Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whenever I'm in Tajikistan, my mobile phone says I'm in Dubai

Just look how we’ve forgotten the CIA’s secret prisons in Afghanistan

By Robert Fisk

".....An oddly similar parallel has emerged since the election of Obama. During the campaign, President Ahmadinejad of Iran announced that the "Israeli regime" would be destroyed. That's actually what he said in Farsi – not "Israel", though the distinction might appear to be splitting hairs. Immediately, Mrs Hillary Clinton announced that if Tehran attacked Israel, she would "flatten Iran". And now she is to be secretary of state, the Iranians are understandably a little bit angry. Was the new pussycat in the State Department going to take over from the previous pussycat by threatening violence against Iran when Obama supposedly wants "dialogue"?

And a kind of inverted hypocrisy immediately followed. Mrs Clinton, American "officials" let on, should not be taken too seriously because this was an election campaign. Indeed, Obama – putting distance between the mutual recriminations of both Democrat candidates a few months ago – this week blithely dismissed their own election speeches. What he meant was that they both told lies to get votes. Yet the crackpot president of Iran's threat was still to be taken with the greatest seriousness. Not difficult to get the message, is it? The future secretary of state should not be believed when she threatens Iran – but Iran must be taken seriously when it threatens Israel......"

Real News Video: Obama and Gates

Ray McGovern: Gates is ambitious and tells his superiors what they want to hear

The Day of Arab "Courage and Heroism;" Sacrificing the Lamb for the Eid!

By Naser Jafari

This Genocide Will Not Be Televised: Gaza reduced to bare survival

Amnesty International

"The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is having ever more serious consequences on its population. In the past month the supply of humanitarian aid and basic necessities to Gaza has been reduced from a trickle to an intermittent drip.....

"The Israeli authorities might be allowing through enough for the survival of Gaza's population, but this is nowhere near enough for the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza to live with dignity," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

As supplies are being further withheld, most mills have shut down because they have little or no grain. People who have long been deprived of many food items now cannot even find bread at times.

Reserves of food have long been depleted and the meagre quantities allowed into Gaza are not even enough to meet the immediate needs. Families never know if they will have food for their children the following day.

When people do have food, they generally have no cooking gas or electricity with which to cook it. Last week, less than 10 per cent of the weekly requirement of cooking gas was allowed into Gaza.

This is entirely a man-made crisis. Desperately needed supplies are languishing in aid agencies’ warehouses a few kilometres away, even though they’re ready to be dispatched,” said Donatella Rovera. "The only obstacle is a gate that is kept locked by the Israeli army. There is no acceptable reason to deny passage to essential humanitarian aid and necessities"

Shortages of fuel, electricity and spare parts are causing water and sanitation infrastructure and other crucial services to deteriorate a bit more every day. Eighty per cent of the wells are now only functioning at reduced capacity and water supply is only available for a few hours every few days.

At times when water is available, there is no electricity or fuel to pump it into apartment buildings. Shortages of chlorine increase the risk of waterborne diseases.

Routine blackouts disrupt every aspect of life for everyone. Hospitals are struggling to power life-saving machinery and it is ever more difficult to maintain laundry and other essential services.

Even patients in need of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza, are often denied passage out of Gaza. Scores of people have died in the past year when they could have been saved if only they had been allowed to travel.

Karima Abu Dalal, a 34-year-old mother of five young children, died on 25 November. She suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands that is curable in more than 90 per cent of cases. She was denied access to the treatment she desperately needed as Israel refused her a permit to travel to the hospital in Nablus in the West Bank in November 2007.

In a medical report accompanying her permit request an Israeli cancer specialist had written: "This is a young woman who will die in the absence of treatment and with treatment her chances of recovery are excellent" (underlined in the original).

The Israeli authorities nonetheless refused to let her leave Gaza and the Israeli High Court of Justice refused to intervene. Earlier this year, she eventually managed to leave Gaza to Egypt as an exceptional case, but by then her condition had deteriorated irreparably and she returned to Gaza to be with her family. Subsequent requests for her to travel to Israel to receive at least palliative care to relieve her pain were in vain.

"So long as the Israeli authorities and armed forces control Gaza’s land borders, airspace and territorial waters, they have responsibilities under international law to ensure the welfare of Gaza’s civilian population. At present, Israel is not fulfilling its responsibilities," said Donatella Rovera....... "

Video: Israeli Terrorist Settler Shooting Palestinians in Hebron

"Footage filmed by Jamal Abu-Sa'ifan, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, documenting a terrorist Israeli settler shooting two members of his family.

The event occurs following the eviction settlers from a Palestinian house they occupied in Hebron. Settlers attacked the nearby house of the Abu-Se'ifan family, and during ensuing clashes, a settler fired his handgun at Hosni Abu-Se'ifan (40), who was hit in the chest and is in stable condition, and his father, 'Abd al-Hai Abu-Sa'ifan (65) who was moderately wounded in his arm. the two were taken to a Hebron hospital. The video shows other members of the family manage to overcome the shooter, then a security guard from the nearby settlement Kiryat Arba arrives and the scene, and fires his weapon in the air."

Egyptian group slams Arab world's poor human rights record

"A leading Egyptian human rights group said Friday that human rights in the Arab world have deteriorated over the past year and the future looks bleak for reform.

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of the oldest such groups in the Arab world, accused Arab governments in its annual report of attempting to silence rights organizations at home and abroad.

The report, which was released Friday, chronicled the human rights records of 12 Arab countries in the Middle East, where the group says sectarian tensions are on the rise, judicial systems lack independence and power-sharing mechanisms are largely absent.

The group singled out Egypt, accusing the country of using its influence in various international organizations, such as the United Nations, to thwart human rights reform. It also criticized the Arab League, an umbrella group of 22 Arab states, for supporting repressive regimes like the ones in Sudan and Yemen.

"The Arab League has become more expressive of authoritarian tendencies than any time in the past," the report said.

Officials from Egypt and the Arab League could not be reached for comment because Friday is the weekend in the Mideast.

The rights group said Islamic extremists are no longer the principal targets of Arab government repression. Instead the report said there is an increase in repression of reformists, human rights defenders and independent press. "

In Case You Did Not Know Why the Mumbai False Flag Atrocity Was Carried Out, Here is a Clue.....

Israeli experts help India prepare commando raids into Pakistan


"New Delhi has asked Jerusalem to assist in the operational and intelligence planning of Indian commando cross-border strikes against Islamist terrorist havens in Pakistan - including al Qaeda, Indian counter-terror sources report.

The Indian government's decision to embark on these in-and-out incursions in reprisal for the Mumbai outrage of Nov. 26-29 was first revealed in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 375 published Dec. 4. Israel has its own score to settle with the terrorists and Pakistani intelligence for the brutal Chabad Center murders........"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Is there any use in the Palestinian Authority (PA) resorting to the Security Council to stop settler attacks on the Palestinians?

With over 5,000 responding so far, 93% said no.

