commando attack in Syrian territory on the Iraqi border was coordinated in advance with Syrian military intelligence (translated from the Hebrew-DL)." Bergman sites as evidence that no anti-aircraft guns were used on the American helicopters, nor did local Syrian military units engage, although this occurred in broad daylight and in a police state where the presence of security service personnel is ubiquitous. Bergman is a respected commentator in Israel. He also of course is reliant on sources that may be using him as a mouthpiece for their own psyche-ops and propaganda. In this scenario, the shrill response of Syrian officials to the raid, which Baath party number two Mohammed Saeed Bkheitan called an "act of piracy" and "state terrorism", becomes part of the game. ......."
"The threat by the George W. Bush administration last week to withdraw all economic and military support from the Iraqi government if it does not accept the US-Iraq status of forces agreement has raised the stakes in the political-diplomatic struggle over the issue.
However, most Iraqi politicians are now so averse to any formal legitimization of the US military presence – and particularly of extraterritorial legal rights over US troops in the country – that even that threat is unlikely to save the pact......
Maliki and other Iraqi politicians remember very well the cost paid by politicians who fell afoul of Iraqi nationalists' efforts to revise the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi treaty, which gave the British special military privileges in Iraq that limited Iraq's independence.
When the Iraqi government revised the treaty in 1948 to extend it for 20 more years, it hoped to limit British military influence. The British agreed to evacuate the bases, but were given the right to return in the event of war. The revised treaty also set up a Joint Defense Board, which nationalist officers viewed as a symbol of continuing British domination.
The new agreement triggered mass protests in Baghdad, which was brutally put down by Iraqi police, killing 400 people. The first Shiite prime minister of Iraq, Salih Jaber, who renegotiated the agreement, was soon forced out of office.
In 1954, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, looking for allies against the Soviet Union, pressured Iraq to join the Baghdad Pact with Britain, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The British government wanted Iraqi membership in the pact as a means of assuring British access to military bases in Iraq after the Anglo-Iraq pact expired in 1958.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Said preferred to stay out of the pact, but he needed US military assistance to rearm Iraq. In a parallel to the tactic now being applied, the Eisenhower administration said he would get no arms and even threatened to cut all existing economic assistance to Iraq unless Said joined the pact.
Said gave in to that pressure and joined the pact in 1955. But three years later, nationalist officers overthrew the monarchical regime of Iraq and killed Said......."
"حمل القارب الثاني لحملة غزة الحرة (فري غزة) أدوية وأطباء ومتضامنين وصرخات ضد حصار موجع فوصلت شاطئ غزة بالعالم، لكن القاربين حملا أيضا بحسب المراقبين والمحللين إدانة خفية للدول العربية شعوبا وأنظمة، فما نجح فيه بضعة متضامنين عجزت عنه حكومات تمتد من المحيط إلى الخليج، فبدا كأن الحصار ليس إسرائيليا فحسب، بل ثمة مسؤولية كبيرة تتحملها الدول العربية وخصوصا دول الجوار التي تسد المنافذ.
"استقبل المحاصرون في قطاع غزة بفرحة غامرة 'سفينة الأمل' التي وصلت الى مينائهم البدائي البسيط، وعلى ظهرها مجموعة من المتضامنين من مختلف الجنسيات الاجنبية، واعتبروا هذه الخطوة دليلاً جديداً على الرفض الدولي لسياسات الاغلاق والحصار الخانق التي تفرضها اسرائيل على مليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني من ابناء القطاع.
المتضامنون ركبوا البحر انطلاقاً من قبرص في قارب صغير، وسط ظروف مناخية صعبة للغاية، وحمولة من الأدوية والمعدات الطبية، اكبر من الوزن المقرر، مما يعكس تصميمهم وشجاعتهم على ايصال رسالتهم الى المجتمع الدولي بأسره، وكسر الحصار، والمساهمة في تخفيف معاناة الرازحين تحته، النفسية منها والصحية.
