Saturday, May 2, 2009
".....Palestinians still overwhelmingly support a negotiated settlement, but the "peace process" and its sponsors have lost all credibility. Just one percent thought the US had a "great deal" of concern for the Palestinian cause, and 77 percent thought it had none at all. The "Quartet," the self-appointed ad hoc grouping of US, EU, UN and Russian representatives that monopolizes peace efforts earns the trust of just 13 percent of Palestinians.
Post-Gaza, Palestinians hold jaundiced views of all Western countries and the Arab states aligned with them. Iran and Turkey, which took strong public stands in solidarity with Palestinians, have seen support surge.
If the Fafo poll confirms that the Western-backed effort to destroy Hamas, impose quisling leaders, and blockade and punish Palestinians until they submit to Israel's demands has failed, a useful conclusion from the One Voice survey is that given a free choice, Israelis reject all solutions requiring them to give up their monopoly on power and to respect Palestinian rights and international law.
The right response to such findings is to support the growing international solidarity campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to abandon its illegal, supremacist and colonial practices, and to build a vision of a democratic future for all the people in the country."
"JERUSALEM, May 1 (IPS) - A report published Friday by a United Nations agency has warned that the problems facing the people of Silwan, who are facing eviction from their homes, are replicated throughout East Jerusalem.
At least 60,000 out of the estimated 225,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem are at risk of having their homes obliterated because they have been deemed illegal by Israeli officialdom, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated.
Some 90 Palestinian buildings were demolished in 2008 alone, uprooting about 400 people.
All this destruction is being wrought as part of a systematic policy of ensuring that the entire city of Jerusalem falls into Israeli hands, even though a raft of UN resolutions have insisted there is no legal validity to building settlements in East Jerusalem. To date one-third of East Jerusalem has been expropriated by Israel and almost 200,000 settlers housed....."
“We are extremely grateful that this new Administration, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia, has taken seriously their obligation to evaluate cases on the merits and not to allow an unjust prosecution to continue solely due to momentum,” said the joint statement by lawyers for Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman issued Friday, hours after the government filed for a dismissal of the charges against the two former senior staffers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “This Administration truly shows that theirs is a Department of Justice, where the justice of any case can be re-evaluated and the government can admit that a case should not be pursued.”......"
By Robert Fisk
".....Its obvious anonymity – given the fact that not a single reference is made to the civilians slaughtered by the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq – is no surprise. I, too, would not want to be personally associated with such Blair-like mendacity. What is astonishing, however, is that this outrageous letter should have been written this year......
.....We are now, are we not, supposed to be in the age of Brown-like truth,....I suspect that this – like the Obama pretensions to change – is a falsehood. Well, we shall see.....
I am left breathless by this lie. Saddam Hussein did not "refuse to co-operate" with the UN weapons inspectors. The whole problem was that – to the horror of Blair and Bush – the ghastly Saddam did co-operate with them, and the UN weapons team under Hans Blix was about to prove that these "weapons of mass destruction" were non-existent; hence the Americans forced Blix and his men and women to leave Iraq so that they and Blair could stage their illegal invasion. I saw Blix's aircraft still on the ground at Baghdad airport just two days before the attack. Note, too, the weasel words. Blair did not give his information "in good faith",......
....The sentence "millions of Iraqis now live free of Saddam's oppression and have control of their own destiny" is pure public relations – not least because it fails to mention that up to a million Iraqis have not been able to control their own destiny since 2003 because they happen to be dead as a result of our invasion......"
Video of an Interview with Azmi Bishara (in Arabic)
Click Here to Watch Video
COMMENT: An Excellent Interview. I urge you to see it if you have an hour or so and if you understand Arabic. Without exaggeration, Azmi is perhaps the best Arab thinker and commentator on the scene, today.
Click Here to Download Video تحميل ملف الفيديو
"......THE CRISIS WITH EGYPT
“During the war on Gaza, our stance was very normal. I heard the Egyptian President speaking and warning of Egypt’s anger. We had hoped to see Egypt’s anger when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza were getting killed when the Strip was on its own. We did not form an organization in Egypt and we did not target Egypt. We do not interfere in Egyptian affairs. We only work to support our Palestinian brothers.
True that many leaders have called for a calm settlement of the issue and we are following this up through legal channels. Of course there exists sides that we have confidence in to handle the issue. I thank all those who bravely defended us, particularly those inside Egypt who were harmed because of their support to the resistance. I tell Egyptian officials that going on with your campaign will be to no avail. You have made us a very big favor that will reveal itself soon, and we thank you for that.”
“(UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-Moon even sent his envoy Terej Roed Larsen to Egypt to discuss the matter. I find it very weird how Ban did not use the same words that he used against Hezbollah, when Israeli was bombing Gaza with internationally banned weapons and committing genocide against Palestinians. Larsen had raised the issue of the telecommunication network in Lebanon only to destabilize the situation and push the United Nations into a confrontation with Hezbollah and the resistance in the region. The US State Department relabeled Hezbollah as a terror organization. There is a global campaign aiming at labeling Hezbollah as a mafia and a group of gangster and this is not true. These campaigns have been waged against us because we reject the zionist project, we refuse to acknowledge Israel and we do no accept US hegemony; this is our crime. I tell those behind the Egyptian and global campaigns that you are waiting your money because this will not damage our will and the July 2006 war is a good example for you.”......."