العرب وتصدير القمع عالمياً

العرب وتصدير القمع عالمياً

عبد الباري عطوان

"ان تمارس الحكومات العربية القمع ضد مواطنيها فهذا شيء عادي ومعروف ولا يتضمن أي جديد، ولكن ان تصدّره إلى العالم الخارجي والمنظمات الدولية، فهذا أمر يفوق كل التصورات، ويتطلب وقفة من جمعيات حقوق الانسان في العالم بأسره، لوضع حد لهذه الظاهرة المخجلة والمهينة التي باتت تشكل وصمة عار عربية بامتياز.
التقرير الصادر عن مركز القاهرة لحقوق الانسان يوم الجمعة، تضمن حقائق مؤلمة عن تدهور أوضاع حقوق الانسان في جميع الدول العربية، وتعرض المطالبين بالاصلاح لشتى أنواع التعذيب والاضطهاد، وتشويه السمعة، لكن أخطر ما تضمنه، هو ما سمّاه بتصدير الانتهاكات إلى المنظمات الدولية كالأمم المتحدة والشراكة الأورومتوسطية، وذلك بممارسة الضغوط عليها للجم اصوات المنظمات الأهلية غير الحكومية، بهدف اقصائها كلياً عن المنابر الدولية. أي أننا كعرب أصبحنا 'خبراء' في هذا الشأن، نصدّر القمع جنباً إلى جنب مع البترول.
الأنظمة العربية تغوّلت في ممارساتها القمعية، وانتهاك حقوق الانسان، وأكثر من أي وقت مضى، بفضل الطفرة المالية الهائلة التي هبطت على معظمها من جراء ارتفاع عوائد النفط، وتضخم أرصدة الصناديق السيادية، والاحتياطات والفوائض المالية، بتريليونات الدولارات
فرحة الأنظمة القمعية العربية لم تدم طويلاً، فالصناديق السيادية خسرت معظم أرصدتها، والاستثمارات المالية الضخمة في الأسواق المالية الغربية 'الآمنة' تبخرت بفعل الأزمة الاقتصادية التي هزت العالم الغربي بأسره، بحيث لم تستفد منها لا الأجيال الحالية، ولا الأجيال القادمة بطبيعة الحال.
ربما نفهم صمت الجامعة العربية على انتهاكات حقوق الانسان، باعتبارها جامعة للأنظمة وليست جامعة للشعوب، ولكن ما لا نفهمه هو صمتها المخجل على ما تتعرض له الشعوب العربية من مجازر وانتهاكات تحت الاحتلالات الاجنبية في فلسطين والعراق خاصة. فمجلس الجامعة الذي انعقد قبل اسبوع على مستوى وزراء الخارجية في القاهرة، لم يركز على الحصار الظالم الذي يتعرض له مليون ونصف مليون فلسطيني في قطاع غزة، بل نصّب نفسه حكماً في نزاع داخلي فلسطيني، وايّد طرفاً مقاوماً في مواجهة طرف آخر مفاوض في عملية سياسية تفاوضية عبثية.
عزاؤنا الوحيد ان اسعار النفط بدأت تتهاوى، ونزلت بالامس الى ما دون الاربعين دولارا للبرميل، الامر الذي سيضع حدا لاستكبار الانظمة في مواجهة شعوبها، وحالة الغرور التي انتابتها طوال العامين الماضيين،

Friday, December 5, 2008

Video: Jewish settlers in Hebron shoot Palestinian men

The Guardian

"The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has released graphic video footage showing settlers fighting with Palestinians in Hebron and shooting two men at close range in the hours after a settler house was evacuated by police yesterday......"

Muslim Revolution

How Washington Arrogance Helped Drive the Mumbai Attacks


".....Investigative journalist John Pilger has shown that the so-called “moral superiority of the West” is a hoax designed to shield from view the self-seeking West’s crimes against humanity.

Obama promised change from this destructive behavior, but how does change arise when the most arrogant woman on earth is appointed Secretary of State and the rest of the new government is staffed with tried and true Likudniks and servants of the militar-security complex?

The change over which Obama will preside will have no American victories. The change will come from America as a failed state, from the dollar dethroned as reserve currency, from America repudiated by its allies and paid puppets, from massive unemployment for which there is no solution, from hyperinflation that produces anarchy.

The day might arrive when Washington is faced with revolution at home as well as abroad."

Obama Doesn't Plan to End Occupation of Iraq

This Old News Just In....


"The New York Times is reporting about an "apparent evolution" in president-elect Barack Obama's thinking on Iraq, citing his recent statements about his plan to keep a "residual force" in the country and his pledge to "listen to the recommendations of my commanders" as Obama prepares to assume actual command of US forces. "At the Pentagon and the military headquarters in Iraq, the response to the statements this week from Mr. Obama and his national security team has been akin to the senior officer corps' letting out its collective breath," the Times reported. "[T]the words sounded to them like the new president would take a measured approach on the question of troop levels."

The reality is there is no "evolution."......"

Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet and Grassroots Organizing Under the Next Administration

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"We speak with longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and with activist Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK, about President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet selections and how the antiwar and social justice movements will organize under an Obama administration..."

The Blogging Revolution: A Look at the Repression of Online Journalism Around the World

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"A new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists says more internet journalists are jailed today than journalists in any other medium. We speak with journalist Antony Loewenstein, author of “The Blogging Revolution.” He travelled to Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China in 2007 to look at bloggers around the world who live and write under repressive regimes........"

Every Night is Now a Kristal Nacht: Israeli settlers “at war” with the Palestinians in Hebron

"On Thursday, Palestinian sources in the city of Hebron, located in the southern part of the West Bank, reported that extremist Israeli settlers carried out a series of violent attacks against Arab residents and set a number of homes, cars and olive trees on fire.

The attacks were escalated after the army evacuated the settlers from the home of Al Rajabi, a Palestinian family, after the settlers illegally occupied the property since last year.

The sources stated that settlers, stationed in five illegal outposts in the Old City of Hebron, set ablaze two Palestinian homes and one shop in Wad Al Hasseen area, close to Al Rajabi home. The settlers also violently attacked a number of residents.

In Tal Romedia area, the settlers chased dozens of Palestinian children and hurled stones and empty bottles at a number of homes.

The settlers also attacked and attempted to break into another Palestinian home in an area adjacent to Al Rajabi home while Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets; several injuries were reported among the residents.

In Al Sahla area, close to the Ibrahimi Mosque, a Palestinian child and her father were wounded after extremist settlers attacked and punched them.

The settlers also set a Palestinian firefighter vehicle on fire as the firefighters were attempting to extinguish several fires the settlers caused to Palestinian homes.

Hebron governor, Dr. Hussein Al A’raj, held the Israeli occupation responsible for the violence in Hebron and demanded the army to put an end to the attacks carried out by the settlers and their supporters. Al A’raj added that the areas in question are under Israeli security control; therefore it is the duty of the Israeli Defense Forces to protect the unarmed Palestinian residents and their property.