ومن المفارقة انه يوم وصول هذه السفينة وركابها الشجعان اقدمت الحكومة المصرية على اغلاق ثلاثة انفاق، ومصادرة لعب اطفال كانت في طريقها الى القطاع، واعتقلت مجموعة من الشبان الذين كانوا يحاولون تهريبها.
لعب الأطفال هذه التي صادرتها قوات الأمن المصرية كانت ذاهبة الى اطفال القطاع حتى يحتفلوا بعيد الاضحى المبارك، مثلهم مثل جميع اطفال العالم الاسلامي، الامر الذي يعني ان من صادر هذه اللعب لا يريد لهؤلاء الاطفال ان يحتفلوا في هذا اليوم المبارك، ويصر على حرمانهم وذويهم من ابسط الاشياء التي قد ترسم ابتسامة على شفاههم في هذا اليوم المتميز في اجندتهم السنوية.
السلطات الاسرائيلية لم تعترض هذه السفينة، وسمحت لها بالمرور أسوة بسابقتها، وتراجعت عن تهديداتها بمنعها، لأنها تدرك ان اضرار المنع اكبر بكثير من اضرار عدمه، وهو موقف مغاير كلياً لموقف السلطات المصرية التي يهدد المسؤولون فيها ليل نهار بكسر رجل كل من يحاول ان يعبر الحدود المصرية المغلقة من ابناء قطاع غزة.
ندرك جيداً ان هذه السفن التي تخترق الحصار تمثل قيمة رمزية، ولا يمكن ان تؤدي الى ازالة الحصار، او توفير ممر بحري للمحاصرين، ولكنها تظل وسيلة احتجاج، واداة فاعلة لابقاء الاهتمام الدولي وتعبئته ضد الحكومة الاسرائيلية ونظيرتها المصرية اللتين تشددان على اغلاق معبر رفح، المنفذ الوحيد لأبناء القطاع الى العالم الخارجي.
فابقاء هذا المعبر مغلقاً، رغم اتفاق التهدئة الذي رعته الحكومة المصرية وتوقف اطلاق الصواريخ على البلدات والمستوطنات الاسرائيلية شمال قطاع غزة والنقب، هو انتهاك فاضح لكل القوانين الدولية، والمتعلقة منها بحقوق الانسان خاصة.
فالحكومة المصرية عندما تغلق هذا المعبر امام الجرحى والطلاب ورجال الاعمال، وتصادر لعب الأطفال وتمنع وصولها الى المحرومين والمحصارين، مثلما صادرت قبل ذلك احذية وملابس، انما ترتكب اثماً اكبر من اثم نظيرتها الاسرائيلية، لأنها حكومة تمثل بلداً عربياً مسلماً، من المفروض ان يكون في خندق المحاصرين في مواجهة جلاديهم وليس العكس مثلما هو حادث حالياً.
النشطاء الأجانب الذين وصلوا الى قطاع غزة بالامس يستحقون كل أوسمة الشجاعة والتكريم، لأنهم انحازوا الى ضميرهم الانساني، وقرروا ان يقفوا في خندق المحاصرين المجوعين، ليقولوا لهم انهم لم ينسوهم مطلقاً، وان قضية حصارهم، مثل قضيتهم المركزية، لا يمكن ان تطوى او يستمر التعتيم عليها، لأن هذا الحصار جريمة ووصمة عار في جبين الانسانية، والعالم الغربي، حليف اسرائيل، الذي يصمت عليه، وهو الذي يتفاخر بدفاعه عن الحريات والعدالة وحقوق الانسان."
"Syria has ordered the closure of the American School and the US cultural centre in Damascus. The closures are a response to a deadly cross-border raid carried out on Sunday, October 26, 2008. Damascus blames the US for the attack on a Syrian village near Abu Kamal, close to the border with Iraq.
Syria called the raid criminal and terrorist aggression, while Washington called it a successful operation. Eight Syrians were killed in a US raid on the village of Sukariya.
