Saturday, February 7, 2009

Report: Mughniyeh's Israeli Killers Infiltrated to Syria from 'Kurdistan'

[Tony posted an Arabic version of this story Yesterday] 

The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot has said in a report that the assassins of Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh were Israelis who infiltrated from 'Kurdistan' into Syria.

The paper said that operational planning for Mughniyeh's Feb. 2008 assassination started with the arrest of Ali Moussa Daqdouq, a Hizbullah 'foreign operations' official, near Karbala, Iraq, in January the same year.

Iraqi security forces later handed over Daqdouq to U.S. intelligence agents who also questioned him regarding Mughniyeh.

The man has reportedly provided the CIA with many details about Mughniyeh, including his phone numbers.

The Americans, according to Yediot, provided the Israeli Mossad with all the information unveiled by Daqdouq.

The paper said that Mughniyeh was assassinated because he committed one big mistake.

The mistake was that several people knew that he would visit Iran's new ambassador to Damascus, on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Feb. 12.

The paper added that the Israeli assassination team sneaked into Syria from Iraqi-Kurdistan in three vehicles and monitored Mughniyeh's move a day before his assassination, including wiretapping his phone line.

According to Yediot Aharonot, the Israeli team reached Mughniyeh's Mitsubishi Pajero and exchanged the headrest with another loaded with explosives. The Israeli team did not use a time bomb because it feared unforeseen changes.

Once Mughniyeh was seen seated next to the driver's seat, the headrest blew up by remote control, the paper said.

Yediot Aharonot added that Israel fears Hizbullah and its backer Iran would avenge Mughniyeh's killing on the first anniversary of his assassination.

Jews Against Zionism

By Alex Kane

The indypendent

Judy Rebick has received death threats, been screamed at, and been labeled a “self-hating Jew” for her outspokenness on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But that hasn’t stopped her participation in any of the many Jewish-led and supported actions during Israel’s latest incursion into the impoverished Gaza Strip in Palestine.

For people who embrace a progressive Jewish vision, Israel is against everything we believe in,” Rebick said. “They’re violating the Jewish tradition of progressive struggle, and their claim of being a victim is wrong.”

“[Israel] is the state that purports to be our homeland, and whether we feel that it is or not … its actions somehow reflect on Jews in general,” said Alisa Solomon, co-editor of Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and a contributing editor to the WBAI radio show “Beyond the Pale: Radical Jewish Culture and Politics.”“It’s a very dubious and dangerous collapse when ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are conflated,” Solomon said. “Anti-Semites do it a lot, and unfortunately, powers of the Israeli state do it as well.”

Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against the War supports terminating U.S. aid to Israel as well as a nascent divestment and sanctions movement against Israel modeled on the one that confronted apartheid South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. He says he lost the presidency of his union, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325, in the year after 9/11 due to his anti-Zionist views. Still he insists it is crucial for progressive Jews to speak out despite the possible consequences. “It’s very hard to be an anti-Zionist in this country … but there is space,” he said. “And to the extent that we can open that space, and keep pushing the envelope, I think there’s more opportunity sometimes than we think there is.”

....“The simplest way to put it is to make an analogy between white-skinned people doing anti-racist work [with] Jews doing anti-Zionist work. … [Zionism] is a deadly form of racism based on a very specific identity,” Razowsky said.

Kissinger Sent to Russia to Cut New World Order Deal

by Kurt Nimmo
Global Research, February 7, 2009

"It is yet another glaring example there is no difference between Bush, Obama, or anybody else anointed by the global elite to serve as presidential window dressing — the Daily Telegraph reports this morning that former Reichsminister of State and Rockefeller minion Henry Kissinger was dispatched by the Obama administration to talk with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev about reducing stockpiles of nuclear warheads.

“The decision to send Mr. Kissinger to Moscow, taken by Mr Obama when he was still president-elect, is part of a plan to overcome probable Republican objections in Congress,” reports Adrian Blomfield, Moscow correspondent for the British newspaper. It is said the “secret negotiations” were conducted in December.....

Now that the banksters and neolibs have managed to knock Russia and other oil-producing nations down a few notches — due largely to artificially induced falling oil prices — it is time for them to strike a new deal with Russia as the New World Order scheme gains momentum.

Thus it is fair to say Kissinger’s meeting with Medvedev and Putin had less to do with nuclear stockpiles than it had to do with offering a deal the Russians may not be able to refuse.

In short, Kissinger’s trip was likely what it appears to be — a meeting between mob bosses as they set about to carve up their respective spheres of influence."

A New Administration, Tired Old Policies

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, February 7, 2009

"...."Politics will make matters worse" because governments are "intervening in their economies more broadly and deeply than at any time" since WW II. Stimulus packages contain subsidies, protections, and new rules and regulations that pose dangers for global markets ahead. Coordinated policy isn't happening, and local politics pose "the biggest risk" going forward. It's as true in America and the EU as in China, Russia, India, Brazil, and emerging economies. Add militancy to the mix and instability increases. Sum it up: "The world's first global recession is just getting started," and who can know where it ends or how hard its impact before it does.

Six months ago, Roubini rated "depression" chances at 10%. Given policy blunders to date, he now says it's one-third. "The time to stop dithering is well past; and the time to implement a program of forceful, coherent, credible, globally-coordinated monetary, fiscal, financial clean-up and debt-resolution is now. The US and global economy are truly risking a near-depression if the policy reaction is not bold, aggressive, sustainable and credible." Barely a whiff of it in sight so far. Buckle up. The year ahead will be convulsive."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This new poll asks:

Do you believe that the Israeli attacks on Gaza will prove to be a decisive factor in the Israeli elections?

With about 1,000 responding so far, 77% said yes.

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Afghan supply route hit - 5 Feb 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"The Taliban has bombed the main supply route for Nato and US forces in Afghanistan, forcing the US to seek alternative routes. Inside Story looks at the options available to the Obama administration. "

War reporters used to prefer morality over impartiality

I wonder whether we show the same power and passion as the earlier generations

By Robert Fisk

"The "normality" of war, part two....

....And I began to wonder – in an age when the BBC can refuse help to the suffering because of its "impartiality" – whether we still report war with the same power and passion as the men and women of an earlier generation.....

It's not just the power of the writing I'm talking about here; the screaming soldiers, the dying Communard, the condemned men, the woman wanting to sell her car, the death of an age, the flowers. These reporters were spurred, weren't they, by the immorality of war. They cared. They were not frightened of damaging their "impartiality". I wonder if we still write like this."

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Iraq invasion/occupation will go down as the greatest war crime of the 21st Century

Iraq's Shocking Human Toll: About 1 Million Killed, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans 
By John Tirman, The Nation

Now that Bush is gone, perhaps we can honestly face the damage we have wrought and the responsibilities we must accept from it. 

We are now able to estimate the number of Iraqis who have died in the war instigated by the Bush administration. Looking at the empirical evidence of Bush's war legacy will put his claims of victory in perspective. Of course, even by his standards -- "stability" -- the jury is out. Most independent analysts would say it's too soon to judge the political outcome. Nearly six years after the invasion, the country remains riven by sectarian politics and major unresolved issues, like the status of Kirkuk.

We have a better grasp of the human costs of the war. For example, the United Nations estimates that there are about 4.5 million displaced Iraqis -- more than half of them refugees -- or about one in every six citizens. Only 5 percent have chosen to return to their homes over the past year, a period of reduced violence from the high levels of 2005-07. The availability of healthcare, clean water, functioning schools, jobs and so forth remains elusive. According to Unicef, many provinces report that less than 40 percent of households have access to clean water. More than 40 percent of children in Basra, and more than 70 percent in Baghdad, cannot attend school.