He also said that the Fourth Geneva Conventions clearly state that civilians and their property living under occupation should be protected at all times."

Obama's War Cabinet

By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, December 5, 2008

"December 1 brought more disappointment but no surprises. Obama's national security appointees (like all his earlier ones) aren't "change to believe in" or what people expected for their votes. They're recycled establishment figures. Their agenda is business as usual, and they'll continue the same failed Bush administration policies at home and abroad. Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Obama was chosen to lead it and is assembling a rogue team that's little different from the one it's replacing.

For "security", it means:

-- maintaining the "strongest military on the planet" and do it by outspending all other countries combined;

-- continued foreign wars;

-- possibly another against Iran;

-- permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan - directly and with proxy forces; Obama saying he'll withdraw all US forces from Iraq in 16 months (around mid-2010) is false and misleading;

-- a reinvented Cold War against Russia;

-- an "absolute" commitment "to eliminating the threat of terrorism (with) the full force of our power;"

-- inciting instability anywhere it serves US imperial interests with special emphasis on resource-rich Eurasia, including the Asian sub-continent; Exhibit A: the Bombay (Mumbai) terror attacks that Michel Chossudovsky explains have "the fingerprints of a (carefully planned) paramilitary-intelligence operation (and) are described as India's 9/11," or at least a mini version of it; the usual suspects are blamed; the purpose is to incite fear and more violence; the consequences - an internal hard line crackdown, increased tensions between India and Pakistan, and a military opening for Washington to intervene further in the region; and........"

Zio-Fascists on the March!

Settlers plan ‘Jewish Pride’ march

By Jonathan Cook
The National, UAE

"NAZARETH // Extremist settler groups involved in violent confrontations with Palestinians in the centre of Hebron have chosen their next battleground, this time outside the West Bank.

A far-right group know as the Jewish National Front, closely associated with the Hebron settlers, is preparing to march through one of the main Arab towns in northern Israel. The march, approved by the Supreme Court in October, is scheduled to take place on Dec 15, the group announced this week.......

The Front said it will wave Israeli flags in what the group has dubbed a demonstration of “Jewish Pride” through Umm al Fahm, home to nearly 45,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The Front’s main platform is the expulsion of all Palestinians from what it calls “Greater Israel”, which also includes the West Bank and Gaza. It skates close to illegality with veiled suggestions that Palestinian citizens of Israel should also be ethnically cleansed.

We will march through Umm al Fahm with flags to send everyone a message that the land of Israel belongs to us,” said Baruch Marzel, the Front’s leader.

The move has aroused opposition from local residents and the leadership of the Palestinian minority. Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of parliament, called the court decision a “legitimisation of racism”. “We will use our right of protest and defend Umm al Fahm from these fascists and racists.”........."

First Arab charity to break Gaza siege with $2m shipment of cancer medicine

The Free Gaza Movement

(LARNACA, 4 December 2008) - The Free Gaza Movement announced a joint mission with Qatar Charity, a Qatar based relief organisation, to sail from Larnaca Port to Gaza with $2 million dollars worth of cancer medicine this Saturday, December 6th at 4:30pm.

Through this precedent setting voyage, Qatar Charity will become the first Arab organization to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The Free Gaza Movement has successfully challenged the siege on three previous occasions this year, landing missions in Gaza in August, October, and November. The Free Gaza ships are the first to dock in Gaza Port in over 41 years.

Lubna Masarwa, one of the movement organizers, stated that, “I’m confident that we will reach Gaza. We are unarmed civilians carrying desperately needed medical supplies to other unarmed civilians. It would be obscene for Israel to use violence against us in order to prevent the delivery of these medicines.”

Israel maintains absolute control over Gaza’s borders and airspace, and has imposed an increasingly brutal blockade on its 1.5 million civilians for over two years, drastically increasing poverty and malnutrition rates.

According to Masarwa, “What Israel is doing to the people of Gaza should be considered a crime. Food and medicine are not weapons, the world must not allow them to be used as weapons.”

Israel temporarily lifted some restrictions on aid workers and journalists today for the first time in a month. However Caoimhe Butterly, Gaza Project Coordinator for the boat missions, labeled the move “a fig leaf for an ongoing, all-encompassing policy of collective punishment, starvation and humiliation. The solution to this catastrophe isn’t temporarily opening Erez, but ending the Occupation once and for all. We hope the Qatari mission will inspire Palestine’s neighbors to mount similar missions and form the basis for direct and continuing political action in the Arab world.”

The passengers on board the Dignity this Saturday will include:

5 Qatar Charity officials, including one Moroccan National
2 Qatari local governmental representatives
Australian, American, British, and Italian human rights workers
• A British surgeon traveling to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals for everal weeks
International journalists from Al-Jazeera TV and McClatchy Newspapers "

Obama's 'Palestinian friend' laments catastrophic U.S. policy in Mideast

An Interesting Interview With Rashid Khalidi
By Akiva Eldar

".....Khalidi, 60, who spent three weeks in Israel and the territories before continuing on to Beirut this week, doesn't like all the fuss surrounding his relationship with the president-elect. Up to now, he had avoided speaking about it publicly, for better or worse. The reason may be, as reflected in my interview with him at his hotel in Jerusalem, overlooking Damascus Gate, his disappointment in his Chicago friend's treatment of the Arab and Islamic community in the United States. Or maybe it's also discomfort with the Democratic candidate's response during the campaign to reports about the ties between them.....

Do you believe that the current PLO leadership will be able to cut a deal with Israel on a two-state solution that will be accepted by the Palestinian people?

"The current PLO leadership does not and will not properly represent the entire Palestinian people until it can achieve a historic compromise with the other wing of the Palestinian national movement, and until a renewed, unified leadership can agree on minimal national goals and a strategy, whatever they are. This requires resisting the internal and external pressures that are intent on keeping the Palestinians divided. Only if they are unified do the Palestinians have a chance of achieving their national goals. Thereafter, to be binding and legitimate, any agreement that might be reached would have to be submitted to a referendum of the entire Palestinian people, inside and outside the country.".....

As someone who has long been involved with the PLO and Palestinian politics, what can you say about the current Palestinian leadership?

"The Palestinian people have certainly not always had the leadership they deserved. Israel worsened this situation by systematically liquidating Palestinian leaders - generally the most effective and intelligent among them - going back to the early 1970s. Several Arab regimes also played a part by assassinating key PLO leaders. Historians have pointed to similar efforts by the Zionist movement in the late 1930s and 1940s.

"That said, the current leadership seems to me to be lacking in several respects, and certainly does not seem up to the difficult tasks at hand. It is time for a wholesale renewal of the Palestinian leadership, and the replacement of the few remaining members of the founding generation of the modern Palestinian national movement and their entourage with younger individuals with new ideas. This requires a major effort to confront the failed policies of the current leaders of both major factions, and to find new approaches to the grave problems the Palestinian people face."...... "

Wexler: Netanyahu can work well with Obama

"There is no doubt US President-elect Barack Obama could work well with Likud head Binyamin Netanyahu, should the latter become Israel's next prime minister, Congressman Robert Wexler, one of Obama's most prominent early supporters in the Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

Prefacing his comments with the caveat that he did not want to meddle in Israeli politics, and that it was up to Israelis to pick their leader, Wexler said, "I know that Obama and Netanyahu have met on at least two occasions. I was with Barack when he met with Netanyahu at National Airport in Washington a year-and-a-half ago.