Friday, May 1, 2009
"Dear President Obama,
Earlier this month, I attended the 4th Bil'in International Conference on Popular Nonviolent Resistance held in Bil'in, near Ramallah, in the Israeli occupied Terrority of Palestine. Here, all the Palestinian people are asking of you, President Obama, is to listen to their opinions and use your position to help end the racist, apartheid policies of Israel, which continue to cause so much pain and suffering to them. Each week, for the past four years, the villagers (after prayers in the Mosque) walk to the Wall which has annexed much of their land, and cuts them off from their farms and olive groves, and their ability to make a living for their families. As you know, under International Law the Apartheid wall is illegal but Israel continues to ignore International Laws (and some 62 UN resolutions) and annex more land from the Palestinians, all the while demolishing Palestinian homes, building illegal settlements both in East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, and laying Siege to the Gaza strip (one and a half million people), thus breaking the Geneva Conventions and committing crimes against humanity.
To visit Palestine is to walk with a people whose lives are being made unbearable by Israeli Policies of ethnic cleansing. Each year when I visit I ask myself ‘how can the Palestinians bear so much suffering and still have hope?'......"
Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials, were accused of conspiring with a former Pentagon analyst to provide defense information to foreign government officials, policy analysts and the media.
"Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment," Dana Boente, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.
"It's been 15 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while debate still rages over the wisdom of the arrangement, the recent swine flu outbreak threatens to bring the pact under sharp criticism. Mounting evidence is pointing to a US-owned industrial pig farm as a likely source of the swine flu virus. The farm is one of many factory farms that set up shop in Mexico after NAFTA rearranged the laws to make such moves more profitable. Many experts have been warning for years about the potential for a swine flu pandemic to arise out of the conditions present in industrial pig farms."
"Last week, less than two weeks after I had talked with him in his an-Najah University faculty office, Abdel Sattar Qassem was arrested by the Palestinian Preventive Security forces in Nablus, occupied West Bank.
Qassem is a 60-year-old professor of political science, and has been at an-Najah University since 1980. Imprisoned several times by the Israeli occupation, he is the author of dozens of books and papers, as well as hundreds of articles, on Palestinian politics and Islamic thought. But Qassem is also an eloquent and prominent critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and he has been arrested, and targeted by politically-motivated attacks, on a number of previous occasions........
"It was evident that they didn't want to arrest me on a political basis, so they decided to fabricate something against me. Last Thursday, in court, there were many lawyers trying to represent me, because they feel like this is a national issue. They see that this is intimidation, not a genuine civil case."
The attempts to intimidate a critic of the Palestinian Authority into silence is disturbing, but is only one incident in a growing trend. The Ramallah-based political leadership, dominated by Fatah, and the PA security forces, are becoming increasingly authoritarian, encouraging a culture of militarized policing and a lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law. Now, nonviolent resistance leaders against the Israeli occupation like Sami Awad, based in Bethlehem, are saying that they "have to be ready to face any injustice even if caused by our own people, within the PA."
One aspect of this phenomenon is an assault on the freedom of the press........
At a critical moment for the Palestinian people, and the prospects for the region as a whole, it is arresting that many in the Palestinian leadership can sound like they are reading from Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman's speech notes, when he said that "the path forward" lay in "security" for Israel, an "improved economy" for the Palestinians, and "stability for both," as reported by The Jerusalem Post. As Shawan Jabarin said to me, "for political reasons you make a compromise and sacrifice human rights. This is what is going on these days."........"
Friday, 01 May 2009 13:03
"In most of the world, May 1st is a day of international labor solidarity. It is a day of joy as workers picnic together with their families and celebrate the achievements of one of the most phenomenal movements of the 20th century.
It is fitting, then, that the Free Gaza Movement chooses May 1 to announce the launching of the HOPE FLEET TO GAZA. We are leaving on June 1 as an act of solidarity with the Palestinians, a people who have been massacred, terrorized and suffocated by the Israeli military.
We sail again to break Israel's blockade of 1.5 million civilians, 80% unemployed because of Israel's draconian siege. "I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people," said Mairead Maguire whose efforts for a peaceful solution to the violence in Northern Ireland earned her the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. "And I feel grateful to be able to go again on one of these boats to visit the people of Gaza.".......
RAMALLAH, Apr 30 (IPS) - Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din is taking the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court.
The rights group alleges they are illegally stripping Palestinian West Bank quarries of raw construction material for the benefit of the Israeli construction industry and the building of illegal Israeli settlements....
In its petition the rights group accuses them of the "illegal practice of brutal economic exploitation of a conquered territory to serve the exclusive economic needs of the occupying power that bluntly and directly violates basic principles of customary international law."
"Israel is transferring natural resources from the West Bank for Israeli benefit, and this is absolutely prohibited not only under international law but according to Israeli Supreme Court rulings," says Michael Sfard, lawyer for Yesh Din, which brought the case to Israel's high court.
"This is illegal transfer of land in the most literal of senses."......"
"Incongruous. One can hardly think of a more suited term to describe the new US administration's approach to peacemaking in the Middle East. Though there is little evidence that previous US administrations had genuinely attempted to play a balanced role in forging a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians, many hoped -- and a few still hope -- that Barack Obama's administration would bring about new standards.