The mortality caused by the war is also high. Several household surveys were conducted between 2004 and 2007. While there are differences among them, the range suggests a congruence of estimates. But none have been conducted for eighteen months, and the two most reliable surveys were completed in mid-2006. The higher of those found 650,000 "excess deaths" (mortality attributable to war); the other yielded 400,000. The war remained ferocious for twelve to fifteen months after those surveys were finished and then began to subside. Iraq Body Count, a London NGO that uses English-language press reports from Iraq to count civilian deaths, provides a means to update the 2006 estimates. While it is known to be an undercount, because press reports are incomplete and Baghdad-centric, IBC nonetheless provides useful trends, which are striking. Its estimates are nearing 100,000, more than double its June 2006 figure of 45,000. (It does not count nonviolent excess deaths -- from health emergencies, for example -- or insurgent deaths.) If this is an acceptable marker, a plausible estimate of total deaths can be calculated by doubling the totals of the 2006 household surveys, which used a much more reliable and sophisticated method for estimates that draws on long experience in epidemiology. So we have, at present, between 800,000 and 1.3 million "excess deaths" as we approach the six-year anniversary of this war.

This gruesome figure makes sense when reading of claims by Iraqi officials that there are 1-2 million war widows and 5 million orphans. This constitutes direct empirical evidence of total excess mortality and indirect, though confirming, evidence of the displaced and the bereaved and of general insecurity. The overall figures are stunning: 4.5 million displaced, 1-2 million widows, 5 million orphans, about 1 million dead -- in one way or another, affecting nearly one in two Iraqis.

By any sensible measure, it would be difficult to describe this as a victory of any kind. It speaks volumes about the repair work we must do for Iraqis, and it should caution us against the savage wars we are prone to. Now that Bush is gone, perhaps the United States can honestly face the damage we have wrought and the responsibilities we must accept from it. 

رواية إسرائيلية تكشف تفاصيل عملية اغتيال عماد مغنية

اعتقال بالعراق قاد لتفجير بدمشق

رواية إسرائيلية تكشف تفاصيل عملية اغتيال عماد مغنية

"القدس المحتلة ـ 'القدس العربي':
نشرت صحيفة 'يديعوت أحرونوت' الجمعة تفاصيل حول عملية اغتيال القيادي العسكري في حزب الله عماد مغنية بناء على رواية ضابط في المخابرات اللبنانية.
وتحدثت الصحيفة بشكل مباشر مع ضابط المخابرات اللبنانية الذي أطلعها على تفاصيل عملية الاغتيال، ومع ضابط سابق في وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الامريكية (سي آي ايه) روبرت بار.
وقالت الصحيفة ان التخطيط لعملية اغتيال مغنية كان إثر اعتقال أحد المسؤولين في جهاز 'العمليات الخارجية' في حزب الله ويدعى علي موسى دقدوق، وقد تم اعتقاله عن طريق الصدفة على أيدي رجال أمن عراقيين عندما كان قرب مركز شيعي في كربلاء في شهر كانون الثاني (يناير) من العام الماضي.
وبعد تحقيق قصير تم تسليم دقدوق إلى محققي المخابرات الامريكية الذين بحسب الصحيفة الإسرائيلية قدروا جيدا 'الكنز الذي وقع بين أيديهم' لأن دقدوق يعتبر أحد أكثر المقربين من مغنية. وزود دقدوق المحققين الامريكيين بأرقام هواتف مغنية، والتي كان نادرا ما يستخدمها، وبأرقام هواتف المقربين القليلين من مغنية.
وشددت 'يديعوت أحرونوت' على أن 'الأيدي التي وضعت العبوة الناسفة القاتلة في مسند رأس المقعد إلى يمين السائق كانت أيدي إسرائيلية فقط'.
وحول وصول 'الأيدي' الإسرائيلية إلى دمشق قال الضابط اللبناني إن 'لدينا أدلة تشير إلى أن الطاقم التقني تسلل إلى سورية من كردستان بواسطة ثلاث سيارات، وتواجد في السيارة الأولى الحراس والخلية الداعمة وجلس في السيارة الثانية 'التقنيون' المسؤولون عن العبوة الناسفة، وكان الهدف من السيارة الثالثة استخدامها للهرب في حال حدوث خلل'.
وأضاف الضابط أنه ليس فقط 'التقنيين' الخبراء في اقتحام السيارات وزرع عبوات ناسفة كانوا إسرائيليين وإنما أيضا السائقين الذين كان لديهم شوارب ويتحدثون العربية

Hamas Is Not Going Away

Analysis by Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Feb 6 (IPS) - Despite intensive efforts by Israel, the international community and a number of Arab leaders to weaken and destroy Hamas through economic, punitive and military action, the Islamist organisation continues to be a force to reckon with.....

Despite the immense scale of death and destruction wrought by Operation Cast Lead, which left over 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians dead, rockets continue to be fired at Israel in spite of disproportionate responses from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

Following the recent ceasefire most of Hamas's leadership emerged from underground bunkers unscathed. The digging of smuggling tunnels for everyday necessities as well as arms has resumed.

Furthermore, there are also growing signs that the Europeans, some Israelis and previous Arab opponents are resigned to factoring Hamas into any political equation to address a resolution of the conflict.

Last week after several days of intensive diplomatic pressure, the Israeli government managed to stymie a French initiative to weaken the Jewish state's stance on Hamas......"

Deconstructing Israel's 'Right to Exist'

By Rannie Amiri
Palestine Chronicle

""There was no such thing as Palestinians ... They did not exist." - Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (The Sunday Times, 15 June 1969)......

But, if acknowledging Israel’s ‘right to exist’ means accepting that anyone who is Jewish can automatically become a citizen of Israel and then live on the very land, and in some cases, in the very home, of a Palestinian family who has lived there for generations; if it means relinquishing the right to say “this was my land and my home before you took it away from me”; if it means forsaking the right to return to Palestine with deed and keys in hand, demanding to know what entitles the newly arrived family from England, Russia, Morocco or Ethiopia to live on the property of those who were forcibly expelled; if it means denying the very existence of Palestine and Palestinians—as Golda Meir tried to do—by erasing their history, culture, and collective memoryThen no. Israel has no ‘right to exist’. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Students and teachers protest in Paris - 05 Feb 2009

"In recent weeks, France has been hit by a series of strikes by people concerned about the country's finances. The latest to voice their anger are students and education professionals.

Estelle Youssouffa reports from Paris. "

Real News Video: Two years recession, or ten years of hell?

F William Engdahl: US economy has been hollowed out over the last 15 years and debt load is staggering

"In this first segment of the interview, Paul Jay discusses how the global economic crisis will impact Europe with author and political economist William Engdahl. Engdahl says Italy is experiencing the worst economic crisis it has seen in 30 years, and the British economy is “falling off a cliff.” He says the European situation is “differentiated,” that “it’s a little bit different from what’s going on in North America, especially in the United States.” In Europe, he explains, “it is more an indirect knock-on effect of the United States financial meltdown.” He says the question now is whether the European Union is going to try and decouple its dependency on the U.S. dollar and begin to form regional currency blocks like many nations around the world are starting to do."

Real News Video: Global crisis fuels protests

"While the world's financial and political elite failed to agree on any meaningful solutions to the economic crisis at the World Economic Forum, millions of workers are losing their jobs. The result has been a series of mass mobilizations around the world."