"I am confident that should he become the prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu would get along very well with Barack Obama, and the two of them would work in concert toward the achievement of mutual interests. I have no doubt about that."........"

A Loud Silence

That's the response from the "antiwar" wing of the Democratic party to Obama's Iraq sellout

By Justin Raimondo

"Is it really possible that President-elect Barack Obama intends to break his campaign promise to "end the war" in Iraq, and keep US troops in that country well beyond the sixteen month timetable for withdrawal he advocated during the campaign?

The answer, according to the New York Times, is a fairly certain yes.........

So where is the left, anyway?

Glenn Greenwald, among the best of the liberals, is AWOL on Obama's foreign policy sellout. Sure, torture is bad, and it's very noble to be against it, I'm sure, but what about the endless war that gives it a conceptual framework and legitimizes it in the name of "national security"?

Where are the "antiwar" liberals? They're on their way to the Inauguration, and you'll have to pardon them if they slam the door of the limousine in our faces........

The war in Iraq? As they say in the Big Apple, fuggeddaboutit! The Communist Party of Iraq supports the American occupation, and has from the beginning. The endless "withdrawal" from Iraq can be glossed over in the name of getting out "responsibly."

The war in Afghanistan? One hardly expects much sympathy, in these quarters, for a people that defeated the Soviet Union and arguably brought about its downfall........"

Telling it as it is

Unless the Palestinians can speak effectively with one voice, the world won't listen, though Palestine is the core problem

By Mustafa Barghouti
Al-Ahram Weekly

"As many speculate about Obama's future policies in the Middle East, the general Arab reaction is wait-and-see. The new president will likely face a barrage of problems, the economy and Iraq for starters, enough to keep him busy for a whole term. But there is no indication that the "change" Obama likes so much to talk about applies to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The appointments he made so far are not that encouraging either.

The Israelis, and Tzipi Livni has said as much, want the Americans to stay out of it. They want to keep the Palestinians divided, hold out the carrot of possible negotiations, while expanding settlements and changing the status quo all the time. The Palestinians, meanwhile, seem hapless. Pursuing negotiations that have no chance of success, the Palestinians are holding on to Annapolis like a drowning man clutches at a straw. What are they doing about the Israeli settlements that grew exponentially during the Annapolis talks? Nothing. What are they doing about the Israeli roadblocks that increased from 521 to 630 during the same period? Nothing. What are they doing about the system of apartheid that subsequent Israeli governments appear to reinforce? Nothing......."

Iraq's US security charade

Whatever agreements the US forces Iraq to sign cannot obscure the obvious: the US should withdraw from Iraq and acknowledge the mess it made

By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Ahram Weekly

".......It's also bewildering how some important details are so conveniently overlooked; for example, the fact that the Iraqi government can sign a separate agreement with the US to extend the deadline for withdrawal should the security situation deem such an agreement necessary. Instead, the focus was made on "concessions" obtained by the Iraqis regarding Iraq's jurisdiction over US citizens and soldiers who commit heinous crimes while "off duty" and outside their military bases. This precisely means that the gruesome crimes committed in prisons such as Abu Ghraib and the wilful shooting last year of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisour Square in Central Baghdad is of no concern for Iraqis. And even when crimes that fall under Iraqi jurisdiction are reported, such matters are to be referred to a joint US-Iraqi committee. One can only assume that those with the bigger guns will always prevail in their interpretation of the agreement.

In fact, a major reason behind the delay in publishing the agreement in English (an Arabic version was first publicised) is the apparent US insistence on interpreting the language in a fashion that would allow for loopholes in future disagreements. But even if the language is understood with mutual clarity, and even if the Iraqi government were determined to stand its ground on a particular issue, who is likely to prevail: the US government with 150,000 troops on the ground and a massive imperial project whose failure will prove most costly to US interests in the Middle East, or the government of Nuri Al-Maliki, whose very existence is a US determination?......."

Bottom of the bottom

While Arab activists and intellectuals rally to the cause of Palestinian refugees, officialdom in Ramallah denounces their efforts

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has strongly denounced a recent conference on the plight of Palestinian refugees held in the Syrian capital, Damascus, organised by a coalition of factions and figures dedicated to the right of return, which according to organisers -- amongst them Hamas -- is the heart and soul of the Palestinian problem.

The conference asserted the centrality of the right of return and warned Palestinian, regional and international players that any resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict not including the repatriation of millions of uprooted refugees to their original homes and villages in what is now called Israel would be strongly rejected by the Palestinian people......

Fatah spokesmen in Ramallah criticised the Syrian government for hosting the conference in the first place, saying Syria shouldn't allow "coup mongers" (an allusion to Hamas) to attack the PLO from Damascus. They also lambasted two prominent Fatah leaders, Farouk Al-Qaddumi and Hani Al-Hassan, for attending. Within the Fatah hierarchy, Al-Qaddumi and Al-Hassan rank second and third respectively after PA President Abbas. However, because of their opposition to the "Oslo process", and more recently to "excessive collaboration between the PA and Israel", the Ramallah-based leadership has marginalised each......

Palestinian intellectual and former Israeli Knesset member Azmi Bishara alluded to the inherent contradiction between PA pronouncements regarding the right of return and its actual policies. "If the right of return is negotiable and if continued, open-ended negotiation with Israel is the sole Palestinian strategy towards ending the conflict, this means that the PA will be willing to abandon the right of return."

Bishara, who was addressing a Ramallah conference, via teleconference from Amman, said the main purpose of the current peace process was to enable the PA to find Arab cover for the effective liquidation of the right of return and other prospective concessions the PA would be forced to make. "Then Abbas would be able to claim that all the Arabs are standing behind him.""

Al-Jazeera Video: The unpeaceful history of the 'House of Peace' - 4 Dec 2008

"Hardline Israeli settlers moved into a house in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron in 2007. They called it the house of peace, but there has been anything but peaceful at this house.

On December 4, Israeli forces stormed the building to remove the settlers.

Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari reports. "

Action, not words

The noble spirit of the universal declaration of human rights is betrayed by a lack of help for Gaza

A Very Good Comment

Karen AbuZayd
(the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
The Guardian, Friday December 5 2008

"As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the steadily rising death toll in Gaza highlights the painful gap between its peaceful rhetoric and the desperate reality for Palestinian people.

The declaration was a pivotal statement in which the world community recognised the "inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world". True to its nobility of spirit, it declares "the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom from fear and want as the highest aspiration of the common people".