However, if recent comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffice as a general indication of the administration's Middle East policy, then little change is on the horizon....."
By Rannie Amiri
Time for Change?
Based on an expected narrow margin of victory, no sect, group, party, or alliance will be able to effectively govern Lebanon in isolation. The clear necessity to reach across political and religious lines makes Lebanon unique among Arab countries and is exactly what Hassan Nasrallah, in the opening quote, indicated. Unfortunately, it appears Hariri does not think likewise should March 14 be unable to claim victory.
The possibility of replacing a pro-U.S. government in Lebanon, step-child of the equally pro-American Egypt-Jordan-Saudi nexus, caused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to show up unannounced in Beirut last weekend. Interfering in an election she called for non-interference in, an implicit threat of aid reduction was made should March 8 emerge victorious. Israel is also planning large-scale military exercises on the Lebanese border the week prior to the vote.
Intimidation and threats notwithstanding, Lebanon’s spring elections may serve as yet another example of the dwindling influence of leaders who have unabashedly sided with the U.S. and their policies in the Middle East; whether they be reflexively anti-Iranian, supportive of Israel’s siege and attack on Gaza, or aim to stifle their citizens’ ability to freely express themselves in the media or at the ballot box.
In the latter circumstance, Lebanon is certainly the exception. And on June 7, it has the ability to divorce itself from the U.S.-Israel-Egypt-Jordan-Saudi axis and send a powerful message to the rest of the Arab world: if little Lebanon can do it, so can you."
"The Israel lobby has been running into a few problems lately, but it’s nothing they don’t think they can handle: a charge of treason, a strong suspicion of obstructing justice, and a gathering storm of criticism from a few dissident intellectuals and policy types. Nothing to get too exercised about. Having felled Charles "Chas" Freeman, smitten Gen. Zinni, and sidelined those in the Obama administration who question the nature and utility of America’s "special relationship" with Israel, the Lobby’s flagship organization, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is primed to hold their national conference in Washington next week, with Jane "This Conversation Doesn’t Exist" Harman slated to address the gathering.
The focus of the conference, and the legislative centerpiece of the event, will be passage of the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act........
Chutzpah is one word for it, hubris is another. In any case, the Lobby is riding for a fall, in spite of its political power, its financial resources, its stranglehold on Capitol Hill and the policymaking apparatus of the US government. If the US is drawn into yet another war with the Lobby’s fingerprints all over it, the American people — after having voted for a presidential candidate many thought was intent on reversing the relentless warmongering of the past eight years — are bound to react. As the Lobby jeers at and otherwise disrespects our laws and our nation’s security, sooner or later popular revulsion against this faction of brazen fifth columnists is bound to give AIPAC and its allies a monumental slapping down."
By Johann Hari
"A swelling number of scientists believe swine flu has not happened by accident. No: they argue that this global pandemic – and all the deaths we are about to see – is the direct result of our demand for cheap meat. So is the way we produce our food really making us sick as a pig?.....
We always knew that factory farms were a scar on humanity's conscience – but now we fear they are a scar on our health. If we carry on like this, bird flu and swine flu will be just the beginning of a century of viral outbreaks. As we witness a global pandemic washing across the world, we need to shut down these virus factories – before they shut down even more human lives."
"Humans have it. Pigs don't. At least not yet, and US pork producers are doing everything they can to make sure that the new H1N1 virus, known around the world as the "swine flu," stays out of their herds......."
(Cartoon by Dave Brown)
"One hundred and seventy-nine dead soldiers. For what? 179,000 dead Iraqis? Or is the real figure closer to a million? We don't know. And we don't care. We never cared about the Iraqis. That's why we don't know the figure. That's why we left Basra yesterday.....
So let us turn at last to T E Lawrence. Yes, Lawrence of Arabia. In The Sunday Times on 22 August 1920, he wrote of Iraq that the people of England "had been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information... Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows." Even more presciently, Lawrence had written that the Iraqis had not risked their lives in battle to become British subjects. "Whether they are fit for independence or not remains to be tried. Merit is no justification for freedom."
Alas not. Iraq, begging around Europe now that its oil wealth has run out, is a pitiful figure. But it is a little bit freer than it was. We have destroyed its master and our friend (a certain Saddam) and now, with our own dead clanking around our heels, we are getting out yet again. Till next time..."
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 April 2009
"Farmers in Egypt clashed yesterday with officials who had come to destroy their pigs. They blocked the roads and some hurled stones at trucks and bulldozers sent by the health ministry. The trouble broke out after the government ordered the slaughter of all pigs in Egypt amid a wave of hysteria about "swine" flu.
"01/05/2009 A Jewish professor at University of California, Santa Barbara is under academic investigation and has been accused of being anti-Semitic for sending students an e-mail comparing Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip that killed over 1400 Palestinians, including 420 children, with the Holocaust.
Sociology professor William I. Robinson denied the claims on Thursday and portrayed the furor as a threat by Israel's supporters to academic freedom......
On Jan. 19 Robinson, sent an e-mail to 80 students in his "Sociology of Globalization" class entitled: "parallel images of Nazis and Israelis."
"Gaza is Israel's Warsaw - a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs," Robinson wrote. "We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide...."