Rahm Emanuel’s “other adversary” sidelined by top job

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

".....WMR has also been told by reliable sources that Mrs. Clinton was largely responsible for the demotion of Emanuel in the Clinton White House in 1993. Mrs. Clinton wanted Emanuel fired but White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty instead, demoted Emanuel from presidential policy adviser to the office of the White House Press Secretary. Emanuel would never forget Mrs. Clinton’s role in his demotion.....

Emanuel appears to have gotten the better of Mrs. Clinton. After having vanquished long-time enemies like Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, and two Democratic leaders he tangled with in the Congress as an Illinois congressman -- Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi -- Emanuel has relegated Mrs. Clinton’s role as secretary of state to one similar to that of Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, William Rogers, who was forced to defer to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger on major foreign policy initiatives.

Emanuel has boxed in Mrs. Clinton with a team of major White House foreign policy “czar-like” envoys who report directly to Obama and Emanuel. These envoys include George Mitchell for the Middle East, Dennis Ross for Iran, and Richard Holbrooke for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Vice President Joe Biden has been given the task of rebuilding U.S. ties to NATO. In fact, representing the United States at the 45th Munich Security Conference this weekend will be Biden, National Security Adviser James Jones, U.S. Central Command chief General David Petraeus, and Holbrooke. Mrs. Clinton will be noticeably absent.....

Emanuel is building up a potential phalanx of powerful enemies in politics. They not only include Dean, Richardson, the Kennedy family, Mrs. Clinton, Pelosi, and, now, Daschle, but also a number of pro-labor Democrats who are suspect of Emanuel’s ties to big business and Wall Street. If the long knives start to come out in Washington, if Obama continues to stumble on administration nominations and policy issues, Emanuel will be the number one target."

Iran and the US: United over Afghanistan?

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"This weekend's Munich Security Conference, which brings together a dozen world leaders and top diplomats and defense officials, has a lot on its plate, particularly the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Destabilizing problems in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are a major concern, but a potential grand bargain between the United States and Iran is the main talking point....."

Whistling past the Afghan graveyard

By Tom Engelhardt
Asia Times

"In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the question is no longer whether the United States is in command, but whether it can get out in time. If not, don't expect the other pressed powers of the planet to help out. The Europeans are already itching to get out of town. The Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Indians ... who exactly will ride to the rescue? Perhaps it would be prudent to stop hanging out in graveyards...."

Buried alive

Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, 5 February 2009

(left) Abu Qusay buried under the rubble.
(Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in the Gaza Strip after having arrived with the third Free Gaza Movement boat in November. She has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, accompanying ambulances while witnessing and documenting the ongoing Israeli air strikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.)

""This is at the beginning, when they started digging survivors and bodies out of the rubble," Abu Qusay said, referring to a photo of himself buried up to his shoulders in rubble, his face bloodied. Just a few weeks after being buried alive by the bombing which attacked the building he was in, only a mere scar at his left eyebrow hinted at the ordeal.

Abu Qusay is in his 30s, is the father of six kids between the ages of four and 15, and has worked as a policeman and security guard for 14 years....

Abu Qusay is obviously among the lucky, having survived the bombing with limbs intact. Like so many Palestinians in Gaza, though, he lost a number of friends in the attacks. I try to imagine how it would be to lose more than one friend, say 10, or more than one family member, say seven, or like the Samouni family, 48. It's impossible to imagine."

Israel Confiscates Leb. Brotherhood Ship, Releases Passengers


"06/02/2009 Once again, the same story repeated itself with Israel… and without any "deterrent"!

It's the story of the 'Brotherhood Ship', a Lebanese aid ship that decided to break the inhumane siege imposed on a ruined strip, which just came out of a fierce war that claimed the lives and injured thousands of innocent people, displaced thousands others.. Enough reasons for right activists' and journalists to take their decision, express "solidarity" and assume responsibilities: "help" Gazans..

But, there is a problem: breaking the siege is prohibited!
And because breaking the siege is prohibited, the Zionist entity will, once again, give itself the right to open fire on the ship, attack its passengers, detain them for many hours, question them and finally release them… and in the middle of everything, the "free" world has also the complete "right" to remain "silent"!......"

Israel Seizes Gaza Aid Freighter: No Arms Aboard, Aid Not Delivered

Archbishop of Jerusalem Captured, Sent to Syria

(left) Archbishop of Jerusalem Hilarion Capucci is second from left in this photo.

"The Israeli Navy captured an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip today, arresting those on board and towing the ship to the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection. Early reports indicated that the ship was fired upon before its capture, though the military insists they were only “warning shots.”

The ship, called Brotherhood by the activists, contained no weapons nor does it appear to have contained any banned materials (the Israeli government has banned numerous goods, such as clothing and shoes, from the Gaza Strip citing their potential threat to the Israeli populace). The ship contained exactly what one would imagine an aid ship would carry: water, food and medicine, though since seizing the vessel the amount contained therein has mysteriously and precipitously fallen over that which the ship apparently left Lebanon with.

The passengers captured on board the ship appear to have all been released at this point, most of them sent to the Lebanese border. One of the captives, the Archbishop of Jerusalem Hilarion Capucci, was sent to Syria instead. The archbishop’s capture is likely to further inflame tensions between the Israeli government and the Vatican......"

Obama and the Politics of Bullocks

Another Great Piece
by John Pilger

".....For Netanyahu, the reassuring news is that Obama's administration is the most Zionist in living memory – a truth that has struggled to be told from beneath the soggy layers of Obama-love. Not a single member of Obama's team demurred from Obama's support for Israel's barbaric actions in Gaza. Obama himself likened the safety of his two young daughters with that of Israeli children while making not a single reference to the thousands of Palestinian children killed with American weapons – a violation of both international and US law. He did, however, demand that the people of Gaza be denied "smuggled" small arms with which to defend themselves against the world's fourth largest military power. And he paid tribute to the Arab dictatorships, such as Egypt, which are bribed by the US Treasury to help the US and Israel enforce policies described by the United Nations Rapporteur, Richard Falk, a Jew, as "genocidal."

It is time the Obama lovers grew up. It is time those paid to keep the record straight gave us the opportunity to debate informatively. In the 21st century, people power remains a huge and exciting and largely untapped force for change, but it is nothing without truth. "In the time of universal deceit," wrote George Orwell, "telling the truth is a revolutionary act.""

Endgame? What Endgame?

Afghanistan: A war without end

By Justin Raimondo

"So, you thought it was all going to be different, did you, that we were in for a change – a Big Change? Well, the bad news, as Newsweek reports, is that the more things change …....

He's searching for strategy – at this late date? Isn't this the same Barack Hussein Obama who told us Bush was neglecting the Afghan front, and that we had to redirect our efforts away from Iraq in order to invest more troops and treasure in Afghanistan, doing whatever it is we're supposed to be doing there? Surely he had some kind of plan in mind.....

So there you have it: the new interventionist consensus, the coalition of special interests and ideological cliques that will foist another futile war of "liberation" on us. These are the supporters of what is now Obama's war, a conflict that promises to be much broader – and more destabilizing – than anything dreamed of by the Bush administration.

What's the endgame, Mr. President? You tell us."

The nightmare of Netanyahu returns

By Johann Hari
The Independent

"Israel is about to make a misjudgement as disastrous – and deadly – as the attack on Gaza. In a few days, it looks as if it could elect Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister once again.