Sixty years on, the fate of the Palestinian people should be a cause for universal soul-searching. The need to give substantive meaning to the protection of Palestinians has never been greater. The former high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson has said that in Gaza, nothing short of a "civilisation" is being destroyed. Desmond Tutu has called it "an abomination". The humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, said that in Gaza there was a "massive assault" on human rights. Most recently, the European commissioner, Louis Michel, described the blockade of Gaza as a "form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which is a violation of international humanitarian law".........

The right to freedom of movement enshrined in article 13 of the universal declaration also remains a distant hope for many Palestinians. The inhumane blockade of Gaza - which, as many senior UN officials have said, collectively punishes 1.5 million people - and over 600 physical obstacles to movement in the West Bank are a sad reminder of the world community's failure to stand by that article.

With an estimated 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including some 325 children, the declaration that "everyone has the right to liberty and security of person" and that no one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment has a sad resonance today........"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mossad implicated in a coup plot in Turkey, a NATO country; CIA fingerprints also found on attempt

Special Report

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal

"Fresh from revelations, reported by WMR, that Israel’s Mossad and Chabad House-based criminal syndicates were targets in a criminal gangland retribution attack by a notorious Muslim gang in Mumbai, comes word that Mossad has, once again, been implicated in an intelligence and criminal network, this time in Turkey.

What makes this latest example of Israel’s failure to stem the criminal activities of its intelligence service and criminal syndicates worse is that Turkey, unlike Israel, is a NATO ally of the United States and, therefore, the United States is bound by treaty to protect NATO allies from aggression by non-NATO states, including Israel.

The Turkish and other Middle East media are reporting that the Mossad has been fingered in connection with a right-wing Turkish criminal and intelligence gang, known as Ergenekon, that stands accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s democratically-elected Justice and Development (AKP) Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul. Several Turkish papers have named a Turkish rabbi, Tuncay Guney, aka Daniel T. Guney and Daniel Levi and code-named “Ipek” or “Silk,” as having served as a double agent for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) tasked with infiltrating the shadowy but powerful “state within a state” group Ergenekon.....

At the heart of the Ergenekon story lies Mossad and its reported attempts to turn Turkey into another Lebanon or West Bank/Gaza, a country wracked by internal strife and constant warfare that would usher into power a strong right-wing military dictatorship......"

Palestinians speak of widespread torture in PA jails

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem
4 December, 2008

"Despite denials by officials of the Ramallah-based Palestinian government , detainees recently released from Palestinian Authority (PA) jails and interrogation centers in the West Bank have spoken of widespread torture, excessive abuse, and harsh treatment” at the hands of security interrogators.

According to testimonies gathered directly from a number of former detainees in the Hebron region, the most common forms of torture include severe beating, usually using electric cables and water hoses and the notorious “Shabah technique.”

In Shabah , described by victims as “the first order of business,” a detainee is usually left between interrogation sessions in a small chair with his arms tied to his back in a position that causes severe muscle pain in the arms and the neck. [COMMENT: taught by the CIA and the IOF]

A prolonged Shabah may well cause paralysis in either or both hands, as is the case with Ra’ed Sharabati, from Hebron, who has suffered nearly full paralysis in his right shoulder and hand. Sharabati described torture in PA jails as “the modus operandi, the norm rather than the exception.”.....

The following are excerpts from Salhab’s testimony.....

Salhab said he was constantly hearing the screams of inmates who were being beaten and tortured. He named several people from the Hebron area, including Amjad Hammouri, a former candidate for the Palestinian legislative council......

According to human rights sources in the West Bank, torture in PA jails and interrogation centers is widespread and unmitigated.

The reason we don’t hear much about it is because victims are reluctant to speak up as they were warned that if they spoke up about what happened to them, they would be arrested anew and tortured further,” said one human rights activist who himself asked that his identity remain anonymous.

Who would intercede on my behalf if they took me, do you think Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch give a damn about us,” said the activist..... "

A PLO of Shame

By Khalid Amayreh

"......Today, the PLO is a house of shame and ill-repute. It is an organization that has allowed itself to be used as a tool of repression against the very people it claims to be serving.

It is an organization that gives treason and national apostasy a legitimate face and an acceptable façade. It is an entity whose behavior and conduct constitute the exact anti-thesis of the authentic PLO of the past which, more or less, represented the national Palestinian consensus.

Indeed, free-minded Palestinians, who won’t be intimidated by big sticks or bribed by the carrots into joining the chorus of lies of the neo-Oslo gang, have the right to ask whether it is morally right to give loyalty to an organization whose leaders are saying aloud that Israel is not the enemy and occupier and that both Israelis and Palestinians have one enemy, it is Islam and Hamas?

In recent weeks and months, the PLO has been working in close concert with the Israeli occupation army to torment Palestinians, raid their homes in the dead of night, and close down charitable institutions and orphanages.

This is not to mention the rampant acts of torture the PLO has been shamelessly performing on Palestinians who refuse to inform on resistance fighters or hand-over their resistance weapons.

In short, the PLO whose raison d’être was once the liberation of Palestine from the nefarious Israeli occupation has nearly disappeared, and is being replaced by an effeminate PLO that is very much a tool of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.

Recently, Chairman Abbas gave a speech before the PLO Central Council in Ramallah which he argued that who ever wants to join the PLO must accept it as it is.

Well, let the PLO then go to hell because the Palestinian masses are not willing to accept a thoroughly corrupt organization that has become a repression sub-contractor working for the Israeli army.

Yes, the Palestinian people are not and will not lend their support to an organization that is at Israel’s beck and call, an organization that receives vehicles and arms and money from the CIA and American puppet regimes in the region, for the purpose of fighting and tormenting patriotic Palestinians on Israel’s behalf.

Such an organization is a house of shame; it is a disgrace upon the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause. It is a cancer upon the conscience of Palestinian struggle for justice, freedom and independence. The martyrs, tens of thousands of them, are moving in their graves, seeing this PLO becoming an enemy of Palestine.

This organization no longer represents the Palestinian people since it has become very much like a small company run be a number of money-grabbing careerists who don’t hesitate to sell out our national rights and national honor in return for some American dollars and European Euros.

Hence, it is imperative that free, patriotic Palestinians, from all factions, including Fatah, as well as independents, embark immediately on the paramount task of reforming the PLO.

And in case this task proves to be too complicated due to the expected dogged resistance of the corrupt old guard, then a new body would have to be created, a body that would move the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian will from the Israeli-American sphere of influence.

Otherwise, we will end up having a PLO that is no better than the infamous village league of Menachem Milson of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Well, isn’t the PLO already there?"

EXCLUSIVE-With Abbas's clampdown, reports of torture grow


"HEBRON, West Bank, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president, are rounding up suspected Islamist activists and allegations of torture and abuse of legal procedure are mounting sharply.

"They shouted 'You're Hamas! Tell us what you're up to!' as they were hitting me," one man recounted to Reuters of an ordeal last month in a Palestinian prison in Hebron. He spoke, too, of being forced to hang or stand for hours in "stress positions".