Robinson's e-mail included a forwarded e-mail featuring juxtaposed photos from the Nazi era and the Gaza offensive with similar subjects, including grisly photos of children's corpses......."
وأعرب الرئيس المصري في التهنئة عن سعادته بتقديم تبريكاته لبيريز في "يوم استقلالكم".
ونشرت صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت صورة للسفير المصري في تل أبيب ياسر رضا وهو يصافح وزير الخارجية الإسرائيلي أفيغدور ليبرمان خلال حفل استقبال السفراء في ديوان رئيس الدولة بمناسبة "يوم الاستقلال" أمس.
ونوهت الصحيفة لمشاركة السفير الأردني علي عياد أيضا وقالت إنه هو الآخر صافح ليبرمان في ديوان بيريز أمس.
يشار إلى أن الآلاف من فلسطينيي الداخل أحيوا الذكرى السنوية للنكبة في مسيرة العودة الثانية عشرة لقرية الكفرين المهجرة قضاء حيفا أمس تزامنا ما تسميه إسرائيل يوم استقلالها."
Thursday, April 30, 2009
"In Israel the issue of settlement activity is a sensitive one.
Successive UN resolutions have called for an end to illegal settlement activity and for existing settlements to be dismantled, but Israel has refused to comply.
In a new twist, properties in these settlements are being offered up to foreign buyers.
Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland investigates."
"It may be impossible to judge the 1461 days of a US Presidency based only on the first 100. Pepe Escobar argues at least a pattern may be discerned. President Obama remains hugely popular - but the man, cool, calm and collected, may be more exciting than his policies. Ever the consensus builder, the pragmatist President will need to take more risks if he wants to accomplish real change, as well as being regarded by the majority of the population as The Fixer. So far, on the financial crisis and on the torture controversy - two key themes of his first 100 days - he was not as daring as he was expected to be."
"An official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry warned that Israel would block the European Union from participating in the Middle East peace process with the Palestinians if the EU does not stop its criticism of Israel..... "
"Last week found Iraq swimming in blood once again. Attacks last Thursday brought the worst violence Iraq has seen in over a year, with at least 96 Iraqis killed and 157 wounded in two massive suicide bombings. Over 35 bombings have rocked Baghdad this month alone. There appears to be no end in sight for the escalating violence. For an Obama administration that plans to keep at least 50,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely, look no further for a justification in doing so....."
"The Taliban's activities in Buner in Pakistan - which prompted a sharp response from the military - have raised concern over the country to the level of hysteria; that it is about to fall to an army of turbans. This is not going to happen. What is happening is that the United States, to legitimize the next stage in the Af-Pak war, is creating a new uber-bogeyman - Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud......
Now there's a US$5 million price on Baitullah's head. The Predators have duly hit the Mehsud family's South Waziristan bases. But - curioser and curioser - not once but twice, the ISI forwarded a detailed dossier of Baitullah's location directly to its cousin, the Central Intelligence Agency. But there was no drone hit.
And maybe there won't be - especially now that a bewildered Zardari government is starting to consider that the previous uber-bogeyman, a certain Osama bin Laden, is no more than a ghost. Drones can incinerate any single Pashtun wedding in sight. But international bogeymen of mystery - Osama, Baitullah, Mullah Omar - star players in the new OCO (overseas contingency operations), formerly GWOT ("global war on terror"), of course deserve star treatment."
The Stupidity of Hamas: Instead of Leading a Palestinian Third Intifada, it is Being Duped into Forming a "Government" Controlled by Ramallah Traitors
المصري: تشكيل سلطة رام الله حكومةً جديدةً ضربة لجهود الحوار وانقلابٌ على الشرعية
"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام
انتقدت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" بشدة استمرار الحديث في رام الله عن اعتزام رئيس السلطة المنتهية ولايته محمود عباس إعادة تكليف سلام فياض بتشكيل "حكومة" جديدة، ووصفت ذلك في حال حدوثه بأنه ضربةٌ لجهود الحوار واستمرارٌ في الانقلاب على الديمقراطية الفلسطينية
COMMENT: Please pass the Barf Bag! I can't take this horse manure much longer!
Thursday, 30 April 2009 11:06
"Our two Free Gaza co-ordinators in Gaza have finally been able to exit via the Rafah crossing.
They will be speaking at meetings in the UK, Poland and Ireland about Israeli war crimes and working with paramedics, journalist and farmers under fire in Gaza before, during and after the 2009 war......"
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 11:37
"The generosity of the Irish people prevailed again as they reacted quickly to the crisis in Gaza, people from all over Ireland helped to fill 4 containers which were sent from Galway and Cork with essentials for families, medical & hospital equipment as well as computers for schools. They arrived in Egypt on 30th Feb where they got caught up in Egyptian red tape, they got to the Israeli Eloga border last week only to be sent back to the port for another document.
We have now been informed that the Egyptian authorities are returning the aid to Ireland!........."
"RAFAH, Apr 29 (IPS) - Pick-up trucks speed westward on the Barth highway that flanks the Israeli border in Egypt's North Sinai region, stacked high with cartons of petrol. They are headed "for Gaza", the Bedouin residents of Barth village say – through the tunnels that burrow under the Egypt-Gaza border and are filling Gaza's aid gap in the aftermath of Israel's deadly assault on the territory.