This is a man calling for the violent re-occupation of Gaza to "liquidate" its elected government. This is a man who says he will "naturally grow" the West Bank settlements. This is a man who says he will "never" negotiate over Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights, or control of the West Bank water supply.

This is a man who says establishing a Palestinian state would leave Israel with, "an existential threat and a public relations nightmare reminiscent of 1938 Czechoslovakia". This is a man who Yitzhak Rabin's widow said helped create a climate of hate that led to his murder......"

Hard man of the right is Israel's kingmaker in waiting

The settler politician dubbed 'Le Pen of the West Bank' wants Israeli Arabs to swear loyalty to the state – or lose their vote

By Donald Macintyre in Umm el Fahm

The Independent

"Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right politician campaigning on a platform that Israeli Arabs should pledge loyalty to the state or lose their right to vote, has become the pivotal figure in next week's election after two polls showing his party has overtaken Labour.

The Yisrael Beiteinu party headed by the Moldovan-born Mr Lieberman, who lives in a West Bank Jewish settlement and has been depicted by his critics as an Israeli version of Jean-Marie Le Pen or Jorg Haider, is in third place with a projected 19 or 17 seats in two newspaper polls yesterday......

Avigdor Lieberman: In his own words

"If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at 10 in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah."

"World War Two ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."

"We'll move the border. We won't have to pay for their unemployment, or health, or education. We won't have to subsidise them any longer."

"When there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important."

"A real victory can be achieved only by breaking the will and motivation of Hamas to fight us, as was done to the Japanese in the last days of World War Two." "

¡Que se vayan todos! - that's the global backlash talking

It's not just governing elites that the world is rising up against - it's the entire model of deregulated capitalism

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Friday 6 February 2009

"Watching the crowds in Iceland banging pots and pans until their government fell reminded me of a chant popular in anti-capitalist circles in 2002: "You are Enron. We are Argentina."

Its message was simple enough. You - politicians and CEOs huddled at some trade summit - are like the reckless scamming execs at Enron (of course, we didn't know the half of it). We - the rabble outside - are like the people of Argentina, who, in the midst of an economic crisis eerily similar to our own, took to the street banging pots and pans. They shouted, "¡Que se vayan todos!" ("All of them must go!") - and forced out a procession of four presidents in less than three weeks. What made Argentina's 2001-02 uprising unique was that it wasn't directed at a particular political party or even at corruption in the abstract. The target was the dominant economic model: this was the first national revolt against contemporary deregulated capitalism.

It has taken a while, but from Iceland to Latvia, South Korea to Greece, the rest of the world is finally having its ¡Que se vayan todos! moment......"

Fear and loathing in Davos

Click on cartoon by Khalil Bendib to enlarge.
By Joseph Stiglitz, Friday 6 February 2009

"For 15 years, I have attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. Typically, the leaders gathered there share their optimism about how globalisation, technology and markets are transforming the world for the better. Even during the recession of 2001, those assembled in Davos believed that the downturn would be short-lived.

But this time, as business leaders shared their experiences, one could almost feel the clouds darkening....."

الدرس الايراني لعرب الهوان

الدرس الايراني لعرب الهوان

عبد الباري عطوان

الحكومة المصرية لم تخض اي حرب طوال تلك الفترة، على عكس ايران التي خاضت حربا ضد العراق استمرت ثماني سنوات متواصلة، ومع ذلك يمكن ان نرى الفوارق الشاسعة بين البلدين في مختلف المجالات، حيث تتجه ايران الى السماء تغزو الفضاء، بينما تتجه الحكومة المصرية الى الارض للبحث عن انفاق رفح، ومن خلال استيراد تكنولوجيا التهريب الامريكية اللازمة في هذا الصدد.

هذه التجربة الايرانية الناجحة اعتمدت على ركنين اساسيين، الاول هو التعليم، والثاني الديمقراطية، ويمكن اضافة ركن ثالث وهو نجاح النظام الايراني في استقطاب أعداد كبيرة من العقول الايرانية العاملة في الخارج، وتوفير كل فرص الابداع أمامها لتوظيف خبراتها في تطوير قدرات بلادها العلمية والعسكرية.
المحاور العربية، المعتدلة منها أو الممانعة، أو حتى المترددة بين الإثنتين، فشلت في جميع هذه المجالات، واتفقت فيما بينها على أمر واحد، وهو كيفية تطفيش الخبرات العربية، أي أنها أصبحت دولا 'طاردة' للعلماء والمبدعين إلى الدول الغربية
وزراء خارجية دول محور الاعتدال العربي اجتمعوا في مدينة ابوظبي قبل ثلاثة أيام لمواجهة أطراف خارجية تتدخل في الشأن الداخلي العربي، والمقصود بذلك ايران وليست اسرائيل وأمريكا اللتين توجد لهما قوات وأساطيل وقواعد، لان تدخلهما 'أمر حميد' لا خطر منه على السيادة الوطنية العربية.
هؤلاء الوزراء لم يقولوا لنا كيف سيواجهون ايران، هل بالغتر المصنوعة في بريطانيا، أم فوانيس رمضان المصنّعة في الصين، أم بالأراجيل (الشيشة) المصنوعة في اليابان؟ أم بجيش الخدم من الهند والفلبين وسيرلانكا؟
علينا أن نعترف بأننا أمة فاشلة عاجزة جفت فيها كل وسائط الابداع، بسبب أنظمة دكتاتورية غير منتخبة، ركزت طوال العقود الخمسة الماضية على 'تجهيل' المواطنين والجيوش، وقتل عروق الكرامة الوطنية والقومية في الاجيال السابقة والحالية، بحيث وصلنا الى حال القحط التي نعيش في ظلها.
جامعاتنا في معظمها تحولت الى مدارس لمحو الامية، تخرج جيوشا من الجهلة،
من يريد ان يتصدى للنفوذ الايراني عليه اولا ان يتخلى عن تبعيته الحالية لأمريكا، والمقبلة لاسرائيل، وان يعتمد على نفسه من خلال وضع استراتيجية نهضوية في مختلف المجالات، والاعتراف بأن الدكتاتورية ومصادرة الحريات، وغياب الشفافية والقضاء المستقل، وقيام دولة المؤسسات هي السبب الاساسي في وصولنا الى هذا الانحدار المزري في مختلف المجالات، بحيث اصبحنا اضحوكة الامم.
نحن كعرب بتنا اليوم الاكثر تخلفا واحتقارا من بين معظم الشعوب الاسلامية الاخرى دون جدال، فها هي تركيا تتحول الى دولة ديمقراطية عظمى ينتفض رئيس وزرائها رجب طيب اردوغان في وجه امريكا واسرائيل متماهيا مع مشاعر شعبه، ومرتكزا الى قاعدة ديمقراطية راسخة. وها هو احمدي نجاد يتحدى الصهيونية وامريكا، ويطلق الصواريخ والاقمار الصناعية، ويبيع نفطه باليورو، ويجاهر بدعمه للمقاومة، ويجد الادارات الامريكية ترتعد امامه خوفا ورعبا.
نشعر بالهوان امام هذا الوضع المزري الذي نعيشه حاليا، ويزداد هواننا عندما نرى معظم الدول العربية لا تجرؤ على التلفظ بكلمة دعم المقاومة التي صمدت واعادت لها، وللشعوب العربية ما افتقدته من كرامة مهدورة.
من يريد ان يتصدى للنفوذ الايراني، ويضع حدا لتدخلات طهران في الشأن العربي الداخلي، عليه ان يتعلم من مدرستها الوطنية، ومؤسساتها الديمقراطية الحاكمة (رغم بعض التحفظات)، ومراكز ابحاثها العلمية المتطورة، ودعمها للمقاومة، بشقيها اللبناني والفلسطيني، وهذا ما لا نراه حاليا، بل نرى إصرارا على الانخراط في مدارس الاستسلام والخنوع والتخلف للأسف الشديد."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

To Daniel Barenboim: take your piano and go away

A Very Good Analysis

By As'ad Abu Khalil (Angry Arab)

"I woke up to see a copy of this piece of trash in my inbox. I can't say that I was surprised because I saw the name of Daniel Barenboim on top, and never expected much from him. I never liked or trusted this man, and his friendship with Edward Said meant nothing to me. I never felt that I need to befriend an Israeli to complete my humanity or to prove my civility. I don't understand why Barenboim dares on the heels of the massacres of Gaza to lecture to the Palestinian people. This statement is a proof that Barenboim and every person who signed this lousy statement has declared himself/herself an enemy of the Palestinian people and their historical resistance movement which began a century ago.....