The 25-year-old factory worker, among many to have spent time in Israeli jails on suspicion of militancy for the Islamist movement, was too afraid of the security forces to be named.

But his story is one rights monitors and Western officials say they have been hearing more often lately..... Rights monitors logged four times as many torture complaints in November as had been the previous monthly average this year......

Mohammed al-Hammouri says his son Amjad, a dentist who ran unsuccessfully for parliament in 2006 on a Hamas ticket and was arrested at his Hebron surgery in October, remains in a jail run by Abbas's intelligence service over a month after the Palestinian High Court ordered his release.
"What can I do, if they ignore even the High Court?" the elder Hammouri said......

Underscoring the rising tide of complaints, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights logged 28 alleged cases of torture and ill-treatment in November alone in the West Bank -- 17 of these in Hebron. That compared to 26 cases in the first half of 2008 and 40 from July to October......

Palestinians say some abuses recall those used by Israeli forces. "Saying, 'We learned all of this from the Israelis', is no excuse whatsoever," said Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch......

Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, the EU envoy to Israel, told Reuters reports of abuses, in the West Bank and Gaza, were a "concern"......Of what he termed Abbas's "counterterrorist" forces, Cibrian-Uzal offered high praise: "They are doing great.""

The Lady Between the Queen and the Tribe

A Good Piece

By Gilad Atzmon
Palestine Think Tank

"......As it happened, yesterday I learned about an organisation named the “International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists” (IAJLJ). An association with such a name didn’t take me by complete surprise. By now I am used to the concept of ‘primarily-Jewish’ organisations and associations. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take any of us by surprise, Israel, as we know, is the ‘Jews-only’ state. Furthermore, Israel’s very few sporadic vocal opponents within the Jewish world tend for some reason to operate also in similar racially orientated primarily Jewish political settings such as ‘Jews For Peace’, ‘Jews for Justice in Palestine’, ‘Jewish Independent Voice’, etc......

.....Our “International Jewish Lawyers and Jurists” are not really interested in “pursuing” universal “human rights” as one may foolishly read. They are actually far more interested in pursuing a very particular type of rights that are relevant to a very particular and unique type of human.

Here is what the IAJLJ is saying about their very specific commitment:

“The Association is especially committed to issues that are on the agenda of the Jewish people, and works to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and negation of the State of Israel.”.......

As I learn from The Herald, Scotland’s first female judge Lady Cosgrove has been recently cleared of allegations of bias stemming from her membership of the very international Jewish law association.

Back in 2004, Lady Cosgrove served as the reviewing judge who upheld the decision of the Scottish Home Department to refuse Mrs Fatima Helow refugee status in the UK. Mrs Fatima Helow is a Palestinian woman who survived the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon. Apparently, Mrs Helow was part of the group that in 2002 tried to charge former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in the International Court of Justice, for his alleged involvement in the massacre.

On the face of it, one may possibly argue that Lady Cosgrove, due to her association with the very Jewish association, was ‘committed to combat’ Mrs Fatima Helow, a Palestinian lady who openly ‘negates Israel’ and one of its most notorious war criminals Ariel Sharon. Similarly, one could have argued that considering her affiliation with a Zionist international association, Lady Cosgrove should have stepped down and avoid ruling on a case of a PLO activist and a survivor of a massacre largely associated with Sharon.

Mrs Helow’s lawyers tried to appeal against the ruling on the grounds that Lady Cosgrove was not an impartial observer due to her membership with the IAJLJ. The appeal cited speeches by IAJLJ leaders and articles in its quarterly magazine that were highly critical of Palestinian attempts to act against Israel in international courts as proof of Lady Cosgrove’s alleged bias......

For a long time I dread to say it. The gap between humanism and Zionist local and global interests is becoming unbridgeable. It may be the right time for the humanists amongst us to insist that appointees for Judicial posts must be clean of any tribal political affiliations. This would save our distinguished Lords from failing to see the obvious contradiction between the tribal and the universal. We better move in this direction and soon, we should do it for the benefit of humanity but also for the benefit of so many Jews who have nothing to do with the crimes that are committed on their behalf. "

The Great Land Giveaway: Neo-Colonialism by Invitation

By James Petras

".....Colonial style empire-building is making a huge comeback, and most of the colonialists are late-comers, elbowing their way past the established European and US predators.

Backed by their governments and bankrolled with huge trade and investment profits and budget surpluses, the newly emerging neo-colonial economic powers (ENEP) are seizing control of vast tracts of fertile lands from poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, through the intermediation of local corrupt, free-market regimes. Millions of acres of land have been granted – in most cases free of charge – to the ENEP who, at most, promise to invest millions in infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of their plundered agricultural products to their own home markets and to pay the ongoing wage of less than $1 dollar a day to the destitute local peasants...."

صحف إسرائيلية: طنطاوي هو الذي بادر بمصافحة بيريز

"......وتقول صحيفة هآرتس في عددها الصادر الأربعاء إن طنطاوي وبيريز تقابلا خلال وجبة عشاء، وأكدت أن شيخ الأزهر هو من تقدم للسلام على الرئيس الإسرائيلي، وأن الاثنين وقفا دقائق وتبادلا الحديث.

ومن جهتها أوردت صحيفة معاريف في عددها لليوم نفسه أن معلوماتها تؤكد أن شيخ الأزهر هو الذي توجه بداية إلى الرئيس الإسرائيلي كي يسلم عليه.

وأضافت معاريف –التي وصفت طنطاوي بأنه موظف عمومي عينه الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك-
أن شيخ الأزهر أدار "حديثا وديا" مع بيريز.

"We are slowly dying"

Sameh A. Habeeb writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 3 December 2008

"Israel has further tightened the screw on Gaza, where some areas have been completely plunged into darkness as fuel shortages shut down Gaza's sole power plant 25 days ago.

The power cuts affect all activities dependent on electrical power as the remaining power sources provided by Israel and Egypt cannot serve the needs of the whole of the Gaza Strip. Access to drinking and irrigation water is affected, as well as sewage treatment, risking disease. Already, this means that millions of liters of sewage water pollute the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis.

Israel is also denying food to the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. According to the Popular Committee Against the Siege, basic food items like milk, flour, cooking oil, meat, rice and legumes are not sufficiently available. Some figures indicate that only 15 percent of Gaza's food needs are getting in through the Israeli-controlled borders......"

Take action to end crimes against humanity

By Mazin Qumsiyeh
The Free Gaza Movement

"Dear friends:
It is only in an Orwellian "might makes right" world that 1.5 million people are kept in a concentration camp literally being starved to death while much of the world governments stand idly watching or occasionally issuing a useless statement or collaborating with the collective punishment (as in the case of Governments of Egypt and the US). 1.5 million are not numbers, they are people like you and me and 60% are children!! Terrorism is defined as punishing civilians to force a change in politics. As such this is the biggest act of terrorism since the end of WWII. It is also a war crime and a crime against humanity (as defined by International Law).