The hundreds of subterranean passages that have fuelled Gaza's economy since its borders were hermetically sealed by Israel and Egypt in 2007 were one of the primary targets of Israel's three-week Operation Cast Lead.
Now largely rebuilt in the wake of a war that destroyed much of the strip's infrastructure and agricultural land, the tunnels that provide Gaza with food, fuel, medicine and other consumer goods may have become even more crucial as an economic lifeline, the World Food Programme (WFP) says......
Smugglers admit that trade has slowed as a result of Israel's firepower through the war, but that their work will continue as long as the siege is in place and Gaza's residents are deprived of what they need. "Tell the Israelis we are strong, that we have good hearts," says 20-year-old Salah, as he jumps barefoot into a tunnel to pull out a sack of grain. "We will not stop working, no matter how many wars." "
"NEW YORK, Apr 29 (IPS) - "I have never experienced anti-Semitism myself, but it’s a phrase that always seems to be in the air," begins Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir’s lively new documentary "Defamation". "Three words seem to appear over and over again: Holocaust, Nazi, anti-Semitism."
This phenomenon will be equally familiar to viewers in the U.S. Although by almost any measure the U.S is as friendly to Jews as any society in history, the media here is frequently filled with dire warnings about "ancient hatreds" ready to bubble over into genocide.
And although Israel’s hardline defenders in the U.S. concede that in theory criticism of the Jewish state is not synonymous with hatred of Jews, a number of recent controversies have revolved around accusations that various critics of Israel - political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, retired diplomat Charles Freeman, playwright Caryl Churchill - are in fact cunningly disguised anti-Semites........
Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery, who has a memorable cameo, puts it more accurately: if anti-Semitism were truly a major force in the U.S., Foxman and the rest of the Israel lobby would not be able to operate the way they do.
As a counterpoint to Foxman, "Defamation" also gives a prominent role to Norman Finkelstein, the anti-Israel gadfly and author of books like "The Holocaust Industry".
Finkelstein seems far more thoughtful and articulate than Foxman, and he gets in a few good shots at the "warmongers from Martha’s Vineyard" pushing Likudnik policies in Washington, the "pathological narcissism" underlying rich U.S. Jews’ sense of victimisation, and the misuse of the Holocaust for political purposes....."
"Reports by international human rights groups and from within Israel in recent weeks have revealed the massive scale of war-crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law, committed by Israeli forces during their three-week offensive against the Gaza Strip earlier this year. Despite this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has steadfastly stood by her insistence that the U.S.-backed Israeli government has no legal or moral responsibility for the tragic consequence of the war.
This is just one episode in a long history of efforts by Pelosi to undermine international humanitarian law, in regards to actions by a country she has repeatedly referred to as America’s most important ally in the Middle East. It’s also part of her overall right-wing agenda in the Middle East......"
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 April 2009
(Left) Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother to the President of the UAE and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
".......A 45-minute video released last week purports to show what happened next: Mr Poor was dragged off into the desert and brutally tortured. In the words of Human Rights Watch, the tape provides overwhelming evidence that Sheikh Issa, together with members of the Emirates police:
• Fired bullets from an automatic rifle around Mr Poor in very close proximity as the victim was screaming;
• Used an electric cattle prod against Mr Poor's testicles and inserted it into his anus;
• Poured lighter fluid on Mr Poor's testicles and set them on fire;
• Pulled down the pants of Mr Poor and repeatedly struck him with a protruding nail attached to a wooden board. At one point, Sheikh [Issa] placed the nail next to Mr Poor's buttocks and banged it through the flesh;
• Whipped Mr Poor over all his body including his face;
• Poured a large container of salt on to Mr Poor's wounds which were still bleeding ;
• Positioned Mr Poor on the desert sand and then drove over him repeatedly in a 4x4 vehicle. The sound of what appears to be breaking bones can be heard on the tape.....
The interior ministry in the Emirates, which is headed by another of Sheikh Issa's brothers, does not deny that the incident took place but says the matter has now been sorted out "privately" between the sheikh and Mr Poor – as if it were merely some playground quarrel.........
One of the hallmarks of a patrimonial system is that government posts tend to be filled according to who people are, rather than their capacity to do the job: the holder of the office is often more important than the office itself. How this works in the UAE, where the Maktum and the Nayhan families rule the roost, can be seen from the list of senior government posts. Between them, the two families have carved up the positions of president, vice-president, prime minister and nine of the 24 other ministerial posts, including the key ministries of defence, finance, interior and foreign affairs. It's a similar picture in Kuwait with the Sabah family, in Qatar with the Thani family, in Bahrain with the Khalifa family and, of course, in Saudi Arabia with the heirs of Ibn Saud.
Another hallmark of patrimonial systems is that "the ruler does not distinguish between personal and public patrimony and treats matters and resources of state as his personal affair". The line between the state and its rulers, between the state's property and the rulers' property, becomes so blurred as to be almost indistinguishable: the rulers are not merely above the law, they are the law......"
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
"......Islamism broadly defined encompasses many dozens of different forms of nationalist, local, religious, charitable, social, economic, military resistance-based, and the occasional terror movements.
It is also controversial, misrepresented and misunderstood.