We ask: Is the Bush administration trying to make a desperate point in its final days? Is it warning Syria, or is the US foreign policy likely to change with the new administration?"
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
"The depression has started. Journalists are still coyly enquiring of economists whether or not we may be entering a mere recession. Don't believe it for a minute. We are already at the beginning of a full-blown worldwide depression with extensive unemployment almost everywhere. It may take the form of a classic nominal deflation, with all its negative consequences for ordinary people. Or it might take the form, a bit less likely, of a runaway inflation, which is simply another way in which values deflate, and which is even worse for ordinary people.
Of course everyone is asking what has triggered this depression. Is it the derivatives, which Warren Buffett called "financial weapons of mass destruction"? Or is it the subprime mortgages? Or is it oil speculators? This is a blame game, and of no real importance. This is to concentrate on the dust, as Fernand Braudel called it, of short-term events. If we want to understand what is going on, we need to look at two other temporalities, which are far more revealing. One is that of medium-term cyclical swings. And one is that of the long-term structural trends.
The capitalist world-economy has had, for several hundred years at least, two major forms of cyclical swings. One is the so-called Kondratieff cycles that historically were 50-60 years in length. And the other is the hegemonic cycles which are much longer.
In terms of the hegemonic cycles, the United States was a rising contender for hegemony as of 1873, achieved full hegemonic dominance in 1945, and has been slowly declining since the 1970s. George W. Bush's follies have transformed a slow decline into a precipitate one. And as of now, we are past any semblance of U.S. hegemony. We have entered, as normally happens, a multipolar world. The United States remains a strong power, perhaps still the strongest, but it will continue to decline relative to other powers in the decades to come. There is not much that anyone can do to change this.
The Kondratieff cycles have a different timing. The world came out of the last Kondratieff B-phase in 1945, and then had the strongest A-phase upturn in the history of the modern world-system. It reached its height circa 1967-73, and started on its downturn. This B-phase has gone on much longer than previous B-phases and we are still in it......."
The intellectuals who, in the name of ‘realism’, support a politician who publicly and openly embraces new wars, billionaire bailouts and for profit, private sector-run health programs are repudiating their own claims as ‘responsible critics’. They are what C. Wright Mills called ‘crackpot realists’, abdicating their responsibility as critical intellectuals. In purporting to support the ‘lesser evil’ they are promoting the ‘greater evil’: The continuation of four more years of deepening recession, colonial wars and popular alienation. Moreover, they are allies of the mass media, major parties and the legal system which has marginalized or outright excluded the alternative candidates, Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, who do speak out and oppose the war, the pro-Wall Street bailouts and propose genuine large-scale public investment in the domestic economy, a universal single payer health program, sustainable and pro-environment economic policies and large-scale, long-term income redistributive policies.
What is crass and unacceptable is the argument of these intellectuals, (an insignificant pimple on the Democratic donkey’s rear-end)that for a single moment believe that their ‘critical support’ of the Obama political machine will open space for radical ideas. The Zionists and civilian militarists totally control Obama’s war policy in the Middle East: There will be no space for peace with Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq. Wall Street controls the Obama’s financial policy: There will be no space for some Cambridge progressive to sneak in a handout for families losing their homes.
If multi-million trade union treasuries have spent a hundred million dollars on each presidential campaign have failed to secure a single piece of progressive legislation in over 50 years, isn’t it delusional for our progressive ‘public intellectuals’ to imagine that they, in their splendid organizational isolation, can ‘pressure’ President Obama to renounce his advisers, backers and public defense of military escalation, to see his way to peace with Iran and to promote social justice for our workers and unemployed?"
By RAMZI KYSIA
"This morning I walked to the Indian Ocean and made salt in defiance of the British Occupation of India. This morning I marched in Selma, I stood down tanks in Tiananmen Square, and I helped tear down the Berlin Wall. This morning I became a Freedom Rider.