Below is an action alert from the US Campaign to End the Occupation on this abominable situation. Please take some time to act and especially write to Obama and tell him and Demand real change instead of appointments of people whom AIPAC approves

The tragedy does not stop there: the European Parliament (EP) has recently announced that a vote will be held tomorrow (December 4) to enter into force the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which will enable far greater Israeli participation in European Community programs. Follow the link below to see how you can contact your MEP (if you are in Europe) to demand that they vote against the agreement.

And forward this widely to all people you know who may act on reminders of their conscience!

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Bethlehem University, Occupied Palestine"

This is Zionism: Niggers don't Expel Jews

Settlers to Ethiopian troops: Niggers don't expel Jews

"Border Guard officers of Ethiopian descent report rising number of racially motivated verbal attacks from Hebron youths; Druze officers also suffer racist remarks

Not only do they serve long and tiring hours in the reserve forces, and not only are they forced to deal with violent clashes with settlers, but now, Border Guard officers of Ethiopian descent are also faced with rising racism.

"Niggers don't expel Jews! This isn't what we brought you to Israel for!" are just some of the degrading slurs Border Guard officers reported hearing from masked settlers...."

Running the Distance for Palestine

By Susan Abulhawa and Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"......When Susan arrived to a devastated scene following the Jenin massacre in April 2002, one thing struck her most: the children; their friendly, loving faces, giddy and full of laughter. She organized a workshop for the camps’ kids as the grown ups busily dug mass graves to bury their friends and family.

Ramzy grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza. He would eagerly await the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from his camp, so that, he, along with many peers could dash to a leveled field of dirt and kick and a soccer ball around till dark or the next Israeli raid, whichever came first.

It’s these memories and more that made running 26.2 miles possible.

In the West Bank, in Gaza or in South Lebanon, Palestinians have learned the virtue of running: resilient West Bank farmers are habitually chased away from their farms to make way for a new Israeli settlement, or room for the Israeli wall; Palestinian mothers in Nahr al-Bared flee with their children to escape the whiz of bullets and the whistles of bombs; Gazan children chasing after a UN aid truck......."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Arab Regimes and Gaza

تصاعد الأزمة بين مصر وحماس

تصاعد الأزمة بين مصر وحماس

رأي القدس

"تصاعدت حدة الخلافات بين جمهورية مصر العربية وحركة المقاومة الاسلامية 'حماس' في الفترة الأخيرة، وبدأت هذه الخلافات تنعكس في حرب تصريحات صحافية، خاصة من الجانب المصري، تؤكد وجهة نظر الكثير من المسؤولين في حركة 'حماس' التي تقول بأن الحكومة المصرية انحازت بالكامل إلى طرف السلطة في رام الله في قضية الصراع الفلسطيني - الفلسطيني.
الدكتور مصطفى الفقي رئيس لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في مجلس الشعب المصري، ورئيس مكتب الرئيس مبارك للمعلومات سابقاً، كان شديد الوضوح في بلوَرة الموقف الرسمي المصري من حركة 'حماس' عندما قال في ندوة بالقاهرة ان مصر لن تسمح مطلقاً بإقامة امارة اسلامية في قطاع غزة، وذهب إلى حد اتهام الحركة بتقديم أكبر خدمة إلى اسرائيل باستيلائها على السلطة في قطاع غزة
هذا العداء الرسمي المصري لحركة 'حماس' يوضح حماس الحكومة المصرية لتشديد الحصار على قطاع غزة، واحكام اغلاق معبر رفح وتجويع مليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني، اي ان الحكومة المصرية تعاقب هؤلاء الابرياء لانها تريد معاقبة حركة 'حماس' وهذا هو اسوأ انواع العقوبات الجماعية، بل هي اكثر سوءاً من نظيرتها الاسرائيلية، لانها صادرة عن طرف عربي ومسلم.
مصر دولة اقليمية عظمى، وحكومتها تتحكم بمصير قطاع غزة، لأنها منفذ سكانه الوحيد الى العالم الخارجي، ولذلك فان حربها المعلنة هذه على حركة 'حماس' ستلحق الكثير من الأذى بالحركة وقيادتها وكذلك بابناء القطاع في الوقت نفسه. ولكن الذين وضعوا مثل هذه السياسة ونفذوها على الارض يتناسون انها يمكن ان ترتد عليهم بشكل سلبي في عدة اوجه، ابرزها ان حركة 'حماس' تنتمي الى حركة الاخوان المسلمين، بل انبثقت من رحم هذه الحركة التي تملك شعبية ضخمة في الشارع المصري.
اما الجانب الآخر الذي يعتبر اكثر خطورة في نظرنا هو ان زيادة الضغط الرسمي المصري على اهالي غزة وحركة 'حماس' ربما تجعل من انفاق تهريب الاسلحة الى قطاع غزة طريقا من اتجاهين، وسيناء تعتبر المنطقة الرخوة في منظومة الامن المصري.
السياسة المصرية تتخبط، والتهديدات التي تصدر عن المسؤولين المصريين تجاه 'حماس' وأهالي قطاع غزة هي المثل الأبرز على هذا التخبط، لأنها تعكس حالة من قصر النظر الاستراتيجي الذي يعرض مصر الى اخطار عديدة دون اي داع.
قضايا متفجرة كهذه يجب ان تعالج بالدبلوماسية الذكية لا بالتشنج والتهديد وتصعيد العداوات

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Confessions of guilt? - December 3, 2008

This is What the War Criminal, Bush, Should be Held Accountable for in Iraq.

Part 1:

Part 2:

".....In the interview he talked about the highs and lows of his eight years in office.
And he acknowledged what the rest of the world already has taken for granted for quite some time: That he may have been unprepared for what happened under his rule.

In this edition of Inside Story we ask if Bush's statements reflect any feelings of guilt and if he can be held accountable for launching a war under a false pretext? "

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Indian Terror, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

European campaign organizes sit-ins before Egyptian embassies in Europe

"BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- The European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza has announced that it would organize sit-ins before Egyptian embassies in a number of European countries next Saturday to demand opening the Rafah border terminal with Gaza.

The campaign in a statement in Brussels on Tuesday said that the rallies would reflect the European popular rejection of the Egyptian role in the siege on Gaza, demanding a daring Egyptian decision to open the crossing and ending the suffering of one and a half million Palestinians.

It urged the Egyptian president and government to order the immediate opening of the crossing to save the Gaza inhabitants from an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

The campaign underlined that opening the crossing would end the three years old oppressive siege especially when certain countries had declared readiness to supply Gaza with fuel free of charge.

In Amman, the Jordanian vocational syndicates called for a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy on Wednesday to protest the continued closure of the Rafah terminal."

Will Palestinians hit Hillary's glass ceiling?

Dr. Marcy Newman, The Electronic Intifada, 2 December 2008

"It is difficult to recall a US secretary of state who embodied the ideals of the position: the promotion of dialogue and privileging of diplomacy. Unfortunately, US President-elect Barack Obama's nominee, Hillary Clinton, is not likely to restore these ideals to the office. Clinton has long championed military action against the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and has promised to "obliterate" Iran if the state launched a nuclear strike against Israel. Dr. Marcy Newman comments for The Electronic Intifada...."