We are fortunate in this respect to have available a new book that provides, in my view, one of the most comprehensive, accurate and useful analyses of the core philosophy and motivating political principles of political Islamism that is available to English-speaking readers. The book is titled “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution“, by Alastair Crooke. It cuts through much of the ideological venom, post-9/11 vengefulness, neo-Orientalist stereotyping, or mere nonsense that characterizes much of what is said and written about Islamist movements in much of the Western world and Islamic societies alike......"
by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, April 29, 2009
"If we are to believe what our trusted international media report, the world is on the brink of a global pandemic outbreak of a new deadly strain of flu, H1N1 as it has been labelled, or more popularly, Swine Flu. As the story goes, the outbreak of the deadly flu was first discovered in Mexico. According to press reports, after several days, headlines reported as many as perhaps 150 deaths in Mexico were believed caused by this virulent people-killing pig virus that has spread to humans and now is allegedly being further spread from human to human. Cases were being reported hourly from Canada to Spain and beyond. The only thing wrong with this story is that it is largely based on lies, hype and coverup of possible real causes of Mexican deaths......"
"As the pressure on companies to pull out from business facilitating Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip grows, it has been recently revealed that in Norway three private banks and the state pension fund invested in one such company......."
"CAIRO, Apr 29 (IPS) - Egyptians facing economic hardship know how tough it can be to put food on their table. Now they have also learned the cold, hard reality of the capital market.
"We've lost everything," says Hamdy Abdel Aziz, a factory worker and father of two living on less than 100 dollars per month. He and five of his neighbours each put 400 dollars into a gamaiya, an informal arrangement common among poor Egyptians where money is pooled to purchase stocks and then share the earnings.
Their portfolio has lost 80 percent of its value. "It took me four years to save up that money. We weren't being greedy, we were just desperate and the stock market seemed to offer the only way out of poverty."........"
"......Perhaps the biggest lie – the equivalent of smoking is good for you – is Obama’s announcement that the U.S. is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed U.S. Army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain "for the next 15 to 20 years." On April 25, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this. It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered – especially as the nation’s economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama’s principal economic adviser, is throwing $3 trillion at the same banks that paid him more than $8 million last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.
Much of the American establishment loathed Bush and Cheney for exposing, and threatening, the onward march of America’s "grand design," as Henry Kissinger, war criminal and now Obama adviser, calls it. In advertising terms, Bush was a "brand collapse," whereas Obama, with his toothpaste-advertisement smile and righteous clichés, is a godsend. At a stroke, he has seen off serious domestic dissent to war, and he brings tears to the eyes, from Washington to Whitehall. He is the BBC’s man, and CNN’s man, and Murdoch’s man, and Wall Street’s man, and the CIA’s man. The madmen did well."
By Justin Raimondo
"The exposure of the Jane Harman-AIPAC axis of treason has exploded the illusion of the Israel Lobby’s invulnerability. Here they thought they had the AIPAC espionage trial swept safely under the rug, or nearly so, what with the prosecution of two former top Lobby officials seemingly stalled indefinitely, and the Justice Department "reviewing" whether to pursue the case. Not only that, but accused Israeli spy Steve Rosen is riding high, having recently been instrumental in the downfall of Obama administration appointee Charles Freeman. Slated to take up a key post, which would have had him writing the president’s daily intelligence briefing, Freeman was lynched by a bipartisan mob of neocons and Israel-firsters, with the disgraceful (albeit not sufficiently disgraced) Rosen leading the charge.
This triumphal march hit a rather large bump in the road, however, when none other than Congressional Quarterly published a bombshell story detailing how Rep. Jane Harman – hawkish Democrat and reliable ally of the Lobby – had been caught red-handed......"
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 April 2009
".....There's something surreal about all of this, about both the fulminations of the critics and the theoretical scenarios of the advocates. And that's because we're already there: one state exists.
It has not been formally proclaimed. It has no legal status. No one wants to acknowledge it. But it's hard to see Israeli control of the area of the pre-1967 state, the West Bank and Gaza as constituting anything other than one, de facto state.....
Seeing the current reality as one state is meant to send a stark message to the advocates of the two-state solution that time is running out. And by no means the least of the tasks to be done to prevent the clock from stopping is to confront the question of how this structure can ever be dismantled to allow self-determination for Jews and Palestinians in two separate states. This may be what the people want, but by the way they have voted recently, they may well have decided that it's no longer possible......"
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 April 2009
"The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office must be commended for its decision to cancel renting premises for the UK embassy in Tel Aviv from the company Africa-Israel, owned by Israeli businessman and settlement builder Lev Leviev. This is an encouraging step that should now be backed by stronger sanctions against the building of the separation wall and the building of illegal settlements by Israel. Furthermore, the governments of Norway and Dubai should emulate the example set by the UK and sever their relationships with Leviev's companies......
"29/04/2009 Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday that the massive Israeli maneuvers scheduled between May 31 and June 4, were extremely dangerous, aimed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran and would take place along the Lebanese-Palestinian border....
On Tuesday, Loyalty to the Resistance bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad said that Lebanon must go on high alert in anticipation of Israel's largest-ever maneuvers.
"Lebanon is one of Israel's targets during the exercises. The country must be fully prepared for such an emergency," Raad told the national dialogue session on Tuesday.....
The Hezbollah document points that Israel is focusing on the factor of surprise by convincing the public opinion that the next war could break out without prior warning. “This suggests a concealed evil will by the enemy to initiate the war.”