Barenboim and his Zionist friends (every person who signed this statement and others in the Israeli terrorist army--those who signed this statement are basically identifying with the Israeli killers in Gaza, make no mistake about it) decide just like that to re-write the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forty years? How did you achieve that magic number? By order from the Israeli military censor? You are telling me that prior to 1967 there was no Arab-Israeli conflict? I was born to the conflict and its discussion all around me, and I was born in 1960. Do I have to disbelieve my own memories? Do I have to disbelieve all those Israeli attacks on our lands? Do I have to go the Palestinian refugees in squalid camps throughout the Middle East and tell them that all your tears and pain and blood before 1967 were imaginary and that this is the case because Barenboim's Piano and his Zionist friends on this list have so decided? And then to vomit a flat out lie that the Arab-Israeli conflict can't be settled by force is to deny the realities in the holy land thus far. Did Israel not take Palestine by force? Did Israel not expel the Palestinian natives by force?......

What is particularly offensive about this particularly offensive statement is that it came on the heels of the Israel festival of butchery in Gaza and said not word about what happened. That proves that those who signed it decided to ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people, and to support the violence of the occupiers. Make no mistake about it. The good thing is this: the Palestinian people in the camps don't give a shit what Debra Winger and other signatories on this list have to say on the Palestinian problem."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza fishermen face daily dangers - 04 Feb 09

"Weeks after Israel's war on Gaza, the suffering of people in the Strip has not ended.

Israel maintains a blockade, on land, in the air and at sea. For fishermen in Gaza, making a living has become harder and more dangerous, as Al Jazeera's Mike Kirsch reports. "

Corrupt Egyptian system: feeds the IDF, starves Gazans, oppresses journalists

By Iqbal Tamimi
Palestine Think Tank

"Once upon an alleged democracy, the Egyptian government decided a couple of days ago to try the journalist Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Labour party in a military court -even though he is a civilian - because he broke the law when he tried to "illegally enter the Gaza Strip".

One wonders what is legal and what is not when it comes to Gaza. It seems the law in Egypt is extremely elastic and can accommodate all manipulations and tailoring of the law to fit different sizes of growing plots. The good old Egyptian system is abiding to the law to the letter, and that’s why it wants to try a journalist in a military court for entering Gaza ‘illegally’ while the good old authority was providing the Israeli military ‘legally’ with tons of foods through the Gaza crossings while blocking any food sent to the starved to death children of Gaza who were burned to the bone by white phosphorus by that same Israeli army Egypt was feeding......."

Sweden: Shoe hits Israeli ambassador

"A shoe was thrown at Israel 's ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Benny Dagan, when he was giving a speech at Stockholm University today. The shoe hit its target. It was followed by two books and a note pad, all hitting the severely embarrassed ambassador....."

BBC's "impartiality" anything but

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The Electronic Intifada, 4 February 2009

"......But this decision to refuse a charity appeal has consequences that go far beyond any of the BBC's earlier failings: as the respected British MP Tony Benn put it, "people will die because of the BBC decision." It is so blatantly unjust that the only question the BBC management might want to mull over is just how irreparable the damage from this controversy might be to its reputation. The organization that only days earlier was reporting with glee a letter by Chinese intellectuals boycotting their state media is today itself the subject of boycotts across Britain, not just by intellectuals, but by artists, scholars, citizens and even the International Atomic Energy Agency. Much like Pravda and Izvestia during the Cold War, today it is the BBC that has emerged as the most apposite metaphor for state propaganda."

Video: A Campaign in Sweden to Stop the Tennis Match Against Israel in March

Contributed by Uffe in Sweden

A campaign has also been launched in Sweden to stop the tennis match against Israel in march which is taking place in Malmö, Sweden:

Palestinian boycott committee salutes S. African dock workers

Press release, Secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, 4 February 2009

The following press release was issued on 3 February 2009:

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, warmly salutes the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), a member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), for its decision today not to offload an Israeli ship that is due to arrive in Durban, South Africa, on 8 February. Coming weeks after the massive Israeli massacre in Gaza, this distinguished expression by SATAWU of effective solidarity with the Palestinian people in general, and with Gaza in particular, sets a historic precedent that reminds us of the first such action during the apartheid era taken by Danish dock workers in 1963, when they decided not to offload ships carrying South African products, triggering a similar boycott in Sweden, England and elsewhere....."

U.N. Chief Sets Bar High in Aftermath of Gaza

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Feb 4 (IPS) - When Ban Ki-moon visited Gaza after the destructive bombing of a U.N. compound last month, the usually reticent secretary-general lashed out at the Israelis, accusing them of using "excessive force" and describing the assault as "an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations".

The harsh comments came as a surprise because a day earlier he had told reporters in Jerusalem that Israel "is a responsible member of the United Nations"- despite the continued violations of humanitarian law by the Israelis and the killings of over 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the 22-day conflict.

But the overwhelming devastation of the U.N. compound - considered a safe haven for refugees fleeing the conflict - probably left a lasting negative impression on the secretary-general.

At a press conference in Geneva last week, he continued to pummel the Israelis when he told reporters he was "very much frustrated and upset and angered by what I had seen (in Gaza)."

After the war, Gazans seek answers on white phosphorus

Gaza doctors add to the growing number of accounts that suggest Israel used white phosphorus munitions against international norms of war.

By Ilene R. Prusher
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

"Gaza City, Gaza - When Nafiz Abu Shabam received a 5-year-old patient at the Shifa Hospital early in the war between Israel and Hamas, he dressed her burns and sent her for tests. Three hours later, when he and other medical staff redressed the wound, they saw smoke coming from it. "We found small pieces of foreign material in her body, and even when we picked it out, the wound was still smoking," he says. "We were later told [by foreign doctors and human rights workers who arrived after the war started] that it was white phosphorus.".....

Abu Shabam, head of the burn unit, complains that enough isn't being done by the international aid and rights groups to verify whether white phosphorus munitions were used in civilian areas. "The time is now," he says. "We need them to be investigating and testing the area of explosions before evidence is lost."....

Amnesty International says a fact-finding team here has also found evidence that white phosphorus was used in populated areas. "We now know that white phosphorus munitions were used in built-up civilian areas, although the Israeli authorities previously denied this," said Donatella Rovera, head of Amnesty International's investigation team in Gaza, in a statement on the organization's website......."