Tehran and Damascus are Singing the Same Tune: Syria: Clinton nomination proves Obama wants Mideast peace

"Syrian source tells Qatari al-Watan that Hillary Clinton's appointment to office of secretary of state will 'render US a power for positive change' in world; peace talks with Israel expected to flourish.

Syria commended US president elect Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office of secretary of state, and an official Syrian source told the Qatari al-Watan daily that the appointment highlights the new administration's commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East......"

COMMENT: On which planet those idiots in Damascus live? Or is it simply their ASSIGNED role to be cheerleaders for the softer Empire, or else?
At this point, if Obama were to appoint Bibi Netanyahu as his Secretary of State, both Damascus and Tehran would be praising such a decision and describing it as a proof of Obama's serious intentions for "peace" in the Middle East. Political bankruptcy in both capitals knows no limits.

U.N. Assembly Head Hailed for Blasting Israel

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Dec 2 (IPS) - The president of the General Assembly, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, dropped a political bombshell last week when he lashed out at Israel for its repressive actions in the occupied territories, including the recent blockade of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

"What is being done to the Palestinian people seems to me to be a version of the hideous policy of apartheid," he told delegates, during a meeting commemorating the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People".

A senior U.N. official told IPS: "I cannot remember any Assembly president so publicly vocal in denouncing Israel."

D'Escoto damned both the Israelis and the United Nations for the plight of the Palestinians. "And he was on target," the official added.

"I believe," D'Escoto said, "that the failure to create a Palestinian state as promised is the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations."...."

The Meaning of Mumbai

South Asia, the new arena

By Justin Raimondo

"The Mumbai massacre comes at a time when the U.S. is about to switch battlefields in its avowedly "generational" war on terrorism, from the Middle East to South Asia. As we move our forces eastward into Afghanistan and, inevitably, Pakistan, the events in Mumbai light up the geopolitical landscape like lightning at midnight, prefiguring a new and even bigger quagmire than the one we're supposedly leaving behind in Iraq. Forget the differences between Sunnis and Shi'ites. That's so yesterday. What we're dealing with now, in the Pakistani-Indian rivalry, is a true war of civilizations, pitting Muslims against Hindus....

More parallels with 9/11 – if you'll remember the immediate reaction of the War Party was to link the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Today, the reflexive response of the same avowed "experts" is to point the finger at Pakistan. One would imagine the debunking of the Saddam-Osama connection would give them some pause, but no. A rationale for war is being constructed with stunning swiftness.....

The neat little narratives pumped out by war propagandists to rationalize acts of mass murder are an important part of any campaign to spark a conflict, so they have to be minimally convincing, or at least credible. Yet the story coming out of the Indian government is frankly incredible. The terrorists left a satellite phone conveniently placed next to the body of their ship's captain, whose throat they had slit, with the numbers of their handlers stored in memory. Very convenient. Even less convincing, however, is the assertion that even after Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the terror squad, had been captured, he continued to get messages from his handlers. That little embellishment, I believe, gives the show away. Add to this the oddly unprepared – indeed, criminally negligent – role of the Indian security apparatus, and the whole thing reeks to high heaven. "Fishy" is putting it mildly....."

شيخ الازهر: عذر اقبح من ذنب!

شيخ الازهر: عذر اقبح من ذنب!

رأي القدس

الشيخ محمد سيد طنطاوي هو النموذج الافضل لما يسمى بـ'وعاظ السلاطين' الذي يسخر المؤسسة الدينية في خدمة السلطان ومتطلباته، سواء بدعمه للتطبيع مع اسرئيل، باستقباله سياسيين ورجال دين اسرائيليين في مكتبه، او بالصمت على بعض سياسات الحكومة المتعارضة مع القيم الاسلامية، مثل بيع الغاز لاسرائيل والمشاركة بفاعلية في فرض الحصار على مليون ونصف مليون مسلم في قطاع غزة.
فبينما يرفض الانبا شنودة بابا الاقباط في مصر جميع انواع التطبيع مع الدولة العبرية، ويقاوم ضغوط الحكومة ومؤامراتها ضده، ويصر على مواقفه بمنع ابناء ديانته بالحج الى القدس المحتلة، والصلاة في كنائسها، لا يتورع شيخ الازهر عن مصافحة الرئيس الاسرائيلي شمعون بيريس اثناء مشاركته في لقاء حوار الاديان في نيويورك الذي دعا اليه العاهل السعودي الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز كخطوة رئيسية على طريق التطبيع مع الدولة العبرية.
شيخ الأزهر هرول للمشاركة دون اي تردد، رغم علمه بأن علماء المملكة العربية السعودية انفسهم، بمن فيهم مفتي الديار المقدسة قاطعوا هذا الحوار في جولتيه في كل من مدريد ونيويورك، والتزموا الصمت المطبق تجاهه، لأنهم لا يريدون مصافحة الحاخامات اليهود.
وما هو أخطر من ذلك انه نفى في بداية الامر مصافحته للرئيس الاسرائيلي، وقال انها لم تحدث مطلقاً، ولكن بعد أن جرى نشر صور هذه المصافحة في صدر الصحف المصرية، قال انه لم يعرف ان هذا الذي يصافحه هو الرئيس الاسرائيلي.
انه عذر أقبح من ذنب. فلا يوجد شخص بالغ عاقل في مصر، أو حتى في الوطن العربي لا يعرف بيريس الذي تقلد كل المناصب في الدولة العبرية، على مدى أكثر من خمسين عاماً. وشيخ الأزهر ليس من الجهلة أو الأميين، ويتابع أخبار الصحف ونشرات التلفزة بشكل جيد، أو هكذا مفترض، وبيريس زار القاهرة أكثر من عشر مرات، واحتلت صوره وهو يلتقي الرئيس مبارك، صدر جميع الصحف المصرية التي تتكدّس على مكتب الشيخ بصورة يومية.

Real News Video: Pragmatism trumps change

Lawrence Korb and Phyllis Bennis discuss the significance of Obama's foreign policy appointments

"On Monday morning, Barack Obama formally confirmed rumors over his major foreign policy appointments for his incoming administration. He confirmed the selection of Hilary Clinton for the Secretary of State, Eric Holder for Attorney General, Gen. James Jones for National Security Adviser, Susan Rice as the Ambassador to the UN, and Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security. In perhaps the most shocking of the appointments, Obama confirmed that Bush appointee Robert Gates will stay on as Obama's Secretary of Defense for a to-be-determined period of time. The appointments have drawn great praise from established Washington voices, including most members of the GOP, but have been highly criticized by others as lacking the 'change' that Obama's campaign preached. Senior Editor Paul Jay talks to Lawrence Korb, an adviser to Obama during the campaign, and Phyllis Bennis to get their opinions on Obama's selections and what they signify."