Earlier this month, the Jerusalem Post said Israel and the United States will hold massive joint missile defense drills later this year, testing three anti-ballistic missile systems. It did not give a date for the maneuvers......
The reaction time to prepare for impact of a rocket attack in Israel is roughly two minutes or less. The Home Front Command and Israeli occupation forces said they want drills to encourage people to prepare for the possibility of war. The aim, according to defense officials, is to put the Israelis on alert as if the war is going to start “tomorrow morning”......."
By Azmi Bishara
"لم تتضح بعد حدود مسار التدهور القائم بشأن فلسطين، فالنظام الرسمي العربي الذي أكد منذ العام 1974 على مقولة "الممثل الشرعي والوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني" لكي يحرر نفسه باسم الأمة من مهمة محاربة إسرائيل، بدأ مسيرة الفصل هذه بأن المقاومة شأن الفلسطينيين الذي يجب دعمه عربيا.
فقد كانت العقيدة الرسمية السائدة في المؤسسة الحاكمة الإسرائيلية (دعك من قطعان المستوطنين الهستيريين!!) هي احتلال الأرض لمبادلتها بالاعتراف والسلام على أساس قبول إسرائيل في المنطقة. ولذلك فإن استرجاع الأرض التي احتلت عام 1967 مقابل السلام هو انتصار لإسرائيل واعتراف بالهزيمة. وهو أكثر من ذلك مأسسة لتلك الهزيمة.
لقد تمت مأسسة وأدلجة الهزيمة بالادعاء بأن الدول أنجزت استعادة أرضها المحتلة عام 1967، وأن ما تبقى هو قضية الفلسطينيين.. ولا بد أن يرافق هذا التنصل تنصلا من الجامع الذي يفرض المعركة وهو الانتماء للوطن العربي المهدد وإلى أمة واحدة. لا بد أن يرافقها التأكيد على الدولة القطرية و"س أولا"، أو "ص أولا"... وهي تعبيرات عن انتصار إسرائيلي آخر أعمق، فقد ادعت الأخيرة دائما أنه لا توجد أمة عربية بل أمم وشعوب وقبائل، وأن الأمة الوحيدة في هذا الصراع هي الأمة اليهودية. صدق أو لا تصدق!!
ثم تبين أن المقاومة تشكل عقبة أمام "عملية السلام" أو أمام العلاقات المنفردة مع إسرائيل، أو تؤدي إلى توريط في نزاعات لا تنتهي معها، فتحولت هذه الدول إلى منع المقاومة أو حتى محاربة المقاومة. لقد وصل هذا النوع من التفكير إلى "لا نريد أن نحارب، ولا نريدكم أن تقاوموا". فمنعت المقاومة بداية من الانطلاق من الدول العربية المحيطة بإسرائيل الواحدة تلو الأخرى. وتبين في الحرب الأخيرة على غزة أن هذا التفكير يقود إلى منع المقاومة داخل الأراضي العربية المحتلة عام 1967 نفسها. ولا يكتفي بمنعها من الدول المحيطة بإسرائيل، التي كانت تسمى دول المواجهة.
وتروج منذ مدة تفسيرات مقلوبة لمفهوم "الحق" الذي تناضل الشعوب من أجله في نفس هذه الأوساط. فحق العودة، برأيهم حق، ولكن ليس ضروريا أن يمارس، بل وذهبوا لحد المطالبة بالاعتراف بالحق نظريا دون السماح بممارسته، فكيف يكون الحق بالعودة دون السماح بالعودة؟!
الدول العربية التي دعمت حربا على إيران طيلة ثماني سنوات وسقط فيها مئات الآلاف أعلنت أنها لا تريد محاربة إسرائيل. ولم تعاود طرح هذا السؤال: لماذا لا تريد الدول العربية محاربة إسرائيل؟ هل فعلا إسرائيل دولة لا تحارب؟ هنالك امتناع عن مناقشة هذا الموقف وكأنه مسلمة، وهو ليس بمسلمة.
لم تكترث نفس الأنظمة لمقتل مئات الآلاف في حرب ضارية مع إيران استمرت ثمانية أعوام (وهي الحرب الكبيرة الحقيقية الوحيدة التي خاضها العرب في القرن العشرين، وتليها حرب أكتوبر بالحجم والشدة). ولم تتهم هذه الدول المبادرة إلى هذه الحرب بالتسبب بكارثة وبالتوريط والتدمير. ولكنها تعد سقوط المئات شهداء نتيجة لعدوان إسرائيلي "إبادة شعب"، وتنشر الرعب والخوف من إسرائيل وتتهم المقاومة بالمسؤولية عن الدمار.
أثبتت هذه السياسات أنها غير قادرة على تحقيق إنجازات في المفاوضات، لقد وصل هذا التفكير إلى مفترق طرق: لا حرب، ولا مقاومة، ولا إنجازات في المفاوضات باتجاه حل عادل. هنا تصبح عملية السلام هدفا قائما بذاته... لأنه لا عودة منها إلى الحرب ولا تقدم منها إلى حلول عادلة.