ألمان مسكونون بالمحرقة ومصريون مسكونون بوطنية وهمية

ألمان مسكونون بالمحرقة ومصريون مسكونون بوطنية وهمية

A Very Good Comment in Arabic

عزام التميمي

نعم، الألمان مسكونون بالمحرقة لدرجة يصعب علينا تصورها، فهم كما لو كانوا صماً بكماً عمياً، في ضلال مذهل عما يرتكب بحق الفلسطينيين، وما لحق بغيرهم من العرب وخاصة في لبنان، بسبب رغبة الغرب تعويض اليهود عما جرى لهم على حسابنا نحن. الألمان أمة بحاجة إلى علاج، فهي أمة مريضة، ولعل ما يحتاجونه من علاج ينبغي أن يشتمل على 'صدمة' من نوع ما. ولعله آن الأوان أن يصرخ الناس في وجوه الألمان، وفي وجوه من حولهم من الأوروبيين بما يصدمهم ويكشف الغطاء عن جريمة يرتكبونها بحجة التكفير عن جريمة من نفس نوعها. آن الأوان أن يقول لهم العرب والمسلمون، وخاصة من أصبح منهم مواطنين في أوروبا: 'لماذا تفرضون على غيركم أن يدفع ثمن جرائم آبائكم وأجدادكم؟ وإذا كنتم تشعرون بالذنب فلماذا أقمتم لليهود وطناً في بلاد العرب والمسلمين؟ أما كان بإمكانكم اقتطاع جزء من قارتكم لتحولوها إلى كيان صهيوني تكفرون به عن خطايا أسلافكم؟ أم أن المشروع لا يعدو كونه خطة للتخلص من اليهود إلى الأبد من خلال الزج بهم في آتون الغضب الإسلامي العارم؟'
من ناحية أخرى، ليس لدي شك في أنه تكرس الانطباع لدى بعض زعماء الجالية العربية في أوروبا بأن موقفي كما تنقله وسائل الإعلام الاوروبية تجاه القضية الفلسطينية يحرجهم، وبالذات فيما يتعلق بالموقف من حركة حماس،
في اليوم التالي للمهرجان، وفي طريقي إلى المطار، أخبرني أحد الحاضرين في مهرجان مساء اليوم السابق بأن كلمتي سيكون لها ما بعدها لأنه من غير المعهود، وخاصة في بافاريا، أن يعلن أحد تأييده أمام الملأ لحق الشعب الفلسطيني في المقاومة ويعلن في نفس الوقت رفضه لحق إسرائيل في الوجود، والأمران من وجهة النظر الألمانية، كما يعتقد محدثي الذي لم يخف سروره بما قلت وتأييده لي، قد يكونان سبباً للمساءلة. ولعل ما زاد الطين بله في نظر المتخوفين أنني قلت بملء الفم بأننا 'كلنا اليوم حماس'.
فمبارك هو الذي همس في أذن ساركوزي الذي فضحه على الملأ قائلاً بأنه ينبغي ألا يسمح لحماس أن تخرج من الحرب منتصرة، ونظام مبارك هو الذي يبقى معبر رفح مغلقاً معظم الوقت، مكرساً بذلك الحصار على قطاع غزة حتى تخضع حماس لشروط عباس أو يثور أهل القطاع عليها ويسقطوها، ومبارك هو الذي قال ـ وسمعه وشاهده الملايين ـ بأن إسرائيل كسلطة احتلال من حقها أن تعلم بكل ما يدخل إلى القطاع لمنع وصول السلاح إليه، وأبو الغيط وعمر سليمان، وجيش المطبلين والمبررين والمحرضين ممن يعملون تحتهم ومعهم، مواقفهم معلنة ومشاعرهم مكشوفة. فما الذي أغضب 'بلدياتك' يا صديقي؟ أما يعلم 'بلدياتك' هذا بأنه لولا موافقة وتواطؤ بل ومشاركة كل من مبارك وعباس لما شن الإسرائيليون حربهم على غزة ولما ارتكبوا فيها من الجرائم ما لم يسبقهم إليه أحد من العالمين؟

شرح لي محدثي ظاهرة غريبة، أقرب ما تكون إلى المرض النفسي. قال بأن بعض المصريين، وبالرغم من معرفتهم بكل ما ورد في كلمتي وعدم إنكارهم له فيما بينهم، إلا أنهم لا يرضون بأن توجه سهام الانتقاد على الملأ إلى نظام بلادهم، وخاصة إلى رئيس النظام حسن مبارك، من قبل غير المصريين. فهذا في عرف هؤلاء البعض اعتداء على مصر، تقتضي الوطنية المصرية الوقوف في وجهه. ويرى هؤلاء بأنه مهما كان حال مصر ونظامها، لا ينبغي إلا لأهل مصر أن ينتقدوا نظامهم وحكامهم، وهم وحدهم من حقهم أن يسخروا من نظامهم ومن بلدهم (أي أن ينكتوا عليه) تعبيراً عن سخطهم من تدهور كل الخدمات في كل القطاعات وفي كافة المستويات. ويرى هؤلاء بأن الوطنية المصرية تقتضي ألا ينتقد المصري نظامه خارج القطر المصري، بل في الخارج ينبغي أن يكون المصريون يداً واحدة على كل خصم لبلادهم وصفاً واحداً في مواجهة كل من يتجرأ عليها، وفي هذا لا تمييز بين النظام والشعب والوطن. وأضاف بأن هذه الوطنية المصرية تصل ذروتها لدى بعض المصريين من خلال حساسية مفرطة إزاء انتقاد الفلسطينيين بالذات لنظام مبارك لأنهم يعتقدون اعتقاداً جازماً بأن مصر، كما يروج نظامها الحالي، قدمت لفلسطين وأهل فلسطين أكثر مما قدمه غيرهم مجتمعين، وبأن مشاكل مصر الاقتصادية ناجمة في مجملها عن تضحيات المصريين في سبيل فلسطين وأهلها، وأن مشاكل فلسطين الحالية بما في ذلك الحصار وإغلاق معبر رفح إنما سببه الفلسطينيون أنفسهم بما هم فيه من شقاق وما هم عليه من خلاف.
ربما احتاج دعاة الوطنية الوهمية في مصر إلى علاج بالصدمة أيضاً، علهم يصحون من غفلتهم ويفيقون من غفوتهم، ليروا هذا النظام الجاثم على صدورهم على حقيقته. إنه نظام فاسد مفسد، ظالم مظلم، لا يريد الخير لمصر ولا لفلسطين، ولا يجدر بمصري وطني أن يدافع عنه أو يحزن عليه. إنه نظام يفقر الشعب المصري وينكل به صبح مساء بينما يعيش رموزه في رغد من العيش بسبب منحة أمريكية سنوية مقدارها 2.5 مليار دولار. ولذلك فهو نظام قرار زعمائه مرتهن لأعداء الأمة، ولاؤهم أولاً وأخيراً لمن يدفع رواتبهم، ويحافظ على وجودهم، هم أشبه بالصهاينة خلقاً وألصق بهم سلوكاً وأقرب إليهم شعوراً، أهل مصر والعرب والمسلمون منهم براء، ولن تصلح أوضاع مصر والعروبة إلا بزوالهم."

Defying logic

US arms shipments to Israel are questionable under American law. It should reconsider sending military aid

Ian Williams, Wednesday 4 February 2009

"As they were still reassembling dog-eaten cadavers of kids in Gaza, an envelope from Aipac dropped in my mailbox. The self-proclaimed most powerful lobby in Washington had sent me a pre-printed post card to sign and mail to my congressman, urging him to support increased military aid to the Israel over the next decade......