The Freedom Riders of the 21st Century are sailing small boats into the Gaza Strip in open defiance of the Israeli Occupation and blockade. This morning I arrived in Gaza aboard the SS Dignity, part of a Free Gaza Movement delegation of twenty seven doctors, lawyers, teachers, and human rights activists from across the world, including Mairead Maguire - the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
When I close my eyes, I still hear the crash of ocean waves, I still feel the warm sun on my face, and I still taste salt from the sea spray. When I close my eyes, I can still see the Israeli warship that tried to intimidate us when we reached the twenty-mile line outside Gaza, and I can still see a thousand cheering people crowding around our ship when we refused to be intimidated and finally reached port in Gaza City. Today, the proudest boast in the free world is truly, "Nam, Nehnu Nastatyeh!" - "Yes, We Can!"........"
By JONATHAN COOK
"Salwa Salam Qupty clutches a fading sepia photograph of a young Palestinian man wearing a traditional white headscarf. It is the sole memento that survives of her father, killed by a Jewish militia during the 1948 war that established Israel.
“He was killed 60 years ago as he was travelling to work,” she said, struggling to hold back the tears. “My mother was four months pregnant with me at the time. This photograph is the closest I’ve ever got to him.”
Six decades on from his death, she has never been allowed to visit his grave in Galilee and lay a wreath for the father she never met....."
Palestine Think Tank
"What is taking place in Mosul and other parts of Iraq against the Christian component of the Iraqi people, which is one of its oldest components of the Iraqi society, is not the first crime to be committed by the occupation forces and their strategic ally the Zionist state. It was preceded by the Zionist occupation authority in Palestine… The Zionist entity is trying to empty Palestine of its Arab population by means of pitting the different religious components against each other to ease its control on the whole of Palestine and empty it of its indigenous Arab population… The Zionist entity is claiming that Palestinian Arab Christians are migrating from Palestine as a result of “Muslim aggression and terrorism” against them (!!!), it is the contrary, the Zionist state is the “authority” committing its terrorism against all the components of the Palestinian Arab society.....
.....With the development of this dangerous situation it is of utmost importance to stress the following recapitulations:
1. It is not sufficient and persuasive that the counter campaign against what Christians in Iraq should be limited to is protests and denunciations, as what is taking place has exceeded in its size and aims a passing incident against a major component of the Iraqi society, and in particular in the city of Mosul where the plan reaches the extent of complete extermination and expulsion.
2. What is taking place cannot be committed by an expiatory group with limited possibilities by itself to commit such a role throughout Iraq, but it is likely that there is big support by enemy forces led by Israel whose outfits are openly operating day and night backed by U.S. intelligence services. They all aim at destroying the relations that bring together the various components of the Iraqi society and its diversity that is reflected by the Christian presence and their role in the Iraqi society, and so that there will be no more patriotic or national unity, and thus have the stage open for sectarian and denominational conflicts that drives the country one day after another to destruction and fragmentation.
3. The underlying accusations against the resistance forces behind the assaults committed against Christians aim at acquitting occupation forces from the crime and justifying connivance of the Iraqi authority with it....... "
"Under the manifestly false rubric of “restoring law and order,” hundreds of American-trained Palestinian troops have been rounding up Islamic political activists and suspected Hamas sympathizers in the Hebron region.
The operation, code-named “Ishraqato Watan” or “sunrise of the motherland” began three days ago after the Israeli occupation army allowed the 558 troops to move from Jericho to the Hebron area.
The operation is being carried out under the command of Gen. Thiyab al Ali, aka Abu al Fath, who bears the official title of “General Commander of Palestinian National forces.”
This is the same man who in mid September participated in a much publicized meeting with Israeli army commanders at the Jewish colony of Beit El near Ramallah.
During that notorious meeting, Abu al Fath reportedly told his Israeli colleagues that “we are not enemies, we’re friends, and we have one common enemy, and that is Hamas.”......"