راهنة: في هذه الأثناء أخذ الشعب الفلسطيني رهينة الحوار الدخلي وشروط الرباعية والمفاوضات، لقد جرى بقدرة الحصار بعد العدوان ربط إعادة الإعمار في القطاع مع نجاح الحوار. وربط نجاح الحوار بقبول حماس لشروط الرباعية.
طبعا لن نثير هنا السؤال لماذا سارت حماس نحو هذا الفخ بعد الحرب؟ ولماذا أصبح يمشي كالديك كل من كان أثناء العدوان خجلا مطأطأ الرأس؟ ليس هذا هو المكان لطرح هذه التساؤلات، فقد كان الضغط بعد العدوان شديدا ناهيك بسحر استجداء الوحدة من قبل من كان يرفض حتى محاورة حماس دون شروط. وقد ضاعت بوصلة المقاومة لفترة. إن أخطر ما يمكن أن يجري للمقاومة هو دخولها في مسار الاعتراف بها دوليا وعربيا، ودفع ثمن هذا الاعتراف. لدى المواطن الفلسطيني شعور أنه حضر هذا الفيلم.
ولا بأس. ما جرى جرى. ولكن المقاومة سايرت، ودفعت ثمنا، وأفاد المحرجون أثناء العدوان من هذه المسايرة بعده. ولكن المهمة انتهت. اتضحت شروط نجاح الحوار ورفع الحصار التي يتمسك بها المحور الرافض للمقاومة.. إنها نفس شروط الرباعية. وسوف يستمر الحوار لفترة طويلة والحصار مفروض ومستمر ومنع إعادة البناء أيضا.
وقد آن الأوان أن يقَال ما يفهم: إن شرط الاستمرار بالحوار هو السماح بإعادة الإعمار. ولا يمكن أن يقبل الاستمرار بالربط المعاكس، فمقولة إن النجاح بالحوار وقبول شروط الرباعية هو شرط رفع الحصار وإعادة الإعمار هي مقولة تنفيذ النصر لإسرائيل من العدوان. ويجب بأسرع وقت ممكن أن يقال العكس، رفع الحصار والسماح بإعادة الإعمار هو شرط الاستمرار بهذه العملية التي لا تنتهي، فلماذا يجب أن يأخذ هذا الشعب رهينة العدوان ورهينة شروط الرباعية بعد صموده في الحرب؟
هكذا تقلب الطاولة، وليس بتبريرات مثل شرعية الرئيس وغيرها من التبريرات، بل لسبب مصيري متعلق بمصلحة الشعب الفلسطيني ومصلحة المقاومة
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By JEREMY SCAHILL
"Remember when Barack Obama made that big announcement at Camp Lejeune about how all US combat troops were going to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June 30? Liberals jumped around with joy, praising Obama for ending the war so that they could focus on their “good war” in Afghanistan.
Of course, the celebrations were and remain unwarranted. Obama’s Iraq plan is virtually identical to the one on Bush’s table on January 19, 2009. Obama has just rebranded the occupation, sold it to liberals and dropped the term “Global War on Terror” while, for all practical purposes, continuing the Bush era policy (that’s why leading Republicans praised Obama’s plan). In the real world, US military commanders have said they are preparing for an Iraq presence for another 15-20 years, the US embassy is the size of Vatican City, there is no official plan for the withdrawal of contractors and new corporate mercenary contracts are being awarded. The SoFA Agreement between the US and Iraq gives the US the right to extend the occupation indefinitely and to continue intervening militarily in Iraq ad infinitum. All it takes is for the puppets in Baghdad to ask nicely........"
With Amy Goodman
"The US military is grappling with a record number of soldier suicides. At least thirteen soldiers took their lives last month. That’s down from the twenty-four military suicides in January and eighteen in February, but still in line with the most number of suicides since record keeping began. As many as 143 soldiers reportedly took their own lives last year. We speak with Emma Prophet, an investigator at the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office....."
The court sentenced border policemen, Shahar Butbika, to eight years imprisonment after he was found guilty of abusing and killing Omran Abu Hamdiyya, 17........."
"CAIRO (IPS) - The recent onslaught against the Gaza Strip -- and Israel's failure to achieve its military objectives there -- left Palestinian resistance group Hamas politically stronger than ever. Concurrently, it dealt a possible death blow to the faction within Fatah led by strongman Mohammed Dahlan, long known for its closeness to Israel......
But commentators also note that the controversial faction's influence extends beyond the mere person of Dahlan.
"This faction includes several of the advisors around Abbas," said al-Arian. "And its influence can also be found in other Palestinian political movements besides Fatah." Kandil went so far as to say that Abbas himself represents a leading element of the "Israeli faction" currently operating within the PA.
"Under Abbas, PA security agencies in the West Bank still receive direct US training," Kandil said. "And it is these agencies' primary task to persecute resistance elements and provide Israel with intelligence with which to arrest or assassinate resistance leaders.""
There is Love in the Air: All Together Now......I Love You.....You Love Me....We're A Happy Family....
"Rival Palestinian factions have made progress during reconciliation talks in Cairo with observers describing the atmosphere of the talks as positive.
Azzam al-Ahmad, a leader of the Fatah movement led by acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, said on Tuesday that the rival Fatah and Hamas factions reached an agreement during the first session of the fourth round of the dialogue which started Monday, Xinhua reported.
"We agreed that the reconciliation deal would be one package that includes all the controversial issues," said al-Ahmad......."