Under these circumstances, in any rational world, Obama's administration should use its considerable leverage to let Israel know that there is no free lunch. If Israeli leaders want to go it alone, then they should face the risk of being on their own. There is no reason for credit-crunched American taxpayers to subsidise what rational Israeli leaders have proclaimed to be suicidal polices.

So back to the Aipac post card. I forwarded it to my congressman with "not" interposed before all the relevant verbs...."

Recession: the road to revolution

Political elites have more to fear than protectionism – the economic crisis threatens to bring regime change in its wake

Richard Gott, Wednesday 4 February 2009

".....In this unfolding scenario, forgotten questions will be asked again: why do we allow the media to be dominated by foreign owners and foreign programmes? Why is our economic activity in the hands of foreign corporations? Why are we forced by advertising to purchase products that we have no desire or need to consume, simply in order to sustain the country's economy? Why do we leave thousands of acres in the hands of private landowners? Why does our country make no effort to be self-sufficient in food? Why do we still pretend that Britain is an imperial country, 50 years after the end of empire? Why do we remain allied to the most dangerous and reactionary country in the world?

Such liberating ideas can only come to the top of the agenda if the present political structure is demolished and swept away. Fortunately, the current systemic crisis is making this ever more probable. Our leaders, of course, ignore the likelihood of their imminent demise and scare us with innumerable arguments: protectionism is perceived at worst as an open door to fascism, at best as a forerunner of a yet more disastrous economic disaster. We should ignore the smoke screen of mystification that they try to erect and welcome the coming seismic upheaval. Then we will have to ride the political struggles of the consequent tsunami wave, and look forward with optimism to a more constructive and hopeful future."

Pirates of the Eastern Mediterranean at Work: Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship


"A Lebanese boat carrying more than 60 tonnes of aid for Gaza has been fired upon by Israeli troops off the coast of Gaza.

Al Jazeera's correspondent aboard the Al-Ikhwa (The Brotherhood) ship said five Israeli soldiers then boarded the ship, beating and threatening the crew. "They are pointing guns against us - they are kicking us and beating us. They are threatening our lives," Al Jazeera's Salam Khoder said.

Communication with the ship was then lost.

According to the owner of the ship, the Israelis destroyed its communication equipment and confiscated the phones of those on board.

The Israeli military told Al Jazeera it had captured the Lebanese vessel and taken it to Ashdod, where authorities were examining the ship's contents. The crew, meanwhile, has been taken into police custody. The Brotherhood sailed from the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Tuesday.

Foud Siniora, Lebanon's president, condemned the attack on the ship, emphasising that it was on a humanitarian mission to Gaza. He said Israel has been allowed to violate international law for too long and called for pressure to be put on it."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A South African Boycott of Israel

Durban for Palestine via BDS
By Bond, Patrick

The decision on February 3 by South African dockworkers to refuse handling of Israeli imports is of enormous importance for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and will prod more local Durban citizens - including academics and cultural activists - to also raise concerns about institutional linkages that give the Israeli state legitimacy.

This Sunday, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union aim to repeat last year's feat of turning back a huge ship symbolizing and contributing to oppression. A protest led by Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sdumo Dlamini will be held at the mouth of the port at 10am.

Campaigning against apartheid for many years, international activists found sanctions and divestment a useful tool under these conditions, so as to reduce the monetary incentive for ongoing racism.

The parallel is real. Writing in the Harvard Crimson last Monday, Harvard law professor Duncan Kennedy contextualizes the past month's carnage: "It is important to understand the 1,300 Palestinian casualties, including 400 children as well as many, many women, versus 13 Israeli casualties, as typical of a particular kind of 'police action' that Western colonial powers and Western 'ethnocratic settler regimes' like ours in the US, Canada, Australia, Serbia and particularly apartheid South Africa, have historically undertaken to convince resisting native populations that unless they stop resisting they will suffer unbearable death and deprivation."

Such a gesture - like Israeli BDS on economic, sporting, academic and cultural activities, in solidarity with Palestinians - may at least begin, to borrow Player's words, to "highlight the critical importance of resolving their plight."

US Supply Routes to Afghanistan Suffer Two Huge Blows

by the McClatchy Newspapers

"MOSCOW - The U.S.-led campaign against the Taliban suffered two logistical blows Tuesday as the president of Kyrgyzstan announced that he'd shut a U.S. airbase in his country and insurgents in Pakistan blew up a bridge, disrupting the main U.S. supply route into Afghanistan.

The developments were the latest reminders of the vulnerability of the long and complex transportation system on which the 60,000 U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan depend for fuel, ammunition, construction materials and a great deal more......."

The War on Terror is a Hoax

Endless Propaganda


"....The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people is armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.

Hamas is a small organization armed with small caliber rifles incapable of penetrating body armor. Hamas is unable to stop small bands of Israeli settlers from descending on West Bank Palestinian villages, driving out the Palestinians, and appropriating their land.

The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the US in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.

The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. "

An IDF Jihad?

Religious Extremists Rising Through the Ranks



"Extremist rabbis and their followers, bent on waging holy war against the Palestinians, are taking over the Israeli army by stealth, according to critics.

In a process one military historian has termed the rapid “theologisation” of the Israeli army, there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements. They answer to hardline rabbis who call for the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the occupied Palestinian territories.......

The army has encouraged this trend by creating some two dozen hesder yeshivas, seminaries in which youths can combine Biblical studies with army service in separate religious units. Many of the yeshivas are based in the West Bank, where students are educated by the settlements’ extremist rabbis.

Ehud Barak, the defence minister, has rapidly expanded the programme, approving four yeshivas, three based in settlements, last summer. Another 10 are reportedly awaiting his approval.

Mr Manekin, however, warned against blaming the violence inflicted on Gaza’s civilians solely on the influence of religious extremists. “The army is still run by the secular elites in Israel and they have always been reckless with regard to the safety of civilians when they wage war. Jewish nationalism that justifies Palestinian deaths is just as dangerous as religious extremism.”"

How low can "the Laughing Cow" go ?

Egypt prevents Al Jazeera journalists from entering Gaza

By Yoav Stern, Haaretz 
Egypt on Tuesday prevented two senior Al Jazeera journalists from entering the Gaza Strip through Rafah border, the London-based Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi reported on Wednesday.

The two, Ahmad Mansour and Ghassan Bin Jido, said that the Egyptian authorities did not provide an explanation for their decision, and that employees of other media outlets were allowed to cross into the besieged territory without delay.

During Operation Cast Lead last month, the network's coverage of the events in Gaza was critical of Egypt's opposition to Hamas. Mansour and Bin Jido are known for their favorable attitude toward the Palestinian "resistance movement," as Hamas is known in the Arab world. They said they'd stay put until Egypt provides a "reasonable" explanation for their detention at the border.

Carter blames Israel for Gaza bloodshed

Former President Jimmy Carter told the Free Press that Israel was responsible for last month's fighting in Gaza, a comment that drew sharp reaction from members of the local Jewish community, who called him an apologist for terrorist groups.
Carter, asked in a telephone interview who was responsible for the Gaza war, replied simply: "Israel was."
"You got to talk to both sides," Carter said. "But you can't ... take the position that everything that Israel does is right, and that anybody who disagrees with them is an act of terrorism. You got to try to find solutions that relate to both sides."

Iraq pushes deadline to prequalify oil companies

[The Bush Doctorine succeeds in Iraq: The country is pacified , occupied and now it's oil is getting privatized]


BAGHDAD: Iraq has extended to Feb. 15 its invitation to international oil companies to submit registration documentation to participate in the country's second bidding round.

Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the extension was needed because of national holidays in January, including last weekend's provincial elections. The previous deadline was Jan. 31.

Iraq announced its second round of bidding to develop 11 oil and gas fields last year. The first round was announced in June. It opened eight oil and gas fields.

Iraq has at least 115 billion barrels in reserves. Officials say they want to add about 4.5 million barrels a day to the current 2.4 million barrels per day capacity over the next four to six years.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This new poll asks:

Do you support unconditional truce (calm) between Hamas and Israel?

With over 500 responding so far (it is early), 81% said no.

Bail Fail, by Mr. Fish

Israel and the politics of friendship

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron gather around the body of a protester after he was killed by Israeli troops during a rally by Hamas supporters against Israel's military operation in Gaza, 16 January 2009.

A Very Good Piece

Joseph Massad, The Electronic Intifada, 3 February 2009

"....The Egyptian regime, which considers Israel its most important ally in the region after the United States, believes correctly that Israel is not trying to undermine it, which is why Israel has not been an enemy of Egypt since the mid 1970s. The days when Israel tried to destroy the Arab nationalist regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser are over, and since his successor Anwar Sadat's capitulationist overtures, Israel has been a sure supporter of the Egyptian regime, which supports Israel in turn, sometimes as many have recently speculated, to the regime's own detriment.

Since the Reagan years, Israel has also become the friend of the Saudi regime and later the rest of the Gulf monarchies, not to mention its longstanding friendship with the Moroccan kings. The Tunisian regime of Habib Bourguiba also refused to consider Israel an enemy since the 1960s as had fascist Christian forces in Lebanon which considered it and still consider it a friend. Most important in this context is how the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas no longer considered Israel an enemy, except briefly under Arafat before he died and when he realized that Israel was out to unseat him. Otherwise, both Arafat and Abbas, whose term as PA president expired on 9 January, could not and cannot get enough hugs and kisses from Israel's war criminal leaders.....

It is now Arab regimes that push for imperial and colonial sovereignty in Palestine, Iraq and Iran, while Iran and Turkey are in the forefront of resisting it. That popular forces across Arab countries and in Iran and Turkey continue to oppose US imperialism passionately leaves most Arab regimes as the major pro-imperial forces in the region. It is in this context that Saudi-, Egyptian-, Jordanian-, and even the Palestinian Authority-sponsored anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite chauvinism (launched at the behest of Israel and the US) have failed to sway the Arab masses from their anti-imperial and anti-colonial position. The entry of Turkey into the camp that supports local and regional sovereignty has complicated the hate-mongering of the Arab regimes allied to the US, on account of Turkey's Sunnism, or at least its non-Shiism....

That the Muslim Brothers are willing to serve the US is precisely where their danger to the regime lies, as the US could easily abandon the current regime if it becomes a liability and switch support to the Brothers. Herein lies the enmity that the regime has shown and continues to show toward Hamas, and why regime allies in Egypt, including liberals and leftists, support it in its hostility to Hamas, which they see as an extension of the Brothers. The problem here is that in conjunction with Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas, unlike the Brothers, is the biggest opponent of Israeli colonialism and US imperialism. In the Palestinian context, it is the PA under Arafat and Abbas that established an alliance with Israel and the US and not Hamas. Indeed, the competition between Hamas and the PA is not over services to the US but rather over serving the interests of the Palestinian people......

....The scene in the West Bank, except for Hebron, was indeed a scandal. Arab capitals like Amman and Beirut, not to mention Palestinian cities and towns inside Israel, saw massive demonstrations that were at least a hundred times more numerous than the couple of thousands who tried to march in Ramallah but were beaten up by the goons of the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority (PCA).

Palestinians in the West Bank were watching Al-Jazeera instead of demonstrating in solidarity and refused to challenge Israel's PCA agents who rule them. While the repression by the PCA and the Israeli occupation army is an important factor, the quiescence of the West Bank was also on account of the psychological warfare of demonizing Hamas to which the PCA and its cadre of comprador intellectuals have subjected the population for years......

The journey of West Bank liberal intellectuals, it seems has finally come to this: after being instrumental in selling out the rights of Palestinians in Israel to full equal citizenship by acquiescing to Israel's demand to be recognized as a racist Jewish state, and the rights of the diaspora and refugees to return, they have now sold out the rights of Palestinians in Gaza to food and electricity, and all of this so that the West Bank can be ruled by a collaborationist authority that allows them open access to Johnny Walker Black Label (their drink of choice, although some have switched to Chivas more recently). In this context, how could Israel be anything but a friend and ally who is making sure Hamas will never get to ban whiskey?....."

Irish civil society calls for boycott of Israel

Open letter, various undersigned, 3 February 2009

The following letter was published in a full-page advertisement in The Irish Times on 31 January 2009. The original ad, including signatures may be downloaded here. [PDF]

"Israel's bombardment of Gaza killed over 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children. Thousands have been wounded. Many victims had been taking refuge in clearly marked UN facilities.

This assault came in the wake of years of economic blockade by Israel. This blockade, which is illegal under international humanitarian law, has destroyed the Gaza economy and condemned its population to poverty. According to a World Bank report last September, "98 percent of Gaza's industrial operations are now inactive."

The most recent attack on Gaza is only the latest phase in Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and appropriation of their land.....

We, the signatories, call for the following:

* The Irish Government to cease its purchase of Israeli military products and services and call publicly for an arms embargo against Israel.

* The Irish Government to demand publicly that Israel reverse its settlement construction, illegal occupation and annexation of land in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and to use its influence in international fora to bring this about.

* The Irish Government to demand publicly that the Euro-Med Agreement under which Israel has privileged access to the EU market be suspended until Israel complies with international law.

* The Irish Government to veto any proposed upgrade in EU relations with Israel.

* The Irish people to boycott all Israeli goods and services until Israel abides by international law."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

"Moderate" Arabs.....
A Front for Israel.

ICC Investigating Israel War Crimes Charges

By Daniel Luban

"NEW YORK, Feb 3 (IPS) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced a preliminary investigation Tuesday into whether Israel committed war crimes during the recent Gaza war, following the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) move to recognise the ICC's authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Whether the ICC has jurisdiction in Gaza is expected to be a highly contentious legal issue, and the ICC investigation comes at a time of heightened debate over the legality of Israel's Gaza campaign under international law.

This renewed debate has come about in large part due to statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday, in which he appeared to enshrine "disproportionate" response to provocations as official Israeli government policy....."

Gaza Reemerging From the Ashes

By Mirela Xanthaki

"UNITED NATIONS, Feb 3 (IPS) - The United Nations is urgently appealing for 613 million dollars to aid more than a million desperate civilians in the ruins of Gaza, where schools, hospitals, houses, factories and even farmland were obliterated during the three-week assault by Israeli air and ground forces.

Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured in the war, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Some 21,000 homes were reported destroyed or badly damaged, and more than 50,000 people were displaced into temporary U.N. shelters.

"Whole industrial areas [were] completely flattened, buildings blasted into piles of rubble," Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's (WFP) country director for the occupied Palestinian territories, reported after her recent trip to Gaza.

"While there were some areas left totally untouched, it was precisely the strategic economic areas that Gaza depends on to relieve its dependency on aid that were wiped out," she wrote......"